Political categories — however plausible they look on paper — quickly dissolve into senseless noise when applied to modern historical reality, unless they foreground populism as the critical discriminating factor. Furthermore, populism is for all practical purposes already national populism, irrespective of ideological commitments to the contrary, since super-national popular constituencies exist only in the feverish brains of Utopian intellectuals. The Syriza victory in Greece is making all of this extraordinarily graphic:

Ushering in the new era, Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister-designate, announced that he would not be sworn in, as tradition dictates, in the presence of Archbishop Iernonymos but would instead take the oath of office in a civil ceremony. At 40, he becomes the country’s youngest premier in modern times. […] The leftist, who surprised Greeks by speedily agreeing to share power with the populist rightwing Independent Greeks party, Anel, is expected to be handed a mandate by president Karolos Papoulias to form a government later on Monday. Earlier, Panos Kammenos, Anel’s rumbustious leader, emerged from talks with Tsipras lasting an hour saying the two politicians had successfully formed a coalition. […] “I want to say, simply, that from this moment, there is a government,” Kammenos told reporters gathered outside Syriza’s headquarters. […] “The Independent Greeks party will give a vote of confidence to the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras. The prime minister will go to the president and … the cabinet makeup will be announced by the prime minister. The aim for all Greeks is to embark on a new day, with full sovereignty.”

Anyone who thinks it odd that Marine Le Pen and Slavoj Žižek are both firm supporters is missing the picture entirely. As Žižek remarks:

This is our position today with regard to Europe: only a new “heresy” (represented at this moment by Syriza), a split from the European Union by Greece, can save what is worth saving in the European legacy: democracy, trust in people, egalitarian solidarity.

That’s what the Left means. Construct your ideological spectrum accordingly.

Mainstream, but sane:

Of course, politics is about emotion as much as reality. And here, socialism has one advantage in its favor: easy populism.

Socialism has one huge advantage: People are idiots.

… and while I’m slumming it at NRO, here‘s Andrew Stuttaford:

Fun fact No. 1: One of the two sons of Syriza’s leader was given the middle name “Ernesto” in honor of the murderer better known as Ernesto “Che” Guevara. […] Fun fact No. 2: The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn probably came in third with 6 percent or so. […] I, for one, continue to be grateful that the single currency has proved to be such a bulwark against extremism.

ADDED: Childish incomprehension from the Left (of which we will be seeing a great deal): “… Last but not least, while Mr. Kammenos and his sovereigntyist right-wing ANEL party [Independent Greeks] are certainly a lesser evil compared to formations like To Potami (whose stated goal was to force Syriza to stay within the narrow boundaries set by the EU and the Memorandums), they are nonetheless an evil. Their participation in the government, even with just one minister, would symbolise the end of the idea of an ‘anti-austerity government of the Left’. Moreover, this is a party of the Right, one that is particularly concerned to protect the ‘hard core’ of the state apparatus (it will be important to keep a watchful eye over whatever cabinet portfolio it might get). It will be no surprise if its first demands are for the ministry of defence or public order, though it seems that it will not get them.” (Relevant predictions from Jim.)

January 26, 2015admin 62 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy


62 Responses to this entry

  • Populism | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Populism […]

    Posted on January 26th, 2015 at 2:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • Adair Neto Says:

    Authoritarian leaders (whether rightists or leftist; conservatives, liberals and communists) love populism.

    What if we inverted all this notion of populism and, instead of a authoritarian/populist leaders, the people itself take the power? I don’t mean that in a buorgoise democracy way, but in an authentic anarchy.

    Maybe all this “lefty thing” in Europe just means more capitalism. As Zizek himself said: captalism lives by crisis, crisis are its fuel. So, the only way to destroy capitalism is by destroing all crisis and let it be.

    About your last phrase: that’s the advantage of all political ideals and theories. Well, people are indeed idiots. But we are people and that’s the best we can do.

    PS: I’m new here 🙂


    Aeroguy Reply:

    De facto governments are the will in will to power. The Collective body may have a general feeling, opinion or perception but there can’t exist a general will to power over itself as that isn’t power, only subgroups with will to power over the greater group can weild power and are always incentivised to do exactly that. The prudence of a given government will depend on it’s ability to align that will with reality. This means it will also have to be a truth finding body.

    Power can be a means to truth and truth a means to power. Power is all that matters in government, truth can and will be subverted in it’s pursuit. Honest power is power that has nothing to gain from dishonesty. Lies are told to alter the perception of an other. Only power that is insolated from the perceptions and opinions of others can afford the luxary of not caring about those perceptions and opinions thus enabling it to potentially be honest (which it most likely will since lies require investment). Where it is not, power will concentrate proportionally in the crafting of perception and opinion molding. Where the body has incentive to lie to itself lies the weakness of a truth finding body and the potential for running out of sync with reality.

    Where a given human system has incentive to respect perceptions or opionions it has an incentive to potentially deceive itself. Self deception is a weakness in a system’s truth finding ability and creates the potential for running out of sync with reality.
    Thus the only way to maintain a honest and sane human system is by actively maintaining zero respect for anyone’s perceptions or opinions. This is anti-populism. There’s already a slang word for that, based, the goal is based government instead of populist government. “The people” as applied to human groups, are obsessed with each others opinions and perceptions, the opposite of based.


    Adair Neto Reply:

    What do you mean by “The prudence of a given government will depend on it’s ability to align that will with reality.”? Isn’t the government itself the (given) reality?

    “Only power that is insolated from the perceptions and opinions of others can afford the luxary of not caring about those perceptions and opinions thus enabling it to potentially be honest.”
    Even if that’s true, honesty won’t matter. That would be a totalitarian and alien regime. In this case is legitimate to fight against the government (sorry for using this whole thing of legitimacy here: for me all governments are illegitimate).

    “Thus the only way to maintain a honest and sane human system is by actively maintaining zero respect for anyone’s perceptions or opinions.”
    Isn’t that a form of utilitarianism? A “blind” government, i.e. not biased.

    You reminded me of Mill’s idea of government. He says “The best government has no more title to it than the worst. It is as noxious, or more noxious, when exerted in accordance with public opinion, than when in or opposition to it. If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind” (On Liberty, ch. 2). This thought, if followed to it’s ultimate consequences, would lead to the end of the government/State, to anarchism.

    Your comment also reminded me of Hegel’s argument for monarchy. According to him, the state (a racional totality) needs as a boss an “irrational” authority figure. The monarch becomes the perfomative aspect of the State. (S)he is the incarnation of an universality and a excess. But here we have the big deal. This excess from the “top of social building” can be substituted by the “lowest of social builing”, the “rabble”. And this rabble has the real universality. It is what makes the society work. And should replace the fakery of the monarch. (I’m using Zizek here: Less than Nothing Interlude 3)

    When you talk about power, I think about the subversive christian ethics (abandoned by catholic, orthodox and protestants): those who want the power — to be the first — should serve.


    Aeroguy Reply:

    When I was talking about reality I mean in the laws of nature sense alluding to nature or nature’s god aka Gnon. Think along the lines of defacing currency and Rome’s phantom legions.

    “all governments are illegitimate”
    We’re much more concerned with stability than a moral status indicator like legitimacy except as it relates to stability. I spoke of de facto government, the force that orders society. The little girl who sets the style for the other little girls at her school is a sort of de facto government. It doesn’t have to be holding a gun (but it eventually will have to in extreme situations or to set precedent) it’s the driving mechanism behind the order, the people who decide what is cool, what is punishable and how severely. I’m not talking legislation, I’m talking about the cultural impetus that legislation merely formalizes. The rule of cool certainty is alien and tyrannical but it is embedded in the human condition. You can’t abolish government any more than you can abolish cool and uncool.

    The people don’t decide what’s cool, it is beyond their capacity, there is a natural hierarchy of who decides and power is a part of that equation. When the cool kid is taking opinion surveys something is wrong, stagnant, degenerate, the blind leading the blind. The based cool kid is probably a psychopath but at least he has vision. Psychopaths come with their share of problems, personally I wonder if they can be replaced by autists but I doubt Gnon will allow that so basically psychopaths are Gnon’s chosen people. Rather than forcing psychopaths to maximize social competence, which is what happens when you leave power in the hands of people (like a baby with candy and a thief), find a way to force them to maximize wisdom.

    There is a difference between opinion and idea, perception and observation. Ideas and observations are useful for a truth finding organization, opinions and perceptions only murky the water. The truth has a habit of hurting people’s feelings and contradicting egos. Is a parent tyrannical when they didn’t care about a child’s opinion or perception, of course they are from the child’s point of view, but if they did care and worse obeyed it, the child would become feral.

    Before we can discuss the destination we ought to have a navigator with functioning eyes that can navigate reality. A feat in of itself.


    Posted on January 26th, 2015 at 3:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    I am very pleased to discover that the EU, Harvard, the New York Times, the EPA, and the US Supreme Court, are not leftist organs. The relief is tremendous.

    I wish we could slow-roll this new position, though. Its gonna be awkward when I switch from arguing that the fascists were just as left as the communists to arguing that the communists were actually a species of rightwinger.


    admin Reply:

    Unless you’re arguing that the institutions you list are averse to the principle of democratic legitimacy, I’m not seeing how any of them avoid complicity in climax populism. (Although the Supreme Court was destroyed by FDR, and previously simply wasn’t a ‘leftist organ’.) Do you think the Žižek quote cited is in any way inconsistent with the express ideology of the Cathedral apparatus?


    Lesser Bull Reply:

    The institutions I list are averse to what just happened in Greece, especially if it leads to exit from the EU. One of the reasons I don’t fully embrace NRx is the facile way you use democracy and populism. You don’t define very well what it is you are actually opposed to, so you have a lot of wiggle room in adjusting your definitions on an ad hoc basis. Sometimes you act as if democracy was voting, sometimes as if it was the formal system of voting, even if the actual democracy was a complete sham and known by everyone to be so, sometimes an expression of a preference for the majority opinion over elite opinion in any specific context, or sometimes just “democratic ideology,” which can be just about anything, but seems to boil down to any political move that is justified on the grounds that it will benefit the generality, which is about every political move everywhere, including most of NRx, China, Singapore, Rome, medieval Europe, the absolutist monarchies, and anything else you can think of.


    admin Reply:

    ‘Democracy’ as used (non-casually) by NRx is an ideology of political legitimation (through popular will). Any other sense of the word are ancillary. It’s demotism (as climax-phase Christian religion).

    Democracy is dysfunctional because it is populist. If it were a perfect sham, there would be few (functionalist) reasons to criticize. The more it is a sham, the better.

    Given that radical democracy burns out in chaos within a short period of time, selection bias means we don’t see a lot of it. The institutions you mention are survivors, and therefore (to use Moldbug’s analogy) immunized against the memetic contagion they carry. That does not prevent them smiling fondly at Che Guevara T-shirts, writing op-eds against Austerity®, and running interference of behalf of radical leftists chaos at every opportunity (e.g. the Arab Spring®).

    Rigorous anti-demotism is hard, and takes work. Over recent years that work has been proceeding.

    Hurlock Reply:

    I always thought it abundantly clear what exactly Admin is opposed to.
    It is the same concept that Moldbug is opposed to and this is an opposition which everyone who likes to brand himself a neoreactionary or even reactionary opposes (if they don’t, they are simply unworthy of those labels)
    It is the concept of popular sovereignty which we are opposed to. The idea that it is the ‘body of the people’ or the ‘body of the whole nation’ which is the rightful sovereign from which all political authority stems.
    Which is why Admin is so fervently opposed to populism in politics as the most disgusting expression of the concept of popular sovereignty in practice.

    We are not opposed to the justification of the policies by an appeal to the ‘greater good’. Insofar as sound political decision are being made, they shall always be for ‘the greater good’. We are opposed to the concept, the supposition, that ‘the people’ can know what the greater good for society is, and that the ‘people’ by and large are competent enough to elect the right ‘representatives’ for the job. For people are mostly foolish and selfish and where there are men wise enough to know what is indeed in the best interest of their society and capable enough to work towards than best interest, they are always a minority. And being a minority these wise and capable men will undoubtedly be silenced in the popular orgy of democracy and its universal suffrage (of course there can be structural problems in an aristocratic arangement as well, in terms of whether there are sufficient incentives for the aristocracy to indeed work to achieve this greater good, as even noble men are fallible and selfish, but this is a different subject of discussion altogether).

    At any rate, the folly of democracy is the presumption that at any one time the ‘greater good’ is coincident with the momentary desires of the greater mob. We are not opposed to rule in the name of the first, but we are opposed to rule in the name of the second.

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    If what you are saying is that appeals to the popular will are simply what is wrong with leftism, then its too simplistic a point of view. It looks like the same fallacious reasoning in your last Le Pen post: this involves an appeal to popular will, therefore its worse than what currently exists.

    Mike Reply:

    (From http://www.xenosystems.net/non-democracy/)

    The key quote:

    “The Neoreactionary critique is in fact directed at demotic government, a regime class that includes democracy, authoritarian populism, and socialist ‘people’s republics’. The reliable signature of this class is that its members legitimate themselves through democracy, however their various levels of democracy are gauged by social scientific analysis.”

    Alrenous Reply:

    Small correction. It’s difficult to have climax-phase Christianity in classical Greece, which most certainly had demotism. The Cathedral is a what a Sophism infection looks like in a Christian society. The reason we say communism is in scripture (or however we say it) is because Christianity will fall to Sophism every time it’s exposed.

    Effectively, post-Roman pre-1100 Christianity was hermetically sealed, so thrived lushly. However, even if the texts had not been recoverable, they would, eventually, have been re-invented. Indeed it would likely have been worse; the first time around, Sophism came first, philosophy second, and a re-invention would most likely have done the same. In other words we would have skipped the ‘science’ step and gone straight to the social rot of demotist hell.

    I guess, while I’m nitpicking, while certainly democracy is healthier the more it is a sham…”No: at all costs, it is to be prayed by all men that Shams may cease.” If the sheer profanity isn’t enough for you, then shams are unstable, and they do not decay into pure, dark truth.

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    @ Alrenous,

    the more the sham, the healthier the democracy. Nice dogma, but like most dogmas it elides a lot of facts to get there. Look at the US: its leftist arc first involved more actual democracy, then more and more sham for probably the last 100 years, certainly the last 50 years or so, but more leftism and less health the whole time. In many ways, modern US leftism is explicitly anti-democratic and anti-populist. But is by no means less left or more sane because of if.

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    I agree with Lesser Bull. I find these discussions of “demotism” very confusing. Is the problem that democracy is a sham or that it is real? We really need to raise our game here.

    Admin, I have a Catholic friend who I think would regard “It’s demotism (as climax-phase Christian religion)” as fighting words.

    Chuck Reply:

    @ Lesser Bull

    The confusion is congenital; Moldbug is the source. I tried before; he learns, but regresses. The rest of us grasp that Leftism is synonymous with radical egalitarianism. Deviations from this are called “Right”. For leftism, universalism is a corollary; coercion a necessity. When it can be, populism is a means; when not, a vulgarity to be replaced by a dictatorship of the proletariat. When it can be, the people’s will is a justification; when not, something to be re-engineered or disdained. Leftism is a paleolithic impulse willing itself to power.

    Yet: “Why attribute so much importance to what leftists think? It’s just foam on the surging current of demotism.”

    Moldbuggian muddle-headedness:

    ‘Leftism is (by definition) chaos, corruption.
    Democracy is corrupt because the elite, via the media, inform the mass what to think; they manipulate.
    Thus, democracy is and the elite are Leftist.
    The elite are corrupt — deceptive — because they believe that the people’s will matters.
    This belief thus must be the root and essence of the corruption called Leftism.
    Ergo, if the elite would only embrace explicit authoritarianism — like a dictator of the proletariat — they would, guile unnecessary, become rightist!’

    When leftists justify their policies deontologically they are no less leftist, where leftism is understood in the common sense way.


    Chuck Reply:

    A communist philosopher king of the ant people, even if a Moldbuggian rightist, is still an ordinary sense leftist.


    Posted on January 26th, 2015 at 3:27 pm Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    Like Iceland, these populist movements seem useful but ultimately doomed. If people consider ‘popular’ revolts as automatically legitimate still, let them tear down their internationalist utopia with them. They certainly won’t have the cajones to stop themselves.


    Posted on January 26th, 2015 at 3:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • Hattori Says:

    Spain is next.


    Posted on January 26th, 2015 at 3:58 pm Reply | Quote
  • snorlax Says:

    Since the Cathedral never met a left-winger it didn’t want to surrender to (pas d’ennemis and all that), we can expect Tsipras to get most or all of what he’s asking for. That should have fun implications for the rest of Europe.


    Posted on January 26th, 2015 at 4:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • Erebus Says:

    Given Syzira’s utterly asinine 40 Point Program, it’s apparent that the Greeks are simply trying to vote themselves money from the public treasury. No more, no less. Numbers 11 through 20 are particularly egregious examples of this. (But is it money from their treasury, in this case, or money from the German treasury that they shall need to finance their plebian/populist delusions?)

    Le Pen is simply saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
    …And, of course, as the article mentions, she’s happy that an anti-establishment candidate won the election. This is all perfectly understandable.

    Žižek is saying “‘everyone knows Greece will never repay its debt,’ and we must prevent right-wing groups like the Golden Dawn and UKIP (?!) from seizing the populist initiative.”
    …What an asshole.


    Posted on January 26th, 2015 at 5:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    The guy who was “in house economist” at Valve, Varoufakis, is to be economy minister.

    Come on this is gonna be a lot of fun. Sharing power with the hard right is just hilarious. Pass the pop-corn.

    Do remember that only Nixon could go to China. Obviously Syriza can’t distribute money that isn’t there; but only the left can use machine-guns against the mob.This may turn out to be a good thing in the end.


    admin Reply:

    “Come on this is gonna be a lot of fun.” — Close to my exact words, over at the other place.


    Posted on January 26th, 2015 at 6:04 pm Reply | Quote
  • AnomalyUK Says:

    I don’t think I quite agree that “populism” is the essence of leftism. The essence, as Hurlock puts very well, is rule in the name of the people, which need not in all cases be according to the popular will. Populism is the normal preferred weapon of leftism, but there can be, and I believe have been, cases of non-popular government being swept into power by populist fervour.


    vimothy Reply:

    If populism is the essence of leftism then the current order must be right-wing reactionary, since it is about as anti-populist as it is possible to be, even going so far as to, not merely ignore the demos, but divest them of the lands which are their historic birthright and replace them with a new population.


    scientism Reply:

    What’s common to all forms of demotism is that man is the measure. The goal isn’t for the ruler to be good but for the ruler to be good to the people. The goal isn’t to make the people good but to make them good to one another. The distinction appears subtle to the modern mind, which is why it’s so insidious.


    vxxc2014 Reply:

    Thank you.


    Alrenous Reply:

    Populism is implied by the game theory of demotist legitimacy. National populism is the result of defining ‘nation’ to refer to election jurisdictions. The left must always appear to follow the popular will, even though it literally never does follow that will.

    If essentially, rather than superficially, non-popular government can get into power by popular will, then MRAs are a good tactic to use against feminism. I offer no comment about the feasibility; only that the two are entrained.


    Posted on January 26th, 2015 at 7:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • Zimriel Says:

    while I’m slumming it at NRO, here‘s Andrew Stuttaford

    I wish I could craft words like this.


    Posted on January 27th, 2015 at 2:27 am Reply | Quote
  • bob sykes Says:

    People too easily dismiss the acute pain of the Greek common people and focus instead on economic theories. The so-called austerity program imposed by the EU and ECB resulted in a deep 1930’s depression. Overall unemployment is currently 25%; youth unemployment is 50%; and the Greek GDP is down about 25%. Under these conditions, however Greece got into debt is largely irrelevant, and the election of Syriza was entirely predictable. The only recourse is large-scale default (probably all of it) and leaving the Euro. That will not guarantee a reformed Greece because Greece has repeatedly defaulted on its debt since it got independence from the Ottomans. However, it will bring some temporary relief to the Greek people.

    The deeper problem is Germany. As has been pointed out previously by others, the EU is largely a device by which Germany controls Europe and extracts wealth from it. The EU is a German colony of the 19th Century kind.

    Germany has been the main destabilizing factor in Europe since Bismarck assembled it in the 19th Century. Two world wars and now the EU should have shown everyone the folly of a united Germany. What is needed now is to disassembe Bismarck’s monster and reduce Germany into a collection of bickering city-states.


    Hurlock Reply:

    “The so-called austerity program imposed by the EU and ECB resulted in a deep 1930’s depression”

    No it was the ridiculously wasteful economic policies of Greece for the past several decades that caused the deep depression.

    “Under these conditions, however Greece got into debt is largely irrelevant”


    “The deeper problem is Germany. As has been pointed out previously by others, the EU is largely a device by which Germany controls Europe and extracts wealth from it. The EU is a German colony of the 19th Century kind.

    Germany has been the main destabilizing factor in Europe since Bismarck assembled it in the 19th Century. Two world wars and now the EU should have shown everyone the folly of a united Germany. What is needed now is to disassembe Bismarck’s monster and reduce Germany into a collection of bickering city-states.”

    I thought the first part of your comment was stupid, but this is just off the charts.

    Right now Germany’s economic policy is one of the few stabilizing factors in the EU.
    MIlitarily Germany is still weaker than both the U.K. and France independently and it has 0 nukes to this day.

    The reason why the EU is in trouble is that the eurozone was a bad idea from the start and very badly designed on top of that. A single currency for the whole of Europe is a very impractical idea and should have never been taken seriously as it is much more likely to divide the EU over economic issues rather than unite it.

    But seriously “What is needed now is to disassembe Bismarck’s monster and reduce Germany into a collection of bickering city-states.”, how do you come up with this crap?


    Aeroguy Reply:

    EU as Germany’s colonial is a bit much but it has a great deal of truth. The relationship between Greece and Germany is the exact same as the relationship between low credit people and banks. High risk people were extended credit for the financial benefit of people who shouldn’t be enabling them and were technically on the hook for paying back. Germany got the benefit of easy exports thanks to the game they played with the currency and now their making sure they don’t have to pay the price.

    The cold war was two pronged, keep the Russians out and the Germans down. I thought we liked the idea of smaller states. It’s not a far fetched idea geopolitically from other players point of view.


    Posted on January 27th, 2015 at 12:39 pm Reply | Quote
  • wen shuang Says:

    @Lesser Bull

    Moldbug is clear when he labels it as Misesian and Darwinian morbidity. The problem is not merely that populism is the discursive legitimization strategy. The problem is how such a system, as Hurlock notes, specifies value creation as artificial process. It is the worst expression of Marx’s theory of value and a bastardization of Mises’s* . In the case of demotism value is objective but labor is strictly discursive (rhetorical signaling), at least Marx’s objective theory attempted to account for Darwinian conditions such as modes of production. In other words, there is no objective index to function as source of negative feedback in demotism.

    Demotism is thus the inverse of capitalism.

    What this means, then, is that the demotist semiotic system is doomed to singularity because there aren’t any indexical representations. Instead you get semiotic system collapse like a broken thermostat. What identifies Right politics is indexical representation (for better or worse- God’s will, Heaven’s mandate. capital production, etc). None of these apply to “human” generated values much less the possibility that humans generate value.

    *regarding value Mises is epistemologically subjective, ontologically agnostic and Demotism is the opposite instead conflating ontology and epistemology and treating both objectively


    Lesser Bull Reply:

    “The problem is not merely that populism is the discursive legitimization strategy”

    I don’t see a lot of evidence for that. Notice that the people who admin found justifying the Syriza election on populist grounds are fringe characters. Standard leftist discourse these days doesn’t give a damn about the popular will. You guys are making the same mistake so many other strands of the Right have made. You are taking the Leftist program at specific times and places when it was democratic and treating it as the essence instead the accident. Just like Anissimov with his critique of the Frankfurt folks.

    For the genuine Left, the “People” are a goal, not a reality. They do confer legitimacy, but in the same way that super-intelligent inhuman AI confers legitimacy on admin’s project. Someday, when the People come into being, their existence and their will validates and legitimizes everything that has gone before. In the meantime, support for democracy in the here and now is sometimes a tactical or operational goal, but mostly its mimetic or ritualistic. People voting leftist here and now is valuable because its a symbolic reflection of the purified Left People that is to come, much like a Christian values stigmata because of the reflection of Jesus Christ. But it would be a mistake to think that a Christian values stigmata in and of themselves, or to say that stigmata worship is the essence of Christianity. If stigmata exist but in a way that doesn’t connect to Christ–for instance, if someone knowingly deliberately gives them to himself as a scam, or if they just happened to some Buddhist peasant somewhere who attaches no particular value to them–then the stigmata wouldn’t interest the Christian much. Of they would even be seen as somewhat blasphemous. Leftists view elections the same way. When they produce a Left result, they are sacred and holy; they have the imago lefti. But when they don’t, they are best boring and at worst blasphemous.


    admin Reply:

    Why attribute so much importance to what leftists think? It’s just foam on the surging current of demotism.


    Lesser Bull Reply:

    If Neoreaction means anything, it means Mencius Moldbug. It means the Cathedral. The Cathedral is pretty much the opposite of your analysis there.

    In fact, in making a bugaboo out of ‘demotism,’ you’ve fallen into demotism yourself. You are acting as if the people lead and the opinion leaders follow them. Nope. The people never lead.

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    The essence of demotism isn’t that the people lead (though there are rarely cases of this) – the people NEVER lead. If the people generally NEVER lead, then the system which promises them leadership, or valorizes their general will or feeling, is a sham.

    How the heck is this not obvious, Lesser Bull? But it’s an insidious sham; if it weren’t, we’d have no two centuries (or whatever) of democratic politics.

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    “How the heck is this not obvious, Lesser Bull? ”

    It is obvious, which is why I said the exact same thing you did, “the people never lead,” only I forgot to capitalize NEVER. So sorry, it won’t happen again.

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    Populism is the sham itself—the distance between what is written on paper, and piously imprinted upon the hearts of a people, and the Iron Law of Oligarchy, which obtains everywhere at all times.

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    There seems to be a false dilemma here. The People are either leading, completely free of influence from elites, or else they have no moral agency whatever. What we have in the real world is something in between. The people are asked for their “consent” in some sense, periodically. Sometimes the elites do perverse things in order to obtain that consent and sometimes the elites do perverse things despite having failed to obtain it. Both of these problems are real.

    Adair Neto Reply:

    @Lesser Bull
    Your conception of Left is biased. And, by the way, can be applied to Right as well. “Leftists view elections the same way. When they produce a Left result, they are sacred and holy; they have the imago lefti. But when they don’t, they are best boring and at worst blasphemous.” Right does the same!

    I don’t agree too much with John Stuart Mill, but he writes well about freedom. And he says that we MUST know different opinions for a lot of reasons. He says: “If any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.”
    Your reading about left and demotism seems to be simplistic. Isn’t it?


    Lesser Bull Reply:

    *Your conception of Left . . . can be applied to Right as well. “Leftists view elections the same way. When they produce a Left result, they are sacred and holy; they have the imago lefti. But when they don’t, they are best boring and at worst blasphemous.” Right does the same!*

    Well, duh. Congratulations, the force of your incisive logic compels me to admit that I don’t think democracy is the sole essence of the Right, either.

    Posted on January 27th, 2015 at 2:53 pm Reply | Quote
  • Going Pro Says:

    The political marketing of participation is a force to be reckoned with because it’s a very real ideological socialism. The fear of independence (desire for co-dependence) comes from somewhere. I think Moldbug’s analysis is a good starting point, but certainly not the end of the analysis because of how tied it is to an idea of historical-reality. I agree with Adair Neto that it can basically be applied to any party, or group in general.

    I sort of agree with Lesser Bull on some of this because it seems like a consensus is trying to be formed in neoreaction, which of course admin knows. The idea of desiring to find any consensus does seem like it falls under “demotism”.

    Basically, if anything ends up being argued, it should be thrown away for the sake of a reality that would desire to act on its own.


    Chris B Reply:

    “The idea of desiring to find any consensus does seem like it falls under “demotism”.”

    and we have a winner. The consensus throws out reality in favor of deference towards inter-group politics. The push and pull of which ever group, or person, plays the game with sufficient aggression wins.


    Hurlock Reply:

    You are wrong. This is not something unique to democratic systems. All political systems are based on consensus and group politics and bargaining.


    Chris B Reply:

    I was under the impression NRx was founded on the idea of a sovereign being needed who was above consensus and bargaining, and was endowed with the ability to be king by virtue of ownership. Thereby bypassing the reality warping nature of this sort of horse trading.

    This makes it odd that NRx has no owner, or no one (who isn’t an idiot claiming) ownership and that no one thinks this will result in the same problems that always occur with lack of clear ownership and hierarchy – retarded watering down and corruption though lowest common denominatoring.

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    @Chris B:

    Moldbug was certainly pushing that idea, but I don’t think most people around here buy it. We just haven’t agreed on an alternative model.

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    Until Moldbug comes to claim the throne over his School of Rousing Rabblers, Jim will have to do.

    For a time, a small enough group of gentlemanly enough can provide coherent enough leadership to an unimportant enough intellectual movement.

    Posted on January 27th, 2015 at 7:07 pm Reply | Quote
  • Adair Neto Says:

    @Lesser Bull
    Misuse of words. Sorry.

    Rewriting the same thing:

    Your conception of Left is biased. And your saying about the Left can be applied to Right as well.

    “Leftists view elections the same way. When they produce a Left result, they are sacred and holy; they have the imago lefti. But when they don’t, they are best boring and at worst blasphemous.” Right does the same! [They view elections that produce a Right result as sacred and holy and, when they don’t, as boring or blasphemous.]

    I wasn’t using any logic. I just wrote three phrases and copied a saying of yours.

    Most right-wingers would say that they are for democracy (and private property) as opposed to communists, who — in their thinking — are totalitarians.


    Posted on January 27th, 2015 at 8:43 pm Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    The essence of the Cathedral’s day to day power is money, and that money is Power from Finance, and the Financial system is English Capitalism. Not to be confused at present anyway with a market. It’s Central banking, speculators and government as one.

    Without their money they have a few haggard sad old ladies left. Nothing.

    Cathedral governance the last 25 years has favored Finance above all, to the very ruin of all, it’s called Rubinomics.

    Cathedral governance is the USG and it’s European protege the EU. It has favored Finance to the point of backing tens of Trillions in bad gambling debts called derivatives by creating Fiat to make these debts good on the backs of their nations, and now is wagering not tens but hundreds of Trillions. $691T as of 6/14 [bis.org].


    This is your precious popcorn territory, it’s a left wing populist revolt of the peasants against the Cathedral. With some right wing parties thrown in. Oh it’s moar looting to be sure when what they should do is wipe out the debt as their first and main policy. Until the monstrous debts are gone nothing but drama and vicious fighting for scraps will be the World’s lot. You might call Greece a revolt of the Social Revolutionaries against Trot Banker Govts, but it’s a populist left vs establishment banker left.


    Aeroguy Reply:

    I agree almost completely. “populist left vs establishment banker left” this is so true. However the Cathedral isn’t the banking sector, the Harvard professor cardinals, their bureaucratic clerics, and MSM preachers are all safe and secure. They’ll say capitalism failed so lets do socialism. Guys like Krugman can get thrown under the bus, I’m hoping the stench of failure can be made to stick to the prog movement by making sure they’re the ones in charge when it happens, though a leftier strain of progressives will emerge and claim non-allegiance to the previous ones, it may buy time for alternative power structures to emerge.


    Posted on January 28th, 2015 at 3:57 am Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    The real popcorn will be if Germany goes the same way…imagine a coalition of the KPD and the NSDAP united against the City of London and Wall street. Don’t laugh, in many ways that describes actual Nazi internal politics from start to finish [The Wages of Destruction by Adam Tooze, who wouldn’t put it that way but the Nazis did have a Left]. It certainly describes 1929-1932 German politics, it was the Right with it’s own Left that won. A twist or turn and it’s the KPD taking the Social Democrats, and using the SA as it’s Labor Ministry [that’s the actual Nazi’s of course].

    All that is necessary for another European War is for Germany to be confronted with no export markets and so poverty again. Escaping poverty by gaining markets are the Germans motives in both World Wars.

    I wonder what they’ll call the new German Right. Anything but ..well you know…

    Here in Cathedral HQ – the USA –and in Brussels we have a Left with it’s own Right [banking] but no support from the people they don’t buy.

    What if there were a form of government that didn’t buy the people..because it was so limited and so checked it hadn’t the funds to do so? Ah…but when has that ever been discussed?


    Posted on January 28th, 2015 at 4:03 am Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    Buying the people with butter does swim Left.
    But War always swims Right.


    Aeroguy Reply:

    I don’t buy the notion that war swims right. War swims wherever, it’s a crap shoot, both right and left have suffered so many military defeats throughout history it would take forever to list them out.


    admin Reply:

    Doesn’t the outcome of the First World War cast some doubt upon that (conceptually neat) proposition?


    snorlax Reply:

    Yup. In fact, even wars with a superficially “right-wing” outcome on paper, like the Napoleonic Wars, have turned out to have aided the left in hindsight. In that case, by making Britain the undisputed leading world power, and, to a lesser extent, setting up the United States and Prussia to become great powers as well (and Russia, although the negative effects of *that* were still rather far away and impossible to predict).


    snorlax Reply:

    And of course I forgot to mention the disastrous outcome in Latin America.

    snorlax Reply:

    Also a bad outcome for Italy medium to long-term, by upsetting the balance of power there with a too-strong Sardinia-Piedmont. And South Africa, although that also goes in the “far away and impossible to predict” category.

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    To say nothing of the outcome of WWII!!


    Posted on January 28th, 2015 at 4:10 am Reply | Quote
  • vimothy Says:

    First, a couple of observations about the ongoing political situation in Europe, all the protests exploding. I think that these protests seem to converge in a series of demands, which, in their very spontaneity and obviousness, form a kind of – I apologise for this jargon – a kind of epistemological obstacle to the proper confrontation with the ongoing crisis. What people usually demand when they protest is, really, what it amounts to, it’s a kind of popular version of Deluezian politics. People know what they want, they are able to discover and formulate it, but only through their own continuous engagement and activity. So we need, so we are told, active participatory democracy, not just representative democracy, with its electoral ritual every four years, which just interrupts the voter’s passivity. Then, we are told, we need the self-organisation of the multitude, molecular, from beneath, not a centralised Leninist party with the leader, and so on and so on.

    It is, I think, this myth of non-representative, self-organisation which is the last threat, the deepest illusion, which is most difficult to renounce. Yes, there are in every revolutionary process, ecstatic moments of group solidarity, when thousands, hundreds of thousands, together occupy a public space, like on Tahrir Square on Cairo two years ago. Yes, there are moments of intense collective participation, where local communities debate, decide; when people live in a kind of permanent emergency state, taking things into their own hands, with no leader guiding them. But, I claim, such states don’t last. And tiredness, getting tired, is not a simple psychological fact. So now comes my first thesis, and I will try to be as brutal and provocative as possible.

    The large majority of people, – and I am not here presenting you the variation of this 99 percent of people are idiots, I am including myself into this large majority – large majority, I claim, wants to be passive and just rely on an efficient state apparatus. I’m sorry to tell you, but I wouldn’t like to live in a state where some kind of permanent participation and engagement is going on, and so on and so on. I would much prefer to be a passive citizen; there is a machinery of State, or whatever, social services, which smoothly does its work, and the less I know about it, all the better. And I don’t despise ordinary people for it.

    Next point: people really know what they want when they are engaged. I claim that no, they don’t. Up to a point, I claim, even the majority even don’t want to know, really. I claim that we should rehabilitate, – of course, not in the old class sense – the term, “elite”. What does a good politician do? A good politician absolutely doesn’t follow or learn from the people what they want. No, he tells them what they want. And if he’s a really good politician, people have this “ah-ha” effect, “oh my God, how clear, now I know what I want”.

    – Slavoj Zizek, “A Reply to My Critics”, talk delivered to Birbeck Institute of Humanities, 28th February, 2013


    Posted on January 28th, 2015 at 8:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • Redefining Secession | Losing The Creek Says:

    […] is inherently populist, egalitarian, imperialistic, progressive, ultracapitalist, poisonous. It has spread to all corners […]

    Posted on February 9th, 2015 at 3:15 am Reply | Quote
  • This Week in Reaction (2015/01/30) | The Reactivity Place Says:

    […] attempt in a century to take over the whole of Europe. Also, Land takes up the question whether Populism is tantamount to Leftism. He seems to think […]

    Posted on June 17th, 2015 at 3:47 pm Reply | Quote

Leave a comment