Quote notes (#63)

The position of Outside in (admittedly extreme) is that NRx is Neocameralism. As this equation ceases to persuade, NRx falls apart, and no future convergence point will be found within itself. It will be scavenged apart into Dark Libertarian and IQ-boosted ENR debris, unless neocameralism is either re-animated as its fundamental doctrinal commitment, or rigorously reconstructed into something specifically new. Hence today’s Quote note (from Moldbug’s How Dawkins got pwned (part 4)):

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.

If there is a ‘we’ — this is what we believe.

ADDED: “Exit for all is contemporary Protestantism writ large.” (I suspect this is probably true and inevitable, but then I’m a cladist.)

ADDED: Bryce explains why I’ve had such trouble grappling with his book.

February 23, 2014admin 81 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction , Political economy

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81 Responses to this entry

  • Hurlock Says:

    Yes.

    As Handle pointed out neocameralism is the best working theory we have at the moment, so you might as well join the fanclub. It’s not without flaws, but it’s much more realistic than trying to revive the Habsburg empire.

    But neocameralism is how capitalist reactionaries with libertarian influences see government. Moldbug is a loyalist not because he believes the king is the rightful ruler crowned by God himself, but because the king is simply doing his job better. The state as a joint-stock profit oriented corporation is unsurprisingly frightening to reactionaries of a traditionalist bent. If all reactionaries are to accept this definition of NRx the fundamental disagreement, not only about what government is or should be, but even about how government should be evaluated, needs to be overcome. But is that even possible?

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 5:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • Konkvistador Says:

    “It’s not without flaws, but it’s much more realistic than trying to revive the Habsburg empire. ”

    No. Reviving the Habsburg empire or setting up more Dubai like city states is far more realistic, because it the closest this theory has to a tested working example.

    I think the theory of Neocameralist government is correct. I do not think Neocameralism can
    be implemented on people. Remember any implementation of the theory will fall short of
    the theoretically most pure example and likely break horribly trying to acheive the impossible. The question isn’t if this can be done without the plan breaking in contact with reality. The question how far you can go.

    Charter cities by Dubai princes or China and restoration of Monarchy seems to me the
    limit of how far we can go. Except if they work out far better than expected. If those
    fail horribly we should take a clue and start thinking how something must be wrong
    with or deficient with Neocameralism The Theory otherwise we would be no better than
    Communists and Democrats bitching about how the compromises with reality are *really*
    to blame for their ideologies failure in reality.

    Remember Moldbug needed to invoke basically science fiction handwave (crypto locks) to even make the theoretical optimum seem workeable as a thought experiment. An interesting question is if late Moldbug is even pure Neoreactionary by this standard since he suspends his theory of good government in favour of other heuristics. See how he arrives at the conclusion that work for the technologically obsolete masses is desirable.

    I say one can easily be a Neoreactionary who thinks Neocameralist government would fail, but the theory of government is correct.

    [Reply]

    drethelin Reply:

    I think neocameralism could and should inform city-state government, but I agree with you that trying to start a neocameralist state de novo would probably not work out well. I think the best combination of dynastic long term incentives is something like a neocameralist corporation based on a family business/landownership.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    To what extent is Moldbug “trying to start a neocameralist state de novo”? The part of his discussion that tends to get lost is that all governments are already ‘sovereign corporations’ — this isn’t something that needs to be cut from whole cloth. In other words, there’s an analytical aspect to neocameralism that is obscured by its programmatic aspect. There’s also a fascinating retro-historical dimension — buried even deeper — that could usefully be excavated. Opening the questions is the first step.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 5:35 pm Reply | Quote
  • Konkvistador Says:

    @Nick Land:
    I agree with the Theory of Neoreaction being a good candidate for what unites Neoreaction
    and gives it direction. I disagree with the opinion Neocameralism The Government being considered the most desirable application of the theory being a good fence around
    Neoreaction.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    The fence would be not so much adherence to Neocameralism, but deference to the importance of this idea in our micro-tradition, and therefore the expectation that any substitute doctrine will be primarily formulated as a minutely structured critique of neocameralism as it is articulated within the Moldbug corpus. Without reverence for fundamentals — even on a path of departure — we have only chaos, and a decay into the culture of the mob.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 5:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    May we discuss the relative merits of Patchwork when it actually exists?

    May we in the meanwhile compare the relatively well run Jeffersonian democracy (many thousands of towns) that quite existed prior to the 1960s? In particular since Jeffersonian democracy still exists underneath the many layers of the last 50 years?

    May we even discuss then how this comes about in other than Underpants Gnome Logic? With Step 1 being collapse I suppose.

    If we cannot, can we discuss the flaws of Patchwork? To wit it could be conquered piecemeal by any decent sized outside coherent power…not even large nation State…Israel for instance? Not all at once of course, but certainly within 20 years or so. Or perhaps 30.

    ========================================================================
    From Twitter,

    When you denounce your own people and your own nation you are a Nihilist pawn, that is what they desire above all.
    ========================================================================

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I agree this is an extremely important consideration. We have to think about it. (I won’t insult it with an off-the-cuff rejoinder right now.)

    [Reply]

    VXXC Reply:

    @admin

    Very well looking forward to the answer on practical objections.

    Here’s one more, quite practical even if horrible: I think you’d have to had to worked for our elites on weighty matters such as War (myself) or Finances (many others) to appreciate this fully: Their Nihilism is as comprehensive as all the Ruin they have so far given us. What I mean is it’s not neck or nothing with them, it’s every neck on the way to nothing.

    For instance the ultimate result of the IMF’s current machinations will be the destruction of the very International System and indeed International Capital system that made them.

    The Guillotine is not a method with them, it’s the very Goal.

    They are indeed Zhang’s 7 Kill Stele Incarnate. .

    天生萬物以養人
    人無一善以報天
    殺殺殺殺殺殺殺
    Heaven brings forth innumerable things to nurture man.
    Man has nothing good with which to recompense Heaven.
    Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill.

    Now you cannot co-exist with such creatures.

    [Reply]

    Martin Reply:

    “Patchwork … could be conquered piecemeal by any decent sized outside coherent power”

    Luckily conquest has largely gone out of style. Plus there are collective security arrangements, like mutual defence leagues, that could help.

    So overall Patchwork requires the End of History, ie the continued spread of declining violence, as pointed out by Steven Pinker and others.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    Mutual defence leagues tend to either fall apart or become de facto or de jure hegemonies.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    In other words, I tend to think that we haven’t advanced in political theory much beyond the Romance of the Three Kingdoms: “that which is divided tends to unite, and that which is united tends to divide” In other words, the costs and weaknesses of decentralization lead to more and more centralization, until the burdens and inefficiencies of centralization lead to a collapse back to decentralization

    Mr. Archenemy Reply:

    @VXXC – I agree, like Libertarians clamoring for small government should consider why their previously small government grew big enough to eat most of the world, and why they think a reset, however accomplished, wouldn’t lead to the same. Likewise, if city-stateness is a feature and not a bug (ie, a temporary side-effect of collapse), NRXNs should probably explain why patchwork wouldn’t lead to a frenzy of (ahem) mergers & acquisitions, and a government big enough to eat most of the world.

    No matter how ideally you arrange things, things are always sliding somewhere else. People are not an undifferentiated mass, geography is not a smooth paper map, the Russian plains are not Switzerland… historical vectors always apply. But nothing proposed has to be perfect (stability, order, prosperity, finally! okay, everyone, you can relax now), being better than the alternatives should be sufficient criteria for consideration.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 5:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mark Yuray Says:

    I foresee two points of contention:

    1) “A profitable government has no incentive to break its promises, abuse its citizens (who are its capital), or attack its neighbors.”

    Why would a profitable government have no incentive to attack its neighbors? Suppose it deemed warfare profitable? Existing large corporations already use anti-competitive practices and all kinds of marketplace warfare, why wouldn’t a patchwork of city-states degenerate into warfare when the opportunity seemed profitable?

    2) “…efficient management can be implemented by the same techniques in sovereign corporations as in nonsovereign ones.”

    The addition of sovereignty to a corporation seems to me like the kind of quality that would fundamentally qualitatively change the nature of a corporation, and thus the possibility that it would have the same techniques for efficient management as a non-sovereign one.

    Finally, I would just like to say that I find neocameralism almost spot-on, even as an Evolian traditionalist. However, I think the above points need to be clarified, modified or, at least, debated.

    [Reply]

    drethelin Reply:

    Imperialism is historically profitable but there’s at least some evidence that modern day technology makes trade both more profitable and war less so. A lot of the wealth of modern nations is tied up not in things you can loot but in humans and institutions, and modern weapons lead to MUCH costlier invasions. Then again, modern technology also makes it cheaper to attack and ruin competitors from a distance with low risk.

    [Reply]

    Mark Yuray Reply:

    Your last sentence should be the “oh shit” moment. With drones, precision-guided missiles, massive surveillance, military robots, etc. the cost of destruction shrinks exponentially and the precision of warfare increases exponentially. It’ll become easier for states to wage war in the future, not harder. What’s to stop the King-CEO of Bavaria from remotely assassinating all important figures in Saxony then taking the reins, if he can? Even if wealth is tied up to humans and institutions, precision warfare makes it easy to take out the head and usurp the body.

    [Reply]

    drethelin Reply:

    Good point. I hadn’t considered the consequences of it being EXTREMELY cheap to try for a takeover attempt.

    Handle Reply:

    This is precisely the opposite of true.

    The major reasons major powers like the US get to invade their inferiors with impunity (Iraq, Afghanistan, kind of Libya, almost Syria) is because they have a huge advantage at accumulating insanely expensive ‘destruction at a distance’ technology.

    But as those things get cheap they also become more widespread. If you can destroy at a distance better and cheaper than before, then it is more, not less likely that your opponent and his allies can use the same instruments to cataclysmically punish you for it – which tends to be a net force for deterrence, not encouragement.

    The U.S. military, for example, is profoundly worried about this trend because it definitely means invasions will be more difficult to achieve in the future the next time our idiot politicians pointlessly demand we knock off some pathetic regime. It means, for example, that the U.S. Army is going to downsize another 100K (20%) Soldiers so it can afford more Air Defense to deal with this problem. You can make the remaining troops more deadly during the invasion (‘enhanced lethality model’), but you can’t do much for ‘boots on the ground’ ratios during an occupation. Which means … less occupations! Which is nice, but proves the deterrence point exactly.

    Personally in my fantasy land I’d prefer the extra 100K Joes and hefty pay-raises to more air-defense, but I don’t get to control the enemy’s expanding arsenal, which is what is the reality that is really driving the train.

    In addition, a lot of recently developed countries settled, for the sake of economic efficiency and rapid development, to build big and go all-in on a few critical-node super-projects. Also, these ‘easy-win, one-and-done, obvious low-hanging fruit’ projects are precisely what the World Bank loves to fund at negligible interest rates, and so that’s what has gotten built.

    But that also makes them insanely vulnerable to a few strategic strikes. If you take out Mangla and Tarbela Dam, non-stone-age Pakistan will quickly cease to exist (which is why India targets them.) Ditto for Aswan, Egypt, and Israel.

    A certain mega-country in East Asia is also particularly susceptible to this kind of targeting. A few bridges, ports, railways, refineries (especially fertilizer plants), power stations, and dams and all of a sudden there’s no way to feed half the population (at least) for a few years (at least) – nuclear bombs not required (though probably launched en masse against whoever turned all the civil engineering into rubble).

    The point is that in any game of chess you have to think a few steps ahead and solve for the new equilibrium. The trend of technology is not disruption, but in fact to make the existing equilibrium more stable with regards to nation-state actors.

    Mark Yuray Reply:

    First two bullet-points:

    1) Cheap war makes war more widespread, not less, per basic economics.

    2) If states have a certain tendency to go to war, increasing the number of states logically increases the number of wars.

    You use the example of the Cold War and deterrence to illustrate why war would be less likely. If it is possible for two states to cause cataclysmic destruction to each other, they are less likely to go to war. Yes. However, this is true only for total war. The Cold War didn’t see MAD occur (i.e. total war between two states), but it saw plenty of proxy warfare and other interference which caused a not-insignificant number of deaths and destruction. My point concerning increasing technological advancements in precision military technology is that they make it easier for proxy warfare and interference between states. Assassination, sabotage, etc. become easier. Imagine a world of 10,000 states each engaging in 9,999 different Cold Wars. No cataclysmic warfare occurring, but plenty of other hijinks — which may or may not cause more death and destruction than the current international system. This is what I wonder about.

    Also, this might make cataclysmic war more likely, simply by virtue of the number of states increasing. The US and USSR nearly went to cataclysmic war with each other on several occasions. Increasing the number of states makes cataclysmic war between any two states based on simple human error more likely.

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    I’d be more worried about bribery, blackmail, economic pressure, some special forces type military action, and targeted assassination as a means of attacking the ‘sovereign’ board, or working with factions in the board.

    Different T Reply:

    @ Mark Yuray

    Is the whole line of Handle’s perception flawed. Is he not speaking about the “best” government for all. The entire argument is about systems, not people. Does this not imply that systems determine people and not the opposite.

    The direction of many NR’s makes more sense as religious conversion/missionaries.

    They are too weak to say “This is what I want for me and mine” and are forced into arguing “This is better because of reason x, y, z, etc” with those who are not similar.

    [Reply]

    VXXC Reply:

    I’ve been arguing we have a people problem – rotten elites – not a system problem.

    There’s no system that you plug these elites into that doesn’t auto-destruct, because that’s what they want.

    I don’t recall Nihilism being debated in the Federalist Papers – which consider nearly every form of self government as well as monarchy – however I think they would have placed Nihilists under the same category as Pirates that is enemies to mankind and dealt accordingly.

    Which should be not only the first duty, but the predicate step of even considering “something better”.

    You don’t send Hannibal to Culinary Arts Academy as a cure, you cage or kill him.

    Handle Reply:

    Replies:

    1. You say, ‘Suppose it deemed warfare profitable?’ – but that this is highly unlikely in the modern technological and trade-reliant era – indeed, preventable – is just the point. Think of deterrence as a strategic game. If there were a profit motive for one state to wage aggressive warfare against others, or if the emergence of such a motive were foreseen, then the threatened neighbors are incentivized to adjust their capabilities and alliances to guarantee negative consequences that will make this net motive disappear. That is how most nations decide as rationally as they can how many resources to allocate to their armed forces. It’s much harder to deter ideological motives, and replacing stubborn ideological motives with deterrable material ones is the point. Realpolitik is more stable than unreal-politics.

    Land for agriculture and living-space is not nearly so valuable and important as it once was. The things you want from other countries are usually available more efficiently by means of trade. Getting cut off from the global marketplace, on the other hand, is immensely harmful to ones economy (and profits), which is why we impose trade sanctions on rogue regimes. It’s much easier these days to enforce and monitor compliance with these rules of international relations.

    And modern warfare is insanely destructive, risky, and expensive. The U.S. just threw a trillion dollars away in immensely one-sided contests at the strategic nullities of Iraq and Afghanistan, and even had it done so to seize every bit of property in those countries it wouldn’t have paid-off – Iraq net oil extraction profits are only $35 billion a year, which is low interest on a trillion bucks.

    Finally, the reality of a few major powers owning Nuclear ICBM’s – and the observation that while this was expected to create massive instability it actually has had the opposite effect – is something you have to account for.

    2. I’ll grant the premise, but the question is why you think it changes the nature of an organization, and what that change is. Does it make the organization go crazy like we observe with modern political systems?

    Let’s say you had a case for ‘sovereignty causes movement in the direction of X, which is bad’. Fine, then you should be able to rank organizations with increasing levels of sovereign-like powers and demonstrate increasing quantities of X. I violate Land’s Law and am annoying, obnoxious, and a repetitive noise pollution babbler by pointing out that certain real-world military contexts are corporate-like and have almost all the elements of sovereignty delegated to them and … don’t display these bad X’s. In fact, they are on net an improvement if you like things like order, safety, security, efficient criminal justice, and much more liberty than most people assume.

    Another example is the ‘company town’ model that you occasionally see in remote but secure resource-extractive locations. The company sets up, writes rules for, and runs the whole city like a base, and even reserves to itself a certain amount of contractual-regulated judicial authority for minor transgressions.

    So, I’ll put the question back on you – what is it that you observe about the ‘approaches corporate-style sovereignty’ situations that makes you more wary of them than of existing democratic systems?

    [Reply]

    Mark Yuray Reply:

    Naturally, I agree with most of your analysis of the first point. However, as I pointed out to drethelin above, what worries me is that the cost of warfare can become incredibly low. Modern warfare in large mountainous or desert countries is expensive, but what about future warfare? Drones, precision-guided missiles, mass surveillance, etc. make warfare very cheap and precise, and a world of 10,000 city states would be a world with a much bigger number of drones — and potential drone targets. Realpolitik may triumph here as well, obviously, but I’m just pointing out what I see as possible issues with increasing the number of sovereign powers on the planet by two orders of magnitude.

    As for point two, I have nothing to contradict. Your clarification is what I was wondering about originally.

    [Reply]

    Handle Reply:

    See above for the argument which addresses the inexpensive weapons issue. Cheap War means Less War, not more.

    Different T Reply:

    @ Handle

    You say, ‘Suppose it deemed warfare profitable?’ – but that this is highly unlikely in the modern technological and trade-reliant era – indeed, preventable – is just the point. Think of deterrence as a strategic game.

    http://pussytivereinforcement.com/ww.jpg

    [Reply]

    Handle Reply:

    Spam.

    Different T Reply:

    That is disappointing.

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 6:07 pm Reply | Quote
  • Martin Says:

    A “planet of thousands, even tens of thousands, of independent city-states, each managed for profit by its shareholders” is attractive. Some systems of city-states, like ancient Greece or Renaissance Italy, did well.

    But the main condition of possibility is continued decline of war, and fear of war. City-states are not defensible. Neocameralism needs world peace.

    [Reply]

    Konkvistador Reply:

    City states do not need peace, indeed they where historically engaged in constant warfare. See Greece, Italy. But it was an inbred, tamed kind of warfare. A show of war more than real war, and they where often shocked when outsiders serious at war invaded their lands.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 6:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • Foseti Says:

    He gets even more explicit later on . . .

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 6:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    I just wanna know the roadmap to get city states working. States have the scale they have because of many reasons. Just willing them to became small won’t make the economies of scale of weapon manufacturing disappear. Not to speak of language, mass media, population trends, geography, etc.

    I mean if we can ignore all history and geopolitics and just advocate for a system that sounds cool; hell there are lots of much cooler sci-fi and fantasy books out there. I’d fancy a Dune God Emperor too.

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    Hell I remember when I was 17 and a hardcore libertarian, I told my auntie at a family lunch that the ideal world would be one of small city states, because they’d be subject to competitive pressures so there would be much more liberty in the world. I felt the smartest kid in the world when saying it. Auntie didn’t take me seriously though.

    [Reply]

    Handle Reply:

    The roadmap can only be decentralization / succession / disunion on amicable terms. The elite holders of central power have to be persuaded to relax their iron grip. Yeah, that seems pretty unlikely and difficult, but it’s not unprecedented.

    Post Soviet liberations provide some examples perhaps. You’ve got the ugly Balkan breakups. The Czechia-Slovakia peaceful split seems ideal, though I don’t know much about it. The end of Reconstruction provides an internal example with the reestablishment of local control and escape from under the Federal thumb of many Southern states – at least for a while. Milton Friedman and pals really did get the US to step away from the elite enthusiasm for economic central planning.

    The US has effectively decentralized it’s marijuana and immigration policies, so long as the states wish to disobey standing federal law as opposed to enforce it.

    Nuclear Defense-Pacts, or even multinational militaries for economies of scale (mostly for aerospace) are indeed an issue. You could characterize the states in the early US as existing in such an arrangement. And there’s NATO and the EU too, though the US plays a special role.

    But the question is what scale do we need then? The list of countries by population seems quite logarithmic, with most countries being much smaller than the top few giants.

    1.3 Billion: China and India

    Four-Five times Smaller: 200-300M: Pakistan, Brazil, Indonesia, US.

    Four-Five Times Smaller: 60-80M: UK, France, Italy, Germany (Yes, the EU complicates the problem, but whatever, these were independent superpowers in their day)

    17M-20M: Netherlands, Australia

    8-11M: Cuba, Switzerland, Israel, Sweden, Greece, Belgium

    4-5M: Ireland, Finland, New Zealand

    And you could fit 1,000 Estonias in India or China.

    Outside aerospace, the diminishing returns to economies of scale for nations seem to set in at about one centi-China.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    @ Handle
    Your stream of good sense is near-overwhelming as usual.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 7:15 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    When does Moldbug address Fear, Honor, Interest as governing relations between nations?

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 7:15 pm Reply | Quote
  • peppermint Says:

    The best thing about neocameralism is it’s easy to explain to progressives, and to defend their current system against it requires them to expliticly state that they don’t belive minorities are intelligent enough to hold on to their advantages if those advantages are turned into properties, or that they are buying votes with advantages and their end goal is something other than what they talk about openly.

    Rectification of names is a great defense against fuzzy thinking.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 7:25 pm Reply | Quote
  • orlandu84 Says:

    I agree strongly with Moldbug’s conception of neocameralism with two addenda: territory no longer is limited to geographic space on the earth and sovereignty in some places might not be absolute. Consider this very blog. Who is sovereign? Is admin sovereign since he can delete any post? Or would the server owner be sovereign since he could take the website down at will? Or is the hacker sovereign who uses a DNS attack to rob control of the server?

    When no one organization can complete dominate an area, feudalism has returned. A feudal structure is marked not by rigid order – USG during WWII – but by chaos and individual cunning – House of Cards and Game of Thrones. How well Neocameralism can describe a government that does not possess absolute control of anything will be how well it allows us to describe the world we increasingly find ourselves inside.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 7:30 pm Reply | Quote
  • Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes Says:

    From the OP:

    “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.”

    Aren’t you guys missing the point when you think in terms of conventional warfare?

    Conventional warfare is not relevant. 4th generation warfare is relevant.

    4th generation warfare seems to be pretty cost effective. Your small investment in funding Chechen militants or Somalians will cost your opponent a hundred times more to counter. How much did the Gulf Arabs have to pay to completely ruin Syria as a society for a generation? Not much.

    Pull off something like 9/11 (cheap) and your opponent will probably go crazy and waste a few trillion dollars. Trillion, with a “T”. That’s value for money.

    And 4th generation warfare goes beyond terrorism, it includes all available pressures, political, economic, military, social. Attacks on the enemy’s culture, media manipulation, lawfare, psychological warfare, etc.

    Even encouraging Pajama boys to stuff #Sochiproblems with pictures of wrongly installed toilets from all over the world can be characterized as 4th generation warfare, Cathedral attacking Russia. (Not that the Russians don’t do the same thing at a less sophisticated level with Russia Today.)

    And automation means that high technology societies will have many disenfranchised young men sitting around with nothing to do. I’d be crazy not to invest a few million in radicalizing them with some form of weaponized Qutbism or leftism or whatever. Cleaning up that mess will cost you far more than I had to invest to create it.

    [Reply]

    Handle Reply:

    Precisely correct … In the first iteration.

    Conventional Warfare becomes less likely, and unconventional warfare becomes more likely.

    But payback’s a bitch.

    It turns out nation-states don’t just bend over and take it if they can do anything about it. They are dynamic entities who hire talented people to notice these trends and work out the most politically-palatable solutions to such problems, and implementing those solutions is mostly a matter of will. Countries react and respond to whatever extent necessary to mitigate threats from abroad, and nations are quickly adapting to build up the capability to ‘do something about it’ as fast as they can.

    The major limiting factors are intelligence (the ‘threat information’ variety) because unconventional warfare relies on plausible deniability and flying below the usual radars of threat-detection, of and for lack of a better term, self-imposed ‘rules of engagement’ for how nations respond to foreign-sponsorships of combatant proxies.

    What you would predict, therefore, is that nations start investing massive amounts in intelligence and surveillance to monitor for threats and constantly do big-data mining of databases to create digital paper trails and uncover just these sorts of conspiracies so they can break them up. (Hint: this is happening now).

    And, to the extent they need to, they are going to relax their standards of both proof and practice and play dirtier with each other. Russia and China, for example, have discovered quite clever ways to deter Saudi Arabia from sending any more Wahhabi missionaries and money to radicalize their respective muslims.

    Which means that, eventually this kind of warfare gets deterred as well. Too late for lots of the muslim countries though. Oh well.

    [Reply]

    Different T Reply:

    “‘War as profitable’ is highly unlikely in the modern technological and trade-reliant era – indeed, preventable”

    “If you can destroy at a distance better and cheaper than before, then it is more, not less likely that your opponent and his allies can use the same instruments to cataclysmically punish you for it – which tends to be a net force for deterrence, not encouragement. ”

    “Finally, the reality of a few major powers owning Nuclear ICBM’s – and the observation that while this was expected to create massive instability it actually has had the opposite effect”

    “Which means that, eventually this kind of warfare (unconventional) gets deterred as well. ”

    This is getting religious. Salvation through technology, right? Anything other than the error of humanity.

    [Reply]

    Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes Reply:

    I probably focused too much on overt state sponsored terrorism and incitement, which is, I agree, subject to some significant level of deterrence, except where one state is far more powerful than the others.

    On the other hand, deterrence against economic, political, legal, media pressure seems likely to be less completely successful because in these areas it is very difficult to determine where the core functions of a state end and “offensive warfare” begins.

    But I think that your post reinforces my position; low level offensive and defensive 4th generation warfare against rivals should be expected to continue and it is wrong to suggest that a neocameralist state would have no reason to be attacked or to attack its rivals, unless you are limiting the analysis to conventional warfare only. Closer to the 9,999 cold wars mentioned above.

    Not necessarily a deal killer, but something we have to take into account.

    [Reply]

    Handle Reply:

    Well, here’s a question then: In the pre-WWII colonial period, there were arguably just a few dozen truly sovereign entities. The UN starts in 1945 with 50 members, 80 by 1955, 100 in 1960, and nearly 200 today.

    Do we see a proportional increase in ‘cold wars’? I don’t think so. The Cold War was a function of specific historical circumstances, and not the product of numbers of entities. There are a lot of reasons, but many regions that used to have constant warfare have calmed down significantly over the years: consider Europe and South America, for example. Something else is driving the train besides mere numbers.

    Another way to look at it could be to examine ‘antagonistic’ dynamics of markets with a few major players vs. lots of small ones (so large vs. small Herfindahl–Hirschman Index numbers). But it’s hard to draw the analogy between competitive companies and ‘cold war’. My impression is that duopolies are more likely to engage in ‘negative’ advertising criticizing the other guy (eg. Apple vs. PC ads, Pepsi vs. Coke ads) whereas lots of small players focus on positive advertising. But that’s hardly similar to ‘cold war’.

    Another question is does it matter how many cold wars there are if they are also smaller in scale. Pre-Alexander, all the Greek city-states warred frequently, but afterwards the wars were just bigger though against foreigners (massive empires themselves). So, that’s really no improvement.

    Then again, large networks of mutual-defense pacts and/or secret alliances could make small struggles escalate into large ones – the WWI problem. My view is that the chance of WWI-type escalating cascades is much lower today than it was then.

    And on the other hand, lots of smaller states means that it’s difficult to war against one neighbor because it is weakening and distracting and makes you vulnerable to attack by another neighbor. An entity surrounded by many equals always has to be on guard against this, whereas a few nuclear-armed giants do not.

    And on the other foot, fewer nations may mean fewer cold-wars but more cold civil-wars. I don’t understand what is happening in The Ukraine, but I’ve read that the split between the Eastern and Western parts of the country is partly responsible for producing the current conflict.

    So, measuring an individual’s chances of experiencing warfare is definitely more complicated than the total numbers of nations. My view is that the contemporary world seems able to absorb new nations without increasing the overall per-capita rate of new conflict.

    Mark Yuray Reply:

    Handle,

    That first paragraph is very disingenuous. There was a proportional increase in states, but hardly states that could be called completely sovereign, influential or powerful considering the overwhelming might of the USA and the USSR. An increase in states, sure, but not of powers. There was only one Cold War after 1945 and there were only 2 powers.

    If what neocameralism is suggesting as an international system is 10,000 sovereign city-state powers, there should be an increase in ‘cold wars,’ since we then assume each city-state is sovereign and able to exert influence or power on other city-states if it so chooses.

    If neocameralism is suggesting an international system of 10,000 city-states who are -not- powers, but form alliances with each other and form powers through their aggregation, then what you are really suggesting is simply a reorganization of regional government along neocameralist lines, but to leave the dominant geopolitical world powers in place.

    Finally, although I understand the idea of deterrence equilibrium, it is hardly something that plays out in reality. Human error, geography, the weather or pure random chance can send delicate equilibriums out of balance and cause destruction. World War I is just one such example. It’s nice to theorize 10,000 city-states would discover equilibrium, but there’s no reason to assume it’s more likely or stable than the equilibrium that existed before WWI or after 1945. In fact, I’d say it’s more likely to be more delicate and prone to disruption due to the huge increase in the number of sovereign agents/actors i.e. city-state powers.

    In fact, I bet the very delicacy of the system would end it. The moment a 10,000 state equilibrium was disturbed the number of states would decrease and some states would end up more powerful than others. Other states would combine to defeat them or defend themselves, and before you know it, you’ve got nations and empires instead of city-states. Welcome to the present world! In the end you wouldn’t have a world of city-states, but a world of nations and empires subdivided into city-states. Which, admittedly, still seems better than the present, but it leaves a lot of geopolitical thinking for reactionaries.

    Handle Reply:

    @Mark Yuray:

    While I tend to side more with the stability of a new equilibrium, I think we are actually in substantial agreement. I don’t think a multiplicity of fully sovereign entities (in the military sense) is either a possible or positive development in this modern world. More likely and more stable would be a few major aggregated-consortiums or alliances with world-glass defense industrial bases and nuclear-anchors held in a balance of power/terror. NATO vs. Warsaw Pact or PACOM-alliance vs. China stuff. In fact, the reality of global military affairs is that all the big-picture stuff orbits around partnerships and relationships with the major players.

    A more realistic scenario would be the maintenance of mutual-defense and security functions at the ‘imperial’ level, and a radical ‘devolution’ (as with British case), with strong-subsidiarity and as much autonomy as possible granted to the confederacy of mostly sovereign vassal states over which the security empire has suzerainty.

    The empire(s) keep the internal and external peace for a reasonable levy of tribute, but apart from matters of security they are mostly disinterested in internal politics and any centralization of policy. A military ethos of ‘transcending politics’ would be helpful in this regard.

    There are lots of possibilities to speculate about. I would encourage you to be more expansive than restrictive in your thinking at this point – more ameliorative than dismissive. It’s more important at this stage to imagine exits.

    Mark Yuray Reply:

    I that case we quite are in fact in substantial agreement. Cheers!

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    Except that we know of no existing cases of lots of small states living together in harmony through deterrence. Instead, they almost always exhibit endemic, low-level warfare.

    I agree with your more realistic scenario, except that the historic example of states show that the arrangement isn’t stable and tends to evolve towards more centralization: I’m thinking Rome and the US, primarily. But on the whole it seems like a more productive direction.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 8:45 pm Reply | Quote
  • Jefferson Says:

    @

    This is exactly the point I’ve been killing myself trying to convince my father of. People get locked into the “Democracy is the least bad…” cliche and ignore evidence to the contrary. When you spring neocameralism on a person, he’s likely to respond with “that won’t work!” and ignore that it will not work less badly than what we have, and likely less badly than any other option.

    [Reply]

    Jefferson Reply:

    That was supposed to be a direct reply to one of admin’s great points. I’ll plead to fatigue on account of major life event.

    [Reply]

    Different T Reply:

    What does a highly intelligent management of the sovereign-corp in a poor African country do?…….

    Get fired.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    One advantage of being dark-hearted — fixing Africa doesn’t need to rise anywhere near the top of the priority list.

    [Reply]

    Different T Reply:

    I’ve only read a few posts about “neocameralism,” but this is what I was getting at:

    “The part of his discussion that tends to get lost is that all governments are already ‘sovereign corporations’.”

    and was a reply to “(neocameralism) will not work less badly than what we have, and likely less badly than any other option.”

    Contemplationist Reply:

    Fixing Africa infact is trivially easy with 21st century technology and 19th century knowledge. It’s just not a priority as you said.

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 10:46 pm Reply | Quote
  • Peter A. Taylor Says:

    Comments on governments as corporations:

    1. One point that has come up repeatedly on EconTalk podcasts regarding the financial crisis of 2008 is that banks that are organized as partnerships have historically been much better behaved than those organized as corporations. CEOs of corporations are notorious for “hit and run” management. In so far as corporations work the way the are supposed to, with responsibility for choosing board members dispersed among large numbers of small stockholders, they suffer the same problem that democracy does. If you don’t like democracy, you should also dislike the way joint stock corporations work. The fact that corporations work as well as they do has been attributed to mutual fund managers who individually do have significant amounts of “skin in the game”.

    2. There is a distinction in economics between “firms” and “clubs”. A firm has employees and customers. The employees produce private goods, which they sell to the customers for money. Clubs have “members”. The members of a club produce collective goods for their own consumption. I think of governments as more like clubs than firms. Good government is a public good.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Agency problems are serious, and probably insoluble internally. That’s why Moldbug (rightly) places so much emphasis on the power of hostile take-overs.

    Partnerships correspond quite well to a paleo-reactionary-style dependence upon comparatively organic structures of authority, characterized by intimacy, familiarity, and untangled incentive structures. For NRx, such models offer critical leverage upon more degenerated systems, but they’re nothing close to a sufficient solution. Moldbug is consistent in running the problem of controlling managers /governments strictly through the Outside, where a solution might be — in principle — definitive. The Neocameral-Patchwork machine can actually dissipate entropy, rather than merely constraining its effects within relatively modest limits. This is essential if dynamic change (from technology, above all) is factored into the challenge.

    [Reply]

    VXXC Reply:

    @ P.E. Taylor,

    THIS. Partnerships for Business
    ===============================
    @Admin,

    The Bug cannot escape his blood. All the distortions in UR and NeoCam arise when this is explored. It doesn’t render PW/NeoCam useless but reality must be acknowledged.

    And as we can see the world is moving rapidly on.

    Consider what NRxn has to offer the world right now: An accurate if Machivellian analysis of USG actions the last century, an accurate assessment of New Deal Governance, politics is power not religion – although our politics on the surface are religious ceremonies – and above all where we are NOW. NRx politik critique offers this NOW.

    NRx has elements of Traditionalism – much wanted by so many but no place to get – and NRx has elements of the so starved of Manhood . NOW.

    For ye will gain no adherents without power, power comes from will and strength, in conflict the Strong Horse prevails.

    The Victors of what now is already moving decide the Future. Talking is only useful and justified as predicate and plan for action.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    Corporate regulation is perverted, as expected. Short-term thinking is legally enforced.

    For example, corporations are liable if stockholders can show they did not do everything to maximize quarterly earnings. By definition there is nobody who can enforce such rules on a sovereign corporation.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 24th, 2014 at 5:49 am Reply | Quote
  • SGW Says:

    My main problem with neocameralism is that I expect it to provide rather unpleasant results.

    A sovcorp would try to maximize it’s value. The value of the corp would be based on the (potential) income derived from it’s optimal tax-rate, not on the market value of all the assets present in it’s patch, since it only owns the income and doesn’t have the ability to sell off the assets without causing it’s value to collapse, which to a corporation isn’t all that different from not being able to sell the assets at all.

    Capital’s mobility is difficult to restrain and taxing it would quickly dry it up as a revenue source, this would be even more so the case in a more competitive environment. Labor’s mobility is relatively easy to restrain and the productivity would be decreased to an extent, but not excessively so by doing so, the same goes for taxing labor (up to a point). With high exit the optimal tax rate would be extremely low, with low exit it would be quite high. Productivity between a low exit patch and a high exit patch wouldn’t differ all that much.

    Basically any patch with taxation beyond a functioning LVT in a competitive environment, i.e. high exit, would be courting disaster, since, in most cases, it could only mean taking from productive people to give to unproductive people causing the former to leave. As long as whatever gains it makes in shifting it’s optimal tax rate towards the right end of the laffer-curve, by restricting exit and taxing labor, are greater than the loss in the income, both present and future, from the LVT it would be pursued by said sovcorp.

    Imagine if Fnargl descended upon earth and brought all of his relatives with him. Each of his relatives draw a lot to decide which currently existing state they get to manage. There is no conflict between his relatives because to them gold harvesting is equivalent to a game of monopoly for humans, that and the fact that there is MAD due to each of them being able to finger-snap the other to death which prevents them from doing the political equivalent of flipping over the board by killing all of the humans or each other. Domestically things are also peaceful due to the same reasons.

    Fnargls sister, Snargl, has gotten India from the draw and is none too happy about the migration patterns. She loses highly productive people and gains some hippies and Pakistani with low productivity. She decides to prevent people from leaving. Nobody likes to move to a place they can’t leave, especially if it is poor, but this is not a problem, since high entry clearly wasn’t doing much for Snargl anyway. Some relatives who also had gotten countries that couldn’t compete with Fnargl, who had turned sunny and prosperous California into a giant Disney Land, decide to do the same thing.

    As most nations that start out relatively underdeveloped decide to go for a zero exit model it becomes less attractive for Fnargl to try to attract people. It may even be the case that his brother Dnargl, who had drawn the UK, initially also applied the Disney model, with losses from migration to Fnargl due to the bad weather being compensated for by economic migration from India, now also loses by keeping his patch high exit and consequently shifts towards zero exit. This cascades until Fnargl doesn’t need to worry anymore about attracting people or keeping his people happy out of fear of them leaving and consequently can simply focus on maximizing economic output.

    Basically if migration appears to have a neutral effect, then a sovcorp would benefit from eliminating exit so it can increase the rate at which it can utilize the resources present in it’s patch. If someone clearly loses from migration it would remove the possibility of exit. Patches that are losers and patches that are neutral eliminating exit would eventually turn the previous winners into losers or neutrals. Either way you get a world characterized by low-exit and low-voice.

    The only way I can see neocameralism work in a functional way, i.e. not like a glorified techno-slave plantation, is if an absolute monarch implemented a neocameral structure and enforced the right to exit by banning the worst means of limiting exit and by ensuring that the patches don’t grow to dysfunctional sizes.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 24th, 2014 at 10:53 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Meanwhile in California A Draper Comes Forth

    http://rt.com/usa/california-us-petition-draper-246/

    Breakup says Draper CA into 6 distinct entities. Note in CA there’s precedent, LA broke up decades ago over taxes and the revenue mess. Some people never tire of stealing pothole money from the taxpayers, some people get tired of paying it. In CA anything can happen with ballots. In CA anything can happen with courts – BUT – the Courts in the USA usually bow to the prevailing winds.

    (our vaunted Independent Judiciary is a Joke, but that’s another tale).
    ==================

    Overseas…

    And meanwhile in the Artists formerly known as Ukraine Cossack McHitlers come forth.

    Ukraine has Poland – US Ally we actually might back – on the West and Russia on the East.
    As someone pointed out at Club Orlov if you’re the average Slav tired of getting beat up for payoff’s and you’ve been watching TV, you’re looking out the window at the govt building.

    BTW Different T has a point about the faith in Technology being Religious to overcome the mistake of Humanity.

    As this isn’t going to happen without extinction, it’s probably not fruitful.

    As to War Another Bloody Century by Colin S. Gray.

    Murder Monkey isn’t going to settle down anytime soon, neither is War. Technology just changes the Tools. The Nation State won’t quietly go into the night either.

    Finally there’s the issue of Feral Elites. In the US they’ve gone so Nihilist they’re basically at the Seven Kill Stele point minus the killing, and only minus killing because they’re congenitally craven. They’d love to get everyone else tearing into each other however, and will attempt to engender no longer mere division but conflict between every other thede.

    To the extent Nihilists can have an Exit plan, that’s it.

    And Patchwork sorry to say plays right into that. This should be considered.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 24th, 2014 at 11:03 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    #AsktheCossack –who’s in charge in Ukraine now.

    #AsktheCossack- who’s about to be in charge pretty much along the line of the Don and Russia’s borders. Or at least a player.

    And I do warrant #AsktheCossack – who the Rus are actually talking to right now…

    BTW we need an actual Cossack around here ya know. “I can say #AsktheCossack” but I ain’t one.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 24th, 2014 at 12:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • It’s neocameralism week | Aimless Gromar Says:

    […] a long bout of silence on neocameralism within the reactosphere, Nick Land has recently brought to bear the tendentious claim that if neoreaction has a central ideological […]

    Posted on February 24th, 2014 at 2:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • Neocameralism is a Thought Experiment; Neocameralism is a Reality | Anarcho Papist Says:

    […] proposes that neoreaction is, very simply, neocameralism. Lest I am reading him incorrectly and he has important qualifiers on this forthcoming, this seems […]

    Posted on February 24th, 2014 at 4:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    Neocameralism is daffy and utopian. It’s the sort of thing that only a libertarian could dream up.

    If that is all NRx is, good riddance to NRx, but there still needs to be a name for the set of analyses that identify the problem that neo-cameralism is trying to solve–the ratchet, the deficiencies of democracy as managed and manufactured opinion–even if neocameralism itself is more of a thought-experiment solution than something that could actually work.

    [Reply]

    Anissimov Reply:

    I concur with this

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 24th, 2014 at 4:34 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    “the set of analyses that identify the problem that neo-cameralism is trying to solve–”

    We could call that Dark Enlightenment, as that’s what the Dark Enlightenment is..that something has gone terribly wrong.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    OK, but I understood the Dark Enlightenment to be more along the lines of ‘Science and Experience and Reason reveal that perfect equality and social progress are impossible and stupid’ whereas the ratchet is a historical argument that goes a step beyond that.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 24th, 2014 at 7:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • Foseti Says:

    The idea that neocameralism is neoreaction and vice versa shouldn’t be controversial at all.

    Let’s start with defining the political spectrum (using Moldbug’s definitions throughout) in terms of organizational decision-making. The Left is distributed decision-making conducted according to procedures designed to include all stakeholders and insulated from accountability. The Right is personal authority.

    The ultimate in personal authority – ie the rightmost point, ie the reaction – is monarchy. In classical terms (and how else would a reactionary think?), this means nothing more or less than rule by one guy.

    By 1688, just to pick a date (really don’t quibble about the date, what matters is that at some point, there’s nothing left to evolve), reaction is gone. From that point on, all we see is leftism adopting to new situations and technology and responding (at times) to its fraudulent opponent Conservatism.

    The great task of the new reactionary is to determine how a true right would have evolved over the last ~350 years. As Moldbug said, “What would Paris be, if the regime that created Versailles had the technology of 2008?” There’s neoreaction in one question.

    The restorationists do the old reactionaries a dis-serve by assuming their ideal system of government wouldn’t have been altered at all despite any developments in the meantime. These men were much smarter than that. Much smarter.

    The most obvious development is a clear winner to the question of how to run a rightist organization – the joint-stock corporation (yes, corporations are rightist, because someone is in charge). Thus, the best (and only, at least that I’ve heard) answer to the ultimate question of what would Filmer believe in the 21st Century is neocameralism.

    Hence, neocameralism is neoreaction (at least the only interesting answer to the question of neoreaction that’s been offered so far) and vice versa.

    (It should be noted that lots of people in this thread are confused about neocameralism. For example, Konkvistador says, “Reviving the Habsburg empire or setting up more Dubai like city states is far more realistic” . . . Setting aside the former, the latter is neocameralism. I read Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s book and it might as well have been written by Jack Welch. He thinks of himself as the CEO of Dubai, which means . . . he’s the CEO of Dubai.)

    [Reply]

    Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes Reply:

    If your definition of “the Right” is the correct one, then North Korea is, in fact, a right wing, reactionary state, just like that slatestarcodex guy said it was.

    Happily, your definition of “the Right” is wildly incorrect and consequently, we don’t have to move to North Korea.

    “The Left is distributed decision-making conducted according to procedures designed to include all stakeholders and insulated from accountability. The Right is personal authority.

    The ultimate in personal authority – ie the rightmost point, ie the reaction – is monarchy. In classical terms (and how else would a reactionary think?), this means nothing more or less than rule by one guy.”

    Nope.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    Don’t believe North Korea’s propaganda about how their government works.

    Supposedly it is rule by one man. Also supposedly it is democratic, and communist until recently. This alone is impossible. Secondly, we can argue about how democratic it is, but at the very least we can be sure it feels the need to call itself democratic, which I find sufficiently damning.

    Even Louis XIII’s rule was more propaganda than absolutism. Our understanding of our own government – far more accessible than Korea’s – is sketchy at best. Yet we’re supposed to believe our understanding of Korea’s is not only accurate, but sufficiently complete?

    There’s two possibilities.

    One, the Kims are stupid. E.g. they can’t read Lee Kuan Yew’s book, cuz deyz dum. But this means they’re not actually in power. They’re figureheads, like POTUS or the Queen.

    Two, the Kims are smart. They would love to be Lee Kuan Yew, but know they can’t do it, or their power i.e. their responsibility would immediately evaporate. Which means they’re far from absolute rulers. More like victims of circumstance. Top dog of a small pile doesn’t work when South Korea is literally next door.

    If that’s not enough for you, start thinking about what bureaucratic politics are probably like.

    It would appear that in actual fact, DPRK is a Chinese puppet state. “North Korea has started installing a concrete and barbed wire fence on its northern border, in response to China’s wish to curb an overflow of illegal refugees from North Korea. Previously, the border between China and North Korea had only been lightly patrolled.” They get to play in their little sandbox unless they start annoying Big Brother. Then they better hop to it.

    Bit of a rock and a hard place, there. If they piss off China by attempting to open trade with Western clients, their aid – i.e. state welfare i.e. heroin – will immediately get cut. They would have to open the floodgates entirely to avoid mass starvation, and they would have no way to even mitigate the resulting deluge of the most sophisticated propaganda in all of history.

    The Kims can do squat, even in the unlikely event their internal politics don’t have them hamstrung. Unless China says they can’t even squat.

    [Reply]

    Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes Reply:

    Fine, Stalin then. Reactionary for a communist, perhaps, but not an exemplar of the true Right. Plenty of personal authority however. We can find a number of examples of situations from recent history where authority has been concentrated in the hands of one man (my namesake for example), but we can find few recent examples of true kingship.

    The Right is, and always has been about something other than…oriental despotism.

    Foseti was speaking of classic attitudes towards monarchy…

    After discussion the pros and cons of kingship, Aristotle goes on to contrast it with Asiatic despotism:

    “(2) There is another sort of monarchy not uncommon among the barbarians, which nearly resembles tyranny. But this is both legal and hereditary. For barbarians, being more servile in character than Hellenes, and Asiatics than Europeans, do not rebel against a despotic government. Such royalties have the nature of tyrannies because the people are by nature slaves; but there is no danger of their being overthrown, for they are hereditary and legal. Wherefore also their guards are such as a king and not such as a tyrant would employ, that is to say, they are composed of citizens, whereas the guards of tyrants are mercenaries. For kings rule according to law over voluntary subjects, but tyrants over involuntary; and the one are guarded by their fellow-citizens the others are guarded against them.”

    And with tyranny:

    “The idea of a king is to be a protector of the rich against unjust treatment, of the people against insult and oppression. Whereas a tyrant, as has often been repeated, has no regard to any public interest, except as conducive to his private ends; his aim is pleasure, the aim of a king, honor. Wherefore also in their desires they differ; the tyrant is desirous of riches, the king, of what brings honor. And the guards of a king are citizens, but of a tyrant mercenaries.

    That tyranny has all the vices both of democracy and oligarchy is evident. As of oligarchy so of tyranny, the end is wealth; (for by wealth only can the tyrant maintain either his guard or his luxury).

    Both mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms. Both agree too in injuring the people and driving them out of the city and dispersing them. From democracy tyrants have borrowed the art of making war upon the notables and destroying them secretly or openly, or of exiling them because they are rivals and stand in the way of their power; and also because plots against them are contrived by men of this dass, who either want to rule or to escape subjection. Hence Periander advised Thrasybulus by cutting off the tops of the tallest ears of corn, meaning that he must always put out of the way the citizens who overtop the rest. ”
    ———————————————————————–

    Sounds like VXXC, heh.

    Even Moldbug, who openly desires a tyranny with wealth as its end, doesn’t actually boil the whole thing down to personal authority. Doesn’t his neo-cameral model imagine the board of directors acting as a kind of aristocracy to that limits the personal authority of the CEO-Tyrant?

    Personal authority is not enough.

    Posted on February 25th, 2014 at 2:02 am Reply | Quote
  • Anissimov Says:

    I would think that any troubles you had grappling with Bryce’s book are completely unrelated to his blog post. His views on neocameralism would not constitute a sufficient barrier to give you trouble grappling with the book.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    On the contrary. My basic problem with the book is the title, and Bryce’s post explains why.

    [Reply]

    Foseti Reply:

    I found Bryce’s book almost unreadable.

    [Reply]

    Handle Reply:

    Ditto

    Posted on February 25th, 2014 at 2:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    North Korea is pretty close to what the Joseon Dynasty used to be. A not-so-obedient China puppet. Also a strong monarchy running a slave based economy. The DPRK probably has more input from the army than the old Joseon kings did, but look closely at the flag of the Korean communist party:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_the_Workers%27_Party_of_Korea.svg

    See the brush? Memories of the old mandarinate bureaucracy.

    It’s hard enough to know anything about North Korea, but people always do the same mistake: take things at face value, and only focus in what they’re already familiar with. Of course it’s easy to say that NK is Marxist, everybody knows about Marx. But nobody knows shit about what Korea was about for thousands of years earlier. So it’s all about Marx and Lenin. And Stalin too.

    And anyway the Kims have neither the capability nor any interest in being Lee Kuan Yew. People seem to have a hard time understanding that there’s evil people out there, who don’t give a shit about the wealth of their people, and are happy as long as they can be the top dog.

    [Reply]

    Contemplationist Reply:

    This.

    The problem of evil must not be overlooked or brushed away when arguing for single-ruler systems.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 25th, 2014 at 3:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • World-Historical Neoreaction, Ideological Space, and the Present | Anarcho Papist Says:

    […] our sights to the neocameralist question. Land inspired this most recent episode of dispute with his claim that neoreaction just is neocameralism. This has come to a fore with the monarchist branch, resulting in a potential neocameralist vs. […]

    Posted on March 24th, 2014 at 4:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • The Capo and the King: Tribe and Neoreaction | This Rough Beast Says:

    […] decidedly counter to the Neoreactionary State’s aim, regardless of whether it is a monarchy, SovCorp, or an aristocratic Republic. So Neoreaction must consider how best to reconcile these two truths. […]

    Posted on March 26th, 2014 at 4:23 pm Reply | Quote
  • Neoreaction: A Proposal for Reconciliation | This Rough Beast Says:

    […] spheres. Given that Moldbug’s contribution was neocameralist analysis, I would agree with Land’s statement that neoreaction is neocameralism. But what does that […]

    Posted on May 29th, 2014 at 6:44 am Reply | Quote
  • Ascending The Tower - Episode IV, Part 2 - "Nobody Intrinsically Trusts Economists" - Social Matter Says:

    […] Hurlock’s comment at Nick Land’s – http://www.xenosystems.net/quote-notes-63/#comment-34926 […]

    Posted on March 8th, 2015 at 2:07 am Reply | Quote
  • NRx: Against Platonic Rationalism | Poseidon Awoke: Realist Says:

    […] Land recently asserted that Neoreaction is Neocameralism. Then Bryce Laliberte, who wrote a book entitled What is Neoreaction, noticed that his book does […]

    Posted on February 27th, 2016 at 12:55 pm Reply | Quote

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