Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’

Moron bites (#17)

It’s always at least a bit worse than you think:

Roughly a third of American voters think that the Marxist slogan “From each according to his ability to each according to his need” appears in the Constitution.

October 31, 2016admin 44 Comments »

Twitter cuts (#37)

Amazed not have heard this said anything like as elegantly before:

December 3, 2015admin 18 Comments »


“Protocol governance can come in many forms, these include bureaucratic rules, literal interpretations of religious texts, democracy, proposed block chain or P2P governance, statistics based governance, rule of law, and any other form of governance which seeks to provide a protocol as being ultimately sovereign as opposed to ultimate human judgement,” writes NIO.

The meaning of ‘protocol’ here? I’m assuming, until corrected, that it’s something like: A formalized procedure. If so, it elides a critical difference, because while “bureaucratic rules, literal interpretations of religious texts,” and constitutions tell people what to do, “proposed block chain or P2P governance” doesn’t.

A set of instructions opens itself to derision, if it ‘demands’ human compliance, without possessing the means to compel it. Constitutions, laws, and bureaucracies are massively — and demonstrably — vulnerable to subversion, because they require what they cannot enforce. It is exactly this problem that has propelled the development of software protocols that are intrinsically self-protective. The longest section of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin paper (#11) is devoted to an examination of the system’s automatic defense capabilities. The problem is a serious and complicated one, but it is certainly not susceptible to resolution by armchair philosophizing about the essence of sovereignty, however much this latter proclaims its possession of the truth.

Claims to ‘truth’ demand trust, and trust is a social and technical problem (of ever increasing urgency). Mere assertion is certainly incapable of generating it. Only a trust engine can, and that has to be built, if it cannot be simply preserved, which — on this at least we are surely agreed? — it could not.

Bitcoin is only a stepping stone, and the scale of the step it enables remains obscure at this point. What is already clear, however, is that the principle of trustless (or open-source, automatically self-policing) protocols is concrete, in large part technical, and invulnerable to a priori dismissal. The theoretical difficulties involved have been largely solved, based upon a series of radical innovations in cryptography — public key systems and proof-of-work credentials, among others — compared to which the recent ‘advances’ of political philosophy, let alone governmental institutions, have been risible at best. If Byzantine Agreement is realizable, protocol subversion is exterminable. What then remains is productive work, in the direction of automatic or autonomized agoras.

Carlyle is a lament (admittedly, a rhetorically attractive, and insightful one). Satoshi Nakamoto has built something. The former is vindicated by progressive socio-political decay, the latter by the escape of self-protective catallaxy from the ruins.

Within a few decades, most of what still works on this planet will be on the blockchain.

ADDED: This is excellent. (Adam Back, via Twitter, describes it as the “Best article yet on what Bitcoin *is* & why decentralisation is necessary”.) The proposal of this post is that the conflict it outlines is obviously of massive importance. Those who think the entire problem of decentralized protocols is an irrelevant distraction from other things, are surely compelled to disagree. The XS position here is that trustless decentralization is worth defending. Clearly, that presupposes it’s something real (and consequential). As far as the NRx discussion is concerned, I’m going to assume that’s the matter at stake.

September 17, 2015admin 76 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy

Twitter cuts (#6)

Amplified when read as a follow up to #4, this piece of jiu jitsu by VXXC is a great way to invigorate some running debates (even if it can’t be embedded normally because of the ridiculous privacy option activated on his account):

Strangely so called Reactionaries coming to Fences marked Republic, Constitution, United States wish to obliterate these walls utterly. (9:09 AM, 7 January 2015.)

January 8, 2015admin 22 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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Chaos Patch (#24)

(Open thread.)

Saw Jesus Camp for the first time (and enjoyed it a lot). It should have been subtitled ‘A Study in Pwnedness’. There was the liberal anti-fundamentalist radio host who seemed to think America doesn’t have a State Religion. Then there were the radical evangelicals at the heart of the movie, who think their holy war is doing something other than sliding inexorably, culturally and politically, to the left. (Both sides were apparently convinced that the Pentacostal take-over of the SCOTUS was advancing smoothly according to the plan.) Some more recent debate about Christianity and politics here.

The rise of ODMS (On-Demand Mobile Services).

How Chinese Internet censorship works.

… the “war on terror” … has demonstrably failed Unless we’re missing something critical about the game. (This probably plunges a little too far down the rabbit-hole.)

An involved discussion of corporate personality (and ‘rights‘) is long overdue.

I wanted this for a T-shirt, but couldn’t think of a way to sneak off with it:

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August 24, 2014admin 43 Comments »
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Quote notes (#76)

Not a new point in this neck of the woods, but formulated with exceptional elegance:

There are only two possibilities regarding the Constitution of the United States. One is that it is working as it was intended, in which case it is a monstrosity. The other is that it was broken somewhere along the way – in which case it failed.

The prod back to this topic is appreciated, because it really hasn’t been properly processed yet. (This blog has yet to do more than stick a tag on the problem.) Insofar as constitutions are at least partly functional, they are involved in the production of power. As abstract engineering diagrams for regimes they should no more be expected to rule than rocket blueprints are expected to blast into space — but they matter.

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April 27, 2014admin 14 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy


Jonathan H. Adler at The Volokh Conspiracy writes:

Despite allowing the confirmation of judges for other courts, and one D.C. Circuit nominee, Republicans have continued to block Obama’s latest D.C. Circuit nominees. Now that Senate Republicans have … successfully filibustered five Obama nominees — the same number as Senate Democrats blocked with a filibuster (but half those for which cloture was initially defeated) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to change the rules. According to several news reports, Senator Reid is prepared to invoke the so-called “nuclear option” and force through President Obama’s nominees on a party-line vote, perhaps as early as today. What this involves is making a parliamentary ruling that only a majority vote is required to end debate on a judicial nomination and then sustaining that decision with a majority vote. Some Senate Republicans threatened to take such a step during the Bush Administration, but backed off when a group of Senators from both parties forged a temporary deal to end the stand-off and avert the rule change.

The ‘nuclear option’ represents the clear admission that the division of powers is not only dead but spectacularly cremated, with judicial appointees formally reduced to partisan functionaries. It would thus signal the explicit demolition of the US Constitution. Since a wheezing travesty is worse than a corpse, even strong supporters of the constitutional principle should have few problems with this specific instance of incendiary termination.

America’s crisis of governance is hurtling to a conclusion far sooner than most sober commentators had imagined. As with so many other institutional questions posed in the hysterical phase of Left Singularity, there’s only one realistic response: Let it burn.

ADDED: It’s about jobs.

ADDED: “Democrats nuked the ratchet” (roughly my argument, but on MDMA).

November 21, 2013admin 19 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy


By 2037 the harsh phases of The Upheaval have finally ended. Western Eurasia is ruined and confused, but the fighting has burnt out amongst the rubble. In the Far East, the Chinese Confucian Republic has largely succeeded in restoring order, and is even enjoying the first wave of renewed prosperity. The Islamic civil war continues, but — now almost entirely introverted — it is easily quarantined. No one wants to think too much about what is happening in Africa.

The territory of the extinct USA is firmly controlled by the Neoreactionary Coalition, whose purchase is strengthened by the flight of 20 million Cathedral Loyalists to Canada and Europe (incidentally toppling both into terminal chaos). The Provisional Trichotomous Council, selected primarily by a process of military promotion and delegation from within the major Neoreactionary  guerrilla groups, now confronts the task of establishing a restored political order.

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October 9, 2013admin 93 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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Casino Royale

Even prior to the twitterization catastrophe, and the terminal disintegration of thought into nano-particles, symphonic orchestration wasn’t obviously emerging as an Outside in core competence. One unfortunate consequence of this deficiency is that highly persuasive blogging ideas get endlessly can-kicked, unless they can be easily pulverized.

“Blogging ideas” doesn’t mean anything grandiose (those type of thoughts splinter anything in their path, and bust in), but rather highly medium-adapted discussion packages, which present things in a way that racks up hits. The relevant example right now is — or rather ‘was to be’ — The X Fundamental Disputes of Neoreaction (‘X’ being an as-yet undetermined number — optimally of surreptitious qabbalistic significance). That puppy would have been clocking up views like Old Faithful, but confusion reigns, and patience has run out. Into the shredding machine it goes.

The principal provocations for this spasm of impatience are two posts on the topic of monarchism, at Anomaly UK, and More Right. The Great AUK post is structured as a science fiction scenario, modeling a future monarchist regime, whilst Michael Anissimov’s MR defense of “traditionalism and monarchism” is organized dialectically. Both serve to consolidate an affinity between neoreaction and monarchist  ideals that was already solidly established by Moldbug’s Jacobitism. It would not be unreasonable to propose that this affinity is strong enough to approach an identity (which is quite possibly what both of these writers do envisage). So the time to frame the monarchist case within a question, as a Fundamental Dispute of Neoreaction, is now.

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October 7, 2013admin 30 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction

Hayek and Pinochet

Despite the left slant, this examination of Hayek’s involvement with the Chilean Pinochet regime is calm and informative enough to be worth reading (via).  Its relevance to numerous recent discussions on the extreme right is clear.

Given everything we know about Hayek—his horror of creeping socialism, his sense of the civilizational challenge it posed; his belief that great men impose their will upon society (“The conservative peasant, as much as anybody else, owes his way of life to a different type of person, to men who were innovators in their time and who by their innovations forced a new manner of living on people belonging to an earlier state of culture”); his notion of elite legislators (“If the majority were asked their opinion of all the changes involved in progress, they would probably want to prevent many of its necessary conditions and consequences and thus ultimately stop progress itself. I have yet to learn of an instance when the deliberate vote of the majority (as distinguished from the decision of some governing elite) has decided on such sacrifices in the interest of a better future”); and his sense of political theory and politics as an epic confrontation between the real and the yet-to-be-realized—perhaps the Pinochet question needs to be reframed. The issue is not “How could he have done what he did?” but “How could he not?”

(I agree with Corey Robin that the ‘Schmittian’ element in Hayek’s thinking remains an unresolved theoretical problem, but his concrete judgments — as detailed here — strike me as consistently sound.)

June 28, 2013admin 7 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Uncategorized