Posts Tagged ‘Government’

Twitter cuts (#121)

Some things are simple.

March 12, 2017admin 30 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy

Quote note (#338)

Don’t go there:

Twitter’s precarious position has left some users — traditionally those on the left — calling for Twitter to be pseudo-nationalized by the federal government through “social network neutrality” or classifying the platform as a public utility. Applying traditional monopoly analysis, they argue that Twitter’s dominant market positions could allow it to unfairly downplay competing services or prioritize the company’s own related commercial interests. Others say that privacy concerns should compel some kind of government regulation. […] Interestingly, these tides have recently turned. These days, I more often hear people on the right make the argument that services like Twitter should be run by the federal government. (Many on the left, meanwhile, have turned to petitioning internal social-network regulatory bodies, like Twitter’s aforementioned Trust and Safety Council, to implement their desired platform changes.) The baroque reasoning goes like this: Private companies don’t have to afford the same kinds of free speech rights that the federal government does. If the federal government takes control of the platform, U.S. users will be afforded the due process and First Amendment protections many feel are owed to them on Twitter. […] But the inherent surveillance and procedural problems presented by this “solution” should be immediately apparent. What’s more, the Twitter user base extends to millions of people outside of U.S. borders. Some Americans might not mind if their government ran a major social network, but plenty of people around the world certainly would. And let’s not forget HealthCare.Gov; the federal government doesn’t have the best track record running major public websites.

March 2, 2017admin 13 Comments »

Neocameralism #1

Clippings from this, end-2007 Moldbug Neocameralism essay (with minimal commentary):

It is very hard to show that any new form of government is superior to that practiced now. It is even harder to show that any new form of government is superior to any practiced ever. […] Nonetheless, unless these problems are not just hard but actually unsolvable, innovation in the form of government is possible. … Certainly, the very idea of innovation in government should not frighten you. If it does, there is no point at all in thinking about government. This is conservatism to the point of mental disorder. I simply cannot contend with it, and I refuse to try. If you cannot set yourself outside your own beliefs and prejudices, you are not capable of normal civilized discourse.

Neocameralism is not (simply) reactionary because it has never been fully instantiated up to this time. It is a proposed political-economic innovation.

Let’s start with my ideal world – the world of thousands, preferably even tens of thousands, of neocameralist city-states and ministates, or neostates. The organizations which own and operate these neostates are for-profit sovereign corporations, or sovcorps. For the moment, let’s assume a one-to-one mapping between sovcorp and neostate. […] Let’s pin down the neocameralist dramatis personae by identifying the people who work for a sovcorp as its agents, the people or organizations which collectively own it as its subscribers, and the people who live in its neostate as its residents.

A Neocameral ‘neostate’ is not owned by its residents or its agents. Its ‘monarch’ (or ‘CEO’) is an executive appointment. (90% of all confusion about Neocameralism, and Neoreaction in general, stems from a failure to grasp this elementary point.) Note: ‘subscribers’ (plural). More coming on this immediately.

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June 29, 2016admin 168 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction

Informality and its Discontents

China’s problem with poorly formalized power:

As an old-style Leninist party in a modern world, the CCP is confronted by two major challenges: first, how to maintain “ideological discipline” among its almost 89 million members in a globalized world awash with money, international travel, electronically transmitted information, and heretical ideas. Second, how to cleanse itself of its chronic corruption, a blight that Xi has himself described as “a matter of life and death.” […] The primary reason the Party is so susceptible to graft is that while officials are poorly paid, they do control valuable national assets. So, for example, when property development deals come together involving real estate (all land belongs to the government) and banking (all the major banks also belong to the government), officials vetting the deals find themselves in tempting positions to supplement their paltry salaries by accepting bribes or covertly raking off a percentage of the action. (XS emphasis.)

(The article as a whole is ideologically pedestrian.)

Obscure the degree to which government is a business, and it will find a way to make itself one, around the back (with its executives privatizing sovereign property on an ad hoc, chaotic basis). Exhortations (from Sun Yat-sen, repeated by Mao Zedong) to “Serve the People!” are no substitute for sound administrative engineering, of a kind that rationally aligns incentives, and lucidly recognizes the sole consistent function of government — maximization of sovereign property value. The pretense of altruistic government and the reality of rampant corruption are exactly the same thing, seen from two different sides. The illusion of a public sphere is the root of the social sickness.

The gist of Orville Schell’s analysis is that China has deviated disturbingly from a functional Western model it would be better advised to return to. On the contrary, it is China’s continued (profound) submission to a Western demotist framework of administrative legitimation that makes its problems so intractable. A government devoted to serving the people is radically corrupt by essence. Government properly tends the national estate, as the agent of its owners. Open, clear, and unapologetic admission of that basic principle seems no closer in the East than the West.

ADDED: “Russian corruption is the new Soviet Communism.” … and the old Soviet Communism, and the older universal Jacobinism, and everything spawned from it. Corruption is what demotism is, rather than what it looks like to itself in the mirror.

April 13, 2016admin 39 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy

Quote note (#231)

Genteel understatement from Tyler Cowen:

[American Amnesia] is the new book by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, and the subtitle is How the War on Government Led Us To Forget What Made America Prosper. It is well written and will appeal to many people. It is somewhat at variance with my own views, however. Most of all I would challenge the premise of a “war on government,” at least a successful war. How about a “Dunkirk on government”?

March 15, 2016admin No Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy


Imagine, hypothetically, that you wanted the regime to succeed. Would you recommend Cathedralization? Cynically considered, the track record is, at least, not bad. Planetary dominion is not to be sniffed at. (Suggestions in this direction are not unknown, even in XS comment threads.)

The Cathedral, defined with this question in mind, is the subsumption of politics into propaganda. It tends — as it develops — to convert all administrative problems into public relations challenges. A solution — actual or prospective — is a successful management of perceptions.

For the mature Cathedral, a crisis takes the consistent form: This looks bad. It is not merely stupid. As Spandrell recently observes, in comments on power, “… power isn’t born out of the barrel of a gun. Power is born out of the ability to have people with guns do what you tell them.” (XS note.) The question of legitimacy is, in a real sense, fundamental, when politics sets the boundaries of the cosmos under consideration. (So Cathedralism is also the hypertrophy of politics, to the point where a reality outside it loses all credibility.)

Is your civilization decaying? Then you need to persuade people that it is not. If there still seems to be a mismatch between problem and solution here, Cathedralism has not entirely consumed your brain. To speculate (confidently) further — you’re not a senior power-broker in a modern Western state. You’re even, from a certain perspective, a fossil.

Cathedralism works, in its own terms, as long as there are no definite limits to the efficacy of propaganda. To pose the issue at a comparatively shallow level, if the political response to a crisis simply is the crisis, and that response can be effectively controlled (through propaganda, broadly conceived), then the Cathedral commands an indisputable practical wisdom. It would be sensible to go long on the thing.

If however (imagine this, if you still can) manipulation of the response to crisis is actually a suppression of the feedback required to really tackle the crisis, then an altogether different story is unfolding.

Is reality subordinated to the Cathedral because — and exactly so far as — ‘the people’ are? That is the question.

ADDED: Deeply relevant.

February 16, 2016admin 31 Comments »

Twitter cuts (#41)

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January 5, 2016admin 16 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy

Twitter cuts (#30)

(This might be the greatest tweet ever written.)

October 3, 2015admin 10 Comments »

Quote note (#169)

“Alone among major powers, the United States has not professionalized its diplomacy” with disastrous consequences, writes Chas Freeman:

… what if every four or so years, you administered a frontal lobotomy to yourself, excising your memories and making it impossible to learn from experience? What if most aspects of your job were always new to you? What if you didn’t know whether something you propose to do has been tried before and, if so, whether it succeeded or failed? To one degree or another, this is what is entailed in staffing the national security functions of our government (other than those assigned to our military) with short-term political appointees selected to reward not their knowledge, experience, or skill but campaign contributions, political sycophancy, affiliation with domestic interest groups, academic achievements, success in fields unrelated to diplomacy, or social prominence.

(Pillaged further here.)

June 18, 2015admin 19 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Democracy
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Eight-Point Neo-Cam

A reminder of where NRx came from:

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

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

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March 11, 2015admin 83 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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