Posts Tagged ‘Moldbug’

Deep State

This surely counts as a (Friday) fright night topic. Appropriately, it’s an undertow NRx theme already, although typically only casually invoked — almost allusively — as the necessary complement of the public state’s naked superficiality. Rod Dreher focuses upon it more determinedly than any NRx source I was able to rapidly pull up. (This would be an easy point for people to educate me upon.)

Dreher’s post is seriously interesting. One immediate hook:

Steve Sailer says that the Shallow State is a complement to the Deep State. The Shallow State is, I think, another name for what the Neoreactionaries call “The Cathedral”

As a State Church, the Cathedral is essentially bound to publicity. Its principal organs — media and education — are directed towards the promulgation of faith. It tends towards an identification with its own propaganda, and therefore — in Mike Lofgren’s words — to the full manifestation of visible government. Perfect coincidence of government with the transparent public sphere approaches a definition of the progressive telos. Since Neoreaction is particularly inclined to emphasize the radical dysfunctionality of this ideal, it naturally presupposes that real government lies elsewhere. In this respect, NRx is inherently destined to formulate a model of hidden or occult government — that which the Cathedral runs upon — which inevitably coincides, in all fundamentals, with the deep state.

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December 12, 2014admin 72 Comments »
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Undead

Does this look like something that’s about to die?

bitcoinq4141

(This is among the few topics that puts my reverence for the Moldgod under serious strain.)

More here:

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December 1, 2014admin 28 Comments »
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Owned

Hurlock has a valuable post on the concept of property, especially in its relation to sovereignty, and formalization. Since (Moldbuggian) Neocameralism can be construed as a renovated theory of property, crucially involving all three of these terms, the relevance of the topic should require no defense. The profound failure of enlightenment philosophy to satisfactorily determine the meaning of property has been a hostage to fortune whose dire consequences have yet to be fully exhausted. (Within the NRx generally, the question of property is deeply under-developed, and — with a very few exceptions — there is little sign of serious attention being paid to it.)

The enlightenment failure has been to begin its analysis of property from the problem of justification. This not only throws it into immediate ideological contention, submitting it to politics, and thus to relentless left-drift, it also places insurmountable obstacles in the path of rigorous understanding. To depart from an axiom of legitimate original property acquisition through work, as Locke does, is already proto-Marxist in implication, resting on philosophically hopeless metaphor, such as that of ‘mixing’ labor with things. It is property that defines work (over against non-productive behavior), not the inverse. As Hurlock notes, Moldbug’s approach is the correct one. ‘Property’ — as a social category — is a legitimation of control. It cascades conceptually from sovereignty, and not from production.

These matters will inevitably become intellectually pressing, due to the current technocommercial restoration of money, exemplified by the innovation of Bitcoin (in its expansive sense, as the blockchain). Control is undergoing cryptographic formalization, from which all consistent apprehension of ‘property’ will follow. Property, in the end, is not sociopolitical recognition of rights, but keys. What you can lock and unlock is yours. The rest is merely more or less serious talk, that only contingently compiles. This is what hacker culture has already long understood in its specific (thedish) usage of ‘owned’. There’s no point crying to the government about having paid good money for your computer, if Nerdgodz or some other irritating 15-year-old is running it as a Bitcoin-mining facility from his mother’s basement. The concreteness of ‘might is right’ once looked like a parade ground, but increasingly it is running functional code.

Formalization isn’t a detached exercise in philosophical reflection, or even a sociopolitical and legal consensus, it’s functional technocommercial cryptography. Defining property outside the terms of this eventuation is an exercise in arbitrary sign-shuffling. Those with the keys can simply smile at the surrounding senseless noise. As Moldbug anticipates, with rigorously coded control, there’s nothing further to argue about.

ADDED: Three recommended links from Bitstein; Locke’s mistake, blockchained title, crypto and contracts (video discussion).

November 15, 2014admin 17 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce
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Quote note (#126)

Election day special:

I claim, the sovereign is he who selects the null hypothesis. What is a null hypothesis? Have you ever seen the phrase “no evidence that”? For instance, there is no evidence that voter fraud has a significant impact on American elections.

Like it or not, established religion is an essential attribute of sovereignty. Cuius regio, eius religio. Unless you’re a crazy person, you believe what the sovereign, personal or institutional, orders you to believe. Obviously there is a conflict here, or at least a potential conflict. Because even a normal, non-crazy person will experience difficulty in disbelieving his own eyes.

Which is fine. Sovereigns, though asymptotically infallible, err. They change their mind, or at least have to be thought capable of it. You can change your mind too. Maybe you’re just the first. However, the null hypothesis is what the sovereign orders you to believe, at least until evidence (which should promptly be brought to your master’s attention) convinces you otherwise.

Since the sovereign also sets the bar for how much evidence it takes to convince you otherwise, he can order you to believe in pretty much anything short of outright arithmetic violations. All he has to do is set the null hypothesis to his desired outcome, then set the burden of proof impossibly high. …

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November 4, 2014admin 10 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Democracy
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Freedoom (Prelude-1b)

Even in the absence of its energetic Catholic constituency, it could be tempting to identify NRx as an anti-Calvinist ideology, given the centrality of the occulted Calvinist inheritance to Moldbug’s critique of modernity. As Foseti remarks (in what remains a high-water mark of Neoreactionary exegesis):

Believe it or not, even though Moldbug’s definition of the Left is basically the first thing he wrote about, there is a fair amount of debate about this topic in “reactionary” circles. This debate is sometimes referred to as The Puritan Question. (In addition to Puritan, Moldbug also uses the terms: Progressive idealism, ultra-Calvinism, crypto-Christian, Unitarian universalists, etc.)

It is no part of this blog’s brief to facilitate the more somnolent — and at times simply derisive — positionings which Moldbug’s diagnosis can appear to open. While our Catholic friends may consider themselves to be securely located outside the syndrome under consideration, this attitude corresponds, structurally, or systematically, to a minority position (irrespective of the numbers involved). As a dissident schismatic sect, the NRx main-current is cladistically enveloped by the object of its critique. ‘Calvinism’ — in its historical and theoretical extension — is a problematic horizon, within which NRx is embedded, before it can conceivably be construed as a despised object for dismissal.

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October 29, 2014admin 31 Comments »
FILED UNDER :History
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Questions of Identity

There’s a remarkably bad-tempered argument taking place among racial identitarians at the moment (some links here), which makes the civility and intelligence of these remarks all the more notable. (For this blog, the Social Matter discussion was a reminder of the — similarly civilized — exchange with Matt Parrott that took place in the comment thread here.)

In case anyone is somehow unclear about the quality of the neighborhood White Nationalism finds itself in, or adjacent to, it’s worth a brief composite citation from the Andrew Anglin post cited above:

You [Colin Liddell] agree with Jewish agendas, which is why you would wish to obfuscate the fact that Jews are responsible for everything by claiming we shouldn’t blame the Jews for our problems. … The reason these two [CL plus Greg Johnson] are on the same side against me is that they share the quality that they have no interest in a popular movement, and despise anyone who would attempt to take that route. … I am, unashamedly, a populist. Every successful revolutionary movement in history has been populist in nature … Hitler was a populist.

While I have to confess to finding Anglin entertaining, I hope it goes without saying that this kind of thinking has nothing at all to do with NRx. In fact, revolutionary populism almost perfectly captures what Neoreaction is not. NRx is notoriously fissiparous, but on the gulf dividing all its variants from racial Jacobinism there can surely be no controversy. So the barking you can hear in the background serves as necessary context. (This does not count as an objection to the Neo-Nazis acquiring their own state, since that would make it even easier not to live among them than it is already. Unfortunately, it is not easy to imagine the separatist negotiations going smoothly.)

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October 16, 2014admin 50 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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Open Secret

NRx has been accused, by its friends more than its enemies, of talking about itself too much. Here XS is, doing that again, not only stuck in ‘meta’ but determinedly pushing ever deeper in. There are some easily communicable reasons for that — an attachment to methodical nonlinearity perhaps foremost among them — and then there are cryptic drivers or attachments, unsuited to immediate publicization. These latter are many (even Legion). It is the firm assertion of this blog that Neoreaction is intrinsically arcane.

We do not talk very much about Leo Strauss. Once again, there are some obvious reasons for this, but also others.

Steve Sailer’s recent Takimag article on Strauss makes for a convenient introduction, because — despite its light touch — it moves a number of issues into place. The constellation of voices is complex from the start. There is the (now notorious) ‘Neo-Conservatism’ of Strauss and his disciples, or manipulators, and the other conservatism of Sailer, each working to manage, openly and in secret, its own peculiar mix of public statement and discretion. Out beyond them — because even the shadowiest figures have further shadows — are more alien, scarcely perceptible shapes.

Sailer’s article is typically smart, but also deliberately crude. It glosses the Straussian idea of esoteric writing as “talking out of both sides of your mouth” — as if hermetic traditionalism were reducible to a lucid political strategy, or simple conspiracy — to ‘Illuminism’, politically conceived. In the wake of its Neo-Con trauma, conservatism has little patience for “secret decoder rings”. Yet, despite his aversion to the recent workings of inner-circle ‘conservative’ sophisticates, Sailer does not let his distaste lure him into stupidity:

We haven’t heard much about Straussianism lately due to the unfortunate series of events in Iraq that befell the best-laid plans of the sages. But that doesn’t mean that Strauss was necessarily wrong about the ancients. And that has interesting implications for how we should read current works.

As the approaching 20th anniversary of the publication of The Bell Curve reminds us, the best minds of our age have reasons for being less than wholly frank.

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September 27, 2014admin 1,387 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Arcane
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Ratchets and Catastrophes

Perhaps all significant ideological distinctions — at the level of philosophical abstraction — can be derived from this proposition. For the progressive, it represents the purest expression of history’s “moral arc“. For the Conservative (or, more desperately, the Reactionary), it describes an unfolding historical catastrophe. For the Neoreactionary, it indicates a problem in need of theorization. Moldbug lays out the problem in this (now classic) formulation:

Cthulhu may swim slowly. But he only swims left. Isn’t that interesting?

In the history of American democracy, if you take the mainstream political position (Overton Window, if you care) at time T1, and place it on the map at a later time T2, T1 is always way to the right, near the fringe or outside it. So, for instance, if you take the average segregationist voter of 1963 and let him vote in the 2008 election, he will be way out on the wacky right wing. Cthulhu has passed him by.

Where is the John Birch Society, now? What about the NAACP? Cthulhu swims left, and left, and left. There are a few brief periods of true reaction in American history — the post-Reconstruction era or Redemption, the Return to Normalcy of Harding, and a couple of others. But they are unusual and feeble compared to the great leftward shift.

The specific Moldbuggian solution to this problem, whether approached historically through the Ultra-Calvinism Thesis, or systemically through the analysis of the Cathedral, invokes a dynamic model of Occidental religious modernization. The irreversible bifurcations, symmetry breaks, or schisms that lock Western modernity into its “great leftward shift” correspond to successive episodes of cladistic fission within Protestant Christianity (abstractly understood). The religious history of modernity is constituted by a degenerative ratchet (as touched upon here, 1, 2, 3).

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September 2, 2014admin 72 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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The Problem of Democracy

Recent discussions (on Twitter, primarily) have convinced me of the need for a ‘Neocameralism for Dummies’ post, providing a succinct introduction to this genre of political theory. The importance of this is obvious if Neocameralism is conceived as the central, and defining pillar of Neoreaction. In preparation for this task, however, it is necessary to revisit the socio-historical diagnosis from which Neocameralism emerged (in the work, of course, of Mencius Moldbug). That requires a brief prolegomenon addressing the NRx critique of democracy, focusing initially on its negative aspect. Neocameralism is introduced as a proposed solution to a problem. First, the problem.

Government is complicated. If this thesis seems implausible to you, it is probable that you will have great difficulties with everything to follow. It would take another (and quite different) post to address objections to this entire topic of discussion which take the approximate form “Government is easy, you just find the best man and put him in charge!” All social problems are easy if you can ‘just’ do the right thing. Infantile recommendations will always be with us.

There are two general lines of democratic apologetics. The first, and politically by far the strongest, is essentially religious. It too is best addressed by a post of its own, themed by Moldbug’s ‘Ultra-Calvinist Hypothesis’. For our purposes here we need only suggest that it is quite satisfactorily represented by Jacques Rousseau, and that its fundamental principal is popular sovereignty. From the NRx perspective, it is merely depraved. Only civilizational calamities can come from it.

The second line of apology is far more serious, theoretically engaging, and politically irrelevant. It understands democracy as a mechanism, tasked with the solemn responsibility of controlling government. Any effective control mechanism works by governing behavior under the influence of feedback from actual performance. In biology, this is achieved by natural selection upon phenotypes. In science, it is achieved by the experimental testing of theory, supported by a culture of open criticism. In capitalist economics, it is achieved by market evaluation of products and services, providing feedback on business performance. According to systems-theoretical defenses of democracy, it works by sensitizing government to feedback from voters, who act as conductors of information from actual administrative performance. This is the sophisticated liberal theory of democracy. It explains why science, markets, and democracy are often grouped together within liberal ideologies. (Bio-Darwinism, naturally, is more safely neglected).

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August 9, 2014admin 31 Comments »
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Chaos Patch (#21)

(Open thread.)

Some bits and pieces, which everyone if of course free to ignore:

Commercialization of war (video). This trend seems to be huge.

The (first) Age of Unqualified Reservations has now formally passed: “I think it’s clear that UR has gone on de facto hiatus, so it seems best to adhere to my own philosophy and make it official. … UR will reemerge, of course. But not here, and not soon – and probably not even in this form. I’ll also try to do something non-lame with the archives.”

Nydwracu crafts a conceptual tool of great value.

Action at Reddit.

William Gibson and Hyperstition (or not): “… was Gibson just a smart reader of the way things were already going, or — as Jack Womack suggested in the afterword to the novel’s 2000 re-issue — has ‘the act of writing it down, in fact, brought it about?'”

Alain de Benoist interviewed.

Either an extraordinary techno-scientific breakthrough, or not. (This, I’m supremely confident, isn’t.)

Singularity won’t save us (a conclusion I share, for entirely different reasons).

My Russian isn’t good enough to understand what the hell is going on in this, but NYC looks spectacular even when it’s teeming with Slavo-fascists.

Hate.

August 3, 2014admin 41 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Chaos
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