Posts Tagged ‘Philosophy’

Quote note (#350)

This paleo-reactionary outline and critique of Moldbug is superbly done, if (of course) fundamentally unconvincing to those of a Tech-Comm persuasion. In particular, it’s hard to imagine a more incisive series of feature-not-bug points than this one:

That, then, covers the main aspects and positive sides of Moldbug’s thought. But now it is time to point out his many shortcomings. […] All of them ultimately flow from three things: 1) his “reservationist epistemology” which denies a place for sources of knowledge outside of “irreducible and untranscendable reason,” 2) his Bodinian (and ultimately Roman) conception of sovereignty, and 3) his Machiavellianism and frequent resort to raison d’etat.

If the conclusion drawn is that Moldbug — all royalist trolling aside — is in fact a consistent Cold Modernist, clarification is served.

April 24, 2017admin 36 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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Slippage

Watch the whole of modern political confusion expose itself in a micro-tremor:

Locke’s commitment both to voluntary religion and voluntary, contractual government are mutually reinforcing. Just as people join and remain in religious communities by their consent, so they enter and sustain political communities. “Men being, as has been said, by Nature all free, equal, and independent,” Locke writes in the Second Treatise, “no one can be put out of this estate and subjected to the political power of another without his own consent.” If the members of a faith community believe their church is failing to uphold its spiritual responsibilities, they have a right to leave — without fear of reprisal. Likewise for a political society: If its members believe the political authority is failing to safeguard their natural rights — their “lives, liberty, and estates” — it forfeits the right to govern.

(XS emphasis.)

“Likewise”? Yet one leaves a church, but replaces a government. The fall from liberty into democracy takes only a single false step. With a little more consistency, the case for Exit-based control of government would have been solidly made centuries ago (intrinsically secure against all Rousseauistic perversion). Still, it’s not too late to do that now.

February 16, 2017admin 36 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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Sentences (#74)

Whatever else time travel may entail, it does not involve changing the past.

— Larry Dwyer (cited here).

September 30, 2016admin 23 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Templexity
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Transcendental Anarchy

This, from NBS, is perfect.

Asked (by Garrett Gray): “What reason is there to think there’s an irreducible anarchy between sovereigns?” he responds —

Suppose there is no anarchy between sovereigns. This means there is a law governing sovereigns. Which means there is a sovereign over the sovereigns. Which means that the sovereigns weren’t sovereign. Which is a contradiction. Therefore there IS anarchy between sovereigns.

This insight is already the solid foundation of IRT, but it’s surprising how few seem to clearly get it.

September 15, 2016admin 92 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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Sentences (#73)

Bakker:

The problem, in a nut shell, is that we are shallow information consumers, evolved to generate as much gene-promoting behaviour out of as little environmental information as possible.

(Read the whole thing everything he’s ever written.)

September 13, 2016admin 60 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Realism
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War is God

Via Landry, an introduction to the “new generation of unrestricted warfare”.

Colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui argued that war was no longer about “using armed forces to compel the enemy to submit to one’s will” in the classic Clausewitzian sense. Rather, they asserted that war had evolved to “using all means, including armed force or non-armed force, military and non-military, and lethal and non-lethal means to compel the enemy to accept one’s interests.” The barrier between soldiers and civilians would fundamentally be erased, because the battle would be everywhere. The number of new battlefields would be “virtually infinite,” and could include environmental warfare, financial warfare, trade warfare, cultural warfare, and legal warfare, to name just a few. They wrote of assassinating financial speculators to safeguard a nation’s financial security, setting up slush funds to influence opponents’ legislatures and governments, and buying controlling shares of stocks to convert an adversary’s major television and newspapers outlets into tools of media warfare. According to the editor’s note, Qiao argued in a subsequent interview that “the first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules, with nothing forbidden.” That vision clearly transcends any traditional notions of war.

How ‘traditional’ are we talking? “War is the Father of all things, and of all things King” (πόλεμος πάντων μὲν πατήρ ἐστι, πάντων δὲ βασιλεύς) Heraclitus asserts at the dawn of philosophy. There seems little indication of ‘restriction’ there.

Whatever the positive semantic associations accumulated by the word ‘war’, its most rigorous meaning is negative. War is conflict without significant constraint. As a game, it corresponds to the condition of unbounded defection, or trustlessness without limit. This is the Hobbesian understanding implicit in the phrase “war of all against all” (bellum omnium contra omnes), in which “the state of nature” is conceived – again negatively – through a notional subtraction of limitation. Treachery, in its game-theoretic sense, is not a minor theme within war, but a horizon to which war tends – the annihilation of all agreement. Reciprocally-excited mutual betrayal in departure from an implicit ‘common humanity’ is its teleological essence. This is a conclusion explicitly rejected by Carl von Clausewitz is his treatise On War, even as he acknowledges the cybernetic inclination to amplification (or “tendency to a limit”) which drives it in the direction of an absolute. “War is the continuation of politics by other means,” he insists, because it is framed by negotiation (book-ended by a declaration of war, and a peace treaty). According to this conception, it is an interlude of disagreement, which nevertheless remains irreducibly communicative, and fundamentally structured by the decisions of sovereign political agencies. Even as it approaches its pole of ultimate extremity, it never escapes its teleological dependency, as a means (or instrument) of rational statecraft.

The reduction of war to instrumentality is not immune to criticism. Philosophical radicalization, alone, suffices to release war from its determination as ‘the game of princes’. The Clausewitzean formula is notoriously inverted by Michel Foucault into the maxim “politics is war by other means”. If political sovereignty is ultimately conditioned by the capability to prevail upon the battlefield, the norms of war can have no higher tribunal than military accomplishment. No real authority can transcend survival, or survive a sufficiently radical defeat. There is thus a final incoherence to any convinced appeal to the ‘laws of war’. The realistic conception of ‘limited war’ subsumes that of ‘war lawfully pursued’ (with the latter categorized as an elective limitation). Qiao’s words bear emphatic repetition: “the first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules, with nothing forbidden.” The power to forbid is — first of all — power, which war (alone) distributes.

Between peace and war there is no true symmetry. Peace presupposes pacification, and that is a military outcome. There is no authority — moral or political — that cannot first assert itself under cosmic conditions that are primordially indifferent to normativity. Whatever cannot defend its existence has its case dumped in the trash.

Cormac McCarthy’s Judge Holden provides us with a contemporary restatement of the ancient wisdom:

Suppose two men at cards with nothing to wager save their lives. Who has not heard such a tale? A turn of the card. The whole universe for such a player has labored clanking to his moment which will tell if he is to die at that man’s hand or that man at his. What more certain validation of a man’s worth could there be? This enhancement of the game to its ultimate state admits no argument concerning the notion of fate. The selection of one man over another is a preference absolute and irrevocable and it is a dull man indeed who could reckon so profound a decision without agency or significance either one. In such games as have for their stake the annihilation of the defeated the decisions are quite clear. This man holding this particular arrangement of cards in his hand is thereby removed from existence. This is the nature of war, whose stake is at once the game and the authority and the justification. Seen so, war is the truest form of divination. It is the testing of one’s will and the will of another within that larger will which because it binds them is therefore forced to select. War is the ultimate game because war is at last a forcing of the unity of existence. War is god.

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May 9, 2016admin 49 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Critique
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Independence

The philosophical antonym to ‘universality‘ is ‘particularity’. Its broader, ideological antonym is something closer to independence.

This isn’t a word greatly emphasized by NRx up to this point, or — for that matter — one figuring prominently in contemporary discussions of any kind. That’s strange, because it orchestrates an extraordinary set of conceptual connections.

Independence is a rough synonym for sovereignty, to begin with. The profound association between these terms bears quite extreme analytical pressure. The sovereign is that instance capable of independent decision. An independent state is indistinguishable from a sovereign one, and to impugn its real sovereignty is to question its effective independence. Secession is a process of independence. A (Moldbuggian) Patchwork is a network of independent geopolitical entities. All relevant trends to geopolitical fragmentation are independence-oriented. Each executed Exit option (even on a shopping expedition) is an implicit declaration of independence, at least in miniature. (The relations between independence and connectivity are subtle and complex.)

Remaining (for a moment) in the narrowest NRx channel, the entire passivism discussion is independence related. Protest (‘activism’) is disdained on account of its fundamental dependency (upon sympathetic political toleration). No social process genuinely directed towards independence would fall within the scope of this criticism. (The ‘Benedict Option’ is one obvious example.) ‘Build something’ epitomizes independence process.

Cannot the entire range of contentions over the individualism / collectivism dyad be recast in terms of independence? Dependency exists on a spectrum, but the defining attitude towards it tends to polarization. Is dependence to be embraced, or configured as a problem to be worked against? This blog is highly tempted to project the Left / Right or ‘principal political’ dimension along the axis these distinct responses define. The Left is enthused by inter-dependency, and (to a greater or lesser extent) accepts comparative independence, while for the Right this attitudinal system is exactly reversed. (The most fundamental tensions within the reactosphere are clearly related to this articulation.)

One inevitable point of contention — honed over decades of objection to libertarianism — is captured by the question: Are not children essentially dependents? Yes, of course they are, but is growing up anything other than a process of independence? From one perspective, a family can be interpreted as a model of inter-dependence (without obvious inaccuracy). Yet, from another, a family is an independence-production unit, both in its comparative autonomy in respect to the wider society, and as a child-rearing matrix. Families are loci of independence struggle (to which the Left response is: They shouldn’t have to be). Dependency culture is the Left heartland.

Independence and autonomy are very closely related terms. All discussions of autonomy, and even of automation, click quite neatly onto this template, but this is a point exceeding the ambitions of the present post.

Abstraction, too, is a topic the tantalizingly overlaps independence. Whether cognitive independence entirely accommodates intelligence optimization is also a question for another occasion.

NRx, XS tentatively proposes, is a political philosophy oriented to the promotion of independence. (Much pushback is, naturally, expected.)

May 3, 2016admin 68 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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Twitter cuts (#59)

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April 12, 2016admin 57 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations
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Quote note (#233)

Alexander Dugin understands the (Tech-Comm) NRx vs HRx antagonism* as well as anyone on earth:

Geopolitically, today’s Europe is an Atlanticist entity. Geopolitics, as envisioned by the Englishman Sir H. Mackinder, asserts that there are two types of civilization – the civilization of Sea (Seapower) and the civilization of Land (Landpower). They are constructed on opposite systems of values. While Seapower is purely mercantile, modernist, and materialist, Landpower is traditionalist, spiritual, and heroic. This dualism corresponds to Werner Sombart’s conceptual pair of Händlres and Helden. Modern European society is fully integrated into the civilization of Sea which manifests itself in the strategic hegemony of North America and NATO.

The Hyperborean agenda: “We need to combat liberalism, refuse it, and deconstruct it entirely. At the same time, we need to do so not in the name of just class (as in Marxism) or in the name of the nation or race (as in fascism), but in the name of the organic unity of the people, social justice, and real democracy.”

Purge Atlanteanism (“Seapower”) of all that, through intensified polarization, and it generates NeoCam Patchwork automatically. Space is the coming sea.

(I guess people are allowed one irritating joke about my name, and then we’re done with that.)

March 21, 2016admin 46 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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A Socratic Fragment

Socrates: Ah, Abyssos, Mechanos, and Agoros, how delightful to have stumbled upon you on this fine day.
Abyssos: No offense Socrates, but could you please buzz off?
Socrates: What a fascinating way to begin a spirited dialectic!
Abyssos: We’re working on something here, Socrates.
Socrates: So then a perfect opportunity for a discussion of the nature of the Good?
Abyssos: Our tri-nodal abstract rotary-dynamic cognitive processor is almost functional, with only a few intricate tweaks left to complete, so we would appreciate the chance to concentrate upon it undisturbed.
Socrates: You would appreciate such a chance?
Abyssos: Yes, indeed.
Socrates: It would, then, be a good thing in your opinion?
Abyssos: Most definitely.
Socrates: Yet you say you would rather think, today, of something other than the Good, and that it would be good to be allowed to do so?
Abyssos: My emphasis was quite different.
Socrates: Quite so, my dear Abyssos, but what indeed is emphasis? Is it not the prioritization of one thing relative to another? The advancement of a meaning deemed most important? And is it not, then, being said that it is better for one thing to be heard, than another?
Abyssos: No doubt you are correct Socrates. Would it be acceptable for me now to concede without reservation to your argument, bid you a warm farewell, and return to the delicate technical work with which I am engaged with my friends?
Socrates: But that which you would pursue, now, rather than the Idea of the Good, Abyssos, is it of a better or worse nature than the Good?
Abyssos: It is hard to know, Socrates, since it is a cognitive engine, and will in our estimation enable us to reach superior conclusions than we could reach now, unaided by it.
Socrates: ‘Superior’, did you say …

March 19, 2016admin 17 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Philosophy
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