The Ruin Reservoir

In the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer notes:

It doesn’t take a genius to see what happens when the entitlement state outgrows the economy upon which it rests. The time of Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, the rest of insolvent social-democratic Europe — and now Detroit — is the time for conservatives to raise the banner of Stein’s Law and yell, “Stop.” You can kick the can down the road, but at some point it disappears over a cliff.

Yes, yes, yes … but. Despite its perfect common sense, the monotony of this message is becoming utterly unbearable. The end isn’t arriving tomorrow. This dreary horror show could last for decades. How many roughly-identical, absolutely obvious, sensible Op Ed columns is it possible to endure? (I’m already way into overtime.)

A reasonable conclusion from the reality of degenerative ratchets is that nothing less than a comprehensive crash makes them stop. Some of the healthier Right-delight over the Detroit implosion is tied to the expectation that bad examples could be educational, but the evidence for that is slender, especially under conditions of sovereign propaganda saturation (the Cathedral). Who are you going to trust, the academic-media complex or your lying eyes? We already know the predominant answer to that question.

When a message is existentially unacceptable to the Cathedral, it will not be heard, and the only messages with substantial reality content are of exactly this kind. True believers will stick with a morbid utopia to the end, since anything truly different would — in any case — count for them as some species of death. For cynics, the calculation is even easier: why unnecessarily shorten looting time? More common still are the poor idiots, who will just do what they’re told (while trying to grab a little feeding trough time), and then be sacrificed. It should already be clear that nobody cares about them, and they’re too defective to care competently for themselves. That’s neither justice nor injustice, but simple reality.

Nobody here is under any illusions about the profound socio-political malignancy given free reign in Detroit, or about the quality of human material over which it held sway, and yet it lasted up to a point that has provoked repeated comparisons with Hiroshima-1945, wrung out to the ugly end (and we haven’t yet seen the end). If we ever doubted that there’s a lot of ruin in a nation, we no longer can. For a city uniquely proficient at suicide, the process lasts half a century, including final, grinding decades, when nothing beyond a zombie parody of what once was still remains. If a uniquely benighted social trash pile can last this long, how far can the world’s most powerful nation spin out its decline? There’s enough time, to be sure, for an Amazon jungle worth of Herbert Stein-inspired Op Eds.

Can-kicking eventually runs out of road, of course, and its only when this truism has become an intolerable, deadening drone that neoreaction begins. Anybody who still needs to hear that message is simply lost. Remedial education cannot be the neoreactionary task (there are libertarian-oriented conservatives for that — and they will fail).

If the Dark Enlightenment cannot end with Stein’s conclusion, but is rather initiated by it, born from the presupposition that this cannot go on forever, how is its guiding topic to be understood? What will it discuss — with what will it occupy itself — amid the deepening ruin, for decades?

As its name indicates, Dark Enlightenment is a creature of late twilight, preparing for a gruesomely protracted night. One object that merits growing fascination is certainly this: the ruin reservoir is deep. As a fact this is easily — and for neoreaction necessarily — acknowledged, but the exploration of its mysteries has still scarcely begun.

July 26, 2013admin 21 Comments »
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21 Responses to this entry

  • cousin rickey's psychic bunion Says:

    math says we are near the end, not decades out. why? debt is rising on an exponential curve. as we walk along the positive x axis, y rises to infinity. the distance we travel along the x axis gets shorter and shorter for y to rise faster and faster. this we experience as the bernank has to pump ever larger sums of fiat cash monies into the sinking ship of state to barely keep it afloat. leviathan is taking on money faster than it can handle. soon entire states will go belly up (what’s the over/under on illinois vs. california being first?). then all hell breaks loose as states jockey to suck the money spigot dry before the entire thing collapses in on itself in an orgiastic singularity of fiscal insanity.

    2-7 years, tops.


    admin Reply:

    I want to believe.

    … I can’t though. Just look at Detroit. Is there any state that even approaches the complete top-to-bottom disaster of that city? Neither California, nor Illinois does, despite the fact that both are incomprehensibly badly run by any civilized standards of responsible government. It’s still falling (after 46 years of installed anarchy). The USSR took 70 years to die. There are deep sources of stability, or decay dampening, that prolong these Left calamities for far longer than seems in any way mathematically conceivable. I think that’s simply a fact, and understanding it is at the very top of any Right-realist intellectual agenda.


    fotrkd Reply:

    math says we are near the end

    Y2033? A neat coincidence you might like admin, if you accept the rule. If it’s common knowledge – apologies – but it’s surely at least worth whiling away a few hours of twilight blogging about it?

    Chinese New Year falls on the day of the second new Moon after the December solstice on approximately December 22. This fails whenever there’s a leap month after the 11th or 12th month. In 2033 it will fail for the first time since 1645 (the last calendar reform).


    Aaron Reply:

    It shouldn’t be contingent on a specific schedule when they are more serious criticisms that can be applied. To put it another way, if the system doesn’t start breaking down in 7 years, does that then mean that we have a good system?

    The system still enjoys widespread support, only bad people question the received narrative, and the narrative spans everything up to and including the failure of Detroit (*spoiler alert*: white people are at fault).


    admin Reply:

    Yes. If there was an election tomorrow in Detroit, who would win? The Harsh Reality Party, or the Fair Hand-Outs for All Party? The question answers itself.


    Anon Guy Reply:

    The debt curve may be exponential but there are a lot of tricks in the book left for the State to use to deal with financial crisis – or I should say, there’s a lot of wealth out there for them to confiscate in one way or another and to put off the day of reckoning. “Bail-ins”, to start – next time there’s a bank crisis, take some portion of the deposits over $100k. There’s all the 401K/IRA money to confiscate by requiring that a portion of it be moved into “safe” treasury bonds. And then there’s good old-fashioned tax increases on “the rich” and on corporations, more fees, inflation moving everyone into higher tax brackets, etc.

    In other words, there’s a lot of wealth in this country for the government to steal when it decides it needs it. And you can bet that the government will do whatever it needs to do and take whatever it needs to take in order to stay in power.

    So it seems true to me that any real serious social reset due to economic collapse is a long, long way off.


    admin Reply:

    — reluctantly agreed. Argentina is a great example of what you say, still somehow afloat, despite chronic textbook abuses of economic reality.
    As world hegemon the USA will crash last, because it has valuable “flight to safety” advantages in addition to the remaining reserves in its ruin reservoir.
    Europe first, then Japan, then the USA.
    Globally, Latin America might be Europe to the disaster line, India is so chaotic no one would know if it had fallen into disaster or not, and China is still on a secular upswing, so even a serious stumble there would just be a correction (which it needs). The Middle East, of course, is just toast floating on non-depleted oil fields.


    Orlandu84 Reply:

    “As world hegemon the USA will crash last, because it has valuable “flight to safety” advantages.”

    I agree with the above, but I would like to add one important consideration: the USG has the world’s best nuclear arsenal and standing army. In discussing economic collapse, we must remember that money is not wealth but a medium of exchanging wealth. For the same reason that inflating the money supply does not add wealth, the USG’s economic position is not dependent on its repayment of loans. Since it is the arbiter of loan repayment, it can change the rules to suit itself. Now I will admit that the Cathedral might very well shoot itself in the foot somehow by making it impossible to repay its loans. I find that scenario less than likely though.

    The USG has, however, a real problem economically speaking. Typically, having a large army allows an empire to steal all the stuff it needs. Need some coal? Go occupy a mountain of coal somewhere. Unfortunately, the USG has so many commitments (i.e. bribes/costs) that it cannot ever hope to steal all the stuff it needs without fiat currency. When a currency collapse sets in, the USG will loose an important leverage tool. For number games with money only requires a few hundred or thousand “experts”; taking the wheat, the oil, and the steal your need requires millions of troops. Still, having a well trained and loyal armed force will allow the USG to thrive for a while after any monetary collapse. It might even improve its relative position. Long term survival would be very difficult since the hinterlands of America and the world would quickly adapt to such obvious theft.

    tl;dr version: Monetary collapse only begins the final chapter of the Cathedral. When its military can’t steal enough to feed itself will be its actual end.

    Michael Reply:

    im not so sure anymore as these pre tremors hit the capitalists they seem forced to seek protection from the state empowering it further. the old saying that when a man owes you a thousand you own him but when he owes you a trillion he owns you. what if the state simply refuses to collapse you think JPM can still dictate terms to the cathedral? no JPM will do as its told and it will be allowed to keep playing in return.for a bubble to burst capital must be able to flee elsewhere there is no elsewhere in the cathedral.


    Posted on July 26th, 2013 at 5:24 pm Reply | Quote
  • Matt Olver Says:

    Krauthammer is most definitely part of the foreign policy problem the U.S. Part of this can-kicking is his neoconservative ideology promoting a vast and aggressive foreign policy of preemptive war.


    admin Reply:

    Sure. But on this occasion he’s simply acting as a conductor for sanity memes.


    Posted on July 27th, 2013 at 12:20 am Reply | Quote
  • Discipline Says:

    That which is falling deserves to be…


    Posted on July 27th, 2013 at 12:52 am Reply | Quote
  • Handle Says:

    The talk of twilight is poetic. It makes me want to make a phrase-length Greek portmanteau out of “The Owl of Minerva Flies Only As Dusk” and the curse of Cassandra to explain what it’s like to be a neoreactionary when Detroits occur.


    Posted on July 27th, 2013 at 12:53 am Reply | Quote
  • Bill Says:

    The clearer and more achievable the goal the better. The smaller the goal the better, at first anyways.

    For instance, an e-pamphlet available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble that contains a persuasive essay(s) that speaks to the needs of the average Cathedralite. It would not have a lot of fancy words, and could be understood by someone with average intelligence well enough to have this normal person be able to summarize the ideas, and then repeat the ideas in Cathedral territory. Think Winnie the Pooh meets Neoreaction in meme sized morsels.

    “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”
    ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

    Neoreactionaries don’t want to go down like Captain Ahab, with our own rope wrapped around our necks, as maniacs chasing truth.


    admin Reply:

    Fiction is probably the best vehicle for that — a new Heinlein.


    Posted on July 27th, 2013 at 1:22 am Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    The Golden Arches Theory of Conflict prevention:


    Posted on July 27th, 2013 at 8:17 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Summers or Janet Yellen as Fed Chairman?

    We’re getting there fast.

    The USSR was NOT in sclerosis for 70 years, not in the State were in for even 7.

    This is summer at Versailles.


    admin Reply:

    My heart is with you, but my head is dragging its feet (so to speak).


    VXXC Reply:

    I’m kinda using head and instincts.

    Instincts aren’t quite the same as heart.

    Mind you my heart is very set against them. My country is in the hands of street criminals with law degrees.


    Posted on July 27th, 2013 at 8:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    This post, along with the this one here, have been occupying me for a while now, specifically:

    “Can-kicking eventually runs out of road, of course, and it’s only when this truism has become an intolerable, deadening drone that neoreaction begins. Anybody who still needs to hear that message is simply lost. Remedial education cannot be the neoreactionary task…”

    Deleuze and Guattari (bear with me) state that, “[y]ou never reach the Body without Organs, you can’t reach it, you are forever attaining it, it is a limit.” It seems to me that the ridiculously high neoreactionary bar (and I think the importance of the neo bit needs repeating – “It introduces a distinctive idea, or abstract topic: that of a degenerative ratchet”) requires you to both fully comprehend the severity of the task and wholly commit to it.

    Comprehension takes the progressive to the threshold and presents a (perceived) choice; dedication without full comprehension leaves the reactionary in danger (at an anticipated point) of becoming the enemy of neoreaction. Both fail to cross the limit, at some time betraying themselves to either fantasy or power. So how does the progressive overcome their fear of (the forever past) reality or the reactionary their resistance to the absolute future? Presumably only through following and combining both of these two paths to Dark Enlightenment. They become equally necessary (even if they are not necessarily proceeded along concurrently). (In less thought out terminology I would link this to (hermaphroditic) time spirals – linear (progressive) time entwined with the cyclical (reactionary)).

    Now to make this more than an exercise in personal clarification, I would suggest this means education is precisely the neoreactionary task (even if it could do without the remedial part). Anyway, just throwing out ideas to keep people busy between now and 2179…


    fotrkd Reply:

    Visual confirmation that I’m on the right lines. JD = (suicidal) reactionary; Veronica = idealistic (doomed) progressive. (Full, free, essential-viewing film here – I jest only slightly).


    Posted on August 6th, 2013 at 9:48 pm Reply | Quote

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