The formulation of this concept was a building-block moment for NRx, but the trend in its usage has been dismally regressive. Apparently devised as a tool for the analysis of social identities, it is increasingly invoked as a rallying-cry for neotribalism. From the perspective of Outside in, it will soon become entirely toxic unless it is dramatically clarified.

Nydwracu initially employs the word ‘thede’ to designate the substance of group identity, “a superindividual grouping that its constituent individuals feel affiliation with and (therefore?) positive estimates of.” Thedes are multiple, overlapping, sometimes concentric, and honed by antagonistic in-group/out-group determinations. They are seen as following from the understanding that “Man is a social animal.” Ideological arguments disguise thede conflicts. At this level of abstraction, there is little to find objectionable.

In his essay on Natural Law, Jim writes:

Man is a rational animal, a social animal, a property owning animal, and a maker of things. He is social in the way that wolves and penguins are social, not social in the way that bees are social. The kind of society that is right for bees, a totalitarian society, is not right for people. In the language of sociobiology, humans are social, but not eusocial. Natural law follows from the nature of men, from the kind of animal that we are. We have the right to life, liberty and property, the right to defend ourselves against those who would rob, enslave, or kill us, because of the kind of animal that we are.

Occupying a band of group integration between ants and tigers, humans have intermediate sociality. Even the tightest mode of human social organization is loose relative to an ant colony, and even the loosest is tight relative to a solitary feline. In human societies, neither collectivity nor individuality is ever absolute, and — even though these ‘poles’ are commonly exaggerated for polemical purposes — they realistically apply only to a range of group integrations (which is both narrow and significantly differentiated). To say that “man is a social animal” does not mean that collectivity is the fundamental human truth, any more than the opposite. It means that man is a creature of the middle (and the middle has a span).

Insofar as a thede corresponds to a unit of autonomous, reproducible social organization, it is a far narrower concept than the one Nydwracu outlines. A thede is an ethnicity if it describes a real — rather than merely conventional — unit of human population. This is, of course, to exclude a great variety of identity dimensions, including sex, sexual orientation, age, interests, star signs … as well as some of those Nydwracu mentions (musical subcultures and philosophical schools). Generalization of ‘thedes’ to include all self-conscious human groupings risks diffusion into frivolous subjectivism (and subsequent re-appropriation for alternative purposes).

If the analysis of thedes begins with the recognition that man is a social animal, it is a grave error to immediately expand the scope of the concept to groups such as women, lesbians, dog-lovers, and black metal fans, since none of these correspond to biologically-relevant social groupings. If this is the way the notion is to be developed, this blog takes the first off-ramp into more biorealist territory. There are quite enough of such ‘thedes’ to be found already in university literature and grievance studies departments. ‘Thedism’ of this kind is simply intersectionality with a slight right-wing skew. It has no cladistic function, unless as degenerate metaphor.

As a reliable heuristic, only those groupings which are plausible subjects of secessionist autonomization should be considered thedes. Any group that could not imaginably be any kind of micro-nation has only intra-thedish identity. More darkly, a thede — ‘properly’ speaking — is necessarily a potential object of genocide. (To argue this way is to depart radically from the usage Nydwracu recommends. It is not an attempt to wrest control of the word, but only to explain why it seems so basically impaired. This post will be the last time it is mangled here.)

Rigorization of thede analysis in the direction of real ethnicities would also require the abandonment of attempts to assimilate classes to thedes, although class identities can mask thedes, and operate as their proxies. Between New England and Appalachia there is a (real) thede difference between ethnic populations, encrusted with supplementary class characteristics. Used strictly in this way, the idea of a thede does theoretical work, and uncovers something. It exposes the subterranean ethnic war disguised by class stratification. When merely used to classify generic social identities, on the other hand, it thickens the fog, pandering to the social constructivist mentality. Tribes and classes cannot be absorbed into a single super-concept without fatal loss of meaning. It is impossible to belong to a class in anything like the same sense that one can belong to an (ethnic) thede, unless class is a cover. Class stratification is primarily intra-thedish and trans-thedish. It is the way a population is organized, not a population itself.

Religious difference, in contrast, are typically thedish. By far the most important example, for the internal dissensions of NRx, and for the Occident in general, is the split between Catholic and Reformed (Protestant) Christianity. There are real (autonomously reproducible) Catholic and Protestant populations, and thus true thedes. Either could be wholly exterminated without the disappearance of the other. Furthermore, the way in which ‘thedishness’ is comprehended varies systematically between them. On strictly technical grounds, it is tempting to counter-pose high-integrity to low-integrity social arrangements, but that is to give away too much ammunition for free. (This is to depart into a different discussion, but one that is already overdue. (Alongside other obvious references, Nydwracu points to this))

Ethnicities correspond to real populations, and to cladistic structures. ‘Thedes’ as presently formulated do not. Ironically, this denotational haziness (super-generality) of the thede concept lends itself to usages guided by extremely concrete connotations, with a distinctive Blut und Boden flavor. Usage of the word ‘identity’ (at least, on the right) has exactly the same characteristics. This blog is done with the ‘thede’ concept unless its meaning is drastically tidied up.

Note: Where this post wanted to go, when it set off, was closer to the ‘dogs vs cats’ debate, or this:

Yeah there is a huge disconnect between the idea of seasteading as a platform for experimenting with various forms of governance and the reality that the vast majority of people interested in pursuing it are orthodox libertarians who see some kind of anarcho capitalist libertarianism as the inevitable winner in a ‘fair fight’ between political systems. I really think that a belief in libertarianism is linked to a distinctive and relatively rare neurological type, and therefore will never convince the vast majority of people who tend towards a more altruistic and collectivized morality.

It is at least conceivable that neuro-atypical hyper-individualists could establish a micro-nation (or be exterminated). They could therefore lay claim to thedish identity, although in a strict sense — that no one wants to use.

ADDED: Since this is my last opportunity to borrow ‘thede’ to mean something with substantial real content (i.e. an autonomous, self-reproducing social unit), it’s worth enumerating some possible thedes, to give a sense of its extension: tribes, ethnic groups (concentrically-ordered), cities, seasteads, space colonies … “What is your thede?” translates as “Who are your people?” — “Stamp collectors” shouldn’t be considered a serious answer.

ADDED: Terminological tidying from Nydwracu —

‘Phyle’ is good.

ADDED: Valuable consolidation (and criticism) at Nydwracu’s place.

October 24, 2014admin 45 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations


45 Responses to this entry

  • Chris B Says:

    Hopefully a biologically based understanding of thedes prevails. It is crucial to any NRx understanding of spontaneous order from a reality based perspective. Anything else is blank slatism in disguise. In addition, biological rooted thedes are vital in respect of correctly criticising WNers as you noted in your question of identity post. It goes like this “all irish, scots, germans and anglos are equal. they are all the same! they are all white”, then later….”all africans, asians and white people are equal, they are all the same! they are human!”
    White nationalism here can be seen as a less “pure” form of progism.


    jatli Reply:

    My ancestors lived in the west of Ireland for about 800 years before migrating to the southern hemisphere, and before that had come from Normandy, but of course Normans were not native French but a glorified armed camp of Norsemen, and beyond that into the past who knows…

    Not sure what to do as far as thedening is concerned then.


    Le Poer Reply:

    Same brother, strange, the invasion with Strongbow? Mine came to Australia around 1800 I believe after living there for generations. We’re probably strangely close kin.


    pythias returns Reply:

    Why is biology so important for group making? Symbolic struggles for the identification and legitimisation of groups – through which groups come to exist as social realities for the individuals that identify with them and outsiders that don’t – may not relate to race at all. The key substrate for the realisation of groupness is, following Bourdieu, similarities in ways of perceiving, evaluating and acting in the world (habitus), not race. This isn’t to say that the two cannot coincide (biologically isolated communities tend also to be culturally isolated). But the key basis of group identity is not biological but social or cultural affinity. This is surely the base material for the political work of symbolic struggle to work on.


    Chris B Reply:

    “key basis of group identity is not biological but social or cultural affinity” – this flows from biology. Biology also acts as a capture basin. Race may not be the all determining cut off point in all case, but in lots of situations it is. Pick up a papua new guinean baby and rais them in a western country, and you will notice the difference in behavior and habits.


    admin Reply:

    Ethnicity is bio-cultural. The historical transmission of hereditary substance is guided by the kinship system (culture). Opposition of biology to social order tends, therefore, to be misleading. Is outbreeding, for example, biological or cultural? Surely — and obviously — both.


    Erebus Reply:

    This line of thought can be extended in a way I find very interesting.

    We’re on the verge of having the ability to edit and manipulate the human genome with relative ease. If the technology advances faster than the legislature — as well it might — there may soon be a relatively large class of people divorced, to some greater or lesser extent, from their biological roots. Their capabilities could differ from those of unmodified humans in highly significant ways. (It’s also worth mentioning that epigenetic modification is even easier than genome editing, and that this is something that can be done today. See, for example, crebinostat.) Even if genetic manipulation is banned worldwide before it becomes commonplace, it seems extremely probable, for obvious reasons that are not worth getting into, that a genetically-enhanced class shall nonetheless emerge. So any biologically-based understanding of thedes might soon need to make room for the biologically-enhanced. If this comes to pass, it would introduce a few interesting variables — and it might supersede all previous paradigms.


    admin Reply:

    Quite. Although this is at least as realistically conceived as a modernization of biology (transmission of the genome into the epoch of technoplasticity).


    scientism Reply:

    As long as it remains the decision of parents and not the state, I’d say genetic engineering maintains biological roots. “I have my mother’s nose” vs. “I have the nose my mother wanted me to have.”


    Erebus Reply:

    What if your decidedly average mother decided to tweak your genes in less conventional ways? What if she wanted you to have a weakly-superhuman memory? Or what if she nullified MSTN and increased the expression of AMPK, thereby optimizing your physique and your metabolism? (Which doesn’t seem like a bad strategy.) What if she decided to modulate your temperament and disposition by mildly interfering with the expression of MAOA, MAOB, and/or SERT?

    …These things are actually easier to manipulate via genetic engineering than the shape of your nose, and they can result in fundamental physiological and mental changes. In cases such as this, even though the impetus may come from one’s mother, I’d say that biological roots have very little to do with it.

    scientism Reply:

    @Erebus I see it as shifting genetic inheritance to cultural inheritance – your genes now reflect your parents’ values rather than your parents’ genes. To that extent, I wouldn’t say it’s divorcing people from their biological roots. However, you need a well-ordered society for the notion of enhancement to be clear; under progressivism it would probably lead to a chaos (then again, under progressivism, you’re not supposed to respect your biological roots anyway). For example, there was a case some time ago where deaf parents were trying to defend their right to select for a deaf child. But parents seeking enhanced status for their children is normal and, although it’d probably lead clannishness among the enhanced, I don’t think it’d necessarily be at the expense of their biological roots.

    Erebus Reply:

    I haven’t looked at it from that perspective before, and I believe that you’re right. At least in most cases, and in the near-future.

    …With that said, I believe that the penultimate question shall always be: Shall I truly modify my child? The ultimate question would then be: Shall I endeavor to make it more or better than human? If both questions have been answered in the affirmative, I believe that there are certain universal or nearly-universal values — or, rather, enhancements — which people of diverse biological backgrounds shall attempt to impart to their children. Two of the most obvious are increases in health and in intelligence.

    Health is strongly associated with longevity, so let’s suppose that a normal parent wants to impart to his or her child an enhanced, weakly superhuman lifespan. This should be trivially possible: We already know of dozens of genes that are implicated in aging and the regulation of longevity, such as the FOXO group, MTOR, LMNA and the associated SIRTs, TERT, etc. In theory, one would want to dampen expression of MTOR and its downstream products, and amplify the expression of FOXO, the sirtuins, etc. (Perhaps the easiest way to do this would be to silence the negative regulators of these ‘positive’ genes.) This sort of genetic modification is emphatically not a problem — and it’s very plausible that if you fire on all cylinders, modifying all lifespan-related genetic targets, radical life-extension shall result.

    The interesting thing is that the lifespan genes also have an awful lot to do with metabolism, and this sort of genetic modification will necessarily result in tremendous metabolic consequences. Lifespan-engineered humans will be far shorter and slighter than average, leaner than average, their muscles will be of a predominantly oxidative/slow-twitch phenotype, they’ll have markedly improved insulin sensitivity, it’s very likely that their PPAR genes will not function normally, and so forth. Lifespan-engineered humans will be very different from their parents; they’ll be very different from what they would have been had they simply inherited their genes; they may constitute a unique biological thede if there are enough of them. (Especially as they enter their ninth or tenth decade of life, rather spryly!)

    And this is among the simplest possible examples: We’re looking at optimizing one, and only one, outcome. Even in this simple case, the modified persons will be recognizably different from baseline humans. It’s more than likely that real-world cases of genetic enhancement shall eventually become much more extreme — especially given the potentially recursive nature of intelligence enhancement. (To say nothing of the fact that we cannot know how entities of greater-than-human intelligence will view their cultural inheritance.)

    …Ah, in any case, I’d wager that we’re all going to look like Charlie Stross’s Vile Offspring sooner or later. In other words, divorced utterly from our biology.

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    A purely biological understanding of thedes would seem to be both uninteresting and rather useless. The evolution of humans to invent increasingly abstract, artificial, fluid, and (finally) self-chosen thedes seems to me to be the entire story.


    Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 9:09 am Reply | Quote
  • Handle Says:

    “to give a sense of its extension: tribes, ethnic groups (concentrically-ordered), cities, seasteads, space colonies … “What is your thede?” translates as “Who are your people?” — “Stamp collectors” shouldn’t be considered a serious answer.”

    Maybe, but I’m surprised you left out theological or ideological affiliations, or any other intellectually synthetic and trumping substitute for thede-bases rooted in common heritage or predicament. If “Mormon” or “Social Justice Warrior” is not an acceptable answer to “Who are your people,” then the concept has been drained of too much power and descriptive accuracy of spontaneous and robust social affiliation (not to mention the binding agent of Schmittean identification of mutual friends and enemies).

    And in that sense, it’s not quite clear to me at what point a community defined around any obsessive hobby that becomes a social organizational principle and lifestyle-center-of-gravity deepens sufficiently to warrant thedish characterization. However, if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that the threshold is whether the perception of the value of the sub-culture commonality is so high that it would motivate the group to exit (in place isolation or otherwise) from the distinct mainstream society if 1. It’s feasible and 2. It’s necessary – perhaps in response to persecution of some sort – in order to preserve the ability of participants to continue to experience the subculture and dedicate their lives to such.


    admin Reply:

    You’re right on Mormons, but surely not about SJWs (who have yet to even approach the status of a self-reproducing population). I had hoped my previous brief remarks on the thedish character of major religious clades had sketched a basic criterion. (Isn’t the notion of “common predicament” which you offer actually broad enough to embrace it?).


    Scharlach Reply:

    More darkly, a thede — ‘properly’ speaking — is necessarily a potential object of genocide.

    There’s they key test. If, e.g., a group of Aztec warriors traveled to America and killed all the Mormons in Utah and the surrounding states, they will have decimated what has been for 200 years a relatively stable, self-contained breeding community (though one that has not quite reached the level of “ethnicity”). In contrast, if a group of Aztec warriors traveled to America and killed all the self-professed Social Justice Warriors in all the states, well, that would include killing individuals from groups as disparate as blacks and Asians, but in no sense would a larger “thede” be affected.

    Steves and the others are right that social in-groups and out-groups of a lower, non-biological order are important, but Admin is absolutely right that we shouldn’t confuse these lower-order divisions with thedes. When we must address lower-order social divisions, use other words: groups, associations, bands, troops, factions, what have you.

    If I remember correctly, Goulding made this same point when the term “political tribe” was getting thrown around a lot.


    Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 11:03 am Reply | Quote
  • Thedes | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 11:31 am Reply | Quote
  • scientism Says:

    On this account, isn’t “white” a kind of (anti-)thede? I mean, “white” is the category of people who aren’t allowed to decide who their children marry. It’s a category of enforced outbreeding. So it is defined as a biological category, but it’s not self-replicating. It’s intentionally non-self-replicating.


    Scharlach Reply:

    Northern Europeans are very outbred, but the reality is that most stay within the Northern European thede. Inter-racial marriage rates among whites, even in America, are still in the low single digits.


    scientism Reply:

    What I mean is, the specific category “white”, in its modern usage, is used to denote those people who are constrained by the precepts of political correctness. One of the central precepts is that white people must not discriminate. So while actual rates of outbreeding might not be great, “whites” are not supposed to care about who their children marry. They’re supposed to accept anything (not just racially, but in terms of class, gender, sexuality, background, etc). WNs have adopted “white” as an identity, but in general usage it’s those people who are expected to conform to poltiical correctness. Non-whites can impose whatever restrictions on intermarriage they want. Moreover, it’s self-identified white people who enforce these norms. So, in that sense, it’s a kind of autogenocidal antithede.


    Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 2:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    *Used strictly in this way, the idea of a thede does theoretical work, and uncovers something. It exposes the subterranean ethnic war disguised by class stratification. When merely used to classify generic social identities, on the other hand, it thickens the fog, pandering to the social constructivist mentality. Tribes and classes cannot be absorbed into a single super-concept without fatal loss of meaning. It is impossible to belong to a class in anything like the same sense that one can belong to an (ethnic) thede, unless class is a cover*

    I’m not sure there is a coherent definition of class that is separable from ethnicity. In practice, of course, the upper classes just *are* different ethnicities because of conquest and cross-thedish marriage (it is the highest and the lowest classes that are most likely to breed outside the thede, and also the constituent parts of the high-low alliance, probably not coincidentally). Also in practice, as Gregory Clark has been discovering, the upper class is continually engaged in the process of genetically/ethnically replacing the lower class. So genocide isn’t a meaningful distinction between ethnicity and classes–class genocide just happens to be slower and more indirect.

    That ‘classes’ are often really ethnicities isn’t a distinction either. Classes often masquerade as “ethnicities.” It is extremely common for the upper strata to imagine themselves biologically separate, to create a separate ethnic origin myth, and generally to carry on as if they were a separate, superior ethnicity even when it isn’t really so.

    You say that religious differences are intelligible because they usually reduce to ethnic differences. In reality, the opposite is probably more true. Religions create ethnicities. Mormons are an example. HBDchick argues that Northwest Europeans are another example. To the extent that Islam spread Arab cousin marriage patterns across the Middle East, it also created an ethnicity.

    You say that “only those groupings which are plausible subjects of secessionist autonomization should be considered thedes.” This definition isn’t very useful because it relies on the inherently vague ambiguity of “plausible.” No one knew if the Jews were really capable of nationhood until they formed one. It seems to me that religious identities, ideological identities, and class identities are all capable of being robust enough to allow the formation of separate polities if the conditions are right. Look at the aristocrats settling maryland as some kind of paradise of country estates, and then making an actual settlement of it by necessity. Determinations of “plausibility” will always be political, because identifying a thede as plausible is to cement the identity that makes secession plausible. If you were to be rigorous about your definition of thede and rigorous about what constitutes secession–was Scotland really thinking about secession, or just looking to redraft its relation with the real sovereign, the EU?–then arguably you come to the conclusion that the West has only one thede. Depending on what you think about international systems, maybe the whole world. I certainly hope not.

    [By the way, you really need to read Wright’s Golden Oecumene. It is not unflawed. But it is almost meant specifically for someone like you. I predict that you will absolutely love some parts and have tons of ideas sparked by them, and absolutely hate others]

    Conclusion: social identity isn’t rigorous, so I don’t think thede should be or can be. It is probably impossible to construct a rigorous definition of social identity.

    But to the extent we need one, I’d offer that a thede is any non-random partially enduring cluster of breeding pairs. In other words, a thede is about how likely it is for a group to marry within the group. Thedes are always relative by this definition, and they stack. Clannish groups have more highly grained thedification than non-clannish. Classes can be thedes. Religions can be thedes. Ideologies can be thedes. (In the US, they are thedes. I predict a civil war as a result). Generations can be thedes. By this definition, a thede is basically the same thing as Steve Sailer’s ‘race’–a partially inbred population–but without the baggage. It also adds a predictive element. Someone is in your thede is they are more likely to form part of your descendant’s ancestry, or if you believe they are.


    admin Reply:

    While some quibbling possible (but not obvious at this point), your definition of a thede is fully acceptable to me. It seems to exclude what seems in need of exclusion (parasitic or merely intra-thedal identity sets), while keeping what is necessary — and the emphasis on prospective descendants is an excellent contribution.

    Also, thanks for the book recommendation — I’ll try to follow it up ASAP.


    Lesser Bull Reply:


    * Someone is in your thede IF they are more likely to form part of your descendant’s ancestry, or if you believe they are.*


    MarkOfGnon Reply:

    “A thede is any non-random partially enduring cluster of breeding pairs.”

    This is a solid definition.

    One of the most useful things about the thede is that it lets NRx interpret class signalling disguised as ideology. Forget regions; think vaguely liberal West Side vs staunchly Republican/conservative suburbs vs helot/dalit east side. Redefining a thede in a way which loses this would be a loss. Dampier’s analysis of class-thede war in NYC was brilliant and relies on that definition. The fact that classes tend to extend their existence on a biological level has been way too overlooked. But the fact is that no class can survive on its own without some members becoming workers and new classes forming.

    SJW’s might not be a thede (yet). But progs certainly are. So are red-staters (or equivalent). They’ll probably marry each other. They’ll raise their kids with the “right” values. They have gang signs and taboos. Hell, even gun-lovers tend to make their kids into gun-lovers.

    As a heuristic: if the definition of thede doesn’t apply to a) religions, b) Progs, c) classes, then it doesn’t seem very useful. We should make use of the NRx paradigm.

    Ethnicity: A thede (see above) which has biological and social independence and whose annihilation would be considered a genocide.

    Fr. Matthew Raphael Johnson did a good job with approaching the question of what defines ethnicity. He comes to the conclusion that common heritage matters because that is why an ethny has common signals and social trust. The most enduring ethnic groups are the ones which have suffered together. That’s why Ukrainians and Jews will still be around in two hundred years, barring total physical annihilation.


    Chuck Reply:

    “But to the extent we need one, I’d offer that a thede is any non-random partially enduring cluster of breeding pairs. ”

    This is called a “deme”.

    “By this definition, a thede is basically the same thing as Steve Sailer’s ‘race’–a partially inbred population–but without the baggage.”

    Sailer’s races are not demes. They are bred, not breeding, populations. This confusion illustrates why we are fond of the (informationally) loaded term “race”. It’s cladistically informative e.g., “race de noble”. It reminds us that we are discussing ancestry, not (necessarily) descendancy — or at least it calls to mind the distinction.

    But what’s a thede? The compression of “thede” into “deme” involves too much dimensional loss. New York city is a deme, strictly understood. Is it, therefore, a thede? (No.)


    Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 2:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • JS Says:

    I’d say your thede is your replicator stack of genes, memes, and strategies. Memes ride on genes and strategies are subsets of memes, This roughly translates to race, culture/ethnicity, and religion. Your thede is what you owe your loyalty to in order for it to survive (gnon commands loyalty). As for say, SJWs who aren’t loyal to their replicator stack, they are in rebellion against gnon and will be destroyed. Someone who doesn’t identify with their actual replicator stack are abnormal, deranged, disordered, disloyal, and unimportant for they won’t be around for long, and those whose loyalty coincides with their actual history are the only ones who matter.


    admin Reply:



    Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 2:53 pm Reply | Quote
  • R. Says:

    The kind of society that is right for bees, a totalitarian society, is not right for people. In the language of sociobiology, humans are social, but not eusocial.

    So far.

    However, the advent of DNI might change all that.

    Groups of people who can implicitly trust each other and never worry about all the BS…dangerous to fuck with them.


    Ghostlike Reply:

    I like this remark very much (assuming DNI means Direct Neural Interface.) The implication of reciprocal mind reading is trust.


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    might not be human anymore, for every human is inherently untrustworthy, et tu, Brutus?


    Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 3:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    Maybe the discussion needs to be reframed.

    Social groupings are ambiguous because they exist on a lot of different axes. People need to make all sorts of different predictions, and these groupings can be understood as answers to the different questions. “Who are my children likely to marry?” “Who will come to my defense if I’m attacked by X? by Y?” “Who will help me attack X in form Y with justification Z? With justification W?” In form T?” “Who can I trade with in an atmosphere of trust?” “Who can I trade with, without the trust?” “Who follows the same social norms as me in sphere X? In sphere Y?” “Who will cooperate with me in my preferred forms of play?” “Who will reinforce and admire my admiration for X?” The list is almost infinite.

    You suggest that the thede question is “what groups are plausible candidates for Patchwork polities?” Isn’t that a useless question? We aren’t in a position to select groups for the Patchwork, so there is no possible standard of “plausibility” for us to use. Or, if we want to know which groups are likely to form patchwork entities on their own, the answer is ‘none,’ given present conditions.

    Perhaps people who use the term thede will clarify what they use it for.

    1. Is it used as just a synonym for ‘race’ or ‘ethnicity’? If so, that could be useful, because it allows discussion without the baggage.

    2. Is it used to mean something like “the most important of the groupings to which you belong, the one that sees itself or ought to see itself as, and is, in competition with other groupings at the most basic level (biology, resources, violence)?” This definition needs refining, but maybe it has some explanatory power. One’s thede would depend a lot on one’s perception of the threats the social grouping faced, and one’s choice to tie one’s lot to the social grouping or not (it also depends on the context–when the primary conflict you are having is within your kinfolk, your brothers may be your thede and your cousin not. But when the threat comes from an outside tribe, your cousin is now thedish). This definition is helpful, because race and biology are just realities, but its still indisputably true that imagined communities are a real human thing, even if the left takes this reality to the point of absurdity. So an Italian artillerist who converted to Islam to make huge bank and mucho harem from the Sultan is racially and biologically an Italian, but thedishly an Ottoman. Within the Ottoman thede, he thedishly may be part of the war faction, or maybe part of the cosmopolitan grouping that accepts Italian converts, as opposed to the “Country” party. If that isn’t what thede means, it still would be useful to have a word that meant that.

    3. Or maybe ‘thede’ means something like ‘imagined community that has a biological/racial basis.” It’s the intersection of the two primary sources of identity, the biological one and the imagined/chosen one. I kinda get the sense that this is how NRxers use the term. I think that may be how uses the term. That’s different from race because it means that people from other races can still be part of the thede if they accept the thede as their identity and if there aren’t too many of them. I think there are strong parallels to Steve Sailer’s citizenism. I think it makes sense of the old phrase ‘that’s white of you,’ when applied to non-whites, or even when applied to whites. I think America was never an ethnostate but wasn’t a proposition nation either: it was a thede country. Thedocentrism is probably the closest that NW Europeans and especially Anglo-Americans can come to ethnocentrism. By this definition of thede, Kipling is probably the quintessential thede poet. “You’re a better man than I, Gunga Din” is about accepting an ethnic inferior into the thede when he bravely serves the goals of a white English regiment.

    This last definition of thede parallels my corrollary to Steve Sailer’s definition of race pretty well.

    Steve Sailer: A race is a partially inbred population (or what people think is a partially inbred population).

    Lesser Bull’s corrollary: your race is also who you think you or your kids will inbreed with.

    Today’s thede, sense #3, is basically the same as my corollary to Sailer’s race definition. Today’s thede becomes tomorrow’s race.


    Lesser Bull Reply:

    On further review, I’m not sure sense 2 is any different from sense 3. It would be pretty rare, almost a sign of dysfunction, if one’s core imagined community were different from the group you thought you would be having children with or your children would be having children with. The Italian artillerist who has thrown in with the Turks certainly is planning on having lots of little Ottoman babies with his four Ottoman wives.


    nydwracu Reply:

    Or maybe ‘thede’ means something like ‘imagined community that has a biological/racial basis.” It’s the intersection of the two primary sources of identity, the biological one and the imagined/chosen one. I kinda get the sense that this is how NRxers use the term. I think that may be how uses the term.

    Theden’s (originally-intended, but implying a project too difficult to really be undertaken yet) sense is more along the lines of (multiple, because empire) nationalism.

    See also: Usonian Futurism.


    Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 4:04 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    Two more thoughts:

    Thanks to Admin for focusing attention on the sloppy way Thede has been used. Very Confucian/Aristotelian. I approve.

    Second, please everybody go re-read Nydwracu’s original formulation of the concept of thede. It’s the first link in the post.


    Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 4:52 pm Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    Well said. Religions do function as real overthedes, as sort of ‘spiritual cities’ in which different thedes may actually come together and perhaps form new thedes. But it only works if the religion itself is strong enough to be a thede – a concrete, self reproducing, self organizing social unit. If not, it will just cause chaos.

    Christianity in its ancient form starts with the concept of adoption, and the adoption is marked by the infusion of blood and flesh from the parent. The community does not pass via ideas (though the ideas certainly act as its outermost boundary) but via being passed down from generation to generation. This became necessary because only those with responsibility for their families (parishes, flocks, etc) could at all be trusted to not pervert the teaching, since to do so would be to risk their patrimony. Such overseers or high priests (we commonly employed the term ‘bishop’) are the real ‘fathers’ (spiritually) of the community. As it was said, “where the Bishop is, there the Church is.”

    Attempts to turn Christianity into an ideology (and I said this before) utterly strip it of its concrete thedish aspects, and can only simulate them (via ‘remembrances’ and such) but I think this could happen to any religion. Christianity just happens to be the strongest horse, so everyone is looking to duplicate its strengths.

    Thus the idea of the Church itself as The City of God (or the City of Zion) makes sense philosophically; cities are places where distinct thedes can be together, with or without mixing, but if there is a place where they can mix safely (without causing race wars) it would be there. In ancient times Cities were also synonymous with Kings – now, not so grand a king as we would think of but more like a lord or master. The geographic nature of the city allows the meeting of near-thedes and helps prevent toxic distrust (a prole way of utilizing thede.)

    However, I think you can only have one of each; a biological thede and a spiritual thede. There can be hierarchical aspects to them but if they are multiple one WILL win out and take over. To this end, latter Jewish identity was tweaked (it’s not inherent to their thede) to dominate as an identity even when the thede itself was weak. Far from being a principle of invasion, it’s more likely a principle of survival. One must understand that from the early centuries of Christianity the Jewish population was nearly wiped out by conversion to Christianity. This I believe is the real root of the belligerence between the parties; Christianity is the next ‘evolution’ of the ancient Israelite religion (with temple and synagogue) and the then-Judaism an evolutionary dead end.

    Modern Christians try to put Christ in the frame of being a revolutionary, but he is in fact a counter-revolutionary; he consistently comes to REMOVE the Jewish reforms that were made (on the one hand) and to reinstate traditions that other groups (the temple – torah group called Sadducees) discarded.

    The drama is that they wish, no, demand, that he be their revolutionary leader. But he makes certain that it is clear that he is their king, and that they have in fact rejected their king. They have a revolution later without him, and are ruthlessly crushed by the mighty arm of Rome.

    Hyper-thedishness seems to always invite revolutions, as there are always unequal relationships between thedes; the OT is rife with great models for how this happens (consider the tribes that made up Israel, and even the different groups that made up Persia/Assyria.) A leftish mindset in thede can say “thede equality” just like a leftish mindset in individuality can say “individual equality”.

    Anyway I have to write the post on FRATERNITY, these are stray thoughts. Thanks for the post admin


    Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 4:53 pm Reply | Quote
  • whyvert Says:

    The notion of territoriality is a big absence from this discussion.

    “only those groupings which are plausible subjects of secessionist autonomization should be considered thedes.”

    Classically to be a plausible candidate for autonomy one needed to possess a territory whether small (the city walls) or big.

    “tribes, ethnic groups (concentrically-ordered), cities, seasteads, space colonies”

    All have territoriality to some degree or another.


    Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 6:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    From Bob, re: Israel

    Of course this beautiful idea eventually fell apart in practice, so Israel became the most convincing proof ever that socialism cannot work even under the extraordinary conditions of being a voluntary system among ethnically, religiously, culturally, ideologically, and linguistically similar peoples. How then could it possibly succeed in a place like the US, where it can only be forced upon an ethnically, culturally, religiously, linguistically, and ideologically diverse population?



    Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 7:54 pm Reply | Quote
  • peppermint Says:

    maybe no one likes this word because it is not such a good idea. It answers the question “why is NRx not pursuing White Nationalism as an electoral strategy”. Since then, NRx decided that not only are elections toxic, but even thinking about elections causes toxic propaganda. Talking about thedes inherently leads to populist votebanking in the way that talking about classes too much inherently leads to class warfare.

    I don’t want to talk about electoral politics other than to discuss its perverse incentive to iteratively pick on issue as important and then pick a side and then convince yourself that that side is right about everything and anything it doesn’t get right is impossible or undesirable. That means talking about the two sides of electoral politics, and there are two sides. They are called the red team and the blue team. Scott Alexander, not without reason, talks about a grey team that he identifies with; it’s clear that the grey team caucuses with the blue team.


    Posted on October 25th, 2014 at 5:03 am Reply | Quote
  • Dark Psy-Ops Says:

    Hesitant to add more toxic fog to the definition of Thede – the word itself seems irreparably demotic. Anyhow, a Thede, from my understanding, insofar as it is a real emergent (hyper)-individual, is not reducible to its constituent parts (or even the relations between them). Loyalty to a Thede can be measured by actions that increase the fitness of the whole, and the fitness of the whole can be (perhaps too circularly) defined as the loyalty of its parts. Loyalty and fitness = reproductive success and the favour of Gnon. Sub-cultures are intra-thedish, but genuinely novel Thedes are the product of cladogenesis which arguably acquires a degree of reflexive purpose amongst aspiring post-human primates. The exit-in-place made possible via virtual territories is a necessary auto-catalyst for Thedic escape velocities but geographic isolation would almost definitely accelerate the process of ‘punctuated equilibrium’ (if only there were enough a-typicals…). Space colonies are an out-breeders paradise, and sea-steading sounds like Autist Utopia. A Thede proper would be impenetrable to entryism as inclusion is not contingent on nomination but rather on high-level productive integration. Hierarchy will follow naturally (and formally) from ancestry, and exile would be the ultimate punishment. (one’s exit is another’s exile). We will hear more of this I’m sure, though the concept isn’t some dialectic free-for-all. In fact, what could be more ‘sinister’ than the longed-for splitting of speciation?

    Unrelated, but I’m also fond of this idea of ‘direct neural interface’.


    Posted on October 25th, 2014 at 9:30 am Reply | Quote
  • ||||| Says:

    Sounds like an application of proximity spaces within a more general genealogical (and fortuitously named) tabu search habitually manifested as proxemics.

    A couple of notes.

    Will try to explain more clearly what I mean later.

    I hate you NRx people. You exponentially increase the amount of reading I want to do.


    Posted on October 25th, 2014 at 10:24 am Reply | Quote
  • Sulla Says:

    The Kurds fighting ISIS are seeking to build a system of “libertarian municipalism”, basically a patchwork (albeit a somewhat socialistic one).


    Posted on October 25th, 2014 at 11:06 am Reply | Quote
  • Roi Says:

    Nydwracus usage makes thedes a useful concept for psychological analysis. You already have the concepts of tribe and ethnicity, but the brain will often treat modern “artificial” identities as if they were connected to group survival.

    For example: thedes are an excellent tool to explain gamergate, with things like ideological nepotism and why gamers have never been the intended audience of Sarkeesian.


    Posted on October 25th, 2014 at 12:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • Thedes and phyles | nydwracu niþgrim, nihtbealwa mæst Says:

    […] Xenosystems: […]

    Posted on October 26th, 2014 at 8:04 am Reply | Quote
  • Lightning Round – 2014/10/28 | Free Northerner Says:

    […] On thedes. Related: Nydwracu responds defining thedes. […]

    Posted on October 29th, 2014 at 5:01 am Reply | Quote
  • Bloodlines | Losing The Creek Says:

    […] thedes even exist among whites in the US today? We can name a few, at least, depending on the definition: Southerners and Mormons appear to be the two most distinct. But for the vast majority of white […]

    Posted on January 29th, 2015 at 8:34 am Reply | Quote

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