Triumph of the Will?

If it were never necessary to adapt fundamentally to reality, then fascism would be the truth. There could be no limit to the sovereignty of political will.

If — pursuing this thought further into vile absurdity — even tactical concessions were unnecessary, then nothing would obstruct a path of joyous degeneration leading all the way to consummate communism. That, however, is several steps beyond anything that has been seriously advocated for over half a century.

Since the 1920s, communism has been the ideal form of socio-economic impracticality, as evidenced by that fact that whenever communism becomes practical, it becomes — to exactly the same extent — fascist (‘state capitalist’ or ‘Stalinist’). Fascism on the other hand, and as everyone knows, makes the trains run on time. It represents practical subordination of reality to concentrated will.


Fascism understands itself as the politics of the ‘third position’ — between the anti-political hyper-realism of the market on the one (invisible) hand, and super-political communist fantasy on the (clenched-fist) other. The fascism that thrives — most exceptionally in the American tradition through Hamilton, Lincoln, and FDR — is a flexi-fascism, or pragmatic illiberalism, that marries the populist desires of coercive collectivism to a superceded, subordinated, or directed ‘realism’ — grasping economic dispersion as a technocratic management problem under centralized supervision. Insofar as this problem proves to be indeed manageable, the basic fascist intuition is vindicated. Fragmentation is mastered, in a triumph of the will (although we are more likely to call it ‘hope and change’ today).

That fragmentation cannot be mastered is the sole essentially anti-fascist proposition, and also the distinctive thesis of Austrian economics. Whilst deductively obtainable, within the axiomatic system of methodological individualism, it is a thesis that must ultimately be considered empirically sensitive. Fascism can discredit individualist assumptions simply by prolonging itself, and thus practically asserting the superior authority of the social super-organism. Reciprocally, the fragility of collective identities can only be convincingly demonstrated through historical events. It does not suffice to analytically ‘disprove’ the collective — it has to be effectively broken. Nothing less than a totally unmanageable economic crisis can really count against the fascist idea.

Yet, obviously and disturbingly, the predictable political response to a gathering crisis is to slide more deeply into fascism. Since fascism, beyond all brand-complexity, sells itself as ultimate managerial authority — heroic dragon-slayer of the autonomous (or ‘out-of-control’) economy — there is absolutely no reason for this to surprise us. To break fascism is to break the desire for fascism, which is to break the democratic or ‘popular will’ itself — and only a really freed economy, which has uncaged itself, spikily and irreversibly, can do that.

The shattering of human collective self-management from the Outside, or (alternatively) triumphal fascism forever. That is the fork, dividing reaction from itself, and deciding everything for mankind. Patchwork or New Order — but when will we know?

NOTE: Among the glories of this comments thread is Vladimir’s indispensable contribution to the schedule of decision: “Meanwhile, the Austro-libertarian prophets of doom are necessarily unable to give any accurate timing for these crashes and panics, even when they unfold exactly according to their theory. The reason is simple: the obvious truth of the weak efficient markets hypothesis.”

ADDED: Ex-Army on why Communism ≠ Fascism: “When you’re given a choice between living under a communist dictator or a fascist dictator, everything else being equal, take the fascist dictator. Interestingly, communists in general are safer under a fascist dictator than they are under a communist dictator.”

March 25, 2013admin 34 Comments »
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34 Responses to this entry

  • spandrell Says:

    Any government has political constraints that it has to submit to if it wants to exert power. In short it has to keep the people happy, through suffrage, welfare, wishful thinking, hedonism, etc. You can’t just say, no more food stamps, poor people can’t vote, HBD is true so your children shouldn’t go to college. People would get angry. And you don’t want that. That’s the external political constraint. Then there are internal political constraints on how particular people get particular slices of power, how money gets thrown around inside the elite, corporate welfare, etc. There are many constraints there too.

    Then there’s economic constraints: you can’t seize all the money and throw it around for welfare, because people would stop working. You can’t get around those, but of course you can’t get over political constraints either, so there’s a fragile equilibrium in how much money gets thrown around to keep the political structure steady, and how many is let to go around to keep the money being made.

    Economic constraints are harder than political constraints. Political constraints can be to an extent manipulated by propaganda. That’s what fascism was about: stop asking shit from the government, shut up and work for the Fuhrer. But the Fuhrer was still bound by political constraints: he didn’t funnel all the money to himself, he took care of the people. Economic constraints are harder-wired in human psychology than political constraints; economic constraints are based in the most basic, individual calculations of cost-benefit; political constraints are based on group psychology, which came by later. But is still very strong, and you can’t ignore it. Even if people will never be communist, they are still tribal, and any polity will have to address that.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “Economic constraints are harder than political constraints.” — It thrills me to hear you say that, but I’m surprised. Isn’t it rather ‘Unmannian’?

    It seems to me that ‘hard’ classical liberalism holds that politics has to adapt to economics, whilst fascism takes the opposite tack — subordinating economic reality to political will (at the limit, slave labor extracted from racial war). Wouldn’t a ‘good fascist’ find any claim to economic primacy profoundly ignoble (even Anglo-Jewish)?

    Propaganda can readily penetrate the work place, so it is by no means restricted to the political realm (as a target), although it expresses the assertive sovereignty of the political (as a source). The classical liberal counterpart to propaganda is, of course, advertising — through which the economy is exalted. The balance of propaganda to advertising in the media is a fairly good index of the social fascism quotient, but it would take somebody less biased than I am to estimate the contemporary situation accurately.

    Tribes either have to be pandered too, or definitively broken. Breaking them almost certainly exceeds the capabilities of political agencies. Some kind of utter impersonal cataclysm might be required …

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    spandrell Reply:

    Economic constraints are harder ultimately, i.e. if you go communist people WILL stop working.
    But that doesn’t mean that you need to cease on all constraints in the economy. People will work more or less according to the level of economic freedom. The degree of poverty you are willing to accept is of course a political matter. It can get really high in some places.

    Propaganda can’t make you work more and be enterpreneurial, not in the long term anyway.

    To what degree can tribes be really broken is the great issue I think. When you break kinship tribes, you see some people get out of the crab bucket and wander freely, but most people just rush to remake tribes in whatever way they find, either cults, sports, ‘motivated’ offices, or whatever.
    I would love a positively non-tribal society, but I don’t think most people are wired that way. So you always get tribal formation and tribal conflict.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “I would love a positively non-tribal society, but I don’t think most people are wired that way.” — You and me both.

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    White Brahmins are the ruling Tribe; and they are, as good Christian Universalists, conspicuously open to non-kin. This may change as assortive elite mating continues to grow, but for now… they go out of their way to encourage out-group catechumens. This is I think one of the keys to the (increasing) stranglehold of Brahmin power: they encourage defection of the highest performing Vaisyas, who, as a group, bleed from the head. The baptized and confirmed Vaisya convert can thus offer edifying testimony about how he was once the Wrong Kind of White Person, but then he was “saved” by the Cathedral (NPR or clone, Harvard or clone), and is now fully committed to being the Right Kind of White Person. (Of course if he is brown or black, the testimony is all the more exhilarating to the congregation and may result in outbursts of The Second Blessing.)

    Posted on March 25th, 2013 at 1:22 pm Reply | Quote
  • Federico Says:

    Spandrell, whence the constraints? The progressive line is that in the long run, “the people” always constrain their more intelligent and organised rulers. Martin Luther King is supposed to be responsible for negro civil rights, rather than changes in elite opinion. This, like asymmetrical perceptions of communism and Nazism, withstands no cursory scrutiny because there have been all sorts of stable tyrannies—unless the “long run” is tautological.

    Small groups of organised and intelligent people, in realistic circumstances, dominate large groups of disorganised people; also, humans cringe in the face of torture and death. These are the fitness factors for tyranny.

    One fitness factor for constitutionalism is that humans are, I think on average, decent, and mankind has realised the hedonic value of checks and balances. Our behaviour is mostly status-oriented, but choice of status-community can be decisive. Given the chance, most people seek a morally defensible community, and then try to maximise their status within it. Another fitness factor is that relatively free societies are now militarily powerful. Thirdly, self-interested behaviour can lead to plural distribution of power for spontaneous game theoretic reasons; this may not be significant today, since technology has increased the fitness of centralisation.

    Constitutionalism limits the ability of a small, organised and malign elite group to hinder the formation of other organised high-IQ groups that can wield power and determine law. As long as most of the high-IQ people in society are humane and sensible, this confines law and governance within a healthy window.

    Our society is an odd case. The Cathedral’s soft etatism stifles other status-communities and power bases. The Cathedral is, however, not highly organised, formal or able to communicate freely within itself, thus I suggest that there is no highly organised high-IQ group within society. There is one semi-organised nebula, which is mutually self-constraining. The Cathedral’s distributed organising principles quite strictly determine the constituents’ behaviour; this produces a grossly irresponsible, but not deliberately evil, window for law and governance.

    One danger is that this window becomes ever wider and displaced from sanity, outside the calculated control of any coercive high-IQ group. Another is that a malign high-IQ group exploits the situation by presenting itself as a responsible or morally superior alternative to the Cathedral, shielded by the Cathedral’s own sclerosis and residual libertarian norms.

    From a utilitarian perspective, the danger is specifically that this political chaos coincides with a technological event such as ems or the singularity.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    @ Federico
    This looks like the opening of an engaging triangular controversy, but before further entanglement: do you have an argument defending a “utilitarian perspective” from its wire-head (implosive auto-orgasmatizing) teleology? And — perhaps an associated question — is there any robustly convincing reason to think people are “on average, decent” rather than deranged apes inclining history towards a final fascist solution? (The Calvinist translation of humanity’s bio-psychic inheritance as ‘total depravity’ strikes me as quite persuasive — especially since we know that people are generally incapable of game-theoretic rationality.)

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    The constraints come from basic psychology.
    People will not work under communism. They just won’t. You need to allow some degree of greed for people to work and take risks and be entrepreneurial. No amount of elite oppression can change that.

    Political constraints depend a lot on the technology available and how plausible the propaganda is. The Achaemenid emperors could get away with a lot. Ditto with Mao. Today though it’s hard to be totalitarian. Hume was right in that power in the end depends on public opinion. Of course opinion can be manufactured, but not totally, and it’s expensive. North Korea is a slave camp but still the people know what’s going on and hate the regime.

    Many reactionaries have this habit of talking about the Cathedral as if it were just a conspiracy. To some extent it is a conspiracy, but it’s rule is not just random power to the pleasure of the rulers. The Cathedral is a set of very old beliefs which have evolved today in great part because they have objective appeal to the population. Jim Kalb is good on that.
    Leftism is very stupid but given the false premises they hold it’s actually pretty consistent. And most people will hold on to Leftism premises because reactionary premises are *very* scary.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 25th, 2013 at 3:07 pm Reply | Quote
  • Federico Says:

    People will not work under communism. They just won’t. You need to allow some degree of greed for people to work and take risks and be entrepreneurial. No amount of elite oppression can change that.

    Some degree of several property and catallaxy is necessary for people to be entrepreneurial. However, slaves work given negative incentives.

    North Korea is a slave camp but still the people know what’s going on and hate the regime.

    Precisely!

    This looks like the opening of an engaging triangular controversy, but before further entanglement: do you have an argument defending a “utilitarian perspective” from its wire-head (implosive auto-orgasmatizing) teleology?

    I withhold judgement on the merits of orgasmium, but I am not averse to the notion. The singularity is a matter apart from the utilitarian’s conception of existing society. The hedonic calculus is future-loaded, so the objective is to minimise x-risk. This may not imply wire-heading as a popular recreation. I also hold utilitarianism and consequentialism to be rarefied meta-ethics which are not suitable for mass consumption, and perhaps a dangerous creed even for the intelligentsia.

    And — perhaps an associated question — is there any robustly convincing reason to think people are “on average, decent” rather than deranged apes inclining history towards a final fascist solution?

    I was channelling Neil Peart. In seriousness, one reason is the popularity of utilitarianism and other hedonic terminal values amongst ethical philosophers. Few people who ponder ethics and meta-ethics countenance cruelty. The most factually accurate religious tradition, Buddhism, is profoundly humane, and Wagner argued that the better part of Christianity is also self-renouncing compassion.

    This suggests that most inhumanity is due to cognitive bias, lack of self-control and meta-ethical ignorance, rather than inherent weakness of the humane sub-agents within the average human mind. Intelligent people, especially aided by modern prosperity and science, are most able to overcome these problems. Humans who lack natural compassion, like Igor Suprunyuck, are incomprehensible and therefore a source of morbid fascination to most of us.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “Orgasmium” — excellent, the missing word located. I’m getting your aversion to deontology much more solidly than your affection for utilitarianism (although some glimmerings are coming through).

    You’re setting the bar low for ‘decency’ IMHO. Cruelty isn’t required for populist sentiment, and populism, whilst not exactly a synonym for fascism, comes very close to being one. The masses want Chavez, when remotely stressed (and the Brahmins don’t even require the stress, in order to support him). That isn’t ‘decent’ at all. A predisposition to ‘altruistic punishment’ in defense of paleolithic intuitions of ‘justice’ — with only a little elaboration and perhaps elite tweaking — is already quite enough to propel a population into total depravity. If people were naturally Buddhist, Buddhism wouldn’t be necessary.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 25th, 2013 at 5:17 pm Reply | Quote
  • zhai2nan2 Says:

    > The fascism that thrives — most exceptionally in the American tradition through Hamilton, Lincoln, and FDR — is a flexi-fascism, or pragmatic illiberalism, that marries the populist desires of coercive collectivism to a superceded, subordinated, or directed ‘realism’ — grasping economic dispersion as a technocratic management problem under centralized supervision.

    I think we can describe the same situation with a much simpler phrase: crony capitalism.

    What thrived under Hamilton, Lincoln, and FDR was kleptocracy, implemented by the cronies of the men in official power.

    I don’t think the analysis requires terms like “populist desires” or “directed realism.” It’s a bunch of overprivileged rich folks who break the law and twist the law to suit their own ambitions. It’s crony capitalism. I don’t see any benefit to over-thinking it.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I can’t agree with this — the driver of this trend is by no means restricted to the private greed of the super-affluent. It also includes sincere elite nationalism, powerful popular sentiment, and the self-serving technocratic illusions of the administrative classes. Fascism has always been far more popular — and usually more intellectually serious — than straightforward crony capitalism.

    [Reply]

    zhai2nan2 Reply:

    Well, you almost certainly know more history than I do, so I’ll ask you to educate me a little.

    My understanding is that the Fascists who actually held office were limited to Mussolini and Franco – some might include Hitler in that group. I don’t know of any other major fascists – Oswald Mosley doesn’t count because he never actually got into power.

    Does FDR count as a fascist, a socialist, a crony capitalist?

    Were the fascists really more popular and intellectual than crony capitalists? I don’t even know how to start researching that question.

    Also, I’m not clear on the trend that includes “sincere elite nationalism, powerful popular sentiment, and the self-serving technocratic illusions ” – I think you mean the trend toward fascism, but maybe you mean socialism in general.

    Obviously these are newbie questions, I’m not a historian.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    The historical questions and the conceptual questions are messily entangled with each other, because any ‘history of fascism’ is framed by how widely the net is cast. My sympathies in this respect are with Austro-libertarian writers who favor a very broad, generic definition of fascism, to include not only regimes with a very close family resemblance to Mussolini’s archetypal version, but any government that:
    (a) Exploits prior constitutional and democratic traditions and mechanisms, whilst extracting their potential for concentrated authoritarian rule (with maximum executive discretion)
    (b) Absorbs socialist and nationalist populist traditions, pragmatically moderating their collectivist goals
    (c) Practically asserts the dominion of politics over the economy, favoring intense but flexible modes of ideological and regulatory coercion (rather than simple expropriation of private property)
    (d) Promotes tribal (national / racial) unity as the legitimating political ideal
    (e) Completes the politicization of money in order to seize the ‘commanding heights’ of the economy

    Given this broad — yet quite substantive — definition, fascism has been the hegemonic mode of social order worldwide since the suppression of classical liberalism, especially since ‘actually existing socialism’ rapidly converged with it. In fact, the main objection to a depiction of fascism this broad is that it encompasses too much of the contemporary world, apparently losing specificity, and painting social progress in general in unnecessarily macabre hues. (I think ‘progress’ has been macabre, so this objection strikes me as sheer anti-capitalist apologetics.)

    Fascism is socialism of a kind, namely practical socialism (as distinct from the sentimental and / or immediately dysfunctional original). We are not supposed to notice that this is what socialism has become, and that in this mode it has flourished almost everywhere. Any definition of fascism that doesn’t include FDR conforms to a sinister agenda, designed to distract from the systematic destruction of liberty in the West, proceeding with particular vigor since the early decades of the 20th century.

    Posted on March 26th, 2013 at 12:55 am Reply | Quote
  • Severen Says:

    Are there any specific economics books or sources you’d recommend?

    Also, are you familiar with Ryan Faulk? He’s into omniseparatism and antistatism.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Thanks — I hadn’t encountered RF before, he seems — at the very least — highly stimulating.
    I’ve yet to encounter a theory or history of fascism that is really satisfactory (which isn’t to say that one isn’t out there). My own purchase on it has been patched together from micro-pieces, with skew from the Mises Institute.
    On Crony Capitalism, on the other hand, there is one obvious master work.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Good call on Chua’s book, Nick. Brave, passionate and highly readable.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    It’s fun to see a docile ‘liberal’ explain so clearly why democratization is economically disastrous.

    Posted on March 26th, 2013 at 2:45 pm Reply | Quote
  • Severen Says:

    Thanks for the recommendations. Anything more general you’d recommend? I’ve only read one economics book, and that was Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “I’ve only read one economics book, and that was Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson.” — Seriously, you’re OK then! (His book on Keynes also truly excellent.)
    There are probably a lot of other people posting here who could do better than me on this ‘recommended reading’ thing — a lot depends on your interests. Mises’ Calculation Problem in the Socialist Commonwealth is superb (and short), and I strongly recommend Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, which overflows with ideas. + Böhm-Bawerk is great.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 27th, 2013 at 3:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • Thomas Says:

    The development of the modern state, the democratic revolutions, the extrication of absolutism from the monarch to the state apparatus itself, the prospect of total mobilization and total war, the ascendancy of Communism, the collapse of the Jus Publicum Europeum, the rise of the colored world, all of these things rendered the traditional social relationships and modes of life impossible. The solution was a kind of ”ethical socialism”, tailored to protect the cohesion, moral consensus, and biological integrity of the national community. The key point, as Spengler made, was that the reactionary allergy to ”socialism” is a counterproductive and delusional prejudice – ethical socialism in fact was the only ”conservative” force in the world after 1918, and remains so to this day. I don’t accept, for example, that the Alawite Baathists in Syria are ”left wing” because they practice Arab socialism in lieu of allowing finance capitalists to dictate policy.

    National Socialism, despite the writings of eccentrics like Rosenberg, wasn’t and isn’t some elaborate and rigid ideology. It’s essentially a doctrine of racial socialism, premised upon natural patterns of life, labor, association, and command and obedience. It was the ”right wing” response to deracinated capitalism and the Bolshevik threat. If you think Hitler was ”evil”, National Socialism was awful, if you believe in Holocausts and that kind of silliness, you aren’t ”right wing” – you’re some kind of liberal with reservations or a peace love and dope Libertarian who got mad when blacks moved into his neighborhood.

    In Weimar it was war in the streets. The ”old order” was dead and it wasn’t going to be necromanced. Men like Schubner-Richter, Rohm, Hitler, Gobbells did what had to be done. It wouldn’t really have been the thing to do to refuse to accept the reality of historical development and pine for a return to monarchy – that would have just meant the KPD would conquer the country while a tiny minority of senile monarchists lamented it. What really happened was that men of the Right took the fight to Communism and killed them. Conservatives don’t like direct action because apparently everybody is supposed to participate in an endless discussion and ”get to yes” no matter how badly we are under threat. This is one reason why Conservatives lose 100 percent of the time.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    This ‘what’s right and what’s left’ argument gets into pointless semantics almost immediately — if you want to say socialism is the true Right, I guess that’s OK, but it strikes me as decidedly odd. even without the Hitler nostalgia. Find me a new word for the pole of whichever spectrum edges into anarcho-capitalism and is actually exemplified by Hong Kong, and I’ll migrate to that happily — just don’t tell me it’s the left, because the vast majority of people are always going to think that’s socialism, and I don’t have the energy to start Humpty-Dumptying around with deeply embedded structures of meaning.

    [Reply]

    Thomas Reply:

    Conservatism is at odds with mass society, which is why it is fundamentally important for conservatism that religiosity, piety, authority, obedience, cultural and racial hygiene, and communitarian ethics (ethical socialism) must be maintained and enforced by the managerial apparatus. The assumptions of ”conservatism” essentially belong to an early modern period of European life, when a robust and truly private sphere of life existed that was discrete and insular from political affairs existed and when absolutism remained vested in the person of the King rather than attaching to a unitary state. The brief period between the decline of monarchy and the rise of the State is not in some way a distilled microcosm of Western ”tradition”, nor does it exemplify the perennial institutions in Western-derived societies. If anything, the Third Reich was a return to the traditions of the Western world, not a deviation from them. If you consult Dumezil’s extensive oeuvre on the structure, rites, theologies, mores, and modes of authority of Western man you will find that the trifunctional social order is the ‘traditional’ order. Rule by petit nobles and commercial barons, situated throughout arbitrarily appropriated land in contrast is distinctively modernist.

    Aside from how we might characterize National Socialism morally or aesthetically, it’s important to consider the world-historical circumstances in which it emerged. The amity among Western nations was shattered in 1914, as the capitalist age came to a close and great power rivalry could no longer be staved off through the provision of colonial spoils. Werner Sombart had predicted this turn of events. As England’s guiding political idea (capitalism, liberty, individual reason) became creatively exhausted and Germany’s progressive and superpersonal ethical socialism gained spiritual momentum, a crisis between the two states became largely inevitable. The Great War resulted in a draw between the UK and Germany that was upended by the senseless intervention of America, stuporously agitated by Wilsonian ‘globalism’ and anti-Hapsburg sectarian bigotry – but the consequences of the war were far graver than a mere upset of the balance of the European power condominium. Russia had cast off and murdered its authentically European ruling caste, and had implemented a doctrine of violent revolt, and ultimate overthrow of the Western world. The sovereign power that had resided exclusively in Europe prior to the War had been steadily transferred to Russia, Japan, America. As the war had bled on, Europe itself as a civilizational form had been losing. In the ruins of this aftermath, an inner idea of ethical socialism was cultivated by men, hardened by battlefront service, as to how the fortunes of not just Prussia or Bavaria or Germany proper but the entire Western world could be reversed amidst catastrophe.

    The Soviet Union was annihilating entire classes of humans, pursuant to its guiding idea of world revolutionary socialism. The OGPU in the 1930s (like the Cheka, absolutely larded with Jews) was the single largest employer in the Soviet Union, and it was simply charged with exterminating people who were considered to be inimical to the Bolshevik program – a program that identified the extermination of the European form of life to be synonymous with ‘world liberation’. The Soviet Union was, for practical purposes, an enormous death camp that was busily arming itself to the teeth in order to export its mass homicide to Europe. In other words, Jews, and their allies, were exterminating us – and people find it distasteful that the Third Reich struck back with equal force instead of hosting a Buckley/Vidal style debate on the questions of the day.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 28th, 2013 at 2:42 am Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    “As England’s guiding political idea (capitalism, liberty, individual reason) became creatively exhausted …”
    — I think you’re generalizing recklessly from the degenerate European experience. Things look very different from the Pacific Rim.

    Once you include ‘capitalism’ in a list of ethnically-conditioned ideas, of course it’s all over. But you’re building the racial foundation into this argument as an axiom, rather than deriving it as a conclusion. At the bionic horizon, where genomes are fully techno-commercially plastic, your ordering of dependencies between the emergent capitalist machine and the legacy genetics of partially isolated human groups looks fragile at best (and actually, completely untenable).

    Capitalism needs to navigate through idiotic monkey politics to assemble itself. That doesn’t mean that it can be informatively identified with monkey-political categories, any more than the Universal Turing Machine can be described meaningfully as an ‘English idea’ (fated to be obsolesced by the decadence of the British Empire).

    Terrestrial Capitalism (self-amplifying techno-commercial circuitry) is a cosmic event far more than it is a racial achievement. It demonstrates what matter can do.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    I remember when I was at the Accelerationist event in 10′, Nina Powers, Alberto Toscano, and all the neo-marxists there attacked the idea that you were a cheerleader for capital – and what was the point, if it was essentially this (ubiquitous) impending juggernaut that they were trying to theorise out of.

    I think they were completely unaware of the ‘degenerate European experience’. Everything seems to be a gradient more intense in their ‘writing in my cereals’ world views e.g. a mixed economy is anarcho-capitalist to them. I’m really looking forward to analysising the city-states in the Pacific Rim. Especially as I feel like a torn personality. One foot firmly in the (nostalgic) HSS, with the other tentatively stepping into the machine’s cold embrace. I still own no iphone, and I hate the idea of maximising space via kindle etc. At a cross roads, no doubt!

    By the way, Thiel reminds me of some sort of techno-capital incarnation of Citizen Kane/ There Will Be Blood/Plainfield. Totally disgusted by his own humanity, while being a ‘world-historical’ individual/carrier/agent of machinic desire.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    The crew you mention seem to think the alternative to unleashed capital is a socialist utopia (or some grudgingly accepted approximation). They need to be introduced to Thomas. If I had to bet on whose anti-capitalism had more legs, my money would be on the stormtroopers — that’s the European revealed preference..

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Oh, yes, don’t I just know it. The Q and As were dominated by their emotive, socialist sentiments. Are you reiterating the point that fascism is Europe’s ‘practical socialism’? I suppose this is a potential danger.Socialism minus the explicit surrender of the individual and the notions of organic volkness, motherland et al. doesn’t stand up well.

    Posted on March 29th, 2013 at 12:19 am Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    Not all fascists are Nazis, but European fascists are especially prone to this (actually rather impractical) version of practical socialism. The Nazi specialism was to export endogeneous dysfunction as aggressive xenophobia — a ‘solution’ perfectly adapted to the spoilt children of the decadent imperial metropolis, unwilling to learn what it is to make one’s way in an open, competitive world.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    So you’re effectively saying that the Nietszchean ‘ressentiment’ of the Nazis isn’t a world away from the UK/Europe current plight of welfareness? I’m not sure if I’m following. There’s xenophobia and then there’s the welfare class. They interelate in so much as the welfare class is the upper rung (of the last two) trickling down its ressentiment on to Nigerian Joe just off the banana boat. Sometimes they’re conflated, but almost always by the welfare class and lower-classes.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    ‘Welfare’ can be interpreted far too narrowly. Europeans expect the government to look after them, to a degree that is clearly unsustainable. After Mummy deteriorates into hopeless alcoholism, and Daddy — broke and disoriented — threatens to take some of the goodies away, they lash out.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Ok. Understood in regards to me seeing welfare in a too narrow sense… but lash out: at what, the state? Immigrants? I’m trying to work out where the xenophobia of the nazis is readily adopted by ‘the children’ of the European, modern state.

    Posted on March 30th, 2013 at 12:10 pm Reply | Quote
  • SDL Says:

    The crew you mention seem to think the alternative to unleashed capital is a socialist utopia (or some grudgingly accepted approximation). They need to be introduced to Thomas. If I had to bet on whose anti-capitalism had more legs, my money would be on the stormtroopers

    Ha!

    Indeed, Thomas is probably right to suggest that non or anti-capitalist systems will always be “essentially a doctrine of racial socialism, premised upon natural patterns of life [and] labor” as those patterns are enabled by a particular geographic space and a particular group which has, for generations, inhabited that space (paging Jared Diamond!).

    The theme behind every Utopian story (from The Beach to the books on my shelves about New England Utopian societies) is that Utopia can remain Utopia only if its inhabitants are homogenous, high-trust, and not prone to over-breeding or inviting in outsiders. So, at least Thomas understands what it takes to be Utopia (population removal and lots of guards at the borders), whereas your run-of-the-mill academic socialist isn’t even operating in reality, convinced, as s/he is, that Capitalism is the only thing keeping black and Mexican gangs in South L.A. from joining hands in high-trust solidarity. (The irony is that capitalism and its diversions are precisely why L.A. can exist at all; I’d say that L.A. and its surrounding suburbs is as good as it gets in terms of racial harmony. It’s nothing less than a capitalist miracle that the tribal violence of South L.A. doesn’t play out everywhere else in the California Southland.)

    Of course, Utopia, once achieved, is by definition stagnant. Utopias will never colonize the stars or hasten the Singularity. Socialist attempts to create welfare Utopias are both stagnant AND unsustainable; put some liberal arts professors and Jezebel editors in charge of a country, and the country will have a lot more to worry about than its technological failures.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    “whereas your run-of-the-mill academic socialist isn’t even operating in reality, convinced, as s/he is, that Capitalism is the only thing keeping black and Mexican gangs in South L.A. from joining hands in high-trust solidarity.”

    Hahaha. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 30th, 2013 at 1:44 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    @ SDL
    I’m too much in tune with your latest comment flurry to add anything useful. If I was looking to quibble, I’d probably suggest that Singapore does the multicultural harmony thing rather better than Los Angeles.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 30th, 2013 at 2:48 pm Reply | Quote

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