Peak Jacobinism

It’s an over-used formula, but this time it really does seem appropriate. If this analysis can be trusted — and it looks at least superficially plausible — ISIS has broken the soul of evangelical democratization. Once the Cathedral’s universalistic faith has been defeated (“the freedom agenda in the Muslim world is dead”), how long can it be before the gathering ebb tide tears apart its internal ideological structure? “This is something only for us” requires an ‘us’ — and that acknowledgement marks the cresting of a crisis that has been centuries — if not millennia — in the making.

Syria represents the culmination of this trend. The moderate rebels of 2011 stood no chance of survival against the hard liners who managed to rapidly mobilize foreign fighters and take over the majority of the insurgency. The result is that, post-Paris, Western capitals will be skeptical of regime change of any sort. It will be clear that when intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign (albeit repressive) states becomes a vehicle for democratic change, that vehicle will probably be hijacked by radical Islamists, and will arrive at a substantially worse political destination than intended.

The post-Paris war on terror will affirm the West’s commitment to fighting radical Islamic terrorism, but, in the process, it will reject the idiom of revolutionary, moralizing democratic change inherited from President Bush. Syria was the end of the line for that approach.

The revolution has come right back around to Hobbes, and thus to the systematically-cynical origin of the modern state system, the author (Emile Simpson) argues. What a long strange trip it’s been.


ADDED: “… jihadis have come to inhabit a different moral universe …” — Multiversalism it is, then.

November 23, 2015admin 14 Comments »
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14 Responses to this entry

  • Peak Jacobinism | Neoreactive Says:

    […] By admin […]

    Posted on November 23rd, 2015 at 4:10 pm Reply | Quote
  • Hurlock Says:

    This would be plausible, assuming that the people trying to spread democracy are reasonable individuals who can realize when the policy they are pursuing is counterproductive.

    Which is why this is not plausible at all.

    Evangelical democratization is a leftist singularity. And when a leftist singularity is taking place, any reasonableness goes out of the window. The Party enforces policy X with the goal of Y. Policy X doesn’t work and in fact achieves -Y. Normally this is a proof that there is something wrong with policy X. But not for The Party. Au contraire! This is proof that some evil people (capitalists, racists, etc.) are actively sabotaging policy X and preventing it from working. Therefore we have to kill them. The Party then proceeds to execute thousands of people while doubling down on enforcing policy X. The result is of course the same and thus the cycle repeats itself.

    Come on, you have read your Jim, so you have to realize that the idea that these people in Washington will one day wake up wondering “what if there is something wrong with trying to spread democracy to all four corners of the world”? Can you even imagine this happening? I can’t. Which is why it will not happen. And in fact we are observing the classic leftist singularity scenario playing out as we speak. The reason why spreading democracy doesn’t work is that evil white racists are radicalizing the poor and oppressed muslims with their evil thoughts. Muslims terrorist attacks are justified because racism. If only white racists would stop thinking bad thoughts everything would be fine and we would all live in Global Democracy La-La land.

    Therefore the evil white racists must be silenced and ultimately exterminated. To the Cathedral the attacks in Paris are an excuse to double down on censorship, anti-white propaganda and moar diversity and muslim importation into the west. We’ve all seen the articles recently published by the leftist media about how western racism is responsible for the radicalization to the muslims and why the solution to terrorism is to stop being so racist and import even more muslims.

    Yes, to any reasonable person it is obvious that these interventions in the name of democracy are absolutely retarded. But that was obvious already in 2002 even before the war in Iraq. Plenty of political scientists gave all the arguments in the world for why this intervention is stupid, how it will destabilize the region, how it will make it harder for the US to maintain control there, how it will empower Iran which is the primary opposition to the US in the region, how it could lead to the strengthening of terrorists groups, etc, etc. The people opposing the war in Iraq had all the reasonable arguments in the world. The Cathedral only had “Muh Democracy!”. Who won that debate?
    Now, the consequences of the war in Iraq proved the former party right – interventions of this sort are retarded. What was Washington’s response? Why, it doubled down on this same policy, of course – sponsoring the arab spring, intervening in Lybia and then in Syria.

    They can always find an excuse for why the policy failed to achieve its goals – republicans and white racists thinking bad thoughts, or if they are trying to not be absolutely ridiculous they will say that it’s somehow Putin’s fault.

    The idea that this last failure of a US middle-eastern intervention might lead to the State Department and the media reconsidering the value of evangelical democratization is a triumph of hope over experience. We should know better by now.


    Tryptophan Reply:

    Really good post from Hurlock.

    Communism died from economic exhaustion not by a realization that Mises was right all along. In both cases “democracy” or “socialism” was key to the elites claim to power, they can’t surrender now.


    michael Reply:

    well the left was against spreading democracy in vietnam and south/central america. They dont want to admit there is something different about the arab race that cant handle democracy though they are good at doublethink.Still they might be ok with forgoing democracy in favor of communism.Of course all this assumes they didnt inrend million of “refugees” to invade europe from the outset.


    Gerry T. Neal Reply:

    To the left, communism was not something a country forgoes democracy for, but the ultimate form of democracy itself. When it objected to America fighting communism in Vietnam and Latin America, the objection was not to the spread of democracy, but to what it perceived as American imperialism. It believed that the communists were the ones fighting for democracy in these places. This belief, of course, sounds completely crazy to anyone who thinks of democracy as parliamentarian or republican government by elected representatives and who believes that democracy and freedom are inseparable. The left accept the latter idea, but think of democracy more in terms of popular sovereignty, i.e., the absolute rule of the general will of the people. To the left, especially the hard left, the Communist Party, and not an assembly of elected representatives, is the voice of this general will. Thus, to them, the one-party rule of the Communists is democracy, and therefore is more “free”. To those of us on the right, the left’s position appears just as crazy as it does to the person who identifies democracy with government by elected assembly, but for a different reason. Clearly, it is crazy to say that those living under the tyranny of communism are free. The problem is not with the left’s equation of communism with democracy, however, so much as it is with their equation of democracy with freedom. The right is sceptical of the association of democracy with freedom. Modern democracy, as Erik von Kuehlnelt-Leddihn demonstrated in “Leftism Revisited”, springs from the same source as modern totalitarianism, and the modern dictator, whether he be a Hitler or a Stalin, is always “one of the people”, a “Big Brother”, not father or mother of the nation, as kings and queens traditionally are considered to be. Monarchy, Kuehnelt-Leddihn argued, is the true defender of liberty, a point which neglected Canadian rightist John Farthing argued for in “Freedom Wears a Crown”.


    michael Reply:

    yeah that was my point the left veiws communism as even better democracy and since these jihadis are nominally commies and the former rulers were ” puppers of american imperialism Isis is all good.

    Posted on November 23rd, 2015 at 4:27 pm Reply | Quote
  • Barnabas Says:

    With this failure the Jacobins will only redouble their efforts in the area where they HAVE had success, the revolution against the peoples and institutions of the West.


    Posted on November 23rd, 2015 at 5:19 pm Reply | Quote
  • Chip Harding Says:

    If Iraq and then Libya weren’t the end of the line for forced democratization, there will be no distinct end of the line.

    A lot of people have learned from those debacles, but some clearly can’t learn, or won’t learn, or think they have something to gain by not learning. Nobody in the Cathedral has anything to lose by *not* learning, that’s for sure.

    Or maybe they see a regional nightmare scenario as an acceptable (at least) stage on the way to some other desirable outcome. People defended Stalin and Mao for that reason.


    Posted on November 23rd, 2015 at 5:34 pm Reply | Quote
  • Peak Jacobinism | Reaction Times Says:

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    Posted on November 23rd, 2015 at 8:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • P. George Stewart Says:

    Yeah, I’m seeing a bit of a “stitch” here.

    As I remember post-9/11, most Progressives I know didn’t believe one little bit of the democratization agenda (to them, it was all about the oil, and the democratization was a scam, a cover-up).

    The only people who seemed to have actually believed in it were those Outer Party people in Bush’s administration who were former liberals and had turned somewhat Right – IOW the “neocons”. But they were utterly despised as puppets of Big Oil, yadda yadda.

    IOW, while the Left would nominally agree with the democratization agenda, if they were in charge of it, because it was Right wingers in charge of it, they didn’t support it (and actually that’s largely why it didn’t work – society was split, cf. the sundry Million Moron Marches and the like – the West had the means, for sure, but not the will).

    I think it’s a mistake to view all versions of the globalization/democratization agenda as bad. There are two versions: one, the liberal or libertarian one, wants no more than to ensure an umbrella social order that maintains INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS for everyone in that society – sound property rights, freedom of speech, etc. That’s what the “neocons” had in mind.

    But that is understood, through the bizarro world lens of Leftism, as “atomization”,which they believe subjects people to the power of Corporations. Their version of “spread of democracy” means the spread of the imposition of a particular way of life on individuals (so they “do the right things”, behave correctly in certain approved ways, submit to the general plan, etc.). There’s some concern for free speech (but only free speech that’s pro-Progressive), but no concern at all for property.


    Posted on November 23rd, 2015 at 11:57 pm Reply | Quote
  • EvolutionistX Says:

    It is my observation that, overall, common folks tend to be more religiously conservative than the upper classes. When the upper classes rule the country, they worry about things like, “Can I get these religious minorities to pay more taxes?” When the lower class is allowed to vote, they support things like “Let’s get rid of the religious minorities.”


    Posted on November 24th, 2015 at 5:58 am Reply | Quote
  • RJL Says:

    There’s a tweak to his argument that I would have expected nrx people to make, but which doesn’t seem to have been mentioned, perhaps because most are blinded by their opposition to democracy and can’t get past their own confirmation bias.

    The problem, in many respects, was ‘multiculturalism’ – the attempt to force warring Islamic sects into the *same* democratic unit. The success of the largely autonomous Kurdish region is an example of the desirability of homogenizing spheres of political interest (here indexed by language/ethnicity, but there are other options and doesn’t have to be ethnic).

    The nrx critique should first insist on subsidiarity, de-centralization, autonomous governance of homogenous units, whether that be democratic or not.

    The mistake of the west was to think they could have both democracy *and* pluralism. But the only reason that works in the west is that stability is guaranteed by the hegemonic white/liberal civilization (even if that is on the wane). It is precisely the *inequality* in the western plural states that ensures stability. The minorities lack the power of being a substantial threat.

    The more equal the plural groups, the more serious the threat, the greater the imperative to induce pre-emptive strikes, etc… and here you can follow the Hobbesian game theory all the way to the end.

    (If someone objects that “they tried that in Sudan”, part of the answer is that the subsequent trouble in South Sudan is not from North Sudan as much as from further internal division – and in that case the ethnic tribalism in Africa is far more grainy and insistent than in the mid-east. The Sunni/Shia/Christian/Kurd lines are clear enough)


    Posted on November 24th, 2015 at 6:37 am Reply | Quote
  • Froude Society Says:

    I hope Admin is right that we’re seeing peak Jacobinism but I feel such a turn of feeling may only have regional implications. The Cathedral and local allies are losing a symmetrical ground war for dominance over the Middle-East. This is a culmination of the chain of events that transpired after the ’73 war and the end of the dream of Pan Arab Nationalism. Following the Lebanese Civil War, Yemeni Civil War, Sudanese Civil War, Soviet-Afghan War, Iran-Iraq War, Ba’ath Kurdish Wars, Gulf Wars, Israeli-HZB wars, and the post 9-11 American interventions- the Syrian Crisis is the next stitch in this patch. Iran backed by Russia and Central Asia has ended American and Gulf-Sunni hegemony unless open war erupts between them. Our analysis of these events follows the thoughts of the Cathedral, but we must give credit to those on the ground; who do not see it as a battle against Western ideas, Syrian soldiers and Shia militiamen see it as a national-racial struggle as well as a cosmic war against Takfiri Salafism. I love Assad for being a manly autocrat who stands stalwart against State but only the Cathedral and the Far Right really see him this way.

    Admin’s accelerationist plan to keep the Republicans out of the Oval Office is integral to a Jacobin retreat on this issue. If someone like Rubio wins then there will be at least one Bush-era type occupation before the American empire crumbles. Eight years with a ~Pacifist~ at the helm has driven the Straussians mad with bloodlust, as the Bush terms led the Democratic party into the ever darker chambers of the Ivory Tower in search of comfort. For a Neocon the only way they really feel they’re immanentizing their eschaton is through another Whig war. Pacifism is a very serious dogma of the modern progressive (Corbyn…), largely why Straussians gained such a foothold was because they were one of the few powers within the Cathedral to articulate a militarist position acceptable to the hard power nodes within the Outer Party.

    This may be Napoleon’s march on Moscow but it may also be Napoleon’s Peninsular War. Jacobinism, rebuffed by sectarian nationalism, must redouble itself from a failure in the South for a few last battles before death. I worry Hurlock maybe correct here that this retreat will result in a doubling down within State’s massive Blue empire. Without viable “Islamo Fascists” to point their drones at, State will sic their grunts at the “Fascists” within their trusted borders.


    Posted on November 24th, 2015 at 7:37 am Reply | Quote
  • Unknown128 Says:

    Well democracy in the third world has been an universal disaster, all sucsessful democracies are democracies that have been established in allready 1st world nations: USA was the wealthiest place in the world by 1783, France was 1st world in 1871) Lets look at countries that maneged to enter the first world in the 20th century: Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Arabian Oil states were all authoritarian with some becoming democracies only after they allready ahve been lifted up by dictators/kings.

    Now lets contrast this with the few democracies that even survived in the third world: India formost of them is horribly laging behind the rest of Asia……Phillipines do only somewhat better. Brazil is rising but quiet slowly (especialy if compared to Chile)

    Now the US elites must clearly know that? So why do they still promote democracy? After all during the cold war they often suported the very same dictators that brought their countries out of the third world (along with a lot of horribly ineficient dictators).

    Ideological Signaling? A desire to keep the third world easily controleble? But concidering that people tend to elect anti american islamists/populists this seems unlikly. Interfactional conflict with signaling games inside the US elites?


    Posted on November 24th, 2015 at 11:32 am Reply | Quote

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