Posts Tagged ‘Cathedral’

Doors of Perception

It’s a simplification to conceive the Cathedral as a media apparatus. As simplifications go, however, one could do far worse. Media are essential to the Cathedral, even if by no means casually synonymous with it.

It is surely noteworthy that ‘the media’ have become singular, in much the same way as ‘the United States’ have done. ‘They’ have turned into a thing, and one that is still far from being confidently understood. Even when subjectively identifying with a residual plurality, they cannot but identify themselves with a unitary effectiveness.

While it would be asking far too much to expect the Cathedral to identify itself as a central causal factor in a world going insane, it gets close. NYmag expresses deep concern about the consequences of the news machine:

A terrifying jihadist group is conquering and butchering its way across big swaths of Iraq and Syria. Planes are falling out of the sky on what seems like a weekly basis. Civilians are being killed in massive numbers in the Israel-Gaza conflict. Others are falling prey to Ebola in West Africa. The world, in short, is falling apart. […] That’s how it feels, at least, to those of us who sit at a blessed remove from the death and destruction, but who are watching every bloody moment of it via cable news and social media. It raises an important question: In an age when we can mainline bad news 24/7 if we so choose, what’s the psychological impact of all this exposure to tragedy at a distance?

Drawing upon the work of Mary McNaughton-Cassill (a University of Texas–San Antonio professor at the “leading researcher on the connection between media consumption and stress”), it describes a process of “negative-information overload” driven by market-incentivized sensationalism, compounded by social media revolution, and prone to poorly-understood tangles of psycho-media feedback. Since a story of this kind consists primarily of the Cathedral talking to itself, with everyone else listening in, we quickly learn that the ‘problem’ cashes out into pessimistic disengagement from electoral politics and progressive voluntarism. According to McNaughton-Cassill, negative news bombardment produces “this malaise: ‘Everything’s kinda bad’ and ‘Why should I vote? It’s not gonna help’ and ‘I could donate money, but there’s just gonna be another kid who’s starving next week.’”

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August 13, 2014admin 10 Comments »

The Problem of Democracy

Recent discussions (on Twitter, primarily) have convinced me of the need for a ‘Neocameralism for Dummies’ post, providing a succinct introduction to this genre of political theory. The importance of this is obvious if Neocameralism is conceived as the central, and defining pillar of Neoreaction. In preparation for this task, however, it is necessary to revisit the socio-historical diagnosis from which Neocameralism emerged (in the work, of course, of Mencius Moldbug). That requires a brief prolegomenon addressing the NRx critique of democracy, focusing initially on its negative aspect. Neocameralism is introduced as a proposed solution to a problem. First, the problem.

Government is complicated. If this thesis seems implausible to you, it is probable that you will have great difficulties with everything to follow. It would take another (and quite different) post to address objections to this entire topic of discussion which take the approximate form “Government is easy, you just find the best man and put him in charge!” All social problems are easy if you can ‘just’ do the right thing. Infantile recommendations will always be with us.

There are two general lines of democratic apologetics. The first, and politically by far the strongest, is essentially religious. It too is best addressed by a post of its own, themed by Moldbug’s ‘Ultra-Calvinist Hypothesis’. For our purposes here we need only suggest that it is quite satisfactorily represented by Jacques Rousseau, and that its fundamental principal is popular sovereignty. From the NRx perspective, it is merely depraved. Only civilizational calamities can come from it.

The second line of apology is far more serious, theoretically engaging, and politically irrelevant. It understands democracy as a mechanism, tasked with the solemn responsibility of controlling government. Any effective control mechanism works by governing behavior under the influence of feedback from actual performance. In biology, this is achieved by natural selection upon phenotypes. In science, it is achieved by the experimental testing of theory, supported by a culture of open criticism. In capitalist economics, it is achieved by market evaluation of products and services, providing feedback on business performance. According to systems-theoretical defenses of democracy, it works by sensitizing government to feedback from voters, who act as conductors of information from actual administrative performance. This is the sophisticated liberal theory of democracy. It explains why science, markets, and democracy are often grouped together within liberal ideologies. (Bio-Darwinism, naturally, is more safely neglected).

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August 9, 2014admin 31 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Democracy
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Erik Falkenstein makes a lot of important points in this commentary on Thomas Piketty (via Isegoria). The whole post is highly recommended.

To pick up on just one of Falkenstein’s arguments here, he explains:

Most importantly for [Piketty’s] case is the fact that because marginal taxes, and inheritance taxes, were so high, the rich had a much different incentive to hide income and wealth. He shows marginal income and inheritance tax rates that are the exact inverse of the capital/income ratio of figures, which is part of his argument that raising tax rates would be a good thing: it lowers inequality. Those countries that lowered the marginal tax rates the most saw the biggest increases in higher incomes (p. 509). Perhaps instead of thinking capital went down, it was just reported less to avoid confiscatory taxes? Alan Reynolds notes that many changes to the tax code in the 1980s that explain the rise in reported wealth and income irrespective of the actual change in wealth an income in that decade, and one can imagine all those loopholes and inducements two generations ago when the top tax rates were above 90% (it seems people can no better imagine their grandparents sheltering income than having sex, another generational conceit).

The much-demonized ‘neoliberal’ tax regimes introduced in the 1980s disincentivized capital income concealment. (Falkenstein makes an extended defense of this point.) In consequence, apparent inequality rose rapidly, as such revenues came out of hiding (ἀλήθεια) into public awareness / public finances. The ‘phenomenon’ is an artifact of truth-engineering, as modestly conservative governments sought to coax capital into the open, within a comparatively non-confiscatory fiscal environment.

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July 28, 2014admin 18 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Democracy , Political economy

Cathedral notes (#1)

To accompany this (which I’m treating as a very valuable work-in-progress [sic]), some initial straggly commentary.

(1) Conceptual genealogists will insist on a link to this, so here it is. There’s a lot of discussion stimulation there. Some other time.

(2) Probably 90% of the ‘Cathedral’ discussion so far — insofar as this has over-spilled the NRx dikes — has consisted of “why don’t we call it the Synagogue?” Tedious as this may be, it’s a crucial question, because it effectively draws the NRx contour. If the cooptation of Judaism by the main cladistic trunk of dynamic modernity is not understood, nothing has been. ‘The Cathedral’ is a term that captures the exclusive insight about which NRx coalesces.

(3) Nydrwracu’s diagram, and Radish’s, are no doubt incomplete, but they are fully adequate to the most decisive point. The Cathedral is an information system — even an ‘intelligence’ system — that is characterized, through supreme irony, by a structural inability to learn. The minimal requirement for any Cathedrogram is that it displays a radical deficiency of significant feedback links to the control core. Every apparatus of information gathering occupies a strictly subordinate position, relative to the sovereign Cathedral layer, which is defined exhaustively by message promotion. Core-Cathedral is a structure of read only memory. It is essentially write-protected. The whole of its power (and also its vulnerability) is inextricable from this feature. It is pure cultural genetics (and zero pragmatics).

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June 27, 2014admin 39 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction

Know the Enemy II

The sobs of aesthetic bliss version:



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June 26, 2014admin 47 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Democracy , Images

Know the Enemy

More scrutiny and discussion needed — but this diagram looks highly reliable (and extremely valuable) upon preliminary inspection.

(I can’t reproduce it here because its connective links get lost in the darkness — torture.)

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June 26, 2014admin 9 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Democracy , Media

Cathedral Studies

Some sound advice from Post-Nietzschean: When listing the central organs of the modern structure, be careful not ignore the PR industry, post-vocational higher education (“crapademia”), and para-administrative organizations (“NGO-i-stan”). This type of sociological concreteness represents an important theoretical development pathway.

(via (via))

ADDED: The latent topic here is NRx blog-ecology. It looks as if Post-Nietzschean has already burnt out (last post in January). If this one fizzles I’m going to throw some kind of epic tantrum.

May 11, 2014admin 14 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy