Zombies can’t dance

Smart government‘ doesn’t even need a sarc. tag.

That’s why we’ll see no future Marinettis (in the West, at least).

July 22, 2013admin 14 Comments »
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14 Responses to this entry

  • fotrkd Says:

    Just a comment on your title: I just figured out the same thing (when the Body without organs is also full of gaiety, ecstasy, and dance…).


    Posted on July 22nd, 2013 at 4:01 pm Reply | Quote
  • Discipline Says:

    It can’t, because socialism can’t calculate. Dumbness and waste are innate to the way that it deploys capital.


    admin Reply:

    … and the constituencies that have captured it (especially public sector unions and cancerous bureaucracies) are as profoundly mindless as any social forces yet evidenced in history.


    Manjusri Reply:

    Western DEMOCRATIC socialism can’t calculate. East Asian “socialism” – maybe better termed technocracy – seems to be able to calculate pretty well. But that’s because their deployment of capital is not structured towards social ends (except, to some extent, in Japan, where their representative bodies deal with the same politico-geographic distortions that impact the US Senate, resulting in a disproportionate amount of funding being allocated to rural districts), but towards promotion of overall economic growth.


    admin Reply:

    Yes, in that respect it corresponds to the dynamic statism the futurists were excited about. The key, as you say, is the ‘Hamiltonian’ orientation of government action towards industrial development, rather than economic redistribution. It wouldn’t be surprising if cultural tendencies of a recognizable (fascist) futurist type were to emerge from that. There’s every sign, however, that the Western entropy bin represents the natural decay curve for statism, and the same shambling zombie dysfunction seen in the West will become increasingly evident in Asia too. As you note, Japan has already crossed the event horizon in this regard.


    Manjusri Reply:

    Perhaps. One thing I’ve noted about “democratic” politics in the Confuciosphere is that states are either dominated by a single party, or riven by a non-ideological issue. The three “multi-party democracies” of the region- Japan, SK, Taiwan- all factionalize along non ideological lines- Japan, upon issues of succession- the DPJ are simply members of the LDP who were frustrated with their place on the totem pole; their ideology is indistinguishable; in SK, the question of how to deal with reunification; and Taiwan, on the China Question. All dominant parties appear to have the same sort of pragmatic approach to economics.

    Though there’s no guarantee this will continue to be the case in the future.

    Posted on July 22nd, 2013 at 10:23 pm Reply | Quote
  • Francis St. Pol Says:

    But if the government was really truly smart, wouldn’t it want to seem to be stupid? “Never attribute to malice what can equally be explained by incompetence” is exactly what the malicious want us to think.

    Okay, tinfoil-hat off.


    admin Reply:

    While thought experiments stretch the brain, going down this road without getting off leads to The Daily Bell (and look what happened to them).
    Of course, they They would have to kill off The Daily Bell


    Posted on July 23rd, 2013 at 12:49 am Reply | Quote
  • Manjusri Says:

    Interesting to ask:

    If Moldbug is right, and “Cthulhu only swims to the left”, why has American economic policy seemingly moved to the right over the last forty years?

    -In 1972, Nixon was considering full-on nationalization of the health care system. In 1994, Bill Clinton didn’t propose a nationalization, but did propose a massive universal healthcare system of continental European proportions; the Republicans responded with a more conservative, market driven approach. A few decades later, Barack Obama revives the Republican plan- and the Republicans reject it as socialism.

    That seems like a rightward swing to me.

    -In the 1960s, top American marginal tax rates were 91%. Today people scream at the possibility that Obama might raise them to an economy-crushing…. 37%.

    -In the 1950s and 1960s, Republicans and Democrats alike backed massive public works projects- the Interstate Highway system, government laboratories, land-grant universities, the Space Program.

    While there are tons of worthless little pork projects that add up to quite a bit, getting funding for similar programs today- like a national High-Speed Rail program- is DOA. It’s all “socialism”, “big government”, etc.

    These are all pretty clear instances in which we’ve moved to the right. Though what I wonder is that if this is just “cosmetic right”- while tax rates have fallen dramatically by percentage, government spending has not- we just learned to use our global clout to issue massive amounts of debt, essentially amounting to a neo-colonialist system of using a foreign empire to fund ventures at home. While health care policy seems to be more market-based, the overall bureaucratization of the health care system and fiat money economy means that there’s little difference between a market-driven system and a nationalized one today. The last one goes without saying.



    admin Reply:

    Reaganism was something like a reboot after the Keynesian order reached the nadir of a soft Left Singularity in the late 1970s. All the rightward adjustments you mention come from that. Unfortunately, it was a pathetically limited sticking plaster exercise, as the relentless expansion of government, transfer payments, public debt, politicized money, and Cathedralist ideological normalization demonstrate so clearly.


    Discipline Reply:

    Economic policy shifted moderately to the right with Volcker. This was temporary and extremely minute. It’s worth reading the new Stockman book for a full account of how milquetoast the ‘Reagan revolution’ really was. The post-Nixon ‘economic liberalization’ should also be understood in the context of the economic liberalization of China and the rise of Japan. The expansion of the market system helped to soften the economic cannibalization of the US.

    The US maintains some small islands of market economy while outsourcing a lot of production to other areas where markets are less restrained. We handle the ‘spiritual’ aspects of production; the rest of the world does the actual producing.

    Meanwhile, social policy shifted violently leftwards throughout that post-Nixon period. The US has been devouring its seed corn, wearing down its capital stock — even physically. You can see the degeneration in the physiques of the people, their levels of stress, their inability to reproduce effectively, their reliance on potions/pills, their extreme focus on the spirit-world of screens to the detriment of reality, their inability to far-think, their embracing of death-ideologies, their inability to fight wars, their production of defective children…

    The Americans are a ghost-people.


    Manjusri Reply:

    I often like to read Chris Hedges for his over-the-top doom and gloom; here’s a transcript of a recent interview:


    What he doesn’t realize, of course, is that the purpose of the left isn’t the stated one. The betrayal of the Vaisyas isn’t a corruption- it’s what’s supposed to happen. Just like selling Boxer to the knackers…

    The point of the radical movements was to give a new elite control. Once they won… well, who cares about the footsoldiers?

    Why is it, if all this is true, that the left in the US thinks that the US has moved hopelessly to the right?


    admin Reply:

    “Why is it, if all this is true, that the left in the US thinks that the US has moved hopelessly to the right?” — Since when? Certainly not since the last remotely capitalism-tolerant US administration (Calvin Coolidge).

    The main reasons they might think this is based on attachment to meaningless symbolism. For instance, consider your tax rates point. Arthur Laffer taught everybody — Left and Right — how to optimize government revenues through tax policy. Once he is understood, it’s obvious to everybody that a marginal rate of 91% is not a revenue raising measure, but a masochistic piece of punitive symbolism, which destroys the tax base far more effectively than it harvests from it. So is a Laffer-Max tax rate Right-wing? Only if the Left is understood as an exercise in pure capital destruction, rather than a system of rationalized predation. Nevertheless, it still allows idiots on the Left — and cynical propagandists like Krugman — to denounce revenue maximization as some kind of ideological compromise. That’s why the only index that matters is the size of the state (i.e. aggregate tax revenue + public debt, not tax rates).

    Secondly, there’s the fact that certain features of reality impose a drift to the ‘Right’ when this is conceived superficially. Most significantly, rising inequality, or the ever-greater financialization of Anglophone capitalism. Neither of these phenomena, in reality, represent anything other than the fact that smart, ruthless, and — under current conditions especially — profoundly corrupt people will find ways to thrive under almost any circumstances. In crony capitalist regimes they’re crony capitalists, in communist regimes they’re Party insiders, in collapsed societies they’re warlords, and in Islamic theocracies they’re religious authorities. It doesn’t matter what the policy, there will always be a tendency to something approximating to a Pareto distribution. The Lefter the society, however, the more Machiavellian genius will be rewarded, rather than productive capability. In any case, the opening is there for the same Left idiots / cynical propagandists to say: “Look, inequality, Right-wing evil!” even when the triumph of their own policy preferences have determined the structure of the new plutocracy. Right now, in America, the core consists of Wall Street / Washington revolving-door crony financiers, who wouldn’t even exist in a market-oriented society. That doesn’t matter to the Left. There are filthy rich people. It’s got to be some kind of Right-wing thing.

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    Medicine was only partly socialized in Nixon’s day. He tried to socialize it further, but leftward progress was slow. Reagan signed EMTALA, which was a major lurch to the left. Clinton tried to socialize it further, but leftward progress was slow. Obama tried to socialize it further, and policy took a sudden lurch to the left. I see rhetoric changing, but as far as policy is concerned, this is a bad example of the point you are trying to make. As far as health care is concerned, Cthulhu swims slowly, but he only swims left.

    One problem is measuring movement. Imagine an air traffic controller who measures the location of an airplane relative to the tip of the airplane’s nose. That’s what leftists do. They complain that they need more power because the airplane isn’t making any progress (in their coordinate system), but it’s moving left at 600 mph in any sane person’s coordinate system.

    I can’t think of the American health care system without thinking of Sheldon Richman’s article on fascism at the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.


    Posted on July 23rd, 2013 at 2:32 am Reply | Quote

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