Bloody shovel

Don't call it a spade

Secession

One big idea out there is that what we need is Exit. We need to allow secession, for different people to go their own way. We obviously can’t get along. Some people want homosexuals teaching sex education in kindergarten. Others want to put statues to Hitler and Genghis Khan. Others want the liberty to do drugs, own guns, preferably at the same time. Others want soda taxes enforced by a mercenary army. Many want sharia law.

That’s what other countries are for! Give us borders. A patchwork, a polyhedron of independent countries free to develop their own culture. That’s a fine idea. Autonomy is a fine thing. Surely better than having faceless bureaucrats ruling from thousands of miles away.

Well ok, let’s say we all get secession. What happens then? Fortunately Europe is experimenting with the idea. Plenty of secessionist movements going on in Europe. Scotland is one of the most advanced. Soon Scotland may be able to become free, and the Scots can do their own thing. So what are the Scots up to?

They are arresting people for making videos of dogs doing the nazi salute.

They are arresting people for complaining about “syrian refugees” on Facebook.

They are basically running the mother of all censorship campaigns by arresting anyone who says anything non-PC on the internet. Hate crimes, you see. Even the Chinese Communist Party isn’t this blatant.

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It is often said that the secret of European dominance after the 16th century was that Europe was divided in many small states, which created a competitive pressure which resulted in, well, massive advances in shipbuilding, weaponry, science, and eventually the Industrial Revolution. I buy that. But you’ll note that for all the political division of Europe there is such a thing as European culture. European countries had different governments different languages.Yet they dressed mostly the same, had similar economic systems, basically the same religion. The elite intermarried profusely, and intellectual life was international. Many linguists will tell you that European languages, for all their differences, are basically the same; vocabulary and other grammar patterns having diffused so much that automatic translation actually works! Try to run Google Translate to any slightly exotic language and it breaks down very fast.

Even if the Western elite were to go mad tomorrow and allow widespread secession; even if Europe and North America were tomorrow to divide in 500 sovereign countries; who says that the common culture would necessarily fracture? The Irish fought valiantly for decades to gain their freedom from the British, only to use their sovereignty to fill Dublin with African immigrants. The Scots are likely to use their newly gained sovereignty to pass a law giving 10 year jail sentences to those who oppose bringing 100k male Afghan immigrants per year. Which will make the British then bring 120k, to spite them. The same way Voltaire was a celebrity in both the Russian and Pussian courts, or Confucius roamed the Chinese heartland working for different lords, Sadiq Khan may end up as mayor of Berlin after he’s finished with London.

I don’t want to oversell this argument. Of course sovereignty does matter at some level. I’m glad that Slovakia or Hungary are sovereign and can refuse to open their borders to barbarians. If the EU could it would have forced the distribution of migrants across European territory. Still, sovereignty only gets you so far. The EU could plausibly engineer a regime change in some country in Eastern Europe in the middle term, and put some Harvard grad to implement EU policy.

The issue here is culture. Politics of course influences culture to some extent, but the arrow goes the other way around too. Any patchwork, no matter how sovereign, will result in the same insane liberal monoculture if trade dynamics stay the same, everybody learns English, the global elite all goes to American colleges, and everybody is discussing politics on Twitter. Sovereignty doesn’t mean anything if the sovereign(s) doesn’t want to use it. I’ve made that point about monarchy several times. It applies to republics all the same.

What we need is…

 

 

 

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92 responses to “Secession

  1. Mark Yuray May 11, 2016 at 11:18

    The new religion is neoreactionary racist Christianity.

    • spandrell May 11, 2016 at 11:28

      Where’s the home church?

    • peppermint May 11, 2016 at 21:16

      the old religion was reactionary racist Christianity, and it already lost to the progressive Christianity that became progressive atheism, for reasons that have little to do with Jews (the Jews weren’t in charge when this process started) or even fascination with the scientific method (if the scientific method is so important, why did we lose the racism?).

      • lalit May 12, 2016 at 10:25

        Woah! Peppermint. Welcome. I see you are diversifying from Jim’s blog. BTW, you were supposed to show me some scriptural references regarding the Buddha being blue eyed and all that. I’m still waiting.

        • spandrell May 12, 2016 at 10:33

          Not in my blog please. Peppermint’s retarded comments (i.e. 95% of them) are deleted and will continue to be so.
          If you enjoy the conversations at Jim’s blog you can keep on having them over there.

    • A.B. Prosper May 12, 2016 at 23:37

      No it isn’t. Christianity is near as dead as a coffin nail in Europe even in the Catholic bits and is only just hanging on in the US. Its mainly a 2nd and 3rd world thing, pretty much 100% if you count the USA among its less developed peers.

      Not too not a single Christian developed nation with a European population has a growing population of European people and this includes Evangelicals who have horrid retention and Mormons who despite being highly natal are not much a White growth spot, They are holding the line though probably turning browner as well from the ethnics they’ve recruited

      The Amish are not developed and exist by suffrage alone.

      Anecdotes are not evidence but I know a good number of Mormons, of the ones I’ve know decently well around a dozen here in So-Cal ,none of them have children and all are in their mid to late twenties. Many don’t have cars or good full time jobs or seem to care too

      The have GF/BF’s at the low expected rate but only one pair is married , one mixed race (half Asian and a White) and the other mixed faith (Mormon/Heathen if anything) not a good “white” growth strategy though the mixed race couple will; probably continue to mix and in a few generations be basically White anyway.

      Now I live in a cheap rent crappy area and while work especially Blue Collar which is ownded with the Mexicans is a big issue heck its So-Cal the economy is bad its also more a not care issue. I would expect under normal LDS circumstances to see twenty to thirty kids maybe more or if the economy was really bad a dozen with several owning property.

      I’m seeing serious drop out behavior and outside of Utah I expect this is pretty common.

      People do have troubles but they also realize that participation is pointless.

      I’m also seeing this with Evangelical friends as well , at the risk of sounding like some stupid feminists, a lot of “failure to launch” or for those that have, MGTOW- Prepper mindset

      If this is true in a broader sense I suspect a religious revival may not be in the offing.

      In any case it might be better to have a new religion that speaks to White hearts ,

      More emphasis on thinking suited to our native lands and needs not the Middle East desert , no main figure being a Jewish messiah to resist cognitive dissonance, a more gnostic and customary way of seeing.

      I haven’t figured out how to push such a thing if its possible. Maybe fusing the super fast growing Soldiers of Odin with the Asatru Folk Assembly for Northwest and Western Whites, Celts for those into them and the Gods of Greece and Rome for the rest

      It wouldn’t be authentic for generations but nothing is . Religious practice is very much fake it till you make it anyway.

      I don’t know but I would not count on Christianity making a comeback in any case, especially in Europe

    • R. May 15, 2016 at 10:33

      Slave religions FTW!

  2. Howard J. Harrison May 11, 2016 at 15:04

    Secession? Exit?

    As an escape hatch from the Democalypse, the idea appeals. Maybe all you mean is to broach the idea, but let us suppose that you were wholly in earnest.

    Question: Was the EU not chiefly founded to resist Russian expansionism? Do the nationalist leaders of eastern Europe not still cling to the EU for this very reason? If so, then what is to deter Russia once the EU is gone?

    If the USA too broke up, the Americans would hardly thereafter deter Russia.

    Anyway, is secession not the likeliest way to set the table for comparatively strong secedents (states which have seceded), 50 years from now, to progressively gobble up the weak? In which case you’d have a new empire from which to secede!

    Some of us might wonder whether we should not save the trouble, avoiding secession in the first place.

    Admittedly, all this loose talk of ours is theoretical, detached from reality. I do not know whether I even agree with my own point, but it seems worth discussing, at any rate.

    • lalit May 12, 2016 at 10:27

      Europeans as they are today, would be vastly improved under Russian Colonial rule. They might even turn into real Men! If I were European, I would be begging Mr. Putin to please invade already

      • Dividualist May 12, 2016 at 12:50

        Come on, Putin is a reality show. Almost all politics is, of course, but all his appeal is that he is not a ridiculous beta. This alone can’t fix a country or a continent. You don’t get a good government just by giving it to strong men, it is a necessary requirement, but by no means a sufficient one, virtually every government ever before the last few decades was ran by strong men and plenty of them were bad. I understand the appeal to signal toughness rather than holiness, I figured that out around 17 when I realized signalling holiness does not really get me the girls, toughness signals are more natural and normal for a man, but ultimately we need something far far more than just signalling.

        • lalit May 12, 2016 at 13:12

          My comment was half facetious, mate. Jokes aside, don’t you think Europe would be better off as a Russian Colony rather than as an Islamic Caliphate?

          • Howard J. Harrison May 12, 2016 at 15:21

            I lack @lalit’s good sense of humor, but his observation is interesting. It had long ago occurred to me that, in retrospect, Europe might have been better off as a Nazi Colony, Hitler having won the war. Putin seems easily preferable to Hitler. So, … good point.

            I was thinking however of long-term power politics. For centuries as you know, Russia has dominated the great Eurasian north, pressing with greater or lesser intensity upon the more clement lands to her south and west. Before Russia in that space, you had the Mongols, Tamerlane, etc., not to mention states on the edge of @spandrell’s recent introduction to Song history; so this seems to be an old problem. It has often been observed that Russia lacks natural borders. During the Cold War, did not Old World states align with the U.S. in part because the U.S. lacked a natural, long-term, geopolitical propensity to annex Old World territory?

            In this sense, it is probably not an accident that Mexico does not belong to NATO but Turkey does.

            It occurs to me that the EU (so long as the proposed secessions do not happen) represents an attempt to solve the perennial Russian problem. This is all I meant.

            An American, I too kind of like Putin. If I were British, I would almost certainly vote for Brexit, despite the foregoing reservations. It just occurs to me that there probably exist no easy answers to the old Continental problem.

            It would be ironic if Britain exited, followed by France, Italy, the Netherlands, etc., leaving a truncated, German-dominated EU in eastern Europe alone as a weakened bulwark against Russian expansion. That’s sort of like what might possibly have happened if Beck and his Poles had ceded Danzig, remaining allied with Germany during the 1930s instead of opposing Germany. How likely my eastern-EU scenario might be now, Danzig and all, I cannot guess. (By noting this, I invite trite responses — which might even be right as far as I know — regarding how Hitler would surely have taken over the world, etc. Personally, I doubt that Hitler would or could have; but, in any case, returning to the first paragraph of this comment: if Hitler had indeed taken over the world, would Americans today be better or worse off? My guess is: better.)

            • spandrell May 12, 2016 at 15:52

              Russia wasn’t a real threat to Germany and Austria but once those were dissolved it indeed became an obvious danger to the whole continent.

              I don’t think Russia was at all capable of dominating the whole continent for long, a rebellion would have fixed things sooner or later. And yes Hitler or Stalin, anything really is preferable to physical replacement of Europeans by Arabs and Africans, which is what we’re seeing if present trends continue.

              Didn’t Pat Buchanan, hardly a shitlord, write a book saying Hitler should be won the war?

              • Howard J. Harrison May 12, 2016 at 21:11

                William Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 1960 is astonishing in its depth of research, competent in its writing and brilliant in its thoroughness, but forgivably faulty in its conclusions. Pat Buchanan’s The Unnecessary War, 2009, a much shorter book, fills what Shirer’s lacks.

                They’re both very good books.

                Unlike Shirer, Buchanan concludes that British and Americans were unwise to plunge into a world war to defeat Hitler to make the world safe for Stalin. Having read the book in 2009, my memory of it is now imperfect, but as I recall, Buchanan believes that [a] the Soviet Union probably (not certainly) would have defeated Nazi Germany without British or American help and [b] the Jewish Holocaust would probably never have occurred if British and Americans had kept out of the war. These were not Buchanan’s mere attitudes, but his grounded conclusions.

                Many critics disagreed with Buchanan’s conclusions, as you would expect — some for substantive reasons; others for less substantive reasons.

                Buchanan remains anti-Hitler and does not, as far as I remember, actually suggest in this book that Hitler’s victory would have been preferable; but he does observe that the destruction of Hitlerism has had perverse consequences, not all of which have been good for Western civilization. Wars are serious things, not to be fought by choice unless vital gains sufficiently exceed expected losses, so Buchanan believes that we should have stayed aloof.

                Buchanan’s main point, in a way, is less about Hitler than Churchill, a great man who, Buchanan firmly believes, was disastrous as a statesman. So, no, Buchanan does not say that Hitler should have won the war.

              • R. May 15, 2016 at 10:38

                Russia wasn’t a real threat to Germany and Austria

                Interesting that the German general staff in 1914 was convinced that Russians would become utterly unbeatable within 5 to 10 years because of their army reform and arms buildup, and thus even though they didn’t really want war, if there had to be one better to have one sooner than later.

                ‘No threat’ my ass. Only more manpower, natural resources an expanding industrial economy and a lot of imperial ambitions, and Slavs all around the place to ‘protect’.

                • spandrell May 15, 2016 at 12:03

                  Oh come on. The German general staff was like the US military industrial complex making up threats everywhere to get more budgets and power. Russia had just lost to Japan of all people. Let alone all the leftist agitation it was suffering internally.
                  Objective political analysis wasn’t very popular in those days.

              • R. May 16, 2016 at 09:49

                Russians learned a lot from the Japanese, and although they initially got whupped by Germans being their brilliant military selves they showed later what they could do, with proper leadership in 1916. In 1914 they had more men and were busy making and buying modern weaponry.

                And this assessment was deemed to be correct by modern historians anyway. (At least the book I read, Sleepwalkers, did not condemn it as scaremongering. Then it is sympathetic to Central powers for some reason)

                Germans weren’t concerned with Russians dominating Europe. Pretty sure Tzar never aimed there. Probably wanted to defeat Germany and get Poland, Ukraine and such regions and thus cement their place as the biggest power in Europe. Get Austria-Hungaria to cough up Bosnia-Herzegovina for Serbia, maybe make them give indepedence to Slavs and so on.

                Austria-Hungaria was Germany’s only reliable ally and culturally/economically their closest country I believe.

                >>Didn’t Pat Buchanan, hardly a shitlord, write a book saying Hitler should be won the war?

                Not really I believe. He just wrote UK should have let them take on Poland and then let USSR, and Nazis fight (which is what would have happened. Stalin earnestly desired a nazi-bolshevik alliance apparently*, but Hitler wasn’t receptive to that at all)

                *it’s sort of implied by his various remarks. Also that USSR negotiated entry into the Axis in november 1940…

  3. Leonard May 11, 2016 at 15:06

    “Secession” as you’re talking about in para 2 is not really secession in a sense of sovereignty. All we’re talking about is provinces rearranging themselves upon their own say-so. So long as progressives run both countries — which is to say, they both remain democratic — they are part of the same overarching sovereign meta-politics. Progressives pretty much by definition are attuned to the Cathedral, and the Cathedral is one. Catholic.

    (It is interesting to speculate as to whether it would be possible to fork the Cathedral. It would not have been possible in 1945, but at least in theory could be done now.)

    True secession means sovereignty change, and sovereignty change in the modern West requires change of government type to something other than “democracy”. So long as political ideation grounds out at Harvard, you have not changed the fundaments and the leftist craziness will continue to swell. This is basically what you’re saying at the end. You need a new religion as a state religion; lacking that, you are Cathedral and “secession” is kabuki.

    Put another way: if USG can engineer a regime change in Hungary, Hungary is not in fact sovereign.

    • Howard J. Harrison May 11, 2016 at 15:36

      @Leonard: You say, If USG can engineer a regime change in Hungary?

      Did I miss something? For information: to what regime change do you refer?

      • Leonard May 11, 2016 at 15:51

        A hypothetical one. I am not sure that current USG could do it. The information environment is a new thing. But neither am I sure of the opposite. Do note that the Cathedral, if not necessarily USG directly, did engineer one in 1949 and in 1989.

    • spandrell May 11, 2016 at 16:04

      If the Hungarian illuminati (or some obscure secret society known only to Hungarians) can engineer a regime change in Hungary, is Hungary sovereign?
      If the Hungarian illuminati are part of a loose coalition of illuminati sects across the Danube, is Hungary sovereign?

      We can play this game forever.
      It’s a fun game.

      Incidentally we now have a democratic monoculture; but we used to have a monarchical monoculture where the governments all across Europe looked mostly the same. Were they not sovereign? Does the whole system and intellectual underpinning of government have to be different? If that’s the case then only different civilizations are sovereign.

      • Leonard May 11, 2016 at 20:48

        I guess the clearer way to look at it is that “sovereignty” is not an attribute of countries or states, but of groups of people. So, yes, the Hungarian Illuminati are sovereign if they can change the regime. Of course, if they for some reason choose not to use their power to take over, or at least shape the policies of the existing state, then they are sovereign in abeyance. Sort of like the US Army. But US Army is carefully neutralized by their religion. The Illuminati exist for power; why would they forbear?

        There is a difference between monarchy and democracy as far as sovereignty goes. In monarchy, the monarch is the owner of the country. He is sovereign. Sure, 99% of his ideas are not original; he gets them from Harvard perhaps. But his position does not depend on anything except the facts of history and the ongoing loyalty of the security forces. In particular it does not depend on the state church (if any). If he implements a Harvard idea, or one of his own, presumably it happens in either case.

        By contrast, in modern “democracy”, the sovereign group is a huge and amorphous blob of politicians, bureaucrats, judges, and NGO people, each of whom controls only the tiniest slice of sovereign power. Ownership of these microslices is not a matter of property, but rather by activism. (C.f. Moldy on Michael Mann, climate Stalin.) If the activist flags in his activism, eventually some sharp-eyed climber notices and out-holies him, taking the job.

        Once we start talking about people out-holying each other to gain power, we’ve entered the domain of religion, and that’s where it matters what the state religion is. But furthermore, we’ve also entered the domain of Moloch. Competitive processes, not men, control the state. We face the left singularity.

        • Candide III May 12, 2016 at 11:31

          Sovereignty is largely a red herring. Moldbug’s boolean theory of sovereignty is retarded, and he couldn’t see it or be persuaded of it (there were some valiant attempts in his comment section) most likely because he has never commanded people or even been close to somebody who commanded people. You go in the right direction with your first sentence up there, but you have to narrow it down even further, to sovereignty of particular groups over particular areas of issues and particular classes of solutions or actions ordered by the group. An absolute monarch might be sovereign, but what if he issues an order to every subject to suicide? Obviously that’s not going to fly. (The monarch who, for a time, came closest to this pinnacle of power was the Emperor of Japan.) He’s only sovereign while his orders are within a fairly restricted envelope of options. So one might be better off talking about legal sovereignty or sovereignty of position rather than of raw power. For the latter, one would need to actually be Fnargl, which construct has no relation to the real world and can be disregarded.

          • spandrell May 12, 2016 at 11:59

            Sovereignty of course primarily is a diplomatic term. It means the right of rulers not to be invaded because of their domestic policies.

            I’m not quite aware of any Japanese emperor calling for the whole people to kill themselves. Even the Heian emperors were quite weak in practice.
            Suicide orders in China were considered a “nice” form of execution. You must die but in deference for your social status you are spared the process of jail and beheading you in public.

            • Candide III May 12, 2016 at 12:12

              > Sovereignty of course primarily is a diplomatic term.
              So it is, but that’s not what Moldbug meant when he used it, and his usage has spread.
              > I’m not quite aware of any Japanese emperor calling for the whole people to kill themselves. Even the Heian emperors were quite weak in practice.
              I should have clarified that I meant specifically Emperor Showa before the end of WWII, and I’m aware that the situation was peculiar. Neither did I mean “closest” to imply “close”. Now that I think of it there were several attempts by military officers (!) to prevent 玉音放送 from being broadcast. But once it was broadcast, the effect was stunning indeed. There was no guerrilla resistance whatsoever, it was like a switch had been thrown in everyone’s head. Gen. MacArthur saw it when he landed at Atsugi before any sizable occupation forces landed, and LKY describes the same effect in Singapore.

              • spandrell May 12, 2016 at 12:40

                You could say the Voice of the Emperor caused the switch to flip, or you could say that the government decree caused the switch. The Emperor had some input in the discussion, but besides some crazy colonels the government agreed with surrender, and so it happened. The Emperor hadn’t counted for much in 20 years, if the surrender broadcast alone was an instance of “sovereignty”, then the concept is useless indeed.

                As I see it, the whole army knew completely well that the war was lost, resistance was futile, everybody wanted out, but they couldn’t do so without risking execution. So once they had a good excuse “The Emperor just said it!”, they could at last do what they wanted, and resistance ceased.

              • Candide III May 12, 2016 at 13:17

                Hm. What would the effect have been if the Emperor had broadcast a speech doubling down on war and resistance? I agree that the flip is better viewed as a very quick preference cascade, but one mustn’t forget the previous switch position. It wasn’t propped up in that position by fear of assassination alone. Weren’t there lots of people who sacrificed themselves in one way or another for the sake of the war, where the same kind of people later meekly went to sweep streets as POWs.
                > if the surrender broadcast alone was an instance of “sovereignty”, then the concept is useless indeed
                Can you think of another instance? Your extracts from Chinese history don’t support sovereignty-as-ultimate-power either. I’d say that this concept is useless.

              • spandrell May 12, 2016 at 14:12

                Well he was not in the business of giving radio speeches. He didn’t start the war with one. He didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor with one. The surrender was a sharp break with established policy and so it required extreme measures to stop crazy colonels from claiming that a surrender decree had been forged and we’re actually supposed to go on fighting!
                A hypothetical speech or decree to double down and fight to the last man would have empowered the crazy colonels’ hold on power and discouraged any local or high-level revolt.

                I’m happy to do away with the concept of sovereignty, although Chinese emperors were personally in charge fairly often, especially later on.

              • Candide III May 12, 2016 at 15:36

                Being in charge is not the same as being a Fnargl-absolute ruler. Granted, Chinese emperors could tell some people to suicide and expect to be obeyed, but they couldn’t e.g. tell all the court to suicide and expect to be obeyed. Explicitly or implicitly threatening such an order is a much more robust tactic to ensure compliance.

                > A hypothetical speech or decree to double down and fight to the last man would have empowered the crazy colonels’ hold on power and discouraged any local or high-level revolt.
                Just so, and this would happen despite the fact that
                > the whole army knew completely well that the war was lost, resistance was futile, everybody wanted out
                As it was, Emperor Showa just went and terminated the whole signaling spiral.

            • Dividualist May 12, 2016 at 12:55

              Sovereignty cannot be a right, because a right is valuable only if enforceable and whoever is capable of doing the enforcing is the practical sovereign. In practice, you can defend yourself from invasions or not, allies help or not. Sovereignty basically means a plea to allies, “help me with this invader, he is of the bad kinds”.

              • spandrell May 12, 2016 at 12:58

                Oh come on. You’re saying “sovereignty is the right to plea to allies to help in case of invasion due to domestic policy”. Same thing.
                You’ve chosen the wrong man to play semantics with.

          • Leonard May 12, 2016 at 14:14

            There you go, problematizing again.

            Look, I grant that sovereignty is complicated. It is always fractured and politicized at least to some degree. It is always limited in domain. Thus for example, I do not believe that if, say, some bureaucrat in the guts of the FDA commanded the population of the USA to commit suicide, that the population would do it. Indeed they would not even hear the order; it would be muffled immediately. And that is in spite of the fact that that guy, whoever he is, is sovereign over some minor matter of state, at least as long as he does not say flagrantly crazy stuff. Perhaps he alone controls the approval of a new abortificant.

            I think, though, that sovereignty is still a useful concept even in a simplified or abstracted form. Thus, it is implicit in discussing sovereignty that humans are both the ruled and rulers, and that any sort of actions impossible or very improbable for humans are not part of what we’re discussing. King Cnut does not control the tides. Nor can the Emperor command, say, that human beings love their neighbors. Nor can he command that we all don red jumpsuits and stand outside on the 29th, waiting for the saucers to pick us up. This latter, incidentally, shows the supply side problem: it’s not that people can’t do that if sufficiently religionized, it’s that in almost all social contexts an Emperor that commanded red jumpsuits etc would be muzzled or overthrown by those around him because he’s crazy.

            • spandrell May 12, 2016 at 15:01

              The point is that “sovereignty” is a useful concept if you want to understand why Merkel doesn’t send troops to Hungary to make them open the border. But it’s not a useful concept if you want to understand what is different between (nominally) monarchical and democratic politics. And it’s completely useless if you want a general theory of power.

  4. D May 11, 2016 at 15:52

    Moldbug covered this pretty well in his seasteading post:

    A seasteading project that solves the first problem, but not the second – that becomes sovereign, but in a politically assimilated condition – has solved the hard and unimportant part of the problem, and ignored the easy and important part. It has established its temporal sovereignty. It has ignored the much more essential matter of intellectual sovereignty.

    The truth about Ireland, Sweden and Costa Rica is that each of these governments is physically capable of achieving far more sovereignty than it has. It just doesn’t want to. Its body, while not especially free, is far freer than its mind, which is slave to the latest Harvard fashions.

    The big question: how to get intellectual sovereignty?

    • spandrell May 11, 2016 at 16:00

      Religion.

      Somebody should make an abridged version of Moldbug’s best posts, arranged by topic.

      • D May 11, 2016 at 17:48

        Well, establishing intellectual sovereignty and building a new religion amount to being the same exact problem.

        • peppermint May 11, 2016 at 21:20

          2008: The Plinth must (a) obey the principles of existential politics as described above; (b) conduct all operations in a perfectly democratic, transparent and responsible way; and (c) place its absolute confidence in the Antiversity and the Program.

          2012: If the Cathedral’s evil consists primarily in heresy, in suppressing non heretical Christianity, on coercing all Christian churches to follow in its heresy, then you get the Theonomist Reaction… I admire the success of England under the restoration Church of England, an official state church which was much better than today’s official progressivism

          2016: cuck cuck cuck cuck cuck cuck cuck (that’s the sound of the alt-right pecking away at the intellectual order)

      • lalit May 12, 2016 at 10:28

        Here is the abridged version arranged by topic
        http://moldbuggery.blogspot.in/

    • Dividualist May 12, 2016 at 13:01

      Further down. “My view is that the first order of business, for this fight, is intellectual sovereignty. It is clearly possible to create intellectual sovereignty without temporal sovereignty – to secede in mind, not body.”

      I am starting to “get” why Urbit.

  5. el supremo May 11, 2016 at 15:53

    Secession does have benefits – by increasing the number of states (within a formal superstate structure like the EU or an informal one like the US network of influence) it substantially increases the cost and effort to impose a political mono-culture widely.

    Merkel can convince Facebook to censor within all of Germany, but a convincing the rulers of fragmented German substates to all censor is a much slower and more laborious process. Having multiple states with different governments but the same language and culture allows ideas produced in even one dissident state to be spread into other states.

    In the fragmented Germany before Napoleon it was effectively impossible to maintain consistent standards of censorship – dissident professors and religious thinkers could always find one minor margrave who would take them in, or one of the free imperial cities who would let them publish heretical books that could then be smuggled to other places.

    • spandrell May 11, 2016 at 16:09

      It also has drawbacks. State policy is more efficiently enforced in most states, which tend to have a higher ratio of government workers to population. China was huge and centralized, but the state just didn’t have the capability to enforce compliance in every single corner. Merkel couldn’t have the police in Bulgaria arrest some kid for putting a dog-hitler video on Youtube.

  6. Jefferson May 11, 2016 at 16:19

    I think the idea is that with sufficient physical separation, religious/cultural diversity can occur. This seems wrong/overly optimistic to me. Before exit has a chance, some religion will need a restoration to pre-enlightenment standards, and/or we need a messianic figure to undo the damage of the enlightenment. If the enlightenment was the inevitable result of information technology, severe censorship is likely a prerequisite.

  7. Karl May 11, 2016 at 17:40

    Secession from those that want sharia law seems to be an option. Afterall, they have a different religion. The alternatives seem to be conversion and war. In Jugoslavia they tried all three.

    Secession will only make a difference if you have different cultures that can secede. I’m still sceptical whether we need a new religion. Maybe a new culture would suffice; a new policy won’t.

  8. Frog Do May 11, 2016 at 22:47

    Autocephalous Orthodox Churches. By design there probably won’t be another Ecumenical Council, so the dogma is fixed to be over a millenia old and most everything else is merely a matter of theological opinion. No Pope, no single point of failure. Bible and liturgy are translated to native languages. Clergy can marry. Has already survived both Communism and Islam, continues to survive under Pax Americana with good birthrates.

    • Howard J. Harrison May 12, 2016 at 03:27

      Wow, this blog has smart commenters. Some of the commenters may be disconnected a bit from reality, maybe; but they’re not boring; that’s for sure.

      Now I just need a dictionary in which to look up “autocephalous.”

      • spandrell May 12, 2016 at 04:35

        You are easily impressed.

        • Howard J. Harrison May 12, 2016 at 13:38

          Maybe, but less easily amused. You and your commenters at once impress and amuse.

          Not a long-time reader, I seem so far to observe markedly, surprisingly less asininity here than in the comment columns of other blogs — excepting blogs too obscure to have comments at all. (For me to say so is, of course, to invite the retort that Harrison added to the asininity. Can’t win ’em all.)

          • spandrell May 12, 2016 at 14:16

            You are most welcome. I do think I’ve struck a good balance between obscurity and popularity. I do get my share of stupid comments but I don’t let them through.

            I will probably regret not have lots more asinine commenters once I publish the book. Steve Sailer gets to live off his blog, he surely knows what he’s doing.

    • spandrell May 12, 2016 at 04:36

      Good birthrates? Eastern European birthrates are horribly low. What are you talking about?

      • Frog Do May 12, 2016 at 05:56

        I was thinking in terms of the USA, but I suppose there could be a bounce back as eastern Europe shakes off communism and the Pax Americana continues to erode. Perhaps that’s too optimistic, but I know very little about global demographics outside obvious big picture stuff.

        • spandrell May 12, 2016 at 10:20

          An orthodox friend in America tells me that the first generation has high birthrates, but those children tend to blend into mainstream society and become normal childless progressives.

    • Dividualist May 12, 2016 at 13:09

      The problem is they are too closely linked with Graeco-Slavic culture. It feels foreign for people of Anglo, Germanic etc. cultures.

      It is at some level good, if religions could be divorced from their cultural, traditional “baggage” they would become pure ideologies which would fuel the signalling arms races. It is better when religion is semi-unconscious, in a Roger Scruton way, just doing it this way because we always did it this way, but in this case Orthodoxy always remains a vaguely Greek-Russian style thing.

      • Frog Do May 12, 2016 at 21:47

        Well, what feels natural for Anglo and Germanic cultures is kind of a huge problem right now, destroying that conception of ethics and morality will probably be a good thing. And, possibly relavent, the Orthodox Church has always had very good relations with the more conservative parts of the Anglican Communion, more so than even the Catholic Church. They have usually warred with the Germans, though.

  9. ith May 12, 2016 at 09:31

    The rise of nationalist movements in the West is fascinating. It is interesting to look at the fall of Communism in this light, which was strongly driven by nationalism (nationalism was the clear alternative to the existing system, at least). The end of the USSR has been seen as a victory for capitalism, but I suspect it may just have been the first casualty to a wider trend where more ideological forms of government weaken and tribal/national identities take over. I recently watched a semi-documentary consisting of footage from St. Petersburg during the time the USSR dissolved: One of the slogans was literally ‘Russia out of the Soviet Union’, noone there was calling for a capitalist economy. It was also clear that they weren’t motivated by a clear idea of the future, they just wanted to get rid of the existing system and replace it with something else, something to which they had an existing connection.

    The collapse of multi-ethnic states isn’t limited to Eastern Europe, you have the same thing happening in the Middle East now. The central government is unable to provide a good life for its citizens and lacks the strength and conviction to hold the country together by force, so people look to other identities and try to organize around those instead. In all cases, people wanted an exit, without being very clear on where they were going.

    Spandrell recently said: “And for better or worse, the only set of ideas that can fight leftism today is fascism. Good old secular ethno-nationalism. That works.”

    I sort of disagree with the specifics but agree with the general idea here. I think the rise of nationalism in the West is an indication of the weakness of the existing liberal capitalist system. People are generally less nationalist now than fifty years ago, so it’s not like a lot of people are convinced Scottish nationalists who want a fascist Greater Scotland, they just want out of a failing system. Same for the other countries involved. Nationalism is just the only remotely plausible alternative they have.

    • spandrell May 12, 2016 at 10:18

      Note that my general approach is to not put that much weight in what people “believe”. I don’t think it’s a very useful concept. People want out of the present system because they think they, and they will start believing whatever is out there that has some momentum, which will naturally be the most plausible alternative. It’s an agent-less evolutionary ecosystem working on autopilot and producing stable yet often fucked-up systems.

      Note how Russia got out of the Soviet Union because Yeltsin was running Russia, yet nobody thought about the millions of Russians stranded in the rest of republics. Nobody cared, the whole point was to help out Yeltsin wreck the Soviet Union, not any thorough interest in the welfare of Russians as a whole.

      What I mean by “that works”, is that it gets people interested, and the left can’t completely crush. Nation states exist, national languages exist, and as long as they do nationalism will always be out there.

      • ith May 12, 2016 at 21:45

        I don’t think it’s as simple as some agentless system that just kinda settles on something arbitrary just because it’s there. Beliefs may matter that much, but I think desires do, and desires tend to eventually manifest on a systemic scale just because people tend to have similar reactions to things. I don’t yet know why people want nationalism, but it’s clearly out there. As for agents, well, I remember what one of the old stalwarts of the Norwegian labour movement said: Political agitation isn’t a secret, it’s just a matter of wanting to connect with the people, seeing their desires and aspirations, and bring those feelings people actually have to their culmination. Good politicians know how to do this, but that skillset is in short supply in the West these days.

        It’s also interesting to see breaks from the general nationalist resurgence. In Southern Europe the nationalists are not so far the major opposition (Catalonia excepted), instead the radical left and various left-ish protest parties are. Nationalism seems stronger further north for unclear reasons. I’m also really curious about Japan. You seem to have some knowledge of the country, have you talked about how they’re reacting to their endless malaise earlier?

        As for Russians stranded in other republics, I don’t think people imagined it would be a problem. The atmosphere in the nationalist camp was hopeful, imagining peace and brotherhood with everyone: “Finally we’ll be a normal civilized democratic country”. Yeltsin was a brash heroic man of the people, speaking his mind and standing up to the ossified Soviet hierarchy. The hard-edged nationalism you see now came after that didn’t work out so well, and now they do care about Russians in other republics.

        The left crushing things: I don’t think this is left vs. right anymore, it’s turning into globalism vs. nationalism. I’m sort of on the left, and let me tell you, the mood there is not great. Sure, the social liberals won their culture war, but it’s increasingly clear that they’re not really the same as the left that cares about people having decent jobs and the like. On the latter front it’s just quiet despair, all increasingly grim analyses of how and why things are going to hell (at least you guys have NRx and the alt-right, who, while kinda out there, are at least thinking new thoughts). Just look at what happened to SYRIZA, an actual hard-left party actually elected to actual government: They weren’t even crushed, they were humiliated.

        • Candide III May 13, 2016 at 12:48

          > Political agitation isn’t a secret, it’s just a matter of wanting to connect with the people, seeing their desires and aspirations, and bring those feelings people actually have to their culmination.
          Exactly what Trump is doing.

          Yeltsin might have cultivated an image of a man of the people, but he was firmly a man of the nomenklatura, specifically of the second-party-secretary generation that was being held down by Brezhnevian gerontocracy. He certainly didn’t do much for the people, and now his memory is hated by all but a handful of Russian ‘liberals’.

          Syriza is a bit peculiar. They took power in a bankrupt country that was in hock to German technocrats, who don’t particularly care for hard leftism but care a lot about credibility and money. Small wonder Syriza was humiliated. Why not look instead at Podemos, it’s the third largest party in Spain now (what is it with Iberians and leftism?) Melenchon, Die Linke and their ilk are also making gains.

          • ith May 13, 2016 at 19:15

            Yeah, Trump’s doing it, Sanders too. The US has usually managed to get one good candidate per election who can sorta do this. Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, Bush 43 (sort of), Obama (who really was astonishingly good, also the worst on delivering). Without conviction, power and accountability on the part of the candidates it doesn’t translate to anything useful for the people they represent, of course. Well, it makes them feel good about winning, I suppose. Outside the US there’s not a lot. Blair was the last really good one in the UK, I think Merkel has some strange appeal to Germans I can’t really parse.

            SST linked to an article by Paul Graham where he argued that the more charismatic candidate wins in the general, which sort of does seem to happen.

            Agreed re: Yeltsin.

            What is Podemos going to do different, or Die Linke, for that matter? Almost every protest party so far just collapses or moderates once it gets close to power. I suspect the structural problems in the advanced economies are now so bad that there’s nothing the left can do about it. I’m unsure if the nationalist right is really going to do much better unless they’re willing to go for some variation of Putinism, but they might be better than the left at arresting social decay.

            • Candide III May 13, 2016 at 19:53

              > Almost every protest party so far just collapses or moderates once it gets close to power.
              You should read more around old NRx blogs. Basically, any political party in Europe isn’t going to be able to achieve any radical change, whether to the right or to the left, because government is mostly in the hands of the permanent civil service and its auxiliaries, who are by design insulated from political influence. It is certainly possible, legally speaking, for a party to repeal the civil-service laws, but (a) apparently few people in the outsider parties are even aware of the scope of the issue and (b) it’s altogether unclear what the alternative should be. A return to the spoils system has little to recommend it, and other options are undemocratic and therefore unthinkable.
              > I suspect the structural problems in the advanced economies are now so bad that there’s nothing the left can do about it.
              It’s not so much that structural problems are incurably bad (though they are certainly quite bad), but rather that measures which don’t trigger instant crimestop on the left have been doubled-down upon for decades and are now completely ineffective (if not positively harmful, i.e. mass immigration).
              > some variation of Putinism
              What do you mean by Putinism?

              • ith May 14, 2016 at 00:36

                The civil service can come around if you show them you’re serious, I think, and if you can eliminate outside influence. Ultimately they’re professionals who will do their jobs if you’re actually in charge. In my view the real problem is the international political elite as well as the economic elite, domestic and political. Forget radical change, any change is pretty much impossible when they can just overrule you or buy you out. If you don’t have a party that’s cohesive enough to resist that and a population that will support you when things get tough you’re going to fail.

                Links to old NRx blogs are appreciated, there’s too much out there by now for me to go through.

                The crimestop isn’t limited to the left, the right is just as bad in its own way. Both sides have given in to their worst impulses mostly everywhere: the left on social liberalism and immigration, the right on economics. I consider the Nordics a partial exception, although until recently the trend has been worsening. People are at least coming to their senses on immigration here, see the last part of my reply to Spandrell below.

                Still, demographics, social decay and entrenched interests (among other things) are hard problems and without fixing them I don’t think you’ll see economic growth or more future-oriented societies. I haven’t seen convincing solutions to those problems anywhere.

                Putinism: Get your own corruption down to manageable levels (but have enough resources that your people can’t be bought), show some genuine concern for the national interest. Get the security services on board (they disproportionately vote nationalist, so should be doable) and use them to get your economic elites into line enough that they’re not actively harmful, then start managing your democracy, promote nationalism and social cohesion. When the international elites and the liberal intelligentsia begin to whine, tell them to fuck off; this last part requires genuine popular support since international condemnation will be forthcoming and it probably won’t be great for living standards.

                It seems to be working out for the Russians and I don’t think they have better alternatives. It’s not going to fix everything but it might stop the rot and even make things a bit better. Can it work elsewhere? Well, you need the right people at the top: Orban in Hungary is sort of doing this, but it looks mostly like an excuse for looting. Turkey is an example of what happens when you have a megolomaniac chowderhead in charge. Could it happen in a Western European country should things get bad enough? On the one hand it seems implausible, on the other hand I don’t really see that many other alternatives if the left doesn’t get its act together.

              • Candide III May 18, 2016 at 08:47

                How can you show the civil service you’re serious if you can’t fire them, and if the media, whose business is showing things, and the universities, whose business is thinking up things, is essentially part of the extended civil service? Unfortunately there isn’t a single link to a concise presentation (there is a reason for this) but try googling “iron polygon” for a start.

                As for Putinism, where have you gotten the idea that Putin got corruption down to manageable levels? Unless you want to say that the corruption manages itself very nicely and there are no more oligarch wars, which is true. (Actually, I happen to believe it is simply a mistake to talk about corruption in Putin’s system. It’s a sort of Russian feudalism that’s almost a thousand years old, and what you see as corruption is just the way the system works. Voting is irrelevant, security services defend the system because they are on the take.)

                > It seems to be working out for the Russians and I don’t think they have better alternatives.
                Yeah, for some values of “working out” it does, and you may be right about alternatives. Russia is a nasty sort of place.

              • ith May 18, 2016 at 15:29

                >How can you show the civil service you’re serious if you can’t fire them, and if the media, whose business is showing things, and the universities, whose business is thinking up things, is essentially part of the extended civil service? Unfortunately there isn’t a single link to a concise presentation (there is a reason for this) but try googling “iron polygon” for a start.

                If you’re actually in charge you should be able to fire them. There’s no shortage of aspiring civil servants in the West these days. The universities are already being gutted and the media is under pressure as well due to a failing business model and narrative collapse, so they’re not the centers of resistance they used to be. Look at the rise of Trump: I think it likely that the media would have prevented his candidacy even ten years ago. Even the civil service is under pressure due to austerity policies and the like.

                I looked up the Iron Polygon: I don’t really buy into URs definition, but it’s a useful shorthand. However, note that the first post on UR about the IP is now nine years old. There have been changes in that time, and they have not necessarily been to the Iron Polygon’s advantage.

                >Unless you want to say that the corruption manages itself very nicely and there are no more oligarch wars, which is true.

                Pretty much that. There’s still a lot of it, but it’s no longer fatally undermining the basic functioning of society, and the ruling faction isn’t exclusively interested in looting the country.

              • Candide III May 18, 2016 at 18:29

                > it’s no longer fatally undermining the basic functioning of society, and the ruling faction isn’t exclusively interested in looting the country
                You don’t get it. Russian “corruption” is not undermining the basic functioning of society, it is the basic functioning of society. It pervades all, and I mean all, social strata. What Gaetano Mosca called “juridical defense” is not a concept in Russia. And the ruling faction is still looting as much as possible given Western economic sanctions and lower hydrocarbon revenues. Even official news (Russia Today) reports the Russian Central Bank as saying $50B was exported in 2015; given that Russian oil exports are ~4,5mbpd and 2015 prices for Urals averaged $50/b, this is 2/3 of the whole oil export revenue, and if one also adds probable understatement in the official figures, the proportion is even larger. 2014 proportions were similar, with $100B exported while oil prices were about twice as high.

              • ith May 18, 2016 at 19:04

                >You don’t get it. Russian “corruption” is not undermining the basic functioning of society, it is the basic functioning of society.
                I don’t think we really disagree here. The absolute level of corruption isn’t the point, the functioning of society is. If it is pro-social, it is in a sense no longer corruption.

                >And the ruling faction is still looting as much as possible given Western economic sanctions and lower hydrocarbon revenues.
                There are other considerations; they seem to want the country to operate more or less as an actual country, or at least, they want to remain in power for the long term. They want their people to be satisfied, to have jobs, stuff to buy and national pride. If they just wanted to grab what they could and fuck off to London like the oligarchs did in the nineties they wouldn’t be doing things like annexing Crimea.

              • Candide III May 19, 2016 at 06:57

                Why leave for London at this late date? Nothing seriously threatens them in Russia anymore, there’s no factional strife (apart from everyday backbiting), might as well keep the money rolling in. These guys also know they aren’t worth much by themselves in First-world countries. As for keeping the people satisfied, drumming up patriotism on TV is cheap. I may reconsider when there are no rats and cockroaches in neonatal wards of public hospitals outside Moscow (google “Ад русских больниц”, photos taken by patients).

            • ith May 19, 2016 at 18:28

              Reconsider what? I’m not saying Russia doesn’t have serious problems, but it’s not the omnishambles it was when Putin took over either. Russians seem broadly satisfied with this and seem to credit Putin & co for the improvements since the disastrous nineties. You could argue that the improvements just sort of happened and the current ruling class is along for the ride, but I don’t find that plausible.

        • Howard J. Harrison May 13, 2016 at 14:59

          @ith and his kind intrigue me.

          Left-Right antiglobalist coalitions have been tried before, as Fulani-Buchanan, 2000, United States; and Strasser-Hitler, 1920, Germany. This limited experience suggests that Left-Right antiglobalist coalitions may not quite work.

          One does not mean to be negative — or, at least, I don’t. It seldom hurts to be nice. Still, regrettably, on the ground that wishful thinking is unhelpful, I’m skeptical.

          • ith May 13, 2016 at 19:19

            I’m more of an old-fashioned social democrat, if anything. I’m not a principled antiglobalist, just against this globalism now. Mostly I’m just trying to figure out if there’s a workable model for people having decent, meaningful lives in decent, sustainable societies under modern conditions; I’m increasingly pragmatic when it comes to solutions.

            • Howard J. Harrison May 14, 2016 at 13:04

              @ith: It is not often that a blog comment makes one think overnight, but yours has done.

              Judging by your remark, the politics of the U.S. (my country) might not map perfectly to those of yours (Norway). I have always thought of myself as a man of the Right, but if “social democracy” means what you say — “a workable model for people having decent, meaningful lives in decent, sustainable societies under modern conditions” — then it is barely possible that I am a man of the Left, instead.

              The thought is unsettling. It breaks a mental category. I believe in mental categories and don’t like them broken, you see.

              But no, I believe in patriarchy, piety, social hierarchy, established interests, race, inheritance, Western Christian civilization and the Gospel, so I am a man of the Right again, no? Thus I salvage my pride, patch up my suddenly leaking category, and carry on….

        • spandrell May 13, 2016 at 15:28

          Desires… the strength of desires are modulated by how feasible they seem. Good politicians make anything seem possible, indeed.

          Japan has no malaise. It has a growing government and shrinking population. It’s a miracle it works as well as it does.

          Syriza won the election! Twice! Who cares if they were humiliated. They run the country, that’s all they want. Being the extreme left they can crush the opposition with sheer violence and nobody can complain about it. These guys will run the place for decades, unless they decide there’s no money to be made and decide themselves to leave.

          When I say “the left”, I mean whoever is in charge, not some set of ideals. Indeed the left doesn’t care about jobs anymore. I spelled my theory of leftism here
          https://bloodyshovel.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/leftism-is-just-an-easy-excuse/

          • ith May 13, 2016 at 20:01

            Japan seems to be demographically and economically on the West’s trajectory (stagnant or declining), only 5-10 years ahead. There’s no realistic vision for the future where things get better. If you don’t want to call that a malaise, fine, but it’s a lot like the West with less immigration and better social cohesion. There seems to be no real social or political reaction to this state of affairs at all, just wondering if that’s accurate.

            The rest of the left kinda cares about what happened to SYRIZA. I care, because I want some of the things they wanted: Decent lives for most people and some sense of optimism for the future. They were fairly idealistic at the start, but seem increasingly comfortable in the role you describe. I’m not really surprised, but expectations is one thing, seeing it happen is another.

            Re: leftism: I see where you’re coming from, I won’t say what you describe doesn’t happen. I’ll even concede it’s fairly common. However, I will maintain that it doesn’t always happen, sometimes ideals matter (or at least the social structures they’re embedded in are strong enough to restrain individual greed), and leftism can therefore sometimes work and make things better (at least ‘better’ from my perspective). I don’t think anyone here will ever be convinced of that, so I’ll omit further arguments for that position unless anyone’s interested.

            • spandrell May 13, 2016 at 20:30

              There’s plenty of social and political reaction in Japan; but the vested interests don’t want to disappear, and so nothing changes. Elections don’t change anything because old people are the vast majority of the electorate. The only way forward is to boil the frog slowly. Raise taxes little by little, raise the age when pensions get paid, silently defund the healthcare system so old people mysteriously die off before their pension vest, etc.

              I wonder how a social democrat stumbled into my blog. You’ll find me very cynical. But I don’t you understand how modern states work. The post-WW2 social democracy could actually improve living standards because Europe was swimming with money. Now technology is stagnating, population is dying off, and very effective rent-seeking structures are eating up every single bit of income. Legally you can’t really change a thing; and the system is set up so the sort of person who is able to achieve power is the sort of sociopath who doesn’t care about anything else. That leftism has evolved into a crazy cult about barbarians and sexual deviants simply shows that is the easiest way to power.

              • ith May 13, 2016 at 22:53

                What you describe re: Japan pretty much holds for most of the West as well, including what they’re doing to prolong the status quo. I’m mostly curious about what sort of form the reaction takes: is there a growing nationalist movement, is the left on the march, are they retreating into religion, maybe something else? What do they see as a plausible alternative? I can mostly get a read on that for western nations, but it’s much harder for Japan. I’m especially curious about it because it’s the only really big non-western advanced economy, both similar economically and different culturally. Looking at the similarities and differences between us and them is often fruitful.

                I came here from Xenosystems, I think? It’s been a while; I’ve been reading it for at least a year, so I have some idea of your general line of thinking. I find your blog the most interesting of the neoreaction-adjacent ones (the only consistently interesting one, really), particularily because you actually have a pretty well-developed sense for social matters, and you’re actually interested in how societies work.

                Speaking of that, I mostly agree with your analysis of the state of Europe. But I’m Scandinavian, and here social democracy is still a going concern. Sure, it’s a bit rough around the edges (increasingly so in Sweden in particular), and it doesn’t have the ideological conviction it used to have, but it’s still comfortably the status quo in a way that’s no longer true in Western Europe. You can argue us Norwegians are just kept afloat by oil, but Denmark and Finland are still keeping it going without that advantage.

                Now, if the West in general wants to descend into a new Gilded Age, that’s ultimately their business, but I don’t want it to happen here, and I believe the left is our best defense as long as the impulse towards uncritical social liberalism and xenophilia you describe can be checked. That’s not hopeless; the mainstream consensus on immigration here has changed markedly lately. The failure of the Swedish model is now largely uncontroversial, “Swedish conditions” is a mainstream term and even quite liberal leftists are conceding that the right-wing populists kinda sorta may have had a point in this field.

            • spandrell May 14, 2016 at 12:30

              1. Japan is going nationalistic. There’s increased interest in pre-war history, changing the constitution, getting the yanks out and having a proper Japanese army. The left is protesting hard but it’s going nowhere. The country is obviously going to hell, but compared to the rest of the world, the speed of decline is manifestly slower. So Japan is the most pleasant country on earth and increasingly so! Even if taxes are rising, wages are falling, so it’s obviously declining. It’s funny if it weren’t so sad.

              2. Well, thanks, I appreciate that. I wonder if it’s just you or if average Norwegian center-leftists are this open-minded. I’m European too and my sort of writing makes people in both left and right go crazy with crimestop.

  10. Rhetocrates May 12, 2016 at 21:38

    I agree about your critique of the idea of sovereignty, if I understand what you’ve said properly. In particular, it’s a very bad crutch for a true theory of power, because it suffers from the same legalistically-minded drawbacks as the rest of Moldbuggian formalism.

    (The relevant example question here is, “Great, you want a Patchwork. Who makes sure the microstates don’t get gobbled up by one another, and how do you get there from here?”)

    So let’s put together a real theory of power.

    My first stab is that power is about Schelling points. You have power because people believe you have power. That’s not to say power is a lie or an untruth, which is the mistake Tolstoy makes. Napoleon had real power over his troops. However, that power consists (unless you’re a superhero) in people doing what you tell them to. People do what you tell them to because they believe they should.

    I’ve wandered a bit; power is about Schelling points. A man in power is a Schelling point; another man will obey him because that man knows that other men will obey him. A regime has power because its citizens will, by and large, obey it.

    This should not be taken as some demotic theory of power; power doesn’t rest with the people because ‘the people’ don’t exist. ‘The people’ aren’t organized; they’re matter to power’s form. Organization is the stuff of power. Power is dynamic. (I’m trying to evoke the Aristotlean duality-in-one of form and substance.) Organizations exert power over people because those organizations consist of men who, for whatever reason from personal loyalty to personal gain to a sense of duty etc.

    This also gives us an insight into what limits a ruler’s power. He can issue orders, but those orders must be obeyed to be of any use, and as soon as the Schelling point collapses – as soon as a critical mass of people in his power structure realize they can invest in a different power structure instead – he has no power. So, to rule, a ruler must issue orders that will not over-violate the preferences of his subordinates.

    History has shown that this restriction can be rather lax, with generals directing troops to wholesale slaughter of their own people. At the same time, history has shown that this restriction can be a chokehold. It depends on the time and place, which is something that needs a lot more fleshing out if this theory is to be tested against the source (which is history, unless anyone has a state he’d like to throw in for empirical testing).

    In the context of this theory of power, your call for a new religion is a call for a background shift in the rules by which people coordinate their choices without direct information.

    I call it a new theory, but I’m not taking credit for it. It seems this is in broad agreement with your project here, tying together both your lessons from Chinese history and your social points theory.

    • spandrell May 13, 2016 at 04:46

      Yes, this is close to my thinking, but there are different sorts of Schelling points held up by different dynamics, and that deserves fleshing out.
      I’d say my call for a new religion is a way to slowly organize new structures of power in a way that the present power structure cannot outright destroy until it’s too late.

    • Candide III May 13, 2016 at 12:54

      > People do what you tell them to because they believe they should.
      As I see it, this is one of the three important factors. The other two are fear and — probably the most important in practice — force of habit.
      > This also gives us an insight into what limits a ruler’s power.
      This paragraph is spot on.

    • StAugustine May 16, 2016 at 11:44

      Perhaps power comes from a crisis. In my personal theory of the universe, all individuals are free and independent actors. We’re not rocks or trees. Whether we are actually free or just slaves of our wetware is irrelevant – the illusion of free will is there; we are aware of making choices. Call it the learning feedback mechanism.

      Perhaps power is “the aptitude for survival”. I’ll call a pair of hands “tools”. More tools = more power = better aptitude for survival. The more tools that obey your commands, the more power you have. But, without a crisis, it’s hard to get more tools to obey you. In a crisis, there is little time. Some choice has to be made. The conditions for coordinating a group typically involve obedience and loyalty.

      I prefer the explanation that those with power punish followers who are disloyal-adding negative incentives to the positive ones. It creates inertia.

      Say you have one guy with power because he was an awesome leader who was always right. However, when he dies, there’s no one as good as he was, and the tribe dissolves into infighting over the accumulated power of the tribe. The first awesome leader to create a hierarchy to pass the power on in a stable manner prevents the dissipation of the accumulated power (splintering), and you get a tribe that can continue to accumulate more power (hands). Note that this has nothing to do with the actual ability of the hierarchy – only of its ability to transfer power from individual to individual – the survival of the tribe is of course dependent on its actual relative power to its surroundings and other competing tribes. All else being equal, a better hierarchy should give an advantage, but that doesn’t mean that some other tribe has other advantages (perhaps only temporary) that allow it to take over from the first tribe (such as a higher birth rate).

      We could end up with any old hierarchy of power transmission in this fashion, not necessarily the optimal one.

      There’s no guarantee that the advantages of any particular tribe will survive instead of getting wiped out by the advantages of another tribe.

      There’s probably a simple math expression for the “likelihood of tribe survival” like:
      technology ratio x population growth ratio x war propensity ratio x leftist ratio = relative survival rate or something.

      But in the beginning, you need a crisis to get more power. I think that without a crisis, you can’t include the “everybody do what I say and don’t ask questions” condition, and any power you organize outside of a crisis will dissolve as soon as its purpose is fulfilled. I don’t know what it is about a crisis for promoting obedience and loyalty though – something that involves our unconscious wetware, I suspect.

  11. Alf May 15, 2016 at 09:14

    I agree with your assessment. I do think that the new religion is the finished building and that in order to get to that finished building we need a prophet.

  12. Candide III May 18, 2016 at 20:19

    Re ith: Why leave for London at this late date? Nothing seriously threatens them inside Russia, there is no factional infighting (except Kadyrov getting too big for his britches), might as well keep the money rolling. The guys also know they aren’t worth much by themselves in First-world countries. As for keeping people satisfied, sure, drumming up patriotism on TV is cheap. I might reconsider when there will be no rats and cockroaches in neonatal wards of public hospitals.

  13. Haru July 9, 2016 at 11:28

    Unskilled immigration is very probably bad for the country that allows it. However, there are ethical considerations, even if the reason it is allowed is not them. Why allow suffering of those immigrants of cold at sea, of hunger or lack of necessary material goods in their country? Sure they may be less intelligent, and you may argue that then they have less moral weight, but they are still capable of speaking and more intelligent than non-human animals. Is it more important to care for beings more similar, because that’s how we are hardwired? If so, to a degree which makes it correct to ignore all that suffering because it’s not people in your country?

    • spandrell July 9, 2016 at 12:11

      Political decisions should be argued according to political considerations. Allowing unskilled immigration gives power to some people and takes it from other people. This tends to accelerate in a vicious cycle. The result of which is a decline of civilization and living standards.

      I don’t know what “ethical considerations” means or why they ate important.

      • Haru July 9, 2016 at 18:20

        We need metrics to evaluate political considerations and good government. It seems like the metrics you care about are civilization and living standards. Only for the people in your country though? The rest can continue having low standards of living and lack of civilization. That’s what “ethical considerations” are.

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