Bloody shovel

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The Will To Not Power

I’ve written extensively about monarchy. And for good reason. We’re all here in great part because we share our criticism, or at least disillusion about democracy. Some critics of democracy come from the long reactionary tradition, going back to the De Maistre and the opponents and the French Revolution. But most of it today, at least on this corners of the internet, derives from libertarians figuring it out that democracy isn’t quite conducive to liberty. Certainly not in a theoretical way. Hans Herman Hoppe put it best, wrote a whole book about it, saying that if economic theory made any sense, monarchy was the best system of government. Moldbug run his whole blog on that. He used to troll Larry Auster in that the modern world suffers from “chronic kinglessness”, then went away praising Henry VII Tudor.

My answer to that is that if you know your history you know that monarchy doesn’t work like Filmer or Hobbes said it did. The theory was good; but an absolute ruler is just that, a theory. In practice power gets exercised by the people who seek power. And a king won’t necessarily seek power. He may be a shy man; or a dissolute hedonist. Or have a strong mother who won’t let him. Or have powerful ministers who craftly dodge his attempts at exercising him his royal prerogative. Modern governments are a mess. Old royal courts were also a big mess. And it’s all written down.

Still, some people keep on not getting the joke. Mostly because they don’t want to get the joke. It’s convenient for them to keep on theorizing in how awesome monarchy is. Filmer and Hobbes were amongst those. The modern Japanese right is also like that.

As I said the modern Japanese right has been organizing for some time around the need to reform the Constitution. Or more frankly, to scrap the present one and come up with a new one. They just won the election and they’re getting to it, but they’ve been planning for some time. In 2012 the LDP, the perennial ruling party, or more specifically the right wing of the LDP, announced their draft for a new constitution. It scraps article 9, which forbids Japan from (nominally) having military forces. And it changes article 1. Article 1 right now says:

Article 1. The Emperor shall be the symbol of the State and of the unity of the People, deriving his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power.

And this they want to change into:

Article 1. The Emperor is the head of the State and shall be the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people, deriving his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power.

You can see the total list of changes here, in very good English.

So anyway, the change isn’t very big. But the whole thing of the “head of state” has the internet right, which like the Western alt-right but 100 times bigger, very excited with talk of having a proper monarch and all that. And all that’s very cool, but they seem to have forgotten to actually ask the emperor. And he’s not playing ball.

In July 13, the whole country was startled when the public broadcaster, NHK, announced that the emperor had the intention of “abdicating”. The wording was pretty ominous, “生前退位”, “abdicating in life”, but the actual wording is “giving away the throne”. The proper wording would be 譲位 “passing the throne to”. The wording kinda meant the emperor was abolishing the institution. That mostly was just a careless journalist not knowing his imperial vocabulary, but still. The very fact of rumors coming out of the imperial household was completely unheard of. And to make it worse, later in the very same day, the Imperial Household Agency, the government bureaucrats who run the palace, denied the whole thing. Nothing to see here!

So not only rumors were coming out of the imperial palace; but there were conflicting rumors. That’s even worse. Something was seriously amiss here. But for weeks nothing happened. Until last week, the Emperor gave a press conference.

First of all, the Emperor is not supposed to do that! He shouldn’t be talking to the people besides any predetermined royal business of his. But he had something to say, and he said it. And what did he say? That he’s old, that he’s busy, that there’s a lot of stuff to do, he’s not able to do it, so he thinks it better if he leaves the throne so that the tasks of the emperor don’t suffer.

The whole thing was weird. Weird in the eyes of monarchists. The Emperor is the royal person. He can do what he wants. He’s not a bureaucrats with tasks to do. That’s secondary. But the Emperor doesn’t see it that way. He mentioned the word “symbol” 8 times. Because that’s his job under the current constitution, to be the “symbol of the nation”. Apparently he feels very strongly about his job as a symbol, and wants someone to do it if he’s unable to. But that’s not the idea of the monarch that people have these days. He’s to be the head of state! The symbol thing is just some word. But he doesn’t see it like that. He feels he has a job. He feels like the right wants to change his job. And he surely doesn’t want to do it. He doesn’t even want to be there when the whole thing happens.

The left has rushed to argue that this is the Emperor’s way of protesting against the rightist shift. And they have a point. Imperial sovereignty in pre-war Japan led to the military declaring war to the whole world in the Name of the Emperor. And the Showa Emperor, Hirohito, the present emperor’s father, grew to resent that. When the famous Yasukuni shrine went fascist and declared that the war criminals punished by the US in the Tokyo trials were also enshrined there, the Emperor never again visited the shrine. His son, the present Emperor, has never gone himself. The Imperial Household is not amused by rightist nostalgia of pre-war Japan. They are in the left.

And if the present emperor is in the left, you haven’t seen his son. The crown prince, Naruhito, is married to a Foreign office bureaucrat, who is always sick, unable to do her princess duties, unless she has to go to Europe. Then she’s always healthy and stays long periods of time shopping in Paris. She hates the imperial bureaucracy, and they hate her back. And the crown prince is fully on her side. He has protested several times on how the imperial bureaucracy treats women badly. You know where this goes.

And, to make matters funnier, the crown prince has one only child. A daughter. Which under the present imperial household regulations, can’t inherit the throne. There was some attempt at reforming that, and allowing a future empress. But then the crown prince’s brother had a baby boy, and he became the next in line. But once the crown prince becomes the Emperor, he will most certainly push to reform the law to get his daughter on the throne some day. And he will have the full support of all the Japanese left.

So you have a monarchist right, which dreams of traditional monarchy, fighting a leftist royal house who wants nothing to do with it. They want to be fancy bureaucrats on a salary doing a “symbol” job. But the right doesn’t care. Their monarchism isn’t about the monarch. It’s just some convenient Schelling Point they got to make friends amongst themselves and sell bullshit to the populace. Which is what politicians do.

And you could say that of any political idea. The content is secondary. The consequences are completely besides the point. What counts is what works in the political arena. What gets retweeted. What gets you votes. How ideas develop depends on that, not in actual internal logic or likely consequences.

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45 responses to “The Will To Not Power

  1. Pingback: The Will To Not Power | Aus-Alt-Right

  2. August Hurtel August 16, 2016 at 21:00

    I see things like getting rid of estate taxes as something more possible. The bureaucrats have the upper hand, and the modern right are often also bureaucrats. So they want to be able to flip things as fast as the left does. But we can’t do it. It must be grown. The families need to be strengthened, and family dynasties need to be made possible again.

    We need the strong families to have plausible authorities for the public to favor over the bureaucrats. I don’t know about Japan, but in the U.S., the opinion of government agents is generally low, yet nobody really thinks about the local private owner as a source of authority for whatever property he owns instead of some bureaucrat. But a successful family dynasty that has been successful ought to be seen as having a track record of good decision making.

    This is good for making local decisions, and likely good for IQ, over the generations.

  3. B August 16, 2016 at 22:15

    Obviously, the king that the neomonarchists fantasize about is not the Emperor of Japan, who got his job because Macarthur let him have it. They don’t want anything resembling the European kings of the last 200 years (whom Carlyle rightly called Sham-Kings.) So what does that leave in their framework? Either Steve Jobs or Horsa and Hengist.

    The problem with Jobs, obviously, is that nobody really wants to live in a Jobs monarchy. Imagine a California ruled by King Faceberg, for instance. And then Jobs dies and leaves King Tim Cook in charge, if not Queen Marissa Mayer. Holy shit-remind me again how the Joint Stockholding Corporation is a good mechanism for running a state?

    The problem with Horsa and Hengist is that any plausible path to a state run by their likes is not likely survivable by the majority of neoreactionaries. I can’t imagine this kind of ruler emerging from anything short of total societal breakdown that would make South Africa look like Switzerland.

    The NRx guys sort of understand this, which is why you see them supporting President Camacho, and coming up with implausible scenarios for how he will either meaningfully hurt the Cathedral or establish a hereditary monarchy. Come on, scrote, I like Camacho too, but he’s no Not Sure-he’s not gonna make the dust storms stop and ensure a steady supply of French fries and burrito coverings!

    The two examples of effective personal rulership in our time that I can think of are Lee Kuan Yew and (no kidding) Paul Kagame. Note that neither of them have shown any monarchist leanings. LKY was a lawyer and ran his country like one. Kagame seems to use the trappings of 21st century Cathedral institutions. NRx is allergic to both of these.

    By the way, I’m a monarchist, as is every religious Jew (by default.) But our monarchy is a theocratic and legalistic one (there is a Temple and Sanhedrin heading a hierarchy of religious courts operating according to Torah law.) It only works as long as people truly believe in the religion as primary to the monarchy (in other words, G-d wants there to be a monarchy, but the monarchy is not primary over G-d, nor is it the monarch’s job to explain to anyone what G-d wants).

    This does not resemble any monarchy I can think of over the last 300 years. Certainly not the Japanese monarchy.

    I totally understand the Emperor’s innate revulsion at bringing back a monarchical system. The last time there was one of those, the idiot monarchists were stuck. On one hand, the ideology they claimed to represent was complete nonsense-none of them seriously believed all that stuff about Amaterasu and so forth. On the other hand, they needed to pay lip service to it so that they could use the Emperor as a political totem. On the third hand, they needed some kind of working ideology, because you can’t run a country without one. So they ended up with a shitty knockoff of Euro fascism, which was nothing to write home about in the original. The end result of their running the country was that they got a few million Japanese shot, starved and incinerated, killed a bunch of Chinese people, lost a World War and lost their sovereignty. Compared to that, a wife who likes shopping in Paris is not so bad.

    • spandrell August 17, 2016 at 01:39

      LKY’s son is still running Singapore. Just sayin’.

      • chokingonredpills August 17, 2016 at 06:45

        Between LKY and his son, there was a short break. Effective as it might have been, he was also known to be a Machiavellian politician. He was also heavily supported by a group of men who went about the work of rebuilding the country with very little fuss or pomp. Some believe that the success story of the island can be single-handedly attributed to a Dutch economist with LKY’s men as implementors.

      • chokingonredpills August 31, 2016 at 08:53

        He still does. But some comments / observations:
        a. He fainted during his recent National Day Rally speech and took about 82 minutes before he was ready to take to the podium again. There are some rumours floating around about the state of his health. (The footage of his collapse can be seen on YouTube) This correlates to the anecdotal account of him fainting during his days as a conscript.

        b. There is currently no clear successor for the Prime Minister role and he admitted the urgent need to find and groom one during the Rally speech.

        As for LKY, not many are aware of his past as a translator for the Japanese military police during the Japanese Occupation in Singapore.

  4. random observer August 16, 2016 at 22:21

    I must admit I’m sympathetic to them on that change to the status of the emperor.

    I doubt I fit into the alt-right monarchist tradition. I’m not necessarily even in the tradition of the Mad Monarchist, whatever that is.

    I could probably be described as a constitutional monarchist in that I like parliamentary government and my [Canadian] monarchy, and as a middle class citizen I like representative government even if it only provides the modest functions of bringing oligarchic conflict into the open and adding a limited degree of representative sanction. I don’t think it’s much, but since the alternative would be closed oligarchic government and the policy results would not likely differ much, and not in my favour, I’m compelled to be content.

    I’m also a nationalist monarchist in that the monarchy in place can reasonably be described as the native Canadian form of government, as it pre-exists the Canadian state and replicates the basic monarchical concept, if not the dynasty or the laws, of the previous and legally defunct French colony. Although you will find many Canadians who want to replace it as an alien form of government with a more ‘canadian’ republic, I would contend that the form was not imposed on us as, say, India or African natives, but rather brought with the settlement and freely embraced thereafter. A republic would be both an innovation and an importation. Inherently foreign. It seems to me unassailable, but it will be assailed successfully at some point as the Canadian nation I was born into is conceptually defunct, and even its Anglo members were peculiarly trending anti-monarchy on some level. But I digress.

    I could also be described as an ancestral monarchist, in that I figure as a Canadian born I owe allegiance to Canada’s monarch, and it is helpful that this person either be the same as Britain’s or of that line, so that my allegiance has something in common with that of my ancestors who were British.

    And lastly I could call myself an instrumental monarchist, as its existence is just visible enough here to p*ss [is that ok on this site?] off the right people.

    But while I would be open to many forms of government if legitimized by the Crown, and consider it the defining source of legitimacy, I’m not wedded to the idea of court government nor to the idea that monarchy in some theoretical form would fit with any particular social or economic theory. [Sidebar- I admit monarchy was flexible enough to both birth and destroy feudalism, and to put itself at the head of modernizing, state-forming ideologies like enlightened despotism/French absolutism, and whatever the Stuarts thought they were doing, and could be conceived of at the top of the practically secular system of Hobbes. But I’ve never really understood those rulers of the 17-18 centuries who thought, in curbing the powers of church and nobles, that they could ultimately do without some form of those pillars. One thinks of Joseph II or Frederick II. I mean, it works in practice for a while, but the church and the nobility and Crown kind of mutually justified one another. Kicking any pillar out completely collapses the whole idea.]

    I just want to keep it at the head of whatever system we have.

    On that, and with apologies, the point I actually had in my head to start with.

    I rather like that in the Commonwealth system, the Crown is at the head or origin of everything, is head of state to the extent this republican term even applies, is part of Parliament, is as Queen in Council the head of the executive, is the fount of justice, and formally names and is the authority for all ministers, judges, prosecutors, and the law. It disappoints me whenever some Brit thinks the state needs to be “modernized” and the monarchy made officially a “symbol”. Even the rather republican monarchies of most of Europe [one thinks of the Dutch, Belgian, and Spanish monarchs swearing to their constitutions in their parliament chambers] maintain the idea that the monarch is head of state [and in some cases they are more active in it]. The only exception I can think of is Sweden, whose monarch I understand was declared a mere “symbol” and even his ceremonial appointment functions removed in the 70s.

    With all that in mind, the change in the emperor’s status would be welcome to me if I were there. Given the wording you provided, I note it maintains all the original wording and the idea that the emperor derives position from the sovereignty and will of the people. That’s actually still pretty populist and democratic by British standards. The addition of head of state, in that sense, doesn’t even give the emperor the status of the Queen, let alone the status he enjoyed in the Meiji system.

    I am assuming from your account that the imperial family is mainly engaged in a form of virtue signalling that suggests a combination of the desire to maintain the status quo, a sort of hearkening back to the Tokugawa era married to commitment to popular democracy.

    Here’s a question- when the emperors lived at Kyoto, was the state still formally carried on in their name, and did someone from the Shogun’s office ever show up to give them anything to formally endorse, or was the imperial function mainly or wholly religious and social?

    Would the addition of the role of ‘head of state’ now really mean more burdensome work than the emperor already undertakes? Does he already open parliament? Travel around and cut ribbons, patronize charities, and so on? Does he ever have to meet ministers once a month or so and nod as they read out orders in council?

    Sorry for length- as you see, a topic of interest to me albeit from a perspective both Anglo-Saxon/Western and not really alt-right.

    Did you ever read the late John Reilly of New Jersey on the Traditionalists? His blog was one of the best sites in the early 2000s, most lost since his death several years ago. I think it was he who quoted some source unknown to me on the idea of the Traditionalist ruler who lived at such distance and isolation from his people that he was essentially only rumoured to exist, and both opposition and loyalty were essentially unable to focus on him because he was eternal and unknown. He “subdued all opposition by the rumour of his imperturbability”. A variation on the Taoist perfect ruler who wills and does nothing and thereby maintains harmony. Not to my taste either as political philosophy or as monarchy, but I suppose one way to approach pre-Meiji courts.

    • spandrell August 17, 2016 at 01:34

      >when the emperors lived at Kyoto, was the state still formally carried on in their name, and did someone from the Shogun’s office ever show up to give them anything to formally endorse, or was the imperial function mainly or wholly religious and social?

      I’m not an expert, but the imperial household had a set of rituals, which they had to do. Among them were appointing (!) the shogun, or deciding the regnal year. But the Shogun had a pretty big apparatus in Kyoto to watch the emperor closely. Most of the time he did nothing much.

      >Would the addition of the role of ‘head of state’ now really mean more burdensome work than the emperor already undertakes? Does he already open parliament? Travel around and cut ribbons, patronize charities, and so on?
      Yes, all of that.

      >Does he ever have to meet ministers once a month or so and nod as they read out orders in council?
      I don’t think it’s that frequent.

      I think he feels distaste over the whole rightist rhetoric, rather than to any particular change that might happen. He just doesn’t wanna be there, period. His father must have told him well what rightists blabbering about the Sacred Emperor are actually up to.

      >f the Traditionalist ruler who lived at such distance and isolation from his people that he was essentially only rumoured to exist, and both opposition and loyalty were essentially unable to focus on him because he was eternal and unknown
      I’m not into fantasy. For some actual Taoist rulers see the Han Dynasty from Liu Bang up to Wudi.

  5. random observer August 16, 2016 at 22:37

    Just quickly reading B’s comment, which I suspect I must review.

    I suppose that compared with any of the alt-right models [Traditionalist integralist monarchy, tribal monarchy, religious monarchy, warlord or corporatist/fascist ’emergent monarchy’ growing organically from some collapse or military/technocrat takeover] I really see my monarchy serving as the legitimizing and continuity-proving element of the state. It once had elements of all those other things, but now it serves as their shadow giving some sign that the state I have has some quality other than the will of the people, and that it is not created anew each generation. Perhaps on the alt-right that seems little, but to me it is enough, elemental, and vital to legitimacy.

    I can’t imagine seeing any new monarch from the technocracy as a true king. Just a dictator or front man for machine politics. No more a King than Saddam was a king of Babylon.

    Perhaps that’s just because we are in an age when nobody can take a new king seriously as such. Look at all the hereditary rulers who could not seriously take on royal styles [the Assads] as once they would have, or note that the late Shah’s father Reza Khan supposedly didn’t want to be Shah- he wanted to be a modernizing dictator like Mussolini but the clerics [of all people] made him take the traditional role of ruler. That certainly got his son the throne in turn but as a shah and may ultimately have kept the family longer in power, but the son’s populist legitimacy for what he wanted to do later on took a conceptual blow by being a monarch and certainly suffered in the eyes of the west and Americans.

    Then again, look at the veneration Americans now heap on “The Presidency”. Perhaps in a couple of centuries “President” will be a title of such sacral dimensions that few will bear it, most will be hereditary priest-presidents of whatever the state church is, and upstart new rulers will content themselves with secular titles derived from corporate jargon. Moderator, Convener, Chair, Director, or such. The real ruler will be the Principal Deputy to the Deputy Assistant Secretary. And no one will ever see her in person.

  6. Pingback: The Will To Not Power | Reaction Times

  7. Ydi Icar August 17, 2016 at 02:53

    Plato saw democracy already, and made the critic of it that is to be made, and has been remade since.

    Democracy is a little parenthesis in the history of a political entity, which the political entity reaches when culturally peaking (or short after), and is cause to the beginning of the fall.

    Meantime… http://sputniknews.com/asia/20160817/1044341537/japan-obama-nuclear-first-use.html

  8. Chris b August 17, 2016 at 03:11

    “What counts is what works in the political arena. What gets retweeted. What gets you votes.” Sure. That is why everything is so mentally retarded. The incentives that people run on are linked to stupid shit, and not plugged into any sort of reallity, but this is beside the point. Moldbug was advocating a political system in which control was unified in a central executive making this bizarro incentive mess (reducible to imperio in imperium) null and void. He had a point that A) these exist in the form of corporations and B) existed in the past on the national stage. Just because some constitutional monarch is incapable of leading doesn’t invalidate it. Also, Carlyle seems to have considered this leadership issue with the interest he placed in the likes of Dr Francia and Cromwell. (Hitler and Mussolini also would have interested him -lets cut the bullshit about fascism, and stop being pwnd. Mussolini crushed it by himself.)
    On a side note, the one garantee when raising an issue of unified governance is that neoreactionaries will squel, cry and reason themselves into democracy by virtue of “monarchy” can’t work and we should all be free so let us just exit yada yada yada
    It is the biggest pratical joke parading as a political thought system ever devised.

    • spandrell August 18, 2016 at 02:52

      I don’t agree with B. European monarchies were full enough of all kinds of bullshit. And don’t get me started with Asian ones.

      If anything my point here is that “political thought system” is missing the point. Even Moldbug didn’t become popular because his system was feasible or made sense. It struck a cord because it was cool to talk about for a certain demographic.

      And that’s how any political system ever gets implemented. Any practical questions of government are always figured out ad-hoc after the fact, which is why nominal power structures never map the reality for long.

  9. indravaruna August 17, 2016 at 05:55

    The Japanese Imperial family speaks a very archaic Japanese.

  10. Karl August 17, 2016 at 09:03

    In Art. 1 of the Japanese consitution, the words “deriving his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power” could also apply to any democratically elected president. The will of the People can cange at any time. The wording of the article suggests that the monarach was voted into his Office and could be voted out of it. Of course, I know that he wasn’t elected; I’m just pointing out what the wording suggests.

    European Monarchs usually derive their position from the grace of God or something like that. Doesn’t the Japanese Monarch derive his position from being a decendent of a sun god or some other divine entity? If so, why isn’t it in the constitution?

    I can see how the US wrote the reference to the will of the People into Art. 1 of the constituton, but that the monarchists want to keep that is strange. Do they all believe in the “will of the People” and not in any religion of their ancestors?

    • spandrell August 17, 2016 at 09:05

      The great innovation of the American invasion was for the emperor to come out and say that his position did not depend on myths of far away gods, but on the feelings of love and respect from the people.

      So they’re rephrasing that.

  11. Jefferson August 17, 2016 at 22:04

    This, one thousand times (especially the last bit). People will read this and still not even understand fully enough to disagree.

  12. Rhetocrates August 18, 2016 at 03:40

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I think there’s one compelling argument to monarchy, or at least oligarchy. Before that, I’ll go through some semi- or not-compelling arguments to keep the suspense up.

    First, there’s the idea that a monarchy is more likely to be good than a democracy or other such government simply because the number of people taking decisions is smaller, and it’s easier to get a small group of virtuous people than a large group. This is potentially true on paper, but the reverse is also true, and besides, this argument rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of how popular governments actually function. The people don’t actually have power; they never do.

    Second, there’s the idea that a monarchy is more likely to be good than a democracy because in any given situation there is a set of actions, of which one is the best, and discerning which one takes wisdom. A man may himself find the wisdom to direct the right action; a crowd never will, save by pure accident. This sounds nice, and I think there’s some truth to it, but if we’re honest politics never stop. If you only have eight people involved in politics, then national decisions will get made based on political realities between those eight people. Which brings me to the next one.

    Third, there’s the idea that a properly constructed monarchy can remove politics from decision-making by reducing the pool of political people down to one person. This is laughable. Even if you just ran the state with robots wired directly into your brain and never slept, you’d still have to play political games with the guy in charge of building the robots. And the people feeding you amphetamines. Et cetera.

    That leaves my one good (I think) reason.

    I’m a peasant. I will never have real political power. I don’t want real political power; in fact I’m only even part of ‘neoreaction’ because the current regime is making my life rather uncomfortable spiritually and materially speaking. I would be much happier if I could just live my life without paying attention to politics. I find politics interesting, yes, but there are other more interesting things I’d rather think about. (Like metaphysics. Don’t laugh; you have your hobbies, I have mine.)

    Unfortunately, under a democratic or other popular regime I don’t have a choice in the matter. My say doesn’t matter one wit, but the government keeps pretending it does as part of its myth of sovereignty, which means they have to keep messing with my mind-space, implanting new brainworms and generally keeping me ‘engaged’ whether I want to be or not. It’s a terribly dreary waste of time all around that I can’t avoid. I don’t have the power to avoid it.

    By comparison, a regime whose myth of sovereignty doesn’t include my consent won’t waste nearly so much of my time or theirs manufacturing that consent for every little jot and tittle of their policy.

    Both regimes will go to war, or make peace. Cause economic prosperity or degradation. Let soldiers steal my grain and rape my daughters or see me as an asset to be carefully husbanded. But the one without the myth of popular sovereignty will at least doing it without pretending like I have to like it or agree.

    • spandrell August 18, 2016 at 04:25

      Less theory and more practice. A monarchy in a modern world with mass media and global capital requires a pretty complex set of arrangements to survive. There’s a good reason most old monarchies died post WW2.

      The only monarchy that I know which has managed to function to our day is Thailand. Which is fascinating, I should write about that.

      • Rhetocrates August 18, 2016 at 04:55

        I didn’t say or mean there’d be no management of public opinion. Just that there’d be less. Hopefully. Of course it depends on the ruler.

        • Rhetocrates August 21, 2016 at 15:34

          The more I think about this the more it’s tripe.

          There’s some truth to it, but not much. I think the truth can be better stated as something closer to, “It looks like, from the hill I’m standing on, that the political conditioning necessary in a strong monarchy may or may not be more or less than that required in our democracy, but it has a higher chance to be the sort of conditioning that doesn’t interfere with prosperous living and people having children.”

          Not that there aren’t degenerate monarchies in history. Of course there are. But democracies appear to degenerate faster, on average. And divine right or similar theories of government have the further advantage that they’re not obviously untrue to trivial inspection. (Indeed, divine right is an unprovable and untestable assertion.)

          Also, there’s the fact that I don’t like the government we have now, and monarchy as an idea is both a good foil and a decent curative to the ideas of our government.

      • random observer August 18, 2016 at 16:08

        I’d be interested in your insights on Thailand. Looked at superficially, I would assume it was a traditional monarchy with normal court oligarchic politics before 1932, and then when it went constitutional in 1932 those upper class politics moved to a very limited degree into the open and the need to manufacture more popular consent through ethnic, class, or ideological politics started to be added.

        Arguably, the need to have the military keep intervening suggests that the oligarchic model they have is unstable even over relatively short periods. On the other hand, if media accounts over time are to be considered at all indicative, the royal family and at times the king personally have exercised real power, or at least influence. And yet have remained, where other Asian monarchies have ultimately collapsed or in Japan’s case stepped further back.

        Presumably the opacity of the Thai system, in that it seems no one ever knows for sure how it works, is one of its strengths.

        • spandrell August 18, 2016 at 16:56

          I read this book and it’s really interesting. The kings father got ousted by a coup, and the monarchy became some constitutional bs. Then this king slowly, piece by piece reasserted his power and today the country runs a pretty insane cult of personality about the royal family.

          Pretty cool king. He did have the will to power. And he made it.

      • Jeffrey S. August 18, 2016 at 18:11

        There are also the micro-nations in Europe that seem to be doing well. Places like Liechtenstein (headed by an interesting Prince), Andorra, and Monaco. The other interesting cases that might be worthy of examination are the Middle-Eastern Gulf monarchies.

  13. Anonymous August 18, 2016 at 13:03

    I think this is mostly why monarchy (“family business state”) has failed in recent times; weakness against leftism. If the sovereign is infected, it all falls apart, like it did perhaps most iconically in Spain.

    Is there perhaps another form of non-public-owned state that is strong against death to leftism?

    • Candide III August 18, 2016 at 14:29

      Louis XVI is another famous case, as are many of the Russian Grand Dukes and nobles before 1917.

      Is there perhaps another form of non-public-owned state that is strong against death to leftism

      Moldbug proposed joint-stock owned state partly as a remedy for this weakness. If there is something close to historical examples, those are Venice (older, less relevant) and the Dutch. The latter didn’t go down in a leftist spiral as far as I know; but debt (real gold debt, not paper money owed to oneself) sucked the life out of their economy because it was politically easier to take on cheap debt rather than raise taxes. Natural growth stopped in their population some time after independence, too, but given what child mortality must have been at that time, it is unlikely that fertility itself fell to what would now be replacement values. My guess is that the percentage of downwardly-mobile never-marrieds had increased to even things out.

  14. Yakimi August 18, 2016 at 18:20

    >Their monarchism isn’t about the monarch. It’s just some convenient Schelling Point they got to make friends amongst themselves and sell bullshit to the populace. Which is what politicians do.

    The Meiji Restoration would be worth mentioning as an example of exactly this. And it worked. (By the way, didn’t Emperor Meiji have a bit of a leftist streak as well? “Why, then, do the wind and waves rise in discord?” Perhaps it runs in the family.)

    • spandrell August 18, 2016 at 18:34

      The king protecting the people against the aristocrats is the oldest high-low vs middle trick of the book.
      Did the Meiji work though? In 80 years it was WW2.

      • Candide III August 18, 2016 at 19:58

        I don’t know how useful it is to blame the excesses of early Showa militarism on the Meiji restoration. No political machine spins forever, and for many interesting values of “work” the restoration worked. The country wasn’t colonized like many of its neighbors, but instead adopted European science and technology and made a place for itself in the world as a power in its own right. It didn’t go batshit communist, killing off a substantial proportion of elite and commoners and/or razing its own culture. Etc. Yes, there were probably factors involved in the above-mentioned excesses that had their roots in Meiji, and which a prudent statesman should have arrested; but there were probably just as many factors that could have tripped up the restoration which were arrested. It is easy to get carried away claiming that nothing has ever worked, and/or that ideas in politics are irrelevant and serve only as Schelling points for coalitions to form around, but then the corollary is that rational action in the political sphere is completely impossible, and then what?

  15. ur mum August 19, 2016 at 18:27

    And this is where I find myself in Britain. If the monarchy is truly a bulwark of tradition, then the Queen’s Speeches certainly belie this fact. The monarchy’s complacency to (if not complicity in) the erosion of their host culture and the quality of life of their subjects is damning. I’m sure it will end in some sort of constitutional autoregicide; and frankly, the cunts deserve it.

    This is why I advocate not tradition as an unquestioned good, but tradition insofar as a given tradition IS good. The problem we have isn’t our shirking of tradition – indiscriminate tradition, which can be as poisonous as it can be beneficial, tradition which may follow its own internal logic to terrible places. Rather, our problem is thinking that we have no need for ANY tradition: that we have transcended the historical cycle somehow.

    Hobbes is fundamentally wrong. He says that any order is better than chaos. However many orders, in their inevitable failing, leave behind a chaos far deeper than any that could be managed through willful destruction.

    • B August 21, 2016 at 00:21

      >The monarchy’s complacency to (if not complicity in) the erosion of their host culture and the quality of life of their subjects is damning. I’m sure it will end in some sort of constitutional autoregicide; and frankly, the cunts deserve it.

      ur not my mum

      Consider that Prince Charles may be a twat, but his kids seem like stand up guys (especially Harry, with his history of deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq as a combat soldier.)

      I suspect that if they are on the internet, they can identify with a lot of the alt-right/NRx stuff much more than with the standard Cathedral shit.

      When Britain goes further down the tubes, a military coup to restore sanity is imaginable. Don’t you think that King Harry would make a nice Schelling Point to rally around?

  16. A.B. Prosper August 19, 2016 at 19:13

    Reminds me of C.S Lewis a bit, A Horse and His Boy “It’s princes have all the fun.”

    In any case if the Right does reinforce the monarchy and it it sticks, if the next Emperor refuses to have proper offspring, no doubt there is someone out there with the bloodline to replace him.

    Frankly while I don’t blame him for wanting to keep the good life, I also can’t respect anyone that feckless either, as they say death is as light as a feather duty as heavy as a mountain

    That lack of will to power, your magnificent “will to not power” turn of phrase is a great way to bury a civilization if a crisis comes.

  17. aleksanderpwnz August 20, 2016 at 11:54

    “once the crown prince becomes the Emperor, he will most certainly push to reform the law to get his daughter on the throne some day.”

    Why do you think so? I don’t know much about Naruhito’s personality and political views specifically, but Japanese emperors usually stay clear of political matters (such as changing the law).

    • spandrell August 20, 2016 at 12:21

      Well he may not be allowed to get away with much, but it’s well understood that the two princes, and especially their wives, hate each other.

      And trying to get the throne for his daughter has a nice feminist undertone to it, so even if he doesn’t do it himself, there’ll be huge amounts of people doing the argument for him.

  18. With the thoughts you'd be thinkin August 21, 2016 at 02:45

    Spandrell have you heard the argument that due to polygamy providing enough relatives to fill political positions that the gulf monarchies in particular Saudi Arabia are basically one party states where the royal family is the one party? Perhaps this is the way you square the circle of neomonarchism and practicality, is by making the monarch based around a single family. So funnily enough the only group of people even potentially able to rule the US in the same way the as the gulf monarchies, would be Fundamentalist Mormons, so let the US crown as king Warren Jeffs.

    Got the idea from here originally.
    https://abandonedfootnotes.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-saudi-monarchy-as-family-firm.html

  19. Joshua Sinistar August 22, 2016 at 20:53

    You don’t need a King. What you’ll get is a dictator. Either an Immortan Joe or a Dr. Doom. The time for genteel fashion and tasteful aristocracy is long gone. We’re dealing with pimps and hos, and gentlemen cannot amply bitch slap this scum hard enough to get them out of your face. Sure Immortan Joe “lost”. Hollyweird is a strange alternate universe where the toughest guy is a thin armed skinny girl, but think about it. What did that crazy femme bitch actually do? Take a bunch of women who only needed to have babies and they could be with the Bad Boy Big Dog. Now they have to be childless with a bunch of lezzies in the desert. Remember that scene where she dumps out all the water and everyone is happy? They won’t be happy tomorrow when they find no water left in the tanks and its all gone!

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