Bloody shovel

Don't call it a spade

Nobody rules alone

So this video has been doing the rounds. You should watch it. It’s very well done. And the book it refers to, The Dictator’s Handbook, is also a great book. I read it a while ago. Hell, I should have done a book review. It’s a really good book. It’s analysis of government in general, and how dictatorships work, is brilliant.

Alas, the book flounders when it talks about democracy. Which it basically posits as the Great Solution, the final End of History where everyone is happy because the selectorate is big and blablabla. Well of course you’d expect a book by an American academic to say that democracy is awesome and magical and sacred. How else would he have a job? But it’s quite a shame, as the book is really good. And he could have analyzed democracy quite well using the very same theory he created. He just needed to get his hands a bit dirty. Talk about ruling classes, political factions, networks of connections, pork barrel and all that stuff. But of course he didn’t. He couldn’t. He has an academic job and he’d rather keep it.

Well I don’t have an academic job, so I’ll do it myself. And I have a blog somewhat focused on East Asia, so let me refer to this piece of recent news. The finding that the President of South Korea, Ms. Park Gyun-Hye (pronounced Pak Kune), is a “puppet” of a sleazy bunch of con artists who clame to be shamans with spiritual powers. Those sleazy shamans have been caught trafficking in state secrets, writing up her speeches, and extorting every single business in the country for zillions of won in name of the president. The most funny anecdote is that the President gave this conwoman her whole presidential budget for clothes, and what she did is give her some lousy second hand clothes while she embezzled the rest of the money. Some shaman.

But hey. Wait a minute. South Korea is a democracy, right? How did that happen?

Apparently I’m the only one asking that question. The Internet is full of news stories about how the South Korean people are shocked, shocked! about this news. Ms. Park is the daughter of Park Chung-Hee, the awesome right-wing dictator that raised South Korea out of its postwar misery and set the basis of what became their economic miracle. What many don’t know is that Park Chung-Hee saw his wife assassinated by North Korean agents, and years later he himself was shot in the head by the chief of the intelligence agency, amusingly called the KCIA.

That is its own piece of interesting history, but the point here is that Ms. Park is an orphan. And a fairly dramatic one. Have both your parents shot in public at different times must be shocking. Steve Sailer claims that it’s understandable that she fell under the spell of some conmen given the circumstances. And yeah, I’ll grant that point.

But still. The question that nobody is asking is: did nobody know about this? Yeah of course the people at large didn’t know. But watch the video on the top again. No man rules alone. No man gets elected alone. Ms. Park is the head of her party. She was nominated to that place by people who knew about her, and thought she’d be a good deal for them. Ms. Park had to play politics in a very complex environment, in multiple layers. At the very least her party and the country at large. Did nobody know?

Obviously the insiders must have known. And yet they nominated her to lead the party. In fact Wikileaks points out that part of the story leaked years ago, and the American embassy had a long comment to do about it. Plenty of people must have known. Did nobody tell her? “Hey, this shaman friend of yours. She’s no good”. The whole thing makes little sense. Of course there’s a huge media brouhaha going on right now, but we folks know very well not to trust the media about anything. Gell-mann amnesia and all that.

There’s two possible answers here. Either the President is no puppet; she’s just a crook with crook friends, everybody knew about it but they chose her anyway because she was good for business. Or she is a puppet, and everybody knew about it but they chose her anyway because she was good for business.

Little difference it makes, of course.

For some reason the conwomen shaman woman, Choi Seonsil, is being singled out as some mastermind of evil and corruption. But she was put there by someone, by many people, all of whom to some extent knew what was all about. But they chose her because they are as much of a crook as she is. And the President herself may or may not be a crook, but she most certainly is the nominal top of a gang of crooks who has been robbing the Korean people for years.

Who is to blame? The question is meaningless, in philosophical terms. Every effect has a myriad causes. You can never pin-point a single one. But that’s not the point of blame. The point of blame is to produce a result. If you blame the president, and throw her away, you have a situation in which you need to choose a new president and everybody starts fighting and the whole thing can get messy. If you blame the shamaness, well you get a situation where the President looks like a fool and the religious landscape of Korea becomes the center of attention of the press for years. If you blame the whole party, you create a situation in which the opposition parties will most certainly win the new election. So “who is to blame?” is a very important question.

And that’s the actual point of having a different political systems. You’ll have noticed that Ms. Park had a cabinet full of conmen and crooks. Steve Sailer calls her a “Rasputin-like figure”. But Rasputin was the confidant of the wife of the Russian Czar! An absolute monarch! Isn’t democracy supposed to prevent this kind of thing? It obviously doesn’t. Look at the Clintons. I thought Bueno de Mesquita has been quiet for some years, but I guess watching the increasingly open corruption of the American elite has made him a bit ashamed of his apology of the structural benefits of democracy.

Democracy or monarchy don’t change the fundamental rules of politics. Crooks happen, advisors get power they shouldn’t have, people in power do good or bad things or do nothing at all according to their disposition. Chains of crooks linked by personal connections will always run things. None of it matters. What matters is who we blame. In a monarchy we have a set of taboos that say that it’s always the ministers who are wrong; and by blaming the ministers and never the king we keep the levers of power in a more or less stable way; which can be good or bad. In a democracy we have another set of taboos, which result in every link of the chain of corruption being interchangeable, but the very existence of the chain being unmentionable; everything else would be Endangering Our Democracy. This can be good… or bad.

You’ll have noticed we don’t have very good vocabulary to discuss this kind of matters. Imperial Chinese political theory has its biases, but it has insight we don’t have. The Japanese in their insularity also have their insight. I’m sure the Ottomans and the Arabs have their own. As the US world police declines so evidently that the Philippines calls Obama openly a son of a bitch and Malaysia (!) tells the West to take a hike, we might as well stop believing our own crap and try to refine our theories on how politics work by looking at what is going to be our future.

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27 responses to “Nobody rules alone

  1. Pingback: Nobody rules alone | Aus-Alt-Right

  2. Pingback: Nobody rules alone | Reaction Times

  3. Anonymous@anoy.com November 2, 2016 at 22:48

    Beautiful analysis. As much as a reactionary as I am, I have few fantasies that anyone truly can rule alone. The closest, I suppose, is North Korea and even that is dubious at times when I study it.

  4. Trevor November 2, 2016 at 22:50

    So leaders can only get their subjects to do things using shekels? No, real leaders inspire their people by creating a vision of the future that benefits them, their nation, and their people. Unfortunately America isn’t a nation (a people) any longer, so must substitute shekels until the collapse.

    • spandrell November 3, 2016 at 19:34

      Oh God. Not this again. Watch the video again.

      Leaders don’t have access to their “subjects”. Leaders have associates. Those demand shekels. Those associates have associates. Those demand shekels.

      Among those several degrees of associates some work in propaganda; those are the ones who help the leader “inspire the people”. Because shekels. Without shekels, however inspiring the leader might be, he can’t get to inspire anyone.

  5. davecydell November 3, 2016 at 02:02

    Lot of truth here. But then there is a lot of truth in the world but we still have what we have.
    Then the internet has arrived, so keep hammering.

  6. infowarrior1 November 3, 2016 at 02:18

    ”Democracy or monarchy don’t change the fundamental rules of politics”

    Is swiss direct democracy the exception?

  7. jamesd127 November 3, 2016 at 06:53

    ” Ms. Park is the daughter of Park Chung-Hee, the awesome right-wing dictator that raised South Korea out of its postwar misery and set the basis of what became their economic miracle.”

    Royal succession, and then the royal house falls under the spell of Rasputin.

    Notoriously, when people, particularly women, stop believing in conventional religion, they are apt to become so open minded that their brains fall out.

    Think we need to make sure our Kings are sufficiently fertile to ensure an adequate supply of male princes, and then we need to require them and their wives to adhere to the official religion.

    I suggest we apply a rule that a Kings wife must be near the start of her time of highest fertility, and if a King’s wife starts to run low on fertility before we have an adequate supply of male princes, he is required to take additional wives at the start of their age of highest fertility.

    Or maybe if we have one good King, we could just clone him. Have his wife produce two or three mini versions of him. Rinse and repeat every generation.

    • spandrell November 3, 2016 at 08:31

      China had harems yet dowagers tended to hold power for decades. It’s not enough for there to be men.

      • With the thoughts you'd be thinkin November 3, 2016 at 14:01

        See also the Sultanate of Women in the Ottoman empire.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sultanate_of_Women

        • spandrell November 3, 2016 at 14:47

          Interestingly only the Ming Dynasty was able to avoid having empresses and dowagers intervene in government. That was because the law said Imperial wives were to be chosen from poor families. Having no powerful families behind them no Ming empress was able to play politics.

          Or they were just dumb.

          • Candide III November 3, 2016 at 15:41

            You should really look at that Ottoman article. Sultans’ harem women were slaves bought on the open market, precluding any connection with established elite families, but for two centuries the influence of sultans’ mothers and principal wives was very great. The first of them, the Ukrainian concubine of Suleiman I, was captured by Crimean Tartars in a raid on Rohatyn near Lviv and sold on the famous slave market in Kaffa, but Suleiman liked her so much that quite soon he made her a legal wife (first time in 200 years an Ottoman sultan had a legal wife), she was allowed to bear multiple heirs, advised Suleiman on matters of state and corresponded with foreign monarchs. So choosing wives from poor families is not a sufficient explanation, there must be other causal factors. Maybe competition in the harem worked differently, or whatever.

            • spandrell November 3, 2016 at 16:09

              Well there was the explicit admonition of Taizu (the 祖制) that women shouldn’t intervene in matters of state. His empress was kind of uppity, but again he was the daughter of his original patron when he was a beggar turned soldier.

              That was of course traditional policy in other dynasties too, but having powerful families made it easy to ignore the admonition.

              Ming princes were sent away to the provinces and had absolutely no power of their own; so their mothers could hardly use them to shake things up. The Ming emperors barely had a family at court. It’s kind of no wonder that many just stopped bothering with ruling and focused on their hobbies, leaving matters of state to the eunuchs and bureaucrats.

              And of course unlike the Ottoman example there were no child Emperors for most of the Ming-Qing era. That only happened in the late Qing when guess who got to power and run the state for 40 long years.

      • Ed Kaulakis April 2, 2017 at 13:40

        The American solution to avoiding wars of succession while avoiding dim-witted dynasties worked, although the tendency to dynastic political families grew stronger towards the end. Right now, a war of succession appears to be the preference of a good 20% on the Left.

        I spoke to a serving Marine a week ago. He refused to answer the obvious question, but told me he and his buddies ponder their oaths a lot. I find that very very comforting.

    • Dan November 4, 2016 at 16:49

      1/ Shamanism is the traditional and conventional religion of Korea, the real one, unlike the newfangled imports of Buddhism, Confucianism and Christianity
      2/ Your plan would bring, in the better case, innumerable hordes of princes devouring the country like in Saudi Arabia and, in the worse case, ceaseless civil wars for succession.

  8. Garr November 4, 2016 at 02:19

    Cantonese women dominate Cantonese men on the Brooklyn subway trains. My brother’s Mandarin mother-in-law dominates her husband, too. As for the Ottomans — of course a Ukrainian woman’s going to dominate a Turk. Duh.

    • spandrell November 4, 2016 at 04:01

      , Mandarin isn’t a region. 70% of the country speaks some variety of Mandarin.

      • Garr November 6, 2016 at 00:01

        Oh. Northern. From Chingdow. All of the Brooklyn Chinapeople are Cantonese, so Mandarin-speakers seem special, as befits their quieter, more dignified social manner. Anyway, I was thinking more about this phenomenon of women dominating their men. It’s absolutely true of Blacks and PR/Dominicans. When those men lash out at their women it’s like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum at his mom. NWEuropean women seem more naturally inclined toward sweetness, which is why their Feminism seems so forced and demonic; they’re not really into it, so it’s as though it’s taken possession of them. But here’s an interesting fact: I live in a Mexican (i.e. Southling Amerindian) neighborhood, and I’ve NEVER seen a Mexican woman yelling at her husband (or vice-versa). They walk around in cuddly, sweet, stable family groups. Maybe the King of the USA should be a Mexican (not the Cheech/Slingblade type, but the little brown Hobbit type)?

    • Inquiring Mind November 4, 2016 at 20:12

      So what’s the deal with Hillary Clinton’s ‘tude towards her Secret Service guards, the FBI and law enforcement, and the greater military establishment and military people in general?

      Her daughter was referring to her protection detail in terms that she, Chelsea thought to be whimsical but were quite thoroughly offensive and disrespectful to them as people and professionals. Daughter must have picked up some key phrases from Momma?

      If as a young person I had a Secret Service detail, I would ask of them to take me to the range and show my how to shoot their guns and go to the gym and have them show me their martial arts methods — the Paul Atrides kind of thing of the son of nobility and heir being trained to be the next Duke. In teaching me, they would show themselves to be much more skilled at these arts than I would ever attain, teaching me the respect that I owe them; I certainly wouldn’t call them by bad names, even in “fun.”

      Is it Moldbug’s caste system, that Ms. Clinton is of the Priestly Caste and very much wants the Warrior Caste people around her to “know their place” and “stay in their place”? I would think that one’s personal protection detail are the most key of all key people? You don’t have to pay them more than their Federal salaries, but don’t you have to pay them with a measure of respect and dignity?

      Ms. Clinton appears to have grand plans regarding how American power will be once more properly asserted around the world, but how does she make that happen with her (alleged) ‘tude towards people in uniform? How does Caesar exercise power, stay in power without paying her Legions?

      • spandrell November 4, 2016 at 20:40

        Well Calligula made his horse a general to spite his generals too. Humiliating the armed forces is a very old tradition. Very common in old China too. People with weapons tend to get uppity, thinking they have the means to rule, so weak civilians tend to relish at the chance to assert their authority. And Hillary appears to enjoy power trips.

        Still, that never lasts.

        • jamesd127 November 8, 2016 at 05:53

          Humiliating his praetorians turned out to be a bad idea for Caligula.

          It resulted in his death, and what turned out to be a major and permanent transfer of power to the praetorians – well permanent until the army got in on the act, and different army camps started announcing numerous different emperors.

  9. JC November 6, 2016 at 04:07

    Spandrell, I think I’ve asked you to check out Autoadmit before (an online discussion forum of 120-130 IQ lawyers which has become a bastion of Trump supporters), but I have a new link for you. The title of the post is: “Is there a concise case against shitlibbery I can share with ppl?”

    The relevant response is here: http://www.xoxohth.com/thread.php?thread_id=3395708&mc=51&forum_id=2#31722433

    Just sharing this because I feel there’s important scholarship on the autoadmit forum that’s not available elsewhere.

  10. Jefferson January 18, 2017 at 20:37

    Necroing this because of a more recent post.

    Firstly, isn’t this the point of formalism? Clearly delineated power helps the hierarchy hold its form.

    Secondly, this is a city-folk perspective that doesn’t match the way that power flows on smaller scales. I strongly suspect that the guy making this video either does not have children, or does not reflect on his philosophy and apply it to child-rearing. People are animals, and giving an animal what it wants to “keep it happy” is basically the dog-training strategy that most westerners use nowadays, with the results that one might expect. On the day of the SCOTUS decision making same-sex-marriage legal, my communist cousin proclaimed something to the effect of “why is everyone cheering? There are still trans-rights, immigrant-rights, black folks getting killed in the face by the Klan, etc.” In much the same way, when one throws scraps of food to the dog from the table, the dog will not be sated, and deign to afford its owner a quiet and private meal.

    Thirdly, there is a natural flow of power on small scales. We seek the advice of people whose judgement we trust. This gives them a measure of power. Over time, if we become accustomed to seeking advice from the same person, this person becomes our leader. Agricultural efficiency caused us to codify this, so agricultural societies have shortcuts to this, and specialization. My doctor has power over me on medical issues (although note that the narcissist will seek out only doctors whose opinions confirm to his or her preconceived notions, expertise be damned). It is easy to see that a life lived within a community the size of a person’s Dunbar’s number natural power would flow from the older and more experienced to the younger and greener. When a community grows past that point, to the point of acquaintances (there is no term for this, but I may start calling it something like, “a person’s Jeffersonian limit”), the short-hand would trusting your father’s trusted leader, or somesuch. Basic republican structure; I trust who I trust to tell me who to trust. This only really works in a community in which one knows everyone at least by face (so say, up to ~5000-10,000 people). Then status labels come in. Who’s the best at medicine that I know? All doctors are the same. Rinse and repeat for any specialty that has a decent certification process. At that point there is no longer any active, informed judgement on the part of the individual. What is the best way to teach my children to be functional adults? All schools are the same…but this one has better test scores. What are the best values to have? What is the best career to pursue? We have to make decisions in the post-modern secular west without anything resembling a decent guidebook, and far removed from meaningful information that might inform those decisions. Status is the shortcut. It used to stand for something solid, but now it needn’t. Do sociopathic status maximizers have an advantage in hunter-gatherer, horticultural, pastoral, or even early agricultural societies? I am confident in this process (of judgement becoming pushed aside in favor of status) because I am watching it happen at a lag within the Orthodox Jewish community. The authority and judgement of a local orthodox rabbi is diminishing as he has to fall in line with what some great scholar said before him, at the expense of localized judgement. This already happened (at least) once amongst the Jews during the Roman Era, when the Talmud was written down, and it was this Talmudic debate style that seems to be natural to all humans on some level (most want to know what is best and what is most right, even when there is no knowable answer) that leads to cultural brittleness and disunity.

    Fourthly, we’re here, in the dark, talking about this because the Cathedral is cracking. If it weren’t, Muslims wouldn’t be pouring into Europe, nor Mestizos into the US. Republicanism is natural, as is Monarchy. This video gets right that leadership needs to make sure that key constituencies aren’t provoked to revolt, but is way downstream from how that mechanism works. Competent men follow incompetent all through the world, and all through history. They do so not because they are being bought off, but because they are not sociopathic status maximizers. Why didn’t Bismark take over when he was unceremoniously dismissed? Why didn’t Caesar take over before he was forced? Why did Trump wait until now to win election? The majority of men have a status cap that they are uninterested in passing beyond. Not everyone wants to be the best in the world at what they’re best at, naturally. Our mimetic structure, our state religion, should help people to be happy with their lot in life. That’s one of the three main components of a religion: helping the average person understand that it is a blessing to be average. We need a new religion that gets us back to there, though. We’re turning people who wouldn’t be sociopathic status maxizers into a horrible facsimile of them (see, 90% of career women), while letting those who are naturally inclined control our society. Status should signal power, but it doesn’t in the West anymore, at least not clearly (back to formalism). Power is weapons, organization, and will. The right has the first part, and in the military and police, has the second. Until now it hasn’t had the third, largely because of our state religion holding it in check. The religion is failing, and we need to replace it before something really nasty happens.

    /endscreed

    • Ed Kaulakis April 2, 2017 at 13:59

      Something nasty has already happened. Naturalized Americans know more of Americanism than the native born. Is it too late to reclaim America from a Frankfort-school zeitgeist totally foreign to the historical America?

      Some believe such a reclamation would itself be the really nasty something that is threatened. Interesting times, eh?

  11. Pingback: The Economics of Democracy have Stopped Working | Bloody shovel

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