This is the third of three essays on the topic of Biological Leninism, the organizational principle of the contemporary left. You can find the first part here, and the second part here.
Happy New Year everyone. I left a bit of a cliffhanger on my last post, which I intended to resolve in a few days, but I’ve been pretty busy, not really in the mood to write long form.
I am sorry about that, but do note, this blog is a free service, so I hope you understand it doesn’t quite take the priority of my time. Again, there’s a Bitcoin address at the sidebar, so if you want me to write more, I’m sure we can arrange something.
2017 has been a quite eventful year. I guess the overall mood was disappointment. Trump didn’t get anything done. Doesn’t seem like he’ll ever get anything done. Europe slowed down the refugee invasion but not by much. And China has realized that AI makes state control so much easier. It’s showing the way in censorship and crowd control. All China is doing will be done on the West in a few years, with the aggravating factor that Western states will use Orwellian tools to jack up Bioleninism.
Speaking of which, I gotta continue my last post. So we left with the early evolution of Western liberal parliamentary system. In economics there’s this great concept called the “invisible hand”. In a free environment, if there is money to be made, someone will find a way to make it. Works the same in politics: in a free political environment, if there is power to be grabbed, someone will find a way to grab it. Economics and politics are really quite similar.
There’s this aspect of economic theory called “the theory of the firm”. Why do corporations exist? Why can’t be all be self-employed? That’s kinda how it worked during medieval guild days. Why are we all slaves of huge corporations now?
There’s many ideas thrown around, but the standard theory is that firms are built because of “transaction costs”. Basically in a free market, individual economic actors don’t quite trust each other, for good reason. Too many people around, can’t really know who’s good and who isn’t. A hierarchical firm fixes social relations and sets up a structure of trust and responsibility that makes economic action more predictable and safe.
The standard liberal theory of politics had it so that all political actors were self-employed. But, surprise surprise, political firms, i.e. political parties, turned out to be way more effective at political action than isolated individuals. And the same way that corporations tend to look for a certain kind of man, not quite the same as the old individual craftsman; political parties too select for a certain kind of person. One who obeys, who can be trusted. That was the seed of Leninism; and oh boy did that seed grow.
The thing about firms, or any organization really, is that there are no fixed limits in how large they can grow, and how many things they can make. A state is but a gang of dudes who then grows into an army, then conquers a territory. As a gang the dudes did little more than drink beer and the odd assault on trading caravans. But eventually the grew into a state which does pretty much everything. Plenty of examples of that in Chinese history. For something closer to home: the East India Company. Started trading spices. Then ended up ruling over 400 million people. Why? There was marginally more money to be made in every step of the process.
So happened when political parties started to form in the 19th century. Parties formed in order to secure power in parliament. But once you have a machine to grab power, why stop there? There’s a lot of power out there outside of parliament too, whatever the constitution says. There’s the executive and the judiciary too, for starters. There’s the press, the power to shape opinion. There’s education, the power to shape the minds of children and their social relations as they grow. There are lots and lots of social groups around, and they all have power dynamics in them. Why don’t eat them up too? If there is power to be grabbed, someone will grab it. And the liberal revolutions were all about putting power out there in the open, up to grabs.
Well, surprise surprise, people started moving to grab it. And as in the magical invisible hand, which builds up an efficient economy if you only let it do its job; the invisible hand of politics also did its job. Economic firms are built around the pursuit of profit, and they grew through the joint-stock corporation. Political parties are built around the recruitment of low-status, or compromised (i.e. potentially low-status) people, and the promise of delivering high-status to followers and voters after power is grabbed.
We all know how efficient and sophisticated profit-pursuing mechanisms have evolved. Liberal politics were also this primordial soup where power-grabbing mechanisms were to evolve. And it didn’t take too long for a strong, stable and hugely contagious mechanism to evolve. Socialism. It was always around, but Marx published the Communist Manifesto in 1848, just the year that the liberal revolutions were killing off all the monarchies across Europe.
Socialism refined liberal politics, the same way that double-entry bookkeeping refined business accounting. The base of electoral politics was to promise high status to low status people. Marx, starting this tradition where semi-assimilated Jews don’t get the latent hypocrisy of the host society, didn’t quite get the joke of liberal egalitarianism, and just took it to its logical conclusion. You’re not supposed to do that, kids. You’re supposed to get the joke. But he didn’t. Liberty and Equality? Ok, let’s abolish private property then. Hey wait a little there. Are you serious? Abolish private property?
He couldn’t have been serious. I mean, come on. Private property. It’s not only the basis of civilization. Even pre-farming tribes have private property. Even monkeys like to own stuff. How insane have you to be to say that private property has to be abolished? Who the hell is going to join that movement? Well, a lot of people. You see, capitalism was a big deal. It changed how the whole society worked. In more concrete terms, it changed what kind of person was high status and who wasn’t. Under capitalism, the merchants ruled. And that made a lot of people unhappy.
Hey, some people just aren’t capable of being successful at capitalism. It ain’t that easy. And, you know, people are different. It’s not their fault if suddenly some shtetl Jew who can’t even speak properly is pretty good at making money and so is suddenly now 1000x more high status than he is; when just 100 years ago he would have been some decent member of feudal society and the shtetl Jew would have been widely scorned and hated. Not being good at something sucks. So yeah, people were resentful. And socialism catered exactly to that resentment.
Of course socialism didn’t have to outright call for the abolition of private property. Feudal society had private property. They could have just called for progressive taxes, widespread welfare, usury laws, that stuff. But why be reasonable when it doesn’t really matter? A political party doesn’t have to deliver on its promises. Least of all a leftist one! A Leftist party is by definition fighting against the establishment; if they can’t deliver on their promises they can always blame the powers that be. And people will believe them, because, well the powers that be have power. Or used to. And inertia is a real thing. People’s memories can be inaccurate, especially if they have a good incentive to not update.
A political party can get away with lying; a political movement, i.e. a vague and embryonic version of a political party, can get away with murder. They don’t need to deliver on anything. They don’t have to be reasonable. They don’t even have to make sense. They just need to be able to recruit committed people. And guess what, being unreasonable gets you more loyal followers than being reasonable. Why? Again, because reasonable, well-adjusted, normal people just have a wider range of options available for them. They don’t need to commit to some crazy plan. They can just get a job and live a normal life. For an unreasonable, maladjusted, weird person, your options in life are much more limited. Joining a crazy political party which proposes the abolition of the very thing that makes society possible is, very likely, the best shot they’ll ever get at achieving high status in their lives. So yeah, why not. Communism!
Again, there’s many versions of unreasonable and maladjusted. Some people are genuinely just not very good at dealing with capitalist society. Born like that, to no fault of their own. Writers, journalists, middling lawyers. Rivers of ink have been spilled writing about how intellectuals are always overwhelmingly leftist. Which is odd given that communism didn’t turn out to be very nice to intellectuals. But capitalism gives high status to precisely the opposite kind of person, the merchant, and intellectuals hate that. They are natural socialists. Very eager socialists.
An easy heuristic would to see the natural constituency of any political movement as the people who, in the grand zero-sum game of human social status, would rise in status if that political movement were to gain power. But it’s not quite like that, if anything because you just can’t know what’s going to happen. Early socialists had no idea what was going to happen if socialism take power. They said they knew, but nobody knows the future. Uncertainty is the constant in human life. Any claims to the contrary are bullshit, or in scientific speech, signaling.
What is real is the present. And so the natural constituency of any dissenting political movement are the people who actually, very actually, in this very present, are losing out in the grand zero-sum game of human social status. These people are pissed and resentful, and they will do what they can to mess with society as it presently works. For good reason. Life is quite short, and you only get one. Nobody wants to lose out in status. The consequences of that are pretty bad. Losing out in the pecking order means, in general zoological terms, access to worst-quality mates, or no mates at all. So you bet all those intellectuals were pissed, and wanting to jump in to whatever movement promised them they would crush capitalism and those evil fat cats. Even if it took away everything that’s good in life in the process. Who cares, that only made the process more engaging.
Again, the perception of losing out is subjective. Some people just are unreasonable and maladjusted and are not content unless they have absolute power and a harem with two thousand women. Political movements tend to house a disproportionate amount of those, alongside people who are really losing out to no fault of their own. A lot of people are losing out due to bad choices they did earlier in life, say, studied puppetry instead of something useful. So they are losing out, and it’s their own fault, but they can’t do anything about it either, and so they join up the ranks of the opposition.
The point here is not who forms the ranks of the opposition. The point here is that in a democracy the opposition has an actual shot at grabbing power. They have the freedom to do so. They are encouraged to do so. And so any smart political agent is going to find a way to organize these people. The same way any smart commercial agent is going to find a way to make money. There is always someone. An evolutionary process will produce it.
And the resentful will win, because upward mobility is a very strong motivator. Hope really does trump fear. People with a shot at gaining status are always going to outcompete people who are just trying to keep what they have. They are plenty of pathways, but the writing is in the wall. In a “free society”, the politics will always move to the left. Always.
Of course the degree to which they move to the left depends on the degree of freedom on the political process. The first part to move left is the legislature, which is the part which is most open. Again as I was saying there are other parts to a power structure. The bureaucrats, the lawyers. The press, which provides conversation topics to all of them. The education system, which raises them and their children. It’s fairly obvious that if any political agent is to take absolute power, he has to grab not only the parliament; he has to grab all these too. And those are trickier than just MPs. Again we saw the process by which politicians move to the left: a political party needs loyal people who follow orders; the lowest status people are more likely to be loyal, given their lack of options. But bureaucrats or judges are harder to control. For one they tend to be smarter. They have to be smarter, they need to do an actual job. States tend to try to hire smart people to work as bureaucrats or judges. China hired them (China had governors double as judges, didn’t and doesn’t believe in separating the executive from the judiciary). through a famously hard exam system. In most places bureaucrats are still hired through exams. Let alone judges and lawyers. They have to pass the bar.
So how do you control these people? You can’t do it overtly, like you do with politicians. You can’t organize them through a formal political party. That’s against the rules. This is a very important point. How do you make sure the unelected parts of the power structure are in harmony with the elected parts? Here’s where the Leftist Power Machine divided into two paths. I call it the branching of leftism between Formal Leninism and Distributed Leninism, which then for historical reasons became classical Leninism and Biological Leninism. Historically this maps very well into what Moldbug called the Anglo-Soviet split.
Leftism in Russia had been advancing, slowly but steadily, for a very long time. Russia was formally an absolutist autocracy ruled by the Tsar. But during the 19th century the country opened up quite a bit, and as capitalism advanced, leftism grew in the same proportion among the people who weren’t doing so well under capitalism. The Dostoyesvki types. Of which Russia had no lack of. I’d say Russia had a disproportionate amount of leftists because instead of capitalism growing organically as in say, the Netherlands, it came out of the blue into a very traditional and pious society. So of course all those people who had been conditioned over centuries to be loyal subjects and good Christians weren’t enjoying all that freedom to build factories and make money. And so they hated the whole thing. Russia produced lots of leftists of the craziest sort before it even had electoral politics.
So then comes Lenin and stages a coup and actually grabs power as a formal communist. And what did Lenin do? He wanted absolute power. Like everyone else, but he actually had the guts and the will to pull it off. Lenin’s way of achieving power was to do what I just said you couldn’t do. Integrate all the ruling class into his political party. The judges, the bureaucrats, the teachers, the press. Everything into the party. The Communist Party. Political parties, remember, appeared as a way of ensuring discipline and organization in electoral politics. Lenin just extended the idea to every single organ of power in Russia. And it worked. It worked like a charm. It wasn’t easy, by no means. It took a long and bloody war. Then long and bloody purges. Then some more. Then the complete terrorizing of society. Then some more purges. But after 20 years or so Stalin had it more or less set up. He had achieved absolute power. He controlled the party. And the party controlled everything.
That’s Classical Leninism. There’s plenty of literature about it, if you want to know more. And there’s China right now, where the same principle still applies. Moreso these days after Xi Jinping tightened screws back on some areas of power which the Chinese Communist Party had let loose some decades ago. The point about Leninism is that after absolute power is achieved, the leftist ratchet stops. The country stops moving left. No new ideas. No new catering to low-status people and using them to topple the government. No, none of that. The ever advancing leftist movement was just a means to an end. The end was power. Once power is achieved, leftism dissolves. It doesn’t disappear; it leaves some residue, in that states always try to have ideological consistency with what they said during their founding. Chinese dynasties framed that as filial piety of emperors following the ideas of grandpa the founder; but it’s mostly just inertia.
This is not how things turned out in Western Europe and North America. No leftist party as such ever achieved absolute power in the West. It just didn’t happen. And not for lack of trying. But it didn’t pan out. As for why, well there’s my theory back then. Countries which developed capitalism slowly tended to produce less resentful losers than agrarian empires who were thrown suddenly into modernity. That’s not quite my original theory, I’ve read it somewhere else, maybe someone can remind me who first said it. At any rate the success of Leninism in Russia and China has plenty of chance in it. Lenin could very easily not have taken power, he could have lost the civil war, he could have not had that precious Wall Street Jewish money to keep him afloat. No Soviet Russia, no Communist China either. But anyway, it did happen, and socialism was very strong in those places with or without actual takeover.
So what happened in the West, anyway? There’s one guy who thought about it very deeply. For a long, long time. Mostly because he was in jail so he had plenty of time to study the problem. I’m talking about Antonio Gramsci. He was a communist agitator in Italy who got caught by Mussolini, and was sentenced to rot in prison. During that time he thought a very reasonable problem. Why am I here? Why did I lose? Fucking Lenin did a coup d’etat and he won, now he has power. Now look at me, rotting in prison. What went wrong?
His idea, which was hugely influential, and for good reason, was that the power structure wanted to keep being the power structure and you couldn’t just throw it away and replace it with your boys. You can try your chance in electoral politics, but there’s only so many resentful fucks who are willing to vote for the abolition of the very foundation of social life (property), at least in moderately prosperous Western countries. In these kind of places, if you want to take absolute power, you have to colonize the power structure very slowly. You have to influence their minds. You have to change the culture. This sounds very esoteric and spiritual but it’s not. Basically Gramsci argues that you gotta grab the press and the education system, and slowly but steadily do in every institution with some power what you do in a political party. Political parties work by hiring loyal people by preying on their low-status. Well, find a way into HR of every school, every newspaper, every government department, every judicial board. And to the very same thing. Run a distributed covert Leninist party. Until you run everything.
Sounds easy, huh? No, it sounds complicated like hell. And it was. But not so much; after all there’s fairly obvious economies of scale to influence peddling. A guy knows a guy who knows a guy. The great discovery of the 20th century wasn’t atomic power. It was the power of cliques. A few people in positions of power sticking with each other is the most powerful force in the universe. They can make lies become truth. They can make toilets be sold as art, they can make women be combat soldiers. They can do anything. It was quite easy for socialists to get their hand in the media; after all journalists are all natural socialists. Smart-ish guys good at writing with no talent for making money. And the same goes for teachers. Teaching doesn’t pay very well. And it’s exhausting. Why would anyone want to be a teacher? Well, for the greater glory of socialism, that is.
So once socialists colonized the education system, the Gramscian distributed Leninist party got most of the job done. After all the schools are exactly where all the different power centers intersect. Montesquieu must have thought himself very smart saying that Legislators, Bureaucrats and Judges should be independent and in constant conflict. Well yeah, but where do they send their kids to school? To the very same places. And pray tell, cher Marquis, how do you plan on having those judges and bureaucrats and legislators and teachers and journalists and bankers and industrialists, who have all grown up together, shared a secluded life as a unified ruling class; how the hell are you gonna make them check and balance each other? That can’t work. And it isn’t working. They marry each other and send their kids to the same schools. Yeah, they’ll do some show and play politics theater, or Kabuki as the American like to say for some reason (as if only Kabuki was fake and other theaters were real), but in the end they are an endogamic ruling class and they know it.
Gramsci’s program was also called the Long March into the Institutions. A slow but steady Cultural Revolution. It was complete in most Western countries by the 1960s. And then we know what happened. I guess Gramsci’s original plan was to then grab power in a classical Leninist way, a dictatorship of the proletariat of a sort. But that ship had sailed in Western Europe. The workers were rich. They could afford cars and houses and vacations to Florida or Spain. You couldn’t motivate them with calls for hanging the capitalists and redistributing their property among the masses.
So the party was up and running. By the 1960s socialists cliques, more or less loosely associated with formal socialist parties, were running most schools and most newspapers and most government agencies and most courthouses and most parliaments. But you had to keep them together, keep them loyal and obedient. The early, the classical way was to get the losers of capitalism, i.e. workers and bureaucrat-inclined people, and promise them high status come the revolution. That had worked pretty well from 1848 to 1948. Hell they conquered half the world and were really close to capturing power in much of the West too. But by 1960 in the West they needed a new ideology to get people motivated and loyal.
So again, what they did was stick to the structure: promise high status to low status people. But change the content, adapt to the times. Western 1960 society was very much not 1860 society. It was much richer, much more equal, and much more pleasant. People worked 8 hours a day, they had cars and TVs, girls put out pretty easily and there was always a party to go. Absolutely no point in running a communist revolution. Well there was the 1968 “revolution”, with the anti-Vietnam stuff and all that. But that was just a big ass outdoor party, not a real revolution. It just sounded cool to call it that. The teens from 1968 are now all in positions of power and they haven’t abolished private property.
But again, the leftist ratchet isn’t a particular set of people. It’s a memeplex with a life of its own. A virus evolved to concentrate power, adopting ideas that help in the project, and discarding those that not. Economic socialism, organizing the poor wasn’t working out in the West anymore. But the principle is sound; they just needed to find whoever was low status then. And there is always someone, status is zero sum. There’s always someone on top, someone on the bottom. Even in egalitarian societies. Socialism had really pressured Western society into becoming a quite egalitarian and pleasant society by 1960. But even in the best of worlds, there’s always low status people. Even if you re-engineer society so that there’s complete equality of opportunity, even if you run a revolution and you dissolve every existing hierarchy and start anew. There will always be low status people.
Because there’s always biology. Some people are tall, some people are short. Some look good, some are pretty ugly. Some are thin and some are fat. Some are pleasant some are annoying. Some are cool and some are awkward. Some are smart and some are dumb. Some make good choices some make bad choices. Some are law-abiding and some are criminally inclined. The latter of each pair is going to be low status anywhere on earth. Even in Soviet Communism under commander Trotsky. Some people just suck. That’s the way genes work.
And so thankfully for Leftism, even after achieving affluence, even after the working class disappeared as a thing, there was still plenty of material to work with to advance the cause of complete control. And so Leftist groups started agitating status for people of African descent. For Jews. For single women. For drug junkies. For sluts. For fat people. For homos. For lesbians. For aggressive Muslims. For the disabled. For the retarded. For the mentally insane. For the trannies. All people who are were low status in Western society. And who would be low status in any society. Because they suck. They just aren’t very productive. For no fault of their own. Some people are born tall, some short. Some smart, some dumb. Some empathic, some psychopathic. Some content with their lot, some greedy with powerlust. That’s how it is.
And so the Long March through the Institutions that Gramsci first envisioned as a way of having the Italian Communist Party do what Lenin had done, ended up producing a different kind of Leninist system, one distributed and informal, instead of Lenin’s unified and formal, and one which morphed into promotion of the dregs of society qua dregs of society, instead of promotion of Marx’s idea of the wrongly oppressed proletariat. Marx was not a good man, but at least he tried to dress his ideas in a way that made sense. Das Kapital took some real work to write. But that was just some contingent accident of his time. Leftism doesn’t need to make sense. It just needs to get the job done.
Or at least marginally. Because the very fact that we have Biological Leninism as the organizing principle of all centers of power in the West, and that it keeps getting worse all the time, is because it’s not quite getting the job done. The job is concentration of power. It’s achieving absolute control. What Lenin did. What once Lenin did that, or more precisely Stalin did that, the ideological content of the Left stabilized. Cthulhu stopped swimming left. But here in the Atlantic Cthulhu has been swimming for centuries, getting crazier every day. Because there’s no one to stop him. We have a Cathedral, yes, an informal distributed Leninist party, ensuring very efficiently that only their people get in positions of power and influence. But there is no Stalin. No Xi Jinping. Not even a lousy Putin even.
As for why, is a good question. The unwritten constitution of English politics is just very robust. English liberty. Only Oliver Cromwell ever tamed that beast, and not for very long, and that was quite a while ago. The West is the US vassal empire, and the US just doesn’t do absolutism very well. But it’ll get there, it’s getting close; the returns are just too great. If there’s a way to grab power somebody will grab it. All he, or more likely she at this rate, has to do is say: give me power, or else, all of you, all those evil fat women with a make-work office job, all those foreigners living off the public purse, all those just plain unpleasant people with unhealthy lifestyles; all of you, give me power, or if you don’t, we’ll go back to 1959, it’ll be ok to be white, and all of you will have to make your bed, clean up your room, and do actual work. You’ll be on your own.
How long will it take? Can’t be that much longer.