Perry Anderson: Lineages of the Absolutist State

Writing from a scrupulously Marxist perspective, Perry Anderson provides a wide-ranging overview of the transition of various feudal orders into absolutist monarchy. Before going into a number of Anderson’s arguments, it may be worthwhile to make a small clarification as to the nature of Anderson’s Marxist thought as in recent times the usage of the term Marxism has become heavily polluted by Western, CIA funded “Marxist” thought which has moved it from a class basis, to a cultural basis.

Anderson’s analysis is probably better described as class analysis. Anderson reviews the development of absolutism from the assumption that class, and in particular the feudal nobility based on feudal agricultural forms of surplus appropriation, was a driving force of absolutist governmental formation. As a result, Anderson squarely places the absolutist state as being a creation in the service of feudal nobility; a tool of the dominant class as per Marx and Lenin’s et als theoretical assumptions. The issue with this is that his book largely undermines this approach as he is constantly having to recount countless examples of this absolutist state not only failing to act in the interests of this feudal nobility, but actually in direct conflict with it, something which is unavoidable when you have to recount history as it occurred. It is only when Anderson comes to an analysis of the development of Austrian Absolutism that his argument along these lines becomes somewhat clearer, yet, I would argue, still fails.

The development of Austrian absolutism is an anomalous example in the development of European Absolutism. Key to this state of affairs was the general heterogeneous territories which the Hapsburg’s ruled over. Covering Austria, of course, as well as Bohemia, varying parts of Hungary, and other territories now part of such countries as Italy and Germany (this is discounting the Western possession such as Spain and the Americas which we shall get to later), the Habsburgs ruled over differing medieval orders with nobility of differing strengths and possessing differing feudal rights and obligations. The result was a failure to bring all of these territories into a unified taxation regime, a unified conscription regime, and a unified legal and monetary order in general. In Hungary the nobility held a strong hand by virtue of being able to call in Ottoman forces against the Habsburgs, in Bohemia the nobility had been wiped out following the Battle of White Mountain and almost completely replaced by a foreign nobility of Italians, Irish, Germans, etc. basically the mercenaries and adventurers who had come to serve the Habsburgs and been rewarded with land, and who proved to be very disloyal to the Hapsburgs at later dates, deserting en masse during the War of the Austrian Succession. Unfortunately, it was this territory which formed the productive core of the empire, and not Austria proper. Later this productive primacy would shift to the Hungarian territories.

The lack of unified nobility sharing a language, rights, duties, and collective interests, and what Anderson calls an espirit de corps resulted in a number of developments which led to the Habsburgs being unable to centralize fully. Firstly, they could not develop an effective military corps which in other orders was staffed by noble officers, even if the troops were often mercenaries. Secondly, this again transferred over into government where there was a significant lack of nobility in service to the monarchy. Often, at quite late dates, this was still taken up by Church officials (such as Jesuits), at others by the “upper-middle class of the towns”. The result, in Anderson’s assessment, was an absolutism which ended in “debacle” because it “transgressed the collective interests of the class which Absolutism historically functioned to defend.” It is at this point when Anderson’s argument is clearest that it can be seen that there are significant problems with his thesis due to the underlying class model he is employing. Primarily, if, as with class analysis, the State is a mere tool of the dominant class interests, then why is there any kind of conflict between the State and the nobility at all. It seems very clear that the State is trying to engage in a process of centralization within Perry’s analysis, and that this centralization is being mediated by classes given they need to be incorporated and called upon as agents of centralisation, but that it is not being driven or controlled by it. In other words, we have a clear case of Jouvenelian based neoabsolutist analysis providing a far more coherent and clear account for what Anderson is noting.

This failure of class analysis becomes even clearer in all of the other examples provided by Anderson where he is forced into making very weak arguments to salvage the class based nature of his analysis, due to the fact that his entire analysis stands or falls on the Absolutist state being one and the same with the nobility. So where he gets to such rebellions as the Catalonian Republic Revolution, the Neapolitan Revolution, the Estates Revolt in Bohemia, and the Great Rebellion in England, he actually states the following:

[They] all had, in very different proportions, something of this aspect of a nobiliary revolt against the consolidation of Absolutism. Naturally, this reaction could never become a full-scale, united aristocratic onslaught on the monarchy, for the two were tied together by an umbilical cord: nor was there any case of a purely noble revolt in the century. The characteristic pattern was rather an overdetermined explosion in which a regionally delimited part of the nobility raised the banner of aristocratic separatism, and was joined by a discontented urban bourgeoisie and plebian mobs in a general upheaval.

This is followed by an explanation of sorts that:

Their ultimate defeat was a central episode in the difficult travail of the whole class in this century, as it slowly transformed itself to fit the new, unwonted exigencies of its own State power. No class in history immediately comprehends the logic of its own historical situation, in epochs of transition: a long period of disorientation and confusion may be necessary for it to learn the necessary rules of its own sovereignty. The Western nobility in the tense age of 17th century Absolutism was no exception: it had to be broken in to the harsh and unwanted discipline of its own conditions of government.

So, in effect, the nobility had to beat itself senseless for its own good which is a coherent explanation or sorts if the nobility = the Absolutist state, but it is patently absurd if this assumption is discounted: Something which Anderson refuses to do, despite making such ridiculous arguments as the above, or that found in the following rather incredible passage on French absolutism:

The higher nobility was forced to reside at Versailles…and divorced from effective lordship over its territorial domains. These measures…did not alter the objective bond between the aristocracy and the State, henceforward more efficacious than ever in protecting the basic interests of the noble class.

And then we have the following:

Fittingly, the historical collapse of the French Absolutist State was tied directly to the inflexibility of its feudal formation. The fiscal crisis which detonated the revolution of 1789 was provoked by its juridical inability to tax the class which it represented. The very rigidity of the nexus between State and nobility ultimately precipitated their common downfall.

This inability to disentangle the State as an actor in its own right, and to consider it in a Jouvenelian light as subject to influences of a non-class based nature is the great flaw of Anderson’s work because despite these (unfortunately frequent) diversions into incredible logical acrobatics to paint the Absolutist state as being a vehicle of the nobility, it is a fantastic piece of scholarship. Anderson has a keen eye for the role of centralization in the development of the State and he does have an argument that this centralization could not have been achieved without a noble class to man the structures at key points, and that it couldn’t have been completed with their support and, as such, without being in alliance with the nobility in a way. This aspect of the work marks it as a classic in my eyes.

Take for example Anderson’s analysis of the initial success, and then ultimate failure, of the Habsburgs in centralizing their Spanish territories.  It was, as with its Eastern possessions, a great failure of the Habsburgs that they couldn’t centralize the underlying structures of their territorial holdings. It was the ready supply of bullion from the Americas which allowed them to centralize on a basis which did not require this internal reorganization. This money allowed the Habsburgs a level of autonomy of action in relation to the nobility not seen by other monarchs who would have been unable to raise funds with which to centralize without basically begging from their nobility. This autonomy gave the Spanish an early lead in centralization and gave them a military lead, but this only spurred their competitors to follow suit and centralize based on their own resources, obviously as a result of being unable to access American gold. French and English reorganization of an internal and more robust nature followed and its success was based on the threat posed by this initial Spanish centralization: a clear example of the impetus supplied by geopolitical threats.  And this internal reorganization was far more stable and far more significant in the long run than the Habsburg’s attempt, an attempt which ultimately collapsed with the loss of Spanish bullion.

Over in the East, Anderson’s analysis is no less excellent. The many different examples he provides vary only in so much as the relative strength of the nobility varied, and this was largely a result of geopolitical factors in many cases. I have previously mentioned the example of the Hungarian nobility which could call in Ottoman support, be we also have this in the example of the Polish nobility which was unique among the European orders in that it managed to resist the creation of an Absolutist State down to its complete destruction as a republic of sorts. The Polish nobility managed to constrain centralization quite well, and even the repeated invasions by Sweden, Russia, and the rest of its neighbor’s didn’t push the nobility to embrace a centralized monarchy. Every trick seems to have been employed to avoid centralisation, including the familiar example of setting up a foreign monarch who would have been left with no power base within Poland. This intransigence marked the total failure of the Polish State and led to its partition. In contrast, the Swedish invasion of Northern Europe which failed to stimulated centralization in Poland did do so in Prussia with the Hohenzollern’s creation of a standing army and in Russia with the reforms taken by the Tsar.

What is very strange about Anderson’s geopolitical recognition is that this again doesn’t fit with his class analysis. Anderson contention with regards to the Eastern Absolutisms is that they developed in direct response to Western challenges, and that these moves towards centralization were marked by different class influences and conflicts as a result of the more backward nature of feudal formations in the East. What would be far easier to say, but something not allowed by his class analysis, would be that monarchical centralization in the East, as in the West, was marked by a necessary element of bargaining between the central Power and the subsidiaries which colored the various centralization. This places the locus away from the class itself as being a driver and merely makes the class one element within a complex interplay of factors. So, whereas Anderson continuously makes a large deal of the fact that Eastern Absolutist States removed the coercive ability of the nobility vis a vis the peasantry, but replaced this with the State enforcement of serfdom, this becomes less a case of the State being a tool of the dominant class, but more as being an entity whose actions are colored by the dominant class because of contingency, something which is overridden in instances when the geopolitical needs of the central Power override the potential conflict created by disregarding the dominant class. Something which occurs, as noted by Anderson, in the case of the abolition of serfdom in Prussia following the victory of Napolean at Jena in 1811, and in Russia following defeat in Crimea in 1861.

Another and deeper criticism that can be made of Anderson’s class analysis is that class analysis clearly requires that classes are in themselves spontaneous and form irrespective of authority. So, if, for example, Anderson makes the case that the State, or central Power creates classes, then class analysis fails quite spectacularly. How can the State be a tool of the dominant class if it created the dominant class and creates all subsequent classes? But this is something which I will argue does come through from Anderson’s own work. One example is provided by his analysis of the actions taken by these Eastern European Absolutist States to alter the very nature of the nobility beneath them. Arguably, yes the nobility continued to be land based, so if you wish to classify the land owning class as simply that, a land owning class, then there wasn’t any change, but the nature of this ownership did change, repeatedly, and at the instigation of the Tsar or the Elector, or whomever was in the central position. At one time they enforced (and created) serfdom, at others they abolished it. Sometimes this would cycle. At other times they would disperse land on one basis, then another at other times. Again, in the case of Bohemia, the entire noble class was replaced. And it was the central power which brought into being an understanding of ownership which was simplified, unified and universalized in the form of capitalist ownership and the expansion of monetary forms of relationship which thus created the bourgeoisie.

Despite these, criticisms of the class analysis, it is a book well worth your time.

A Response to Dark Reformation on Oligarchy and Democracy

I hate to go back on my word but Vincent Hanna over at the Dark Reformation blog has tempted me into writing this post.

In his post, he writes a number of criticisms of the speculative claim, which a number of us have been exploring, that a monarchical point of governance always exists. On a number of points he is exactly correct, but on a number of other points I believe he misses what is being claimed.

Firstly, Hannah hits the nail on the head when he locates that the core issue with this claim of the preservation of the monarchical structure is the existence of collective decision making. This is easily dealt with by denying that collective decision making in the sense implied by oligarchy or democracy exists. This instantly does away with the mealy mouthed flight to small scale democracy and direct democracy that is the recourse that everyone turns to when they discount large scale democracy. Hannah, for example, provides the case of the Supreme Court, but I would deny that they are sovereign, and to explain this thinking requires a little bit of a detour.

I have been working on a number of papers for the upcoming promised journal (it is really going to happen, it’s very close) and one of the areas which it covers is the concept of anarchistic versus absolutist ontologies which has been worked on in the background by a couple of us. An anarchist ontology frankly includes every single political theory in existence. All of them are based on a form of anthropology that implies anarchism. The difference between them all is the level of awareness and intellectual coherence of the advocates. Anarchists are the most honest in following through the implications of this anarchism, and they seem to be often the ones most likely to be led to some form of sanity, or even partial sanity, by virtue of their extreme adherence to the logic of the position. So, for example, we see the flip of syndicalists to Italian fascism, which is the most sane variant of western political theory for the past 500 years, yet still lacking drastically. Once the most robust thinkers concluded that the workers were not a vehicle for class warfare, they identified the state as the vehicle for their aims, then they followed through the implications of admitting the role of a political organisation. Conservatives, liberals, white nationalist etc. are completely deluded and have no care for following through the implications of their underlying premises. This seems to me to be because they are often working from a vision of what they think should happened which is sociologicaly impoverished, a product of their specific and limited life experience and biases. Or it is because they are caught up in the perpetual political conflict of the cretinous and vile democratic system.

Now, the anarchist ontology is basesless, stupid and completely devoid of sense. It requires that the human agent simply appears. It has direct roots in Biblical exegesis and did not originate with Locke. Hannah in identifying Filmer as having responded to Locke is in error, Filmer was responding to Grotius, Suarez and Bellarmine in particular. The first you may notice was a Dutch protestant and the second and third were Catholics. It seems to be the case that anarchist ontology is a result of political conflict. The anarchist ontology of man not being a product of authority is basically a lie that collapses on the simplest examination, and was promoted for power attainment. Filmer is pretty clear on this as well. He identifies accurately that the Catholic Church was a major culprit in this regard, and it is an unfortunate misdirection that this process has been occluded. This is not to blame the Church specifically, as all segment of governance in Western Europe were guilty of this. Not only the Church, but also the nobility and the parliament/ bourgeois, and also the monarchs themselves were promoting this lie as a means to undermine each other, it is the high-low alliance of De Jouvenel.

A major underlying assumption of this anarchistic ontology is that groups of people can make decisions collectively, but we have to ask is this actually possible. The concrete example of the Supreme Court is an excellent one, does the Supreme Court actually decide in the act of voting? I don’t think they do. The vote is not a decision in any real sense, it is really a show of strength to force through a particular decision made before it. A decision can only be made by a single person within their head. This follows in my opinion for large scale democracy “decision” making as well. The entire mystical premise of the general will or public opinion is a joke, a decision cannot be made by a multitude, only a single person can, and then they impose that decision by mobilizing numbers to impose their will by force, or threat of force, by means of voting. The vote is a threat of force.

There are many other angles from which we can dismiss small scale decision making, but they can wait for another day. For now, having dismissed the premise of small scale collective decision making as mystical nonsense which covers up the reality of human social structures, which are always hierarchical, we can continue with the logic of absolutist ontology and see if the image of society is helpful to analysis. We set it to work in effect. To do this we can draft in some help from the Italian Elitist School of Pareto, Mosca and Michels, and also the German theorist Carl Schmitt.

The elitists claimed that all organisation is oligarchy, but we have just dismissed small scale collective decision making, so what they really mean is all organisation is monarchical in structure. A government is an organisation, so a government is a monarchy. But this leaves us with some confusion. Just who is the sovereign then? Well from the position of decision making, the delegated sovereign decision making role moves depending on the question. But are they the sovereigns? No. They make decisions that are effect make them the pinnacle of governance, but they are not sovereign. They are acting as delegates of the sovereign. To determine the true sovereign here, we again can turn to Schmitt with his state of exception. It is curious that in Polticial Theology Schmitt makes the claim of the sovereign being “He” who decides on the exception but is then unclear if this can be a group or must be an individual. I conclude it must be an individual because a group cannot make a collective decision in the sense implied by this exception. The decision always rests behind the vote, the vote being a factional proxy conflict resolution device.

So, given the above, we can look at a concrete example of a sovereign becoming clear, and of the state of exception being employed in the case of the Nazi party and the usage of article 48 of the Weimar Constitution and the introduction of the Enabling Act 1933. The article was supposedly balanced by the ability of the Reichstag to cancel the emergency decree by vote. This concept rests on the actors acting within the institutions and rules set out by the constitution and being able to make a collective decision. So Hitler enacted Article 48 and passed the Enabling Act by usage of non-formal actors (the SA and SS) to stamp his authority on the voters to vote in accordance with his decision that a state of exception pertained. The voters then didn’t vote in accordance with their faction, but in line with his faction. The voting process showed itself to be the expression of factional dominance, not a decision in the sense assumed by oligarchy and democracy. So in the US system, whoever can force the Supreme Court to act in line with their faction and decide/determine a state of exception pertained is the sovereign. It was always a factional conflict device, and Hitler clearly understood this and acted accordingly. This example shows us that if we look at the formal structures specifically, and don’t include non-formal structures, we fail to see what is happening. We can only do this from an absolutist ontology which holds us to always looking for the sovereign, as it cuts away the misdirection created by a fluffy belief in a sort of psychic mind-meld collective decision making, a belief that is more in place in a science fiction story then political theory.

The idea has been put to me that oligarchy, aristocracy, democracy etc. can then be reformatted, if you really wish to keep these categories, by concluding that the delegated sovereign decision making is contained in differing groups, a wealthy group in oligarchy, a group tied by marriage in aristocracy, anyone in democracy, and so on. This is a significant break from Aristotle and the western tradition.

So, in summary, all organisations are monarchical in structure, not oligarchical. The turnover of these monarchical points can increase in velocity, or decrease in velocity, and they can be formally clear, or not clear. The sovereign is he who can decide on the state of exception and is therefore the final point of call. They always exist because laws cannot cover all contingencies and are merely tools, not actors.

If anyone wishes to comment, please do so on reddit or your own blog post, as the comment system on wordpress is horrible, and I never check it.

Also, check out Adam’s Generative Anthropology blog for far more erudite thinking on this topic.

MacIntyre on the Enlightenment Project’s Logical Incoherence

The moral scheme which forms the historical background to their thought had, as we have seen, a structure which required three elements:
untutored human nature, man-as-he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-telos and the moral precepts which enable him to pass from one state to the other. But the joint effect of the secular rejection of both Protestant and Catholic theology and the scientific and philosophical rejection of Aristotelianism was to eliminate any notion of man-as-he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-telos. Since the whole point of ethics-both as a theoretical and a practical discipline – is to enable man to pass from his present state to his true end, the elimination of any notion of essential human nature and with it the abandonment of any notion of a telos leaves behind a moral scheme composed of two remaining elements whose relationship becomes quite unclear. There is on the one hand a certain content for morality: a set of injunctions deprived of their teleological context. There is on the other hand a certain view of untutored-human-nature-as-it-is. Since the moral injunctions were originally at home in a scheme in which their purpose was to correct, improve and educate that human nature, they are clearly not going to be such as could be deduced from true statements about human nature or justified in some other way by appealing to its characteristics. The injunctions of morality, thus understood, are likely to be ones that human nature, thus understood, has strong tendencies to disobey. Hence the eighteenth-century moral philosophers engaged in what was an inevitably unsuccessful project; for they did indeed attempt to find a rational basis for their moral beliefs in a particular understanding of human nature, while inheriting a set of moral injunctions on the one hand and a conception of human nature on the other which had been expressly designed to be discrepant with each other. This discrepancy was not removed by their revised beliefs about human nature. They inherited incoherent fragments of a once coherent scheme of thought and action and, since they did not recognize their own peculiar historical and cultural situation, they could not recognize the impossible and quixotic character of their self-appointed task.

[…]

This change of character, resulting from the disappearance of any connection between the precepts of morality and the facts of human nature already appears in the writings of the eighteenth-century moral philosophers themselves. For although each of the writers we have been concerned with attempted in his positive arguments to base morality on human nature, each in his negative arguments moved toward a more and more unrestricted version of the claim that no valid argument can move from entirely factual premises to any moral or evaluative conclusion-to a principle, that is, which once it is accepted, constitutes an epitaph to their entire project. Hume still expresses this claim in the form of a doubt rather than of a positive assertion. He remarks that in ‘every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with’ authors make a transition from statements about God or human nature to moral judgments: ‘instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I met with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not’ (Treatise Ill. i. 1). And he then goes on to demand ‘that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it’

[…]

From such factual premises as ‘This watch is grossly inaccurate and irregular in time-keeping’ and ‘This watch is too heavy to carry about comfortably’, the evaluative conclusion validly follows that ‘This is a bad watch’. From such factual premises as ‘He gets a better yield for this crop per acre than any farmer in the district’, ‘He has the most effective programme of soil renewal yet known’ and ‘His dairy herd wins all the first prizes at the agricultural shows’, the evaluative conclusion validly follows that ‘He is a good farmer’.
Both of these arguments are valid because of the special character of the concepts of a watch and of a farmer. Such concepts are functional concepts; that is to say, we define both ‘watch’ and ‘farmer’ in terms of the purpose or function which a watch or a farmer are characteristically expected to serve. It follows that the concept of a watch cannot be defined independently of the concept of a good watch nor the concept of a farmer independently of that of a good farmer; and that the criterion of something’s being a watch and the criterion of something’s being a good watch-and so also for ‘farmer’ and for all other functional concepts-are not independent of each other. Now clearly both sets of criteria-as is evidenced by the examples given in the last paragraph-are factual. Hence any argument which moves from premises which assert that the appropriate criteria are satisfied to a conclusion which asserts that ‘That is a good such-and-such’, where ‘such-and-such’ picks out an item specified by a functional concept, will be a valid argument which moves from factual premises to an evaluative conclusion. Thus we may safely assert that, if some amended version of the ‘No ~ought” conclusion from “is” premises’ principle is to hold good, it must exclude arguments involving functional concepts from its scope. But this suggests strongly that those who have insisted that all moral arguments fall within the scope of such a principle may have been doing so, because they took it for granted that no moral arguments involve functional concepts. Yet moral arguments within the classical, Aristotelian tradition-whether in its Greek or its medieval versions – involve at least one central functional concept, the concept of man understood as having an essential nature and an essential purpose or function; and it is when and only when the classical tradition in its integrity has been substantially rejected that moral arguments change their character so that they fall within the scope of some version of the ‘No “ought” conclusion from “is” premises’ principle. That is to say, ‘man’ stands to ‘good man’ as ‘watch’ stands to ‘good watch’ or ‘farmer’ to ‘good farmer’ within the classical tradition. Aristotle takes it as a standing-point for ethical enquiry that the relationship of ‘man’ to ‘living well’ is analogous to that of ‘harpist’ to ‘playing the harp well’ (Nicomacbean Ethics, 1095a 16). But the use of ‘man’ as a functional concept is far older than Aristotle and it does not initially derive from Aristotle’s metaphysical biology. It is rooted in the forms of social life to which the theorists of the classical tradition give expression. For according to that tradition to be a man is to fill a set of roles each of which has its own point and purpose: member of a family , citizen, soldier, philosopher, servant of God. It is only when man is thought of as an individual prior to and apart from all roles that ‘man’ ceases to be a functional concept.

p54-59 After Virtue

No telos means you are left with deontology, consequentialism, utilitarianism etc.

Spontaneous Order Does Not Exist

I have recently concluded that spontaneous order is frankly nonsense. Now, I have received push back on this along the lines that A) Moldbug wrote posts in favour of spontaneous order and that B) my understanding of spontaneous order is not “true” spontaneous order.

The first point of contention is less relevant than it may first appear. I have repeatedly made the point that I consider the identification of imperium in imperio as a disastrous solecism, and the resultant project of reasoning through the implications of this in relation to governance as the project, and not the attempt to follow Moldbug along every claim he made. The idea of using Unqualified Reservation as some guide like a manual is absurd, especially as I have made the claim on a number of occasions that it seems clear to me he was working through the implications of rejection of imperium in imperio – 2007 positions don’t equate to 2010 positions.

In addition to this, I have been trying to make the point that I hold to MacIntyre’s conception of traditions as always conserved. Every thinker operates in a tradition, the claim of finding universal maxims or abstract universal truths is nonsense of the highest order (but central to modern liberal thought.) Further to this, traditions are, and must be, subject to continual contest and rational re-appraisal in line with their inherent rationality. This is in stark contrast to tradition as per Burke for example, for whom tradition was wisdom without thinking and spontaneous – the action of so many unguided individuals clearly – one can see here the Whig and anarchist conception of society ordered without ordering. This has relevance not only for my reasoning for why Moldbug cited spontaneous order favorably is irrelevant, but also for why I consider spontaneous order as a concept to be a political assertion, and not a neutral observation.

In regards to Moldbug and this conception of tradition, I consider the project of reasoning through rejection of imperium in imperio to be continual and requiring creativity and intellectual questioning of every concept in accordance with it – therefore everything Moldbug wrote should be subject to robust and honest criticism to test its rational coherence in line with this project.

As for the second pushback on spontaneous order, it is clear that as a concept it has confused, and continues to confuse us all especially those that produced it. At its core, regardless of any particular conception that is considered true, there is a central claim that action organises spontaneously by the un-coerced actions of individuals with no planning. If we stray from this, then we are not talking about spontaneous order, but everyone wants to do this for a number of reasons. For the purpose of this post, please consider me to be dealing directly with Hayek’s conception.

To really see what the concept of spontaneous order is pushing, it really must be placed firmly in its historical and spatial (both location, and societal) positions. It has to be considered as a contingent concept with a history and a tradition within which it makes “sense.”

Spontaneous order, and this is something I doubt will be disputed by libertarians et al. finds its roots directly in the work of both Hobbes and Locke, but ultimately they were both reasoning on the same premises of the nature of individuals. Fundamentally, both thinkers set themselves the task of trying to explain ordering by individuals. It is the philosophy of anarchism, but with an inherited background of conservative considerations of ethics. The Scottish Enlightenment thinkers continued this process, with Hume, Reid, Smith et al. Burke also expressed the same sentiments, with Menger, Hayek et al. resurrecting it in overt propaganda form in the 20th century, even though it is in reality central to liberal thought and central to modern society. Any governance attempts based on this fundamental foundation of modern thought (such as nationalism, communism, fascism, liberal-democracy) is inherently unstable, contradictory and insane, as demonstrated by historical example.

So what is the context of this theory of spontaneous order? In its origination in Locke in particular, it is the work of someone from a particular part of society, promoted by particular segments of society that opposed monarchical governance, and were trying to justify the oligarchic governance post 1688. As for the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, I am again in agreement with MacIntyre that they were in a position of being external to English culture, yet in the process of adopting it, and in so being in such a position, were able to observe, and had to engage with it, in a way in which English people (for whom it was merely a given) were unable to do, or didn’t see the need to do. You find the same thing with Burke (an Irishman) and Hayek, Menger, Mises (Austrians). For those in any culture in which certain standards have been set and imposed, and not open to further discussion, it requires those with outside models and conceptions to be able to analyse and explain. These thinkers in effect became radicalised anglophile thinkers.

Now, in effect, all of these thinkers are trying to justify a specific form of societal organisation. Spontaneous order is then a concept brought into to justify how society forms without organisation and planning(it doesn’t and can’t.) Spontaneous order is then a loaded concept, as all concepts are. To repeat what I have already said, it asserts that spontaneous ordering by the uncoerced actions of individuals with no planning is possible.

So, what are the underlying assumption here? I have already mention one – that society can order without governance, but there are other obvious ones such as that society forms from the voluntary interaction of individuals (if not voluntary then it cease to be spontaneous) and that all actors are then fully fledged moral actors. In a word the underlying assumptions pretty much match directly to liberalism. Now, by having these assumptions, spontaneous order takes them as a given and then in effect asserts them. It is clearly not a neutral observation of reality at all (something not possible.)

So, we have gone from spontaneous order being an impartial observation (not possible) to being a concept which is a legitimization of a particular social configuration (liberalism.)

Now, we can push this a little further and demand spontaneous order explain events, and we can quite easily find that not only does it not explain anything, but it actively conceals the roles of power centers in forming cultural trends, promoting ideas and maintaining traditions. In a word, it has no functional usage beyond being a justificationary piece of fiction.

The Need to Knock Liberal Science off its Perch

To really get at why political science is so absurd, it really requires knocking Science TM* off its perch. To many, it is palpable that they consider science as some abstract point of total truth that can be understood by all irrespective of opinions. This is false.

For everyone to agree on a point requires a base minimum of shared understanding of a given tradition to make that point meaningful. This greater context is always completely ignored in modern philosophy, of which Science TM* is a mere sub set.

Take the example of chemistry. How many differing models are there to explain molecular structures? How have they developed over time? and will they develop again in the future? The answer is numerous for the first question, greatly for the second, and undoubtedly for the third. So if science keeps changing then its popularly accepted claims are without grounds. It is a tradition derived from a greater tradition of philosophy.

You can play this game with any scientific development (discovery is a bad word) and establish what its history was, what precepts had to be in place for this development, and how this development has been altered since. Zippy has some good ones regarding Darwin, but the same can be done with physics, chemistry, math, and every other area of science.

Like with Hobbes and Locke’ s thought experiment, the underlying assumption is that these points of science can be rationally understood and comprehended by every person abstractly, but this is fraudulent. The whole thing rests on the giant error of these thinkers failing to grasp that this is a fallacy.

Just try it yourself with the strongest case you can, like Newton’s theory of gravity, which has been superseded by Einstein, and which was a development of earlier theories. Then consider how Newton reasoned in a language and with thought patterns inherited from his society and used mathematical concepts and other concepts only understandable following an education.

If you think you have found an exception, then you haven’t widened your parameters enough, and are taking something as a given, which is not a given. Usually language for example.

Locke Versus Filmer, or Why You Are All Communists.

Moldbug quite memorably makes the observation that America is a communist country, and then goes further and makes it obvious that all of the world is America now, so all of the world is communist. He also traces this communism back through American history to America’s founding and then even further back and places this founding as the continuation of an English political conflict between Tories, and Whigs.

We can get under the engine of this broad claim and start to get at the mechanism behind this conflict and the roots of this communism. For a start, we can look at the claim of communism. Moldbug clearly used this for rhetorical effect, and it works to a degree, but we don’t need to retain this for analysis purposes. Instead we can concentrate on the status of the origin of property in the various strains of thought which is what defines this communism.

In the first instance we have the Tory conception which was expressed by Filmer. Now Filmer’s concept of property has been dismissed ad nauseum for being based on biblical grounds unlike Locke’s which were based on…biblical grounds, but there is a difference in that Locke’s ideas were developed in service to the Whig’s position in society and they won, so there is that. Why were Locke’s positions popular with the Whigs, whilst Filmer’s were popular with the Tory loyalists? Locke’s position was one supportive of rebellion, anarchism and oligarchy – which is what the Whigs were about. We can really consider this a case of two power centers forming two distinct cultures based on their specific interests – the monarchy versus parliament. Parliament won

History shows that the Whigs won so effectively that they purged Filmer Tories from every effective position of power in England following the failed Jacobite Rebellion. From this point on, every Tory position would be based on the grounds of Locke and we see the conservative is born. Every single incarnation of Toryism (and there have been many of that pathetic shadow) would forever be reborn on some new absurd position trying to justify a position built upon the ever shifting basis of anarchic property tied in with the individual coming before society, or communism if you will. We have had Burkean conservatism, Peelite conservatism, modern American conservatism, compassionate conservatism and now the alt-right – it is the never ending joke.

Now, when we read Locke and his refutation of Filmer, it is worthwile comparing the means of persuasion employed by both writers, and to observe their differing tones. For example, here is Filmer offering a logical, well thought out, appropriately historically supported positions on the nature of kings:

“Whereas many out of an imaginary Fear pretend the Power of the People to be necessary for the repressing of the Insolencies of Tyrants; wherein they propound a Remedy far worse than the Disease, neither is the Disease indeed so frequent as they would have us think. Let us be judged by the History even of our own Nation: We have enjoyed a Succession of Kings from the Conquest now for above 600 years (a time far longer than ever yet any Popular State could continue) we reckon to the Number of twenty six of these Princes since the Norman Race, and yet not one of these is taxed by our Historians for Tyrannical Government. It is true, two of these Kings have been Deposed by the People, and barbarously Murthered, but neither of them for Tyranny” ?”[sic] Chapter II, XVIII, paragraph 1

And now we can turn to Locke who tells you that IF WE DON’T HAVE FREEDOM, AND LIBERTY MEN WILL SODOMISE AND EAT THEIR OWN BABIES!!!!!!

“But if the example of what hath been done, be the rule of what ought to be, history would have furnished our author with instances of this absolute fatherly power in its height and perfection, and he might have shewed us in Peru, people that begot children on purpose to fatten and eat them. The story is so remarkable, that I cannot but set it down in the author’s words. “In some provinces, says he, they were so liquorish after man’s flesh, that they would not have the patience to stay till the breath was out of the body, but would suck the blood as it ran from the wounds of the dying man; they had public shambles of man’s flesh, and their madness herein was to that degree, that they spared not their own children, which they had begot on strangers taken in war: for they made their captives their mistresses, and choicely nourished the children they had by them, till about thirteen years old they butchered and eat them; and they served the mothers after the same fashion, when they grew past child bearing, and ceased to bring them any more roasters,” Garcilasso de la Vega hist. des Yncas de Peru, l. i. c. 12” [sis] Two Treatises of Government, Chapter VI, S57

“Be it then, as Sir Robert says, that anciently it was usual for men to sell and castrate their children, Observations, 155. Let it be, that they exposed them; add to it, if you please, for this is still greater power, that they begat them for their tables, to fat and eat them: if this proves a right to do so, we may, by the same argument, justify adultery, incest and sodomy, for there are examples of these too, both ancient and modern; sins, which I suppose have their principal aggravation from this, that they cross the main intention of nature, which willeth the increase of mankind, and the continuation of the species in the highest perfection, and the distinction of families, with the security of the marriage bed, as necessary thereunto.” [sis] Two Treatises of Government, Chapter VI, S59

No very flattering and demonstrates the weakness of Locke’s position, which is why I think he concentrated as pedantically as possible on Filmer’s claim of descent from Adam. It is the weakest part of Filmer’s arguments and frankly we can do without it and cut straight to the reasoning behind both author’s positions.

Locke’s reasoning is without basis in my opinion as it works from a state of nature which has never existed. So why are we still taking his writing as a serious and respectable body of work? Why do I need to argue past this point? His claims of the independence of the individual and the labor theory of property are obscenely wrong.  Everything about his thinking is disastrously wrong but given it was a rejection of absolutism it was useful, and anything pushing individualism has been warmly received by the modern state for its destructive value. The advocate of individualism is the foot soldier of a centralised state. Now, some may have trouble with this concept because on the face of it the contradictory nature is hard to get past, but it is only a contradiction if you don’t think it through and realise the destruction of individualism is aimed at everything and everyone except the centralising power, which in this case was democratic governance seated in parliament.

Filmer on the other hand has many serious points to make which don’t rest on biblical exegesis at all, and instead rest on logic. Take for example his issue with the idea of law bounding the king:

“The Father of a Family governs by no other Law than by his own Will; not by the Laws and Wills of his Sons or Servants. There is no Nation that allows Children any Action or Remedy for being unjustly Governed; and yet for all this, every Father is bound by the Law of Nature to do his best for the preservation of his Family; but much more is a King always tyed by the same Law of Nature to keep this general Ground, That the safety of the Kingdom be his Chief Law: He must remember, That the Profit of every Man in particular, and of all together in general, is not always one and the same; and that the Publick is to be preferred before the Private; And that the force of Laws must not be so great as natural Equity it self, which cannot fully be comprised in any Laws whatsoever, but is to be left to the Religious Atchievement of those who know how to manage the Affairs of State, and wisely to Ballance the particular Profit with the Counterpoize of the Publick, according to the infinite variety of Times, Places, Persons; a Proof unanswerable, for the superiority of Princes above Laws, is this, That there were Kings long before there were any Laws: For a long time the Word of a King was the only Law; and if Practice (as saith Sir Walter Raleigh) declare the Greatness of Authority, even the best Kings of Judah and Israel were not tied to any Law; but they did whatsoever they pleased in the greatest Matters.”[sic] Chapter III, I, paragraph 2

It is clear what he is saying here is that A) those lower on the rung of authority cannot bind those higher as this make no sense, and B) the sovereign is bound by consequences. Further to this, he notes the following regarding law:

“Whereas being subject to the Higher Powers, some have strained these Words to signifie the Laws of the Land, or else to mean the Highest Power, as well Aristocratical and Democratical, as Regal: It seems St. Paul looked for such Interpretation, and therefore thought fit to be his own Expositor, and to let it be known, that by Power he understood a Monarch that carried a Sword: Wilt thou not be afraid of the Power? that is, the Ruler that carrieth the Sword, for he is the Minister of God to thee —— for he beareth not the Sword in vain. It is not the Law that is the Minister of God, or that carries the Sword, but the Ruler or Magistrate; so they that say the Law governs the Kingdom, may as well say that the Carpenters Rule builds an House, and not the Carpenter; for the Law is but the Rule or Instrument of the Ruler.”[sic]  Chapter III, II, paragraph 4

Here he is saying rule of law is nonsensical. Law is merely a tool in the hands of someone. Were he alive today, he would no doubt be amazed at the manner in which modern conservatives look at the law and the constitution in particular as some form of magic document that rules.

On other issues, Filmer is no less logically robust, whilst Locke rests on assertions and not arguments. Anything based on the state of nature is not an argument and shouldn’t be accepted as one, it is an assertion based on a point of faith (that we are born free and equal.) One such robust position is in the underlying logic behind the patriarchical model put forward by Filmer. While we can merely set aside the whole issue of progeny from Adam, we can nonetheless maintain Filmer’s conclusion that governance does indeed mirror a paternal relationship, and that authority can only flow down from those with authority to those with less. Take for example Filmer’s questioning of Bellarmine’s assertion of the people being able to chose their king:

“Had the Patriarchs their Power given them by their own Children? Bellarmine does not say it, but the Contrary: If then the Fatherhood enjoyed this Authority for so many Ages by the Law of Nature, when was it lost, or when forfeited, or how is it devolved to the Liberty of the Multitude?”[sic] Chapter II, I, paragraph 2

If we concentrate on the theology and not the logic, we are doing a great disservice. What is at stake here is simply this – can those with less authority bind those with more? The logic is obscene. Filmer makes the point even more strongly in reference to law:

“What though the Government of the People be a thing not to be endured, much less defended, yet many men please themselves with an Opinion, that though the People may not Govern; yet they may partake and joyn with a King in the Government, and so make a State mixed of Popular and Regal Power, which they take to be the best tempered and equallest Form of Government. But the Vanity of this Fancy is too evident, it is a meer Impossibility or Contradiction, for if a King but once admit the People to be his Companions, he leaves to be a King, and the State becomes a Democracy; at least, he is but a Titular and no Real King, that hath not the Sovereignty to Himself; for the having of this alone, and nothing but this makes a King to be a King. As for that Shew of Popularity which is found in such Kingdoms as have General Assemblies for Consultation about making Publick Laws: It must be remembred that such Meetings do not share or divide the Sovereignty with the Prince: but do only deliberate and advise their Supreme Head, who still reserves the Absolute Power in himself; for if in such Assemblies, the King, the Nobility, and People have equal Shares in the Sovereignty, then the King hath but one Voice, the Nobility likewise one, and the People one, and then any two of these Voices should have Power to over-rule the third; thus the Nobility and Commons together should have Power to make a Law to bind the King, which was never yet seen in any Kingdom, but if it could, the State must needs be Popular and not Regal.”[sic] Chapter II, XVI, paragraph 1

In effect, Filmer is making it absolutely clear that those arguing in favour of constitutional monarchy are violating logic, and they are. From our 21st century perch, we should be in an excellent place to judge just who is right on this point – Locke or Filmer? There is where it gets interesting. It is obviously clear from conventional history and practically all conventional political theory that Locke was completely correct but seeing as this history and theory is based on Locke, there is a serious problem here. If we start out with the assertion that X is true, will always be true, and is not to even be questioned, then what will this say about our results if X is false. Garbage in, garbage out.

We can see this being played out over the issue of spontaneous order which is thoroughly Lockean. Using Hayek as are sparing partner, we can approach the “spontaneous development” of common  law as based on Locke. For Hayek, common law derives from custom which is spontaneous and developed independent of authority. The Lockean nature of this is pretty obvious. For Filmer this is a fiction:

“If the Nature of Laws be advisedly weighed, the Necessity of the Princes being above them may more manifest it self; we all know that a Law in General is the command of a Superior Power. Laws are divided (as Bellarmine divides the Word of God) into written and unwritten, not for that it is not written at all, but because it was not written by the first Devisers or Makers of it. The Common Law (as the Lord Chancellor Egerton teacheth us) is the Common Custom of the Realm. Now concerning Customs, this must be considered, that for every Custom there was a time when it was no Custom; and the first President we now have, had no President when it began; when every Custom began, there was something else than Custom that made it lawful, or else the beginning of all Customs were unlawful. Customs at first became Lawful only by some Superiour, which did either Command or Consent unto their beginning. And the first Power which we find (as it is confessed by all men) is the Kingly Power, which was both in this and in all other Nations of the World, long before any Laws, or any other kind of Government was thought of; from whence we must necessarily inser, that the Common Law it self, or Common Customs of this I and, were Originally the Laws and Commands of Kings at first unwritten

Nor must we think the Common Customs (which are the Principles of the Common Law, and are but few) to be such, or so many, as are able to give special Rules to determine every particular Cause. Diversity of Cases are infinite, and impossible to be regulated by any Law; and therefore we find, even in the Divine Laws which are delivered by Moses, there be only certain Principal Laws, which did not determine, but only direct the High-priest or Magistrate, whose Judgment in special Cases did determine, what the General Law intended. It is so with the Common Law, for when there is no perfect Rule, Judges do resort to those Principles, or Common Law Axiomes, whereupon former Judgments, in Cases somewhat like, have been delivered by former Judges, who all receive Authority from the King, in his Right and Name to give Sentence according to the Rules and Presidents of Antient Times: And where Presidents have failed, the Judges have resorted to the General Law of Reason, and accordingly given Judgment, without any Common Law to direct them. Nay, many times, where there have been Presidents to direct, they, upon better Reason only, have changed the Law, both in Causes Criminal and Civil, and have not insisted so much on the Examples of former Judges, as examined and corrected their Reasons; thence it is that some Laws are now obsolete and out of use, and the Practice quite contrary to what it was in Former Times, as the Lord Chancellour Egerton proves, by several Instances.” [sic] Chapter III, IX -X, paragraph 1

What Filmer is implying here is explosive. He is making the point that laws don’t come into being by themselves, but are authorised by a higher power in all cases. Common law was not made irrespective of the sovereign but was, and is, determined by agents acting on his behalf, and transmitting his will either directly or in accordance with the presumed wishes of the sovereign. The sovereign obviously being unable to sit in court for all cases and talk with every judge must delegate, and as such has a judiciary working in accordance with his will. In this instance, we can see that authority is the determiner of all action within the area of common law, and this holds true across society as a whole if this logic is maintained. All action that occurs within the authority of the sovereign is by default either within the sovereign’s will and therefore acceptable, or it is not, and it is illegal and/or a threat. Any other definition nullifies the entire concept of sovereignty as a meaningful term. There is no spontaneous action independent of authority but all of our means of formally viewing the world (political theory, political science, politically acceptable history) are premised on the concept that there is. Notably, in areas with more practical usage (such as property law) this premise is quietly and (I am sure quite innocently) ignored.

Approaching the matter from a non-lockean perspective, and using, say for example, Filmer’s refusal to accept the sovereign can be bound by lower powers, or that authority can be reversed, we get Moldbug’s history. In this history, revolutions are led by elites in a position of authority, the entire concept of democracy is rendered a sham by following the trail and determining which institution is sovereign, and the republican governance structure comes into view as the mere surface camouflage that it is. In short, we go from Lockean consensus history based on a giant lie, to a realistic history based on a giant uncomfortable truth regarding authority.

We can even see Filmer acknowledging the determining factor of power on theory, thus presaging his own banishment from polite discourse on page 7:

“SInce the time that School-Divinity began to flourish, there hath been a common Opinion maintained, as well by Divines, as by divers other learned Men, which affirms,

Mankind is naturally endowed and born with Freedom from all Subjection, and at liberty to chose what Form of Government it please: And that the Power which any one Man hath over others, was at first bestowed according to the discretion of the Multitude. (1)

This Tenent was first hatched in the Schools, and hath been fostered by all succeeding Papists for good Divinity. The Divines also of the Reformed Churches have entertained it, and the Common People every where tenderly embrace it, as being most plausible to Flesh and blood, for that it prodigally destributes a Portion of Liberty to the meanest of the Multitude, who magnifie Liberty, as if the height of Humane Felicity were only to be found in it, never remembring That the desire of Liberty was the first Cause of the Fall of Adam.

But howsoever this Vulgar Opinion hath of late obtained a great Reputation, yet it is not to be found in the Ancient Fathers and Doctors of the Primitive Church: It contradicts the Doctrine and History of the Holy Scriptures, the constant Practice of all Ancient Monarchies, and the very Principles of the Law of Nature. It is hard to say whether it be more erroneous in Divinity, or dangerous in Policy.

Yet upon the ground of this Doctrine both Jesuites, and some other zealous favourers of the Geneva Discipline, have built a perillous Conclusion, which is, That the People or Multitude have Power to punish, or deprive the Prince, if he transgress the Laws of the Kingdom; witness Parsons and Buchanan: the first under the name of Dolman, in the Third Chapter of his First Book labours to prove, that Kings have been lawfully chastised by their Commonwealths: The latter in his Book De jure Regni apud Scotos, maintains A Liberty of the People to depose their Prince. Cardinal Bellarmine and Calvin, both look asquint this way.” [sic] Chapter I, I, paragraph 1

By acknowledging that Catholic and Calvinists have the issue of being able to depose the king as the basis of their opinions, Filmer is observing that interest and the actor’s particular role in the power system underpin theology and theory. Power in effect being above culture. Both the Jesuits, and the Calvinists being the theologians of the Papacy and the oligarchic (parliamentary) sections of society respectively, were developing justifications for undermining monarchy. All actors playing high-low versus the middle in effect in a three way battle.

The resultant winner was the Calvinist faction pushing what Moldbug identifies as communism which is a conception of property which renders authority optional.

Everyone is a communist now.

[Edit: The quote in paragraph 20 was a duplicate of another quote, this has been corrected.]

What Marx Got Right.

In a broad sense, Marx was right. On the other hand, he was very wrong. Culture is grounded and determined by the economic sphere as the economic basis of a society must by necessity form an ultimate barrier regarding acceptable discourse. The financialised nature of western society and the effect this has on what intellectual discourse is funded and allowed to proliferate is a perfect example. Classical Marxism and any thinking which so much as questions the consumerist joke we have just doesn’t go anywhere. Just look at the freedom they have, and just look at what economics get promoted.

Unfortunately, whilst having this key understanding, as well as the keen understanding that circumstances and relationships form what culture develops, he was wrong by virtue of remaining on the modern path of anarchism. His understanding of property in particular is merely Lockean. This seems to have led to him making all sorts of errors.

If we broaden this premise and accept that all think from specific circumstances, rooted in specific places, with a specific stock of inherited beliefs, then the idea of a free thinking superman who can reason from some abstract point of ahistorical reality can be set aside for the childish thing it is. But the claim that it is class that is at base is wrong, De Jouvenal has pointed the way, and it must be accepted that it is the actions of power, and conflicts between power centers that is the actual base to the superstructure of society.

A society built with internal conflict is one which has a base which is designed to promote total degeneracy. As this internal conflict deepens and degrades, a very specific culture is produced without any planning. Each of the centers of power will engage in subversive leveling until one is supreme, but this power center must then alter to solidify its position, or continue churning away at society with the same mechanisms that brought it into being. This solidification can only be done by some actor who manages to wrest control such as Cromwell or Stalin. Failure by an actor to do so will leave only the prospect of total collapse.

With this understanding of the true base of society, the issue of Jews becomes clear – it isn’t some genetic interest or some such patently absurd idea, but instead a matter of their position in society and relations in the power system. This goes the same for SWPL, and for the black population, and the muslim population and for the rest of society. Things don’t build from the ground up – that idea is itself a product of people from within specific points in their respective power structures and therefore possessing specific motivations at specific points in history.

 

 

 

Some Rules for Political Science

The first rule of political science is to take political science as an ahistorical and neutral thing.

The second rule of political science is to under no circumstances provide explanation or clarification of the terms of discourse, but just assume they are understood as ahistorical concepts (capitalism, democracy etc.)

The third rule of political science is to take society as scientificly observable (do not question what science is!) If you cannot explain something, merely retreat to the following defences:

  • “It is just too complicated to explain or understand fully, so take my scientific word for it”
  • “Esoterism”
  • “Zeitgeist”
  • “Progress”
  • “March of history”
  • “Current year”
  • “Providence”
  • “Just hasn’t been discover/explained yet, so take my scientific word for it”
  • Conduct a new survey that will finally prove it.
  • Conduct another survey.
  • Conduct anouther survey with new leading questions.
  • Conduct anouther survey which ignores that opinions are not intrinsic, but socially formed.
  • Conduct anouther survey to prove what you want by fixing the sample, use leading questions and ignore that opinions are not intrinsic.
  • Conduct more surveys.
  • “End of history”

And the final rule: do not ever, ever, under any circumstances open the book on the issue of democracy being historically contingent and not a scientific and neutral state of mankind, because to do so renders political science a contingent thing born of democratic society and not ahistorical or “scientific” by its own measures.

What political scientist is going to admit that their university education and career was based on bullshit dreamt up to further democracy by the progressive elites in the early 20 century? None.

 

An Open Letter to the Tradinistas!

I have seen your manifesto, and I understand the sentiment, but I am confused. I can see the underlying influence from the likes of Alaisdair MacIntyre, but whilst the negative criticisms of the current system hold water in a broad sense, the positive proscriptions don’t make much sense. The reason for this is your unexamined liberalism which the manifesto betrays. Of course, when I talk of liberalism, I don’t mean classical liberalism, modern liberalism, neoliberalism or any other special political platform comprised of a hodgepodge of sugary sentiment. No. When I talk of liberalism, I mean every political concept that derives from the political structural fallout of the “modern” world in much the same way as Alaisdair MacIntyre in his usage of “modern liberal individualism.” We could argue forever if this is a correct word to use, and if it would salve everyone’s anger on a politically charged point, we can adopt a new word for the purpose of this argument, for example we could call it something neutral such as The Political Theory of Individuation (PTI). Now it sounds bland and uninteresting, and doesn’t get people excited.

Now, I hold to a conception of the events following the 16th century that accord with the political thinker Mencius Moldbug. The underlying principles of this conception are based on the work of Bertrand De Jouvenal. The fundamental premise of this is that the political structures of the western world underwent a number of changes throughout the medieval period which culminated in the collapse of monarchies and the mass individuation of society with the spread of PTI. This process was driven by the deceptively simple concept of imperium in imperio. Monarchs in their attempts to secure and enlarge their power engaged in indirect war against all intermediary structures (the Church, the family, the nobility) which involved a levelling of society. You will find this observation in many accounts of the history of the period, including in the works of Tocqueville.

This process of levelling culminated in the collapse of the political order which acknowledged a specific ordering of society in all areas of life, from property to ethics. It is with the utter collapse of the English monarchy for instance that we find the first clear elaborations of the PTI order in the form of Locke and Hobbes. A similar process occurred throughout Europe in those areas in which the Papacy was engaged in conflict with the secular sovereigns, but it is in England that this PTI  matured.

One benefit of your Marxist position is that if you are well read on Marx you will be familiar with his concept of the base and superstructure, in fact, you mention class conflict in points four, six and seven so I assume you are well versed in it. With this in mind, I will follow MacIntyre’s lead and note that Marxism is of the same type as the much narrower concept of liberalism you repeatedly decry. Marxism is based on PTI, yet it has redeeming features; please let me elaborate.

Normally you will likely have become used to people from a “reactionary” or “right wing” position dismiss Marxism in favor of capitalism, so it may surprise you if I don’t do that at all. I think Marxism is really a version of capitalism. The key point you have to acknowledge is that both Marx and Adam Smith for example, hold the same conception of property, as do all thinkers post 1600s;- this concept is based on PTI. The whole theoretical nexus is based on an anarchist conception of humanity in which the individual occurs from nowhere and is then endowed with powers that come from nowhere. Property is then a matter of mere possession which comes before the state, and obviously needs no state. You will note that all criticisms of Marxism from his supposed opposites on economics, such as the Austrian School, concentrate on technicalities, and never on his position on the origin of property. Maybe they are not actually different on this point, which should be cause for thought.

There is another area in which I think we can communicate fruitfully though, and that is on the issue of class struggle. I don’t believe it is correct, but I can see how Marx arrived at it. The key is in the question of what man is and does, and in this De Jouvenel offers a far fuller account which I think you will be able to understand.

In Marx’s conception, man is self-interested, and classes act in their specific interests at all time. All subsequent culture, law, norms etc. are nothing but the symptoms of this class conflict. This is an understandable conclusion when one follows the events of history in which Marx lived, but it doesn’t provide a means to predict outcomes, and even by the early 20th century many had realized this, it also assumes a number of things regarding property. His thinking was however in the right area – there is a base and superstructure of sorts, he just missed the target. In reality, the driver wasn’t class conflict, it was power centers within society engaging in conflict. Why did he miss the target? Because he was working on a conception of society based on PTI. In reality, man is not a presocietal individual with given powers of negotiation and the ability to produce property. Property is post societal and legal in character, and the ability to bargain and exchange is a function of society provided by a political organisation which recognizes the legal status of the act and provides protection. In reality, man is social by nature so Marx’s conception of property based on anarchist principles is false. Man is also not totally self-interested, but instead aims for the good within the context of the role he plays in society as understood by such advocates of virtue as Aquinas and Aristotle. De Jouvenal understood this, and realised those exercising power, likewise, work on a twofold premise of seeking to protect and forward their power as is their role, whilst also doing so on the basis of furthering the good of society, as is also their role. The result is a dynamic in which those in positions of power  further the cause of the low in society as a means to undermine other power centers that were a threat. Power has a dual face because it is never mere interests working directly as per Marx.

This process of competing power centers is in effect the base of sorts, and the resultant culture it has promoted is the superstructure.

So with this basic understanding of my position, we can skip point one, and turn to point two of the manifesto and note that not only did this already fail, but there is clear evidence that in the process of removing the Church’s influence the state level political authorities of the western world expressly promoted heretical movements that culminated in PTI. A superb source on this is provided by the theologian Willaim Cavanaugh in his magisterial book The Myth of Religious Violence in which he quite unawares puts forward the neoabsolutist position with a well researched and definitive demonstration that the 30 years war was not driven by religious differences, but was the result of competing power centers within the Holy Roman Empire. Protestantism which was always promoted and protected by schismatic princes then becomes a secondary effect of this conflict, the superstructure if you will. The resultant PTI theory of the likes of Hobbes using this conflict as an influence is an added bonus. As Cavanaugh notes, the structures of the modern state preceded this conflict, not the other way around. Here we have a clear example of how society being divided among competing conflicting centers of authority led to our current predicament. Merely resetting the clock to a previous unstable arrangement will lead to broadly the same situation as present, but of course with differing colourful heresies all in the same area of course.

As for you point three, I wholeheartedly agree, but we have a problem here, as again noted by Alasdair MacIntyre, whom I will quote on the issue of the modern political system from After Virtue:

“Modern systematic politics, whether liberal, conservative, radical, or socialist, simply has to be rejected from a standpoint that owes genuine allegiance to the tradition of the virtues; for modern politics itself expresses in its institutional forms a systematic rejection of that tradition”

If virtue as such is order toward a good, then the current system being divided not only does not acknowledge the virtues, but rejects them aggressively. If all of society is a matter of competing interests as you advocate with workers cooperatives for example, and class warfare in general, you yourself are rejecting the virtues.

There is a broad form of society which accords with your aims as outlined in this manifesto, but you have not been allowed to even consider it. The political ordering is one in which all within society is ordered in accordance with a central sovereign who is not bound by any competing power centers in the manner of feudalism, republicanism or socialism. The closest analogy would in effect be monarchism, and it must be noted that it was under monarchism that Christianity arose. A fully secure and competent monarchical organisation, and not a mere bourgeois insecure power sham monarchy as in the case of constitutional monarchy would indeed be able to embrace the virtues and end capitalism as well as the rest of your demands, precisely because capitalism is a matter of anarchist based conceptions of property as mere possession. A true neoabsolutist monarchy would acknowledge that primarily all within the sovereign’s territory is their possession, and subsequent ownership by those in society is property, and that ownership of property would need to be in accordance with the greater good which is now aligned with the sovereigns good.

Such a complete political system which acknowledges the fact that the political is always above and over the cultural would also be capable of massive decentralization of authority given the strength of its position. It need not, and will not, fear any completion or need to engage in bizarre behavior to engage in its rightful duties, such as the promotion of bizarre leveling culture or totalitarianism, which is an unsecure power phenomena.

In summary, what you are calling for is neoabsolutism. You just don’t realise it yet.

May 1968, the French Color Revolution

A test of the iron law of rebellious tools is provided by the events of 1968, especially the events in France. I don’t have a great deal of knowledge on what happened, but what information is readily available stinks pretty badly.

In the first instance, we have a national leader aggressively pursuing a course of action in direct defiance of being a USA client state. De Gaulle was doing a number of things including agitating for a gold backed currency and embargoing supplies of weapons to Israel.  The US elites appear to have been sick of him. Then we have the arrival of a German-Jewish Anarchist in the form of Daniel Cohn-Bendit causing trouble in Nanterre.

What is interesting about this whole dynamic is that it appears to me that Cohn was a CIA asset along with his colleague Rudi Dutschke. I am having trouble confirming this, or finding strong evidence due to language barriers, but what little there is available smells rotten.  There is a fairly famous CIA report entitled “Restless Youth” which has repeated mention of Cohn in terms which seem overly familiar, and there is a frustrating strategic redaction before his name on this short version of the report which seems to be overly familiar with Cohn’s contacts (hint, hint.) In this longer version of the report, he is mentioned on page 60, page 126, page 180 and page 181, but the report is hard to read as the pages are mixed up.

There appears to have been a lot of suspicion of CIA involvement, and based on the full spectrum dominance of the CIA on European intellectual society, the idea he wasn’t under the control of the CIA is not very plausible given the direction of his agitation.

Cohn’s subsequent illustrious career despite his obscene behavior which included opening an anti-authoritarian kindergarten which seems to have been an excuse to rape children, is very much in line with him having links high up, and with being an agent provocateur. Of course, he now claims his admission of raping a six year old (being seduced, sorry) was embellishment.

From a position of absolutism, we can discard conspiracy theories and cut to the chase – all agitation and revolutions that are successful are sponsored by power actors. Who was the power actor behind Cohn directly, or indirectly? This would be the US elites, and especially US secret services. It was not the KGB or the Soviets in general. In fact the Soviet linked groups appear to have been in conflict with Cohn-Bendit and the “new left” which was a US created thing (as were the Soviets.) The great tragedy of the whole thing which is still continuing is the great success of the US institutions in pinning every piece of total degeneracy of the Soviet Communists. De Gaulle took the bait and blamed the communists, which is not surprising. Think of this as comparable to the McCarthy mistake of taking progressives as being manipulated by external enemies in the form of the Soviets. No, mon frere, this shitshow we call liberalism is no different to communism at root and the infection went from England/ USA to Russia, not the other way around- get it right. Face the disgusting truth squarely and repent.

So we see that not only were the Soviets not behind Cohn, but he was acting to isolate them. Given the Soviets were actually keen on De Gaulle according to their records, and the CIA and American elites were not, one only has to do the math. Of course, in the longer  report from the CIA I linked above, we see a kind of admission that agent provocateurs such as Cohn are used to cause trouble on p228. It even claims that some of the agitators in 1968 were funded by Maoists, but were unable to play a directing role …unlike Cohn…do I need to say it again? Recent events in the Ukraine, Georgia, and everywhere we are able to see the revolutions in real time should make it clear.

Alan Sorel seems to have made this link as well, and appears to have noted that shitty French intellectual culture was birthed by power politics. He is right, but he hasn’t realized how right he is. The new left and post 1940s French culture is about as French as I am, it just pure anglo-progressivism bullshit. The American infected them with AIDs pretty badly.

But if culture is dictated by power politics and conflict, then the entire system determines the culture within it. So Sorel has a long way to go.