Wars of Religion and Rise of the State

Fantastic piece of scholarship that supports the absolutist interpretation of De Jouvenel here.

“My purpose in this essay will be to focus on the way revulsion to killing in the name of religion is used to legitimize the transfer of ultimate loyalty to the modern State. Specifically I will examine how the so-called “Wars of Religion” of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe are evoked as the founding moment of modern liberalism by theorists such as John Rawls, Judith Shklar, and Jeffrey Stout. I will let Shklar tell the familiar tale:

liberalism … was born out of the cruelties of the religious civil wars, which forever rendered the claims of Christian charity a rebuke to all religious institutions and parties. If the faith was to survive at all, it would do so privately. The alternative then set, and still before us, is not one between classical virtue and liberal self-indulgence, but between cruel military and moral repression and violence, and a self-restraining tolerance that fences in the powerful to protect the freedom and safety of every citizen …”

In Jeffrey Stout’s view, the multiplication of religions following on the Reformation produced appeals to incompatible authorities which could not be resolved rationally. Therefore “liberal principles were the right ones to adopt when competing religious beliefs and divergent conceptions of the good embroiled Europe in the religious wars … Our early modern ancestors were right to secularize public discourse in the interest of minimizing the ill effects of religious disagreement.”5 In other words, the modern, secularized State arose to keep peace among the warring religious factions.

I will argue that this story puts the matter backwards. The “Wars of Religion” were not the events which necessitated the birth of the modern State; they were in fact themselves the birthpangs of the State. These wars were not simply a matter of conflict between “Protestantism” and “Catholicism,” but were fought largely for the aggrandizement of the emerging State over the decaying remnants of the medieval ecclesial order. I do not wish merely to contend that political and economic factors played a central role in these wars, nor to make a facile reduction of religion to more mundane concerns. I will rather argue that to call these conflicts “Wars of Religion” is an anachronism, for what was at issue in these wars was the very creation of religion as a set of privately held beliefs without direct political relevance. The creation of religion was necessitated by the new State’s need to secure absolute sovereignty over its subjects. I hope to challenge the soteriology of the modern State as peacemaker, and show that Christian resistance to State violence depends on a recovery of the Church’s disciplinary resources.” p1-2


“The net result of the conflicts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was to invert the dominance of the ecclesiastical over the civil authorities through the creation of the modern State. The chief promoters of this transposition, as Figgis makes plain, “were Martin Luther and Henry VIII and Philip II, who in reality worked together despite their apparent antagonism.” P3


“There is a direct relationship between the success of efforts to restrict supra-national Church authority and the failure of the Reformation within those realms. In other words, wherever concordats between the Papal See and temporal rulers had already limited the jurisdiction of the Church within national boundaries, there the princes saw no need to throw off the yoke of Catholicism, precisely because Catholicism had already been reduced, to a greater extent, to a suasive body under the heel of the secular power.” P4-5

“The rising bourgeoisie in provincial towns, anxious to combat centralized control, joined the Huguenots in large numbers. Moreover, as many as two-fifths of the nobility rallied to the Calvinist cause. They wanted to reverse the trend toward absolute royal authority and coveted power like that of the German princes to control the Church in their own lands.” P5

“It is important therefore to see that the principal promoters of the wars in France and Germany were in fact not pastors and peasants, but kings and nobles with a stake in the outcome of the movement toward the centralized, hegemonic State. “P7

“Far from coming on the scene as peacekeeper, we have seen that the rise of the State was at the very root of the so-called “religious” wars, directing with bloodied hands a new secular theater of absolute power.”p13

The whole thing is worth a read, the only issue is with the conclusions which are disastrously wrong. Despite this, the author understands the game, however does not follow through on the implications. If power (definable as the political structure and the actors pursuing goals in line with ruling) was the driving force, then power is THE driving force of culture. This makes liberals merely cargo cultists worshiping the unintended outcomes of structural solecisms. From the reformation to the Civil Rights Era, the only coherent explanation beside liberal mysticism is this.

Explaining the riots

How to explain the race riots currently being conducted by Black Lives Matter:

Nazis: stinking filthy Jews are conspiring together to push their genetic interests against the white man.

Alt right: Jews are conspiring together to push their genetic interests against the white man.

Neoreaction: ? Something about a Cathedral egregore, or something.

Progressive liberals: This is legitimate anger by pre-societal individuals that are all necessarily equal reasoning beings against a fascist state. There needs to be a program for them to ensure their equality.

“Classical” liberals: This is legitimate anger by pre-societal individuals that are all necessarily equal reasoning beings against a fascist state. Private society is the cure to ensure their equality.

Anarchist: This is legitimate anger by pre-societal individuals that are all necessarily equal reasoning beings against a fascist state. The removal of the state totally is the cure to ensure their equality.

Conspiracy theorists: the illuminate are funding it to divide and conquer.

Absolutism: This is simply the way in which a sovereign governance structure which is subject to checks and balances will act to implement policy. It is clear the central governance structure wishes to re-organise the police force, and has ingrained electoral and institutional enemies which it cannot directly confront. It also labors under the delusion of private society which it can not merely expose as fraud (it is also manned by people who believe the fraud.)

The result is that the governing institutions use “private” institutions (foundations) to create agitation and trouble which creates an environment, and/ or results in legal action which allows for the planned policy to be enacted. That this process also attacks the institutional enemies (electoral enemies, republican checks) is also of value.

The black lives matter seems to have two broad goals, one is to create the required “demand” for a re-organisation of the US police force on a national basis, which is a reasonable goal for a government. The other is to create racial tension for electoral means.

For example, see page 34 of this leaked Soros open society memorandum, the section titled “police reform”:

“Since the release of the taskforce’s recommendations earlier this month, there has been much discussion about how best to ensure effective implementation given the federal government’s limited authority to dictate reform at the local level. For example, LDF, LCCHR and others have been pushing the Justice Department to use its existing authority to place conditions on the funding it provides to local police departments, requiring basic elements of good practice in exchange for federal funds. But even under a progressive Attorney General, the Department has failed to take steps to use these funds to incentivize good policies or deter bad practice. In part, this reflects an entrenched political reality in which local police lobbyists can go to members of Congress to protect their federal funding from any meddling by the Justice Department. We ourselves with our key grantees continue to push the Administration to take the pivotal step of including social policy incentives in these grant programs.

There are also substantial differences in the needs of large urban police departments versus smaller suburban and rural agencies, such as the department in Ferguson. The smaller departments are generally less professional and are dealing increasingly with diverse populations as demography shifts; these departments are also much more difficult than their urban counterparts to reform.

The events of the past several months have understandably led to a wide range of activities, including a variety of advocacy efforts, to respond to the significant challenges in policing that have been exposed and the opportunity to promote meaningful and lasting change. For example, organized under the banner of the Civil Rights Coalition on Police Reform, organizations like the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, LCCHR, and LDF are advocating for federal reform efforts with a particular emphasis on data collection and transparency and, as noted above, 35 effecting federal funding streams. A variety of other national advocacy organizations, including grantees Advancement Project, PolicyLink, the Center for Popular Democracy and the ACLU are working to provide advocates with toolkits and resources to help their organizing efforts. Locally based groups such as the Ohio Student Association, the Organization for Black Struggle, the Asian Law Caucus, and the ACLU of New Jersey, to name a few, are advocating for specific reforms at the city and state levels. Another layer of grassroots and youth-oriented groups like Freedom Side, Ferguson Action, Black Lives Matter and Million Hoodies Movement for Justice are also advocating for specific reforms. The range of efforts underway raises a number of questions and concerns about capacity, the need for coordination and the appropriate prioritization of policy objectives, among others, which we will discuss in the policing portion of the meeting.

The federal government is seeking philanthropic support for a number of its initiatives. In addition to seeking support to advance the implementation of the recommendations of the Presidential Taskforce, the White House recently launched the Policing Data Initiative to explore how best to use data and technology to build trust, voice, and solutions to improve community policing. The Department of Justice recently selected the first six cities to host pilot sites for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, which was launched last fall to help repair and strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve by exploring strategies intended to enhance procedural justice, reduce implicit bias, and support racial reconciliation.

Highlights are mine.

Translation: the progressive state organs AKA the governing state organs have made a decision, but elements within the state are intransigent, therefore the “private” philanthropic organisation will be engaged to provide funding to create “private” groups in “private” society to get around the blocks put in place by the republican system. The targets will all be city and state, and obviously not federal.


Hestia rejection of absolutism

It is with gratitude that I find Nick B Steve’s has officially cut any absolute and clear connection between the Hesita society/ Neoreaction and the corpus of Unqualified Reservations. I applaud his honesty, and take this as confirmation that neoreaction is in effect merely a subset of the Alt-Right.

I will cease using the term “neoreaction” and will revert to Absolutism.

This marks two very different traditions, and not three as a claimed before. The first is absolutist and coherently connected to the intellectually framework developed by Moldbug. Such a tradition is necessarily completely concerned with exploring the intellectual and logical rigour of the concepts contained within the absolutist model. This involves working directly and exclusively from the De Jouvenalian observation of power, and the subsequent absolutist property position occasioned by the rejection of stronger blocks to preserve liberalism as being logically incoherent.

Such a tradition provides a robust and unique view of society and the governing system, much in the same way envisioned by Moldbug in the concept of the antiversity. With this intellectual framework, we can see such things as BLM for what they really are – means by which central power structures can enact policy within an unsecure system.

However, such a tradition can only be maintained by adherence to the model, and the placing of further developments and ideas against the model – so yes, Moldbug is absolutely key. Any incoherence or challenges must then be met, unless they present such a challenge that the model proves wrong. As a result, strict and active management of new ideas must be enacted, prior held ideas which are incompatible must be dismissed, strong discipline must be maintained intellectually to such a degree that those who undermine the tradition are made aware of this issue and encouraged to correct, or stop claiming to be part of the tradition. Relaxing of intellectual rigour and doctrine for mere social requirements should be dismissed as rank stupidity.

Hestia, by means of Steves, has finally admitted what has been clear – they are not part of this tradition, and have merely treated this as an “influence” toward being merely “anti-leftist.” As such, they are basically part of the Frankenstein liberal tradition, as they maintain core liberal doctrine (capitalism – aka secondary property as prior to the state, the primacy of the individual, culture above power (necessarily because of the Burkean influence, and despite their claims to the contrary) etc.)

For Hestia to be a part of the Moldbug absolutist tradition, they would have need to enact strict intellectual controls. They don’t and haven’t. Much of what gets released under the neoreaction banner is intellectually incoherent. Worse than this, many of them hold intellectual position which are anti-absolutist and will not in any way change.

We can provide a working example of this with Steve’s own Week in Reaction, the first entry regarding the bombing has nothing to do with the absolutist tradition. Nothing. Unless you want to use it as a spring board to discuss the nature of divided governance, in which case there is no reason to pay it a jot of attention.

The next entries from The Neo-Ciceronian Times has a lot more promise, but I will hold off judgement until I have gotten a better grasp of his blog.

The next link from Ribbonfarm is irrelevant.

The link from Spandrall is irrelevant as he has already made it clear he doesn’t care about the absolutist tradition.

The link from Shylock Holmes is relevant.

The link from Social Pathologist is totally irrelevant as he has his own pet model for political developments.

The link from Citadel is also irrelevant as he has his own model for political developments.

The links from Nick Land are total calculated subversion.

The link from Count Null-Face is totally irrelevant (Absolutism is not the right)

The link from Glarus is interesting, but irrelevant.

The link from William Scott is irrelevant.

The link from this new blog is curious, and I would like to consider it in more detail (note the Hayek quote on tradition on the about page, and my comments on Burke here,) and Steve’s comments are decisive. He rejects absolutism.

I have dealt with Jim’s take on the Puritan thesis.

Do we need to go on? This not an absolutist tradition being maintained, it is a laissez faire sewer of liberalism, in which the slow grinding rejection of absolutism is enacted by the chase for “relevance,” which is to say the enactment of Conquest 2nd law. Less antiversity, and more confused Bucklyite conservatism. Muh capitalism.

Classical liberalism is lunacy

Let us put a stake through this nonsense. There is no difference between “classical” liberalism and modern liberalism. There is no difference because they are nothing more than the shrieking insane screams of lunatics being hurled forward by power as it centralizes in an unsecure system.

Smith was a lunatic, Locke was a lunatic, Rawls was a lunatic – all of them were lunatics.

When people play into the game of “classical” liberalism it shows they don’t know what they are talking about, but from an Absolutist position the nature of liberalism is quite clear – it is societal acid applied to all power but the centralising one. Each generation of accumulated cultural psychosis gets ingrained as “progress” from which the next generation orientate from. This process has benefits in that it paved the way for greater centralization and industrialisation but not in the way liberal propagandists claim. It was not the wonders of open trade or “progress” due to human freedom or “capitalism”, but the ability of industry to access greater resources and government to operate on a national level.

The idea that some sort of respect should be paid to this mindless mush is appalling. Classical Liberals are a delusional menace.

Hestia Society is the Burke society

Burke’s role in intellectual history is as a subversive who developed an intellectual concept of tradition which placed it as an unthinking do-nothingism which acts as a dead end into which all embryonic rejections of divided governance structure head into. This is the only possible form “conservatism” and the “right” may take in an unsecured system, because anything other than this is a rejection of the system.

Worse than this, this concept is clearly a concept which rejects the role of human judgement and intellectual advancement. Instead, tradition just works spontaneously as the result of the happy coincidence of “wisdom without reflection.”

The alternative is that tradition does not “just work”, but requires guiding hands (men with judgement) and institutions maintaining the internal logic and conistency of the tradition, which is what we see in even that most ridiculous diseased tradition of liberalism.

Burkeanism then, gives up any control, any management and any possible escape.

The pratical effect is that conservatives believe the lie of private society, whilst progressives run amok (the failure of Pinochet in this regard is devastating.)

The conservative also believes in uncontrolled distribution of secondary property (wrongly believed as prior to society) as of paramount importance, which makes their ethics irrelevent.

So the conservative believes that 1) society should be allowed complete freedom in all circumstances and 2) uncontrolled economic activity is primary yet… 3)claims we should follow “tradition.”

1 and 2 are not compatible with 3. Either the tradition and the institutions that manage it precede property distribution and is dominent over the property distribution, or it is at the mercy of the property distribution. Burke skipped this by claiming tradition was the result of spontarous order, nonsense to which you only have to look at the conservative movement to confirm.

Luckily this mechanism is playing out again, with Hestia led intellectually by Land replaying Burke’s role. Instead of Moldbug’s devastating attack on liberalism using De Jouvenel’s insights which demand a reorganising of society, we have a parasitism that involves taking the surface of the criticisms, but backfilling with them not with De Jouvenel, but instead with do-nothing anarchism, capitalism and various other varients of the same thing aka Burkeanism. This would be understandable as an unrealized mistake, but once pointed out, it no longer remains understandable.

If De Jouvenel is correct, divided power is the cause of leftism and is the driver of culture in this system. If this is so, the only way to regain control is to undivide power. To undivide power requires a reorganisation of property in line with the state’s goals, ethics and security. This makes property formaly post societal, therefore it is antithetical to capitalism.

Further maintainance of this structure requires further reorganisation of property, and the primacy of the state’s ethical framework. The tradition maintained by this state must also be primary and actively managed.

This rejects the current system root and branch.

Being Pwned

Katz’s latest posts should get some attention from those interested in exploring the neoabsolutist project. He has raised many issues that give food for thought, one of which is that of the reliance of members society on the functionality of other elements of society, and the inherent good faith of this. If those other elements of society turn out to be disasterously wrong or malignant, then we have a problem. It is unfortunatly clear we have some serious problems.

Two recent examples I have encountered of this include a television interview I saw in which a lady declared BLM to be an electoral concern for her. Anouther is Nick Land’s assertion of the validity of International Relations Theory. I am researching both currently, and have come to the clear conclusion they are both foundation/elite created entities with no other coherence. They got pwnd.

This is really bad.

IR like all social science was funded into existence by the foundations. I will direct the reader to do a google search on this. It is disturbing.

This is the same with BLM which is a re-run of the civil rights era that is about to get anouther $100,000,000.

Both these individuals relied upon good faith that both these movements/issues were honest, intellectually coherent, and genuine cultural developments, when they are clearly not.

If they are not honest and intellectually coherent on their own terms, then other explanations must be sought, and it is clear to me they are only comprehensible as parts of the unsecure system directed at other parts.

Moldbug is not advocating capitalism

There is a stunning level of confusion surrounding Unqualified Reservations. I can understand it to some degree because it does not actually provide a coherent body of thought – it develops and becomes more sophisticated as he understands the implications of the reactionary position that he has adopted.

What Moldbug appears to have done is to adopt De Jouvenel’s insights as correct, and come to conclusion that it explains leftism and the right wing because it does. He has also adopted the absolutist position by obviously understanding that the De Jouvenelian solution of better blocks is illogical given that De Jouvenel has outlined how that very action is a driver of powers’ leveling of society.

This absolutist position is also utterly opposed to modern capitalism. Now we can argue until the cows come home about the definition of capitalism, so I will make this clear- within the absolutist tradition, capitalism is the denial of sovereign primary property and the assertion of the pre-societal and pre-government nature of secondary property. I don’t care what your liberal interpretation is because this basically covers all of them.

This makes the presence of anarcho-capitalists puzzling, until you realize their presence is based on a series of confusions following Moldbug’s explanations of property as that which can be defended. Land by virtue of using liberal anthropology asserts that individuals with MAD capability can be sovereign, hey presto, secondary property is now sovereign property. Capitalism is rescued – pre-societal and not societaly dependent ownership.

This is unfortunately not based on observable reality, has no precedence, and actually runs counter to all examples of what occurs when individuals become sufficiently wealthy to have an impact on society. It is simply wrong. To make matters worse, it is a liberalisation of Moldbug’s rejection of liberalism. It is the application of a conception of the human in which the functioning individual is pre-societal based on drastic misunderstandings. In summary it is a tangled knot of error and the only escape routes are to a) declare humans defective b) call for the building of AI that can do this. Whilst the new soviet man was needed to compensate for the fraudulence inherent in the soviet communalisation of secondary property, Land’s libertarian rugged individual AI superman will compensate for the fraudulence of capitalistic individual ownership of secondary property -now made primary on an individual level. Mirror image communism.

On the plus side, at least this confusion is sophisticated. Other forms of confusion are not. The worst one is the confusion of Unqualified Reservations as being an advocacy of basic manchesterised state capitalism. This is wrong because he is advocating primary property which makes all within the sovereign entity’s control its primary property, with subsequent ownership being secondary. On this point I will present two extracts from two posts to highlight this point:

Limited government as anti-propertarian idealism

“What I suggest is that limited government is a form of idealism, rooted like all Western idealisms in Christianity. Specifically, it is a member of the antipropertarian family of idealisms.

Antipropertarianism is a very natural idealism that has been reinvented probably more times than anyone can count. Once you admit that all humans are spiritually equal, and a duke is no better than a beggar, it’s pretty hard not to ask yourself why the duke is a duke and the beggar is a beggar. If the answer is that the duke was born a duke, whereas the beggar was a farmer until his crop failed last year, anyone who has even the slightest shred of interest in building God’s kingdom on earth can see that there’s a small problem here.

If you are disposed to any species of antipropertarianism, almost the first abuse you’ll think of is the idea that one man, or one family, can own an entire country. (Or even the people in it – as, for example, the US alone among nations claims the right to tax its expatriate serfs.) Therefore, you will try to come up with some design in which the country is owned or controlled in some sense by its residents. You will make it not a kingdom but a community.

It is impossible to argue with the ethics of antipropertarianism. Clearly the estate of the newborn duke is arbitrary and not, in any conceivable moral sense, deserved. The reason I believe in property is simply that property prevents violence, and I hate violence. In my world, the estate goes to the duke because it is the only way to keep everyone from fighting over it.

Since the ideal of limited government – that is, the idea that sovereignty cannot be the rightful property of anyone, individual, family or corporation – has become general, we have seen an extraordinary level of violence, which appears to be connected to the question of who should control and receive the revenues of sovereignty. Law has declined and sovereignty has become much more absolute. And its behavior is often pointlessly burdensome in ways which do not seem related to maximizing revenue, and do seem related to the struggle for power.

I do not regard this as a good outcome. And I note that this result is very similar to what we get whenever any antipropertarian idealism gains currency. Property does not actually disappear. It becomes murky. It is the source of constant tension. It is informalized. It seeps deep into committees whose workings are obscured even to their members. When we ask who controls the United States, the only possible answer is that it’s very complicated. The same answer applies to, say, the Gambino family.

Nick’s short overview of English legal history is actually, I think, good evidence for the problems that result from poorly-formalized power structures.

By right of conquest, William I claimed allodial rights to all England – total ownership. As the commander of the conquering army, he personally approached the powers of Fnargl. It might be an overstatement to say there was no one in England who lived if William wanted him dead, but it was presumably not too much of an overstatement.

But William did not have the Finger-Snap of Death. His power was political, not physical. It was based on mastery of an organization, a mastery that was inherently informal. It certainly was not automatically inherited by his descendants.

The result was that, over time, the (informal) political powers and (formal) legal rights of the Crown diminished in a rather interesting fashion. Both political powers and legal rights decreased, broadly if not monotonically, to at least the Tudor era. As Nick points out, the Crown granted many formal attributes of sovereignty – such as franchises for private law enforcement – to various barons and other subcontractors. Ultimately such delegations are the (formal) source of our rights to, for example, defend our property against trespassers.

The problem with this process, and I would say the general reason for the demise of the whole intricate structure of medieval law, is that it became unclear whether these grants were mere delegations of power – existing so long as they served the sovereign’s desires – or whether they were irrecoverable alienations, as if the Crown had, say, sold Wales to France.

In other words, a disparity arose between political and formal reality. Did the King continue to respect the rights he had granted because he wanted to, or because the grantees had become powerful enough to protect themselves against him? This went back and forth quite a few times. It was frequently submitted to the test of arms. In the end, of course, the Crown preserved its symbolic status in exchange for de facto abdication and expropriation.

The situation now is of course different. As both Nick and Kuehnelt-Leddihn note, today’s “democratic” governments are far more absolute than any monarchy in history, and they brook no hint of physical opposition. This is in large part the result of changes in military reality.

I am a decentralist. I would prefer not to live in a global Fnargocracy. I would much prefer a world of tens or hundreds of thousands of absolutely-sovereign states, each competing avidly for my business.

But the facts of life is that if, in this world, all these states decide to merge into a Fnargocracy, there is nothing to stop them. No popular rebellion can succeed against a determined modern military force (colonial wars may seem to refute this proposition, but they don’t – I will discuss this at great length later). The era of cobblestones and brickbats is over.

Therefore, it strikes me that the era of expropriating governments is also over. And I blame the failure of the various libertarian movements on their failure to realize this, and their insistence on trying instead for some kind of repeat of the American Revolution. The reality is that if the American colonies had somehow made it to the age of the telegraph and the machine-gun, we would be ruled by Tony Blair and his Eurocrat henchmen, now and forever.

If this is true, revenue-maximizing government is not a medieval atrocity from the past, but a permanent feature of human history whose rare exceptions are unstable and undesirable. This does not mean we have to live with the mindless, appalling institutions that rule us at present – quite the contrary. What it means is that any plan for rationalizing these institutions should avoid the fatal mistake of trying to create a vacuum of power, an error into which all systems of juridically self-limited government inevitably fall.”


Sam Altman is not a blithering idiot

“Let’s put on our John Carpenter sunglasses and look at the real reality, terrifying though it is. Surely if you can read all the way down in a post this long, you can handle the real reality.

In actual reality, we are trying to answer the question: how should America be governed? We are therefore reasoning from the perspective of the State. Since sovereignty is conserved, the State is always and everywhere absolute and omnipotent. Therefore, the hedonic satisfaction of its citizens, who are in fact its slaves, is not and cannot be a goal. It may be a means to an end, of course. As when we administer heroin through the barracks water supply to reward Camp #127 for exceeding its uranium production targets three months in a row.

Well, see. I told you reality was scary. I don’t actually believe absolute government, which is always and everywhere the reality, implies totalitarian government. USG is an absolute government as well. I am not a big USG fan. But I don’t seem to find myself in the uranium mines.

In general, the classic 20C phenomena of totalitarianism appears not in absolute governments that are secure and invulnerable, but in extremely weak ones that in consequence have to take extraordinary measures to repress their enemies. This (among other things) is the difference between Louis XIV and Stalin. USG’s great virtue is that its monopoly of power is far more secure than Louis XIV’s, so it doesn’t have to give a damn what I post on my stupid blog.

But if we are analyzing real governments in the real world, our financial analysis has to be rooted in political reality. The political reality is that “citizens” are not owners of their government, but rather assets – in other words, slaves. Our only hope is for a regime that’s more Thomas Jefferson and less Simon Legree. Fortunately, as we’ll see, this analysis aligns the financial interests of the State with our own interests as human beings.

What are the financial interests of the absolute State? To maximize the value of its productive assets. The State’s assets are (a) land and buildings, (b) equipment, and (c) human chattel. We understand how to value and manage (a) and (b) just fine. But most of its equity consists of (c) – an asset not really taught in most business schools. (Fortunately you still have those yellow old stacks of DeBow’s Review.)

There is another way to ask whether, excluding advances in technology (which do fall under (c), since technology is a human ability – but hard to monopolize), America is a more valuable nation in 2013 than it was in 1950. We can ask: is the average American a better human being than his or her ancestors of 1950? Ie: has the USG cultivated its human capital, or wasted it?

For example: is this person – this asset, this slave – a harder worker? We’ll assume the State cannot change his IQ, because I have seen no evidence that it can – but is he more knowledgeable? Is he more moral, more physically healthy, wiser and more prudent? A better father, a better mother?

Again, I believe the answer is obvious. There are certainly some ways in which the average American of 2013 is a better person than his grandfather. He is probably a better feminist, for instance. He is much less likely to be an anti-Semite, homophobe, etc. These factors don’t really affect his economic value, but perhaps they’re worth mentioning anyway.

On the other hand, the American of 2013 is much more likely to be a meth-head, a thug or ho, a worthless trustafarian slacker, etc, etc, etc. Especially when we look at non-elite ethnic subpopulations – “cracker” Scots-Irish, African Americans, etc (though if we listen to Ron Unz, even the Jews are going to the dogs), I don’t think any serious person could really claim that the average American is superior as a human being to his grandparents. You might as well assert that the original iPad was teh greatness but this Retina crap they’re making these days is just lame.

What’s notable about this interpretation is that, again, your interests and your government’s are just about perfectly aligned. You don’t want to be a heroin addict. Washington doesn’t want its slaves to be heroin addicts. You want to be a better person – more informed, more reliable, more capable. As a better person, you are a better and more valuable capital asset. You augment your government’s market cap. Back to Sam Altman: Most of us want our lives to get better every year—the hedonic treadmill is a pain that way. As “hedonic” implies, “better” means “more fun.” Obviously this is the attitude you’d expect from someone born in the Bush administration. Could it be any other way?

Us old Nixon fogeys have pretty much exhausted the hedonic treadmill. There’s not much left of your hedonic treadmill after the 17th time cleaning up baby hork in the middle of the night. At that point (yes, new parents, it does get better) a nice glass of wine and a dinner out with your wife is more or less the hedonic equivalent of a meth-fueled threeway with strippers.

Most of us want to become better people every year. We’re pretty confident, perhaps falsely, that this will lead to more hedonic rewards in the long run or at least has the best chance of doing so. But this isn’t the goal. The goal, believe it or not, is to become better people. And ideally our children will be even better than us. So again – the market cap goes up.

Everything I’m saying here (including the economics) was said by Carlyle more than 150 years ago, notably in Chartism. The apotheosis of the hedonic principle is the immortal Pig-Philosophy. Briefly, Carlyle tells us, the difference between man and beast is that maximization of hedonic utility is always and everywhere the method of a beast. Not coincidentally, it is also the method of a toddler. And it is also the method of the Austrian economist, although he at least realizes that the “utility function” is qualitative and subjective rather than quantitative and objective, and adds time preference.

To Mises and Rothbard, the human being as economic actor is a very smart pig, often willing to exchange less slop today for more slop tomorrow. This is not at all the view of Carlyle – nor is it the view of List. Of course, from the economic perspective of the State, slop production is all that matters. But the human being is not only an economic actor – nor is the State only an agency of production. What we’d really like to see is a model in which there is no tension between Pig-Philosophy (which must be acknowledged as true) and actual human civilization.”

So you see, Moldbug is advocating absolute government, which is to say he is not advocating capitalism, and he is not advocating socialism. This is a property organisation which predates the Glorious Revolution, and is in fact a rejection of the property distribution that occurred after.

Anyone claiming otherwise is a source of error.

Against the Hestia puritan hypothesis

If there is any confusion as to why I maintain such antipathy toward the Hestia Society, this post here is the best explanation possible.

Sometimes it is not your clear and declared enemies that are the real problem, sometimes it is the “friends.” In this instance, the elaboration on the puritan thesis is just about plausible to sound correct, yet fundamentally acts as a source of grave error, and therefore a source of harm.

The puritan thesis is not an explanation in, and of, itself. What the puritan thesis is, is an elaboration of the symptoms created by the mechanism of unsecure government. Moldbug even makes this perfectly clear when summarizing the How Dawkins got Pwned series, which I will repeat below:

“But if you can convince people that democracy is the cure for democide, rather than its cause, you can convince anyone of anything. Historically, democratic voters have made many decisions that they thought would lead to peace, freedom and prosperity, and instead led to war, slavery and poverty. Why should it be otherwise? I don’t have a magic oracle of truth in my head. Do you? Does anyone else?

The trouble is that, while war, slavery and poverty are in general bad things, they may well be profitable for some. Especially in small doses. And if you can create a feedback loop by which Universalism causes war, slavery or poverty, but does so in such a way as to reward those who practice and promote Universalism, you have a loop that can continue indefinitely.

Take, for example, the “peace process” in Israel and Palestine. Now 60 years old and counting. How confident are you that this “peace process” is not, in fact, the cause of this similarly unending conflict? It certainly generates a very comfortable living, full of meaning and importance and not a few frequent-flier miles, for all those involved. Why shut it down?

And this, in my opinion, is why we have Universalism. We have Universalism because it is adaptive in a democratic sovcorp. Similarly, Universalism (and its ancestors) create democracy, in much the same way that they create “peace processes.” The whole thing is an artifact of sovereign corporate governance gone horribly awry.

In short, the adaptive function of Universalism is to glorify and expand the modern democratic sovcorp. Of course, it has no purpose in any moral or metaphysical sense. It just exists.

Universalism is the latest, greatest incarnation of Bertrand de Jouvenel‘s Minotaur. It can also be seen as a perfectly distributed conspiracy, a la H.G. Wells, with no central structure at all. And finally, it provides a complete explanation of Robert Conquest‘s three laws of politics:

  1. Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.

  2. Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.

  3. The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.

In short, the thing is a menace. It’s probably too late for Professor Dawkins. But perhaps it’s not too late for the rest of us.”

What we have then is the system itself being the driver. This is the key point, and one which can only be repeated in as clear a way as possible, without the added distraction of the additional context provided by Moldbug when trying to explain it – the unsecure system is the problem, and the mechanisms of this unsecure system create the environment which selects for progressivism. Power is above culture.

The power system literally created this culture.

This understanding should be the start point, and the core around which any understanding is developed. Do we see this acknowledgment in Jim’s post? Simply, no. Instead, there is a sort of puritan version of the Elders of Zion based around the Ivy League, which is what the Jew conspiracy theorists see, and what they obviously get upset about. There is simply no other systemic explanation behind this Hestia version (which is completely at odds with Moldbug’s De Jouvenel structured interpretation.)

So, in my opinion, Jim and Hestia are simply sources of great confusion. No progress can occur from their end. The reason no progress can occur from their end is that they don’t care about De Jouvenel one bit, despite him being the entire scaffold that the theory is based on.

I can hazard an educated guess as to why they don’t care, and that is largely because they are basically all just Burkeans at base. They seek to create an excuse for a great deal of unprincipled exceptions to liberalism based on the property distribution from the Glorious Revolution (this being the rejection of sovereign primary property, aka modern capitalism.) Their conception of tradition will naturally be a Burkean one that has no grounding at all, and will be nothing more than an appeal to “do nothingism” as this Glorious Revolution property distribution is nothing more than a rejection of absolutism, and absolutism is the only political organisation within which the virtues can exist in. The greatest distance they will be able to get theoretically will be in advocating a legalistic authoritarian state with a suite of laws that implement an arbitrary selection of unprincipled exceptions to liberalism, which will immediately and comprehensively go completely off the rails into leftism (aka a constitutional state). This conception will do so because any system in which conflicting organisations are present in will engage in total conflict (not open, but surreptitious and using proxies.) until one is central, but that one will still have to continue with the same process of using proxies to deal with further problems and threats because it cannot escape the legitimacy of this system.

The rise of leftism at the heart of both the UK and the USA then becomes less of a historical accident per se, and more of an unfortunate parallel effect of government centralisation within unsecure systems. For Peel to centralise, he had to engage the Whigs to burn down those in his way, for the US to centralise, they had to engage the abolitionists to burn down those in their way. For the current administration to centralise the police force, they have to burn down those in their way with the BLM movement.Leftism is the centralising power using proxies. That is it, and this process ratchets because who is going to tell subsequent generations that the noble actions of the previous activists where sponsored and promoted for other reasons? in fact, often those engaging in the cynical action will convince themselves that they are doing it for good reasons.

Unsecure power using poxies is the key behind the puritan hypothesis. Not puritans.

“Freedom of speech in accordance to the acceptable barriers of society within a liberal democracy and the implicit assumptions that are carried by such a structure”

Like all other aspects of liberalism, freedom of speech can be only correctly understood as anti-absolutism. From the liberal concept of property as originating from labor, to capitalistic delusions about the nature of the market being comprised of atomistic individuals – all of it is merely anti-absolutism, it has no coherency beyond this point. The upshot of this, is that liberalism in all its guises is only manageable by the application of unprincipled exceptions which are then employed in the labor of maintaining the core delusions.

Freedom of speech is simply the claim that governance must not inhibit speech as outlined in the First Amendment of the US constitution:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

For a government to have absolutely no ability to abridge the freedom of speech is to declare itself non-existent – this is logically impossible. In any given society and organisation, a limit on what speech is, or is not, permitted, is implicit. If you set up a government – such as a liberal democracy as per the US founders, then you must by definition abridge the ability of anyone opposed to this to discuss deposing it, you must abridge their discussion with regard to organising deposing the government, and then abridge their ability to actually depose it by communicating and organising together.

Further to this, to maintain a society in which basic laws are able to work, you have to limit the ability of speech in relation to inciting violence, criminality, defamation, undermining national defence secrets etc. – just look at the list of exclusions to the First Amendment.

The minute you apply any single exclusion to freedom of speech, you no longer have freedom of speech. It is surely Boolean, is it not? And are these exclusion not basically unprincipled exceptions? I know there are many reasons put forward as to why certain speech is not covered by freedom of speech, but isn’t this all rather bizarre? To keep the charade going, whole aspects of speech are written off as not applicable.

Freedom of speech under the First Amendment should then be relabelled as “Freedom of speech in accordance to the acceptable barriers of society within a liberal democracy and the implicit assumptions that are carried by such a structure” but it is not, because it can’t be, as this would spoil the fantasy of liberalism. This state of affairs is also highly useful for liberalism as it is a selectively applied weapon in the hands of cynical actors. Just apply the pure version to yourself, and then apply unprincipled exceptions to others.

We could go further into this, but what would be the point. Freedom of speech is logically impossible and the result of it has been to develop all sorts of bizarre exceptions and to use (unacknowledged and therefore malignant) societal pressure to compensate for this structural fraud.

Further response to Antinomia Imediata

Further to Antinomia’s new post, I would commend him on understanding the points that myself and Anomoly UK have made, but will also advise on another point which he is obviously not fully aware of (and this is understandable, as it has not been elaborated on properly) and this is that Moldbug was not advocating a return to medeival governance, and in fact on numerous occasions criticized it as containing the very solecism he wished to avoid – imperium in imperio.

The medieval system, despite its success in producing exceptionally functional societies was for all intents and purposes a patchwork of internal conflict. This again brings us back to De Jouvenel and his observations on how unsecure powers which are subject to blocks will act – total warfare until one is supreme. Once you see this mechanism, you will understand that it must be avoided at all costs, and you will see it everywhere -from BLM to the Anti-Corn Laws movement.

The fact of the matter is that the whole thought experiment of sovcorp is a useful training exercise for understanding this issue, with the profit motive providing a very simple and effective means of envisioning the concept of a society ordered towards a central good, thereby giving all actions within that society a context and a rational teleology towards which to direct. Is X good for the profit of the sov corp? yes – bingo you have a rudimentary Virtue Ethics in play and you have just left the liberal TRADITION in which the night watchman state is merely a baby sitter for everyone to pursue their own “good.” But this is just absolutist training wheels.

Also, I would argue constitutionalism is not a cybernetic point. I have seen Land make that point many times without it making any sense to me, because he has refused to engage De Jouvenel. If you place formal blocks on governance, then alternative meas to undermine those blocks will be used – the constitution cannot contain all eventualities. In addition, if sovereign power has checks, then those engaging the checks are sovereign – the logic is bizarre, and all the nonsense about balancing power is just that – nonsense.