Sovcorp is not Hobbesian, it the antithesis of Hobbes

It is surely safe to conclude that neoreaction has no consensus, and it was never going to obtain one. When two people approach a concept with radically differing priors which are not examined in any way, any point of agreement will be necessarily brief and superficial. To supply an example, we can use the neocameral model of Moldbug which was cited as a unifying principle. Now, each person’s understanding of this model is based on their own priors from their own tradition. So, whereas Moldbug approaches it from priors based on rejection of imperium in imperio as he repeatedly announces, others have taken this model and used vastly differing priors, so that what is understood by the neocameral model differ wildly, and any agreement on this point rapidly diverges after this agreement.

A superb example is provided by the anti-puritan blog, as it was previously by Land on Xenosystems, and there are probably others that don’t come to mind immediately. Now, this rejection of imperium in imperio is key to understanding further Moldbug directions, and it was key to understanding the sovcorp model. Moldbug had reached the correct conclusion that having competing centers of authority in a single polity results in them fighting it out surreptitiously until one is supreme, and one always does end up supreme (violence when used short of civil war is always done through a proxy.) The resulting chaos is disastrous. This is a point which is utterly key. Competing centers of authority engage in conflict, but this first principle has not been taken on by those such as Xenosytems and the anti-puritan blog. Why? The answer is simply that they are working on liberal and modern principles. The joke is that the entire political system is based on the same principles held by the likes of Land, Axel and all other neoreactionary thinkers that do not hold the first principle that competing power centers engage in centralising conflict. There is absolutely nothing new or innovative about them.

What we see with this whole mess then, is that neoreactionaries come along to the model, ignore the key first principle behind it, and literally assume it is based on liberal first principles. These include conceptions of property conflated with mere possession, the individual being before society and the state, and various other theoretical pieces of crap all modern thinkers have taken as a given. The property point is one I have been banging the drum on for a while now, and should be give away that not all is right with the liberal interpretation of sovcorp – it isn’t Hobbesian because Hobbes was justifying oligarchic property distributions. Moldbug instead makes it clear Sovcorp is in full possession and then grants property status. This is a major difference.

So, to recap, we have a theoretical model in the form of sovcorp which all in neoreaction agree on, but almost all bring liberal first principles to the table, when it is in fact not liberal first principles that form the basis of it, but very unliberal ones. Without even thinking about it, they acted as subversives and entryists. Sometimes you really do have to stand in awe of liberalism, as it manages to destroy all in its radius without any organisation.  All of its most ardent opponents turn out to be its most aggressive and dutiful servants. Any attempt to develop something non-liberal is descended on and devoured by these people.

Instead of sovcorp being an intellectual tool to explore the possible formation of political structures that ensure organised and complementary flows of authority, it has been turned into a democratic system, or a republican system with various wish lists list to be enacted. The patchwork of differing political states (one communist, one white nationalist etc.) is an absurd concept which is an express rejection of the rejection of the imperium in imperio first principle. Rather than being political theory based on historical observation, it reverts to being liberal absurdity with no consideration of the effects of the political system on the participants within the system because this conflicts with the liberal first principles that were basically pulled out of Hobbes and Locke’s asses to justify the collapse of western monarchy into oligarchy.

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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 Ukrain, 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.

Conceptualizing Capitalism

I have been put onto a really great book by Geoffrey Hodgson titled “Conceptualizing Capitalism.”The book really has all of the elements which are covered by Moldbug’s theories on property and it helps us to refine and sharpen them. It also adds extra detail to the basic nature of modern political theory and its placement of the individual as prior to society and political organisation, be it the state or any other form which we must enter into by consent.

Firstly, Hodgson takes pains to provide clear and precise definitions to terms, a process he acknowledges as opening himself up to complaints of “essentialism” from the usual suspects. We can just ignore this crap postmodern complaint.

The first concept he attacks is law. He is quite correct in my eyes to dismiss liberals/libertarians (Hayek in particular) and marxists and to treat them as practically interchangeable. Hayek’s conception of law as being mere custom formalized is nonsense, as is Marx’s placement of law in the superstructure posterior to capital. Hodgson doesn’t seem to get why they (marxists/ liberals/libertarians) are interchangeable though, even as he circles around the issue of property.

Law is defined clearly as that which is provided by a institutionalized judiciary. This law (which he notes is what the average person would recognize as such)  arose not as a formalization of custom, but exactly when, and where, exceptions to custom occurred. Custom is then that which is not institutionalized by an judiciary, but this doesn’t mean this is “spontaneous order” (whatever that actually is) and we should be careful to not fall into the libertarian/liberal trap of going into a trance like state in which we mythologize custom as a Utopian paradise of non-coercion and ground up development. It isn’t and wasn’t. All actions, all accepted standards were/are done so in accordance with authority, either explicitly or implicitly.

The upshot of this clear separation of custom and law is that law is associated directly with complex organised political systems, and becomes a key stone of the next clarification of names – property and possession.

Hodgson is quite scathing of (again) liberals/ libertarians and Marxists, who he again treats collectively. All of these groups conflate possession and property at all times. He doesn’t seem to fully get the ramifications of this, but I can provide this now – all groups conflate this because they treat the individual as prior to society and political organisation, this is because they all derive from the same development in the wake of the collapse of the English monarchy in the 16th century. The move from feudal conceptions of property and the political fallout created this state of affairs.It is precisely here that we can see the collective nature of all modern political theory. Moldbug grasped this with his delineation of primary and secondary property. We can clean up this definition somewhat with the help of Hodgson, and refer to primary property as “possession” and secondary property as “property.” Possession is the simple act of possessing something. The sovereign in effect, being sovereign, possesses all within its control.  It is not the sovereign’s property, because property is legally acknowledged ownership, for which we need a legal and political institution to recognize. It is simple possession, hence why sovereigns need armies and nuclear weapons to maintain possession.Property, as we just noted requires legal status, which is provided by a political organisation above it.

How simple is this?

Possession is the act of possessing. Property is the act of ownership as recognized by law.

Law is administered and is a function of a judiciary and legal system maintained by a political organisation. Custom is collectively acknowledged conduct in accordance with authority (implicitly or explicitly.)

But why would these concepts be conflated so much by all modern political theory from the 1600s to the present? Again, Hodgson notes the connection between such opposites as Marx and Mises on page 105 and page 106:

“Consider the Austrian school economist Ludwig Von Mises. He argued that legal concepts could be largely relegated from economics and sociology…

Hence for Von Mises, ownership was natural and ahistorical rather than legal or institutional. A physical rather than a social relationship, it was deemed independent of law or any other social institution. Von Mises downgraded the institutions required for the protection and enforcement of the capacity to have and neglected the social aspects of ownership and consumption, which may signal identity, power, or status. Contrary to Mises, the law does not simply add a normative justification for having something: it also reinforces the de facto ability to use and hold onto the asset.

The resemblance to Marx’s dismissal of law is uncanny: both Marx and Von Mises concentrated on raw physical power over objects rather than legal rights. Marx’s numerous discussions of “property” had little to say about legal rights, and he conflated property with possession. Hence Marx (1975,351) in 1844 addressed ” private property” and argued that “an object is only ours when we have it-…when we directly possess, eat, drink, wear, inhabit it, etc.,-in short, when we use it.” With both Marx and Von Mises, effective power over something is conflated with a de facto right. Legal and moral aspects of property are overshadowed.”

Of course they both would. They are both trying to define away the state in the issue of property. This is the key issue. All modern theory is fundamentally anarchist, it just varies in how delusional it is on this point.If all property is really possession, then we have to try to explain how and why people stay together – Hobbes. At which point the state is really a kind of alien entity which is called in as an umpire, or a stationary bandit that enforces these peer to peer agreements between property holders/ possession holders. When the likes of Adam Smith then talk about governance and sovereignty whilst holding the labor theory of value, he makes no sense. No one does.

Dodd Report


I finally got around to reading the report Dodd submitted to the Reece Committee in 1954, only to find to my surprise that it was a mere 16 pages long. On top of this, the report is clear, concise and very significant. It has left me scratching my head as to whether Dodd had read Gaither’s report from 1949.

Starting with the definitions put forward by Dodd:

DEFINITIONS

These studies also enabled me to settle upon the following definitions:

Foundations-Those organizations resulting from the capitalization of the desire on the part of an individual, or a group of individuals, to divert his or their wealth from private use to public purpose .

Un-American and Subversive -Any action having as its purpose the alteration of either the principle or the form of the United States Government by other than constitutional means . (This definition is derived from a study of this subject made by the Brookings Institute at the request of the House Un-American Activities Committee .)

Political -Any action favoring either a candidacy for public office, or legislation or attitudes normally expected to lead to legislative action.

Propaganda -Action having as its purpose the spread of a particular doctrine or a specifically identifiable system of principles. (In use this word has come to infer half-truths, incomplete truths, as well as techniques of a covert nature .

 

I think we know where this is going. Dodd then begins the salvo:

FOUNDATION CRITICISMS .

Our studies indicated very clearly how and why a critical attitude could have developed from the assumption that Foundations operating within the sphere of education had been guilty of favoritism in making their grants. After having analyzed responses relating to this subject from nearly 1,000 colleges in the United States, it became evident that only a few have participated in the grants made.

However, when the uniqueness of the projects supported by Foundations was considered, it became understandable why institutions such as Columbia, Harvard, Chicago and the University of California had received monies in amounts far greater than had been distributed to others . Originally, scholars capable of handling these unique subjects were few . Most of them were members of these seemingly favored institutions .

Now that these subjects no longer appear to be regarded as unique and sufficient time has elapsed within which to train such competent specialists, the tendency of Foundations to distribute grants over a wider area has become noticeable .

The purported deterioration in scholarship and in the techniques of teaching which, lately, has attracted the attention of the American public, has apparently been caused primarily by a premature effort to reduce our meagre knowledge of social phenomena to the level of an applied science .

[…]

Confronted with the foregoing seemingly justifiable conclusions and with the task of assisting the Committee to discharge its duties as set forth in H. Res. 217, within the seventeen month period, August 1, 1953-December 31, 1954, it became obvious to me that it would be impossible to perform his task if the staff were to concentrate on the internal practices and the grant-making policies of Foundations themselves . It also became obvious that if the staff was to render the service for which it had been assembled, it must expose those factors which were common to all Foundations, and reduce them to terms which would permit their effects to be compared with the purposes set forth in Foundation charters, the principles and the form of the United States Government, and the means provided by the Constitution for altering either these principles or this form.

In addition, these common factors would have to be expressed in terms which would permit a comparison of their effects with the activities and interests connoted by the word “political”, and also with those ordinarily meant by the word “propaganda”.

Our effort to expose these common factors revealed only one, namely–“the public interest” . It further revealed that if this finding were to prove useful to the Committee, it would be necessary to define “the public interest” . We believe this would be found in the principles and form of the Federal Government, as expressed in our Constitution and in our other basic founding documents.

This will explain why subsequent studies were made by the staff of the size, scope, form and functions of the Federal Government for the period 1903-1953, the results of which are set forth in detail in a report by Thomas M . McNiece, Assistant Research Director, entitled, The Economics of the Public Interest.

These original studies of “the public interest” disclosed that during the four years, 1933-1936, a change took place which was so drastic as to constitute a “revolution” . They also indicated conclusively that the responsibility for the economic welfare of the American people had been transferred heavily to the Executive Branch of -the Federal Government ; that a corresponding change in education had taken place from an impetus of of the local community, and that this “revolution” had occurred without violence and with the full consent of an overwhelming majority of the electorate .

EDUCATION

In seeking to explain this unprecedented phenomenon, subsequent studies pursued by the staff clearly showed it could not have occurred peacefully, or with the consent of the majority, unless education in the United States had been prepared in advance to endorse it.

These findings appeared to justify two postulates :

  • that the policies and practices of institutions purporting or obliged by statute to serve “the public interest” would reflect this phenomenon, and
  • that Foundations whose trustees were empowered to make grants for educational purposes would be no exception, on the basis of which, after consultation with Counsel, I directed the staff to explore Foundation practices, educational procedures, and the operations of the Executive branch of the Federal Government since 1903 for reasonable evidence of a purposeful relationship between them .

Its ensuing studies disclosed such a relationship and that it had existed continuously since the beginning of this 50-year period . In addition, these studies seem to give evidence of a response to our involvement in international affairs . Likewise, they seemed to re- veal that grants had been made by Foundations (chiefly by Carnegie and Rockefeller) which were used to further this purpose by :

Directing education in the United States toward an international viewpoint and discrediting the traditions to which it [formerly) had been dedicated.*

Training individuals and servicing agencies to render advice to the Executive branch of the Federal Government.

Decreasing the dependency of education upon the resources of the local community and freeing it from many of the natural safeguards inherent in this American tradition .

Changing both school and college curricula to the point where they sometimes denied the principles underlying the American way of life.

Financing experiments designed to determine the most effective means by which education could be pressed into service of a political nature .

[…]

To insure these determinations being made on the basis of impersonal facts, I directed the staff to make a study of the development of American education since the turn of the century and of the trends in techniques of teaching and of the development of curricula since that time. As a result, it became quite evident that this study would have to enlarge to include accessory agencies to which these developments and trends had been traced.

The work of the staff was then expanded to include an investigation of such agencies as: The American Council of Learned Societies, the National Research Council, the Social Science Research Council, the American Council on Education, the National Education Association, the League for Industrial Democracy, the Progressive Education Association, the American Historical Association, John Dewey Society, and the Anti-Defamation league.

 

At this point let us cut into this paranoid screed, and present some of the Ford Foundation report from Gaither:

  1. Policy and Public Understanding

Our Government and the United Nations cannot effectively formulate or execute policy in  international affairs without public understanding and support. While in some instances such understanding and support are automatically shaped by events, or created by the President, the State Department, or Congress, in numerous situations independent aid can be of significant supplemental value. This is particularly true where policy is initiated by the executive but is subject to later Congressional action, either in the form of appropriations or ratification.
Obvious limitations surround executive efforts to achieve wide public understanding of policies requiring legislative approval. Furthermore, official policy will generally be the better as a result of criticism by responsible and objective private groups and institutions and, when adjudged
sound by them, such policy will have a better chance of public support.

Independent and nonpartisan efforts to secure the relevant facts and judgments and to make them widely available to officials, to interested groups, to the press, and to the electorate at large can thus render important assistance. This does not imply that a foundation should sponsor or support activities designed to propagandize the views of the State Department or any other agency or group. Quite the contrary, it must at all times preserve impartiality and objectivity in its activities, and if the results of undeniably expert and objective analyses are contrary to or critical of existing policy, their wide dissemination is perhaps even more important.
Foundation success in this field may at times require activities in public education long in advance of official policy formulation. In fact, a foundation can make a most significant contribution by anticipating critical issues and by stimulating awareness and understanding of them in advance of governmental action. Government is greatly hampered when public understanding lags behind the realistic requirements of international policy formulation.
Further discussion of agencies or mechanisms whereby such aids to policy makers and to the public understanding of policy might be provided is contained in Program Area Two and in Chapter IV.

P58-59

Got that? It is not propagandizing, it is merely anticipating change and informing the public as an independent institution. Back to Dodd:

          The broad study which called our attention to the activities of  these organizations has revealed pot only their support by foundations but has disclosed a degree of cooperation between them which they have referred to as “an interlock”, thus indicating a concentration of influence and power By this phrase they indicate they are bound by a common interest rather than a dependency upon a single source for capital funds. It is difficult to study their relation without confirming this. Likewise, it is difficult to avoid the feeling that their common interest has led them to cooperate closely with one another and that this common interest lies in the planning and control of certain aspects of American life through a combination of the Federal Government and education.

This may explain why the Foundations have played such an active role in the promotion of the social sciences, why they have favored so strongly the employment of social scientists by the Federal Government and why they seem to have used their influence to transform education into an instrument for social change .

[…]

THE FORD FOUNDATION

Finally, I suggest that the Committee give special consideration to the Ford Foundation . This Foundation gives ample evidence of having taken the initiative in selecting purposes of its own . Being of recent origin, it should not be held responsible for the actions or accomplishments of any of its predecessors . It is without precedent as to size, and it is the first Foundation to dedicate itself openly to “problem solving” on a world scale.

In a sense, Ford appears to be capitalizing on developments which took place long before it was founded, and which have enabled it to take advantage of:

the wholesale dedication of education to a social purpose

the need to defend this dedication against criticism

the need to indoctrinate adults along these lines

the acceptance by the Executive branch of the Federal Government of responsibility for planning on a national and international scale

the diminishing importance of the Congress and the states and the growing power of the Executive branch of the Federal government-and –

the seeming indispensability of control over human behaviour.

As if they had been influenced directly by these developments, .Vie trustees established separate funds for use in the fields of education, national planning, and politics. They set up a division devoted to the Behavioral Sciences, which includes a Center for Advanced Study, a program of Research and Training Abroad, an Institutional Exchange Program, and miscellaneous grants-in-aid .

[…]

CONCLUSION

It seems incredible that the trustees of typically American fortune created foundations should have permitted them to be used to finance ideas and practices incompatible with the fundamental concepts of our Constitution . Yet there seems evidence that this may have occurred.”

The liberal toolbox

I have decided that a comment argument currently being conducted on SocialMatter with the author of the Reaction2Reaction blog deserves to be brought to this blog due to its importance. I have been making the point a lot recently that at base, all modern arguments and political conceptions, rest on a single proposition – the individual is prior to society. This could, at a pinch, describe modernity in my view. This would explain neatly why everyone identifies protestantism as the harbinger of modernity, with Locke and Hobbes being key developments.

Placing the individual as prior to society has many functions, such as in the development of capitalism as the total alienability of secondary property, the feasibility of anarachism, the development of deterministic “scientific” theories such as Marxism and positivism, and the advocacy of the conservative Burkean conception of tradition as being a spontaneous order that arises from its own emergent principles (further developed by Hayek.)

Serious problem occur when people operating within this entire web of modern thought start rejecting the concept of man being prior to society whilst retaining all of the tools. All sorts of strangeness occurs because the entire basis of it all is still man being prior to society regardless.

Using the example of Rothbard and his essay “Nations by Consent: Decomposing the Nation-State” we can see how Rothbard responds to the problem of explaining society and rejecting egregiously stupid things such as immigration given the intellectual tools at his disposal, all of which have “man is before society” stamped on them:

“The “nation,” of course, is not the same thing as the state, a difference that earlier libertarians and classical liberals such as Ludwig von Mises and Albert Jay Nock understood full well. Contemporary libertarians often assume, mistakenly, that individuals are bound to each other only by the nexus of market exchange. They forget that everyone is necessarily born into a family, a language, and a culture. Every person is born into one or several overlapping communities, usually including an ethnic group, with specific values, cultures, religious beliefs, and traditions. He is generally born into a “country.” He is always born into a specific historical context of time and place, meaning neighborhood and land area.”

Every other word in his article then operates on clear, overt, Lockean conceptions of the individual being prior to society. His comments on the context specific nature of the individual show themselves as superficial at best, and confused at worst. For example, despite the above quote, he then talks about how to create “nations by consent” without clarifying who is the one consenting. If the individual, then we are clearly back in overt Lockean territory, and we have to ask how this individual came about the ability to give consent. Ah, but Rothbard supplied the answer in the above quote! The society into which they were born! But that makes no sense because in essence the individual is then totally dependent on that society to become an individual in the sense which Rothbard and anarcho-capitalist work with – so how can we talk of nations by consent? This is just going in circles and making no sense.

In addition to this, Rothbard’s attempt to make nations an organic and internally developing conception in the mold of Burke and Hayek, in contrast to the artificial top down imposition of the state, is strange. The confusion created by this act comes through in this article, such as in the following:

“In some cases, such as Eastern European nationalities under the Habsburgs or the Irish under the British, nationalisms, including submerged and sometimes dying languages, had to be consciously preserved, generated, and expanded. In the nineteenth century this was done by a determined intellectual elite, struggling to revive peripheries living under, and partially absorbed by, the imperial center. “

Well, these elites would be liberals (something Rothbard omits,) and we see here their connection with nationalism. Nationalism betrays itself as a form of individual before society, but in which the individuals forms society spontaneously and organically from interaction from a ground up direction, as opposed to the top down “artificialness” of the state. That these nations had to be consciously revived as he notes is a contradiction that Rothbard doesn’t seem to notice, but which is something we can’t really blame him for. There is also the odd manner in which Rothbard seems to assume these nations had no governance structures before the state. It is hard to follow Rothbard on this.

Of course, this march of the individual before society concept carried on in direct service of the centralising modern state. The best way to see this is through nationalism, which is a way to explain human society without recourse to admitting that it is society before the individual, and that this society is bounded and determined by power, or the sovereign if you will.That particular conception was roundly rejected by Locke and Hobbes.

P.S. This post by the aforementioned Rothblatt has not had a response from me for two reasons, 1) I can’t tell if the study has been replicated 2) I fail to see why I should accept the definitions provide by Rothblatt, nor the study authors. As a result, I don’t consider the article justifiable topic of criticism.

P.P.S. I apologise to anyone who has emailed me. I have not had the time to respond with adequate detail, and will respond as soon as I can.

Finally a clear definition of democracy!

Ever wondered what democracy actually is? Wonder no more, because I can provide you the answer to what democracy is directly from the pen of Rowan Gaither, which was formulated following an exhaustive survey of 1000+ of the best and brightest of American society circa 1949:

“NEED TO CLARIFY THE MEANING OF DEMOCRACY
1. Definition of Democracy
Adherence to the basic principles of freedom and democracy is impossible if the principles themselves are not clearly defined or widely understood. Understanding cannot be confined to political philosophers and a limited few. Effective adherence can be realized only when this understanding is widespread and when it is in such practical form that it may be applied by governmental policy makers, legislators, jurists, educators, businessmen, labor leaders, and the public at large. The value of democratic principles must be measured by the extent of adherence to them, and such adherence is adequate only if it pervades the total of our political, economic, and social actions.
As the Study progressed the Committee and its advisers found that to a vast number of sincere and loyal Americans the principles of democracy are merely a collection of cliches, serving chiefly as reminders of historical events and social conditions of the past. At the same time the Committee was impressed with the struggle of thoughtful and informed persons to find a meaningful, contemporary, and usable definition of democracy. Without such a definition millions of Americans remain confused in their analyses of crucial problems. Consequently national policies may often be erratic and conflicting, and many avoidable dangers to our internal strength can be the products of our own creation.

The attitudes and actions of Americans sometimes seem incomprehensible to our friends and allies abroad, who speak of their confusion at the disparity between the words and deeds of our democracy. To supply them with examples of democratic philosophy at work may in the long run prove to be the most important part of our logistics in the ideological war. This can be accomplished only if we ourselves understand the basic principles of freedom and democracy and interpret them through sustained, consistent demonstration.

2. Democracy’s Meaning in Particular Situations
An adequate definition of democracy will encompass not only its principles, representing the agreed basic goals of our people, but the countless number of written rules and laws and unwritten habits of thought and action which comprise the code by which we live. As conditions change, situations occur which are not fully covered by the existing code. Before its rules can be modified or new rules devised, a period of confusion and doubt, and not infrequently controversy or conflict, may ensue.
In our complex society the rules of conduct have become so numerous that it is difficult to devise new ones without violating the old. This difficulty is immeasurably heightened in those instances in which modern problems raise seeming contradictions between basic democratic principles—such as between the principle of freedom and the principle of equality of opportunity. The task of modernizing the rules therefore becomes ever more complex, even as the need grows more urgent. The swift pace of social invention creates a backlog of situations which require that the democratic rules be modified. This area of confusion, in which we operate on these new problems without the clarity and force of a new democratic code, constitutes democracy’s ideological frontier.
This frontier has been continuously moving since the founding of our country. All basic democratic concepts must expand by interpretation to embrace new situations and to resolve the social issues which arise out of changing conditions. For example, the principles of individual freedom and self-government have moved past the issues of slavery and universal suffrage to such current frontiers as the political participation of racial minorities.
Current newspaper headlines indicate some important areas along this frontier. One such area is in the region of freedom of thought, inquiry, and expression. As has been noted in Chapter II, this freedom is being challenged as a result of the emotions aroused by current international tensions. Specifically, the problems of this frontier concern such urgent matters as those of security and national defense, the related problems of the military sponsorship of academic research and military interpretation of secrecy regulations, certain aspects of “un-American activities” investigations, and the conditions imposed on Government employment and Government-financed fellowships. Increasing concern is widely expressed over the implications for democracy of policies and practices now being followed. What seem to be required are objective, comprehensive inquiries and analyses — nongovernmental and non-partisan in character — to draw more reliable conclusions and propose more constructive recommendations. An independently sponsored survey might be the first step to a broader public understanding of these issues and their implications. Without such analysis and understanding there is a great danger that we may unintentionally compromise basic aspects of democracy. We may even undermine security by imposing unnecessary restrictions upon that freedom of action and inquiry recognized as essential to social and scientific strength.
A technique which might be used toward this general purpose is the employment of special committees of public inquiry composed of persons of knowledge, objective judgment, and prestige. Such groups could define the issues, illuminate the points of impact, and propose important remedial action in situations where the meaning of democracy is not apparent or widely understood. They could alert the citizenry through raising the level of public understanding, and through encouraging, where necessary, appropriate action by government and other interested groups. If the findings of such groups are to be kept from the dusty shelves of inaction, programs of public education must be encouraged, employing on a wide scale and in sustained fashion the many effective media of modern communication.
Successful efforts along democracy’s frontier may on occasion take the Foundation into controversial areas. This should offer no deterrent; tradition has fortunately established the definite propriety of foundation operation in such fields. In fact, in just such areas the objectivity of a foundation can contribute most to social progress. A foundation may enter controversial areas boldly and with courage as long as it maintains a nonpartisan and nonpolitical attitude and aids only those persons and agencies motivated by unselfish concern for the public good.”

p64-67

Well that clears that up. Of course this democratic horizon has indeed continued to advance, in no small part to the actions of the Ford Foundation as outlined here.

Eagle eyed readers may have also spotted the complaint of “”un-American activities” investigations” and its deleterious effect on democracy in among that. This report is one year before McCarthy’s rise. As well all know, McCarthy was completely wrong…sure. On this topic, note the Dodd report transcript provided here, in which Norman Dodd interviewed Gaither, the very same author of this report:

“…Before I could think of how I would reply to that statement, Mr. Gaither then went on voluntarily and said:

“Mr. Dodd, all of us who have a hand in the making of policies here have had experience either with the OSS during the war or the European Economic Administration after the war. We’ve had experience operating under directives, and these directives emanate and did emanate from the White House. Now, we still operate under just such directives. Would you like to know what the substance of these directives is?”        I said, “Mr. Gaither, I’d like very much to know,” whereupon he made this statement to me: “Mr. Dodd, we are here operate in response to similar directives, the substance of which is that we shall use our grant-making power so to alter life in the United States that it can be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union.””

Not only was Gaither clearly working under the president as he admits here (note the other Gaither report on nuclear deterrence) but I can point you to the following in the Ford Foundation report:

“THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE MAINTENANCE OF PEACE
The Committee and its advisers believe that the maintenance of peace depends in large part upon the willingness and ability of nations to improve and strengthen the United Nations to the point where that organization becomes, in fact, the structure of a world order of law and justice. As a nation we have placed our faith in the United Nations as the instrument for this purpose.

Before this goal can be fully achieved many problems must be solved within the framework of the United Nations—problems which in their sweep and complexity seem almost overwhelming. In the course of this series of great tasks, many traditional concepts, such as that of sovereignty, will be subject to scrutiny and redefinition.”

hum….

 

The common root of all modern political discourse

It occurred to me that in effect, all current allowable political positions could be plotted quite clearly along the following lines:

political-treeThe green line is the basic root of all of them, with the red lines representing serious cases of heresy. I am fairly familiar with the Italian fascist heresy of rejecting the liberal conception of the individual as being prior to society based on a strange form of idealism, not so much on the Nazi approach.

As can be seen in the diagram, all of them (with the previous exceptions) take for granted that the individual is prior to society. The difference between all of them being their varying understanding of this central key point.

But what if we add the following link:

political-tree2

Then we have an interesting idea. If the rise of the modern state apparatus acted to create these “anterior to society” individuals, then their continuation is logically dependent on the continuation of the modern state. They are functionally inseparable.

Liberal premises? or De Jouvenal derived premises? They cannot co-exist.

Are we all fascists?

Define fascism. Better yet, don’t bother. The aim of this is to re-assert a conception of individualism that is at the core of liberalism and blame any deviation from it for the ills of society. A protest from the left as it were.

From the Absolutist position, which the only one derived from Moldbug with any coherency and sense, it becomes obvious this analysis and the complaints it contain are the result of severe confusion. No doubt neoreactionaries will love it, being entryists for this same liberal conception.

At heart, De Jouvenel is the moter behind the theory. He supplies solid ground from which clear principles can be formulated. One of which is the structural nature of the left and right which neoreactionaries/entryists abuse with a vegence. Killing the De Jouvenal theory to allow your own pointless weak tea liberal view is the goal, whether consciously or not.

What is worse about the De Jouvenal theory is that it points directly at the system being king over all. This presents serious problems, so neoreaction/liberal entryism (synonymous terms) cannot abide this.

An example of the problems this creates is supplied by considering the development of the state and the issue of the individual. De Jouvenal points directly to the state coming first and creating the “individual” as understood by liberal (and all modern) theories. In fact, taking this to its conclusion, it would seem obvious the individual and the modern state are tied together, the first creating the second. The individual of anarcho-capitalism, liberalism etc. as a state created being simply does not exist as a given, but is removed from local bonds, educated and kept “informed” by the state to become an individual. Land like all liberals takes this individul as natural thing, a given, and then wants to do away with the state, or automate it as if it would just be a neutral entity. This is the same error Hobbes made long ago based on a fantasy narrative of history.

At least Land is aware of this issue and asserts it clearly. The rest of neoreaction neither understands, nor is likely to understand the issue.

Looking at Land’s article, he is clearly asserting liberalism, with all of liberalism’s assumption and working his theory based on them. No De Jouvenal, and therfore no Moldbug in sight. Pure neoreaction, which is to say, pure entryism.

If neoreactionaries don’t understand what is going on now, they never will.

 

The Cathedral enforces anarcho-capitalism

If pressed to offer one key document that could be read to explain the 20th century, I think the Gaither report for the Ford Foundation would be the best bet.

Gaither was fairly influential and central to governance in the 1940-50s until his death from lung cancer in 1961. He was not only involved in the foundation of the Rand Corporation, but also president of the Ford Foundation and author of another report referred to as the Gaither report. The other report was Deterrence & Survival in the Nuclear Age which he produced as part of the President’s Science Advisory committee which was influential to say the least.

The Ford Foundation Gaither report was conducted after great consultation with government actors and academic experts and presents an outline of the intellectual and cultural state of affairs at the very top of the Cathedral at that time. It is also a justification document for the evangelical exporting of American liberalism using the wealth of Ford (greater that the UN’s budget by some distance at the time.)  What comes through is a kind of weird state enforced anarcho-capitalism par excellence. Take the following excerpt from p47 as an example:

“He [the citizen] must choose between two opposed course. One is democratic, dedicated to the freedom and dignity of the individual, as an end in himself. The other, the antithesis of democracy, is authoritarianism, wherein freedom and justice do not exist, and human rights and truth are wholly subordinated to the state.”

The mental jusjitsu in which the “individual” of the liberal conception, which is created by the democratic state, is not de facto subordinated to the state cuts right to the core of the democratic experiment. De jouvenal has much to say on this.

Back to the anarcho-capitalist chops of the exert, the phrase “an end in himself” is about as anarcho-capitalist as it gets, which is a puzzle, until you realize that anarcho-capitalism is just basic liberalism with a hardcore delusional denial as to the source of the individual and the need of a powerful central actor to create individuals that operate on the anarcho-capitalist model. Is the individual posterior or anterior to society? The issue arises in this very same report and is clearly asserted as anterior by default on p46 with the pitch perfect repetition of the underlying mechanics of liberalism:

“Democracy accepts the fact of conflicting interests and even encourages the positive expressions of divergent views, aims, and values. Democracy theory assumes, however, that conflicts can be resolved or accommodated by nonviolent means, and that discrimination and hostility between various groups on the basis of race, national origin, or religion can be kept below the point where basic well-being of society is threatened.”

This is pure Locke, and pure Hobbes, with the implicit insistence that individuals are anterior to society and that their “views, aims, and values” are external expressions or internal developments. This is the grounding of anarcho-capitalism, and this is exactly what Alaisdair MacIntyre has been criticising so vehemently. This state of affairs is created by power.

When we get to “economic democracy” we can again see this state enforced anarcho-capitalism on display as the report states on p37:

“economic democracy is realized through a fluid and mobile social structure which permits maximum individual freedom of choice and action. This requires practical equality of opportunity for all individuals to pursue the vocation of profession of their choice, to change jobs, to move from place to place, and to advance in their chosen career according to their capabilities.”

Whereas the self-proclaimed anarcho-capitalist has drunk deeply of the cool aid and convinced himself of the possibility of non-state enforced individualism anarchism, the progressive in the form of Gaither is under no illusion that this state of affairs must be enforced.

With this in mind, the funding received by libertarians from the likes of the Rockefeller Foundation is not at all confusing, neither is the tolerance for anarchist groups protesting outside of Davos meetings and all the other seeming leniency provided to those advocating full “anarchtopia now! Death to statism!” All groups share the exact same assumptions, which is best expressed by the reports comments on what it defines human welfare as:

“Basic to human welfare is the idea of the dignity of man- the conviction that man must be regarded as an end in himself, not as a mere cog in the mechanisms of society.” P17

There is that “end in himself” phrase again, and further:

“The committee’s conception of human welfare is stated in chapter one, as will be seen, it is largely synonymous with a declaration of democratic ideals.”p12

Want to know what would happen if anarcho-capitalism was enforced on the world? then wonder no more,  you are living it.