Cosmopolitan Empires

Note: There are some new items up behind the green door. As I’m getting more serious about the site redesign for this year, I will be posting updates and comments about it there, along with pop culture items. There is the usual Monday post up at Taki as well, which dovetails a bit with this post.


During the Cold War, few thought of the Soviet Union as an empire. At least the claim was not part of propaganda campaign against them. The communists, of course, liked to hurl around the term “western imperialists”, but no one thought of the West or America as an empire. That was just part of the rhetoric used in the ideological war fought between the two sides in the third world. Empires fight to conquer land. East and West in the Cold War fought to win hearts and minds.

Looking back, it is easier to see that the Soviet Union was an empire, because it is so obvious that America is an empire. We are also seeing more parallels between the two sides as the American empire enters its end phase. Like the Soviets at the end, the American empire is run by a collection of ossified geezers, clinging to a past for no other reason than they have no future. What happened to the Soviet Union thirty years ago is now happening to the American empire.

An important similarity is both sides were cosmopolitan in their structure, organizing their people around a set of ideas. Traditional empires were organized around the conquering people, who imposed their will on those they conquered. Both the Russian and the American empires sought to assimilate the people brought into their orbit through ideology, rather than force. The captive people of both empires participated in the maintenance and defense of the empire, often as equals.

An interesting point of comparison is that in the formation of both empires, Jews played an outsized role. Jews were a major part of the Bolshevik revolution. They were integral to the party and the formation of the Soviet state. It was only after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 that Jews lost power. Stalin grew worried that the Jews would be more loyal to their ancestral homeland than the party. It was from the purge of Jewish intellectuals that we get the term “rootless cosmopolitan.”

Of course, Jews were right there at the creation of the American empire. By the time FDR and the New Dealers took office, Jews were entering the ruling class. After the war against the fascist, Jews were firmly established in the elite. As Yuri Slezkine points out in his book, The Jewish Century, Jews not only took up positions at the top of American institutions, they also transformed the country into a Jewish country. As with the Soviet Union, Jews played a key role in creating the American empire.

This is not surprising, given that European Jews are the product of empire. The Jews that helped form the Soviet Union were formed in the Russian empire. The Jews that helped create the American empire were formed in the Habsburg empire. Later, Jewish refugees from the Russian and Soviet empire led the fight against communism during the Cold War. Most of the neoconservatives traced their roots to the pale pf settlement and still harbor ill-will toward the lands of the ancestors.

The cosmopolitan nature of these two empires is probably the reason both will have short shelf lives. The Soviet Union barely outlived its creators. The empire phase started after the war and lasted about forty years. The American version has proven more durable, but the signs of collapse are everywhere. Washington has become a fortress city, because the ruling class now lives in terror. They are sure an insurrection will happen at any moment and they are probably right.

The problem with cosmopolitan empires is they erode the justification for empire in the effort to integrate the empire. If all peoples are the same, if nations do not really matter, then why is one people at the top of the system? The logic of cosmopolitan empire turns against the creators of it. In modern America, the Judeo-Puritan ruling class can no longer explain why they should be in charge. Like their Soviet analogs, the only reason is they like the perks that comes from being at the top.

The demise of the Soviets may provide clues as to how the American empire eventually comes to an end. The Soviets quickly disaggregated into the constituent parts once it was clear the ossified ruling elite was no longer willing to defend itself. The end of the Soviet Union was like a great awakening or maybe a slave revolt. It as if all of a sudden everyone realized that the people in charge had no power. It was not a long bloody fight to uproot the old system. Like bankruptcy, it just happened.

For the Soviets, the triggering event was Afghanistan. The failure of Soviet leadership there was the final nail in the coffin. For the American empire, it could be the incompetent handling of the Covid pandemic. What should have been a routine public health emergency has been turned into the Vietnam of pandemics. They cannot explain how we got into this and they cannot come up with an exist plan. The many lies are starting to become a problem for the regime.

One difference worth noting is that unlike Russia, America is not a stable nation with a clear identity as a people. Like the Soviet Union, America’s possessions can easily break away and stand on their own. Europe and Asia should have been set free a long time ago as they are rich now. The American homeland, however, is a demographic mess and may not survive the dissolution of empire. At least is may not be as peaceful a transition from a cosmopolitan system to a normal system.

In the end, cosmopolitan empire will prove to be the worst form of empire. Impersonal and transactional, it destroys the creator quickly, by robbing him of his reason to exist at the top of the empire. The empires of old never lost sight of who was in charge and why they were in charge. The great experiment in transnational cosmopolitanism, communism, and liberal democracy, is proving to be not much of a match for the realities of human biology. It is headed to the dustbin of history.


A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Theatrocracy

Religion in a liberal democracy is a funny thing, in that most everyone is sure they understand what it is, but few people recognize it all around them. The people who think of themselves as religious in the conventional sense think they live in a fallen world where most have abandoned their faith. On the other hand, those who are sure they have advanced beyond the primitive need for religion are sure society is full of religious fanatics, except in their social circles of course.

The reality is religion in liberal democracy is nothing like this. The people in charge of society are closer to fanatics on the belief scale, while the people embracing traditional religion are somewhere in the middle of the scale. Christianity no longer draws the fanatic like it used to. Instead, the fanatics are drawn to the secular faiths like the various forms of environmentalism or biological denialism. As a result, the managerial class functions more like a theocracy than a bureaucracy.

You see this in the Megan Markle – Prince Harry drama that has been foisted on us by the media -entertainment complex this week. There is no reason for Americans to care much about this story. Markle is an American, so the tabloids have a reason to cover her, as the Cinderella story still sells to women, especially feminist women. On the other hand, she is boring, and her prince is the booby prize of the family. There was never a lot to sell here on the fairytale front with Megan Merkle.

That was until she played the religion card. Megan Markle is an octoroon, apparently, so she gets to carry on as an oppressed woman of color, despite coming from a rich family and marrying into the British royal family. In the new American religion, all blacks, no matter how fortunate, are noble oppressed people. The big interview that set this drama in motion was conducted by Oprah Winfrey, a woman worth over a billion dollars, who regularly claims to be the victim of racism.

The absurdity of the premise should be enough to get the story laughed off the stage, but in our modern theatrocracy, facts are not important. What matter is how much the story stimulates the moral outrage of the true believers in the audience. Because the heroine ticks the right boxes and her nemesis ticks all of the right boxes, this story is To Kill A Mockingbird for our true believers. The audience is divided into those who support Markle, the good people, and those who doubt her.

This is not just an American thing. The great export of the American empire is the effluvia of Progressive cultural norms. This has settled on the Western world like a noxious fog, causing them to ape the moral preening of Americans. As a result, the Brits are having the same drama over this ridiculous woman and her claims to special status as a member of the oppressed. The odious carbuncle, Piers Morgan, has gotten himself in trouble for taking the wrong side on this.

Morgan is a vulgar carny with the IQ of a hamster, but he is well above average at getting attention. This is why he has had a long television career in two countries, despite being famously stupid. Success in theatrocracy is about getting the audience to focus on you as the center of the moral conflict, but only outraging the worst elements of the audience, so you get some sympathy from the rest. You see that here with the reaction to Morgan casting doubt on Markle tale of woe.

That Variety piece underscores the religious fanaticism at work. According to the story, 41,000 people complained to the official censor about Morgan. His crime was to doubt the story of the sacred black woman. For these people, and most people in Britain probably, not completely trusting a black person is no different than questioning the divinity of Christ in the medieval times. On its face it is a sin against the people and their faith, and the sinner must be sent to the tower, no questions asked.

Morgan is professional carny trash, so he no doubt plotted this whole thing as a way to get attention, but the fact that it works is what matters. The English speaking world has now descended to the point where the managerial class is animated by the worship of nonwhites, in the same way primitives would deify a shaman. The mere presence of well-behaved blacks is enough to cause orgiastic paroxysms among the beautiful people and those who emulate them in the lower classes.

American blacks, of course, are an ideal god for these people. No matter how wonderful the life of a black person, they are always complaining. American blacks are the most bitter and ungrateful people to ever walk the planet. Megan Markle is the full expression of that ungratefulness. She has lived the very definition of the charmed life, but she is a vinegar drinking shrew, living to make those around her miserable. She is the ideal black goddess for a people riddled with self-loathing.


A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


The Modern Prison State

One of the unexpected consequences of the information age is that we have less reliable information, despite have vastly more data. We have facts about the world now that were unimaginable a generation ago. The facts of our society are stashed in massive searchable databases that are accessible to most everyone. You may need some skill to access them, but the data is there. Even data that should be private is available if you are willing to pay for it.

In contrast, the information about our world that we can trust has collapsed into the set of things we can verify on our own. Information is not the same as data, which is a collection of facts. How many miles you drive to work every day is a fact. Information is what we can derive from those facts. If your commute takes an hour and it is 50 miles, we can conclude that you mostly use the highway to get to work, based on some simple math using those two data points.

In theory, information should be value free, as it is facts plus testable logic, with the result being subject to comparisons with the reality. If the information you derive from someone’s driving data indicates he is breaking the speed of sound on his way to work, we know your facts or logic are wrong. The trouble here is that information is not readily testable against reality. We tend to rely on the reputation of the person providing the information and how it fits within our own observations.

That’s the other important distinction between data and information, at least regarding the way in which these words are used in popular discourse. While they are often used interchangeably, data is an objectively true fact, while information is true according to a set of logical rules. Since those rules can be conditional, information can be valid and invalid, depending upon those conditions. “All bachelors are unmarried” is true as long as the word “bachelor” is defined to mean “a man who has not married.”

This may seem a bit esoteric, but it gets to the heart of the crisis in the West. For most of human history and all of Western history, the relationship between data and information was different than we see today. For medieval man, there was never a lot of data about the world, but he could trust the information about it. This was not just the natural world. He could trust the truths about his society, his gods, the people in charge of his society and the sources of his information.

In the modern age, and really just in the last generation, this relationship has flipped around the other way. We have all the data we need for any question. We know more about world than we really want or need to know. What we lack is information and more important, trustworthy sources of information. Medieval man could rely on the Church or the local lord to maintain the rules of society. The only thing modern man can know about his sources of information is they are wrong.

Modern man is now awash in both misinformation and disinformation, in addition to false information. Misinformation is deliberately inaccurate information, which is intended to deceive. Disinformation is deliberately inaccurate information, but from an institution like the state or the media. Of course, false information is information that is inaccurate due to bad data or logic. Compounding this is the current campaign against misinformation and disinformation.

The first thing you should notice is the people most responsible for the tsunami of disinformation are claiming to be at war with disinformation. Unless this results in mass suicide by media and entertainment, it means they are lying. Note also the use of the term “expert” in that piece. There is no such thing as a disinformation expert, outside of the institutions promulgating disinformation. One cannot be an expert at doing something unless you are actually doing that thing.

Note also how the primary sources of both misinformation and disinformation talk about this phenomenon as if they are the victims of it. The managerial class is the single source for the flood of false information. Pranksters may post gags on line to fool people, but the practical joke has been a part of life since the stone age. The online version is just an extension of the flaming bag of dog poo. What the managerial class is doing is a firehose of falsehoods with the stamp of authority.

Put another way, the new phase of the misinformation/disinformation tsunami is the managerial state crying out in pain as it strikes the society over which it rules. The next front in the crisis will be agents of the state arresting people on trumped up charges, for imaginary crimes against the state. This is the Douglas Mackey case. An entirely powerless person is arrested for a crime that does not exist, because the disinformation system says he was passing misinformation on-line.

Since the first humans began to settle into large communities, human organization has relied upon social trust, enforced by a code. Social trust worked in two directions, vertically and horizontally. People could trust their neighbors because they were like them and accepted the same codes of conduct. People trusted their rulers because those rulers enforced the code and attained their positions based on the logic in that code of society. Trust was side-to-side and up-and-down.

Modern economics is turning the horizontal trust of American society into cash equivalents and hauling it away to the pirate coves of finance capital. Americans are living in a world of strangers. The disinformation campaigns intended to distract from this realty are eating away at the vertical trust. Americans no longer trust the people in charge of their society. That distrust is quickly morphing into a distrust of and contempt for the system itself.

Smart people look at the economic model of America and wonder how it can keep going on as it is. The fact that it does go on suggests it can keep going on, but it seems to be violating the rules of the universe. The same can be said for the collapse of social trust and the growing contempt for the system. How long can the people in charge expect to remain in charge when the people over whom they rule are increasingly convinced the rulers and their system are evil and corrupt?

Perhaps that is the final trick of financialization. The first trick was to subvert the basic rules of exchange between people. All of those rules we learned from economics no longer make any sense. The final trick is to subvert the rules of logic themselves, making it so no one can believe or trust anything or anyone. The disinformation age is the final part of the modern prison. Everyone is alone, no one can trust anything, even the laws of the universe. You just have to do what you are told.


A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Carny World

Note: The Monday Taki post is up. This week I use the expression “of course” far too many times. Of course I do. There’s also new content behind the green door.  I’m watching Deep Space Nine and not liking it very much.


It is easy to forget, but one of the predictions about the post-scarcity, technological age was that it would result in a great leveling of society. Class it was argued, was the result of there never being enough for everyone. Once there was plenty, there would be no need for some to horde at the expense of others. Of course, the high-tech society would abandon the silliness of class distinctions. Everyone would wear gray Lycra jumpsuits and happily perform their roles in society.

Like so much that comes from the Utopians, the class-less society assumed things about people that could never be true. Hierarchy is an essential part of the human condition, which means signaling status is a feature, not a bug. The rich guy driving the expensive car is signally his status in the same way a chieftain would signal his status with ornamental weaponry. Even in a world where everyone can rely on having plenty of the essentials, status and status signally still matter.

In fact, they probably count for more in a rich society than a poor one. A guy who is worth fifty million can do a lot of signaling. He can have a supercar, a big house in the country, expensive tastes. The billionaire can have all of those things, of course, and that is a big problem. How does the billionaire show he is a bigger fish than the guy worth fifty million? He needs to have other stuff like political access, cultural influence, and global attention. His status is measured in attention.

Attention as currency is not confined to the plutocrats. This is one distinguishing feature of the media age that arose with the American empire. Before WW2, the super-rich would build mansions and fund public projects like theaters, colleges, and museums, but this was always what the top of society did to reinforce public virtue. In the medieval period, the elite built churches, and cathedrals. In the Renaissance they supported great artists and later they supported the sciences.

The world changed after the war as material progress suddenly accelerated with the spread of American-style capitalism. Material excess first took root in America and with it the growth of the attention society. Popular culture, after all, is about getting public attention in some way. In the early phase of pop culture, people got famous through some talent for entertainment. Now people get attention by being unusually freakish, deranged, or hysterical. The crazier the better.

This is why so many people now experience the world with their mobile device held up in front of their face. They are mining their daily experience for the currency of the age, which is often a viral video or a lot of likes on the social media platform. It is also why the super-rich are fond of supporting increasingly deranged social fads. If the freak show is the cathedral of the modern age, the super-rich must show their status by building bigger and better freak shows for the people.

One result of the giant freak show is that the culture is becoming less rational as it becomes more bizarre. The governor of New York, for example, gets a pass for murdering old people through ineptitude, but he could end up in jail for upsetting a gentle lady in his employ. Of course, that gentle lady could very well have an OnlyFans account and be in favor of mutilating children, so crazy people can pretend that sex is an imaginary part of the patriarchy.

In other words, the attention seeking society is one in which you can be both a vulgar degenerate and an intolerant prude. The media is awash in messages to young women saying they can only fulfill their purpose in life by being a slut. On the other hand, if a man treats a woman like a slut, he gets chased by an angry mom of sluts. You can be certain that the women claiming Cuomo hurt their delicate feelings are mouthy advocates for every vulgar item on the feminist to do list.

Morality is the software of every human society. It is the unwritten set of rules, the habits of mind, that allow strangers to navigate their way around one another. Morality must have a point and that point is reflected in the organization of society. In a warrior society, the qualities of the warrior are the goals of society. In an aristocratic society, privilege, duty, and honor bound the moral code. The morality of this age is wrapped around the desire for public attention, usually public outrage.

Another aspect of the new morality is that it is arbitrary and random. This is true of the carny world, where stardom is usually dumb luck. The world is full of waitresses that look great and can act. Those that get their big break are those who tick the right box at the right time for some reason. This sense that life and death, success and failure are controlled by the fickle gods of fate is the carny code. It is now becoming the America creed, as we embrace the carny culture.

This is clear in the Cuomo story. The reason Andrew Cuomo is governor is he is the son of a famous mobster. He won the lucky sperm contest. The Covid panic was another big break for him. He got to carry on like a hero, despite the fact he was recklessly putting the lives of old people in jeopardy. The fates were kind to Cuomo, until another turn of the wheel brought him low. Like the tragic figures popular in the carny world, he will be ruined because he made a small mistake, not a big one.

It turns out that the post-scarcity world is like a giant carnival tent. The only thing holding people together is a desire for attention. They need the crowd in order to get the attention of the crowd. Semi-retarded basketball players become billionaires because they are the best performers in the human flea circus. Dingbat barmaids become congressmen because they are good at getting attention. Post-scarcity America is carny world, a freak show celebrating the worst humanity has to offer.


A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Modern Narodism

Note: I have a final word on car buying the financialization of the car business behind the green door. The regular Taki post is up as well. Comments about it can be made here, as Taki no longer has a comment section.


The political reactionary is an essential component of left-wing mythology, going back to the French Revolution. In fact, most reactionaries are an invention of Left, so they always have an enemy. It is why they tend to go on murder sprees once they gain control of the institutions. The hunt for counter revolutionaries and running dog reactionaries provides fuel for permanent revolution. Once the revolution runs out of enemies, the revolution loses energy and collapses in on itself.

Even though the term reactionary has been abused by the Left, used as a slur against critics and opponents, it does not mean there are no reactionaries. The Thermidorian Reaction was a real thing. The Restoration of the French monarchy was, in part, a reactionary development. The restoration of the monarchy after the death of Cromwell could be classified as a reactionary event. After all, Charles II did order the body of Cromwell to be disinterred and displayed in chains.

While the Left owns the term, political reaction is not just a right-wing phenomenon nor is it strictly political. It can be argued that socialism and communism are reactions to the Industrial Revolution. After all, it was the Marxist who popularized the term. It was an 19th century pejorative for the current state of the world at the time. Various forms of socialism were a reaction to the sudden growth of a new class, who gained their wealth and power through the acquisition of industrial capital.

Narodism, which was a socialist movement in pre-revolutionary Russia, was a reaction to both the rise of capital and tsarism. The Narodniks, as they were called at the time, were a form of agrarian socialism rooted in the idea that the wealth of Russia was in the peasantry and small craftsman in the countryside. Initially, they were a reaction to the size and scale of the tsarist system of rule. They soon evolved into a reaction to the growing power of capital, just like other socialists of the age.

The interesting thing about the Narodniks is they were more than just a political or economic movement. They were a cultural movement as well. Faced with the sheer size of the tsarist system and the rapid cultural changes promised by the growth of industry, their response was to go back to the cultural roots of the people. The term Narodism comes from the word “narod”, a word equivalent to volk, which is a term familiar to most on the dissident right.

This is something relevant to this age. The technological revolution has allowed the managerial state to grow into something inconceivably massive. We live in an age in which there is little privacy. The eyes of the system are everywhere, even in our homes and in our private conversations. There is no way to escape the unblinking eye of the surveillance state. One force behind the current unrest is the growing sense that all of us are subject to the unwanted gaze of the managerial state.

Another aspect is the rise of the new class. Like the sudden appearance of the capital class in the industrial revolution, we suddenly have a new powerful class that gained its power and wealth through the capture of information. This new class did not get rich by building a better mouse trap. They got rich capturing an information bottleneck or a monopoly of some information service. Michael Bloomberg literally got rich from a monopoly on information to the financial service sector.

Another parallel to the Narodniks we are seeing is the “back to the people” approach by the various tribes on the dissident right. The Narodniks adopted the traditional clothing of the rural people and worked hard to portray themselves as the vanguard of the authentic Russian people. We see something like that on the dissident right. There is a desire to return to a more authentic way of living, rooted in local community. Like the Narodniks, the dissident right is more cultural than political.

The thing is though, the argument in favor of the Narodniks being reactionary falls apart when you look at their overall goals. They may have wanted to “return to the people” in a cultural and spiritual sense, but they did not want to return to a past system. Their program was a departure from the past and present. A proper way to describe what they imagined was something like a return to a point in the past and a do-over back to this point, but with a different set of choices.

This is something that kicks around the dissident right. There is an understanding that there is no going back. Even if you could restore things back to some point in the past when things were better, the roots of the present lie in that past. Liberal democracy is the fruit of American history. A do-over would most likely lead us right back to where we are now. In this regard, modern dissidents are more realistic than the Narodniks in that there is no idealized past or population at the center.

In this regard, civic nationalism is closer to modern reaction. They have created an idealized and largely fictional past. It was a series of innovation by their enemy that sent the country off course. They believe that if we just return to “our constitutional principles” everything will magically get back on the righteous path. Not only do they want to rip the past seventy years from the history books, but they would also like to remove all of the history that makes their imagined past plausible.

One last note on the Narodniks relative to this age. For the most part, the movement was a failure in that it failed to achieve any of its goals, other than the assassination of the Tsar in 1881. Their effort to educate and train the peasantry into a revolutionary force was a failure. The Narodniks were mostly urban intellectuals who had no understanding of the peasants. The assassination of the Tsar lost them whatever support they had among the people.

What they did, however, is lay the groundwork for what came next. Their idea of building an alternative base of power outside the system was adopted by 20th century revolutionary movements. Their tactics also informed others. Their organizational style and use of small group tactics were also a forerunner. Their ideas on generating debate outside what was allowed was an important contribution. They understood that the people needed to be reconditioned before they could challenge the system.

This is the final parallel to modern dissidents. Much of what goes on in dissident politics is a debate about challenging the prevailing orthodoxy. While we do not have peasants in the traditional sense, we do have them in a spiritual sense. Rewiring how they think of themselves and the system that created them, the “converting normie” thing, is an important part of dissident politics. Like the Narodniks, this must happen in small groups using non-traditional tactics to work around the system.

This is why the Narodniks and modern dissidents would fall outside the traditional definition of reactionary. The initial energy is a reaction to the changes in the culture brought about by rapid innovation, but there is no desire to return to the past. Instead, these movements are pre-reactionary and proto-revolutionary, a transition phase in the response to the current age. Dissident politics is a rejection of the modern and what created it, with a vague understanding of what comes next.


A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Social War In The Synopticon

Note: The regular Monday post Taki post is up. This week is a look at the vulgar circus we call Washington and the carny trash running it. There’s also some new content up behind the green door. This week I review the 1951 classic, A Place In The Sun.


When one takes a look at what is happening in the West, particularly the English speaking nations, the first thing to notice is the lack of vocabulary. Is this a civil war we are seeing or is it just cultural unrest? How should the sides be labeled? The people in charge of the institutions call themselves the resistance and their declared enemies are people devoid of any power, beyond numbers. Those people call themselves the silent majority, despite not being silent or a majority.

Just as the labels make little sense, the comparisons to fictional and historical examples do not hold up either. Is what we are experiencing like Orwell’s 1984? Not in any meaningful way. It may be closer to Huxley’s Brave New World, but our managerial class is nothing like the World State, in terms of intelligence and purpose. There is no Mustafa Mond in our ruling class. Similarly, the comparisons to authoritarian states of the past are nothing more than superficial.

While there is nothing new in this age with regards to the human condition and human relations, we live in a new age. Technological progress brought about by the microprocessor is changing the nature of human society. While Orwell could imagine a world where everyone is watched by the state, he could not imagine a world where everyone is watched by everyone. Huxley could imagine a highly ordered society controlled by a few; he could not imagine artificial intelligence.

That is the first bit of language that needs defining. The panopticon is a concept most know, as it is a trope in many movies. This is the world where a few watches the many, like in a prison. The guards use cameras, search lights and electronic detection devices to monitor the prisoners. The idea behind it is that the prisoners never really know if they are being watched at any moment, but they know that they could be watched at any moment, no matter where they are in the system.

America is now a synopticon. This is a term coined by Norwegian sociologist Thomas Mathiesen to describe a society in which the few are watched by many. While the panopticon is a one-to-many relationship, with the one being the controlling authority, the synopticon is a many-to-many relationship. Any one person can be watched by many, but also part of the many watching another. It is a world where everyone is an input devise, feeding what they hear and see into the system.

This is an important concept. It is a system. The people holding up their mobile phones and posting the results to their social media page are not operating as conscious agents of the state or any particular interest. They are just nodes on the system. The same is true of the various devices deployed to monitor behavior. The people installing them may have a reason, but that reason exists within the system itself. That surveillance video posted to the cloud is consumed by the synopticon as data.

Take a second to consider how many eyes are on you at any moment. If you own a modern automobile, it is tracking and reporting your driving habits. Your phone, of course, is tracking your whereabouts and the people you meet. CCTV cameras silently record your activity. Your web browser tracks your reading habits. The smart TV monitors your viewing habits. If you have one of the security devices or a smart home device, it is keeping tabs on you inside your home.

If you wanted to get a visual image of what your life is like in the synopticon, imagine a world where everyone is naked, lives in glass houses and can see that everyone is looking at everyone else. Now, imagine yourself observing that world and noticing that everyone is sure they are not, in fact, naked, living in a glass house and being watched all the time. In the panopticon, everyone knows they are being watched and by whom, but in the synopticon, people sense it, but do not see it.

Unlike the panopticon, where humans are looking for unacceptable behavior, in the synopticon the system does this on its own. For example, the system can examine the data coming in to model communities within society. Community detection algorithms can discover relationships within the complex nature of human societies. Further, it can begin to model those communities and predict behavior of the community, as well as the members of that community, from the data stream.

If you are at the top of the synopticon, this is useful technology as it allows you to reverse engineer social behavior that you wish to suppress. The vast database of human activity that is the synopticon can be used to analyze and understand the attachment members of a subculture have to one another. What commitment level exists among and between members. The value system that holds the group together and how it shapes their activity. This is called Social Bond Theory.

Another key concept to this new world is the social war. In agrarian and industrial societies, civil unrest leads to civil war or possibly revolution. A civil war is when factions within the elite draft the population into their dispute. A revolution is when a new elite rises up outside the old elite and attempts to overthrow them. A social war is one in which all participant groups can be at war with one another, but also in league with one another, for reasons they do not necessarily understand.

An example of this in the modern age is the Antifa phenomenon. They claim to be the heirs of Marxist anti-fascists, but they are not Marxists. They have no coherent ideology, beyond a juvenile form of anarchism. Their opposition is equally ephemeral, as there are no actual fascists in this age. Similarly, their sponsors are in a constant state of agitation, despite control of the institutions. The more they seem to control, the less control they feel they have and the greater their agitation.

What we are experiencing is a social war. Everyone in the system sense they are losing control of the social code that shapes behavior. They seek to regain control of that social code through the conventional means, but winning and losing those fights has no impact on their control of the culture. The imposition of bizarre new moral codes by the elite, for example, are a reaction to their sense of powerlessness. The growing bourgeois radicalism is also a reaction to the perceived loss of control.

That is the key here. A civil war is about control of the state. A revolution is about the same thing, with the added aspect of ideological conflict. A social war is about control of the social code, the invisible set of rules that govern human behavior. As the synopticon takes greater control of that code, the people inside find themselves at war with an invisible enemy, the system itself. This manifests as something like prison gang fights, where frustrations are directed at the visible, rather than the system.

The evolution of the synopticon appears to be a process, perhaps a runaway process, that has escaped the control of the creator. As the friction within society increases, as people are increasingly constrained by the social control systems, the synopticon evolves greater control. Modern society is looking like a boiling pot. The more it boils, the tighter the lid is drawn down. Inside, the increasingly aggressive and antagonistic conflict is causing the pot to boil more violently.

This is where we are now. It is not a Hobbesian war of all against all, but rather an increasing friction between members of society. This friction arises from their increasingly confined social space. It turns out that the old axiom about familiarity breeding contempt is true. Instead of a society becoming more cooperative as it becomes more integrated, it is becoming increasingly hostile. Meanwhile, the synopticon jams us all closer together, in all our hostile ugliness.


A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Let’s Go Backwards

Most people on this side of the great divide have concluded that the time for fixing what is broken in America has passed. The historical processes that have been unleashed by past error will just have to run their course. What comes after will be whatever the winners of the great struggle create. What if that is not true and there is a window to stop this process? What things could we do to break this cycle of madness that seems to have gripped the American empire?

One thing that should be done right away for no other reason than to slow things down is shutting off the mobile phone system. Humans evolved to interact with one another in person, not through the virtual reality of the mobile device. Everywhere you go you see people walking around like zombies, glued to their phone. It is like the drug soma from the novel Brave New World. The difference is this drug puts people into a trance in which their senses are bombarded with data that irritate them.

One reason we have become an outrage culture is outrage is the only way to get attention from others. In a world where people are linked to a constant stream of images and bursts of text, getting noticed means being outlandish of outrageous within those data streams. On the other hand, being glued to the data stream leaves little room for real human interaction and even less room for real emotion. Large swaths of the population only feel human when they are outraged by the stream.

This would not be as difficult to do as you might think. The rulers could impose a dollar per minute tax on the service. Sure, the wireless firms would fight it, but the government has tanks and men with guns. Shoot enough wireless executives and the rest either run away or fall in line. The firm slap of authority is best conveyed against the wall of the prison, after a quick trial. It was not that long ago when mobile charges were prohibitive and very few people could afford a mobile phone.

Similarly, the big social media platforms have become a problem. They are nothing more than cauldrons of human misery now. Again, it was not so long ago when these platforms did not exist. If we got rid of Facebook and Twitter, the world does not change in any important ways. People would simply migrate back to small private groups on-line or go outside again. Turning off the big social platforms would have an immediate positive impact on the psyche of the public.

Shutting these down would be easier than limiting the mobile device. Enforcement of Section 230 along with new privacy laws that prohibit them from harvesting your activity on-line would shut them down in weeks. Once they are subject to the same laws as everyone else and they cannot steal from their users, their business model would collapse in a hurry. Small platforms would still exist, but as labors of love or as small businesses run by one or two people with a narrow interest.

Another rollback would have to be the cameras. If you are out in public and have a heart attack or you are attacked by a criminal, people pull out their phones and begin taking pics of your suffering. They rather hope you die so they can get a video that will go viral. Combined with the cameras put up by the government and business, all of us now live in a synopticon. This is a world where all of us are individually monitored by all of us, a mass of camera wielding ghouls.

The solution here is your image is yours and you own it. Anyone possessing your image or distributing your image without your express permission is no different than someone trafficking in stolen goods. If someone wants to post your bad day on-line, they need your permission. The platform hosting it needs your permission. Otherwise, they are liable for possessing your property without your permission. This would also apply to security cameras. They can be used only in a courtroom.

This is not a novel concept. Many states still have laws on the books, for example, against filming a public road. Movie companies used to need permission to use video of people walking down a street. Your image used to be your property. A big part of what ails us is we have allowed the ownership of your information to fall into the public domain. Everywhere you go someone is taking pictures of you and you have no control over what they do with those images.

What is being proposed here, in effect, is rolling back the last 25 years of technological and economic change that no one contemplated, debated, or voted on. This all just evolved quickly before anyone could contemplate the impact. A generation long real-world experiment has proven it was a bad idea. We have created a world of outraged shut-ins and snitches. The only thing everyone agrees upon is that everyone hates the world they experience, either in reality or through their device.

Would people riot in the streets if their phones suddenly became useful only in emergencies as a way to call for help? Would there be protest marches over the loss of Facebook and YouTube? Would Zoomers begin forming militias when they can no longer video every moment of their life with their phone? Obviously not, as these things did not happen over Covid. In fact, people would adapt and maybe regrow the backbone and spirit needed to protest such things.


A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Who’s To Blame?

Note: The plugin I use for commenting broke for some unknown reason yesterday, which is why the comments disappeared. I disabled it so the default comment system is now running. it’s not great, but until the plugin is fixed, it will do.


Over the holidays, the great Jared Taylor was on one of the many live streams that pop up during the that time. He was asked if as a Southerner, he found some pleasure in seeing the statue toppling mobs now turning on statues of Lincoln. The irony of nonwhites going after Lincoln as a white supremacist is hard to miss. Taylor demurred, saying something along the lines that he abhorred any attacks on whites or white history, even if the person in question made war on his ancestors.

It was an interesting answer as it touches on the central problem of the current crisis we see playing out in America. Who’s to blame for it? The basic starting point of problem solving is to identify the problem and then identify the cause. When the mortgage market fell apart a decade ago, people blamed the bankers. Some people blamed the credit agencies or the regulators. There was plenty of blame to go around, so lots of people were blamed, but no one was punished.

In the case of the ongoing pogroms against white people, there is not much talk about who is responsible for it. Part of that is due to the prohibitions against white people talking about being white. One of the great ironies of this crisis is that the media is filled with invective about white people, but you will never see a white person start a sentence with “as a white person.” Whiteness is a thing that is only allowed to be a hobgoblin in the minds and mouths of the anti-whites.

Getting back to the Taylor example, he cannot laugh at the mob turning on Lincoln, because Lincoln was white, but that would apply to the mob as well. If the people doing the toppling are white, then the Taylor rule prevents a pro-white partisan from blaming them for it. An inescapable fact of the current crisis is the people leading the anti-white pogrom are often white or white presenting. Giving white people a pass on partisan grounds creates a problem when trying to assign blame.

This is why the anti-white pogroms have met so little resistance thus far. On the one hand you have the taboo against white people taking their own side. On the other hand, you have the face of the anti-white program being white or white presenting. If all of the anti-whites were black, then the problem of assigning blame would be simpler, but the leading anti-whites are almost always a pale face. The chief racketeer in the grievance rackets is a white woman named Robin DiAngelo.

The attacks on white people are just one example. The financialization of the economy starting in the 1980’s has created a massive wealth disparity. America now has an invisible over-class that owns almost all of the wealth. What they do not own directly, they control through what amounts to regulatory capture. They control the institutions that set the rules on how you can use your property. Inevitably, those rules favor the greed heads that control the financial system.

How did this happen? Who is responsible for it? Conservative will say that you cannot blame capitalism or free markets. Just like the taboo against whites taking their own side, they enforce a taboo against questioning the current economic order. Similarly, you cannot blame rich people, as that’s class warfare. If you do not like the rich people running things, get rich and challenge them. It is a version of build a better mousetrap so the world will beat a path to your door.

The Left side of the political class has an answer. They say the reason for the massive wealth disparity is white privilege and systemic racism. They focus on the white and white presenting faces running the corporations. This is a dangerous game for obvious reasons, so it is deliberately made absurd. The result, however, is white people are left with two choices when wondering who is to blame for this. They can either blame themselves or celebrate their dispossession.

This shape shifting that prevents the people from identifying the cause of the problems that plague their society is the result of democracy. When everyone has a vote, either in an election or in the economy, then everyone is to blame for the result. Don’t like woke capital? Don’t buy from it. Don’t like woke government? Don’t vote for it. The fact that no one actually voted for it or demanded it makes no difference. The blame for every problem is the imaginary neighbor who is demanding it.

This is one reason for the increasing unhappiness. It is not just the problems people can see all around them. It is the fact that there is no acceptable cause. People are left to blame themselves and their neighbors. If everyone is to blame, then everyone is the problem and everyone is in a war with everyone. The democratization of a society means the democratizing of blame. Self-hatred and self-loathing become the creed of the majority, with only the minorities are able to find a suitable enemy.

This is an unnatural condition as people are naturally inclined to find the source of their unhappiness and make that the focus of their anger. Eric Hoffer noted that “mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.” Get enough angry people together with the raw material for a shared identity and they will find their devil. This is what makes being in the ruling class a dangerous game right now. It is why they are stacking the sandbags so high.

This is usually where the conservative pops back in and says it is wrong to pin the blame on people when the problem is systemic. The thing is though, the people at the top of any society have a duty to the system that creates them. They are the stewards of the system. The ruling elite of our liberal democracy are responsible for economic and cultural troubles underlying the current crisis. It is their failure to do their duty as a ruling elite that has led us to this point. They are to blame.


A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Feudal Excess

The paleoconservative thinker, Sam Francis, developed the concept of anarcho- tyranny, which is when the state tyrannically regulates citizens’ lives yet is unable or unwilling to perform the basics of rule. For example, the government put speed cameras and red-light cameras up, in order to catch small violations, but if your car gets stolen, the cops will not bother looking for it. The tyranny is the micromanagement of the good citizens while driving. The anarchy is ignoring the car thieves.

It is a great framing because it is both true and easily validated. It is one of those observations that reminds us that conservatism was not always a collection of toadies and flunkies validating the latest Progressive fads. The Right used to have smart and thoughtful men genuinely concerned with the direction of Western society. They also had the courage to honestly examine what was happening. In other words, the current crisis did not sneak up on us like the fog.

Putting that aside, the paleos focused mainly on the management side of things with regards to anarcho-tyranny. Police departments are an easy example, but a similar process happened with regulatory agencies, large corporations, the academy, and the mass media. In fact, they saw these as tectonic plates of the ruling class that were slowly converging. Of course, this is what has happened. All of the power centers are occupied with the same sorts of people.

Something similar seems to have happened to the political class. It used to be that politicians spent a lot of time pretending to know the issues so they could connect with their voters. The old expression was that all politics were local. What that mean was the politicians needed to spend time among their voters, discussing the issues that concerned them. This was especially true of representative. Congressman put a heavy emphasis on being back in their districts.

You do not have to go back to far when it was rare for a politician to talk about big ideas or abstract concepts. Presidents, when giving national speeches would blather on about the meaning of America or the importance of patriotism. The rest stuck to things like making the roads better, fixing up the schools and helping business. The Democrats would talk about worker rights, in the context of higher wages. The Republicans would talk about less regulation so business could succeed.

In the 1990’s, a common thing was the town hall meeting, which was not really a town hall meeting. It was an expression for when the representative would show up in his district and take questions from his voters. This was the chance for the politician to show how much he cared about the local issues. The way he did that was by having a detailed knowledge of the facts. If someone asked about the roads, he knew all the bills and bond issues related to road repair.

This is no longer the case. In fact, the last time you are likely see your representative in person is when they are running as a challenger. Once they win office, they become an avatar on-line and on television. They never venture out among the people and the old town hall idea no longer exists. For a while they did conference calls, but now they are staged Zoom sessions with actors asking questions. In fact, Congress could now be doing its thing on a sound stage in Hollywood and no one would know.

On top of that, the avatars now talk in riddles. They lurch from one emotional crisis to the next, speaking about it in a creepy overwrought language. Minor misstatements are described as “horrendous” and “terrifying.” The primary feature of our politics now is that every ant is an elephant, and no one dares speak about the herd of elephants standing in the room. Anarcho-tyranny in politics results in emotionally charged drama over abstract concepts and ruthless ignorance of anything specific.

This is one reason the political class flew into a panic when Trump came along in the 2016 election. For all his bombast, he was talking about real things in practical terms that actually matter to people. When he spoke of immigration, he talked about rapists crossing the border and illegal aliens killing citizens. Trade was about China ripping off the country and reducing wages in the process. Trump was a throwback to the old-style politicians and that terrorized the current politicians.

This is something else the paleos touched on, but never fully explored. The managerial state not only becomes self-serving as it matures, but it also becomes inward looking, a self-contained culture. Once it becomes class-aware, as we are seeing today, it becomes rapidly insular. The dual purposes are the moral signifiers inside the system and maintaining the barrier between those inside and those outside. These work in concert to further isolate the system from the general society.

This is why our politicians sound increasingly deranged. Not sounding like normal people is very important inside the system. Who they are is not us, so they are constantly looking for ways to signal that to one another. This is why they are now barricading themselves into a green zone in Washington. Most likely, this will begin to happen at the state level. Americans will be ruled by pod people living and operating inside special zones guarded by razor wire and armed men.

The last phase of anarcho-tyranny may turn out to look something like colonial occupation, where the people in charge live in fortified towns. They use their control of the system to maintain the illusion of power, but in reality, it is all just a very expensive drama that has no practical impact, beyond the cost. The practical aspects of life are handled by corporations and ad hoc associations. Managerialism brings us full circle to a firm of feudalism with material excess.


A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


 

The Bad Faith Society

Note: The weekly Taki post is up here. It somewhat ties into the post below. Behind the green door is a new post on the 1960 classic, The Apartment. This was my first viewing, so I was surprised to like it, even thought I did not get any of the jokes.


When two parties attempt to negotiate a deal, the starting assumption is both sides actually want a deal. That is not always the case, but if one side thinks the other side is not coming to the table in good faith, they are wise to break off negotiations. For starters, they are wasting their time, since there is no deal to be had. Second, a party that starts a negotiation with a lie is going to keep lying. If you cannot trust anything they are saying, or their intentions, you cannot reason with them.

A simple example of this is car buying. When a person walks onto the lot, the salesman is trained to look for the signs that the person is just a tire kicker. He may profile him based on his appearance. A young guy looking at expensive sedans is probably not a serious buyer, for example. He will ask questions to determine if the person is serious about buying a car and willing to entertain an offer. The point is, he is determining if the other side is open to reason and ready to bargain in good faith.

This is the heart of any negotiation. Both sides have to start with the belief that the other side is amenable to reason and is bargaining in good faith. They may have different goals and very different ways of negotiating, but both sides have to be open to reason and come to the table in good faith. In other words, both sides want to find a deal that satisfies both sides. Otherwise, both sides are just wasting their time and perhaps harming their own interests in the process.

This is also the basis for popular government, which is nothing more than a long public negotiation. The various interests in a society have their goals regarding the issues they see as important and they work the process that is setup for hashing out the particulars and promoting their case. The public is both the referee and a counterparty. They make their voice heard throughout the process. The politicians are the hired negotiators, tasked with hashing out a compromise that satisfies the majority.

Like the simple deal between two parties, the democratic process relies on all sides being reasonable and operating in good faith. Sure, there are always bad actors trying to fool the public or game the process. The system, through elections, debates, public hearings, and investigations, is supposed to flush out the bad actors or at least correct what they have done after it is discovered. It may not be pretty, but the point is for reasonable people acting in good faith to reach a compromise.

What happens when the parties are not open to reason and they are not operating in good faith when they bargain? In a business negotiation, this often results in one side or the other breaking of negotiations. One side sees that the other is lying or up to shenanigans, so they stop wasting their time. This happens a lot, so firms train their people to look for the signs, so they do not waste their time. The most valuable commodity is time so you cannot waste it on bad deals.

In a democratic system of government, there are supposed to be rules to punish those who do not argue in good faith. Politicians who take bribes, for example, are removed from office and sent to prison. Interests that misrepresent themselves or defraud the public see their interests destroyed as a way to discourage the practice. There are laws that allow the media and the public to examine the claims of the various parties in order to root out corruption and deception. That is the theory, leastways.

That is clearly not where America is right now. Liberal democracy has evolved into one giant game of liar’s poker. Much like the financial markets, the big players in the system no longer have respect for the spirit of the rules. They never come to any deal in good faith and they are never open to reason. They want to “win” the deal by getting all of what they want at the expense of the other parties. In modern liberal democracy, no one is acting in good faith and no one is open to reason.

It is not just the big interests gaming the system. The system itself has been gamed to the point where only a sucker operates in good faith. The politicians, instead of operating as brokers and negotiators, are middlemen facilitating the looting of the system by the big players. Public debate is now a game of shadows, because the mass media lies about everything and is always pushing an agenda on behalf of the big players or their politicians working on their behalf.

Of course, the old adage about always knowing who the sucker in the room is when in a room full of sharps applies here. In the great hall that is where negotiations happen in a liberal democracy, the monied interests, the politicians, the media, and the shadowy players of the permanent ruling class put on a negotiating show. The public, until very recent, was never sure who was being conned by the grifters. As the saying goes, they were always the sucker in the system.

This is the heart of the current crisis. The reason the financial markets keep needing bailouts is because everyone inside that system is a liar. No one comes to a deal in good faith and no one is willing to reason with the other side. Everyone is trying to take advantage of everyone else. In a system of zero social trust, entropy is inevitable, which in human systems means collapse. This is why the financial markets careen from crisis to crisis, needing bailouts from the public.

Liberal democracy is mirroring the financial markets. This makes perfect sense, as the entire culture has been financialized. Republican virtue was removed from the official system long ago. What remained of it with the general public went away with the events of the last few years. America now finds itself in a world where no one acts in good faith and no one is open to reason. We have reached the point where we need a bailout, but there is no bailout for a liberal democracy that fails.


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