(I have completely recast part 1: Meditations on First (Reactionary) Philosophy (or Why Modern Life is Rubbish). It is a long essay which establishes many of the claims made here in a much more systematic and detailed way. Furthermore, it contains a comprehensive set of books, links and recommendations. You can see it here: https://darkreformation101.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/the-dark-reformation-part-1-modern-life-is-rubbish/
Furthermore, the reader may wish to see the related entries:
Finally, I am also recasting my second part (Democracy) in which I plan to provide a scholastic style commentary on Hoppe’s democracy and Kuehelt-Leddihn Equality or Liberty. My next part will be on Reactionary Dialectics and Rhetoric. )
In this part, we will sketch out and consider the basic objections to the New Structure: Neo-Royalism. Here, I present two models: a secular, minimalist design, and a religious (Catholic) design. In addition, we will consider the training and selection of leaders.
1: Basic Design
2: God or Nature’s God?
3: The Leadership Schools and Leader Selection Mechanisms.
4: Objections and Replies.
1: Basic Design
Aristotle, in The Politics, said that there are three kinds of government: monarchy, aristocracy, and polity (mixed constitution).
These three forms of government have their shadows: tyranny, oligarchy and democracy.
Neo-Royalism is a kind of monarchy. Not the constitutional, sham-monarchies (such as present-day England), but an absolute monarchy. Decisions are (ultimately) vested in one person — the king.
In an absolute monarchy, the king has complete command and control (formal and actual power) over the whole system (institutions, people and property). He is the ultimate judge, the last court of appeal, the person vested with ultimate and absolute responsibility; as it said on the desk of Harry Truman: “the buck stops here.”
This is royalism.
The problem with royalism was that A: It was often based on heredity succession. B: The successor — usually the son — was often not up to snuff. C: The responsibility mechanism was subject, ultimately, to the personal whims and fancies of the king.
Nevertheless, despite these well-known problems that even a child (with a democratic, progressive education) could effortlessly cite, the advantages of this system was that it was often coherent, responsible and efficient. For example, consider Augustus, Aurelius, Elizabeth I, Frederick the Great, Catherine the Great as rulers of this type. In the last century, “monarchs” such as Deng Xiaoping and Lee Kuan Yew, proved what a strong, rational and capable individual could achieve with a modern state.
So, where does the prefix “neo” come from then?
Moldbug’s idea is to combine absolute monarchy with the joint-stock corporation. A corporation has a single leader — a Chief Executive Officer — who is responsible for the key decisions (like with virtually all human organisations except for, curiously, current Western governments).
The purpose of a joint-stock corporation is, of course, profit. All governments —except tyranny —have, in Mosca’s sense, a “political formula” that serves to justify their power. History affords many examples of different formulas: Divine Right, Liberal democracy, Marxism, Islam’s Caliphate, and Confucianism etc. All of these formulas proclaim that they are true, good, useful and necessary. In the end, they are often vague and subjective — or sheer nonsense. The formula — the purpose — of a corporation, meanwhile, is clear, simple and quantifiable — profit for shareholders.
A government is a business; it provides customers with a service. It is, as Moldbug helpfully says, a “real estate enterprise.” It reduces to the management of land, resources and humans, in short capital.
Good governance, in large part, reduces to the following maxim: banish the barbarians and the best will come. The first principle is to provide good customer service by enforcing law and order and establishing and enforcing contracts. Good service attracts more customers, great service attracts a greater number of customers; more customers means more rent. More rent means more profit. More profit means more shareholder satisfaction. As a result, the value of the share price grows, which then attracts more investors and more investors means more resources. More resources will allow the state to provide better — more effective and efficient — customer service. Better service, again, attracts even more customers: thus a virtuous spiral.
Contrast that virtuous spiral with the vicious one of democracy. Modern democracy attracts barbarians and exploits, silences, banishes or kills its best. Law and order is breaking down and terrorism is on the rise. The state thus expands its power and reach, but because it is so bloated and internally divided, it cannot take effective and efficient action. Furthermore, government spending and debt continue to expand, and the tax-payer foots the bill or the government borrows more money and thus increases its national debt. Mass immigration and the outsourcing of jobs harm the lower and middle-classes thus causing friction (ethnic and religious tensions — which, of course, allows the state more power and control.) Diversity, equality and tolerance are promoted as a way of dividing and conquering the lower and middle classes. Welfare, furthermore, is used as a vote-buyer. State-provided education, meanwhile, becomes more and more politicised, but not effective in terms of knowledge or skills. More and more young, bright and enterprising people leave while more and more people go on welfare. As a result, taxes and or borrowing increases. Because of welfare, culture and the capitalist work ethos, people don’t start families or are soon broken up (no fault divorce) if they marry and thus demographics goes over a cliff. The middle-class, as a result, is further hollowed out. All the while crime, poverty and other social pathologies increase. Consequently, political tensions start to rise. Low-level political violence begins. Social order starts to break down even more. Then, we get to the stage where political paramilitary units form. The two political factions of left and right, consequently, move towards their inevitable final form: Communism and Fascism. The ultimate victory of one or the other must happen via mass violence or mass oppression – the results of either are clear— as history shows.
This is the inevitable fate of current Western civilisation — unless some third kind of alternative is presented and implemented. And that is the two fundamental arguments — the failure of democracy and the success of capitalism and absolute sovereign authority (which is rational) — for Neo-Royalism.
The Conditions for Successful Neo-Royalism
1: A patchwork of Neo-Royalist cities and or states.
2: A voluntary contract between sovereign and subject.
3: The right of exit.
The system’s structure of incentives, meanwhile, is: profit.
Let’s take each one in turn.
The patchwork is a political free market. Various cities and states exist; whose purpose, assuming vanilla Neo-Royalism, is to attract customers and investors.
To sign up, to use, to become a resident of a Neo-Royalist state one enters (upon adulthood) into a voluntary contract — like joining a gym; purchasing car insurance; joining a company; joining the Army or becoming a lawyer. The written contract clearly, and with as much detail as necessary, stipulates the rules and regulations and the rights and responsibilities of provider and patron.
Exit is also simple to understand. Don’t like the food in a restaurant? Think your insurance premiums are too high? Think your internet bill is too expensive? Then-go-somewhere-else.
The right of exit is the key, fundamental right (assumed axiom) in the Neo-Royalist system.
The main idea is to apply the idea of a free market to cities and states or communities (secular, religious or ethnic). These three conditions, if met and maintained, are necessary to guarantee success. For sure, a democrat will attack these conditions. However, by way of reply, we can also stipulate that democracies require a set of necessary conditions in order to function (as they must claim).
Let’s now look at the key incentive of the system.
THE PROFIT MOTIVE
The purpose of a joint-stock corporation is profit for shareholders. This, as noted earlier, essentially means management of land and human resources.
2: God or Nature’s God?
I believe this system can be adapted to all cultures, religions and philosophical systems. For example, we could imagine communist patches, anachro-capitalist cities, Islamic cities, Confucian cities, Catholic cities, black cities, white cities, Asian cities, multi-cultural cities etc etc.
While, in my view, some cities will “do better” —in different metrics — some will likely fail and some will succeed. There are, however, attractions to marketing this system as a solution in search of a problem. This system has the potential to end political struggle, conflict, and violence — better than our current world order anyway. All parties — progressives, conservatives, religious and secular — trade in scale (the size or extent of their power) for greater concentration and coherence. No more compromises, no more maladaptive trade-offs. Each system (religious or secular) will have free reign to pursue their ideals.
Does this idea — religions adopting this system for religious reasons — not contradict the central incentive of profit?
My idea is to combine Moldbug’s system with religious ideology in order to market the idea to religious people and idealistic people.
Moldbug is a materialist, while not overly hostile to religion, it is clear he is an atheist — and a libertarian one. However, many reactionaries (it seems to me) are religious — Catholic in particular.
My idea then is this: why not float religions and philosophical systems on the stock market?
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Man does not live by bread alone — but he must eat. Philosophy bakes no bread, and ideas don’t all by themselves bring in the bacon. Religions have a history, a tradition, and are often focused on the future. Most religions also encourage their members to procreate and prosper. Modern life, has, however, for Westerners, Japanese, Koreans and soon for the Chinese, been a disaster for their demographics. Religion, it seems to me, is better able to encourage the human race to continue to exist — as opposed to secular philosophies. However, on the other hand, religions motivate individuals to sometimes do things that are irresponsible and imprudent. Intentions and ideals are not enough: consequences are ultimately what matters. The “for profit” incentive structure — aligned to secular and religious forms of life — is what provides the necessary reality check.
There are other advantages to this idea, however. Firstly, it overcomes what I perceive to be a split within reactionaries along the religious/secular axis. Maybe I am wrong, but I think many religious reactionaries don’t like the “crude” “reductive” “godless” or “unheroic” idea of a joint-stock corporation. However, if we combine ideas and profit, we can overcome this. I think it will sell better.
Furthermore, all religions are interested, if only instrumentally, in wealth. My proposal then simply clarifies and simplifies this necessary need. Religions and ways of life need money: for buildings, for priests, for education, for charity. Floating a religious city, say, on the stock market incentivises that religious city to be not only pious but profitable. More profit more means to piety. More piety, more profit. It can attract investors, because religion, at its best, encourages long-term thinking.
Furthermore, it incentivises religious cities to be not only spiritually but materially successful. Safe and secure, good schools, a clean environment, a hospitable culture, a strong sense of community and high trust among its members.
The Purpose, Structure and Design Of Neo-Royalism
Here, I will outline a minimalist (vanilla) Neo-Royalist system; then I will scale the model up to a religious one.
To recap, a government is like a business — it is a business and should be structured like one. It is, essentially, a real estate enterprise. The purpose then is profit. It makes a profit by offering good customer service. The customers enter into a voluntary contract and pay rent instead of tax. If they don’t like the service, they can leave.
The prime duty of a government to its customers is security — the protection of life, liberty and property (This is Hobbes’s key concern). This requires eliminating any and all threats to its customers. This requires border control, control of who enters, and which groups of people can subscribe to its services. This is easily done via the contract. For example, if say, group A refuses to accept the principle of respecting life, liberty and property, then they will be refused entry and service. If they agree, but then intentionally violate the contract, then they will be either fined, imprisoned, and or permanently expelled.
As for internal security, Hans Herman Hoppe has argued that internal security (preventing, detecting and apprehending criminals) would be better served by private security companies. Thus, the sovereign could allow various cities, towns, and villages to hire private security companies (using insurance) in order to provide the necessary security. In other words, a free market of private security would exist and the sovereign would simply act as the regulator.
The next task of the sovereign is to regulate and enforce contracts. The principle of justice here is that agreements must be respected. Individuals, families, churches, charities and businesses contract with the sovereign. They lease property, take up residence, construct churches, open businesses etc. The sovereign or his appointed magistrates are there to adjudicate disputes that arise. This is simply a matter of applying the principles of the contract deductively. However, if the contract does not offer clear guidance in a particular case, then the magistrate issues a ruling — discretionary judgement. The sovereign, however, is the last court of appeal.
That’s it. The sovereign provides order, security and enforcement of contracts. This is the conditions upon which private enterprise can operate which produces prosperity. Everything else — education, healthcare, scientific and technological research — can be left to the private sector.
That’s vanilla or libertarian Neo-Royalism. Let’s scale the model up one to a more complex system: Catholicism.
We begin with a Catholic king and or queen. Either this is a Cathcorp (a religion which floats on the stock-market); or, it abandons the profit motive and moves to an absolute Catholic monarchy. The sovereign is sovereign either through the heredity principle or, like with the Pope, he is elected. Who elects the king? A College of Cardinals elects the Pope. So, Cardinals, bishops and priests elect the new king, or a Catholic laity (a board of wise men), or he is elected by a mixed group (religious and lay). Like with the Pope, the king is king until he is dead, or abdicates. Finally, one possibility, like with the later Roman emperors, a King could “adopt” his successor
Now, the King has the same interests in security and territorial integrity as our libertarian king — though the Catholic king may wish to have an exclusively Catholic police and military force. However, unlike with our libertarian king, the Catholic king has a moral and spiritual interest in his subjects. Thus, the king will sponsor chapels, monasteries, nunneries and —most especially — schools. Furthermore, the king will be most interested in promoting good Catholic family life. Thus, a traditional, family orientated life will be paramount. The king will support marriage, procreation and fidelity. This will be done via the contract. However, it will be the faith of the people, the preaching of the priests, and potent social shaming that will make these things so.
A Catholic king, will, however, take an interest in the culture. Virtue will be promoted and vice will be suppressed. This means that art and culture that is contrary to Catholic teaching will be suppressed or eliminated. However, it may be possible that the King will permit some vice — because it will serve to remind people of the viciousness of vice and act as a test — to resist temptation.
The Catholic king, while permitting a certain amount of free-enterprise, will look at such material pursuits as physically necessary but not morally, socially or spiritually sufficient. Thus, the Catholic king will not be an unapologetic supporter of capitalism and consumerism. Men need bread, and work provides bread and allows men to feel purpose and provide for their families —which prevents them from falling into indolence or criminality. This means then, that the Catholic king will not blindly follow “economic logic” but will regulate enterprise so that all men can work in order to care for families.
The final purpose, I presume, of a Catholic King, and our Catholic state is for the subjects to be a good Catholic in a good Catholic community. The Catholic king, therefore, is like a father, a Shepard, in charge of the physical and spiritual care of his flock.
I am not a Catholic, but I believe this is a sincere and plausible portrait of a Catholic community under Royalism — Neo or otherwise.
Now, extend this model to all religions: Islam with a Caliphate or kings, and Protestantism with kings.
What about Progressivism? Well, they don’t go in much for kings, but they can have a Chairman instead – Chairman Chomsky perhaps.
Hence, we arrive at patchwork — Moldbug’s vision of world peace. Each community, group, religion, and political ideology is secure in their “patch”. The friction and uncertainty, the violence, lies and deceits of Democracy, Communism, Fascism, and Progressivism are therefore eliminated.
As Moldbug says, the task is not a moral one, but an engineering one.
To recap: the central goal is to reduce violence to a minimum and promote peaceful, voluntary cooperation. This requires rational, stable, coherent and pro-active government.
2: The Leadership Training and Selection Mechanisms
Here I will present some thoughts on the training and selection of leaders for the New Structure.
A General Outline:
1: Genetic testing to identify high IQ and other, technology permitting, personality and leadership traits.
2: Place the children, by permission of the parents, into elite leadership schools.
3: Rigorous, competitive, education in all necessary knowledge regarding leadership. (See the previous instalment).
4: Leadership exercises — “role plays” and project management — throughout their early years.
5: Apprenticeships. Place the pupils with quality, experienced leaders so that they see what leadership is like up close and personal.
6: Rigorous, frequently held, highly competitive examinations and other appropriate tests.
7: Graduation and then placement into low-ranking positions. Placements could include the military and security services; private enterprises and public services. The candidates should, perhaps, spend ten years in a profession in order to obtain mastery.
8: During their decade-long apprenticeship in a profession, they should regularly attend leadership courses and political science classes; furthermore, they should network with other professionals in other areas. This allows them to build up a systematic understanding of the many areas that will be relevant later on in their political career.
9: Transition to political leadership. Candidates will begin with 1-2 years of shadowing (perhaps as an aid or assistant) of a leader.
10: Candidates will then be placed in charge of, in order of complexity, villages, towns, counties, cities, states and then countries.
At each step, their performance will be assessed with analytical precision. They will not be allowed to progress if their performance is unsatisfactory. Thus, the candidates will progress on the basis of:
1: Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom.
3: Moral Virtue.
4: Results. (Profit, which results from customer satisfaction).
This process will weed out the sociopathic narcissists such as Antony Blair and Barack Obama (and Trump); incompetents such as George W Bush, David Cameron, Hollande and Merkel, and, especially, monsters such as Stalin, Mao and Hitler.
The question now, is, who selects the candidates?
To begin with, any family can apply for their children to be selected for leadership school. An independent scientific laboratory should do the genetic testing. Then, they can apply to independent schools. Schools, such as the leadership schools, should (like all schools) be run for profit. This encourages competition and competition will lead to innovation and excellence. Schools will, naturally, compete against one another to train the best leaders because doing so brings them prestige (and great joy) to see former pupils become leaders. Of course, if a school acquires a good reputation for training leaders, they will gain more potential customers. This will increase their profits and enhance reputation; again, a virtuous spiral.
For the next stage in the candidate’s evolution, I will call The Board. The Board has one task: place the candidate into a relevant profession. The candidates will, of course, express their preferences; they will be well aware of their strengths, weaknesses and desired pathways. The Board will merely give advice and help them find their place — it is the candidates choice, though they will have to pass other relevant tests to gain entry into their chosen profession.
The candidates will then be placed into their profession. They will serve ten years. Every year, however, they will be assessed by Human Resources (HR). The task of HR is to answer one question: are they leadership material?
It will be the task of HR to spot talent, identify strengths and weakness, exploit strengths and overcome or eliminate weaknesses in the candidates.
At the end of the ten-year period, HR will make a recommendation to the sovcorp CEO, managers and board of directors. The question is: yes or no? Will the candidates be allowed to enter the “course of honours”?
Candidates can, of course (indeed, they will be required), to undergo an examination, write a political essay, and plead their case. However, some set of judges — or the ultimate judge (Sovereign/CEO) — will make the judgment: acceptance or rejection.
If the candidates are accepted, then they begin — with limited responsibility and close monitoring; their scope and scale of responsibility will increase gradually and proportionately to their talents and achievements.
At each level, there will be fewer and fewer management and leadership posts. Competition will thus be tough. In theory, only the best will ascend.
Ultimately, it is the sovereign, and then the board of directors, who have the last call. However, the process must be rigorous, formalised (as much as necessary) and transparent.
The HR A team and B team will make reports on the candidates. This will include their knowledge, experience, virtuous behaviour and, of course, their results. The candidates will be interviewed, present their case, cite recommendations etc. Then, either the sovereign or a sovereign appointed person or body will make the decision. This decision must be justified in writing and presented to The Board for assessment. This is so because it will prevent favouritism, cronyism and the sovereign building up a power-base. At each level, there will be the necessary check: is this profitable? If anyone behaves irresponsibly or slyly they will be discovered and punished or expelled.
Thus, the best: the true, the good and the useful will rise to the top.
SELECTING THE SOVEREIGN
How should the sovereign be selected?
In the Roman Republic, they had what was called the “course of honours.” The “course” was the pyramid of power. In order to become Proconsul, you must first become Consul. To become consul, you must first become Praetor and so on.
Something similar occurs in modern day China. For example, Xi Jinping, is China’s current paramount leader. However, before he became the President and Chairman, he was the boss of Shanghai; before that, he was the governor of Fujian province. Thus, Xi had to slowly climb the pyramid of power; what’s interesting is that becoming successful in the CPC involves, to a great degree, how economically successful one is in management — of a town, city or province.
The point is: before holding the highest rank of power, the men and women gain experience and are judged by their peers and superiors in the art of ruling.
Contrast this, by way of example, with the UK. Before Antony Blair was Prime Minister he was leader of the opposition. The leader of the opposition does not have any ruling experience in the affairs of state. All the leader of the opposition has to do is plot and plan how to make the government look bad in the eyes of the press, and persuade people of his ability to lead. This is a job for a salesman — not a sovereign.
Furthermore, Blair and his government relied heavily on “spin doctors” and wooing the media in order to gain power. What experience had Blair, or any of the Labour politicians, in running a country? None whatsoever; indeed, as they later publicly admitted, they spent the first term just learning how to govern!
Before Blair was leader of the opposition, he was an MP. Being a MP consists in listening to complaints of the public in surgeries and making phone calls in order to let other people know about the problems. An MP is hardly a job that requires great intelligence or virtue – except the ability to look and sound good. Before being an MP, Blair was trained as a lawyer.
What were the results of Blair’s government? A disastrous war in Iraq; financial meltdown (that occurred after Blair left; a huge increase in Muslim migrants; devolution in Scotland and Northern Ireland — which causes more complexity and ineffective government; a massive increase in “cultural Marxism”; hardly a good record. But then, what do we expect from democracy and party hacks that are inexperienced — but “well-intentioned” — in what they are doing.
The same can be said of David Cameron. Cameron, who called himself the “heir to Blair” was a PR man (a bullshit artist) before he became an MP. He became Prime Minister because (in my opinion) he looked and sounded good on TV and would, furthermore, “detoxify” the “Tory scum” brand — essentially he carried on the “middle-way” policies of Blair.
Cameron has been a disaster of a Prime Minister. He was pivotal in the attack on Libya. He also made the mistake of offering to stage a vote on the EU, which he did not expect to honour because he did not expect to win an outright majority in the 2015 national election. When he won the election, he was, consequently, forced to hold the election. The vote and its decision (which I happen to agree with) to leave the EU has split the Kingdom, which may well result in a constitutional crisis because Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. Furthermore, his weak performance during the Scottish referendum almost saw the break-up of the United Kingdom.
The Chinese critique of UK and US politics is that these Presidents and Prime Ministers would not even be a mayor in China — never mind the leader of a country with nuclear weapons. This critique is true, and it is utterly damning of the Modern Structure.
If the Neo-Royalist system were to be applied, to say, America, then a course of honours could run like the following:
Before becoming CEO of New America, the CEO would have served ten years as a regional director of, say, New California. Before serving as RD, this CEO to be would be mayor of a city such as New York for six years. Before that, our CEO would possibly be a deputy mayor or a county manager for three years. Before that, we have a number of options. Perhaps he was a town mayor or was a town or city manager of schools, hospitals or security. And before that, perhaps, the CEO served in the military, or was a judge, or was a private sector manager, or even a lawyer.
Who, ultimately, selects the sovereign?
Answer: the board of directors.
The point here is that there is a well-defined path to power, one based on clear criteria of results. This is completely unlike our current system where experience and good judgement are neither rewarded nor required.
3: Objections and Replies
The democratic mind is taught to fear the idea of power being invested in one person. The central objection to the idea of a king or a CEO will be the same from a Chomsky to a child: tyranny. Two other, quickly imagined, objections would be genocide and slavery. There are other objections — such as a hostile takeover, which we will consider—but these will be the common ones.
By way of reply, as a general strategy, I offer a challenge: list all of your objections and see if they do not apply to democracy as well. This strategy turns the tables on the opponent and nullifies their attack.
Democracies — forms of government that come from the people — have been tyrannous, warlike and repressive. Napoleon became consul for life, then emperor via a plebiscite. The Nazis got into the Reichstag via the ballot box. The decline of England into socialism began in 1945 via the election of the Labour Party. The massacres of Kosovo and Bosnia got going as a result of democratisation. Part of the problems in present day Iraq result from installing democracy into an already traumatised, oppressed, deeply tribal and sectarian culture — who were then forced to fight for power. Democracies have committed genocide (Rwanda), war crimes (the Allies fire-bombing and use of nuclear weapons in WW2), ethnic cleansing (currently being committed against whites, Christians and Jews in Europe and America —though, a slow, stealth one – see my Part 1 for the argument). As the ancient philosophers, and even the American fathers understood —and as history shows —democracies ultimately become “turbulent” and monstrous.
We can believe that history is over. We can believe that the current Western system is the apex of history. We can believe that there is no other alternative. Or, we can make the case that things can be different.
All the Neo-Royalist has to show is that their system is better (not perfect or faultless) than the current system —the Modern Structure. It is risky — very much so — but sometimes risks must be taken. When the stakes become high enough — consider Jews in Nazi Germany, or today’s Christians in the Middle East, or middle-class whites, Christians and Jews in America or Europe today — then confronting and challenging the horror of mass political violence is the only problem worth worrying about.
The general positive answer, in favour of Neo-Royalism, is that given a set of conditions, and the proper structure of incentives, tyranny, genocide and slavery will almost certainly never occur. Can the same be said of democracy?
THE “SLAVERY” OBJECTION
Imagine a CEO ordering his security personnel to put shock collars on everyone, then, once collared, they are pumped full of cognitive enhancing drugs; they are then subjected to one “hour of power” (every day) of Antony Robbins; finally, they are then worked from dusk till dawn, from Monday to Sunday. Shirkers receive electric shocks and the old are simply broken down for compost recycling. (Consider Robert Nozick’s “utility monsters”).
Firstly, ask yourself, what is stopping a democracy doing this one day in the future? How does this scenario compare with the fact that democracies have in the past (and are again — see Germany — ) practising (or might, again, practice) such things as military conscription, political persecution of opponents, and exercising ever tighter control of thought, speech and word? Obviously, these things are different, but the creep of Carlyle’s “red tape” and soul crushing socialism exists and will expand.
We have quite a few examples of peaceful, prosperous and substantially free non-liberal democracies — China; Never-mind Hong Kong, or Singapore.
China, for example, places political opponents under house arrest (such as its noble prize winner, Liu Xiaobo) and has extremely tight control of the media (China has its own Cathedral); however, China neither practices slavery, genocide or mass murder. The reason why is simple: it would not be profitable.
The second reply is that, if the external structure exists — patchwork — then state-sanctioned mass killings, pogroms or slavery would have no incentive because people (the source of profit) would simply leave. Furthermore, dystopian and insane developments are long-telegraphed (consider the Nazis or the Communists); people — or at least those with foresight — would be able to see the warning signals, and would therefore leave. Mass cults of death do not simply spring up from nowhere; there is usually an ideology and a set of cultural, political and economic conditions behind it.
For example, in modern France, Jews are now starting to leave. They know that they are not safe and that the French government cannot protect them. Literally, the writing is on the wall for the Jews in France, given Islamic theory and practice —in history and today.
The third reply is that a tyranny would depress those who must administer it. For those who are not enslaved — or treated cruelly — there would be fear that they too would become enslaved. Depressed workers are not productive workers. If this sounds weak, then consider the fifth reply.
The fourth reply is that tyranny and mass death would be a PR disaster for the patch. Other patches would likely refuse to trade with it, possibly even going to war with it because they would fear the growth of this malignant state.
The fifth reply concerns the structure of the Neo-Royalist state; here I want to clear up a possible confusion. The Neo-Royalist state (at least the vanilla version) should be small, strong and efficient. Think of the sovereign/CEO as the owner of a sky scraper or a shopping mall, or some piece of real estate. The owner is responsible for maintaining the property, leasing, and keeping out the undesirables. The sovereign is like an owner who rents — or delegates — out the land to other businesses. And it is these businesses that will actually employ the bulk of people. So, it is a confusion to think that the sovereign is in control of the entire economy and workforce as in a centrally planned economy.
If, say, a business wanted to subject their employees to the electric shock collar treatment, the sovereign would have an obligation to intercede because, we assume, it would be in violation of the basic agreement that the patron (the subject, customer) signed with the service provider (the sovereign).
To make this clear, consider the following scenario. Suppose Xi Lin wants to go live and work in New San Francisco (NSF). The sovereign of NSF requires all service users to sign a contract which establishes both party’s rights and responsibilities. Xi’s right is exit and protection of life, liberty and property. In return, she pays rent to the sovereign. Now, Xi is in NSF for one reason: to work on a genetic engineering project for the MeanGeneCorp. Xi would, naturally, sign an employment contract with MeanGeneCorp, with all the usual details. Is it likely that Xi would voluntarily allow herself to have the shock collar put on her? But what if MeanGeneCorp did this to her using coercion? Then that is when the sovereign steps in. But now, what if MeanGeneCorp and the sovereign got together and in one night put collars on a protesting workforce? Then, their entire reputation, their credibility and trustworthiness (not to mention their stock) has been completely shot in one night.
Furthermore, if businesses did start to do this, say in one city, it would be boycotted in other cities, or be disallowed from operating in other patches. Again, the profit motive, while it would not always point in the same direction, as moral responsibility, it often always does.
Finally, we have morality and religion. I do not see these things disappearing anytime soon. Moldbug came up with his system as one that excludes such things as tradition, ethics and sentiment. I think it is psychologically unrealistic to expect people to not possess what Hume called “fellow feeling”. Furthermore, as I have outlined, the idea of a patchwork of different moral communities or city-states, would allow for different religious and moral communities to live securely and peacefully.
Before moving on, let’s consider a question:
Why do leaders and states commit evil?
Octavian, before he was Augustus, carried out with Antony and Lepidus the “proscriptions”. A list was drawn up of wealthy senators who were mostly — though not always — the enemies of the second triumvirate. Every Roman was required to kill these men, and if they did, some of the proceeds from the sale of their property would be theirs.
This is “rational” evil or strategic violence. For example, get other people to take out your enemies by encouraging and enticing them with the promise of wealth. The Nazis, for instance, used this stratagem against the Jews. However, the reason for the proscriptions was that Octavian and Antony were engaged in a power struggle with the Republicans.
After the battle of Actium, Octavian — who would eventually be named Augustus by the senators — was the undisputed ruler of the Western world. He did one, notably cruel, but not capricious thing: he had Julius Caesar’s son with Cleopatra — Caesarean — killed.
In short, Augustus had to use violence in order to make his power secure.
That is, of course, the main lesson when it comes to unsecure power.
The main reason, in my view, that the Roman Republic fell into war was because power was divided and rational government was impossible. This judgement extends out to cover many other instances of evil, especially in the 20th Century.
One of Moldbug’s main claims is that uncertainty and unsecure power produce mass violence. When I encountered these claims by Moldbug, I believed them to be essentially correct because they were consistent with my own observations and study.
Moldbug’s view of Stalin, for example, was that once he started killing he had to keep killing in order to keep power. Moldbug drolly points out that after Stalin’s death Beria tried to “ride the tiger” but was shot within a few weeks. Again, fear and uncertainty surrounding a leader’s or group’s power causes them to commit “rational” violence.
Hitler and the Nazis fit the pattern as well. Hitler’s use of violence was rational in the night of the long knives because it was directed against rivals for power — the SA and Rohm.
Indeed, WW2, including the Holocaust, could be explained as a consequence of fear and uncertainty surrounding power. Let me explain.
Before I read Moldbug on WW2, I was well aware of the primary facts. Furthermore, I also understood the mass murdering nature of the Soviet regime and the fact that Hitler had to struggle with the Communists in Weimer. But, what Moldbug helped me see, by framing the issue, was that Hitler and the Nazi system — and thus their behaviour — were shaped by democratic power struggles and the threat of Soviet communism.
Moldbug’s framing of these facts put them in an entirely new light. The question is: if you had Stalin breathing down your neck, and you were the leader of a country: what would you do? Add this to the fact that the Nazis (and Germans) were emotionally unstable given the war, the reparations and the depression. It begins to look like a plausible, though not a morally exculpatory, explanation.
What about the Holocaust?
The sickening feeling I got when I read and considered Moldbug was: could this all have been avoided?
The Nazis started to exterminate the Jews when they were at war, as the allies were coming to take their power away. The Soviets killed more — and in peacetime — but it too was “rational”. The Nazis understood what Communism meant in theory and practice. Thus, the Nazis attacked the Soviets because —and here I think Hitler was fundamentally correct (gulp!) —a war had to take place between these two systems of death. The Soviet Union would increase in power and eventually attack, thus the Nazis had to attack and eliminate them first (another example of a Thucydidean trap). The Allies: the French, the English and the Americans (and others) were an unnecessary distraction to the Nazis. (It would appear plausible that England and America could well have simply stayed out of the war, offered to take in the Jews, and then built the bomb, while the Nazis and Soviets destroyed themselves.)
If the Holocaust was caused by, essentially, fear and uncertainty over power, then much the same is clear regarding the Armenian genocide by Turkey — who feared an uprising by Christians. The brutality of ISIS is also a consequence of the fact that they are in a hard struggle with the entire world. They must keep the people disciplined, and they must try to instil fear in their enemies.
Moldbug never discusses Mao’s Cultural Revolution, though he is aware of it. In Mao: The Unknown Story, Mao’s real reason for the Cultural Revolution was revenge and a need to weaken potential enemies against him.
The key moment was a conference that discussed the failure of the Great Leap Forward. Here, Mao was humiliated; in fact, some of his power over the country was greatly weakened as a result. Thus, along with Lin Biao (whom Mao turned on eventually), the two planned to strike back at their enemies and secure their power.
Using systems language, the problem can be addressed in terms of information, incentives, disincentives, goals and constraints.
Firstly, the situation of unsecure power produces uncertainty over information coming from subordinates, allies and potential rivals. The leader will thus be motivated to interpret information through the lens of a growing paranoia and suspicion. He will value those who are loyal; those who bring bad information “bad facts” and are also intelligent are therefore rivals and must be suppressed. Clearly, this mucks up the clear, clean flow of information.
Thus, the incentives of unsecure power lead to sub-optimal leadership and management. The system encourages the leader to pursue, as a goal, the maximisation of their power. In war, meanwhile, the moral constraints are loosened. Anything and everything is to be done in order to win. The disincentives towards tyranny are thus removed; if the tyrant does not kill he will be killed.
This criticism applies to democracy every bit as much as it would to a revolutionary Communist party. The difference is merely one of time and intensity.
The question now is: how would we design the system to avoid this?
Here is how it works under Neo-Royalism. The CEO/King is as secure as can be. He will not be up for election, he will not have to listen to the temporary and transient voices of people (he is prudent, they are not), and he will not fear the knock on the door at midnight because he has no rivals. Ideally, he has a fixed contract, a fixed amount of time in which to work with. The information — his team — is fixed into a hierarchy, he has chosen his close subordinates, he works with his team, he trusts them and they trust him. He feels no fear or envy from these people and they in turn, feel no need to sabotage him. The information the CEO recieves is both timely and accurate. No one has any reason to lie, thus problems are discussed openly and early.
The leader’s goal is to run the system as efficiently and effectively as possible. His main incentive to do this is that this is his one shot at glory. After years of climbing up the ladder, he now has the chance to leave his mark in history. He wants to be a success, in order to be remembered; to make his family, friends, teachers, mentors, proud of him. He wants a historical reputation. Furthermore, he wants to be able to choose a successor, or help shape one, that will continue on his work.
Thus, information, goals and incentives are all aligned and pointing in one direction — good customer service. The disincentives to tyrannise, to cheat, lie and murder, do not exist because 1: it is unnecessary. 2: starting down this path would quickly bring shame, disgrace and removal from power. Finally, the constraints are there. There is law — based on contracts — and there must be security personnel who can step in and stop the CEO if he begins to become unhinged — but why would he?
However, the point here is, outside of a mental disorder, evil is explicable — it is rational. There are systematic reasons for evil. And good political design seeks to eliminate these faulty designs concerning information, goals, incentives, disincentives and constraints.
The external systems (foreign policy) is outside of one’s control, but the internal system is not. By designing a system that promotes the best, that gives them complete security and sets incentives to produce good government by satisfying customers, evil is unlikely to occur. If it does begin to creep in, the sovcorp will change leaders, in the next cycle, or, eventually, it will be bought over or close down due to lack of customers.
Moldbug’s vision of a network of interconnected, yet decentralised, sovcorps has an immense attraction to it. Firstly, it the best rendering of an idea —that I, myself, have wanted to see since University; it more or less amounts to giving different cities room to experiment. Secondly, I find it aesthetically beautiful.
Nevertheless, we must not shy from the great problems. Here, I will address a serious problem with his idea of patchwork.
Objection: The Clash of the Corps
Firstly, let’s tackle competition among the sovcorps. That abstract challenge, while a valid concern, is not the most important problem. Moldbug, while certainly not ignorant or indifferent to foreign politics, to my knowledge has never addressed some of the clash of civilizational problems that confront The West: Russian revanchism; the rise of China; and the Islamic challenge. This gives real flesh and blood to the problem of competition.
The problem is simple: in competition of this kind, one needs strategic depth — lots of resources. This means men, money, and materials. Cities are, with the exception of natural resources, the main source of men and money. Thus, all else being equal, you want to control as many cities as possible.
Take one simple example during wartime. In war, a nation could mobilise an entire population for war. Consider China. China has a population of one and a half billion people. By comparison, America has a population of 300 million. The historian, Niall Ferguson, once made a point that London —despite being the most populated city in Europe with seven million people —would only be classed as a second tier city in China, the numbers are incredible.
Furthermore, as far as I am aware, Chinese students undergo up to three “military training” exercises during their student years. Chinese military training here needs to be understood. All it means, essentially, is that the students go to a military camp, get in uniforms, march and sleep in dormitories, and maybe do some martial arts and physical exercises. They do this when they are (approximately) 12, 16 and then, again, at 19.
While the training is certainly not anything like what a British Army cadet would receive; it does serve to get students accustomed to the possibility of being conscripted. A Chinese student said to me once, that the purpose would be for “students or young people to be mobilised to fix things like railroads, roads, bridges, etc”. Considered, from a certain angle, it looks like China has the capacity to easily create a virtual “slave army” of both men and women who would be required to do what the government wants, if a war broke out. To me, the “military training” is there to lessen the shock and get the students accustomed to being under orders if ever the day should come. Clearly, this gives China immense power.
Recall our six types of power:
6: Mass or people power.
China has the ability to augment its force power by the fact that it could, in a war, leverage mass power. This is perfectly legal for China to do. Moreover, the move would not be seen as immoral, but as a moral one: it would harness the sense of duty, obedience and love of the motherland that all students are taught. Chinese students, for instance, are taught about China’s century of humiliation at the hands of foreign powers. In terms of China’s self-image, they never want that to happen again; thus they must become the best.
I believe, as Lee Kuan Yew does, that China aims to be the greatest power in the world. Clearly, for American imperialism and their “rules of the road” this is a threat.
Looking at the rest of the civilisations, I believe that millions — at least, several hundred million — of Muslims would love to see Islam wipe Israel off the map and capture Europe and America. Russia, meanwhile, would dearly love to become much stronger and richer than it is — fair enough – but I believe it wants to see the West grow weaker as well.
Thus, to get at the main point, if America or Europe fractured into numerous cities, it could be detrimental in the long run. One thinks of King Lear here.
Thinking, from a more objective position — Thomas Nagel’s view from nowhere — we understand that this is both an arms race and a tribal trap. This is certainly not optimal; but then, groups and individuals often find themselves in these dilemmas.
To see the problem of this, consider a possible scenario. Let’s imagine USG splits into different cities and patches with each patch one having, more or less, full political autonomy. There is an army and a navy, which keeps the land and coast secure. So, a conventional invasion is not going to happen.
Some patches, which are progressive, allow in huge numbers of Muslims say, they allow the Chinese to own shares, buy buildings and key resources. Over many years this happens. Slowly, the enemies of former America, using dummy corps, hidden and or fake identities, spies, and amass a large stock of Dalit immigrants and begin to either strip each sovcorp out, cause civil war, or simply take over.
Another possibility is if a war broke out between two or more sovcorps and a foreign power or several foreign powers ended up backing one or more sides.
Consider, for instance, what is happening in Syria where several foreign powers have interests and are backing both sides. Furthermore, consider the fate of late imperial China, as it was picked apart by foreign powers.
The problem is essentially the same with nuclear weapons. Everyone, let’s assume, would want to disarm; but the risk is that if one disarms first, and the other doesn’t, then they are at the mercy of those who keep their arsenal. Only if everyone disarmed first —totally and completely —would such an idea work. However, since there is no Global Authority, there is no one to enforce the deal.
The problem for the West and America is that it really does have enemies; enemies who would aim to weaken it as an instrumental policy or as to secure itself against a rival power, or who simply want to see it die.
A basic axiom of strategy is to concentrate your power. Thus, war and competition lead to greater and greater levels of organisation and control over the territory and people. If nations were to dissolve into multiple cities and mini-states, then they would have a harder time becoming coherent. Furthermore, over time their sense of identity and pride in their independence would evoke both envy and desire to be the best among the different cities. One sovcorp, for example, might want to be better than its neighbour and thus it takes Chinese money or Russian money, or refuses to go to the aid of another sovcorp because it is not in its self-interest.
These problems are real; there is logic to them (logic of great power conflict.) They occur again and again throughout history. They would certainly emerge if the West adopted patchwork and everyone else did not.
So, what is the answer?
Given this, and given the principle of prudence, that one should not make drastic de novo changes, it seems the principle of the nation-state is the principle to work on. The nation seems, despite its many failings, to be the best compromise between freedom and security.
However, we can see how this proves rather dissatisfying. It would require a central authority, it would require a national myth, a Rousseauian state religion, and thus propaganda and indoctrination. It would require holding down the freedoms of the people, in order to maintain discipline and coherence.
The best compromise that I can think of is a nation state with an absolute sovereign who delegates out different cities, towns and counties to different deputies who have certain levels of local autonomy.
Objection: Hostile Takeover.
In addition to our last problem, we must consider the objection — if we are using the stock option — of a hostile takeover. The objection runs accordingly: George Poros, Bin Ali and Lee Guaofeng are all ultra-rich men with political interests; consequently, these men use their wealth to buy up controlling shares in different patches and then, once they have control, replace the board who then install a new CEO. The new CEO then carries out the wishes of these men. For example, the CEO could, when the time of contract renewal comes, raises the rates to ridiculous levels, purposefully sabotage services, promote and install cronies, and, more importantly, bring in new tenants as muscle against the original tenants — essentially what we have now with democracy.
How can we design against this problem?
Exit is, of course, one way of solving it. However, the ultimate problem with exit against expansionist aggressors is that eventually, you run out of places to run to. Exit really only applies to a free market where the customers and service providers respect the basic rules of the market. The free market allows customers to change service providers if they think the service is unsatisfactory. These assumptions do not apply to actual aggressors, I.e. those seeking monopoly for violent, exploitive purposes.
Here are some ideas to consider.
All shareholders are transparent. Everyone knows who owns what, or all shareholders and board-members know. An independent agency lists the shareholders of the various corps and also builds profiles on them. For example, the profile would contain their history, psychological profile, political, religious and social views (based on observations and testimony). This information thus allows everyone — and, more importantly, each sovcorp internal security — to judge whenever or not this potential investor is a hostile actor, a disinterested one, or a pro-corp supporter.
The question, now, is how this information is to be used. Here are some possibilities:
A: Certain kinds of investors are barred from owning shares. If X (George Poros) has a history of ABC (buying out corps, and flooding them with subversives), then X is put into category 1. Category 1 is a category that contains all actual hostile actors and is thus bared from investing.
B: Suppose Y (Bin Ali) wants to invest. Y has contacts with and has been noted to support MNO (ethical practices that run contrary to the sovcorp’s contractual obligations). However, Y does not have a history of actually undermining different sovcorps. So, he is placed in category 2. Category 2 is a category which contains potential investors whose ultimate political, ethical, or religious interests are incompatible with the sovcorp, but they have no history of subversive actions.
Two options present themselves.
Firstly, Y can own shares, but Y has no voting power. In other words, Y has no power or influence over who runs the sovcorp or how it is run. The assumption here is that Y is a rationally self-interested actor — he wants to maximise his return on investment; so, Y judges the sovcorp to be profitable and potentially profitable — so Y invests. However, if Y has ulterior motives, then Y will have no power or influence to realise them. In other words, Y has stock but no voting power.
Secondly, Y is allowed both stock and a vote, but Y is restricted in the amount of shares that Y can hold. The actual amount I will pass over, but the principle would be that Y did not have a controlling share.
C: Suppose Z (Lee Guofeng) wants to invest, but Z is placed into category 2 because the political, ethical and religious views of Z are incompatible or contrary to the aims of the sovcorp. However, unlike with option B, Z is either barred from investing or is given limited shares with no voting power because there are already “too many” shares owned by category 2 investors.
So, to recap. All investors are transparent and their information is listed on a central index. Investors are placed into two categories — hostile or potential rivals — then they are either barred from investing or given limited options for investing, or they are allowed to invest but have no power or influence over the sovcorp.
Finally, Moldbug, has pointed out that it would be a bad idea to allow the actual residents (customers) to own shares in the sovcorps. The reason is because they would vote for practices that benefitted them at the expensive of the long-term interests of all. This should be assumed as given.
The reply to this problem contains elements of the above. Firstly, restrict the stock-options (the residents can only own a certain amount of shares). Secondly, and contrary to the first, restrict voting to essential issues; similarly, restrict voting on issues that benefit them and them alone to the detriment of the sovcorp.
The Boromir Objection
How would we prevent The Plinth (see last instalment) from taking and then just keeping power? How would it not simply devolve into a one-party-Mafia-like state?
This is a key objection. An objection that deserves a very good answer because this is the greatest risk or at least one of the greatest.
Power attracts and great power attracts dangerous people. And, as Lord Acton said: “It corrupts.”
This, however, is not always true. For example, Augustus Caesar while he was, in effect, a king, who was the most powerful man in the world, spent his entire life as Principes as a good administrator of the state. He is to Caligula, or a Nero, what George Washington is to Napoleon.
Which brings us to Washington — George Washington that is. Now, maybe someone will correct me, but I believe there was serious talk of making him king. I also, personally suspect, that if Washington was so inclined and had the drive and ambition to do so, he could easily have made himself king.
Why did these men not engage in the kind of pointless, petty, vindictive tyranny that anyone, in this democratic age, would imagine? I think that, ultimately, it was the moral character of these men — they were worthy. And of course, they had no incentives to do evil.
Washington styled himself as an English gentleman, a Protestant Christian, and an admirer of Rome’s republican virtues: Cincinnatus, in particular.
One event — to me — in particular, stood out; when General Washington relinquished his rank and title as Commander of the Army, there was a ceremony which had Washington come in and face the entire assembly, bow, and then relinquish his sword — then he exited.
That action, and how it was done, was deeply touching to me. It was dignified and noble. Compare Washington, with Napoleon’s action on the Coup de Brumaire – very different.
Moral character matters. But it cannot be relied upon.
There are over 300 million Americans in the U.S. It is not short of talented men. However, who did they get? Who is a whisker away from the Presidency? Donald Trump. Now, most of the stuff about Trump is overblown, but he is effectively capitalising on serious problems that people are suffering over such as immigration, job-security and Islamic terrorism. Yet, when I reflect and consider the matter coolly, I don’t think Trump will be able to get anywhere near achieving what he says he wants to do. I think his Presidency will be a disappointment or as disaster. The reason why, is, alas, because power is unsecure. Congress, the civil service, and the media will fight Trump every step of the way. Trump, furthermore, I believe, will fight back.
My point about Trump is the same that James Burnham made in his great book The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom. Burnham writes that it is not the wisest or most virtuous who rise to the top, but those who are, firstly, gifted in a calculating style of intelligence, a tremendous capacity for hard work, alliance building, ruthlessness and, frequently, moral turpitude – this applies to Clinton even more.
When a genuine populist or an anti-system, anti-insitutionalist emerges it always takes on a certain character: the demagogue.
So, how to solve these problems? The Plinth must be prevented from holding power, or if they do, then only temporarily. Here are some ideas.
It was Roman practice to take hostages of the non-Roman nobility, so as to ensure compliance. If Plinth leaders had family members that were “guests” of a Nous “special services” then this would provide incentives to not deviate from the Procedure. Obviously, this sounds outrageous, and it would be difficult if not impossible to design and implement; but arguably it would be an extremely powerful set of incentives.
Ultimately, the final check on a leader or leaders getting out of hand, is the military or force power. The military is, in the final analysis, the ultimate check. It will be necessary to have their support, if and when the Transition becomes possible and real. The generals must not only understand but agree with the Procedure. If The Plinth begins to deviate from the Procedure, then they can “step in” and right the ship.
Despite the fact that politicians lie all the time and get away with it; the Plinth are different — or must be. It is essential to their brand that they stand for what is true, good and useful. Thus, they must take pledges to honour their promises. These pledges should be public, they should be conducted with ritual and with great seriousness and dignity; they should be videoed and recorded, and shown to the world if The Plinth leadership crosses the line.
So, if say, a leader started to become Napoleon, the pledge video would be released and shown to the world. This would serve two purposes. First, it would, if they are not sociopaths, shame them into changing. Secondly, and more importantly, it would cause those working for the leader to lose trust in them and to refuse to cooperate. Indeed, they should make recorded pledges as well, which could also be shown to the wider public.
Who would be in charge of such a thing? Nous.
Who defeated Alexander the Great?
Answer: Alexander’s army. Alexander wanted to press on with his conquest of India, but the warriors in his army had had enough —they wanted to go home. They had followed him for nearly a decade, but, in the end, they revolted. Alexander did everything he could, he sulked, he brow-beat, gave rousing speeches, pleaded, tried to inspire with every trick of the orator — but they still refused. In the end, instead of the army following Alexander, Alexander followed the army.
What is the lesson here? That if a leader or the leaders of The Plinth cross the line, then there is a group of people, the majority, or a sufficient number of The Plinth, who can stop them.
This requires, in the first instance, something clearly defined and well-known that would trigger a revolt or refusal. The clear line would be a person or a group who had taken or received power but were refusing to hand it over. Preventing this requires a timetable, and as short a hand-over as possible. Possibly, following a transition, there should be a handover from the current Plinth leaders to a new set of members. Again, successful revolutionaries or campaigners are not always the best — because of their talents and character — in governing.
Remember, Nous advises The Plinth and The New Structure. It has no actual legal, force, or much financial power — but it does have intellectual and moral power. If The Plinth or a Plinth leader crossed the line, then Nous would issue a rebuke, perhaps even “excommunicate” them. Yes — the Catholic reference is intentional. All Nous could do by issuing such a judgment is to damage the moral and intellectual authority of a Plinth leader or leadership group.
Objection: The Dire Problem.
One thing I admire about Moldbug is that he is entirely free from cant. He thinks things and writes things that virtually no else today thinks and writes about — Robert Nozick, however, would come close. What gives his writing an genuinely alien quality is a combination of broad, and at times deep historical awareness, the imagination of a Plato or a Robert Heinlein, and his accurate, if at times acidly naturalistic view of humans; and, most especially, his relentless consequentialism.
Moldbug, however, does not flinch from the problems that confront us. So, in the spirit of Moldbug:
Why not kill all the disabled, the “incompetents”, the old and the irredeemable?
They are not exactly profitable after all?
Or are they?
As Moldbug would say, au contraraire mon frère.
Moldbug’s solution (or one of them), especially to the economically unproductive, is to “holodeck” them (isolated virtual reality rooms). Firstly, this does not solve the problem of the disabled and old. Secondly, despite the fact that it is actually possible to do this, it lacks, how shall we say, warmth.
I have a solution — or at least I think I do; one that kills two birds with one stone.
The Progressives, the Brahmins— the Priests —are religious (idealistic). Now, the Catholic and Buddhist traditions have a good place for people who have great souls but don’t like the hustle and bustle of city life — monasteries and nunneries. Progressives, or rather the true Brahmins among them, believe in things like universal humanity, equality and social justice etc. Some of them, of course, really do believe this.
Now, one problem is that Brahmins do things that are not really economically productive: humanities (literature, sociology, women’s studies etc); journalism (preaching); civil service; NGOs are all, for the most part, feel good but make work activities.
My idea is this: turn the Brahmin desire to feel good by doing good works into a business which takes care of the sick, the old and the disabled. This takes care of “wards” and Brahmins in a mutually beneficial way.
Now, these charities—cum—nunneries— cum—monasteries, how will these institutions make money in order to survive? I propose, firstly, that we need to target and identify Brahmins (progressives) as a religious group. We need, firstly, to get the Brahmins to see themselves as Brahmins.
Yep — formalise them into a religion, or a clearly defined and identified group.
Now, how does the Catholic Church make money? Subscription fees (donations), but also, I assume money from parents from Catholic schools. Now, progressives can make money from not only donations from their flock but also from running and operating progressive businesses — such as drugs and sex work nightclubs, raves, sex clubs, fashion parades, arts and literature and pop-music —pleasure temples, in other words.
Now, in line with my general proposal that different groups have different cities or states — what would a progressive city — let’s call it after “the Graniad” the Guardian city — look like?
Guardian City. Guardian City has a Chairman — Chairman Chomsky or Chairman Clinton is in command. Firstly, their profit centres are as just described. It will be a Mecca of pleasure and freedom and peace and love. No guns or bibles here. However, it will also be a “charity”. Give us your sick, your weak and your wards. The Progressives or Brahmins will see it as their religious duty to look after these people. Funding their religious mission by sex, drugs and rock n roll they can take in what the other cities send them. Also, Brahmins will probably want to look after criminals as well. One city may deal with their criminals by simply beating their backs bloody with whips, but Brahmins, like good Protestants, will probably want to “reform” the miscreants by exhorting them to virtue and providing a nice, safe environment — like Norwegian “prisons”.
As for added funding, under a rational scheme, every person would be taught, since childhood, the importance of personal responsibility and saving for retirement. This makes not only economic sense, but it makes for personal independence and pride as well. Now, when a person reaches old age, and can no longer look after themselves, they part with some of their wealth (or they are covered by insurance) giving it to Brahmins in Brahmin cities, and then retire there to be cared for and looked after in their old age.
In addition, private corporations and even sovcorps, can engage in a bit of charity work and use some of their voluminous profits to help fund these care programs — charity and outsourcing (such as with the criminals). The reason why they would do this, is, well, to have a good reputation.
So, in summary, we give Brahmins their own patch. On the one hand, these progressive patches will be devoted to pleasures of the flesh and care for the sick, the old, the indigent and the anti-social. Other cities win by transferring their “undesirables” and non-conformists to them. Brahmins feel good by both indulging in pleasure and by good works. Win-win all round I say.
4: Summary and Conclusions
The basic idea is to combine absolute monarchy with the joint-stock corporation.
This system addresses the central problem of democracy: divided power which produces conflict, instability and incoherence, as well as oppression and Orwellian mind-control.
If power is vested in one person, and a small team of managers and advisors, this allows for rational, coherent, responsible government. The purpose of running the territory and people on the basis of profit provides a clear and quantifiable metric. Furthermore, and most importantly, it also provides incentives to offer “good customer service.”
The net benefits are security, liberty and prosperity as a result of rational and responsible government.
2: Objections and Replies
The central objection that will instantly be raised is the prospect of tyranny.
The core reply is to turn the tables. Firstly, one can reply philosophically. That is, one can outline how in principle a democracy can become tyrannical. Secondly, one can reply historically. That is, one can respond by presenting examples of how democracies became tyrannical. Thirdly, one can provide contemporary examples. That is, one can provide many instances of what is really religious persecution of those who fail to agree with the, ahem, “Party” line.
Essentially, for every criticism that can be mounted against Neo-Royalism, it can be turned against democracy.
3: “Vanilla” Neo-Royalism.
The model that I outlined is essentially one of a libertarian minimalist state: a small, strong and efficient government. It is responsible for security, contracts and rent-collection. Everything else can be contracted out.
4: Cathcorp and Progcorp.
I have outlined how such a model could be scaled up to different religions and philosophical or moral traditions. The first was Catholicism, the second Progressivism.
Each “faction” trades in the scale of their ambitions for a more concentrated and coherent polity.
5: Selection and Training
I described a process — the “course of honours” by which candidates for leadership could be trained and selected.