When I was I child I used to think why didn’t the cartoon bad guys just kill the weak, but smart, head bad guy?
Why do they obey the gang leader?
Why not just kill him and take power?
Why obey any authority?
Maybe this is why I ended up taking political philosophy.
My real political education, however, did not really begin until I read Moldbug.
People obey authority out of custom, habit, fear and self-interest.
However, there is one more reason: the political formula:
…. Gaetano Mosca called a political formula. (Mosca’s philosophy is nicely summarized in James Burnham’s The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom…)
A political formula is a belief that makes the ruled accept their rulers. Since the former tend to outnumber the latter, a political formula is, if not absolutely essential, an excellent way to cut down on your security costs. A political formula is adaptive because the rulers have, obviously, both motive and opportunity to promote it.
The best example of a political formula is divine-right monarchy – simply because this formula is defunct. Hardly anyone these days believes in the divine right of kings. Since at one time, most everyone did, we have incontrovertible proof that adaptive fictions can exist in human societies. Either divine-right monarchy is a fiction, and people then were systematically deluded. Or kings do rule by the grace of God, and people now are systematically deluded.
That formula has now been exposed and destroyed.
Nick Land, at Xenosystems, quotes Paglia:
This idea that Trump represents such a threat to western civilisation — it’s often predicted about presidents and nothing ever happens — yet if Trump wins it will be an amazing moment of change because it would destroy the power structure of the Republican party, the power structure of the Democratic party and destroy the power of the media. It would be an incredible release of energy… at a moment of international tension and crisis.
Moldbug on power and the Polygon:
But this does not indicate an absence of power. It indicates a balance of power. It means the various forces exerting pressure in various directions cancel each other, at least mostly. One of the best features of the current US regime, and one of the worst, is that it’s much easier to prevent change than to create change. The compromise is generally the status quo. But if some deus ex machina could remove one of the opposing power centers, or point one in a new and unopposed direction, we’d see instant and explosive change. The whole city of Washington is in the power business, and they don’t screw around.
Is Trump the “deus ex machina”? Is he really the mule?
We must remember the lesson that Moldbug passed on from James Burnham: the distinction between formal and real meanings.
Formally, Trump has stated that he is “the mule”. He wants to “drain the swamp.”
But the real meaning of Trump could be completely different.
Nevertheless, if the Polygon and the progressives believe that Trump’s formal meaning is the real meaning, then they must (by their own logic) do everything to stop him.
The fear of the thing brings the very thing into existence — a perverse consequence.
Then, the question is: does Trump (whatever his real meaning) bring his formal meaning into alignment with the perceived real meaning coming from the Polygon?
The situation is similar with Putin and the West. Formally, Putin is the defender of civilisation and Russian Orthodox Christian civilisation. This may simply be a formal meaning. But, the more Putin talks in this way, the more he may need to walk in this way.
Obama says the fate of the Republic, and the world, hinges on not electing Trump.
Riots, anarchy, civil war.
Constitutional crisis, crack-up, succession.
If Trump loses, I expect great, crushing disappointment and tremendous anger. If Trump wins, the same, but from the left.
Whatever formula you have of America it is now dead or dying.
Constitutional Liberty? Long dead.
One nation under God? Dead.
Liberty? Long dead, and soon to scattered to the wind.
Prosperity? Last farewell.
It is over.
The dream has died.
But something can and must be resurrected, restored.
Trump is a great man. Brave, big-hearted, ambitious, visionary, worldly. He took on the entire Cathedral. He exposed them in ways no one else could do. For that, he has performed a sterling service.
I wish for him to win. But that is politics as wish. The reality is that the entire political system, root and branch, must be removed and replaced. Will he do that?
America is an idea, a faith. I had faith in America, I believed in America. But my faith has died. Moldbug killed it.
Whatever happens, the next few days, months and years are going to be some of the worst in America’s history.
Moldbug’s hero, Carlyle seems more and more prescient:
Cease to brag to me of America, and its model institutions and constitutions. To men in their sleep there is nothing granted in this world: nothing, or as good as nothing, to men that sit idly caucusing and ballot-boxing on the graves of their heroic ancestors, saying, “It is well, it is well!”
Corn and bacon are granted: not a very sublime boon, on such conditions; a boon moreover which, on such conditions, cannot last!–No: America too will have to strain its energies, in quite other fashion than this; to crack its sinews, and all but break its heart, as the rest of us have had to do, in thousand-fold wrestle with the Pythons and mud-demons, before it can become a habitation for the gods.
America’s battle is yet to fight; and we, sorrowful though nothing doubting, will wish her strength for it. New Spiritual Pythons, plenty of them; enormous Megatherions, as ugly as were ever born of mud, loom huge and hideous out of the twilight Future on America; and she will have her own agony, and her own victory, but on other terms than she is yet quite aware of.
(The last two parts of Dark Reformation will be posted shortly. Furthermore, I will soon be releasing a “Megatherion” myself: a forty-thousand word plus essay on the philosophy of Mencius Moldbug.)