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I would not have attached the “-gate,” a journo-ism which at best aspires to banality. But here it at least achieves that banality. It still sounds stoopid – but it does not oversell the event.
No? Really? Oh, I don’t think so at all. First, the original, from Dr. Thompson:
“Jesus, this Watergate thing is unbelievable. It’s terrible, like finding out your wife is running around but you don’t want to hear about it.”
— Remark of a fat man from Nashville sharing a taxi with Ralph Steadman
So there are a hundred or more people wandering around Washington today who have heard “the real stuff,” as they put it – and despite their professional caution when the obvious question arises, there is one reaction they all feel free to agree on: that nobody who felt shocked, depressed or angry after reading the edited White House Transcripts should ever be allowed to hear the actual tapes, except under heavy sedation or locked in a car. Only a terminal cynic, they say, can listen for any length of time to the real stuff without feeling a compulsion to do something like drive down to the White House and throw a bag of live rats over the fence.
Yes… looking back at that line I just wrote, it occurs to me that almost half the people I know have been feeling that kind of compulsion almost steadily for the last eight or nine years. My friend Yail Bloor, for instance, claims to have thrown a whole garbage can full of live rats, roaches, and assorted small vermin over the White House fence about a week before Lyndon Johnson announced his retirement in 1968. “It was a wonderful feeling,” he says, “but only because it was Johnson. I knew, for some reason, that he would really hate the sight of big rats on the White House lawn.” He paused and reached for his snuffbox, taking a huge hit of Dr. Johnson’s in each nostril.
“I’m not sure why,” he went on, “but I wouldn’t get any satisfaction out of doing a thing like that to Nixon. He might actually like rats.”
As it so happens, back in the Clinton administration my own dear mother found herself working for none other than for Joe Romm at DOE. So I have heard “the real stuff.” Would Joe Romm actually like rats? He probably would. But then again, they might shun him.
And a few people seem to be reacting much like the fat man in Nashville. For instance: George Monbiot. Jesus! Nobody believes in the Presidency these days. At least, nobody under 80. The rest of us know it’s just a bad reality show. But Science! Jesus – Science! When Science is running around behind your back, you really don’t want to know.
(In actual fact, the Presidency had been operating as a basically Nixonian institution since 1933. If anything, Nixon toned that shit down. It was not before the ’70s that the Press gained both the courage and the motivation to challenge the White House. The coup was accomplished. The god abandoned Antony. And the White House can never be above the law again, not even if there is a Democrat in it.)
So Watergate marks the transition between the Middle New Deal and the Late New Deal. Or perhaps the Early and the Middle. As a student of history, I am reluctant to commit to any such chronology while the era remains ongoing. I expect it to remain ongoing for a while. Nonetheless, Chesterfieldian symptoms are not hard to observe.
Since the event is not oversold, it may well be that Climategate turns out to be a good endpoint for another era that needs an end: the 20th century. Just as “the sixties” are really the period from 1966 through 1974, or something like that, it is commonplace to date the historical 19th century from either 1815, 1789 or 1776 to 1914. If we follow this convention, we can say that the 20th century, as a political era, lasted from June 28, 1914 to November 19, 2009. And I’m going to go out on another big limb here and hope that, as a political era, it will not be missed.
Basically, in the 19th century, Hayek’s professional intellectuals became the dominant influence over Anglo-American public policy. In the 20th century, sovereignty was captured entirely by their intellectual institutions – other forces retaining some powers of resistance, but no initiative. (And Anglo-American public policy became everyone’s public policy.) These institutions now being thoroughly corrupted, their corruption now visible to all, we can only be doomed to spend the 21st extracting them from their offices. Or at least, wishing we could.
The basic problem here is one of sovereignty. Namely: Mike Mann, Phil Jones, and their friends exercise – or have been exercising – a little local slice of sovereignty over climate science for about the last ten years or so. If you were in the club and/or toed the line, you got to be a climate scientist. If not, you didn’t.
We can tell that Mann and Jones were sovereign, because they were not responsible to anyone. There was no party in the world authorized to check their work. There still is no party in the world authorized to check their work. (Perhaps there is some way to get the issue to the Supreme Court. If so, it is not obvious.) Within the domain of climate science, their authority was roughly as absolute as Stalin’s. Their methods, too, were comparably aggressive. Had this security breach not occurred, this situation might have persisted indefinitely – and, indeed, it may still persist indefinitely. The Soviet Union outlived Stalin. Climate science will outlive Mann and Jones, even if they do get the boot personally. I am not at all sure they will.
Worst of all, Mann and Jones were and are sovereign over billions of minds. Literally: what a billion people know of “global warming” is the beautiful smoothed curves of Mann and Jones. (And others, of course, in their little Party – climate science, as we’ve seen, being a one-party state.) Then again, hundreds of millions believed in Stalin. (Counting Americans – from ’41 to ’48.) What about this is surprising? It is, or was, the 20th century. In that century God abandoned his traditional affection for fools and drunks, devoting himself entirely to the United States. But even God’s patience has its limits.
The sovereign university is entirely impervious to external purification. Nor can it be expected to purify itself. It probably cannot be separated from power without destroying it entirely. Perhaps it cannot be separated from power at all. And there exists no plausible replacement; nor, if there was one, any plausible way of installing it.
If Science is sovereign, it is corrupted by power. We can see this because we can see that Science is sovereign, and we can see that it has become corrupt. But if Science be not sovereign, it must be subordinate to some other sovereign power. Mike and Phil must deliver their reports to this power. It must look down on them and say: “Mike and Phil: your data is crap, your code is crap, you are crap. You had sat too long for any good you have been doing lately! Security will be here in a minute to escort you out of the building.” Of course this power, if corrupt, will have all the power it needs to corrupt Science. And of course, in 2009 no such thing can be imagined.
This is an old problem and it has not changed, nor will it soon. But what did change on November 19th: it just became much, much easier to convince any reasonable person that there is something seriously wrong with government by university. Of course, most reasonable people are not even aware that this is the form of the New Deal state. These emails, however, cannot fail to attract unwanted attention to the uncomfortable reality of the matter.
Because a fallible sovereign is a very different thing from an infallible one. It is easy to mistake an infallible sovereign for a vacuum of sovereignty, the perpetuum mobile of political engineering. If the University is infallible, its advice is the mere truth and not in any sense an action. Once the master’s hand is seen to wobble, however –
Let alone to delete emails. Ye gods! It’s almost as if there was a person inside the machine. Indeed every sovereign in history has sought to stress this impersonal or superhuman character, though most have phrased it in more spiritual terms. If the peasants knew that mere men wore the sacred masks of the gods, they might have the impertinence to think we had mere necks…
Anyway. I could go on in this vein for decades. But it’s Thanksgiving, and I don’t have decades. Neither do you, I suppose. You get the point. You have probably already read about the CRU leak, and even seen some of the emails. If not, I direct you to Bishop Hill’s summaries. I just want to emphasize a few less obvious issues.
First: the Mann group is not a mere mafia, clique or even “conspiracy” within mainstream climate science. The Mann group is mainstream climate science. (And prosopography, despite popular opinion, is an essential historical tool.) You can’t talk seriously about removing these dogfsckers from the IPCC process, for instance. They are the IPCC process.
(You can see this easily by looking at their entirely successful attempts to purge any institutional opposition, eg, “unreliable” editors. Once you establish a bureaucratic reign of terror, you cannot possibly slacken in your attentions to Madame Guillotine. Otherwise, your enemies – who are probably just as nasty as you are – will sense weakness and stab you in the back. So there is no room for weak sisters. Everyone is either in, or out.)
The practical effect of a decade-plus of Stalinist science: there exists no alternative. This is only one of the reasons that anyone expecting concrete near-term results from Climategate is far too optimistic. For many reasons, it will prove impossible to remove climate science from the domain of Mann, Jones et al. But one of the most fundamental is that there is no such thing as “skeptical climate science.” The opposition is, like any set negatively defined, unorganized – a bureaucratic null. It cannot seize power, because it does not exist.
Second: again, anyone expecting any serious proximate result from this event is expecting far too much. The University may not be infallible – but it has extraordinary powers of bureaucratic resistance. It is not unkillable, but this event comes about as close to killing it – in the near term – as a pimple on your ass comes to killing you.
Within its own square centimeter of skin, an ass pimple is a pretty big event. Zillions of cells die in an ass pimple. Nonetheless, on the historic scale, an ass pimple is no big deal. A man can be killed, true, by a septic ass pimple, but it is very unlikely. The expected result is a patch of fresh new skin on your ass.
The Mann-Jones group is climate science. But this group is more than just Mann and Jones – much more. The specific individuals named in these emails are certainly suffering some career damage. Who knows? If all the dice roll the right way, one or two might even go to jail. Some certainly appear to have committed criminal offenses. But climate science will endure. It will certainly not be purged and rebooted. If that cat could be belled, someone would have belled it!
So here is what will happen to climate science if Mann, Jones, et all go to jail: it will become stronger. Considerably stronger. At least, in the near and medium term.
What happens when you kill the top 20 members of al-Qaeda? Everyone in the top 200 joins the competition to replace them. Decapitation is not an effective attack against a disorganized institution. For every Mann or Jones, there are 10 or 20 ex-students trained by a Mann or Jones. Do not these disciples aspire to their mentors’ positions? Damn tooting they do! Moreover, just because they lose their leader, does not mean that leader will be replaced by those who are the most disloyal to him.
In short, any such involuntary circulation of elites will have a notably beneficial effect on the entire movement. The reader of the CRU emails cannot help but fail to notice what was already obvious: as scientific minds, Mike and Phil are most definitely among the second-rate. Why? They are leaders in climate science simply because of their seniority; they got in when paleoclimatology and climate modeling were (as they deserve to be) scientific backwaters; through bureaucratic ruthlessness, they made their field big and powerful.
Therefore, not only do these pioneers have many disciples, but the disciples were attracted to a hot – no pun intended – and growing field. Thus, they are likely to be both more ambitious than their sacrificed former leaders, and more talented. If Mann, Jones et al get the axe and become poison in any position of formal authority, even if they lose their jobs, even if they go to jail, their former students will continue to worship them (and exclude any of their peers who don’t).
Their fate, in other words, will be exactly that of the State Department’s so-called China Hands – who did indeed “lose China.” For Mike Mann, read Owen Lattimore. This generation of bureaucrats is revered for a reason – it essentially founded the modern academic field of international relations. It may be challenged, tentatively, by internal revisionists – but not by external opponents. It has no external opponents. It strangled them all.
The thing about paleoclimatology and climate modeling is that both are such marginal sciences, if they can even be considered scientific at all, that their results can be fudged without any of the embarrassing foibles revealed in the CRU emails. We do see a lot of what could almost be described as conscious bias in the CRU methodology – there are “good” data (warm) and “bad” data (not so warm). We also see that overall, the data set is a major dog’s breakfast.
It is not necessary for climate science to be in the hands of these B- students. Their own students are not A+ men, because A+ men are too delicate to operate in this kind of sinister bureaucratic context – but they are A and A- men. Thus, we can expect that in the long run, climate science will repair itself and produce a new body of work, consisting as before largely of “good” data, but of “good” data composed with apparent professionalism and honesty. I do not expect that this will happen, because I do not expect that Mann and Jones will actually get the axe. However, if they do get the axe, this is what I expect to happen. In either case, it will surely be the trend in the long run.
Those activists attempting to resist the political aggressions of climate science have been strengthened, but only for a time. And the denialists have to win every time; the alarmists only need to win once. Possibly the goal of a global carbon tax has been set back two, three, even five years. Historically? No big deal.
Third: one of the easiest, yet most important, observations to be had from these emails is that the climate-science community is entirely sincere. They are not a conspiracy. They are something much more dangerous: true believers.
In their minds, AGW is an entirely real phenomenon. There is not a particle of doubt. And since there is not a particle of doubt, Mann, Jones et all see their task not as one of teasing Nature’s secrets from her, but as one of public communication. They take their roles in the Modern Structure with complete seriousness – like all those with actual power.
This is why “good” data is good, and “bad” data is bad. “Good” data is useful data. It is data that helps them in their task of saving the planet. Bad data interferes with this task. And furthermore, since they know that that the problem is real, bad data is just that – it is data that is obviously contaminated, incorrect, or otherwise corrupt. No shortage of that in paleoclimatology! In any real science, data selection is never entirely without art. (It is just not meant to be a secret art.)
Take, for instance, Mike’s Nature trick. (Don’t miss Gavin’s disingenuous excuse.) To the naive observer, the most reasonable explanation of the divergence problem – the fact that historical temperature proxies diverge with the instrumental record, just as the instruments are getting good – is evidence that there is some existential problem with the entire exercise of paleoclimatology. But since a paleoclimatologist will never consider this possibility, he instead skips to the second most reasonable explanation: that some source of noise, probably itself anthropogenic, has contaminated the recent end of the graph. A “non-temperature signal.”
He therefore removes this noise by cutting off the proxy record at 1960 or 1980, and smoothing its end with the temperature record. While drawing the two as separate lines on a graph, intended for public communication. Now the proxy record, instead of peeling off in a weird decline, smoothly converges with the modern instrumental record. Beautiful! By two entirely independent means, scientists have teased the same truth from Nature’s purse. The message is harmonious and clear, rather than muddy and confused.
Does Mike know he is fudging the numbers? Of course he knows he is fudging the numbers. He probably drove 65 on his way to the office, too. In his mind, Mike is removing a confusing red herring in order to present a deeper, more accurate truth. If – as with the deleted emails – he knows he is breaking the law, he exhibits mens rea, he thinks of it almost as an act of civil disobedience. He is mis-crossing a T or two, in order to save the planet. The only difference between him and Martin Luther King is that it was useful to the civil-rights movement for Dr. King to get arrested, whereas it is more useful to the Earth for Dr. Mann not to get arrested. Therefore, the former disobeyed publicly; the latter, surreptitiously. Todo por la causa.
Thus the resistance to this unbelievable, impertinent “auditing” campaign. There is a simple reason why the Manns and Joneses of the world believe that they are oppressed by an evil conspiracy, fomented by the sinister carbon barons. They are actually being charitable. The only alternative of which they can conceive is that McIntyre and these other awful people are not merely corrupt, but just plain evil.
Because the price of crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s is the price of not saving the planet. It is the price of helping the people who want to destroy the planet. The idea that all these people, obviously bright people, would spontaneously come together all over the Internet, just for the purpose of advancing evil, is a vision simply too dark to contemplate. Therefore, it is best to assume that all these people are simply shills and lobbyists. As many of them obviously are!
I’m not saying I believe this. I’m just explaining what the world looks like from behind the eyes of a true believer – and how, to be specific, these people can feel innocent and yet act guilty. In their minds, they are guilty of aggressive paperwork. They are indeed being persecuted unfairly. In the face of this incredible conspiracy, what can they do but conspire a little themselves? They’re trying to save the planet, and some wild mafia of sick Internet geeks, plus of course the usual right-wing corporate shills, are trying to get them fired and prosecuted for clicking this instead of that in their email window. Jesus Christ! In a situation like this, a little shrillness and collusion is to be expected! And so on.
On a similar note, it is especially interesting to notice the response of the Internet’s “libertarian lite” bloggers – Megan McArdle, Tyler Cowen, Bryan Caplan, Robin Hanson. These people all have two things in common. One, none of them is particularly concerned by the way the Mann-Jones group operates. Two, all of them are professionally associated with the Cathedral – ie, Press or University. Stara struktura!
Is this because McArdle, Cowen, Caplan and Hanson are evil? Have their souls been eaten? Sort of, but not exactly. It’s because they’ve seen this kind of stuff. They are, after all, on the inside. Why would it surprise them? Kling is more conservative:
In my days as a macroeconometric model jockey, I often used “add factors” to make the equations fit the data better. But I never used them to distort the data. I disagree with those who think that “climategate” is a typical scientific brouhaha. This is at least one standard deviation away from normal academic behavior.
One standard deviation! I think Arnold is exactly right. It’s about one standard deviation away from normal academic behavior. Possibly even one and a half. Two? No, I wouldn’t say two. Two would be going a little far…
Among this craven crew, Professor Hanson is particularly frank. The boldface is his:
Yup, this behavior has long been typical when academics form competing groups, whether the public hears about such groups or not. If you knew how academia worked, this news would not surprise you nor change your opinions on global warming. I’ve never done this stuff, and I’d like to think I wouldn’t, but that is cheap talk since I haven’t had the opportunity. This works as a “scandal” only because of academia’s overly idealistic public image.
It is a shame that academia works this way, and an academia where this stuff didn’t happen would probably be more accurate. But even our flawed academic consensus is usually more accurate than its contrarians, and it is hard to find reliable cheap indicators saying when contrarians are more likely to be right.
If you don’t like this state of affairs join me in trying to develop a more reliable consensus mechanism on such topics: prediction markets.
You’ll note that Professor Hanson is saying the same thing as me – with only three differences.
One: this doesn’t change his opinion of global warming. Nor does it change mine. But he started out believing in it! Somehow, the actual facts of the matter are too unimportant to engage his attention. Does this inspire you to engage Professor Hanson to help overcome your biases?
Two: he expresses no shame whatsoever at being a member of this basically criminal endeavor. Indeed, if he has ever before bothered to inform his readers of the nature of his Mafia oath, I missed the post. How kind of him, to help his readers overcome their bias! You know, the one toward unconditionally trusting the products of Science – just on account of the name, it seems.
And three: his “solution” is… well… retarded. Like any design for the production of government by formula without human intervention, it is a perpetual-motion machine. There is no way to produce good government (or good management) without good people in a good organizational structure. Professor Hanson is certainly not the first to dabble in the transformation, by ritual mathematics, of base metals into precious. He would be the first, however, to make it work!
But other than that, he’s exactly right. What you’ll find, historically, is that his is the perspective of every decent cog in a bad wheel: not even slightly unaware or demented. There are never good cogs in a bad wheel, but there are always decent ones. You will find this exact same Oriental mentality in: Reinhard Spitzy’s How We Squandered The Reich (National Socialism); Alexander Barmine’s One Who Survived (early Communism); or Victor Klemperer’s The Lesser Evil (late Communism).
The perspective is that – sure – the system is bad. It is bad. Criminal? Sure. Thus, anyone who has seen the machine from the inside cannot possibly be surprised by Climategate. That’s just how professors behave! At least, now that professors run the world. Acton gets it right again.
But what’s the alternative? There isn’t any alternative. I mean, if the professors stop running the world, who will take over? Who else can run a world? Anyone in here got some world-running experience? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller…
Therefore, the System must be reformed from the inside by men and women of good will, who will make up for its various crimes by creating a new socialism with a human face. Yadda yadda. Exit: the New Deal State. Enter: the New Deal State, with prediction markets. Or “charter cities.” Or whatever. Not that any of these professorial innovations have any chance of actually happening, of course. Frankly, it’d be stupid if it wasn’t so funny.
When I read apologiae of this species, I am of course reminded of Carlyle:
No: at all costs it is to be prayed by all men that Shams may cease. Good Heavens, to what depths have we got, when this to many a man seems strange!
Yet strange to many a man it does seem; and to many a solid Englishman, wholesomely digesting his pudding among what are called the cultivated classes, it seems strange exceedingly; a mad ignorant notion, quite heterodox, and big with mere ruin. He has been used to decent forms long since fallen empty of meaning, to plausible modes, solemnities grown ceremonial, – what you in your iconoclast humor call shams – all his life long; never heard that there was any harm in them, that there was any getting on without them.
Did not cotton spin itself, beef grow, and groceries and spiceries come in from the East and the West, quite comfortably by the side of shams? Kings reigned, what they were pleased to call reigning; lawyers pleaded, bishops preached, and honorable members perorated; and to crown the whole, as if it were all real and no sham there, did not scrip continue salable, and the banker pay in bullion, or paper with a metallic basis?
Alas, Carlyle went quite unheard in his time. Shams did not cease; nor have they. And where is England now? Spiceries still come, if mainly from the East. Lawyers plead, and the rest. Scrip, though, does not move so well as formerly. And as for the banker…
So here at UR, we take a slightly different perspective from Professor Hanson et al. We do not believe the problem can be solved by any conceivable improvement. Rather, we observe that it has been generally getting worse, and expect that it will continue to get worse. We see a set of institutions in need of no renovation, but replacement. New formulas are not needed; it is the present ones, rather, which will have to go.
And to such length have we at last brought it, by our wilful, conscious and now long-continued method of using varnish, instead of actual repair by honest carpentry, of what we all knew and saw to have gone undeniably wrong in our procedures and affairs! Method deliberately, steadily, and even solemnly continued, with much admiration of it from ourselves and others, as the best and only good one, for above two hundred years.
Ever since that annus mirabilis of 1660, when Oliver Cromwell’s dead clay was hung on the gibbet, and a much easier “reign of Christ” under the divine gentleman called Charles II was thought the fit thing, this has been our steady method: varnish, varnish; if a thing have grown so rotten that it yawns palpable, and is so inexpressibly ugly that the eyes of the very populace discern it and detest it, – bring out a new pot of varnish, with the requisite supply of putty; and lay it on handsomely. Don’t spare varnish; how well it will all look in a few days, if laid on well! Varnish alone is cheap and is safe; avoid carpentering, chiselling, sawing and hammering on the old quiet House; – dry-rot is in it, who knows how deep; don’t disturb the old beams and junctures: varnish, varnish, if you will be blessed by gods and men!
This is called the constitutional System, Conservative System, and other fine names; and this at last has its fruits, such as we see. Mendacity hanging in the very air we breathe; all men become, unconsciously or half or wholly consciously, liars to their own souls and to other men’s; grimacing, finessing, periphrasing, in continual hypocrisy of word, by way of varnish to continual past, present, future, misperformance of thing: – clearly sincere about nothing whatever, except in silence, about the appetites of their own huge belly, and the readiest method of assuaging these.
If you don’t like this state of affairs, join me in trying to root these rats from their holes with fire, gas and electricity – and replace them with a real, working King, from whose royal eye every slimy rodent-thing must shrink. Selah.
Today, we’re going to step boldly forward in the Procedure and look at how to capture America.
This essay should be of interest to anyone seeking instructions for any kind of fascist coup. However, this coup design (which is not fascist, but reactionary) depends on the information weapon we’ve just designed – the Antiversity. If you don’t have an Antiversity or anything like it, I’m afraid you’ll need a different recipe.
Note that no one now has an Antiversity or anything like it, and they don’t exactly grow on trees. So, if you’d rather not have a fascist coup at all, there is no need to fear. Really!
That said, I will take the liberty of speaking of the First Step in the past tense. In the First Step, we built the Antiversity – a new intellectual power supply for USG. In the Second Step, patriotic Americans peacefully exercise their democratic rights to disconnect the present power supply, the University, and plug in the Antiversity. Once the Antiversity holds full sovereignty, it continues the Procedure, dissolving USG and replacing it with a New Structure of its own design. America under the New Structure is the Third Step – to be considered later.
First, let’s tackle this interesting word: patriotic. Can a patriotic American support a reactionary coup whose ultimate goal is to terminate democracy? Absolutely! He is patriotic because he genuinely loves America, his great country, and its good people.
He is patriotic not because he attaches his unreasoning affection to any particular acronym, rulebook, or personnel force. Or to any name, flag, slogan, or religion. He takes those things as he finds them. He need not find them good. If he has to choose between America and USG, he will always choose America. In short: he is a patriot, not a moron.
Can democracy terminate democracy? Isn’t this a contradiction in terms? Not at all. Here is one straightforward way by which Americans can terminate democracy: elect a President who has promised to cancel the Constitution. Once he is inaugurated, he can cancel the Constitution. Of course, the military must also support this autogolpe. This given, the operation is trivial and entirely safe. Self-coups are the best, safest and most reliable kind. Unfortunately, they are not always the most practical, but they at least set the standard we must strive for.
The basic question facing any potential supporter of a coup is: do you prefer this government, or would you rather take your chances with that government? Do you want to stick with the serviceable old Modern Structure, or go wild with the high-tech New Structure? Since sovereignty is irreversible, this is never an easy decision. The New Structure is designed to last forever. Of course, so was the Modern Structure. Do you think it will? That would be pretty good for 1789. Or even 1933.
You support a coup if you would like to see this change, assuming it can be made instantly and nonviolently. This is a much lower bar than joining a coup, which is something you should do only if you think it actually will succeed. Otherwise, your efforts are a waste of time – at best. Governments don’t like to be existentially threatened.
The coup planner faces three basic tasks. First, he must design the new regime – yes, before the coup. (Poor attention to this task is perhaps the most common cause of coups gone wrong.) Second, he must recruit enough supporters to complete the operation. Third, he must coordinate his supporters to perform it.
In the Internet era, coups – especially democratic coups – are much easier. Why? Because, once enough people have stopped supporting the present government, a coup is simply a matter of communication and coordination. The Internet is very good at these things.
Still, without the Antiversity, I’m just not sure it can be done. The problem, in a coup, is not getting people to oppose their present government. There is never any shortage of potential supporters. The coup planner’s problem is getting people to support his coup. This, as so often here on UR, is a coordination problem. The Left is spontaneously coordinated; the Right, alas, must coordinate itself. (If there is one reason why the Left tends to win, this is it.)
This coordination problem, along with many of the coup planner’s other tasks, is no longer solvable by an individual – or even a conspiracy. The job can be done only by an institution – such as the Antiversity. Again, for an individual or conspiracy, you need a different recipe. Sorry. Also, no one can use this formula now, because there is no Antiversity. Sorry if I repeat myself – I would just hate to scare anyone out there in the viewing audience.
To begin the Second Step, the First Step must be complete. When the First Step is complete, the Antiversity exists, and it is not a baby either. It has come together as a genuine institution. It is a substantial institution – perhaps not with as many contributors as Wikipedia has today, but in that ballpark. It is a prestigious institution, widely respected for the excellence of its collective judgment – if not always agreed with. And it has some central decision-making body which can make it act, more or less, as a unit. I would be shocked if any such thing existed before 2019.
That said, 2019 will happen sooner or later, and so will 2029. The future exists – it is just uncertain. And history is by no means over! So let’s take this bad boy out for a spin and see what she can do.
First, the Antiversity challenges USG by just existing. The University is a comprehensive Ministry of Truth. It provides a complete and accurate official truth service. So who are these asshats, who claim to have their own truth? Some bureaucrat, charged to look into it, finds that the asshats do have their own truth. He grows disheartened. He does not complete his report.
Simply put, the Antiversity is the root of a belief system which is to USG as Protestantism is to the Catholic Church. Everyone who has even heard of it knows it is possible to stop believing in the University, and this alone is a serious problem. USG is not a military despotism. It is a democratic government. It is and will always be existentially dependent on popular support. Since USG is guided by the University, if you don’t believe in the University, you don’t believe in USG. You think the Pope is just some guy in a funny hat. You’re a problem, buddy.
But the Antiversity is not just limited to just existing. It can attack. It should attack. It will attack. How does it attack? The Antiversity attacks USG by studying it.
USG has never received anything like an independent historical audit, let alone the brutal proctoscopy to which the Antiversity will subject it. USG is, of course, part of history; the Antiversity cannot study history without it. So it will eventually be asking the questions: what the hell happened? And why? How, for instance, did Washington take over the world? And why?
At least in the first volume, the Antiversity’s consensus is likely to pay a heavy debt to the 19th-century British perspective – such as that of Lecky. Up through the middle of the 20th century, the London view tends to produce the most independent, learned, and distanced interpretations of America: for obvious reasons. Duh. Therefore, if you have to start somewhere, start with the Victorians. Today’s Americans are entirely innocent of the Victorian narrative – and especially innocent of what that bad boy looks like when projected forward to 2009. Kimbo Slice is in the cage, wearing full lawn-tennis attire.
But history is only a start. Most Americans do not care about history – except recent history, which they call “the present.” One can regard the study of USG present as a case of history, but this approaches the pedantic. It probably deserves its own department: Washingtology.
Washingtology is an applied discipline, like archaeology. Its mission is simply to study the real Washington. This mission requires no engagement with any of USG’s PR arms. Washingtology is not journalism. It is the study of what Washington is and does – never what it says. Unless that speech is in some sense an action.
(One of the few systematic mendacities that I see across the entire spectrum of American punditry is the convention of writing as if political actors personally wrote, or believed, their lines. Of course, all these pundits know that the speeches are composed by teams of professional writers. Nonetheless, they invariably report these speeches as if they were actually personal productions. They never say: “Today in St. Louis, President Obama read a White House speech which called for…” They never say: “Today in St. Louis, the White House called for…” They say: “Today in St. Louis, President Obama called for…” This is a classic Orwellian abuse of English. The Founders would have considered the institution of professional speechwriting, and the resulting cardboard television presidents, one of the stranger and more contemptible features of our contemptible and very strange Modern Structure, which somehow masquerades as their own invention.)
What does the Antiversity do when it proctoscopes USG? For every agency, unit, or acronym within USG, it creates a knowledge base. It knows, more or less, what the acronym does, who works for it, what its budget is, etc. It understands the acronym’s bureaucratic purpose, decodes its public emissions, identifies its friends in Congress, etc, etc, etc.
More daringly, the Antiversity can (within the bounds of law) develop a way to verify the identity of USG employees. This allows Washingtologists to develop secure, reliable and anonymous inside sources within the Beltway. It can even create communities for them – for instance, host a conversation in which employees of agency X, and agency X alone, can communicate safely and anonymously. Not only does this compromise the loyalty of the agency X, it ensures that the Antiversity can understand it better than its own management. More on these custom communities later…
Moreover, the Antiversity is not at all limited to the study of USG proper. It can study the entire EUSG – University, Press, NGOs, contractors, and all others controlling or controlled by USG. This opens up a remarkable number of tempting targets. For instance, every working journalist and every working professor deserves his or her own dossier at the Antiversity. No, this is not even slightly creepy. When you accept the responsibility of informing the public, you accept the public’s right to study you and your work.
USG is a huge creature. Almost no one knows anything about it. Washingtology is a vast task of collecting, assimilating, and selecting information about this beast. As always in history, the end product is a story: what is it? What is it doing? What has it done in the past? What is it likely to do in the future?
I actually know something about seeing governments in this way, because my father was a Foreign Service officer, and he used to let me proofread his (unclassified) cables. Essentially, Washingtologists will study USG the way USG studies its satellites. Since the assessments in State Department reporting are not meant for public consumption, they are reports on the reality of the satellite government – with which Foggy Bottom (purportedly) concerns itself. This reporting style is not generally available to the public, and no one reports on Washington itself this way. At least not since Dupuy de Lôme. Nonetheless, it can be done.
Comparing Washingtology with journalism is like comparing a discussion of some issue in the cable traffic from US Embassy Lisbon, to the same issue on the front page of the Jornal de Notícias. It’s not just that the two are written in a different language, although there is that too. It is not even that the former has more facts, though perhaps it does. It’s that one is designed to inform the natives, and the other is designed to inform the desk officer.
America – and America alone – has no desk officer. But the truth is out there. The Antiversity must thirst like a viper for this unknown knowledge, and extract it from the sand’s very dew.
There is a little bit of Washingtology in the world today. The British site fakecharities.org is an excellent bit of work on the other side of the pond. Righty-o, chaps! David Horowitz has produced a decent prosopography of the broader Left at discoverthenetworks.org. Most amusingly, the Washington Post itself has come forward with the hilariously named, and hilariously peppy, whorunsgov.com. I cannot avoid rhyming the first syllable with “door.” Compare this site with the Post itself; see the difference between Washingtology and journalism.
Once the Washingtologists understand Washington, they can report on it. Ie, write short narratives describing its latest doings. This, too, is not journalism. At least, it is qualitatively distinct from the present profession. Perhaps the word should just be retired. “Blogging” sounds a lot better.
(Under the New Structure, having been a Modern Structure journalist will be a nontrivial point of personal ignominy – like having worked as an officer in the Wehrmacht, or a DP for Girls Gone Wild, or a trader for Madoff. Not something you want on your resume. Solution: learn to surf, then claim you were surfing. To get your name off the public list, you’ll also need to file a full disclosure, and sign some forms. Really not a big deal. Certainly nothing like some other fascist coups I could imagine. Why fly with the rest? If you need to fly, fly with the best.)
The Antiversity, of course, is not a propaganda device. It is a truth machine. Its efforts are devoted to obtaining the truth for itself, not spreading the good news to others. The latter is a relatively trivial task given the former, and confusing the two greatly interferes with the former.
Nonetheless, once the Antiversity learns the truth, anyone can blog about it. Or produce an audio segment. Or a video segment. Certainly, by 2019, the Antiversity will have no trouble in communicating its truths to the People, through any medium which can stimulate their senses.
Public communication, originating entirely outside the Antiversity, cannot and should not be controlled. However, outlets within the general idea sphere of the Antiversity, and responsible to it rather than the University, can easily identify themselves as such. If they do not, or if their communications are inaccurate, it is obviously not the Antiversity’s fault.
The trick with public communication is to move down the IQ ladder very cautiously and steadily. It’s important that distorted versions of the Antiversity’s vision not circulate among morons, as of course they will. However, the effect must be minimized. When propagandizing on behalf of the truth, always try to bring the audience up to your level; never descend to its.
As this slowly descending inverse waterline creeps down to the meat of the bell curve, that population – accustomed to seeing USG, including of course its local arms, through authorized eyes, will suddenly have the chance to see it through unauthorized eyes. Unauthorized and very critical eyes, with no interest whatsoever in illusions. The reality of USG needs no exaggeration.
But it is not that difficult to persuade Americans to despise USG. Americans already despise USG, although they don’t generally put it that way. As an institution of propaganda, the Antiversity can whip them into a white rage with the artfully-presented truth. (Did I say a white rage? Sorry – poetic diction. A diverse rage, surely. Just white with righteous justification.) They are already remarkably annoyed and disappointed, however.
And they do nothing. Politically, the Americans are the victim of a vicious cycle: they are apathetic because they are powerless, and powerless because they are apathetic. The political apathy of the modern American voter would amaze and terrify his great-grandfathers.
Have you ever seen a contemporary description, perhaps by a European observer, of a 19th-century American election? It’s like a college football game. Human madness unleashed upon the earth. Indeed, the fundamental human passion for tribal conflict has been transferred largely to harmless megasports – one of the real political achievements of the 20th century. (And indeed one bound to last. Which will outlast the other? Ohio State proper, or the Buckeyes?)
This change can be reversed. The gene pool has not changed much at all. Real political lightning is surely still hidden in the American heart – indeed the human heart. If not the chimp heart. If the hominid does not struggle for power, it can only be that he is powerless. Take your foot off him, and he springs up! But he is the opposite of a spring; the more he is compressed, the less he presses. He knows how to submit, as well as how to challenge and rule. This creature has quite a hunk of brain on the top of its spine. He didn’t evolve yesterday.
This, for instance, is why there were few rebellions against the Soviet Union: the State had pressed its people to the floor. In general, weakness is the cause of all rebellion. Strength is the cure for all rebellion. You have heard the opposite, but you have heard wrong. Sorry.
Multiple-equilibrium games work like this. They are hyperbolic. They exhibit a Matthew effect. They have – if I can bear to cite Malcolm Gladwell – tipping points. Populists and conservatives – ie, enemies of socialism – have been largely barred from the levers of power in USG since the Hoover administration. The longer they remain out of power, the more their power decreases. Thus, the level to which an actual grass-roots movement (such as the tea parties) can influence public policy is almost zero.
Conventional democratic politics can stall public policy, but cannot change its direction. The mob is notoriously absent-minded; it forgets itself, and worries about something else; the policy goes through. This is the natural result of civil service reform. Either the People control the government, or they don’t. If they control the government, they can fire the bureaucrats. If they can’t fire the bureaucrats, they don’t control the government. It really is that simple.
But our plan is not a plan to elect a political party, or to implement some policy, or to stall some policy, or etc. It is a plan for a democratic coup – a complete regime change. This cannot be done without actually capturing the government. Clearly, it is anything but a case of conventional democratic politics. However, until the regime change, it works entirely by lawful methods. After the regime change, of course, its word is law. The coup is a political singularity.
For instance, the rule in conventional democratic politics – followed rigorously for centuries – is to be as broad and vague about your ideals and desires as possible, so as to attract the largest possible base. Consider the tea parties. What were they about? Their namesake – a thoroughly left-wing phenomenon, a mob of vandals who masked their faces like Hamas to ransack a private business whose only crime was obeying the law? A mood, a feeling, a thought? Maybe an agenda, if a negative agenda counts? No to healthcare reform? But not just no to healthcare reform…
It was, and is, nowhere near clear. No surprise. The more people you get, the more powerful you feel. Unfortunately, if those people are milling about randomly in a “big tent” the size of Nebraska, you have accomplished very little in terms of coordinating support. You have not coordinated anything. All you have is a feeling. If you could get a million people behind some defined objective, you might be able to get that objective to happen.
But if the tea parties were promoting an actual manifesto, they would have had a much harder time recruiting. This would just have been weird. When you involve yourself in something like a tea party, you feel that you are contributing your thoughts, your ideas, your dreams, to a collective movement. This is the experience of conventional democratic politics. The last thing a democratic party wants to do is to crush those dreams, brutally, with its own.
Thus, conventional democratic politics cannot bring about a coup. No big surprise there. Only unconventional democratic politics can succeed. An unconventional party can only be organized along lines that will be familiar to any student of the revolutionary movements of the early 20th century, including both parties of the Right and Left. We can describe this as an existential party; it demands a fundamental and complete change of government. Such a party cannot, of course, be anything but upfront about this goal. It cannot mind being called anti-democratic. It is anti-democratic.
Power is what works; it can be used for good or evil. All significant existential movements, from the Bolsheviks to the Nazis, the Sandinistas to the Legion of the Archangel Michael, share these five design features:
One, the Party is exclusive, rather than inclusive. A democratic party is like a church: anyone can walk in, sit down, and listen to the sermon. An anti-democratic party is like a club: if you want to be a member, you have to apply. Moreover, if you want to stay a member, you have to keep paying your dues. Both metaphorically and financially.
Two, the Party enforces an ideological standard. The Party leadership decides on the Party line. You are, of course, free to have your own opinions. You are just not free to confuse them with the Party’s opinions. As a Party member, you know the Party line and can spout it like a tape recorder. You can also rant on your own account. And you know the difference – that’s all. The Party is most certainly not a soul-enslaving totalitarian cult.
Three, the Party proposes a concrete program. If you vote to transfer power to the Party, you know exactly what you’re voting for. You are not voting for the box labeled “Surprise.” If everyone else puts their votes in that same box, you know exactly what’s going to happen.
Four, the Party eschews and despises partial authority. The question of what a responsible statesman would do with an existing pseudo-executive position under the Modern Structure – mayor, governor, even President – is only theoretically interesting. A responsible statesman would never accept any such position. His work would be sabotaged by those who retain the rest of said authority. Therefore, it would visibly appear to have failed. Moreover, even if it managed to succeed, it might well be reported otherwise. Better to hold back. The Party is organized to transcend democracy, not to repair it.
Fifth, the Party is inherently a shadow government. It is perfectly possible for the Party to build the new government under the laws of the old government. It just can’t be activated (no, not even a little bit!) under the laws of the old government. (It can give demos, however.)
This mechanism is not known to the American political tradition. What do I mean by a shadow government? As so often at UR, we’ll use as our example… National Socialism. Remember, a Nazi pistol is just a pistol.
The distinguished Australian historian Stephen Roberts, who lived in Nazi Germany between 1935 and 1937 and produced the essential prewar source The House That Hitler Built, wrote:
The machine, it is true, carried much dead weight, and organization in certain provinces was notoriously lax; but, on the whole, the Party came to provide a definite shadow State.
When I was admitted to the Party archives at Munich and shown some of the earliest documents, I was struck by the breadth of the point of view behind the system, even in the infancy of the Party. Here were no hasty pencillings and fugitive scraps of paper. Even when the Party had but a single stenographer, its files were handled as if they were the archives of a great nation, and the most insignificant details of meetings were minuted and checked and counter-checked. They were treated as State papers, and it is quite clear from the documents themselves that there has been no retrospective building up of a system that did not exist at a time. It is beyond doubt that the men who organized the Secretariat of the Party in the first few years acted as if they were managing a nation. The inculcation of such an outlook over a decade made the ultimate transference of power much easier than it otherwise would have been.
Lenin’s thugs, of course, played it the same way. Does this shock you? You knew we were talking about seizing power. Power, of course, can be used for good or for evil. By the Nazis, by the Communists, or by you and I.
You see the process of seizing power the anti-democratic way. First, you build a government outside the government. That government already has a mind: the Antiversity. All it needs is a body. The Party. The Party! Embrace it. Embrace the vision. Embrace the edge.
And all one must do, to join that Party, is switch one’s intellectual allegiance – from the University, to the Antiversity. The convert must follow the latter as he once followed the former: absolutely and unconditionally. The client submission module is already in place. We’re just changing the server address. Moreover, the doctrines of the Antiversity, because they actually make sense, are much more compact – they consume fewer neurons and demand far less background processing. Your very skull will sigh with relief.
You start to see the difference between this and the Nazis. For the Nazis, the equivalent of the Antiversity was… Hitler. Have you read Hitler? I have. (The Table Talk is the Hitler to read.) Frankly, Hitler reads a lot like me, if I lost 25 IQ points from drinking lead soda, and also had a nasty case of tertiary syphilis. I may have some of Hitler’s talents – I will be the first to admit it. But I have no intention of applying for his job.
I would never be able to do it, anyway. I don’t think anyone could. Again, a true collective intelligence is essential. The Antiversity must not only be much smarter than me, but also much wiser. (And better at answering its email.)
So, beyond the mere spreading of seditious truths – which is really First Step material – let’s look at how the Antiversity organizes a coup. In the First Step, the Antiversity assembled itself. In the Second Step, the Antiversity has three action items:
First, the Antiversity must design a Program. The Program says: if we receive formal sovereign authority, this is what we expect to do with it. The Program includes both a decision architecture for the New Structure, and a policy roadmap for the transitional administration.
I see no point in discussing the policies of the Program. Again, I am not Hitler. The Antiversity must be built first, and that will take at least ten years. Who knows what the world will be like in ten years? Cogitation on the Third Step should be left to one’s own private heart. Frankly, I have been rash in even mentioning these matters.
However, it’s clear how the Program starts: the Party seizes power, and executes its policy roadmap. Or… actually, no. This is not how the Program starts. This is how Brand X starts. This, for instance, is how Hitler started. And how Mussolini started. Needless to say, the Program has to be much more subtle, elegant and advanced.
There are many differences between the Program and the Nazi path to power. They both have one thing in common, of course: they produce an absolute dictatorship. However, this shocking resemblance can easily overshadow some critical engineering changes – notably the following.
The key safety change is that the Party is designed to seize power, but not hold power. The typical revolutionary party becomes an appendage of the revolutionary state – a permanent placenta. The placenta is a specialized organ for a specialized environment: the womb. Once the baby is born, it’s useless. She’d never learn to crawl with this beef pancake hanging on her belly. If the Party must be preserved after its victory, it must at least be severed from power.
So here is how the Program starts: the Party holds power for only as long as it takes to hire a qualified administrator – an experienced corporate CEO, perhaps. It then presents that administrator with (a) a conflict-free responsibility structure; and (b) absolute sovereign authority. (b) will come first; (a) remains merely the Party for longer. (In the Program, there is never an administrator who is both absolute and irresponsible.)
But the entire transition should be complete within a year. After this, the Party has no more reason to exist; and, indeed, it should dissolve. Its central structure disbands. It continues to exist in a certain sense as a social network, but its organizational life is over. The Party is a temporary organism – designed to win and die. Its career is its larval stage.
Thus, though UR is completely attached to the theory that not only does power corrupt, but potential power corrupts, the Party can become as corrupt as it wants. Because it will never exercise actual authority in government – unlike the Nazis and the Bolsheviks.
Second, given this clever design, the Antiversity must actually organize the Party. Without actually prejudging the design, let us call the set of patriotic and responsible citizens who support the Program the Plinth.
The Plinth must (a) obey the principles of existential politics as described above; (b) conduct all operations in a perfectly democratic, transparent and responsible way; and (c) place its absolute confidence in the Antiversity and the Program.
As with any existential party, the goal of the Plinth is to capture absolute sovereign authority. If Americans do not have the power to entirely oust and replace their government by entirely democratic means, whatever proportion of the population they need to do so, they are simply the autocratic servants of those parts of state that they cannot so oust. Popular government is a corpse; that corpse, by its own principles, must be discarded by any means necessary. So it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other. If you can’t have the Plinth – you need the Plinth.
And indeed, although the Plinth is not an inherently covert organization, it is certainly designed to operate covertly if for some ridiculous reason this ever becomes necessary. In much the same way that an A320 is designed for a water landing. Even in covert mode, the Plinth is not designed to commit any actual crime or injustice; but unjust laws can prevent it from operating at all, if it is required to operate according to these laws. Because it is designed along basically Leninist lines, it has at least the theoretical option of going underground.
Third, the Antiversity must continue to exist, so that it can advise the Plinth and its successor, the New Structure. It is intended to be a permanent design – which means it is intended to be a nonsovereign design. This one-time event should be its only brush with power. For the rest of the future, it produces advice. Which the advised are quite free to disregard. This is the honest relationship of a legitimate consultant – not the creepy hypnotic grip of an intellectual Svengali.
At this premature date, I feel this is about as far as a coup design can be sketched. Certainly the first and third parts above can stand little examination. The Plinth, however, is another matter. It is the thing that has to be built. But how can it possibly be built? Let us delve deeper.
First, I want to examine two trends that I think will advance over the next decade, making it easier to both assemble and install the Plinth. Here at UR, we skate to where the puck will be. Second, I want to look at two processes: the process of assembling the Plinth, and the process of seizing power once it is built.
The first trend is spontaneous deprogramming. Here is the problem: the Modern Structure is complete. The ancien regime is no more. Therefore, it is simply impossible for the progressive movement to generate anything like the energy it generated in the ’60s. The whole Obama experience, in particular, is a major downer. But this apathy would be growing anyway. It is just increasingly obvious that the ’60s will never be repeated. The logs it burned are ash.
What this means in practice: in practice, for a young person, it is very hard to squeeze any power or status out of the Left. All the institutions of the Left are bureaucratically stable. If you join them, you join them as an intern. If you want to achieve any status through them, you have to suck your way up a very long, greasy pole. It is just not exciting to be a mainstream left-wing activist. The lifestyle is grim and boring. You can be an extreme left-wing activist, like an Earth Firster, which is a little more exciting; but still exudes an ugly flavor of desire and futility.
Young people seek power and status. This is natural. It will always be the case. However, they are young; so they seek not the things that will bring them power now, but the things that will bring them power when they are of age to rule. Not, of course, that this is a conscious strategy; it is more a matter of evolutionary biology. But it still works. The number of former ’60s radicals in positions of power today is remarkable.
Thus, it is better to say that young people seek potential power and status. If an elite is open to new talent, they will seek it in that elite. If an elite is not open to new talent, or if the process of entering it excludes much of that talent…
In this case, we see a prerevolutionary condition. The classic case is late 19th-century Russia. Young elites, instead of being attracted to careers in the administrative or clerical arms of the Czarist state, were attracted to revolutionary activism – plotting to replace that regime. They seek a different path to power – not an existing path, but a potential and hypothetical path.
Why? I imagine that, to work and rise in the late Czarist bureaucracy, one had to both swallow and regurgitate some rather stale bagels of the mind. Certainly the literature of the period gives one that impression. Also, Jews were disliked. Rather actively disliked, as a matter of fact. Some of my ancestors left Imperial Russia on account of this nonsense.
The alternative? Communism. Out of the fire, into the frying pan. Or rather – out of the sauna, into the crematorium. Nonetheless, a prerevolutionary condition is a prerevolutionary condition. Better the good should take advantage of it, than the evil.
Let me show you a tiny, microscopic, little prerevolutionary condition, right here in 2009. This is the hot new phenomenon of Tweed Rides. Look at the gallery. What’s going on here, Mr. Jones? Who in the bloody hell are these bloody chaps?
More to the point: why are ultra-British Victorian and Edwardian fashions fashionable, suddenly, in 2009? Does it have anything to do with Barack Obama? And will it last? Who the hell knows. I am anything but a trendologist. Here, however, is my theory.
My theory is that these eras are in fashion because they are edgy. They are dangerous. Every man and woman in the pictures you see is under 40 and went to an American or European college. In this so-called place of education, they were instructed that the eras which produced these clothing styles were evil.
Moreover, the most evil people in this era were rich white people – the people who wore tweed. People such as Edward VII. That’s quite a difference, n’est ce pas? Barack Obama, and Edward VII? Nobody thinks this, I’m sure. The subconscious is quite sufficient.
Thus, the tweed craze is that most commonplace of youth phenomena – symbolic rebellion. Tweed culture is a lot like the swing movement in Nazi Germany – a relatively subtle denial of authority, delivered as a coded fashion message. Just as there could not possibly be any respect between the Hitler Youth thug and the Swing Kid, there cannot possibly be any respect between the Tweed Rider and the granola-munching hippie with whitey dreads. Culturally, this is war.
Of course, tweed is a harmless fashion statement. But you know: if a nigga has spent his entire Saturday trying to look like Sir Henry Maine, dress like Sir Henry Maine, talk like Sir Henry Maine, and act like Sir Henry Maine, how hard can it be to get him to read Sir Henry Maine? That’s what I’m saying: a prerevolutionary condition. (Or rather, a prereactionary one.)
There’s no reason at all that reactionary ideology can’t hitch a ride on reactionary fashion. The two should flourish for exactly the same reasons, under exactly the same conditions, in exactly the same kinds of minds.
Moreover, if I am correct in my somewhat optimistic reading of this microtrend, with its obvious potential to be as ephemeral as any other fad, it will not be ephemeral (though it may evolve). My reasoning: if the tweed life is a subtle protest, it is an exercise of collective power. If it is an exercise of collective power, this fashion statement in some form is likely to be enduring, for the same reason that ghetto thugs will never stop wearing baggy clothes: you can hide a piece under them. When fashion confers power, fashion sticks around. On the other hand, this whole Tweed Movement could be complete bullshit – the thing could disappear in a few months. UR does not make financial recommendations or confer fashion advice.
The second trend is what, for lack of a better word, I call recorporatization. Unfortunately, this requires using the word corporation in its unusual second meaning – that of corporatism. Someone needs to invent a catchier locution. Unfortunately, I am fresh out today.
America was once renowned for its voluntary and independent community organizations. Tocqueville expends countless pages on lavish praise for the American passion of voluntarism. For various reasons, these were almost entirely atomized in the 20th century. For a modern American, your tribe is your employer, your university, or perhaps your church. Perhaps you volunteer at one of the many official charities. (Any charity which accepts grants is an official charity.) These are extremely cold, impersonal, and soulless forms of engagement. This is by no means a coincidence; basically, you are interacting with others through the Post Office.
Reactionaries adore the natural corporative structures of society, and diagnose a sick society by their disappearance and/or coordination. All 20th-century regimes destroyed or suborned the voluntary structures in their societies, producing the usual gray, totalitarian anomie. Why? To any inherently unstable regime, such as a democracy, guilds and orders and brotherhoods and lodges and the like are dangerous institutions; they are easily assembled into threatening combinations. The simple, atomized state of mere individuals is much safer.
The trend that we are seeing is the reconstruction, thanks to teh Internets, of private voluntary peer communities. A good example is Sermo, a private discussion board only for doctors. What do doctors talk about on Sermo? I have no idea. I’m not a doctor. I can’t read the board.
However, I discovered Sermo because I read some news story that mentioned this press release. See this document. Frankly: crap like this is the reason society was decorporatized in the first place. Who the hell do these people think they are? The AMA? The AMA supports President Obama’s health-care reform. Now there’s the legitimate voice of American medicine.
Well… no. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point Sermo just assimilates the AMA, more or less the way the Soviet Union assimilated Latvia. What is the AMA? A bunch of guys in an office with a fancy name. What is Sermo? Actual, legitimate democratic power. Or more precisely, aristocratic power. Or even more precisely: corporative power.
For instance: there’s really nothing stopping someone from recreating Sermo for… the police. Or… the military. In fact, if you read the comments on police blogs, you’ll see another prerevolutionary condition! And this is in public! (Albeit anonymously. Verified anonymity, as in “anonymous Marine captain in Texas,” is an especially potent device.)
This is the art of the reactionary agitator. He is always persuading the little chips of uranium to cuddle up and get more comfortable with each other. Society has more than enough uranium for a Reaction. It is not shaped like a Reaction, but it is getting more so. Atomized, the doctors are nothing. Organized…
Another interesting and important class of corporative institutions is local institutions. For example: Sermo for San Francisco homeowners. If San Francisco homeowners develop a collective consciousness, their relationship to the government of San Francisco is not unlike Sermo’s relationship to the AMA. Hm.
If homeowners think X, and supervisors do Y, how do homeowners respond? Homeowners think: this is our city. This is our government. We’re the ones that pay for it. And it’s slapping us in the face every day. This is simply unacceptable. (Check out the comments on that last link – including the votes. Votes like 500 to 3 – for the reactionary position. In San Francisco.) Now, if we can have a meeting of the minds with Sermo for San Francisco policemen…
Once corporative institutions exist, they can think as communities. They can publish manifestos, like the Sermo appeal. They can develop party lines. They can liaise with other communities. They can perform all kinds of incredibly powerful and dangerous political stunts. No, there was very much a reason why 20th-century liberalism was so anticorporatist – just like the Nazis and the Bolsheviks. The corporatives must be assimilated, coordinated or destroyed. “As you wish, Lord Vader.”
Worst of all, corporatives can consider and disseminate alternative narratives of anything – or everything. They can be infiltrated. The Antiversity is a dream and the Plinth is a dream squared; but it’s never too soon to start infiltrating. (In fact, just the fact that you’re reading this pretty much makes you a sleeper agent. Perhaps I should consider disseminating some sort of patches or cards, like Steve Zissou.)
It is the combination of rebellious reactionary exuberance, driven by the irresistible energy of youth and talent, combined with the rise of new voluntary community structures, that over the next ten or twenty years will begin to create a general prerevolutionary condition. But how do we exploit that condition?
All right. We’re in 2019. Even given deprogramming and recorporatization, given an Antiversity – how do we do it? How do we build the Party? The modern world, in 2019, will still be the modern world. How, in the modern world, do you recruit a Leninist party of pure Carlylean reaction, dedicated implacably to the downfall of the Constitution and its replacement with an iron-hard corporate dictatorship?
Actually, history has a precise example of what needs to happen to America. America needs to be colonized. It needs to be reorganized under imperial rule. Unfortunately, America is the world’s greatest country already – no one is available to colonize it. Therefore, Americans will have to do the job themselves.
For instance, the acknowledged master of colonial government is Lord Cromer, who found Egypt in chaos and bankruptcy and instituted a European standard of government. We, too, would like a European standard of government. To achieve this goal, we have joined our efforts in the Colonialist Party.
Or possibly the Imperialist Party. Or, perhaps not now but at some more daring day, the Racist Party. (Whose platform could only demand absolutely race-blind government.) Many other names of this general valence, utterly defiant yet somehow nonthreatening, completely serious but vaguely ironic, are available.
But let us eschew all these big, flashy banners, and call the project by its internal codename. This is what cool people who know it will actually call it. It’s an unusual word, of no particular metaphorical definition: the Plinth. Again, I want to emphasize the fact that not only does the Plinth not exist, it cannot exist until the Antiversity exists; and the Antiversity does not exist.
The Plinth, quite simply, is the existential party of responsible thought. It appeals to responsible and intelligent people – parents, homeowners, schoolteachers. Doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Students at top-level universities. Republicans and Democrats, of course. Ice People, Chinamen, Hindoos; Boers, steers, and queers; mulattos, Hispanics, and Jews. Everyone intelligent, mature and open-minded, regardless of race, color, creed, or sexual preference. Of course, in practice everyone will be white, just like at Burning Man.
The Plinth can recruit new members in only one way: educating them. To join the Plinth, you need to educate yourself at least superficially in the doctrines of the Plinth. These simple instructional materials, prepared of course by the Antiversity, contain a brief general reorientation, and a short overview of actual history, economics, and political science. Basically, you need to read a little book and take a little test. It’s like getting your political driver’s license. Not difficult at all.
How is the Plinth structured? Much like any revolutionary party of the early 20th century. All instructions come to you from the headquarters – Reaction Control. This is a small office of professional reactionaries, whose role is entirely administrative (not ideological) in nature. The Antiversity dreams its dreams; it floats its castles in the air; Reaction Control executes them.
Is this at all creepy? Let’s stop, for a moment, and consider whether what we’re proposing is creepy. I hold that it is not, in fact, creepy. And here is why.
To the extent that Reaction Control is the administrative creation of the Antiversity, it is indeed the case that the Antiversity is plotting to take over the world. If the Antiversity is plotting to take over the world, it can and will be corrupted by power in just the same way as the University. It might even be worse – before it achieves power. And after that, it will degrade quite rapidly. So, yes, this would be creepy.
Let’s look at the safety interlocks on this baby. First, as we saw earlier, the Antiversity creates Reaction Control, but Reaction Control is not in any way responsible to or governed by the Antiversity. At least formally, this missile is fire-and-forget.
Once Reaction Control is born, the administrative tie is severed; the relationship is advisory alone. Thus, the Antiversity is not intellectually contaminated by the activism and raw power lust of the Plinth. Or at least, it is contaminated temporarily and as little as possible. Moreover, the fact that the Plinth can only win by speaking the truth is a major barrier to any kind of power distortion.
And then, of course, there is another Morgul-condom: once the Plinth wins, it forms the New Structure and ceases to exist. Furthermore, it is a conflict of interest to hold or have held any formal responsibility in of any two of these organizations: Antiversity, Plinth, New Structure. At every step, the people have to change. Otherwise, we could expect contamination. There will surely be some bad eggs anyway, but there’s no reason to invite them.
And please don’t misunderstand: this is not a James Bond operation. Until it actually seizes power, everything the Plinth does is legal. The Plinth is not a violent existential party. Ie, it is not a terrorist organization. Quite the converse! The Plinth is a nonviolent existential party. It is merely conducting a campaign of information terrorism. This is not just legal – it’s encouraged. Plinthers are merely activists. (In fact, volunteering for the Plinth next summer would look great on your college application. It’s not like we don’t have a plan to end world poverty.)
Reaction Control does three things. One: it assigns Plinthers to cells. Two: it publishes the Update. Three: it coordinates any distributed actions.
The general pattern of 20th-century revolutionary parties is a cellular structure. While this was originally designed for illegal, underground activity, in which the Plinth does not engage, it is also a perfect way to use the Internet to organize a social network.
Simply put: here’s how you join the Plinth. Either (a) you are recruited by a friend, who is already in a cell; you study the Short Course, pass the test, join your friend’s cell. Or (b) you find the Plinth on the Internet, study the Short Course, pass the test, and are assigned to a local cell by Reaction Control. Either way, you spend three months as a candidate member, than are confirmed or rejected by the cell. If confirmed, you are a full member and must pay dues.
Cells meet – in person – at least once a month to maintain their active status. At a cell meeting, members can be expected to discuss the latest issue or issues of the Update, which is issued once a week and tells Plinthers what happened this week. There may also be reading assignments, etc. It’s easy to assign reading when you’re not particularly interested in reading anything post 1922. The fundamental goal of a cell is to maintain the Plinth as a social network with a well-informed, reactionary collective consciousness – this requires intellectual awareness. Note that this is more or less how the CPUSA, for instance, operated in its heyday.
(And note what Reaction Control, in practice, does for your life. It goes out and finds you like-minded friends. It creates a social life. Many, of course, already have a perfectly adequate social life – but not all. This effect has been of tremendous advantage to revolutionary parties of the past.)
Cells also elect leaders, and these leaders form cells of their own. This is the traditional structure of a revolutionary party – why mess with what works? At the top is Reaction Control, whose leaders (while initially appointed by the Antiversity) are of course elected by the Plinth.
The Plinth, proper, is not designed to contain an electoral majority of citizens. Even once they had achieved power, the revolutionary parties of the early 20th century never made members of all citizens. The Party was designed to be a revolutionary elite, and an elite it remained, even in power. (The Plinth, of course, is dissolved once it wins – it is a sort of political placenta, not at all useful to the actual New Structure.)
Therefore, the Plinth will not prevail through the mere votes of Plinthers. It needs to recruit an outer core of sympathizers – supporters, but not members. To do so, it must propagate its message outside the actual Plinth. There are several ways to do so.
One is mass public action – demonstrations. These, of course, must be (a) entirely legal; and (b) extremely successful and impressive. Any demonstration of less than 100 people is a failure by definition. Also, all demonstrations must include fiery public speeches, preferably not by Hitler impersonators. Tweed or some other stylish, quasi-formal uniform is highly recommended. Colored shirts are most definitely out. Ties are good – cravats and bowties are better. Red, yellow, gold or orange are always good colors for male neckwear.
Two is Gramscian infiltration. Everything that can be infiltrated should be infiltrated, of course, but reactionaries should focus especially on the least politicized and least official networks in society – the workplace, and the new voluntary institutions. (Including, of course, Facebook.)
One simple, fun infiltration game is a subtle dress code, to recognize fellow reactionaries at work or play. For example, if your acquaintance or coworker wears orange, gold, or yellow shirts only on prime-numbered days of the month, he or she is almost certainly a reactionary. These are attractive colors on prime days, but very unattractive on non-prime days. If you note a coworker following this pattern, you may have a comrade in the office. Approach in private and give the password: “Pumpkins.” If the answer is “Carlyle,” the connection is made. You can watch each other’s back in work and play. Teams or groups of reactionaries may exhibit a visually striking, yet plausibly deniable, appearance.
Obviously, as the Plinth and Antiversity gain prominence and legitimacy, these tricks become less necessary. But they are still fun. Frankly, Americans have simply never experienced the excitement of political organization. This is because they have no meaningful politics. The idea that they could organize democratically to seize power is entirely foreign to them, simply because nothing of the sort has been practical for quite some time. It is teh Internets, of course, that have changed the rules.
What is the end of all this? The end is power. Let’s end our discussion by looking at how to seize power. The Plinth, after all this organizing and stuff, is going to have to seize power. D’oh!
There are two ways for an existential party to seize power in a democracy. One is the direct way: it can create new institutions of government, to which the people and/or security forces spontaneously redirect their allegiance. This was the method chosen by the Founders in 1787. The Constitutional Convention was authorized by the Congress of the Confederation, but it never returned to that Congress for approval. Rather, it solicited direct approval from the states.
The direct coup is harder and more dangerous. It really is technically illegal. It is essential to ensure the complete and undivided loyalty of the security forces. Nonetheless, once done, it’s done. The obvious rule of power applies: the Plinth never fails. If it would fail, it doesn’t try. If it opts for civil disobedience – ie, nonviolent lawbreaking – it does it once, for the stake of full sovereignty. And when it dares, it wins.
In the direct coup, the body that requests the loyalty of the security forces must represent the public opinion of responsible society. It is Sermo for all responsible people. It says, without shame or bashfulness: for responsible government, the responsible must rule. The rights of the irresponsible must be respected, but not their voices. The existing regime is irresponsible because it was selected by irresponsible people acting through irresponsible institutions. It supposedly exists to serve our purposes; it is not serving them. It had sat long enough.
An indirect or self-coup, in which a democratically-elected executive tears up the lawbook and instead executes the Program, is much safer and more straightforward. It requires a real majority, however, which is hard – and can be made arbitrarily harder by the Modern Structure, which is intent on securing itself by importing an arbitrary number of new citizens. This, like many of its other tricks, is quite familiar to the student of the late Roman Republic.
Finally, it’s important to note that either of these paths can be practiced at any political level. The ideal level is the national level – the Program is a national plan. The Antiversity can also develop Programs for states and even cities that wish to secede and become sovereign, however. Any coastal or border state or city should find this relatively straightforward.
One of the things you learn when you read about 19th-century USG is that its 20th-century successor simply does not exhibit the same level of political cohesion. Apathy again. The 19th-century American was an incredibly politicized, democratically engaged, and – not least – macho and violent creature. It is not surprising that in 1861, when a bunch of states tried to secede, the rest broke out in a paroxysm of enthusiasm for a war to save the Union. (It was certainly not a war to free the slaves – not in 1861, anyway.) If you were teleported into that mania, you would speak the language, but you would feel no other cultural connection to the people. You’d feel more or less as if you’d been sent to an insane asylum.
In 2009, or at any later date, what will happen if a state government tries to secede? So long as it has strong internal public support and the support of the state security forces, it will – secede. Nothing at all will happen. The state will simply become an independent country. Washington simply does not have anything like the political energy to coerce a seceding state. It barely has the political energy to coerce a seceding city. Americans simply are not going to shoot at other Americans for this reason. If this assertion is true, as I believe it is, state police with shotguns can easily thwart the entire US military in a secession situation. The latter simply won’t attack. They will not be ordered to. The hate just isn’t there.
The idea that any national force could prevent a state from seceding strikes me as rather like the idea that the US will guarantee Israel against Iran’s nuclear weapons, by promising nuclear retaliation against Iran if Iran nukes Tel Aviv. Frankly, I don’t think the America of today – the America that prohibits its own soldiers from shooting back at the Taliban, if the Taliban are shooting from a house – has the stones to nuke Russia if Russia nukes America (not that it will). The proposition that Washington could or would incinerate millions of Iranians, whatever the Iranian government did to Israel, is ridiculous. It is simply reverse presentism – anachronistic translation of past assumptions to the present. Washington once had an ideology that allowed it to nuke cities for reasons of state, but not now.
Similarly, Washington once had an ideology that allowed it to coerce states, or combinations of states, or even cities, that wanted to be independent. But not now. I would not say the thing is trivial, but any state, or even major coastal city, can almost certainly succeed if it plays its cards right.
In short: the only proposition on which the Reaction depends is the proposition that history is not over. Historically, the political problem faced by the Antiversity and Plinth seems relatively solvable. It seems impossible in terms of conventional American politics, but the whole point of the Reaction is a return to historical standards.
By historical standards, there is arguably no meaningful democratic politics in America today. There is certainly no meaningful democratic politics in most of Europe. Thus the Plinth is doing what any dissidents in a totalitarian state must: working to restore democracy, in a state whose constitutional belief is that it already is a democracy. The Plinth differs only in that it does not believe pure democracy is a valid description of any stable sovereign decision structure – and therefore proposes its own structure, which is designed to be stable, responsible, and effective, but emphatically not democratic. In short, the Plinth is just like an anti-Communist dissident organization, such as Solidarity, except that it sees democracy as a means, not an end. To reach that end, it may be necessary to restore democracy. It cannot be necessary to retain democracy.
The fundamental question is: can it be done? Most, I’m sure, would say no. Most might well be right. For another answer to the question, however, I leave you with Hilaire Belloc:
There is a triumph of influence which all of us have known and against which many of us have struggled. It is certainly not a force which one can resist, still less is it effected by (though it often accompanies) the success of armies.
It is the pressure and at last the conquest of ideas when they have this three-fold power: first, that they are novel and attack those parts of the mind still sensitive; secondly, that they are expounded with conviction (conviction necessary to the conveyance of doctrine); and, thirdly, that they form a system and are final.
Obviously, this profile fits UR to a T. In particular, observe the importance of focus. The tea parties, as a right-wing imitation of a left-wing phenomenon, are completely without focus; they are diffuse and distributed, as any leftist movement must be if it wishes to remain leftist. Therefore, they are weak despite their large numbers – they cannot think or act collectively. They will certainly never out-left the Left!
The essence of Right is effective structural and intellectual coordination. Operating a right-wing movement by left-wing techniques is an excellent way to fail. The Left spontaneously coordinates itself; the Right must be coordinated by actual leadership. In the Reaction, structural and intellectual leadership are supplied by the Plinth and the Antiversity, respectively. In the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, they were supplied by Hitler and Goebbels, respectively. Hopefully the difference will be easy to observe.
Actually, Belloc (who was a bit of a Nazi himself) is not writing about the Nazis. He is writing (in 1906) about 7th-century Islam. With a century more hindsight, I’d actually venture to disagree with him on one point: I think armies are pretty effective in effecting the conquest of ideas. Nonetheless, his analysis is excellent and not at all restricted to the soldiers of Allah.
History buffs will note that contemporary commenters on the rise of National Socialism also often compared Hitler to Mohammed and Nazism to Islam. They were liberals, of course, not neocons, and they meant real 7th-century Islam, not its modern imitation. (Our “Islamism” is just another strain of Third World nationalism, a bug that has been kicking around the planet for at least a century. It is best seen as an opportunistic infection of democracy.)
Therefore, my own designs are inspired by the experience of Hitler, Muhammad, and Jesus. As well as Octavian, Franco, and William I. Also important to my thinking are Frederick the Great, Mussolini, and Napoleon. And we can’t forget a few American luminaries, such as Ben Hill, J. Edgar Hoover, and Harry Hopkins. History is largely the study of political force, which is an extension of military force. Generals must study generalship by studying battles – any battles, all battles, without regard to the character or merits of the participants. Those who aim to design any system of political force must likewise learn from any and all parties, leaders and movements of the past, American or foreign, vicious or virtuous.
(And specifically, if the question is whether patriotic Americans are allowed to learn from the Nazis, I think that question was more or less answered when NASA shipped the German ICBM program to Alabama. When SS-Sturmbannführer von Braun’s spaceship landed on the moon, did patriotic Americans applaud? Or did they shout: “Boo! Hiss! Nazis!” Apollo 11, of course, was not made in underground caves by starving slave laborers. Therefore, it seems that one can copy the things the Nazis did right, and discard the things they did wrong. One can fail in this; one can fail in anything.)
Above all, then, the Reaction depends on one question. Will good people undertake it? No – will great people undertake it? If so, it will happen, and I think succeed. The most important thing about this entire project: at every step, in every thing it does, it must attract the best, it must repel, defeat or confine the worst, and it must be entirely and in the deepest sense of the word fun. If it is not possible to achieve these qualities, it is probably impossible to implement the Reaction. And of course, it may be impossible anyway. The required effort and achievement may just exceed human powers – even with the full power of teh Internets.
If so, there is no reason to despair. History has been a lot worse. It is getting worse; but not, by historical standards, that fast. (Unless you have the misfortune to live in South Africa.) And even if barbarism does steepen its pace, the consolations of Boethius remain available.
Better Boethius than Claudian, I say. Better truth in a cage than lies in purple. Truth will not remain in a cage, nor lies in purple. Not gently does this inversion revert. The force is not ours; the force is Clio’s. Heck – God’s. But
San Francisco; November 2009
There was recently a disturbance in an area of Paris that is normally much better shielded from the world’s slings and arrows: the 7th arrondissement. This created some striking still and moving images which can be viewed, by French speakers, at the racist Frogblog François Desouche. One is at once reminded of that darkest of modern French voices, M. Raspail.
Due to the universal degradation of the 20th-century mind, I am an uneducated boor and have no French. Presumably others here are in the same predicament. Therefore, I thought I would allow Google to translate some of the comments left by various ranids chez M. Desouche. I suspect many of these mots were bons to start with, and Le Goog has only improved them. If you want the original story, it is not bad with TF1.
The article’s title:
Hunting for whites after the cancellation of the release of money
There is no text, only video and images. From the comments…
Commentary No. 701 (UNDERDOG):
In countries where Paris will end soon in a can, you are in and all in a garbage can.
Commentary No. 705 (Although anti-Thinking):
It is not Fdesouche of extreme-right, or else it is the reality that is far right!
Commentary No. 713 (chris):
It is their denial of the reality that their farts in the mouth.
Commentary No. 714 (badger):
A little deeper and “the evening of the morning” will be within reach of real people who souffrent.
Commentary No. 715 (Jaime Horta):
I have carefully the article by Daniel Schneidermann very politically correct, which critics are limited to superficial acquaintances politico-media-financial and alleged exploitation of misery.
Unfortunately the causes of this fiasco is much more simple and trivial, measuring the lack of citizenship, in total disregard of others’ freedom and physical integrity, as the concealment of the most elementary laws governing collective societies, all with hundreds or thousands of offenders, criminal extravagant unbridled behavior by staggering impunity they enjoy and widely abused.
Commentary No. 721 (Herzl):
Under an unspoken racism on the part of gouvernantsqui is to be perceived as if they were “animals” (or disabled, etc..), We forgive them all. They can shoot at police, burning cars, etc.. Etc..
But one of us raises his voice, uses only one word louder than the other, and it is cooked, it does not forgive him.
IT IS ONLY TO remember the arrogant tone of the officer who stops you in town for a minor offense … but it is important to “dump” its frustration of not being able to bludgeon the pests that the emmerdent every day!!
Commentary No. 722 (sardoz):
Belle invention, the color photo, the whole world can see the state of France after 40 years of living together and métissolatrie Jacobin.
Commentary No. 726 (Eisbär)
The sores of urban city centers are beginning to feel the spicy breath of youth and diversity of their vivrensembleu soft neck … My opinion is that requests for exiles, overseas positions and applicants for a destination Erasmus will face a serious inflation in the months and years to come.
Commentary No. 727 (Eisbär):
On the last video image “fugitive” bobo a young female currently in Vélib escape before the troops “of Syldavian humiliated and misunderstood” was born on my dirty face chalk male hetero morning smile any loan of cynicism …
Reviled or who evil thinks.
Commentary No. 730 (patton):
well me and unfortunately I say that the violence committed by raccaille Afro-magrebhine in the 7th arrondissement is very bien.j hope that residents and shopkeepers will understand that they too do not have the abbri this type of event. I also hope that this will open the yeux. Sur the situation experienced by thousands of their countrymen who are not lucky enough to live in neighborhoods until the preserves.la solution would be locked up all this scum and deport them and their families by military in the country of their ancestors in withdrawing well on their way to the card itentite “French” and that French nationality as the artcle provides for a civil code. ditto for the “French “Algerian who fouttu brothel in France following the defeat in Algeria. if they love both the country of their parents and who they return and if it still will be the coffin or the bag.
Commentary No. 731 (Dear Rasade):
Have you the link to the picture of the wild with his machete, extract the video of the riot? Thank you to give.
Commentary No. 734 (florent):
What is worrying is that this type of marketing campaign has held in other countries and in France it turns to confrontation.
When we listened to the comments, there was a cultural vacuum recess (we want the mesh …), a concept of money disconnected from his senses.
Furthermore, they realize the actual cost of things? I mean it’s easy to break but how are they able to conceive, create, produce, car, bus, Glass Window?
We meet with monsters consumer but that is disconnected from the reality of the object. They know how to use it but do understand that very few functioning and especially its cost in terms of energy, hard-working people around the world for their offer turnkey.
He does not understand the meaning of the struggle and the commitment to long term, they are in the company of zapping, the instant and instinctual. They want so they will do anything to have. They eat and are in a samsaric any dissatisfaction that grows increasingly angry. They are not adults but eternally young in search of lost again in search of new sensation. They are acculturated people, uprooted for the most part. They are perfect soldier as a leader.
They hate France and the French but French. They hate America but are dressed from head to foot all their bearings and cultures comes from the USA. They report a fascination repulsion toward the West. They live in a world of violence and hate relation between future.
There has listened to conversations, vocabulary (often poor) and use words to understand the mindset. The language is a reflection of an open mind and the way we perceive the world around us.
Once the finding gives what?
We’ll have to reclaim neighborhoods and the first political act that is linked to everything else, is the rejection of illegal immigrants (working or not), stop all subsidies associations. Let the French take over the leadership role on its own territory. The right of the soil must also be stopped.
We’ll have to sign a social contract for engagement with responsibilities in French society. You do not come in France to do business (that is to say making money after all means) and enjoy benefits.
For young people who were born in France, he will have justice more appropriate. The sanctions must be based on education and redress. You break, you pay and you redo. The money must be taken where it is located (home, car, bank account, social security benefits in the family …)
For foreigners, the double jeopardy should not be in order, it should be mandatory expulsion, with responsibility for the whole family. When AC deal in the family everyone knows and everyone benefits.
When the next riots that will happen is the weapon with curfew!
For multi juvenile offenders, the army or in Djibouti in the forests of Guiana, with a development project to the key.
There is strong that we will bring calm and tranquility. Because the rate things are going is civil war in less than 10 years, with looting in Paris al’arrive!
Commentary No. 743 (Zombienation):
Henceforth, and in agreement with the City team, any public event involving at least 100 people is not recommended for Caucasians. We invite you to celebrate the music in you, dancing to the Techno Parade in front of your TV to show your couch.
Commentary No. 756 (Rosco):
Basically, those who are most to blame in such case, it is the fds. All these different, they do their job: their thing is to make runs to Paris and to attack anything that moves. They love it and would be wrong to deny, since nobody’s stopping them seriously.
Opposite, the cops, who should rust at all is, simply to arrest two or three. Judges release them instead to exercise the utmost severity. Media defend them and wallow in denial of reality. Policies refuse to take their responsibilities. And fds base continue to vote UMPS.
In short, we have what we deserve. I hate the different, but I can not blame them for doing exactly what I’d do it for them. When there’s an open bar, would be stupid for ordering a perrier and request the bill.
Commentary No. 761 (Stay Behind):
To calm the animal, he must let go, not the money, but real cats.
Anyway. This is just from the top page. Clearly, I could go on forever. Let me add one more:
Commentary No. 116 (Claudy):
For me I found myself caught in the middle of the riot at any time, and I am amazed at the gap that may exist (as usual) between what I saw my eyes and what the media reported.
What they call “degradation of urban furniture” and “angry people” were actually strips of black armed with crutches came exclusively to vandalize and rob people. I have witnessed attacks on people for their camera or camera, these people face in blood does not seem to understand what happens to them.
The most outrageous is that the police were visible throughout the riots, some companies have invested boulevards after 2h, when everything was finished …
So as usual tonight at 20h information will be a brief 20 seconds before entering the main subject and elementary imposed by the media: the football god.
And too bad for the victims of blood I saw, too bad for traders whose window was shattered, so much the worse for mothers asphyxiated in gas tear gas, never mind the tourists who will never return in Paris …
I noticed that it happens for a very long time: the police are back, the media obscure the subject, and the victims?
They do not care.
Fortunately, here at UR, we do care! Ah, our human liabilities…
To think about government in the democratic tense is to think (and talk – and write) in terms of policies. Most people do not know any other way. The democratic thinker, prudent or foolish, cretin or physicist, thinks: if I were king, what would I do about X or Y or Z? Health care or Afghanistan or banking? The precondition is always omitted, and always implied.
Since not only is the thinker not king, not only are there are no more kings in the world, but the thinker believes there never will and never should be any, any such thought is so impotent as to insult sobriety. One might as well ask: if I were God, what would I do about mosquitoes?
Normally, nothing but a tab of Owsley’s plus a hefty Bolivian chaser could bring a conceit so vain and fantastic to the sustained attention of the neurologically uncompromised brain. Dear reader, if you doubt, I commend you to Steve Randy Waldman’s brush with power. It is said that Tim Geithner stopped by. The wise man is the man who knows the brush for what it is – not taking it for actual contact. Yet the thinker, if not perhaps so wise as Steve Randy Waldman, is a normal man. He has not taken any heavy drugs. He has not sustained any head injuries. Or so he assumes…
Not only is our philosopher restricted to voting Democrat or Republican, even Democrats and Republicans are quite restricted in the range of legitimate policies they may in practice pursue. Thus the political mind is doubly vacant – tohu vabohu. No wonder today’s American, whose great-great-grandfathers paraded by torch, formed secret societies, cast eagled generals in bronze, could give a crap. He is politically apathetic, because he is subconsciously wise. Reality impinges upon his motivation at a direct level.
This generalization, of course, applies only to the audience. Ie: punters, marks or turkeys. The Washington of 2009 is first and foremost a show – and no small production. The gaffer does not fall in love with the leading lady or weep at the fate of the tragic hero. The entire cast and crew believe they are making a great movie, a movie that matters, a movie that is real. They care. But they care differently. The experience of the audience is not the experience of the production.
When people who are actually influential in formulating the policies which the Beltway makes, ie have actual power as opposed to Walter Mitty power, think, what they do is to invent facts. Or at least collect them. The result, in any case, is in every case some form of science. That this result is custom-made to imply, or even better assume, policy X or Y or Z, and made so well a monkey too blind to find a banana in its hand could see it, is seldom remarked upon by the participants.
Here at UR, we define political perspective as historical narrative. Your political position is a function of your interpretation of the past, up to and including now. If you read history the Republican way, you are a Republican. If you read history the Democratic way, you are a Democrat. If you read history the Jacobite way, you are a Jacobite. The facts may vary, slightly, but facts are the least of history’s art.
The Jacobite history of 2009, unlike the other two, is not found at your local library. One would need to be a full-beer Jacobite, finely preserved and not in any way tin-plated, to write it. Or at least, be able to fake it. A tough ho to row, but here at UR we persevere. While Jacobite may not quite be an exact description – I am actually quite weak on the 17th and 18th centuries – this blog is certainly very far to the right. Today, perhaps we’ll see how far.
For another post I’m working on, I felt compelled to name historical figures who could serve as endpoints on a spectrum of absolute left and right. I came up with Prince Kropotkin and Cato the Younger. Some people talk about Attila the Hun. But frankly, Attila was a leftist. Nigga say he to the right of Marcus Porcius Cato, that nigga mean business.
For me, the left-right spectrum is defined by the two forms of political power: influence and command, persuasion and compulsion. If A is exercising power over B, A’s decisions determine B’s actions. This is either because A has persuaded B to do what A wants, or because A has compelled B to do it. Either way, A is the big boss in charge. His testicles swell.
An organization is perfectly Left if it operates entirely on the principle of persuasion – that is, cooperation by consensus, without any hierarchy, interest or position. Of course, no nontrivial organization can operate entirely on this basis, so nontrivial organization can be perfectly leftist – let alone a sovereign state, which must defend itself by definition. Officerless armies have also been tried once or twice, generally without great success.
An organization is perfectly Right if it operates entirely on the principle of compulsion, without ambiguity, informality or conflicts of interest. My ideal state – the joint-stock republic, controlled equitably by its beneficiary shareholders, and secured by end-to-end cryptographic command – is perfectly Right, because its decision structure is entirely compulsory.
Unlike any mere paper standard, the neocameralist JSR is self-enforcing and physically secure. No one need be persuaded to follow its rules, ever. The design is internally stable – it stands up of its own accord, as any sovereign decision structure should. Unlike classical republican forms, it has no tendency to decay into democracy, and it lacks any inherent internal conflicts of interest. It may not last forever, but it is designed to last forever.
(So, yes: I to the right of Cato. Yo bitches can fear me. I like the Ass Meat Research Group.)
Notice, for instance, that under a purely compulsory sovereign, there is no need for propaganda. The joint-stock republic has no reason to concern itself with the political opinions of its residents – because no coalition of its subjects has the practical power to threaten its security. Thus it may treat them as what they are: its customers. Hopefully a somewhat warmer bond, making the political question moot. How hard is it, really, to keep the shoppers from looting the Wal-Mart?
This sudden evaporation of all zombie memes and public lies, of entire doctrines heretofore appearing remarkably pink-cheeked but animated only by the arteries of power, is just one of the many delightful surprises that the return of absolute sovereignty, however long it takes, will spring upon the world. What’s funny is that the ordinary educated American, a devoted reader of the New York Times, considers political and politicized some of his most foul terms of abuse. Once the democracy show is finally canceled, he will see just how right he was.
Such a blessed miracle can only come to pass, however, if its evangelists are as clear about its problems as its advantages. If not clearer.
Thus, I want to break the rule I started with, and talk policy. There is one problem facing humanity that must be solved by any design for a USG 5 – not just mine. A good way to demonstrate the superiority of my design is to show how it states and addresses this problem. If the problem engages you, translate it into your world and solve it there.
The Dire Problem is so dire that I cannot just tell you what it is. Dear reader, I fear your head still remains partially attached to the real world. In the real world, the Dire Problem cannot be solved; thus, it cannot be contemplated. Only in my fantasy world can it be solved. Therefore, not to solve it but to contemplate it, we must descend deeper into the fantasy. Details!
Whatever title he assumes, the CEO of a joint-stock republic holds one position, famous across history, found in every country: that is king. Our king should probably have prior experience as a mere corporate CEO, which is why I take the statistical liberty of assuming his testicles.
A king is a king because his job is the job of kingship. The selection process is immaterial. A king may inherit the job, he may be elected, he may be selected. Moreover, while any true king is absolute in authority, no king can be irresponsible – that would make him dictator, not king.
Every king is responsible to some persistent, ie eternal, institution. Ideally, that institution has the power to switch kings, and no other direct authority. A hereditary king is responsible to the royal family. An elected king is responsible to those who elected him. Etc.
The standard American corporate architecture, in which the CEO is responsible to a board of directors, elected by the shareholders, works reasonably well – at least in theory. However, if elections seem repugnant or dangerous due to their unfortunate democratic associations, there is an aristocratic solution which avoids elections and should produce a body of equal or greater responsibility.
Simply appoint the 50 or 60 largest shareholders as a senate. Senators vote by weight of shares. The size of any such assembly should be under the Dunbar number. Shareholders whose holding is under this bar may (or may not) select any senator as their proxy, adding their weight to his. Thus, all shareholders are represented equally in a body of manageable size. The senate can even be reduced to board size, for minimum overhead.
The senatorial design is superior to the representative design, because it places no professional intermediaries between the owners and the management. Rather, the latter are directly responsible to the former. While a layer of delegation can work quite well, all sorts of cruft can also creep into it.
However the responsibility structure is designed, it is absolutely essential that no significant conflicts of interest exist within it. Shareholders, for instance, share the interests of their property by definition. A royal family is a family business. Not one king in European history can be found who ruined his own country to enrich himself, like an African dictator.
Large shareholders will often have conflicts of interest with the sovereigns they own, due to the sheer financial size and variety of business interests they may hold. There is no solution to this problem but a careful initial distribution of the shares, and a command structure that allows the Senate to block the votes of shares whose holders are conflicted. Ideally, the shares are widely enough spread that these conflicts disappear in the noise. Position limits are an excellent idea. Ideally, large positions become concentrated among ultra-wealthy families, whose members can serve as a durable senatorial aristocracy.
Other well-structured sovereign corporations are often good shareholders, especially among a family of states created through the same process. For example, an easy way to break up USG is to convert it to a keiretsu of cross-held sovereign states, whose shares of each state are initially held by the other 49. This ensures that responsible management, if initially selected, will remain quite responsible. These shares can then be distributed carefully and broadly across a global financial market, shifting responsibility to a broad cross-section of human prudence.
This corporate banality is sound. But it is not glorious. If the job of the sovereign CEO is the position of king, why not assume that position’s ancient and honorable styles and ornaments? We could start with the name, and the majuscule: King. These alone may seem ridiculous at first, but the reality of power will infuse them – as it always has. Similarly, if our board of directors is a senate, let it be a Senate! The term, after all, is far older than Washington.
Armed with these dignities, we must pick a state. I pick my own: California. The question of policy is thus: as King of Royal California, absolute in authority but responsible to a Senate of major shareholders, what would I do about X or Y or Z? Note that by making the precondition of policy more fantastic, we have also made it more concrete.
What will the return of royal government mean for California? A recent network TV series, Kings, made a stab at imagining a modern monarchy. Mrs. Moldbug and I rented the pilot. It was not good. I constantly felt the desire to enter the screen, seize the camera, and redirect it from the royal family to the royal administration. Alas.
After so many years of grim, mindless democracy, the return of true kingship can mean only one thing for Anglo-American civilization, in California or anywhere else: a glorious rebirth. It is a permanent occasion for public glory. Its date will be celebrated for the next century. Life before the Restoration will seem inconceivably ugly, boring, weird and dangerous, like life under Communism. (And the fall of Communism will seem the first step in the fall of democracy.)
In the first few months of royal administration, both the King’s subjects and his real estate learn what it feels like to be treated as what they are – assets. These assets, like German machine tools operated without lubricant in Magnitogorsk, are in an extremely deteriorated condition. This neglect of capital is of course visible in the massive financial delinquency of the democratic era.
After six months of the King’s peace, it is safe for any Californian to walk anywhere in any Californian city, at any time of day or night. Every human in the state is legal and identified. The trade balance is neutralized, creating new industries sufficient to employ all Californians. All post-1950 architecture is classified for demolition and replacement. Young Californians in all grades are tackling their new classical curriculum. And so on. Life has become better, comrades! Life has become more joyful.
This is the frame of mind in which Royal California sets out to solve the Dire Problem. Next to this problem, all the king’s other problems are straightforward and unworthy of notice. They were only phantoms of democracy. Government, in reality, is not hard at all. All manner of seemingly intractable woes will dissolve before the King’s golden and tireless energy. But the Dire Problem is different.
The Dire Problem is that, while all the land in California is of positive value (since, for all its faults, the environmental stewardship of the late USG 4 was excellent), the same cannot be said for its population. No king would allow his population quality to sink to such a state; no king has reigned in California for almost two centuries.
Many Californians – most Californians – are assets. That is: productive citizens, or children who will grow up and become productive citizens. Their place is the left side of the balance sheet. Their presence in California increases California’s productive power, and thus its value as a financial asset.
As the King begins the transition from democracy, however, he sees at once that many Californians – certainly millions – are financial liabilities. These are unproductive citizens. Their place on the balance sheet is on the right. To put it crudely, a ten-cent bullet in the nape of each neck would send California’s market capitalization soaring – often by a cool million per neck.
And we are just getting started. The ex-subject can then be dissected for his organs. Do you know what organs are worth? This is profit!
If we claim to derive the responsibility of government from mere financial prudence, we must explain why the business strategy of culling unwanted subjects for their organs is not viable. Most would not find this profitable strategy consistent with responsibility. Yet, since a sovereign is sovereign, no higher sovereign can exist to outlaw or preclude it. The design must solve this problem on its own.
The simplest, broadest, and most essential prevention against this degenerate result is the observation that the royal government is a government of law, and a government of law does not commit mass murder. For instance, no such government could take office without promising to preserve and defend its new subjects, certainly precluding any such genocide.
A sovereign that breaks its promises, especially in such a ghoulish way, is a sovereign that its subjects cannot trust. This in turn is a much less valuable sovereign. Who wants to stay in the Hotel California? The whole idea of the King’s peace is that you can take a shower without worrying about Norman Bates. Property values just went through the floor, and what is a country but its property?
More specifically, these human liabilities are indeed just that – liabilities. The royal government cannot possibly take office without assuming the financial liability to keep these unfortunates alive and in a condition of human dignity. This will appear on the right side of Royal California’s balance sheet, just like its bond coupons. Moreover, the right to be kept alive, etc, at California’s expense, appears on the left side of a human liability’s balance sheet. Just like his IRA.
Thus, despite its inherently mercenary form as a reactionary corporate monarchy, an omnipotent uber-state whose soul is a little dried-up pea, Royal California will not actually be executing hapless peasants for their organs. This is nice to know.
But do we really know it? The explanation that Royal California will not harvest the poor for their organs, because it will have promised not to harvest the poor for their organs, and its most valuable asset is its reputation, while certainly accurate, is too narrow for me. Having established this legalistic defense, let us reinforce it with further realities.
More broadly, Royal California will in all cases treat her subjects as human beings. The maintenance of equity, as well as law, is crucial to her reputation. Thus, the Genickschuss is out, with or without the organ harvesting.
Carlylean to its core, the ideology of Royal California is that the King is God’s proxy on earth; whatever God would have him do, that is justice; the King, having done his best to divine God’s will, shall see it done. Or else he is no king, but a piece of cardboard, a “Canadian lumber-log.” Clearly, God is not in favor of harvesting the poor for their organs. You’re probably thinking of Huitzilopochtli. So this is another safeguard.
This still does not satisfy me, however. The Dire Problem is a Dire Problem. It is not to be dismissed so lightly. Let us turn, and face it more broadly. Again, it faces not only Royal California, but every California.
Stated most boldly, the Dire Problem is that there is a line of productive competence beneath which a human being is a liability, not an asset, to the society including him. This calculation is made in terms of the marginal human – does California gain or lose by adding one person just like this person? For millions, the answer is surely the latter.
Worse, with the steady advance of technology, this line rises. That is: the demand for low-skilled human labor shrinks. Abstract economics provides no guarantee whatsoever that the marginal able-bodied man with an IQ of 80 can feed himself by his own labors. If you doubt this line, simply lower it until you doubt it no more. At least logically, there is a biological continuum between humans and chimpanzees, and the latter are surely liabilities.
Why does this matter? It matters because either (a) a man can feed himself, or (b) he dies horribly of starvation, or (c) someone else feeds him. If (a), he is an asset. If (c), he is a liability – to someone. If (b), he makes a horrible mess and fuss while dying, and is thus in that sense a liability. Moreover, the presence of the poor becomes extremely unpleasant well before the starvation point.
It is useless to say that there are no human liabilities. Royal California was born to do God’s work in California. If your God is into fibbing or averting his eyes, he is some other deity. Our fellow sees only the truth, and speaks it. Come on, man! Let the glory and horror of the world unfold itself before your eyes. There are human assets, and human liabilities. Calling the latter the former is a terrible error, a blasphemy. God can wish a thing and make it so, but not you.
Think of the glories of emptiness and solitude. You, yourself, have gone into the wild to find them. Everyone reads Thoreau in high school. Not everyone reads Robinson Jeffers, but they probably should. Any subscriber to Outside magazine can relate trivially to Jeffers’ Inhumanism. Are not all humans, of themselves, born revolting, filthy apes – on the right side of the ledger? Must not they struggle to even break even, and contribute to civilization?
Let those of us born with golden brains, therefore – the tiny top sliver that Ralph Adams Cram called human, as opposed to anthropoid – inherit the earth, through the talent that was born in our hands and minds. As for the anthropoids? Their hearts will always beat in our chests. Their brains can be frozen, and perhaps scanned someday when we have the technology.
Imagine the garden that a population of ten or twenty million – all the most human of humanity – could make of the earth. Would they miss the six billion? Not a chance. Would the planet seem empty and boring without the favelas of Rio, the projects of Baltimore, the huge human warrens of Lagos? Not a chance. Nor, if your taste runs to Gaia, would the Earth. And if the few can figure out how to preserve the organs of the many, this new nobility can live for millennia!
Anyway. I am not actually making this Swiftian proposal. On the contrary! As I’ve said, I oppose it. Nonetheless, it is important to present it, because the attraction is real. At least to some of us. Besides, what else are you going to do with the huge human warrens of Lagos? Lagos is not in California, at least not yet. But the latter is hardly without its pits.
We now face the Dire Problem squarely. The King has two constraints.
First, his solution must be consistent with human dignity. For his model of dignity in charity, he chooses the system of Maimonides. (Note that USG 4’s system of taxpayer charity, the “welfare state,” is all the way down at a Maimonides 8, since donors are unwilling. As for the effects, the sage is entirely validated.)
Second, once the first constraint is solved, the solution’s effect on free citizens must be as close as possible to the effect of our organ-harvesting proposal. In other words, any solution to the Dire Problem can be defined as a humane alternative to genocide.
Such a humane alternative will not cost ten cents a head. It will not yield valuable organs. It will produce a society consisting entirely of productive citizens and their dependents, which takes Robert Putnam’s research to its opposite endpoint. Those who have experienced no such society are mistaken to scoff at it; had they ever tasted any such community, they would never give it up. The King who brings it will silence catcalls and make believers.
Let’s approach this problem of human dependency in more detail. What does the King do with his mindless, menacing, misbegotten masses?
First, the King’s law is that either a human being is a free, taxpaying yeoman, or a ward. A ward is any dependent – anyone not responsible to provide for his or her support. The general principle of wardship is that every ward must have a patron, who is responsible for supporting the ward, authorized to direct and discipline the ward, and liable for the ward’s offenses. This is not my idea – it is straight out of Roman law.
The trivial and common example of the patron-ward relationship is the relationship between parents and children, or children and their superannuated parents. Familial dependents are simply none of the King’s business; his law upholds, rather than challenging, these structures.
We turn, therefore, to wards of the State. These come in three classes: (a) criminal, (b) indigent, and (c) mentally incompetent. (a) and (c) are always with us; the heart of the Dire Problem is (b), because there is no realistic constraint on the size of (b). Indeed, as we approach the Singularity, (b) tends to include everyone – golden brains or not. That is, as machine intelligence increases, economic demand for human intelligence at every level goes to zero. Oops!
As we’ll see, the solution for (b) may help us with both (c) and (a). (c) is immemorial – I have little to say on the question. As for (a), crime does not much trouble the King – not with his aggressive use of modern forensic and security technologies.
Widespread crime is an epiphenomenon of democracy. In Royal California, you are much more likely to be attacked by a wild animal than a feral human, and there are none of either in the cities. Dangerous bipeds are simply not in circulation. So long as your children are old enough to understand traffic safety, they can wander up and down Market Street all night if you care to let them.
The standard of public safety is independent of the threat. Whether your rights are violated by an agent of the King or an independent criminal, you experience the same violation. The democratic failure to eradicate crime is thus best defined as a form of state terror, with the same unlovely motivations always found in a government which torments its subjects. (Crime in Britain, for instance, increased by two orders of magnitude in the last century, as that country terminated its ancient aristocracy and entered its present democratic tailspin.)
The Victorian ability to nearly eradicate serious crime, even with Victorian forensic technology, is a testament to that age’s genius for the rule of men. Most of today’s criminals are not psychopaths, biologically defective goods; they are, or at least conceive of themselves, as free warriors against civilized society. A government which can not only detain these warriors, but conquer and defeat them, breaking their martial spirit, can resocialize them.
This was once routinely done in American prisons, or any prison for that matter. For example, in the French Catholic novelist Paul Bourget’s 1893 tour d’Amérique, Outre-mer, he visits The Tombs in New York:
We had not been ten minutes in it when we began to see convicts laboring in some earthworks But for their uniforms of white, with broad dark stripes, we might have taken them for workingmen at their ordinary task. Absorption in work is so essential a characteristic of American life that these convicts seemed not different from free workmen. Their countenances were not more sad than those of engineers on their locomotives or smelters in their foundry.
The workshops were, therefore, filled with workmen who do excellent work at a low cost. In pavilions surrounding the central building, there was a forge and a cabinet shop, a shoe factory and a locksmithy, and so on through the whole range of trades. We saw rows of tailors, painters, bookbinders, clockmakers, peacefully at work.
How were criminals reduced to these peaceful trades? They were broken – forced to work, or be beaten and starve. They were ruled. The King is not afraid to rule.
We move on to the genuinely hard problem – (b). Here we are dealing with human beings who have done nothing wrong, and have therefore nothing to be punished for. They simply happen to lack the ability to provide for themselves on the free market.
First, the King has no compunction whatsoever in creating economic distortions that produce employment for low-skilled humans. A good example of such a distortion in the modern world are laws prohibiting self-service gas stations, as in New Jersey or Oregon. These distortions have gotten a bad name among today’s thinkers, because makework is typically the symptom of some corrupt political combination. As the King’s will, it will have a different flavor.
As both a good Carlylean and a good Misesian, the King condemns economism – the theory that any economic indicator can measure human happiness. His goal is a fulfilled and dignified society, not maximum production of widgets. Is it better that teenagers get work experience during the summer, or that gas costs five cents a gallon less? The question is not a function of any mathematical formula. It is a question of judgment and taste. All that free-market economics will tell you is that, if you prohibit self service, there will be more jobs for gas-station attendants, and gas will cost more. It cannot tell you whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.
There may be no jobs for men with an IQ of 80 in Royal California – at least, not in a Royal California whose roads are paved by asphalt rollers. But suppose its roads are paved in brick? A man with an IQ of 80 can lay brick, do it well, and obtain dignity from the task. Nothing whatsoever prevents the King from distorting markets to create demand for the supply he has.
The anthropoid remains a liability. The full-service gas tax is a tax. The man with the 130 IQ will not obtain his neighbor’s liver, and will still have to support him. But, the dependency being sufficiently indirect, he supports a free and dignified man – a yeoman, in fact, if a dull one. Work is not so ennobling that it can convert a low-browed cretin into the Marquis de Lafayette, but it can convert him into a man decent enough to walk the King’s streets.
Or not. The low-browed man of 70 (and remember – for every 130, there is a 70) may still require special supervision. Besides a job, he needs a patron. Productivity he has, but direction and discipline he still requires. His patron may be a charity, or a profitable corporation, or even – gasp – an individual.
In the last case, of course, we have reinvented slavery. Gasp! Since the bond of natural familial kindness is not present in the case of an unrelated ward, the King keeps a close watch on this relationship to protect human dignity. Nonetheless, his wards are farmed out – it is always better to be a private ward than the ward of the State. Bureaucratic slavery is slavery at its worst. Adult foster care, as perhaps we will call it, is a far more human and dignified relationship.
The combination of calculated market distortion and private patronage, therefore, is the King’s primary approach to the Dire Problem. By carefully chosen technical restrictions and the like, he can sculpt a labor demand which roughly approximates the actual labor supply. By finding patrons for those not responsible enough to be responsible for themselves, he ensures that these individuals have direction as well as productive value.
Financially, this is quite inferior to sculpting a labor demand through organ harvesting. But if organ harvesting is out of the question, technology restriction is the first and best solution for the problem of mass indigence. It is certainly far superior to the Virtual Option, both financially and humanely.
The Virtual Option! For the first time, whispers of this scheme pass our lips. What is it?
To enter the frame of mind that allows us to conceive the Virtual Option, let us leave California, and return to the vast slums of Lagos, or any other Third World city. Anyone who saw District 9 will be familiar with the concept. That was not a set. Now, imagine yourself in a helicopter, day after day, touring these fermenting pits of rancid humanity, around the world – from Lagos to Rio, from Rio to Manila, from Manila to Soweto. Foul bile rises in your gorge. What king could employ these masses? What highways will they brick? What masters would have them, even as slaves? The horror, the horror…
No! God will not allow these foul armies to fester as ulcers on the earth. As is plain by smell, from birth he cursed these cities and their shambling bipeds. God’s California was not made for such creatures. It is true that there are no favelas in California – now. There are also quite a few people in California who believe that no person is illegal. And more every day. Someday, in the lives of those now living, the borders will open. Lagos will come to California. And then we’ll really need a King. Harvest the organs! But no, God will not let us do that either. Bummer.
The King must scrape these orcs from the earth. Knowing God’s will, he knows that God wishes them vanished, dissipated, vaporized, gone. Their former middens, scoured and made state parks, clean and fresh with trees and grass. Their disappearance, celebrated by state holiday. On the other hand, he insists that they retain human dignity – preferably, indeed, augment it. How do you execute people while maintaining their dignity? I’m afraid you don’t.
Thus the Virtual Option – our humane alternative to genocide. Under the Virtual Option, the King does not round up the slum dwellers and execute them with captive-bolt pistols. The King condemns the slum, clears it, and requires all its former residents to obtain civilized housing. If a human being cannot support himself in a civilized manner in the King’s economy, which has been carefully tweaked to match labor demand to labor supply, the King does not provide a “safety net” in the 20th-century style, in which he may lounge, sag, bob and fester forever. No – then, it is time for the Virtual Option.
If you accept the Virtual Option – always a voluntary decision, even if you have no other viable options – California will house, feed and care for you indefinitely. It will also provide you with a rich, fulfilling life offering every opportunity to obtain dignity, respect and even social status. However, this life will be a virtual life. In your real life, your freedom will be extremely restricted: to the point of imprisonment. You may even be sealed in a pod.
The result is that the ward (a) disappears from society, and (b) retains or (hopefully) increases his level of dignity and fulfillment. He remains a financial liability, because it is still necessary to prepare his meals and maintain his pod. But other residents of California no longer feel menaced by his presence. For he is no longer present among them.
To make the Virtual Option work, of course, a virtual life must provide real human dignity. This technology is not at present available, or anywhere close. Let us inquire into the matter.
First, consider two existing virtual-world games: Second Life and World of Warcrack. Excuse me – Warcraft. I have barely touched a computer game in the last 10 years, and even when I was in college, which was a dreadfully long time ago, I preferred single-player games. However, even I am aware that Second Life is boring and full of losers and perverts, whereas WoW is furiously addictive even to many people with an actual first life.
Why? Because the designers of Second Life, being good San Francisco progressives, forgot something very important in their virtual world. They forgot that life needs purpose. In Second Life, your character just wanders around chatting, displaying sexual decorations and laughing stupidly at weird funny stuff. Not coincidentally, this is more or less the San Francisco 20-something bohemian idea of the good life.
In WoW, you are in a Dungeons & Dragons universe. You go on quests, get points, kill monsters and/or each other. Result: Linden makes layoffs, Blizzard makes bank. Blizzard’s virtual world provides its characters with a built-in system of meaning, however crude. Linden’s assumes that mere socialization is sufficient to satisfy the human drive for purpose.
All the virtual-world games in existence today are intended as just that: games. Or rather, toys. Many people with real lives invest a considerable amount of time in Warcrack, but most are embarrassed by it. A toy of this sort is simply not designed to absorb the entire life of a human being, granting it meaning and dignity even inside a sealed pod. Thus, it cannot even come close to making the Virtual Option a genuine option.
The technology, however, advances. Here at UR, we skate to where the puck will be – our dreams are dreamed for the future, not the present. Can we imagine a virtual world more compelling than reality? Easily. Every novelist does.
In the real world, meaning and purpose are hard to find. In the virtual world, they are trivial to invent. Go slay an dragon, or illuminate a manuscript, or accumulate a golden hoard. The dragon is a data structure, the manuscript could be illuminated in PDF, the golden hoard is a mere integer. All this meaning is makework – invention. Its real meaning: nil. So what? It feels real, and this is sufficient for dignity.
The pod, of course, will need an all-around sensory upgrade. Immersive audio and video are requirements. Haptic interfaces are essential for high-dexterity work with tools, instruments and weapons. Mechanical sexual stimulation is a no-brainer. And why not drugs? The virtualized ward is hardly about to go out and drive while intoxicated. The Dionysian experience, too, is a part of human dignity.
But life is not just about pleasure. It is about hard work and struggle and pain. A pair of pedals hooked up to a generator provides hard work – if your virtual job is pulling a rickshaw, you have to pull that rickshaw; if you are running from a dragon, you need to run. Harmless but intense artificial pain is easily produced. And most daring, is true death possible in virtual reality? For those with the need to risk their lives – bravery, too, is essentially human – a small needle will relieve them of the burden if they gamble and fail.
The mere existence of a population locked in to the virtual world, whether by direct compulsion or practical necessity, makes the game into reality. Reality is anything you can’t leave. The feeling of intensity, in such a game, will be beyond anything World of Warcraft can imagine. Indeed, the free yeoman may well pay liberally to vacation in this world, a Middle-Earth with real orcs.
And the real world, outside it, is unencumbered by the semi-human detritus of the insane democratic experiment with massive dysgenic reproduction. Instead, the lush and varied Monegasque landscape of Royal California, populated entirely by civilized and productive human beings, will be punctuated by occasional strange towers: pod racks. Even these can be in the desert, where no one but the lizards will have to look at them.
This is the Virtual Option: the translation of the underclass to cyberspace. All around the world, anywhere there is a slum with an XBox in it, the Virtual Option is taking shape. King or no King, soon it will be real. Men will say: now, we can see the Dire Problem, and our hearts remain at rest. For we have seen the worst-case scenario, and we are prepared to apply it. Pod racks! The ultimate reactionary answer to the entire social question.
Could we all end up in a videogame? Remember, as the power of the machines increases, the demand for human labor at every intellectual level decreases. If the last two brains on earth are mine and Terence Tao’s, I know who’s getting virtualized first. Of course, at this point we would be ceding mastery to some evil machine intelligence that wanted to rule the planet and dispatch its last human overseers. Finally, we have descended too far into fantasy – not that the problem is uninteresting, just underspecified.
But my conscience feels clear in proposing this solution, because I feel it would be entirely possible to build a virtual reality in which a person such as myself would maintain human dignity. After all, there’s a reason I stopped playing videogames: I find them absorbing. Just about everyone does, crude and primitive as the games of 2009 (or, heck, 1989) are. And the smaller the mind, the more easily absorbed.
So the techno-dictators of the 21st century will have no difficulty whatsoever in capturing and absorbing the mindless mass. As usual, we see only one obstacle between us and this bright future: democracy. This is the true Dire Problem – not bad demographics alone, but the combination of bad demographics and bad politics. Fix the latter, and everything is possible.
You have seen, on plate-glass fronts,
The frosted, shapeless letters. Kant:
If a lion could talk, we would not
Understand him. If we could read
This, we would not understand it.
Last night some alien acid beast,
Entirely sulfuric in metabolism,
Odious to God and all the universe,
Slithered by and wrote its name
In its own burning fingertip grease.
Lord! We clutch our coats about us,
And move rapidly on. But a thing
I didn’t know: today I saw a man
Buffing it off a window with a rotor.
I had assumed the glass was totaled.
Order emerges; acid meets base;
Beast is prey as well as predator;
God is often cruel but never boring.
I shouldn’t ask a question as inflammatory as that last post, without giving my own answer.
The answer is that what South Africa needs is not white government, black government, English government, Dutch government, or even Jewish government. (Although I’m sure it would do quite nicely under Moshe Feiglin.) What South Africa needs is responsible government – regardless of the race, color or creed of whoever is calling the shots.
Both sides of the argument would agree with this statement instantly, I suspect. So would just about everyone in South Africa. Yet they cannot get it together to do anything about the matter. Why? Because both sides are firmly committed to democracy, racists no less than liberals.
Now, it so happened that reasonably competent government – at least compared to the ANC – was provided until 1994 by a race-restricted democracy. In a country where the upper class is white, you will get a better government by restricting voting to whites! Golly, imagine that.
Yet, even within the ballpark of restricted democracy, racial qualification is an incredibly crude measure. A much better result would be achieved, for instance, by psychometric qualification. If your IQ is less than 120, you have to go through life with the dunce-cap of a nonvoter. On the other hand, you get to go through life with a government elected by those whose IQ is over 120. Even better, the result of the test could be undisclosed – so you have no idea whether or not your vote matters. You feel no humiliation if it doesn’t; you receive no advantage if it does.
Obviously, this test has nothing to do with race, so it cannot be regarded as racist. Ha! Of course, the design is pointless, because this little eugenics experiment would be regarded with the same obloquy as apartheid, by the same people who defeated apartheid. Whoever those people may be, they obviously still have it goin’ on. If apartheid was defeated by the Jews – you are right back in the ring with the Jews. And this time, you don’t have nuclear weapons.
South Africans who demand change are probably better off abandoning democracy altogether, in favor of some more modern system of government. Or go all retro, and demand a monarchy – an absolute monarchy. If you must be out of line, as you must, be so far out of line that it just confuses the powers that be.
But for whites to be safe in South Africa, South Africa does not need white rule. All it needs is a responsible government, which will govern the country according the true laws of reality, eradicating wrong and upholding right. Law enforcement in 2009 is not a genuinely difficult problem, not even in a country with substantial disparities in wealth. More rigorous and flexible policing will always solve the problem, and is always better than allowing it to continue.
Thus, there is an excellent reason for whites in South Africa not to advocate for white rule. Because white rule is so strongly opposed by so many powerful people – many of whom, of course, are Jews – it is by far the most difficult and unlikely road to your real goal, which is responsible government of European standards. Therefore, by supporting white rule, you are [expletive] walking into an [expletive] [slur] trap. D’oh!
South Africa’s problem is simply democracy. Because of its wide range of cultural sophistication, South Africa is probably the worst country in the world in which to introduce democracy. By comparison, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan might as well be Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
IMHO, the only way South Africa can recover from its tailspin is if its collective electorate, black and white, realizes that democracy in South Africa does not work and a replacement is essential.
This would be an extremely implausible event, but it is not as implausible as either (a) a return to responsible government under the ANC, or (b) a return to white rule. Both of which strike me as quite impossible. Therefore, rational actors should ally around the implausible and try to make it plausible, rather than banging their heads against obvious but impossible walls.
I apologize for the apparent dereliction of UR. I have been working on a somewhat longer post, on the design of the Antiversity. It will appear this Thursday.
In the meantime, I thought I would steal some content from another blog, and post it here for your consideration and discussion. The original authors cannot possibly protest, because they are racists and racists have no rights.
The victim of my piratical act is perhaps the world’s most notorious racist blog, South Africa Sucks. It is certainly the world’s best racist blog, though the competition in this category is hardly stiff. Even SAS has seen better days – its founder and best writer, “The Uhuru Guru,” also a dark master of Photoshop with a seemingly endless collection of primate stock photography, is semi-retired. Of course there is a large quantity of idiotic, illiterate Stormfront Nazism to be found at SAS, especially in the comments. But at least they have an official policy against Jew-hating. Moreover, the great secret of SAS is that in general the posters are former liberals.
That said, SAS is a cesspool of modern hate. I study it. I don’t endorse it. I certainly will not link to it, and on balance its effect on its goals is probably counterproductive. Nonetheless, as we’ll see, it clearly has a cathartic effect for many people.
If you wonder why any literate, intelligent person would read a website that feels no shame whatsoever in stitching the head of Nelson Mandela to the body of Papio anubis, perhaps you should start with this brief review in that impeccably conscious journal, Newsweek:
The most dramatic figures can be found among South African whites, who are leaving at a pace consistent with the advent of “widespread disease, mass natural disasters or large-scale civil conflict,” according to a report by the South African Institute on Race Relations. Some 800,000 out of a total white population of 4 million have left since 1995, by one count.
“Widespread disease, mass natural disasters or large-scale civil conflict.” Well, I never. Who’d have thunk it? As we have come to expect here at UR, all the wrong people. Whatever present history is, it is not the story of the victory of the accurate predictors. So, from reason’s standpoint, there is a reason to read the wrong people. Read on.
For your reading comfort, I have elided all racial slurs and other potty language from the pirated text. SAS being SAS, this was quite a bit of work. If you need the context to this discussion, try this search, but I think it is fairly clear. The details are certainly not important.
Our original poster, “doodler,” writes:
Today we received a (for a change) a reasonably more rational criticism from Jenny who opines:
Enough with all of this hatred, guys. Maybe I am a liberal, and maybe all the horrible things that you have been saying are true, but vomiting such bile is helping no-one. I challenge you all to take a long, hard look at yourselves and decide whether calling people ‘[slur]’ makes you superior in any way, whether playing the blame game makes this country any better, and whether Bianca (may she rest in peace) would really have wanted her death to have led to such outpourings of hatred, violence and abuse.
Peace be with you all.
This comment has made me consider, once more, why we contribute to this blog. Interesting that she agrees that the “horrible things” we say are true. But then, in the same sentence she says that “vomiting such bile is helping no-one.” With respect, I disagree vehemently with you. You see Jenny, we have a moral obligation to let the rest of the world know exactly what is happening in SA. Some of the bloggers here used to be ardent liberals. For me, I used to be a left winger. I also really believed that post 1994 would be the beginning of the Rainbow Nation and we would all live happily in lala land. Stoopid, huh?
Unfortunately you, together with tens of thousands of white SAns, are one of those brainwashed persons who seriously believe (and hope) that if you ignore the problem it will go away. I do not for one minute blame you. This is a common reaction evinced by the vast majority of peace loving people. The just want to be left alone to do their own thing, and enjoy their lives. Nothing wrong with that. On Saturday, I met a white lady who has recently returned to [slur] after spending around seven years in the USA. She is totally horrified at the situation here and how dramatically things have changed for the worse in the time she was gone. She is going back as soon as she can.
But anyway, Jen the point is that you need to read the articles and the comments here in the correct context. Those people who “vomit bile” are outraged about the doings and screwings of our [inventive slur]. They are not blinded by the MSM. They see the Emperor is stark naked. They experience the unpleasantness of living in SA. Of having to watch your back continuously. Of going into attack mode when the alarm system is triggered. Of worrying that your spouse/kids will arrive home safely without being hijacked and killed. Of walking into a restaurant and checking that their security arrangements are adequate. Shall I continue? I think you get my drift. Truth is that they know they are helpless and cannot do anything about it. For all the braggadocio some of them exclaim, they know they can do zilch. So they express these feelings in a way some find odious. But at least they are venting.
It is also not a question of playing the blame game as you put it. It is pointing out facts… Which, by your own admission, are true. You may not like it, but they are true. Your reference to Bianca is a bit below the belt. I honestly mourn her passing, because had things turned out a bit differently, that could have been my own daughter. I really do not want to comment on that…
So Jenny, in closing, this blog and what it seeks to achieve, is there for you too. I’m pretty sure we have touched your heart and maybe, hopefully planted a seed in your mind. I wish you well in your future. And please, be careful out there….
This, of course, attracted much agreement – and also some trolls. What kind of crazy liberal would be trolling a blog like SAS? Plenty, as it turns out – a measure of the blog’s impact. SAS gets a lot more hits than UR, I think, though these are of course much lower-quality hits.
“Al [Arabized expletive]” writes:
You guys disgust me. I have never seen so much hatred in my life. Considering that this website only seems to perpetuate racism and hatred, what possible good do you think can come of it? All of you seem to have this false rhetoric that your goal is noble and for the good of white South Africans. People like you only increase racism and incidences of crimes and racial attacks in South Africa. When you treat black people with such contempt and ignominy, you cause them to feel the same feelings towards white people.
I’m not sure on any of your backgrounds, but I’m guessing most of you are middle aged men who felt that Apartheid was the best time of your lives. Well, as part of the new generation, I feel it my duty to thank all of you for [expletive] over future generations of white south Africans. All Apartheid did was lead to the [expletive] which is South Africa today. All of you sit here and blame the blacks for all the problems, when in fact the very root of the problems today stem from white south African actions during Apartheid. You have made your bed, now sleep in it.
Apartheid robbed the black population of 2 extremely important factors – Education and Family life. Without education, the black population is largely unskilled and thus left poor and destitute with few opportunities, leading them to look elsewhere and sometimes turn to crime. Without family-life the current young population of blacks was robbed of having good role models in their lives and had few family values as a result.
The only way to get past this is to move forward. What you are all doing will serve only to make manners worse and lead to further violence. There are better ways to react than through hatred. I have been subject to many robberies and muggings, and of course, they always leave a sour taste in the mouth. But hatred and racism will not solve any of it. I’m not saying sit back and do nothing, but rather get involved in ways to instill values and education back into the black population, and this is what many white south africans are doing now. What the [expletive] are you guys doing to help?
“I have been subject to many robberies and muggings, and of course, they always leave a sour taste in the mouth.”
Open your ears to the subtle beauty of pure self-expression. Just like Jenny’s message, just like doodler’s response, the author’s limited literacy serves only to emphasize the sincerity of the content. These people are not wankers. They are not exercising their wits, out of sheer boredom and egotism, on some lame Internet board. They are saying what they genuinely believe. Certainly, no one could write any of these messages without believing in them entirely and completely. This is not literature – it is truth. From two very different directions.
This, of course, provokes the fascists – literate and otherwise – of SAS, to explosive flamage. In one of the more intelligible responses, “CrystalClear” writes:
“When you treat black people with such contempt and ignominy, you cause them to feel the same feelings towards white people.”
No, actually it’s the other way around. I was once one of you ignorant liberals, but after being treated with contempt and ignominy my perspective has been changed. Not by whites – but by BLACKS.
My kids grew up in a liberal *blush* and “everyone is equal” home, and went to govern[slur] schools. Until one day they came home and announced that black people were stupid and violent and kept on disrupting the classes – and my daughter was afraid to be anywhere on the school grounds alone.
I didn’t teach them that. I tried to make them see my liberal point of view. Being exposed to [slur] behaviour daily made them see the light.
Thank heavens I saw the light soon after. Purely from observation and personal experiences (you know the kind – attempted hijacking, robberies, AA, murder… yep experienced them all).
This is one white liberal that learnt the hard way that blacks are a violent, lazy, ignorant, stupid, hateful species which have no dignity or compassion.
If anyone at the SPLC reads UR, they must be spasming repeatedly in their pants. Here we see the very birth of hate, recounted in original testimony in less than 100 words. How can a good liberal slip from the path of righteousness, and become a hater? Ask “CrystalClear.” The whiteness-studies professors of the world should be beating a path to his or her door.
“Anony” has an even more direct response:
The country I once knew, called South Africa, has had a serious stroke – a [slur] stroke. I look at my country today on a map and it is still in the same location it was a thousands years ago. The cities are still there, so are the trees and the wild animals, etc, but, alas, I don’t recognise it anymore. It has grown into a monstrous failure steered by unmoral melanotic madmen hell bent on usurping my next of kin’s inner souls.
South Africa had 15 years to prove itself. Sadly, it has failed utterly and dismally. That, my friend, is what this blog is all about.
We, the bloggers of this fine blog, will not surrender our cause. Go [expletive] yourself, you useless geek.
But it is “Anti-[slur]” who responds with the mother of all racist comments. After editing this comment, which make the Nixon transcripts look like the speeches of Lord Russell, I had to reboot my computer to get it out of the clipboard. Please, everyone, never, ever post anything like this on UR. Nonetheless, it is a primary source and a tiny piece of history – and, like all these messages, unquestionably sincere.
I read all this [expletive] from liberal [expletive] [expletive] like Al [expletive] and Jenny [slur-expletive] and the only conclusion that I can come to is that only people with brains had the foresight after developments in Southern Africa surrounding the so called independence of Angola, Mocambique, Rhodesia, Zambia etc. to see that SA was [expletive].
There was no way that a white minority population was going to hold off the exploding black population, there was also no way that the [expletive] were going to incorporate this white population into the new dispensation and afford them any minority rights.
The consequence of that is SA as we see it today with a black backlash against the whites for perceived “injustices” that is gaining momentum daily.
The ANC terrorist kleptocracy has had 20 years to get their act together and have instead used it to squander untold billions of Rands on enriching themselves, R200 Billion Eskom deficit, R60 Billion Arms deal for a war against who? Another R47 Billion for the Airbus military transport plane debacle and if we add up the personal excesses of each and every other minor [slur] in national, ragional and local government with their collection of Mercedes Benzes, BMW’s Audi’s etc, we could easily round this figure off to a Trillion Rand squandered by the [slur] since the release of the false god Mandela in 1990.
In the interim, they have transformed the country into a veritable [expletive] pit with an unmanageable crime problem that in turn is devolving into and spawning gangsters who are transforming into warlords and a law unto themselves. ANC incompetence has seen every component of the systems and structures that hold a society and an economy together fracture and disintegrate rendering them nothing more than a small collection of greedy [expletive] pigs with access to the trough that the other 60 million behind them are fighting to get to.
As such there is no government in SA – everything is falling to pieces as they spend uncontrollably. Law and Order does not exist, the police and the judiciary is a [expletive] mockery. The SANDF is defunct, the Metro is a collection of [expletive] criminals in uniform, public healthcare is [expletive] and they now want to [expletive] the private healthcare sector. Service delivery is collapsing, there is no maintenance of any component of the infrastructure, roads are falling apart, electricity delivery is falling apart, water reticulation is falling apart, education is a [expletive] joke – just what exactly are these [expletive] governing if they claim to be a government?
The misery that this has visited on the [slur] population and the potential for further misery which is the hallmark of Africa is incalculable and one cannot help asking the question of just how much of this could have been alleviated if the ANC terrorist regime had sought to address the so called “past imbalances” by judicious expenditure of the billions they have squandered?
The reason they didn’t address the so-called “past imbalances” is because there weren’t any – the useless [expletive] unherited a perfectly viable and functional country, economy and infrastructure, all they had to do was sustain it.
Anyway, I’m not going to unpack this any further – the point is the [slur] have [expletive] everything up for themselves. White people with the savvy to see that SA was heading down the [expletive] same as all the other [slur] countries prepared for it and made provision to get out of South Africa and have made comfortable, safe lives for themselves and their children in countries all over the world.
I’m honestly of the opinion that the bulk of the whites that have stayed in SA are liberal nanny-bangers and as we have seen, liberals are [expletive] retards who identify with the [slur] because they themselves are white [slur].
One of the more peculiar characteristics of these white liberal [slur] is that they blame whites who have expressed outrage on this site about the murder of whites for the hatred and criminal violence in SA, but what escapes them is that where blacks are concerned, this manifests in the crime against whites that we see in SA everyday, it manifests in the insane babble spewed by this [expletive] [primate] Malema who also had some [offensive acronym] journalist spouting [expletive] juice all over the place the other day about what a fantastic little [slur] he was and it manifests in the perpetual anti-white rhetoric that gets blasted out by the media all the time at every opportunity.
However the anger and outrage of whites after nearly 20 years of escalating persecution by the [slur] has to date only really manifested in the type of sentiment often expressed on this site. But somehow in the mind of the liberal [expletive], people like me going off and swearing the [expletive] [slur] into hades and back is a worse indictment than marauding armed [slur] running around in groups attacking and killing defenceless whites wherever they can at every opportunity.
It begs the question of whether I, as a white with the interests of the white population, regardless of how “inappropriately” they are expressed, at the centre of my convictions; should concern myself with [expletive] idiots who get themselves killed by [expletive] around in [slur] areas? Should I concern myself with mentally [expletive] retarded [expletive] who haven’t got the pig-[expletive] betwen their ears to sit their wives or daughters down and do everything in their power to dissuade them from putting their lives in danger – why the [expletive] didn’t this woman’s parents and husband encourage her to become a vet and then throw her into the lions den at Jo’burg zoo after convincing her that she would be safe from the lions because she was there to help them – two different scenarios but the same measure of [expletive] stupidity. For [expletive], how many [expletive] stupid liberal retards have been killed [expletive] around in [slur] areas trying to “help” them and people are still convinced 20 years down the road that it was because of “Aputt-hate” and everything wrong in SA today is the fault of whites, currently and historically.
I didn’t know this girl from a bar of soap but the rage that swept through me when I read the article elicited my response. When I saw the photos of her pathetic little body under that space blanket, her shoes off (probably stolen by [slur]) and her blonde hair I cried that such a beautiful, talented young woman should die at the prime of her youth killed by [expletive] [slur] who according to their ages should have had the same opportunities to do something with their lives according to the promises of the lying ANC terrorists, after all they were born after “Aputt-hate was defeated.”
And according to the liberal [expletive] brigade that makes me worse than the perpetrators of deeds like this?
Once again, should I concern myself with this? Because not concerning myself with the white genocide in SA amounts to apathy and apathy amounts to doing nothing – as the one [expletive] [slur] [expletive] here said, the type of nothing that involves chilling and smoking dagga and pretending that this is not happening in SA.
What the liberal [expletive] don’t realise is that evil triumphs when people do nothing and that’s what happened in SA – whites did nothing to prevent the triumph of evil and evil of the nature of the heinous black racist crimes we see in SA has triumphed.
It seems further that these liberal [expletive] believe that whites in SA should resign themselves to paying permanent pennance [sic] for the so called “past injustices” and in the process, murder victims like Bianca should just be regarded as acceptable consequences.
What about all the good that white people have done for the [slur] in SA? Do these [expletive] liberals want to sit there and tell us that the whites did far more bad for the [slur] than they did good? Well according to the TRC, Apartheid wasn’t so bad for the blacks after all, which raises the question that if reprisals for the so-called “past injustices” justifies the genocide of whites in SA today, then by the same logic, what should whites expect from blacks in return for the schools, houses, hospitals, universities etc. etc. etc. that we provided for the blacks because so far all they’re telling us is that we should be grovelling at their feet licking their [expletive] for sparing us the genocide in 1994 that they’ve been so industriously engaged in on a piecemeal basis ever since – over 35 000 innocent unarmed white civilian men women and children, including 3085 white farmers murdered by armed black racist [slur].
Well as I said, I’ve come to the conclusion that white South Africans with the brains, talent and ability to make it in other safer, better countries have done so – I certainly have – and the ones that have stayed behind are the mentally retarded liberals who believe that a sub-species characterised by their congenital predisposition for killing whites for trinkets of little to no value is going to allow them and their children to live in peace and prosperity in [slur]?
There should actually be no reason why that should not be the case. Given the vast spaces and massive natural wealth in SA, the requirements, even on a level of a fairly wealthy lifestyle, of the tiny population of two million whites should be of no consequence but apparently the [slur] and the liberals don’t agree and feel that the last pennance [sic] for the so-called “evils of Apartheid” still have not been milked from this small population.
Some clever oke once said that there was nothing as infinite as the universe and human stupidity and I believe that given the postings of aforementioned liberal [expletive] on this site, another dimension can be added to the infinity of human stupidity and that is that liberals are the black holes of infinite human stupidity.
I have no further ties to [slur], I may have harboured a desire to one day go back there but that diminishes with each day that I read [expletive] like this and quite frankly even more so when I consider that I would be surrounded by [expletive] and perverts in a cesspit of crime and evil and frankly I don’t give a [expletive] about the place anymore.
As sad as it may be, if young whites like Bianca Warburton are going to risk their lives to be sacrificed on the altar of liberalism, multiculturalism and a variety of other [slur-expletive] cults while the liberal [expletive] fraternity applauds their demise as they hail the humanity of the [slur] who kill them then should we really give a [expletive]?
Again, please do not post anything like this ever at UR. It is historical evidence, not literature. How do you respond to a scenario like this, without becoming a Nazi? Discuss – without making me filter the comments, please.
(Readers may also feel refreshed and restored by this impeccably-written progressive essay about the fate of Detroit – which features some aerial shots that are simply breathtaking. Is it possible to write a progressive essay about the fate of Detroit? Yes, Virginia, it is!)
In a rare interaction between the muscarinic megalomania of Mencius Moldbug and that masterpiece of mendacity that is your authorized reality, one Paul Romer has emitted – after, we are told, years of grueling and solitary thought – this TED talk.
So who is this nigga, Romer? In Wikipedia, his flacks write:
Paul Romer is an economist and Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Development and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research… Romer was named one of America’s 25 most influential people by Time Magazine in 1997… He has been awarded the Horst Claus Recktenwald Prize in Economics in Nuremberg, Germany… Romer is the son of former Colorado Governor Roy Romer.
Said flacks have also created what Richard North calls a clog, called Charter Cities. Take just a brief look at the latter. Note the top-shelf graphic design – typical of the finest, most expensive flacks. (If strangely framinated – perhaps it’s always 1997 in Professor Romer’s office.) Similarly, if you do have 18 useless minutes, watch the TED talk. Marvel both at the production values, and at the adoration with which Davos Man laps up this “radical idea.” This, truly, is reality.
But 1997 was a long time ago. Professor Romer is hungry. So are his flacks. Has he been reading UR? It’s possible, but I doubt it very much. It’s also possible that some replicating fragment of moldbuggery oozed into his ear through the random sewers of the Internet. Mutating along the way, as we’ll see, into harmless Unitarian banality.
But the simplest explanation of the coincidence is always that, since reality is everywhere, anyone is free to notice any aspect of it at any time. Truth is discovered, error invented. Fiction spreads locally, like a virus. Reality is universally available – to those who can handle it.
So the most plausible interpretation is that Professor Romer discovered “charter cities” all by himself. The idea is in the domain of mere common sense, a set of thoughts which are sensible even if no one thinks them. City-states exist and have always existed. It is no feat of imagination, “radical” or otherwise, to project them into the 21st century.
As I said in my own proposal, the devil is in the details. And Professor Romer’s details are nothing like mine. My city-states are sovereign joint-stock corporations. Note that no such thing exists, or ever has – hence the neologism, “patch.” Whereas there’s already an English word meaning “charter city.” It’s… but we skip ahead.
So why – my niggaz – am I so cross with Professor Romer? Because he is indeed a plagiarist. His “radical idea” is not in any way, shape or form his own. By presenting it as such, he has consciously and maliciously breached the most sacred rules of Western scholarship. He should be fired, and have to find new work as a pimp.
No, it’s not my work that our pedigreed charlatan has stolen. But I am no less entitled to make the arrest. Who else will? All the victims of this intellectual Verres are dead. They can hardly prosecute pro se. Do they cry out less for justice? This game of ripping off the past, while hardly Professor Romer’s invention, is almost up. When it ends, there will be consequences.
Philosophical plagiarism, the appropriation without attribution of others’ ideas, takes two forms: the intentional, and the unintentional. The first arises from malice; the second from ignorance. But since we cannot know the writer’s mind or search his Web history, there is no sense in discriminating between these offences. It is simply his responsibility to know. Professor Romer is no longer on the bunny slope.
Again: it is not I whose work this charlatan has stolen. I am just some nigga with a blog. Rather, our dear professor’s victim is an entire field of Western learning, including both praxis and scholarship. That in the 20th century this branch was terminated, and has no present-day students or significant practitioners, does not in the slightest excuse Professor Romer from understanding, attributing and thanking the scholars whose work he borrows and/or parodies. He has a library card, after all.
Moreover, since far from thanking and describing said field, he explicitly names and condemns it, ignorance cannot possibly be his excuse. I wonder what is. Here, at 10:45 for the impatient, is this self-incriminating condemnation. Note the odd, guilty way in which the professor races past this delicate and lethal point.
In a sense Britain, through its actions in Hong Kong, did more to reduce world poverty than all the aid programs that we’ve undertaken in the last century. So – if we allow for these kinds of partnerships to replicate this again – we can get those kinds of benefits scaled throughout the world.
In some cases this will involve a delegation of responsibility – a delegation of control – from one country to another to take over certain kinds of administrative responsibilities.
Now, when I say that – some of you are starting to think – well – is this just bringing back colonialism?
It’s not. But it’s important to recognize that the kind of emotions that come up when we start to think about these things can get in the way – can make us pull back – can shut down our interest in trying to explore new ideas.
Why is this not like colonialism? The thing that was bad about colonialism, and the thing that is residually bad in some of our aid programs, is that it involved elements of coercion and condescension. This model is all about choices – both for leaders and for the people who will live in these new places. And choice is the antidote to coercion and condescension.
What a faggot! What Professor Romer is proposing is exactly colonialism. What’s worse – he says that like it’s a bad thing. In one breath, he steals the idea and slanders its real authors. Unbelievable.
The English word for “charter city” is colony. As La Wik puts it:
A ‘colony’ is a territory which is mostly ruled by another state or can be run independently. A colony differs from a puppet state or satellite state in that a colony has no independent international representation, and the top-level administration of a colony is under direct control of the metropolitan state.
The Jedi mind trick is revealed. Professor Romer is digging up ancient chestnuts from the graveyard of history, repainting them slightly, and selling them to Davos Man as his own work. Nice job if you can get it. Would you trust this man with your daughter?
The fundamental observation of colonialism is that non-European societies thrive under normal European administration, at least in comparison to their condition under native rule. This observation was obvious during the colonial period. Since, it has only grown more so – at least, to those who can handle the truth.
If this observation is “condescending,” so is Professor Romer’s proposal. If it is invalid, so is Professor Romer’s proposal. If it is neither, Professor Romer’s 18 minutes should be invested in introducing, explaining, and defending the original observers – not on passing it off as his own “radical idea.”
The most casual inspection of history reveals the observation’s truth. By any comparison with colonial government, precolonial regimes provided extremely poor service. Spend a little time with the Ashanti or the Mahrattas. So have postcolonial regimes. Rent a room at the Grande Hotel Beira sometime. If you remain trapped in your outdated, 20th-century thinking and prefer statistics to intuition and narrative, the observation is still so obvious that it is impossible for me to imagine any set of governance metrics which could conceal it.
Moreover, Professor Romer’s other distinctions are obviously without substance. The claim that there is any serious distinction between a “colony” and a “charter city” founded on “uninhabited land” is preposterous. Many great colonial cities, such as Bombay, Calcutta, and Singapore, were founded on uninhabited land. So in general were the original colonies of the antique era – the Phocaeans didn’t conquer Marseilles, they created it.
And so was Hong Kong, a Crown Colony of the British Empire. Which, built on uninhabited land, by some miracle survived almost intact into the 21st century. It is not that the fluke of history which preserved this living fossil “reduced world poverty.” It’s that the destruction of all the world’s other Hong Kongs – ie, “decolonialization” – created “world poverty” as we know it.
More precisely, decolonialization created the Third World. The project of Professor Romer’s own intellectual and political establishment, the American and Americanized “scientific” experts in growth and development. What we need here is not a “radical idea.” It is a simple apology. Alas, hell will freeze over before.
As for “coercion,” of course charter cities govern by coercion. All governments do. The subjects of Professor Romer’s colonies may arrive by consent. But it is not consent which prevents the Haitians of Guantanamo City from all getting together one day with their axes and clubs, and converting their blonde proconsuls into Canadian bacon. It is General Dyer or Governor Eyre. Whose names may mean nothing to Professor Romer – but we can let them stand for the principle by which every government retains its position: force. Ie, “coercion.”
So let’s look a little more closely at this alleged monster. “Colonialism” was a great epoch of history that lumps together a remarkable constellation of governments – from Leopold’s Congo at the worst, to Cromer’s Egypt at the best. But picking the worst is easy; picking the best is hard. There were a lot of Egypts and not a lot of Leopolds.
But fine. We’ll start with the worst. Or after it, anyway. Our case study in colonialism: the Belgian Congo, aka Zaire. There is no defending the Congo Free State – but 1960 minus 1908 is quite some time. Observe the sinuosity with which this propagandist redacts an inconvenient half-century:
Government as a system of organized theft goes back to King Leopold II, who made a fortune [in the Congo] equal to well over $1.1 billion in today’s money, chiefly in rubber and ivory. Then for fifty-two years this was a Belgian colony, run less rapaciously, but still mainly for the purpose—as with colonies almost everywhere—of extracting wealth for the mother country and its corporations. The grand tradition was continued by Mobutu Sese Seko…
In other words: skip from Leopold to Mobutu as fast as possible, noting only that the Congo under Belgian administration was… gasp… profitable. Sacre bleu! Another of those nitroglycerines, nurse – I think my heart just skipped a whole bar. Profitable government! Why, it’s practically a second Holocaust.
And what did this astonishing crime against humanity involve? Let us consult our favorite source – the New York Times. From 1991:
Nearly a century ago, when the first Europeans ventured into Zaire’s vast interior, Kikwit was a small village whose people and institutions existed in a quiet, self-contained world wholly uninterrupted by the frenetic rhythms of modernity.
The village gradually disappeared as a social and cultural force as Belgium, Zaire’s colonial ruler, exploited the region’s mineral and agricultural wealth, transforming Kikwit into a provincial trading center. A paved highway was built to speed diesel trucks hauling cassava and corn to other regions.
While the Belgians were often consummately patronizing to their African subjects, they installed an efficient colonial administration. In time, they introduced health care, water projects, education, telephones and power lines, helping to turn this once isolated village into one of the most affluent and best-tended cities in the core of equatorial Africa.
Today, the legacy of Kikwit’s colonial past is swiftly disappearing.
“Civilization is coming to an end here,” said Rene Kinsweke, manager of Siefac, a chain of food stores, as he spoke of how Kikwit has become a dispiriting tableau of chaos and catastrophe. “We’re back where we started. We’re going back into the bush.”
It is difficult to exaggerate the dizzying pace of decay in this city of nearly 400,000 people. Six months ago, the Siefac food conglomerate consisted of 21 stores in Bandundu Province. Today, a single store is left, and it is to close as soon as its remaining stock is sold, Mr. Kinsweke said.
The main road to Kikwit is now rutted and crumbled, and for most of the year the city can be reached from Kinshasa, Zaire’s capital, only by a four-wheel-drive vehicle. In 1960, when Zaire gained independence, a visitor could drive the 300 miles in six hours. Today the same drive takes at least 10 hours.
Elsewhere in town, squatters have moved into homes that once belonged to the Belgian colonials. Entire families now camp on sidewalks, in parks and even in cemeteries. Streets and backyards are littered with indescribable filth, and toward the edges of the city the roads crumble into dirty sand and then disappear altogether. Rats and flies are breeding as never before, adding to critical sanitation and hygiene problems.
It is at night, though, that Kikwit’s seemingly inexorable roll toward ruin is felt the strongest. The sky of this sprawling city is lit with exactly two street lights, one for each of the city’s remaining nightclubs. Aside from private generators, there is no electricity; nor is there running water. The postal, telex and telephone offices have been on strike for months, and no one seems able to recall when the regional radio station made its last broadcast.
Since 1991, of course, the Congo has made a dramatic turnaround. Not! But at least no one is “consummately patronizing” the Congolese, or “exploiting” their “mineral and agricultural wealth.” At least, no one white. As for the “frenetic modernity,” perhaps the next Ebola epidemic will get Kikwit back to that “quiet, self-contained world.” More cake, Mrs. Antoinette?
And how do the Congolese themselves feel about this victory of social justice? That infamous hotbed of reactionary imperialism, Time magazine, tells us:
Come Back, Colonialism, All Is Forgiven
Le Blanc and I are into our 500th kilometer on the river when he turns my view of modern African history on its head. “We should just give it all back to the whites,” the riverboat captain says. “Even if you go 1,000 kilometers down this river, you won’t see a single sign of development. When the whites left, we didn’t just stay where we were. We went backwards.”
Of course, we learn “Le Blanc” is actually… part-white. So maybe he’s just another exploiter:
Le Blanc earns his keep sailing the tributaries of the Congo River. He’s 40 years old, and his real name is Malu-Ebonga Charles — he got his nickname, and his green eyes and dark honey skin, from a German grandfather who married a Congolese woman in what was then the Belgian Congo. If his unconventional genealogy gave him a unique view of the Congo’s colonial past, it is his job on the river, piloting three dugouts lashed together with twine and mounted with outboards, that has informed his opinion of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s present. “The river is the artery of Congo’s economy,” he says. “When the Belgians and the Portuguese were here, there were farms and plantations — cashews, peanuts, rubber, palm oil. There was industry and factories employing 3,000 people, 5,000 people. But since independence, no Congolese has succeeded. The plantations are abandoned.” Using a French expression literally translated as “on the ground,” he adds: “Everything is par terre.”
It’s true that our journey through 643 kilometers of rainforest to where the Maringa River joins the Congo at Mbandaka, has been an exploration of decline. An abandoned tugboat here; there, a beached paddle steamer stripped of its metal sides to a rusted skeleton; several abandoned palm oil factories, their roofs caved in, their walls disappearing into the engulfing forest, their giant storage tanks empty and rusted out. The palms now grow wild and untended on the riverbanks and in the villages we pass, the people dress in rags, hawk smoked blackfish and bushmeat, and besiege us with requests for salt or soap. There are no schools here, no clinics, no electricity, no roads. It can take a year for basic necessities ordered from the capital, Kinshasa, nearly 2,000 kilometers downstream, to make it here — if they make it at all. At one point we pass a cargo barge that has taken three months to travel the same distance we will cover in two days. We stop in the hope of buying some gasoline, but all we get from the vessel are rats.
Even amid the morbid decay, it comes as a shock to hear Le Blanc mourn colonialism. The venal, racist scramble by Europeans to possess Africa and exploit its resources found its fullest expression in the Congo. In the late 19th century, Belgium’s King Leopold made a personal fiefdom of the central African territory as large as all of Western Europe. From it, he extracted a fortune in ivory, rubber, coffee, cocoa, palm oil and minerals such as gold and diamonds. Unruly laborers working in conditions of de facto slavery had their hands chopped off; the cruelty of Belgian rule was premised on the idea that Congo and its peoples were a resource to be exploited as efficiently as possible. Leopold’s absentee brutality set the tone for those that followed him in ruling the Congo — successive Belgian governments and even the independent government of Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled from 1965 to 1997 and who, in a crowded field, still sets the standard for repression and corruption among African despots.
Observe the Jedi mind tricks again, as our journalist skips straight from Leopold to Mobutu. Obviously, nothing interesting could have happened in the Congo between 1908 and 1960.
Or could it? We set our time machine for 1955, and see…
In the Belgian Congo last week massed tom-tom drummers practiced a welcome tattoo. Prosperous Negro shopkeepers climbed up wooden ladders and draped the Congolese flag (a golden star on a blue field) from lampposts and triumphal arches set up along Boulevard Albert I, the spanking concrete highway that bisects the capital city of Leopoldville. In far-off mission churches, encircled by the rain forest that stretches through Belgian territory from the Atlantic to the Mountains of the Moon, choirs of Bantu children rehearsed the Te Deum. African regiments drilled, jazz bands blared in the bush, and on the great brown river that drains the middle of the continent Negro captains tooted the raucous steam whistles on their swiftly gliding paddle boats.
The toots and Te Deums were all in preparation for the arrival this week of the slim, spectacled young man who is King of the Belgians and, as such, the sovereign lord of 14 million Congolese. It will be his first state visit to his African Empire.
The Congo is King Baudouin’s richest, widest realm. It is eighty times the size of the mother country, and half again as populous. Booming Congo exports provide the dollars and pounds that make the Belgian franc one of the world’s hardest currencies. Belgians drink Congo coffee, wear shirts made of Congo cotton, wash them with soap made from Congo palm kernels. Without the mighty Congo, little Belgium might go broke; with it, a nation of 9,000,000 still counts as a world empire.
To novelist Joseph Conrad, the Congo River was “an immense snake uncoiled” curving through “joyless sunshine into the heart of darkness.” There was plenty of darkness in the Congo during the 19th-century “scramble for Africa,” when Baudoin’s great-granduncle, Leopold II, staked out his monarchical claim to the uncharted Congo Free State. Leopold’s rubber gatherers tortured, maimed and slaughtered until at the turn of the century, the conscience of the Western world forced Brussels to call a halt.
Today, all has changed. Nowhere in Africa is the Bantu so well fed and housed, so productive and so content as he is in the Belgian Congo.
In little more than a generation of intense economic effort, the Belgians have injected 20 centuries of Western mechanical progress into a Stone Age wilderness. The results are staggering: in forests, where 50 years ago there were no roads because the wheel was unknown, no schools because there was no alphabet, no peace because there was neither the will nor the means to enforce it, the sons of cannibals now mine the raw materials of the Atomic Age.
Belgian brains and Bantu muscle have thrust back the forest and checked the dread diseases (yaws, sleeping sickness, malaria) which sapped the Bantu’s strength. In some areas, the Congo’s infant-mortality rate is down to 60 per 1,000—better than Italy’s figure. More than 1,000,000 children attend primary and secondary schools—40% of the school-age population (compared with less than 10% in the French empire).
The Belgians taught the Bantu to run bulldozers, looms and furnaces, to rivet ships, drive taxis and trucks. Girls with grotesque tribal markings etched into their ebony foreheads sell in shops, teach in schools, nurse in hospitals. Already thousands of natives in the Congo’s bustling cities earn $100-$150 a month —more than most workers in Europe, and small fortunes by African standards. They buy sewing machines, phonographs and bicycles in such profusion that Sears, Roebuck has recently put out a special Congo catalogue.
The Belgians compare the Congo with the state of Texas, though in fact the Congo is bigger and far richer in its natural resources. The Congo’s gross national product has tripled since 1939. Money is plentiful. Belgian investors take more than $50 million a year in dividends alone. Once the Congo depended exclusively on mining and farming; today it manufactures ships, shoes, cigarettes, chemicals, explosives and photographic film. With its immense reserves of hydroelectric power (a fifth of the world’s total), the Belgians expect the Congo to become “the processing plant for all Africa.”
The Congo boom makes its cities grow like well-nourished bamboo shoots. In six years the Negro population of Elisabethville has jumped from 40,000 to 120,000, Costermansville from 7,000 to 25,000, Stanleyville from 25,000 to 48,000. But the pride of the Congo is Leopoldville (pop. 370,000), a bustling, modern metropolis that is spreading along the south bank of Stanley Pool (see map).
Leo, as the Belgians call it, has tripled its population in the past six years. Its 20,000 whites live apart in a suburb that seems far too big for them. There are broad, empty boulevards and a scattering of modern skyscrapers, but the buildings seem isolated amid the mango palms and yellow-flowered cassia trees where the red-tailed parrots roost. Many streets are unpaved and unlighted; in heavy rain they turn to quagmires. Leo’s whites are mostly officials or highly trained business executives—managers, engineers, sales agents. They are a hardworking, hard-drinking crew, and they have plenty of money to spend on oysters, Scottish salmon and French wine, served in Leo’s nightclubs. The Belgians drive American cars, particularly Buicks, and wear colorful combinations of sun helmet, khaki shirt, pink shorts, bright green woolen socks and beige suede shoes. “They have two kinds of conversation,” gibes an English-born resident of Leo. “One is an offer, the other a counter-offer.”
Adjoining “white Leo” is the teeming “native town,” known to the Negroes as Le Beige. Without its 350,000 Africans, Leopoldville would crumble in the tropical sun. Each morning, thousands of Negroes bicycle into downtown Leo to work in the shipyards and offices. Evenings, they stream homeward to the jumble of shacks, tenements, modern homes and tastefully built hospitals that make up “black Leo.” In the darkness, millions of candles glow under the mango trees where Negro market women do a roaring trade in bread, beer and dried fish, green-and-brown-striped caterpillars (a delicacy when fried in deep fat) and blackened lumps of elephant meat…
And the source? Time magazine. We have always been at war with Eastasia.
The various colonial regimes were by no means perfect. But to assert that their average quality of government service was anything but far better than either their predecessors, or their successors, is a political distortion of history which I have no trouble at all in comparing to Holocaust denial. Far more people were murdered in decolonization and postcolonial violence than in the Holocaust. Moreover, only a few fringe nutcases deny the Holocaust – whereas anticolonialism is a core tenet of everyone’s college education. Oops.
Even the idea of government by international coalition, which has worked out so well in Afghanistan, is not even slightly new. It is recognized instantly as the original design for decolonization, created by Davos Man’s grandfathers in San Francisco: UN trusteeships. Perhaps Professor Romer could go back to his map of the world at night, and find all the UN trusteeships. Multinational colonialism is a contradiction in terms.
Basically, wanting to confiscate the British, French, Dutch, Belgian and Portuguese empires, but not wanting to be too obvious about it, and retaining the shred of sanity required to see that “independence” would produce tremendous bloodshed and vast suffering, the original plan of the New Deal internationalists was to transfer the colonies of America’s defeated allies to apparatchiks of the new world government. Ie – them. More jobs for us!
But the UN never quite became functional, and that wind of change blew faster every year. So they shrugged their shoulders and went with plan B: tremendous bloodshed and vast suffering. Decolonialization. And sixty years later, some asshole in thousand-dollar glasses is standing on a million-dollar stage, reminding the world’s good and great what a great idea that was. Except, well, that it wasn’t…
So Professor Romer is like a mainstream Holocaust denier. A phenomenon that might well exist, had Hitler won the war. Hitler didn’t win the war, but his enemies did. And the destruction of European government in the non-European world was a core point of their program for “a moral way of international living.” Well, it sounded nice in 1942.
But I want to get back to my original point – the scholarly malfeasance of Professor Romer. UR is not in the atrocity-mongering business. History is a nasty affair. Someone always has to win the war, and that someone will have a skeleton or two in their closets. It’s far more interesting to look in the winners’ closets than the losers’. But after a while, you’ve seen enough skeletons.
To understand the depth of this violation of academic integrity, let’s try a thought-experiment. In our thought-experiment, Professor Romer’s intellectual victims come to life and confront him. Properly executed, this zombie cagefight metes out the full punishment of history, which has no patience at all with ignorance or mendacity.
By sheer will, diligent research and/or pharmaceutical animation, compel the inside of your forehead to display a similar slick video in which Professor Romer does not speak alone – but must share the stage with one of the dead men whom he has simultaneously insulted and robbed, exhumed and reanimated by prodigious doses of formaldehyde, caffeine and Wikipedia.
There are many candidates for the position of opponent. But the obvious winner is Evelyn Baring, first Lord Cromer – if nothing else, for the rhyme alone.
To be fair, we’ll give Professor Romer his own few days to prepare, by reading Lord Cromer’s works – or at least, Modern Egypt (vol. 1, vol. 2), and Ancient and Modern Imperialism (which he will have to buy from the thieves at Kessinger). He can probably afford to skip, say, Paraphrases and Translations From the Greek.
You see, our two contestants, Romer and Cromer, have some things in common. Both are men of genuine importance in the real world, and both can at least pretend to scholarship. Lord Cromer would have no trouble in adjusting his attitude to fit either Davos or the Stanford faculty lounge, assuming no one minded the reek of formaldehyde and the awful, staring eyesockets. How would Professor Romer adjust to Lord Cromer’s world? Just as well, I suspect.
But the grand presence of such an old, noble corpse may just be too much. So let’s adjust the experiment and fill a whole panel with fresher meat. I nominate Philip Larkin and Evelyn Waugh. Against Cromer, Larkin and Waugh, I doubt Professor Romer will last the full 18. If the fight isn’t stopped, I won’t be surprised if he feels morally compelled to hang himself with his own tie.
Let’s ring the bell and see where this goes. The last to die is the last to speak:
First, I’d like to apologize for our young, excitable promoter, Mr. Moldbug. His heart may be in the right place, but his tongue could use some soap.
I myself have no hard feelings, Professor Romer. I find it admirable that, considering the dark ages of the mind in which you live, you have come to the difficult realization that non-Europeans can benefit from the blessing of European government, a thought which I’m not surprised to see has become forbidden in your time.
It’s even more impressive that you have come to this realization despite an apparent ignorance of both modern history and human biology. I hope that you will continue to learn and grow in your work. Surely your position is such that you have nothing to fear from speaking the truth as you see it, or seeking it wherever you might find it.
It may surprise you to know that even we struggled with this same taboo, which was perhaps my most difficult problem in governing Egypt. As I wrote:
British policy in Egypt since the year 1882 may be said to constitute a prolonged and, so far, only partially successful effort to escape from the punishment due to original sin. The ancient adage that truth is a fellow citizen of the gods is as valid in politics as in morals. British statesmen were continually harassed by a Nemesis in the shape of the magna vis veritatis, which was for ever striving to shatter the rickety political edifice constructed at the time of the occupation on no surer foundations than those of diplomatic opportunism. At every turn of the political wheel fact clashed with theory.
In plain English, to make Egypt a success in the political climate of the Gladstone era, we had to combine the pretence of native government with the reality of British government. We had to rule as if we had annexed Egypt, like India – but we could not annex Egypt, like India. We thus assumed the additional burden of thespianism, having to rule while acting the part of advisors. It worked, but for the last time.
Despite the optimism expressed in my memoirs, I cannot be surprised that this dishonesty eventually surfaced and Nemesis triumphed, destroying British Egypt and returning it to the expected tyranny of the Arab ruling caste. Which promptly got down to the important work of ethnic cleansing, pervasive corruption and incompetence, and international aggression. At least some of the buildings remain, and the Copts have not yet been expelled en masse. However, it strikes me as likely that the successor to the Mubarak dynasty will be revolutionary Islam. Egypt has not yet seen her nadir, I fear.
The failure of this advisory role is easily seen in the American or “postcolonial” era. Egypt worked because we ruled, while pretending to advise. But this was a sham, and the sham revealed itself. In Vietnam or in Afghanistan today, or anywhere in the postcolonial world, Americans (and their British and European poodles, now thoroughly housebroken and re-educated) practice no such mendacity. Natives truly rule; Westerners truly advise. And give, give, give.
The results are apparent to all, or should be. Frankly, a return to true native rule, without patronizing advice or insidious dependency, would be healthier. A painful step no doubt, but I feel for your understanding or mine to make any real headway in the world, it may be a necessary start.
I’d like to close with a pair of passages from Modern Egypt, which highlight the difficulty we experienced in converting Egypt from Oriental despotism to one of the most promising and prosperous regions of the world, a place so pleasant that bohemians like Lawrence Durrell moved there just to live – as though it was Prague. Alas, it is no longer Prague.
You may have it easier with your “uninhabited land,” but I suspect not. Non-Europeans are not Europeans; to govern them, you must rule them; to rule them, you must know them. Take a small lesson from my experience:
When it is remembered that, in addition to the difficulties arising from the causes to which allusion is made in this chapter, the country had, for at least a century previous to 1882, been governed under a system which exhibited the extremes of savage cruelty and barbarity; that the impulse towards civilisation first imparted, and not unintelligently imparted by the rough men of genius who founded the Khedivial dynasty, was continued on principles, which may almost be characterised as insane, by the incapable Said, and the spendthrift Ismail; that under their auspices all that was least creditable to European civilisation was attracted to Egypt, on whose carcase swarms of needy adventurers preyed at will; that, as a consequence of these proceedings, the very name of European stank in the nostrils of the Egyptian population; that whatever European ideas had taken root in the country had been imported from France; that the French Government and French public opinion were at the outset bitterly opposed to the action of England in Egypt; that, through the medium of an unscrupulous press, Englishmen were vilified and their actions systematically misrepresented; that, under the pressure of Europe and the European creditors of Egypt, a variety of complicated institutions had been created which were in advance of the requirements and state of civilisation of the country; that the Treasury was well- nigh bankrupt; that the army had been disbanded; that no law-courts worthy of the name existed; that the Englishman’s own countrymen, who, according to their custom, judged mainly by results, expected that at the touch of his administrative wand all abuses would forthwith disappear; that the fellah expected immediate relief from taxation and oppression; that the Levantine contractor expected to dip his itching palm into the till of the British Treasury ; that the English man’s position was undefined, and that he was unable to satisfy all these expectations at once ; that, having just quelled a rebellion in Egypt, he was confronted with a still more formidable rebellion in the Soudan; and, lastly, that before he had seriously begun the work of reform, he was constantly pressed by Frenchmen, and by some of his own countrymen, to declare his conviction that the work was accomplished, —when all these points are remembered, the difficulty of the task which England undertook may be appreciated in its true light. But the task was ennobled by its difficulty. It was one worthy of the past history, the might, the resources, and the sterling national qualities of the Anglo-Saxon race. I shall presently endeavour to show how it was accomplished.
Care to know how it was accomplished, Professor Romer? Read my book. But here is what I had to deal with:
The duty of a diplomatic agent in a foreign country is to carry out to the best of his ability the policy of the Government which he serves. My main difficulty in Egypt was that the British Government never had any definite policy which was capable of execution; they were, indeed, at one time constantly striving to square the circle, that is to say, they were endeavouring to carry out two policies which were irreconcilable, namely, the policy of reform, and the counter-policy of evacuation. The British Government are not to be blamed on this account. The circumstances were of a nature to preclude the possibility of adopting a clear-cut line of action, which would have enabled the means to be on all occasions logically adapted to the end.
I never received any general instructions for my guidance during the time I held the post of British Consul-General in Egypt, and I never asked for any such instructions, for I knew that it was useless for me to do so. My course of action was decided according to the merits of each case with which I had to deal. Sometimes I spurred the unwilling Egyptian along the path of reform. At other times, I curbed the impatience of the British reformer. Sometimes I had to explain to the old-world Mohammedan, the Mohammedan of the Sheriat, the elementary differences between the principles of government in vogue in the seventh and in the nineteenth centuries. At other times, I had to explain to the young Gallicised Egyptian that the principles of an ultra-Republican Government were not applicable in their entirety to the existing phase of Egyptian society, and that, when we speak of the rights of man, some distinction has necessarily to be made in practice between a European spouting nonsense through the medium of a fifth-rate newspaper in his own country, and man in the person of a ragged Egyptian fellah, possessed of a sole garment, and who is unable to read a newspaper in any language whatsoever. I had to support the reformer sufficiently to prevent him from being discouraged, and sufficiently also to enable him to carry into execution all that was essential in his reforming policy. I had to check the reformer when he wished to push his reforms so far as to shake the whole political fabric’ in his endeavour to overcome the tiresome and, to his eyes, often trumpery obstacles in his path, and thus lay bare to the world that measures which were dictated in the true interests of Egypt were opposed by many who had, by accident or by the political cant of the day, been elevated to the position of being the putative representatives of Egyptian public opinion. I had to support the supremacy of the Sultan and, at the same time, to oppose any practical Turkish interference in the administration, which necessarily connoted a relapse into barbarism. I had at one time to do nothing inconsistent with a speedy return to Egyptian self- government, or, at all events, a return to government by the hybrid coterie of Cairo, which flaunts before the world as the personification of Egyptian autonomy; whilst, at the same time, I was well aware that, for a long time to come, European guidance will be essential if the administration is to be conducted on sound principles. I had at times to retire into my diplomatic shell, and to pose as one amongst many representatives of foreign Powers. At other times, I had to step forward as the representative of the Sovereign whose soldiers held Egypt in their grip. At one time, I had to defend Egypt against European aggression, and, not un-frequently, I had in the early days of the occupation to defend the British position against foreign attack. I had to keep in touch with the well-intentioned, generally reasonable, but occasionally ill-informed public opinion of England, when I knew that the praise or blame of the British Parliament and press was a very faulty standard by which to judge the wisdom or unwisdom of my acts. I had to maintain British authority and, at the same time, to hide as much as possible the fact that I was maintaining it. I had a military force at my disposal, which I could not use save in the face of some grave emergency. I had to work through British agents over whom I possessed no control, save that based on personal authority and moral suasion. I had to avoid any step which might involve the creation of European difficulties by reason of local troubles. I had to keep the Egyptian question simmering, and to avoid any action which might tend to force on its premature consideration, and I had to do this at one time when all, and at another time when some of the most important Powers were more or less opposed to British policy. Lastly, the most heterogeneous petty questions were continually coming before me. If a young British officer was cheated at cards, I had to get him out of his difficulties. If a slave girl wanted to marry, I had to bring moral pressure on her master or mistress to give their consent. If a Jewish sect wished for official recognition from the Egyptian Government, I was expected to obtain it, and to explain to an Egyptian Minister all I knew of the difference between Ashkenazian and Sephardic practices. If the inhabitants of some remote village in Upper Egypt were discontented with their Sheikh, they appealed to me. I have had to write telegrams and despatches about the most miscellaneous subjects — about the dismissal of the Khedive’s English coachman, about preserving the lives of Irish informers from the Clan-na-Gael conspirators, and about the tenets of the Abyssinian Church in respect to the Procession of the Holy Ghost. I have been asked to interfere in order to get a German missionary, who had been guilty of embezzlement, out of prison; in order to get a place for the French and Italian Catholics to bury their dead; in order to get a dead Mohammedan of great sanctity exhumed; in order to prevent a female member of the Khedivial family from striking her husband over the mouth with a slipper; and in order to arrange a marriage between two other members of the same family whom hard-hearted relatives kept apart. I have had to take one English maniac in my own carriage to a Lunatic Asylum; I have caused another to be turned out of the English church; and I have been informed that a third and remarkably muscular madman was on his way to my house, girt with a towel round his loins, and bearing a poker in his hands with the intention of using that implement on my head. I have been asked by an Egyptian fellah to find out the whereabouts of his wife who had eloped; and by a German professor to send him at once six live electric shad-fish, from the Nile. To sum up the situation in a few words, I had not, indeed, to govern Egypt, but to assist in the government of the country without the appearance of doing so and without any legitimate authority over the agents with whom I had to deal.
Now all this is forgotten. If I exist at all for you, Professor Romer, it is as a villain – a foil by which you demonstrate how righteous you are, by not being me. Can I take umbrage at this? By no means, for it is the work of every public man. My own professional dishonesty was no less, and for the same good end.
Still, my worry is that you fall between stools. You dissemble far too much for your words to have the real ring of truth, exotic now and almost unheard – magna vis veritatis. But in this real world, the world of lies, your idea is just as advertised – radical. Yours is an age made by radical ideas, but it is no longer an age of radical ideas. If your idea is possible, it is every bit the boon you claim. But is it? Really? And if not, what is the point of your work?
Thank you, Lord Cromer. Unfortunately, I have none of your patience. I too may be a grown man named “Evelyn,” but I am of a later generation. I saw the Third World and its causes. Professor Romer will find no sympathy from me.
He needs to face up to the fact that his school is the problem, not the solution. He needs to apologize for and thoroughly repudiate anticolonialism and democratic evangelism. Until he does so, his “radical ideas” are no more than that staple of the Warsaw Pact – “socialism with a human face.” In the end it was clear that Russian Communism needed to be discarded, not reformed. I predict the same fate for its first cousin, American progressivism.
In the preface to the 1962 edition of Black Mischief (1932), I wrote:
Thirty years ago it seemed an anachronism that any part of Africa should be independent of European administration. History has not followed what then seemed its natural course.
Professor Romer, if you wish to change the course of history, or rather set it back on course, a wink and a nod will not suffice. The wheel is too much for a mere shoulder. You need the lever of truth – the whole truth – or it will roll right over you. It will probably roll over you anyway, but at least you could try.
Even ascribing the success of colonialism to that mystical factor, European administration, is soft-pedaling reality. What worked is not the mystique of having white men in government, for there is nothing unique about either the white man or his presence in the halls of power. Indeed the Third World governments were all the creation of white men – white men like you, development experts. Whatever the cause of “world poverty” may be, it is surely not a shortage of development experts.
Rather, what worked was European rule. The Third World is a world crying out to be ruled. It demands not “good rules,” but good rulers. The myth of rules without rulers is another of your American phlogistons, which keeps almost indefinitely in a complacent temperate clime but melts at once in the tropics.
Since colonialism is so out of fashion, since there are no Cromers anymore, this effect is seen most strongly in native autocrats – a Lee Kuan Yew, a Paul Kagame, an Alberto Fujimori. All three of these men saved a country from anarchy and destruction, and none is even slightly Canadian. If there was anything in your underwear, you might consider praising them.
I wrote of this in Robbery Under Law (1939), which in my humble opinion is not only the first work to describe the coming Third World, but also the best. Read it. Here is my eulogy for Porfirio Diaz:
For thirty-five years Diaz maintained his personal government. He set an example, unique among Mexican rulers, in the integrity of his personal life. He was a faithful husband; he left his country rich, himself poor. He opened up the country with roads and railways, bringing law and wealth to practically unexplored districts. Above all he kept the country’s sovereignty intact – at a time when statesmen were openly claiming that the natural boundary of the United States was the isthmus of Panama. He was only able to do this by maintaining the equilibrium of foreign investment; by getting the English and French to fight his commercial war with the United States. He saved his country from absorption at the very modest price of the dividends that went to European stockholders.
[…] At the end of Diaz’ reign, when his powers were weakened, he began to concern himself with the problem of a successor and for the moment toyed with the idea (as Kemal did, with disastrous results for those who took him seriously) of a constitutional opposition. Mexicans of the time, who had grown up under him, an knew the boredom and inevitable abuses that grow in an autocracy, who had never known the bad days of Juarez, wished to see their country conforming still more closely to the contemporary fashion; they had seen general elections at Stonyhurst and knew them to be lively and bonhomous occasions. So party politics were introduced with pleasant expectations of candidates competing with benevolent projects and a party loyalty finding expression in coloured rosettes and rotten eggs. The result has been twenty-five years of graft, bloodshed and bankruptcy.
Make it a hundred.
Professor Romer, here is a question for you: suppose your good Mr. Castro says yes, and you get your Guantanamo City up and running, with its Haitian population and Canadian proconsuls. It is, of course, a smashing success, with investment galore.
And then, in ten years, a mob of Haitians gathers in the beautifully landscaped central square, wearing coloured rosettes and throwing rotten eggs, all chanting a single demand: democracy for Guanatanamo City. The Canadians, all in a tizzy, call you. It’s the middle of the night in Palo Alto. You pick up the phone. “What should we say?” the Canadians ask. “Yes, or no?”
If they say yes – what, in ten years, will be the difference between Guantanamo and Haiti? If they say no – what do they say next? You’ll notice that you have no answer to this question. Hell has little pity for those who decide to forget history.
Perhaps the reason you have so much trouble imagining this scenario is that your own country has been so successful in suppressing actual political democracy, in favor of the administrative caste of which you are a member. To you, the proposition that “politics” should affect the formulation or execution of “public policy” is no less than heresy – like Velveeta on a communion wafer.
Thus, you reinvent colonialism by simply teleporting this managerial state from Canada, where democracy has been effectively suppressed, to Cuba, where democracy has been effectively suppressed. But the subjects of your new state are not Canadians, or even Cubans. The job has not been done.
If you want to suppress their lust for power, a lust which grows in the heart of every man, you can do so. All it takes is a bit of gear and the will to use it. As Wellington said: pour la canaille, la mitraille. But then, my dear professor, you are really reinventing colonialism – not just pretending to do so, for an audience as ignorant, hypocritical and naive as yourself.
Gentlemen, I find this conversation remarkably amusing, but I fear I have little to add to it. However, I should probably at least repeat the poem which I suspect got me summoned here. From 1969:
Homage to a Government
Next year we are to bring the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded or kept orderly,
Must guard themselves, and keep themselves orderly.
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.
It’s hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it’s been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds.
Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it’s a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.
What an optimist I was! To think that decolonialization would save money! We British, simple souls, never ran our Empire for profit. But postcolonies are more expensive than colony ever was. Black Ireland needs so much more than pumpkins.
We had an Empire on which the sun never set; we exchanged it, as Muggeridge said, for a Commonwealth on which it never rises. We were colonists; we are colonized. Our children – the few we have – have neither money, nor hope, nor country.
Thank you, America! Enoch was right. Good evening, gentlemen; you’ll have to excuse me. I felt better when I was dead.
I’m afraid our zombies may have exhausted the 18 minutes all by themselves. But fortunately, Professor Romer is alive, and thus entitled to the dignity of composing his own response. If he hasn’t already hanged himself with his tie, that is.
Now, what we’ve seen here is a set of moral and historical arguments against Professor Romer. It should be clear that as a scholar, which is what he claims to be, he has no leg to stand on.
But the professor is not, of course, a scholar. There are no scholars in our day – or few, at least. Not all that glitters is gold; not all that does not, is not.
Organized scholarship in the United States died in 1933, when the Brains Trust was established and the academy put on the Ring, accepting a responsibility for the direction of government which it has never relinquished and never will. Power is a jealous master; like heroin, it demands a complete commitment.
Professor Romer is not a student of history; he is, despite his embarrassing and disingenuous demurral, an architect of public policy. Thus – as Lord Cromer points out – when we evaluate him as a scholar, we subject him to a test he will never pass. He is a bureaucrat, not a scholar, and we should judge him as such.
When we judge “Charter Cities” as a bureaucratic proposal, we must judge it by bureaucratic standards. And we can. The proposal fails not because it is morally obtuse or academically dishonest, though it is both; it fails because it will never be tried, and if it is won’t work.
Why is the Third World a kleptocracy, rather than a capitalist utopia? Let’s take Cuba, renowned worldwide for the purity of its revolutionary ideology. In their promotion of European and Canadian tourism, the Castros have proven canny, avaricious and unromantic businessmen, fine evidence that they were always just thugs and never believed in the whole caper to begin with. Even without Professor Romer, it’s quite clear that the Chinese model is extremely profitable and effective. Cuba doesn’t need Guantanamo, and it doesn’t need Canadians – it has no shortage of competent administrators. It could set up a special economic zone anywhere. Why doesn’t it?
The answer is that the existence of any such entity would constitute an immediate political threat to their regime. Why does socialism abhor private corporations? Because a corporation is a power structure which is not subject to official authority. In a Communist propaganda state, dependent on the continuous mass adulation of its subjects, no such independence is tolerable.
In more kleptocratic regimes, such as are found in Africa, the problem is even simpler and cruder: everyone in government steals. Anyone in government who does not steal is a threat, because his hands are clean while everyone else’s are dirty. He might go to the Americans, and they might make him President. And any enterprise which cannot be stolen from is a threat, because every other enterprise will demand the same privilege.
If Professor Romer expects these types of regimes to cede him a tract of uninhabited land, he is dreaming. All Third World nations are saturated with anticolonialist religion, which will trivially recognize his proposal for exactly what it is, and provides the best possible basis for directing political violence against it. That’s how the Third World got to be the Third World, after all. Look at what happened when the Koreans tried to rent a farm – a mere farm, if a big one – from Madagascar. Fortunately, so far only about 100 people have been killed.
A genuine autocrat, who had completely abolished politics, might be able to pull it off. Of course, a genuine autocrat could just hire Western administrators himself. (More sacrilege!) Indeed, as Waugh points out, a genuine autocrat can generally maintain a decent level of order with natives alone, or he is not much of an autocrat. It does not take a lot of good people to rule a country, and almost every country has a gene pool capable of producing them. Papua New Guinea may be an exception, for example, but Haiti is certainly not. The problem is not natives; the problem is the combination of natives and democracy.
Dubai is an excellent case in point, because the Dubai miracle seems to be fraying a bit. The problem is that Dubai is not a perfect autocracy; it is not Sheikh Mohammed‘s private country. He sits at the top of a tribal power structure, which cannot be overly abused. To maintain their position, the sheikhs have to hand out free sinecures – jobs public and private – to the Emirati population, which is world-renowned for its abhorrence of actual work.
The result is that Emirati bureaucrats, especially in security positions, find it relatively easy to abuse the Western guests who actually make Dubai profitable, or at least apparently profitable. (With so many real-estate loans, it’s hard to know.) The entire country is afflicted with this giant deadweight of native parasites, who can easily become sadistic as well as expensive.
Thus, the idea of “charter cities” or special economic zones as a cure for bad government in the Third World is inherently a bad one, because bad governments will not tolerate these entities. Good governments will follow reasonable rules, conducive to business, already – as both China and Dubai do.
Abstractly, a much more reasonable place to put a “charter city” is on First World territory. The US, for instance, has no shortage of uninhabited land. Build a new Guantanamo somewhere in the middle of Montana – call it Montanamo. Residency in Montanamo does not imply residency in the US, and Montanamo has a huge fence around it to make this point clear. Fly in the Haitian helots, bus in the Canadian proconsuls, and you’ve got your city going.
Of course, this will never happen either. Even First World government dislikes competition, because even First World governments these days have more than a little Third World nature. The First World is the past; the Third World is the future. Hello, California.
But let’s suppose it did. In this case, good government would still be unlikely to emerge and persist – because we have neglected the entire reason that the Third World came to be.
Third World countries are “independent,” but they are not in any sense independent. The word “independent,” as you may notice, consists of two parts, “in” and “dependent.” “In” means “not.” “Dependent” means “dependent.”
As we all know, the typical Third World regime is heavily dependent on “aid.” But more subtly, it is also dependent on the military protection of the “international community,” against both internal and external threats. (A while ago, I noticed that the phrase “international community” could be profitably replaced, in all contexts, by “State Department,” without any change in meaning.) The latter is a much more serious form of dependency.
Under classical international law, diplomatic recognition was a de facto judgment; a regime was recognized as a government if it appeared to be in stable control of its country. Under its American replacement, modern “international law,” diplomatic recognition is an attribution of legitimacy – to put it baldly, the decision that a regime is an acceptable American client. Through this mechanism alone, the “international community” can provide extremely effective protection to any “allied” regime, simply by making it clear that any replacement will not be recognized – and is thus unprotected against any contender which is acceptable to Foggy Bottom.
Thus the relationship of genuine independence, as practiced in all previous centuries, is extremely foreign to modern international relations. Countries genuinely independent of America are those few which can enforce their sovereignty by military means: China, Russia, perhaps Iran and Venezuela. But even the last two would cave quickly, I suspect, if treated like Rhodesia or South Africa. This leaves us with: China, Russia. Effectively, there are three true, sovereign nations in the world: China, Russia, and the “international community.”
What this tells us is that whatever decolonialization is about, it is not about the actual political independence of the client country. No such independence exists. For any normal Third World country, Foggy Bottom has all the tools it needs to impose a level of administrative control just as close as any authority Cromer exercised over Egypt. The leaders of these countries do not take all their orders from the American Embassy – but they could easily be made to, at America’s sole discretion.
A so-called country in this state is not a true sovereign. It is at best a protectorate. And that old bugaboo – colony – remains perfectly appropriate.
So why, if the State Department could already rule the Third World or most of it, doesn’t it? Doesn’t this conflict with the principle that all bureaucracies tend to expand their own power?
Actually, the present state of the “international community” is a perfect reflection of bureaucratic imperatives. Bureaucracies tend to maximize their impact. They are often quite shy about expanding their authority, especially if it is formal authority – because once you take authority over something, you have essentially taken responsibility for it. Bureaucracies are not fond of responsibility. Who wants to be responsible for the Third World?
Perhaps the dirtiest secret of decolonialization is that bureaucracies prefer the postcolonial model to the colonial model, “advice” and “aid” to actual rule, because the postcolonial model generates more jobs. Vastly more Westerners are involved in failing to run the Third World, than ran thee same countries successfully when they were colonies.
For example, to run Egypt – a country of 10 million people, then – Cromer had about 1000 British civil servants. If you count all the Western diplomats, development experts, NGOistas, and the like, for whom the present parlous state of Egypt provides employment, how many do you get? A lot more than 1 per 10,000 Egyptians, I suspect. How many Westerners are employed in bandaging and rebandaging the permanent ulcer of Africa? Um, a lot.
The Third World, as a government program, is just another permanent money hole on the balance sheet of the developed world. Just as with any business they operate, governments – Western governments – have turned their colonies into operations whose goal is to employ as many civil servants as possible. Any type of efficiency or success is a menace to these programs, not a boon.
Good government is always small government, and small government does not scale as a jobs program. If you have one Canadian Cromer running Guantanamo City like a startup, there is no room for everyone’s students to go to Toronto and get jobs. You probably don’t need more than a hundred Canadians to rule Guantanamo City. Colonial regimes are simply too good – they achieved remarkable and unprecedented bureaucrat-to-subject ratios.
Whereas if the Canadians say “yes” to the Guantanamo People’s Party, allows elections, and thus replaces the professional Canadian administrators with illiterate Haitian demagogues, they create a jobs boom in the Guantanamo-advising business. For every administrative position that disappears, ten will be created in aid and development assistance. It may not be in the interest of Canada, or Guantanamo City, to bring about this change – indeed, it isn’t. But it is surely in the interest of whatever Canadian agency is running Guantanamo City.
Thus the practical problem with “charter cities” is that no one wants them: not the host regime, not the international regime. For both, they simply work too well. Colonialism had to die not because it didn’t work, but because it worked too well.
Moreover, the democratic political tradition of the Western world, which is fundamentally hostile to any effective authority, is the perfect platform for any attack on colonialism – by any name. Again, this is how colonialism died in the first place. As John Seeley wrote in the bible of the late British Empire, The Expansion of England:
What is unprecedented in the relation of England to India is the attempt to rule, not merely by experts, but by a system founded on public opinion, a population not merely distant, but wholly alien, wholly unlike in ways of thinking, to the sovereign public. Public opinion is necessarily guided by a few large, plain, simple ideas. When the great interests of the country are plain, and the great maxims of its government unmistakable, it may be able to judge securely even in questions of vast magnitude. But public opinion is liable to be bewildered when it is called on to enter into subtleties, draw nice distinctions, apply one set of principles here and another set there. Such bewilderment our Indian Empire produces. It is so different in kind both from England itself and from the Colonial Empire that it requires wholly different principles of policy. And therefore public opinion does not know what to make of it, but looks with blank indignation and despair upon a Government which seems utterly un-English, which is bureaucratic and in the hands of a ruling race, which rests mainly on military force, which raises its revenue, not in the European fashion, but by monopolies of salt and opium, and by taking the place of a universal landlord, and in a hundred other ways departs from the traditions of England.
And it may be asked, For what end? As I have remarked, the connection itself is not directly profitable to England.
Which was exactly the problem. Once Parliament decided that John Company was no more and India must be run for more ethereal reasons than mere profit, the fate of India as a colony was sealed. Once profitable government becomes charitable government, Third World status is only a matter of time. Like private companies, all countries disintegrate into bloated mush when run continuously at a loss.
Thus, colonialism cannot be restored by any mere subterfuge of rebranding. Its death was part of the slow decline of Western government, in which all institutions become larger and weaker. The postcolonial Third World state is a colony – in the sense of its political, military and/or economic dependency. It is just a very bad colony. It is bound no less closely to the West. All that has changed is that it is run as inefficiently as possible, which may cause some heartburn for its burgeoning army of Western managers – but certainly does not produce any hardship for them. The worse the business, the more managers it needs.
But we must remember colonialism, because colonial governments provided some of the highest-quality government in history. And, as Seeley points out, they worked on completely different principles than the democratic regimes from which they sprang. Froude once said that if Ireland could be made a Crown Colony, it would outshine England herself. He didn’t say what would happen if England was made a Crown Colony – but perhaps he was thinking it. Yes, my niggaz, there are lessons here.