Power, Praxeology and Three Reactionary Philosophies of History. (3/4).

Contents

1: Introduction.

2: Hoppe’s Theory.

3: Moldbug’s Theory.

4: Reactionary Future’s Theory. 

1: Introduction. 

History is philosophy teaching by example.

Here, in part 3, our goal is to present and comment on three reactionary philosophies (or theories) of social, political, economic and moral history. The theories are fundamentally similar, though there are some subtleties and differences in what they focus on and in their explanation.

The first theory is from Hans Hermann Hoppe; the second from Mencius Moldbug and the third is from Reactionary Future. The chain of influence starts at Hoppe, then Moldbug (Hoppe provided the Grand Master with both the logical and conceptual tools but also the critical insights from Bertrand De Jouvenel); finally, Moldbug’s theory was systematized and crystallized by Reactionary Future in his foundational paper: The Patron Theory of Politics.  

Our work, besides genealogy, is to place Reactionary Future’s theory within a praxeological framework and then go on (in part 4) to develop a Praxeology of Power or a Science of Elite Action.

The significance of this is that the praxeology of power provides us with some very clear design rules for avoiding Imperium in Imperio and all that that implies.

In part 1, we set out the basics of praxeology and in part 2 we looked at the epistemological foundation of praxeology and its significance; here, then, we see praxeology’s significance for political history.

2: Hoppe’s Theory.

Certainly, then, it would be worthwhile to take a systematic look at the historic transformation from monarchy to democracy.

 

While history will play an important role, the following is not the work of a historian, however, but of a political economist and philosopher. There are no new or unfamiliar data presented. Rather, insofar as a claim to originality is made, it is that the following studies contain new and unfamiliar interpretations of generally known and accepted facts; moreover, that it is the interpretation of facts, rather than the facts themselves, which are of central concern to the scientist “and the subject of most contention and debate. 

The facts do not provide an answer to such questions, and no amount of statistical manipulation of data can possibly change this fact. The data of history are logically compatible with any of such rival interpretations, and historians, insofar as they are just historians, have no way of deciding in favor of one or the other. If one is to make a rational choice among such rival and incompatible interpretations, this is only possible if one has a theory at one’s disposal, or at least a theoretical proposition, whose validity does not depend on historical experience but can be established a priori, i.e., once and for all by means of the intellectual apprehension or comprehension of the nature of things. In some circles this kind of theory is held in low esteem; and some philosophers, especially of the empiricist-positivist variety, have declared any such theory off-limits or even impossible.

A priori theory trumps and corrects experience (and logic overrules observation), and not vice-versa.

More importantly, examples of a priori theory also abound in the social sciences, in particular in the fields of political economy and philosophy:

Human action is an actor’s purposeful pursuit of valued ends with scarce means.

No one can purposefully not act. Every action is aimed at improving the actor’s subjective well-being above what it otherwise would have been.

A larger quantity of a good is valued more highly than a smaller quantity of the same good. Satisfaction earlier is preferred over satisfaction later.

Production must precede consumption. What is consumed now cannot be consumed again in the future. If the price of a good is lowered, either the same quantity or more will be bought than otherwise.

Prices fixed below market clearing prices will lead to lasting shortages. Without private property in factors of production there can be no factor prices, and without factor prices cost-accounting is impossible.

Taxes are an imposition on producers and/ or wealth owners and reduce production and/ or wealth below what it otherwise would have been. Interpersonal conflict is possible only if and insofar as things are scarce.

No thing or part of a thing can be owned exclusively by more than one person at a time.

Democracy (majority rule) is incompatible with private property (individual ownership and rule).

No form of taxation can be uniform (equal), but every taxation involves the creation of two distinct and unequal classes of taxpayers versus taxreceiver-consumers.

Property and property titles are distinct entities, and an increase of the latter without a corresponding increase of the former does not raise social wealth but leads to a redistribution of existing wealth.

According to the approach adopted here, theoretical propositions like the ones just cited are accepted for what they apparently are: as statements about necessary facts and relations.

(Compare this last claim with what Reactionary Future says about “necessary” facts with respect to Power, below.)

As such, they can be illustrated by historical data, but historical data can neither establish nor refute them. To the contrary. Even if historical experience is necessary in order to initially grasp a theoretical insight, this insight concerns facts and relations that extend and transcend logically beyond any particular historical experience. Hence, once a theoretical insight has been grasped it can be employed as a constant and permanent standard of “criticism,” i.e., for the purpose of correcting, revising, and rejecting as well as of accepting historical reports and interpretations.

For instance, based on theoretical insights it must be considered impossible that higher taxes and regulations can be the cause of higher living standards. Living standards can be higher only despite higher taxes and regulations. Similarly, theoretical insights can rule out reports such as that increased consumption has led to increased production (economic growth), that below-market-clearing (maximum) prices have resulted in unsold surpluses of goods, or that the absence of democracy has been responsible for the economic malfunctioning of socialism as nonsensical.

The principal advantage that the political economist and philosopher has over the mere historian (and the benefits to be gained from the study of political economy and philosophy by the historian) is his knowledge of pure-a priori-social theory, which enables him to avoid otherwise unavoidable errors in the interpretation of sequences of complex historical data and present a theoretically corrected or “reconstructed,” and a decidedly critical or “revisionist” account of history.

Later in the introduction, Hoppe himself calls for revising three historical assumptions.

Based on and motivated by fundamental theoretical insights from both, political economy and political philosophy (ethics), in the following studies I propose the revision of three central – indeed almost mythical – beliefs and interpretations concerning modern history.

In accordance with elementary theoretical insights regarding the nature of private property and ownership vs. “public” property and administration and of firms vs. governments (or states), I propose first a revision of the prevailing view of traditional hereditary monarchies and provide instead an uncharacteristically favorable interpretation of monarchy and the monarchical experience.

….

Secondly, equally unorthodox but by the same theoretical token, democracy and the democratic experience are cast in an untypically unfavorable light.

Still more fundamental and unorthodox is the proposed third revision.

Instead, the position taken toward monarchy is this: If one must have a state, defined as an agency that exercises a compulsory territorial monopoly of ultimate decision-making (jurisdiction) and of taxation, then it is economically and ethically advantageous to choose monarchy over democracy. 

Democracy: the God that Failed. Hans Hermann Hoppe.

3: Moldbug’s Theory.

Now, compare Hoppe’s theory with what the Grand Master writes below. Hoppe also mentions many of things that Moldbug discusses below in his introduction, but Moldbug begins further back in history than Hoppe.

What we really need is an interpretation of history so reactionary that it contains no Universalism or proto-Universalism at all. Instead, it should start with the mainstream perspective of 1757, and interpret all evidence of impending Universalism as the story of decline, disaster and decay.

Then, we can compare the progressive and reactionary narratives on a level playing field, evaluating the relative credibility of both, and decide on what points to accept which – thus allocating Universalist history, and implicitly Universalism itself, between progress and decay.

For this we need our pure reactionary theory of history. Needless to say, this is a very specialized product.

Let me quickly explain my reactionary theory of history, which comes from reading weird old forgotten books such as the above. Note that this theory is quite simple. Depending on your inclinations, you may regard this as a good thing or a bad thing.

In order to get to the reactionary theory of history, we need a reactionary theory of government. History, again, is interpretation, and interpretation requires theory. I’ve described this theory before under the name of neocameralism, but on a blog it never hurts to be a little repetitive.

First: government is not a mystical or mysterious institution. A government is simply a group of people working together for a common aim, ie, a corporation. Whether a government is good or bad is not determined by who its employees are or how they are selected. It is determined by whether the actions of the government are good or bad.

Second: the only difference between a government and a “private corporation” is that the former is sovereign: it has no higher authority to which it can appeal to protect its property. A sovereign corporation owns its territory, and maintains that ownership by demonstrating unchallenged control. It is stable if no other party, internal or external, has any incentive to attack it. Especially in the nuclear age, it is not difficult to deter prospective attackers.

Third: a good government is a well-managed sovereign corporation. Good government is efficient management. Efficient management is profitable management. A profitable government has no incentive to break its promises, abuse its citizens (who are its capital), or attack its neighbors.

Fourth: efficient management can be implemented by the same techniques in sovereign corporations as in nonsovereign ones. The company’s profit is distributed equally to holders of negotiable shares. The shareholders elect a board, which selects a CEO.

Fifth: although the full neocameralist approach has never been tried, its closest historical equivalents to this approach are the 18th-century tradition of enlightened absolutism as represented by Frederick the Great, and the 21st-century nondemocratic tradition as seen in lost fragments of the British Empire such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. These states appear to provide a very high quality of service to their citizens, with no meaningful democracy at all. They have minimal crime and high levels of personal and economic freedom. They tend to be quite prosperous. They are weak only in political freedom, and political freedom is unimportant by definition when government is stable and effective.

Sixth: the comparative success of the American and European postwar systems appears to be due to their abandonment of democratic politics as a practical mechanism of government, in favor of a civil-service Beamtenstaat in which democratic politicians are increasingly symbolic. The post-communist civil-service states, China and Russia, appear to be converging on the same system, although their stability is ensured primarily by direct military authority, rather than by a system of managed public opinion.

Seventh: the post-democratic civil-service state, while not utterly disastrous, is not the end of history. It has two problems. One, the size and complexity of its regulatory system tends to increase without bound, resulting in economic stagnation and general apathy. Two, more critically, it can neither abolish democratic politics formally, nor defend itself against changes in information flow that may destabilize public opinion. Notably, the rise of the Internet disrupts the feedback loop between public education and political power, allowing noncanonical ideas to flourish. If these ideas are both rationally compelling and politically delegitimating, the state is threatened.

Eighth: therefore, productive political efforts should focus on peacefully terminating, restructuring and decentralizing the 20th-century civil-service state along neocameralist lines. The ideal result is a planet of thousands, even tens of thousands, of independent city-states, each managed for profit by its shareholders.

Note that this perspective has nothing at all in common with the Universalist theory of government. Note also the simplicity of the transition that it suggests should have happened, from monarchy as a family business to a modern corporate structure with separate board and CEO, eliminating the vagaries of the hereditary principle.

Then, the Master presents his interpretation of history:

Now let’s look – from this reactionary perspective – at what actually did happen.

First, in America and Europe from the late 18th through the middle of the 19th century, we see a series of violent changes in power, in which states were overthrown and territories captured by disorganized mobs of their own residents, sometimes in cahoots with the army. These were called revolutions. They were almost entirely destructive phenomena, with no major point to recommend them. There is no revolution in this period which had benign results. The French revolutions of 1789 and 1830, for example, can be blamed entirely on irresolute monarchs without the courage, dexterity or both to use the military against the mob.

Moreover, even when states did not capitulate totally to revolutionary mobs, they often surrendered partially, as for example in the Reform Bill of 1832. This led to a progressive acceleration of democracy, and its inevitable accomplice, paramilitary violence. The US, for example, in the height of its democratic period from 1828 to 1932, was almost never without violent elections or political gangs. Democratic government before the civil-service era was also corrupt on an almost indescribable scale.

Democracy, and democratic ideologies and religions, had become power cults which attracted and selected for the ambitious and unscrupulous. Numerous corrupt systems which could command voting blocs sprung up, from urban ward-heeler machines to yellow-journalist newspapers. Deceiving the voting population was job one for these political engineers, and public opinion on all political subjects – government, law, economics, and war – began to diverge significantly from reality.

This situation culminated in the first great total war of the democratic era, the War of Secession between Union and Confederacy. The proximate cause of the War of Secession was the anti-slavery campaign, a political-religious nationalist movement in the North that harangued the South with apocalyptic rhetoric, supported paramilitary terrorist attacks on it, extracted vast quantities of tax through an almost punitive tariff, unilaterally and informally rewrote the Constitution to strengthen its own power and hold the South captive, and in general did everything it could to stoke Southern paranoia. But the latter was hardly lacking, as the South had developed its own bizarre nationalist movement, a romantic cult which glorified a hereditary caste system and threatened to invade the entire Western hemisphere, Yankeeland excluded – and only because it was bad land for sugarcane, tobacco or cotton. Neither of these competing nationalisms was conceivable in the 19th century, and both are most parsimoniously ascribed to the effect of 80 years of democracy on the mass mind.

The War of Secession was a war of mass destruction in which all previously known laws of war were violated, generally by the North with its revived Puritan cult of righteousness. It killed half a million men and brought happiness to none but the killers – not even the slaves, whose liberation was a sham but whose destitution was certainly not. As such it prefigured the even more destructive wars of the following century. It also destroyed the American tradition of limited government, setting the scene for the megastate to come.

Probably the most destructive result of the 19th-century democratic movement was the rise of militant nationalism, which beleaguered aristocratic elites found all too effective in deflecting the sympathies of the increasingly violent mob. Contrary to the promises of democrats, the first tastes of socialist plunder only whetted the mob’s appetite for more. Democratic factions divided according to their preferred food for this great beast: money or blood.

This jingoist tendency, also inconceivable in the 18th century, eventually culminated in the war which destroyed European civilization, the Great War. The first outbreak of the Great War, which lasted from 1914 to 1918 killed millions of young men and left Russia in the hands of a barbaric neo-Jacobin military death cult. The same cult later devastated Spain, where order was fortunately restored under a nationalist movement that was at least neither socialist nor expansionist. Finally, the ultimate synthesis of nationalism and socialism, fascism, restarted the Great War, which became a worldwide conflict between the militarist and socialist traditions. At the end of the Great War in 1945, memory of the belle epoque had dwindled to near extinction, and there was no significant political force which supported the restoration of the classical liberal era.

The US had succumbed to a socialist revolution under false electoral premises in 1932. This was primarily the result of a financial panic, which was caused by unscrupulous dilution of the currency in the boom of the 1920s, through the new Federal Reserve System. After the first phase of the Great War, the gold standard, which was never entirely stable under the Anglo-American fractional-reserve system, had been restored in a broken form (the “gold-exchange standard”) which was more tolerant of dilution through state-guaranteed maturity-mismatched lending, but not tolerant enough. The collapse of this system allowed inflationist economists to claim that capitalism itself had failed, not unlike the famous orphan who requested clemency for the murder of his parents. This brought on a socialist revolution, the New Deal, in which the Federal government and the Progressive civil-service machine claimed unlimited legislative power to deal with the emergency it had created for itself.

It has never relinquished this power, nor can it ever be expected to. It has never restored a metallic currency, nor can it ever be expected to. Its civil service and judiciary are entirely insulated from democracy. Its legislative body, which remains bicameral for reasons now only historical, has an incumbent reelection rate in the high 90s. Its two political parties, which are no longer meaningful organizations and are now mere labels, are identical on all substantive domestic policy issues. Most of their efforts are put into fighting proxy wars against each other, often involving American soldiers, on distant parts of the globe which have no relevance at all to domestic security. The Federal government consumes 30% of GNP, and the US borrows 6% of GNP from abroad every year just to stay afloat. Crime is rampant, with many parts of many major cities effectively uninhabitable by any civilized person, and a substantial criminal class. Some cities, such as Detroit, have been entirely cleansed of their white population and in some places are even reverting to prairie (but very dangerous prairie). Former residents of the cities, whose old Irish, Italian and Jewish quarters no longer exist, have fled to more defensible quarters in hideous strip-mall suburbs. Encouraged by both parties, which jockey for their votes, uneducated peasants from Latin America are flooding in unknown numbers across its uncontrolled borders. Fortunately, so far this new generation of immigrants has seen little of the joys of the criminal lifestyle, but this seems to change quickly for their children. In short, the US is rapidly becoming a Third World country, not unlike present-day Brazil. The only mercy is that its respite from democracy has lasted.

After the Great War, the socialist powers fell out, as gangs often do. The first split was the US-Soviet split, in which the latter turned out to be more interested in territory and power than in a position as a US satellite. In the resulting Cold War, these two powers dismembered the remnants of European law and order in the Third World, in the worst scramble for colonial supremacy the world had yet seen. Any pretext of bringing good government to uncivilized peoples was forgotten, and any nationalist thug, preferably as socialist as possible, was a satisfactory client for either side. Most of the non-European world, including even formerly civilized countries such as China, reverted to the rule of national-socialist warlords who competed for American and Soviet favor. Some, such as Yugoslavia and China, split from both factions and courted the aid of both. Perhaps a hundred million people around the world were murdered in this “liberation,” which is still revered as such worldwide. The supposedly “independent” countries of the Third World are still dependent on aid from the US and its European satellites. There is one independent Third World country in the world – Somaliland.

What follows next is a key claim regarding the “divided government” structure:

Meanwhile, competing branches of the US government still engage in Third World proxy wars, in which the Defense Department and its political allies and satellites (the Republican Party, the arms and energy industry, Israel) face off against the State Department and its allies and satellites (the Democratic Party, the NGOs and universities, Europe, Palestine). The true nature of these conflicts, which would end instantly if the US was under unitary leadership, or even if both American factions could agree to cut off all “aid” to all their foreign satellites, is admitted by no one. It is considered entirely normal that the US often arms, and always talks with, both sides of these bizarre, incurable pseudo-wars.

Lately, the old Third World national-socialist movement has managed to refit itself with an Islamic facade, and destroyed a couple of very large buildings in New York, killing thousands of people. No effective effort against the perpetrators has been mounted, probably because any successful American military effort brings political prestige to the American right and threatens to reignite the old era of nationalist jingoism, a threat which terrifies the American left – and for good reason. So many individuals involved with the attack live and continue their efforts in a country which is not at war with the US, nor vice versa. Most Americans consider this entirely normal. The concept of war itself has been under attack for the last fifty years, in favor of an entirely new legal model which is derived from domestic criminal justice, and which seems designed to make it as difficult as possible for civilized forces to defeat uncivilized ones, a theory which certainly fits the short-term political needs of its proponents. The resulting concept of “asymmetric warfare” is also generally accepted, with only a little grumbling, as a necessary burden that must be shouldered by our great and moral nation.

Other than this, everything is fine. Technology is moving along pretty well. Moore’s Law continues to zoom along. We have fast computers and fancy mobile phones and other things that no one in the 18th century could dream of. If they could see our political system, however, I’m afraid they’d understand it all too well.

Frankly, any system of thought that can convincingly present this history as a case of progress is capable of anything. Readers may, of course, differ with my interpretation of events. But hopefully at this point they at least understand why I see Universalism as a parasitic tradition.

How Dawkins Got Pawned.

Later, in part 7 of Dawkins, he writes about the dangers of political insecurity and how Universalism (Liberalism or Progressivism) is an artefact of unsecure power:

The danger is especially acute when some shareholders are insecure. Violent conflict over the direction of sovcorp revenues is not at all impossible. Here we start to see the roots of democide. When management is incoherent, sovereignty itself becomes nebulous. 

Finally, when we see a democratic sovcorp as a profoundly mismanaged sovcorp, we start to be able to understand why Universalism is so darned successful.

Once again, Universalism is a mystery cult of power. And when we look at Universalism’s mysteries – equality, social justice, peace, and so on, we see something I find very interesting.

We note that all of these mysteries serve as excellent excuses for why an individual should (a) break the law, (b) revise the law, (c) revise the distribution of property, or (d) organize with others to achieve (a), (b), or (c).

In a formalist society, there is one rule of social good behavior: obey the law. In a Universalist society, there is an enormous panoply of political mysteries, all of which can be deployed in the service of power. Since gaining power is always advantageous to the individual who gains it, it is advantageous to just about anyone in a Universalist society to be as Universalist as possible.

The result is that, as in decadent cultures throughout history, the principal occupation of talented and energetic young people is not productive effort. It is scheming for power.

One of the most effective ways a centralising power can gain or maintain power is via vote-buying or the creation of Patron-Client relationships.

A simple answer is that this small problem can be solved with the easy approach of vote-buying. In other words, the democratic masses can be converted not into employees, but into creditors of the sovcorp. Of course, this creditor relationship should be kept informal – otherwise, the creditor may just sell her formal negotiable asset, and her vote will not stay bought. Ideally, the sovcorp should provide the creditor not even with money, but with services, which can be very easily withdrawn if votes are not forthcoming. This makes a mockery of Pareto optimality, but it’s great for maintaining continuity of government.

The debt to de Jouvenel’s On Power is clear with the following:

Universalism is the latest, greatest incarnation of Bertrand de Jouvenel‘s Minotaur.

How Dawkins Got Pawned.

Below the Grand Master sets out the central political mistake – Imperium in Imperio – below:

sadistic government can arise in a state of scattered authority. This class of defective political structure, which is about halfway done destroying European civilization, is generally held at educated circles at present to be the philosopher’s stone of government. Indeed: the more people who have input into a decision, the better that decision is likely to be. As so often, the fallacy is the simple polar opposite of the truth. The Romans knew this error as imperium in imperio – the ass’s bridge or fool’s mate of political engineering.

The ideological parent of modern scattered authority is Montesquieu’s doctrine of 
separation of powers – originating in a very misguided view of the 18th-century British constitution. Since one may search the modern power structure of Britain, inasmuch as any such thing remains, in vain for any relic of the Crown or Lords – or even much of the Commons – Montesquieu is easily seen as refuted. No separated authority structure is stable. (Note that in all private administrative structures, corporations and nonprofits alike, executive authority is often delegated, seldom shared or divided, never scattered.)

Scattered authority is the principle of Montesquieu taken to an extreme. Formally, every man or woman has a vote – although the 20th-century separation (utterly factitious) of “politics” from “public policy”, the latter far predominating in actual decision control, the former fast sinking into the mere ceremonial, makes this nanoslice of authority still more counterfeit, primarily a tool of emotional manipulation for the permanent civil-service state. But even within the real world of public policy, the general principle is that the more people who are cut into the loop, the better their collective decisions will be. This is contrary to every principle of human nature.

Most important: any such division of authority is rivalrous. All humans crave and enjoy power. It is an evolutionary drive only slightly less ancient than sex. Our ancestors have lived in complex hierarchical societies since before they were baboons. In these societies, the only stable division of authority was a complete geographic division, ie, territorial sovereignty.

The common cause of modern state sadism is rivalry between divided authorities. Just as it is a fundamental mistake to confuse USG with America, it is an equal mistake to consider USG itself as a single actor – to say that Washington wants this, or thinks that. (It is not a mistake to confuse USG with Washington. One day, the Potomac will again flow unvexed to the sea.) In the case of Honduras, we must speak not of USG, but DOS – State.

The Honduran Rebellion – or, State’s Invisible World Displayed

3: Reactionary Future’s Theory.

Master Future has distilled and expanded upon the central insight of Unqualifed Reservations and Bertrand de Jouvenal into the field of moral and social philosophy via Alaisdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, while neglecting or electing to the ignore the insights of the Austrians.

Future:

I have become extremely convinced that  the project of rejecting imperium in imperio is one which can be successfully fused with the work of Alaisdair MacIntyre, and such a move would require rejecting a great deal of Moldbug’s theorizing. Moldbug worked heavily with the tradition of Mises, and therefore Hume and Smith, to whom Mises is a derivative. This theory contains a very specific conception of man which rejects the functional status of men, hence the fallacious “is-Ought” distinction and Mises (derivative) relativism. There really isn’t much in Mises which wasn’t already elaborated by Smith and Hume’s moral theories, and Mises transformation of this conceptual scheme into an assertion of objective contextless axiomatic certainty is unconscionable. It is really a tradition, with clear roots going back from Mises to Smith and Hume, who themselves were just justifying a set of contingent Calvinist/ English Protestant ethical positions. Their project failed, and Mise’s project failed.

The synthesis with MacIntyre is indeed fruitful but the claims about Mises – as a derivative of Hume and about praxeology – are, unfortunately, completely mistaken. Still, Master Future is right about the failure of their “project”.

Master Future:

MacIntyre paints a very vivid picture tracing this tradition as it transformed into secular liberalism, and the great missing piece in his genealogy is an explanation of how it occurred, which is something he is evidently aware of with his call in After Virtue for a unified history of the modern period. I am convinced that De Jouvenal’s analysis of the role of power and the social structures and currents it promoted provides this missing piece, and will continue to develop this further elsewhere.

The End of this Project.

“Develop” it he did indeed and the result is a seminal set of papers that develop a revisionist theory of social, moral and political history. Below are excerpts from The Patron Theory of Politics and Virtues and Absolutism.

The Patron Theory of Politics:

The political theory of Bertrand de Jouvenel presented in On Power its Nature and the History of its Growth[i] is one which provides an interpretation of human society, and the role of power, as following certain imperatives dependent on the relative position of the actors in question. Jouvenel himself failed to see the full radical implications of his interpretation, yet he presents a conception of the development of centralised Power which became so obvious in the 20th century, and which rips at his very own central beliefs in such a way that his writing and conclusions present a strange dissonance. This conception of power is one which recognises both the social nature of power as well as the expansionary nature of power…

The model which we can adopt without the confusion provided by Jouvenel’s political affiliation is one which shows that Power acts both for its own expansion and security, and also as a social process for the benefit of those that come under the purview of Power.

The model thus provided by Jouvenel is both exceptionally simple, yet of devastating importance, it is simply that in any given political configuration if there are multiple centers of power then conflict will occur as the centers of power seek to both secure their position and pursue expansion. The dominant power center will become the central Power. This dominant Power will enlarge its remit and power not by direct physical conflict (which would in effect spell outright civil war) but through means presented (and seen by both the actors in power, and those who benefit) as being beneficial to society overall.

Of course it is not only in times of public danger when Power proceeds under the name of public interest. The direction of the monarch’s competition was not only towards external power centers to which overt war was socially permissible, but also internal competitors in the form of barons and lords to whom overt war was not permissible (generally.) To them a process which can best be described as a coalition of the high and low in society was in action.

Patron Theory of Politics.

Absolutism and the Virtues.

The thing missing in MacIntyre’s work is an explanation of how the concepts of virtue, justice, human nature etc., changed. The explanation is supplied by understanding the nature of unsecure power. Future:

There are many points of agreement between an absolutist political theory framework and the ethical project of Alaisdair MacIntyre, and it is the purpose of this paper to make the claim that MacIntyre’s ethical theory contained in After Virtue, Whose Justice? Which Rationality? And Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry is completely compatible with this framework.

….

The cause of this intellectual conflict is, I believe, correctly noted in the paper as it is claimed:

MacIntyre’s error is to conflate state politics with liberal politics, but he provides no adequate reason to think that the connection is a necessary one, even though it has been an historical one. In short, for Breen there is nothing incompatible about a state politics of the virtues of acknowledged dependence. Breen’s critique is powerful, and as we shall soon see, it is incompatible with MacIntyre’s political ideal not to involve the state in a politics of virtue.[iv]

….

What Master Future says next is critical:

Absolutist theory, however, can provide illumination on this; the connection is a necessary one for an unsecure power system, as the promotion of anarchist ontologies – of which liberalism is the prime example – is a necessary development of an unsecure power system of which the modern nation state is the example par excellence. And when a political system is unsecure and formally divided Macintyre’s critique of its corrupting nature is perfectly correct.

The Virtues and Absolutism.

The key term here is “necessary”. That is, liberalism or Moldbug’s Universalism, is a “necessary” development of “unsecure power”.

Clearly, this is a claim about history and society, so it is synthetic; however, if one makes a necessary claim, then one can know that claim to be true a priori. (As shown in part 2.)

Thus, the thesis of The Patron Theory of Politics is an a priori synthetic claim or proposition. The philosophical groundwork for understanding this was laid out in part 2 here.

Does Master Future not find it odd that two men who understand praxeology (Hoppe and Moldbug) were able to pick up and understand the significance of De Jouvenel?

Now, to finish, Let’s examine more closely the central claim that Master Future makes in the very first paragraph of Patron. Future:

“…role of power, as following certain imperatives dependent on the relative position of the actors in question”

So, we have actors; we have actors in “relative positions” and so will desire different things (different ends); each actor in whatever position they occupy must calculate and then choose between various means in order to achieve their ends.

In the case of an unsecure Ruling Elite, their end – necessarily – is to secure their power against, what in our terminology we call, Essentials. IF Elites cannot secure their power against Essentials directly (such as replacing them by command) or by directly using organised violence (such as a purge or by choosing “civil war”) then there is only one possibility left.

The remaining means is to make use of various actors, groups and institutions as proxies against Essentials. Furthermore, if necessary, the Elites will fabricate (or adopt) whatever religious, philosophical or ideological rationale (a political formula) that can provide a formal cover for the real reasons.

Now, the question:

How does this not have anything to do with praxeology?

The stage is set and in the final part we will set out the Praxeology of Power or the Science of Elite Action.

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8 thoughts on “Power, Praxeology and Three Reactionary Philosophies of History. (3/4).

  1. You definitely need to check out Frank van Dun. He’s a paleolibertarian much like Hoppe, but he’s fiercely critical of classical liberalism (especially Lockean liberalism) and Rothbardianism (“market nonarchism”). I think you’ll find his overview of history of liberalism quite interesting (it’s basically RF minus the snark and the retardation):
    http://revue-arguments.com/articles/index.php?id=31

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      1. You’re welcome! I find your attempt to distill RF’s crazed ramblings into useful insight quite commendable.
        I don’t think it’s that big of a deal that RF resorts to malicious misrepresentation, but the fact that he’s hypocritical at that. You can’t use de Jouvenel and liberal analysis of power as the basis of your political ideology, and then reject economics and biology right out of the bat because they’re supposedly just a liberal conspiracy. If you reject liberalism and anything that ever touched it in whatever way, shape, or form, then you’re not allowed to use “insecure power” argument, nor argue for monarchy from the structural standpoint. Structurism is just a subset of economism, which is something a “genuine” reactionary would abhor. Romantics, the “real” reactionaries, argued from irrationalist perspectives, little did they care for structures and incentives.

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