Apologies for our tardiness; breaks are needed now and again what with the fact that we have produced two, one-hundred plus, book-length works (STEEL-cameralism and a major, forthcoming work on Moldbug), along with pages of additional commentary, (never-mind everything else we get up to).
So, again, apologies dear readers.
First, some replies, mostly on the confusion surrounding the so called “Puritan Hypothesis”.
(More on this confusion in later posts, including a huge interview with premier reactionary theorist, Reactionary Future on the topic and much more).
Secondly, we have a longish response to Michael Rothblatt.
(BTW, we plan to soon have a Reddit page and are thinking of doing an AMA or FAQ, so feel free to ask any question you want on reaction, Moldbug, Neo-cameralism or STEEL-cameralism.)
Without further ado, here is our responses to some unanswered questions from this post.
“3B: The Merchants (Gold).
We find it doubtful that there has ever been a pure “Merchant” regime in history.”
What about the great Bronze Age cultures? they invented/used written language literally to bean-count, didn’t they?
IE: Perhaps, you could be more specific? To reiterate our claim, we find it doubtful, though not impossible, that a “Merchant” regime has ever existed in history. Merchants are almost always the “auxiliaries” to either the Soldiers or Sages (Priests). The real struggle is between Soldiers and Sages.
For more on the subject, see some of Adam’s and RF’s recent work, drawing on David Graber. (Here, here and here.) The punchline is the prominence and priority of first Soldiers, then Priests and then Merchants.
Long-time reader and frequent commenter, John Q Public writes:
Just read some blather today from Cardinal di Nardi about Charlottesville. One thing I am quite certain of is that Progessivism is an alien ideology that had taken over Christianity, not the other way around. Spengler describes both Catholic and Protestant theology as products of Faustian man, and Faustian man is dying. Moldbug’s Puritan hypothesis was always crap.
There is much confusion over this “Puritan hypothesis.” The short answer is to read Reactionary Future on the subject. (Caveat: we don’t blame Hestia for the confusion.)
A slightly longer answer is to think of Christianity like an organism with ancestors, who don’t seem to resemble it in the same way a wolf does not seem to “resemble” a “sausage dog.” This is because both have undergone an evolutionary process: natural and artifical selection in the one and Power selection on the other.
To understand the “Puritan Hypothesis”, as Moldbug understands it, one must, like with biological evolution, keep two things in mind:
1: Lineage or descent with modification.
2: The cause or mechanism of that modification.
Moldbug, stripped down to essentials, does for political history and theory, what Darwin did for biology. We will have more to say about this in the next post: The European Minotaur of War.
The Civil War was not the conquest of the States by Massachusetts, but a response to the belligerent actions of the slave-holding states. If your analysis rests on the deeply flawed Puritan Hypohesis, then we have a problem.
IE: See our above response to Q on the “Puritan hypothesis”. What we mean and what you mean are two different things.
As for the Civil War, it was a quote lifted, via Moldbug.
We are not quite sure what to make of the Civil War (as to its cause or causes in a fine-grained way). However, the claim that it was a war of “Northern Aggression” fits snugly into a theory that the North-East is the ideological power-center throughout American history. Massachusetts, and the rest of the North-East, is the ideological initiator, selector and implementer of American (and much of the world’s) left-ward drift.
(Dark Reformation has a long section on it here. (See Part 6: Catholicism and Universalism, Section 44, Sub-section 4)).
JR: FDR’s win was the final blow to Yankee WASPdom by a diverse coalition including German Jews, Catholics, Southern proles, Southern planters and their former slaves. In fact, Nelson W. Aldrich Jr. in his book Old Money states that FDR was considered a traitor to his class by the manor born of the North East.
True, there was a diverse coalition, just like today; however, what is crucial is caste, institution (universities, such as Harvard), ideology (Progressivism: the pre-cursor to Tranzism) and the cause of their success: Power selection.
Thus, on the contrary, the triumph of the Tranzi is both the triumph and triumphant transformation of WASPs and WASP values; yet, behind it all, the real triumph is the triumph of de Jouvenel’s Minotaur. (See our previous entries, the ones to follow or our response to Q above).
The key passage from Moldbug is the following conclusion on Universalism:
And this, in my opinion, is why we have Universalism. We have Universalism because it is adaptive in a democratic sovcorp. Similarly, Universalism (and its ancestors) create democracy, in much the same way that they create “peace processes.” The whole thing is an artifact of sovereign corporate governance gone horribly awry.
In short, the adaptive function of Universalism is to glorify and expand the modern democratic sovcorp. Of course, it has no purpose in any moral or metaphysical sense. It just exists.
Universalism is the latest, greatest incarnation of Bertrand de Jouvenel‘s Minotaur.
The Triumph of the Minotaur indeed. See this post on how, for the same reasons, Christianity “triumphed” due to Constantine’s need to secure his power in a “sovereign corporate governance” system gone extremely awry.
Thus, one question we have is: how many reactionaries understand all this and how many agree with it? (Could a poll be taken?)
The great Michael Rothblatt asks:
I’m interested in your take on the Roman Empire? Roman Republic never officially stopped being a republic, so when it became a monarchy it functioned on a sort of informal Mandate of Heaven principle. But, it doesn’t satisfy requirements you laid out for monarchy (no clear and legally formalised line of succession).
It is quite correct to say that officially or “formally” the Republic never stopped being the “Republic”; yet, the Empire was closer to “monarchy” despite not having the necessary set of conditions we set down.
Augustus, and those that followed him, were called, among other things, Imperator (victorious commander), from which we derive the English term “Emperor”. Nevertheless, Imperator Caesar Augustus or later Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero were not “Emperors” in the way us moderns probably understand the term as it would have applied to the Empress Victoria of England or the Emperor Napoleon I of France.
Caesar Augustus’s regime, on the contrary, can accurately be described as a military dictatorship (a Soldier regime) that evolved – slowly – after the battle of Actium, into an informal, monarchical “family business”. Perhaps a neat way of understanding the transition and the new system is to think of Augustus as a “Michael Corleone” and Tiberius as a “Vincent Corleone”.
That the line of succession and method of selection was never formalised is, in our view, one the principal reasons for the Roman Empire’s collapse.
As soon as, as Tacitus put it, the “secret” of how “emperors” were made escaped, military commanders would mount an attempt, using their command of men, money and materials, to take the “throne” for themselves or would try out of fear of another succeeding.
Thus, Rome was condemned to an endless cycle of civil wars because of its unsecure power system.
By the time of Diocletian, the monarchical nature of the empire (which was repeatedly founded on military dictatorship) was more formalised. (Again, see this analysis of Constantine the Great here and this post about Mao’s Cultural Revolution and how it demonstrates Reactionary Future’s Patron Theory precisely.)
To us, the control of the Roman Empire resembled the practice of plate-spinning; however, there are many spinners, and they often end up fighting each other, with new spinners coming from the audience much to the surprise, and chagrin, of the others.
We found some of the commentary here, on how Augustus’s “Principate” took shape, legally, politically and philosophically, to be very useful.