Some Answers to Unanswered Questions.

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.

Davidjones:

“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.

 

DFK,JR:

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.

59 thoughts on “Some Answers to Unanswered Questions.

  1. Thanks for the response (though I am far from great).

    >principal reasons for the Roman Empire’s collapse.

    I wouldn’t agree that the Roman Empire collapsed. Not exactly. It has remained an informal Mandate of Heaven monarchy for a thousand years (see the discussion here for corrections of Kaldellis).

    >Thus, one question we have is: how many reactionaries understand all this and how many agree with it? (Could a poll be taken?)

    The traditional view on Constantine was a lot more nuanced than Carroll’s. Does one have a reason to take James Carroll any more seriously than Giorgio Tsoukalos? He seems like he has an ax to grind.

    The way I see it Christianity is incompatible with absolutist views. I jokingly like say that Christianity is arch-liberalism, though technically that is incorrect too, if we take liberalism to mean Lockean absolute property rights (which is just absolutism viewed from another angle, much to everyone’s chagrin). More correct would be to say that Christianity is republican (but again, not in the modernist sense that it favors democratic government, but rather in a sense that it orders the sovereign around and that it believes in res publica — the Left has made the term unpopular but Christianity is all for social justice).
    Here’s an example to help illustrate what I mean. Let’s take one of the most important issues to modern Christians — infanticide. What is the reactionary position on infanticide? Why, that it’s always wrong, reactionaries are pro-life and anti-choice, right? Wrong! That’s Christian position. Reactionary position is pro-choice. The only difference between a reactionary and a progressive is in whose it is the choice. Progressive believes it’s a woman’s choice. Reactionary believes it’s a proper authority’s choice. Proper authority being first and foremost the sovereign, and after him the paterfamilias. Christian believes that murder is always wrong, and that nobody has the authority to order a killing of the innocent. Thus we conclude that everybody has an inherent right to life in Christian view. It’s not hard to see why Enlightenment Universalism developed in Christendom.

    Now consider the following from Edward Feser:

    Given that we do have an objective end or purpose, however, and that we have moral obligations that follow from this end or purpose, it follows according to the Catholic natural law tradition that we have certain natural rights. But the ground of these natural rights is nothing other than the fact that the recognition of certain rights is necessary if we are to be able to follow our moral obligations and fulfill our natural end. The natural rights we have just are, and can only be, the rights that we require in order to fulfill those obligations and realize that end.

    Is this conception of natural rights consistent with a recognition of self-ownership? I think it probably is, for the Catholic natural law tradition is so insistent on the dignity and inviolability of the human person that it is plausible to hold that the bundle of rights that that tradition ascribes to individuals constitutes a kind of ownership. But as with Locke, this ownership necessarily cannot be absolute. For one thing, there is not and cannot be according to the Catholic natural law tradition a right to suicide. This is not only for the Lockean reason that suicide violates God’s rights over us, but also for the reason that suicide is inconsistent with the realization of our natural end and thus cannot be something we have a right to.

    […]

    In Rothbard’s anarchism, we see again how a kind of nominalism appears to have influenced the libertarian critique of social justice. Rothbard seems to regard the entire apparatus of state power as nothing more than a set of personal holdings, however ill-gotten, of whatever officials happen to control it at any moment. That is to say, he reduces the state per se to what is in fact merely a corruption of the state, namely despotism. But the Catholic natural law tradition would regard this as just the typical sort of error that results from denying the existence of objective essences and natural functions. On the traditional natural law view, the state, being a natural institution, is not identifiable with any of the particular individuals who happen to occupy its offices at any given moment, and it has a natural function or end that of its nature excludes its use by those individuals for the furthering of their purely personal or selfish interests. The state exists for the common good.

    […]

    Far from being morally illegitimate, the state is, from the point of view of traditional Catholic natural law theory, morally required. One reason for this is that that tradition has always forbidden the private enforcement of justice, in part for reasons that parallel those motivating the Catholic rejection of private judgment in matters of doctrine. Individuals – and, we might add, profit-seeking private protection and arbitration firms too – are too prone to bias in their own favor, and too limited in their understanding of what the natural law requires in the way of binding precepts and punishments for infringement. Even if some individuals should arrive at a defensible and unbiased conception of the details of the natural law, it might nevertheless conflict with other defensible conceptions also arrived at in good faith. An authoritative ongoing institutional structure, not identifiable with any private interest and governed by abstract and impersonal rules, is therefore necessary if the law is to be applied uniformly and impartially. There is also the crucial fact that there are inevitably going to be many in any society who are incapable of defending themselves against aggression or hiring others to defend them. Of course, in a free market there might be incentives for others to help them anyway, out of charitable motives; but then again, there might be no such incentives. Either way, the defense of the rights of the weak cannot justifiably be left to chance. That the weak ought to have their rights defended no less than the strong is not a matter of charity but a matter of justice. Hence the natural law requires an institution that will provide protection to all, and not just to paying customers.

    If the state is a natural institution required by the natural law, though, then it has a right to the revenue necessary to perform its legitimate functions. Taxation for the purposes of raising such revenue therefore cannot, on the Catholic natural law view, be equated with theft. Nor does an appeal to individual property rights give any reason to believe otherwise. To be sure, there is a very powerful case to be made for the view that since a person owns his labor by virtue of being a self-owner, he owns whatever part of his wealth derives from that labor. […] But labor is almost never the only resource that goes into the production of wealth. There are also the raw materials that comprise the earth and its bounty, materials which are initially unowned by any human being. The mainstream natural law tradition […] has always held that both the basic requirements of maintaining human life and God’s ultimate ownership of these resources put significant limits on the strength of the rights we can acquire over such materials. In particular, it holds that every individual has a natural right to access to those resources, and that God provided them precisely so that each individual would be able to maintain himself by bringing his labor to bear on them. That does not entail that justice requires everyone to have an equal share of resources, or even that everyone owns any significant property at all. It does entail, however, that those who do own property commit an injustice if they collectively use their property in a way that makes it impossible or extremely difficult for those without property even to maintain themselves in existence – such as by refusing to pay, out of that portion of their wealth that derives from their use of the earth’s natural resources, the taxes necessary to provide the state with what it needs to defend the rights of those who cannot defend themselves. Individuals do indeed have very strong property rights according to the natural law tradition, but those rights are not and cannot be absolute. If a starving man stranded in the woods has no way to survive other than to break into my cabin and take some of my food, he has a natural right to do so. He is not stealing from me in such a case, because my right to my property, however strong, is not so strong that it would forbid someone in such an emergency situation from using the fruits of the earth for their intended purpose of sustaining human life. For my right to my cabin and food to be that strong would be for it to undermine the very point of there being any natural rights to property in the first place.

    Clearly the traditional Christian view of government is at odds with both Filmerite-Machiavellian and Lockean-Rothbardian absolutist views. Now does this Christian system have some structural insecurities, leaving the thing open for left-wing spiraling? Probably. But what I argue is that it’s by far preferable to have a humane system with a chance of failure, than it is to have a secure system with no chance of failure. Why? Well, because secure political systems are crap. I’ve never heard anybody express a wish to be a subject of Kim the Fat, or Sapa Inca…

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    1. “Clearly the traditional Christian view of government is at odds with both Filmerite-Machiavellian and Lockean-Rothbardian absolutist views.”

      Absolutely correct. Both were 17th century innovations.

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    2. ““I wouldn’t agree that the Roman Empire collapsed. Not exactly. It has remained an informal Mandate of Heaven monarchy for a thousand years (see the discussion here for corrections of Kaldellis).”

      Agree, if you make the Byzantium distinction.

      ….

      “The traditional view on Constantine was a lot more nuanced than Carroll’s. Does one have a reason to take James Carroll any more seriously than Giorgio Tsoukalos?

      He seems like he has an ax to grind.”

      It is true that Carroll is writing a book in the progressive worldview. However, independently of Carroll, the reasons, incentives and the structural causes (unsecure power) that lead to Constantine making those choices are very plausible and more likely to be true than other possibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. ““The way I see it Christianity is incompatible with absolutist views.”

      Agreed, and we share the core of your concerns here, which is that there should be an order, a set of principles that govern the state and constrain or at least factor into, the judgement of the sovereign.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. ““Here’s an example to help illustrate what I mean. Let’s take one of the most important issues to modern Christians — infanticide. What is the reactionary position on infanticide? Why, that it’s always wrong, reactionaries are pro-life and anti-choice, right? Wrong! That’s Christian position. Reactionary position is pro-choice. The only difference between a reactionary and a progressive is in whose it is the choice. Progressive believes it’s a woman’s choice. Reactionary believes it’s a proper authority’s choice. Proper authority being first and foremost the sovereign, and after him the paterfamilias. Christian believes that murder is always wrong, and that nobody has the authority to order a killing of the innocent. Thus we conclude that everybody has an inherent right to life in Christian view. It’s not hard to see why Enlightenment Universalism developed in Christendom.”

      An elegant distinction. One we agree with. This is the core of the issue: Christians believe in absolute right and wrong and that certain actions are always wrong, intrinsically. Also, your take on reaction, based on authority, is very interesting. To generalise the claim, so the reactionary positon on moral questions is: who is the proper authority. However, the Catholic position is: who is the proper authority AND are they interpreting the Canon correctly. (Is this right)?

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      1. >However, the Catholic position is: who is the proper authority AND are they interpreting the Canon correctly. (Is this right)?

        Yes. No one ought to obey something contrary to the faith, no matter who orders it. Not even pope can make gay OK.
        This is only the more pronounced in Eastern Orthodoxy which is completely decentralized and there is no pope, no one person with that much authority (this, of course, became useful in power struggles against the state–when Russian emperor Peter I established absolutism he did lot of very bad things to the church, but he didn’t engage in Reformation, he didn’t need to). For example, there have been cases in history of “Byzantium” where church-at-large successfully resisted the conspiracy of the church hierarchy and the emperor to install one heresy or the other.

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      2. Thanks. So, we agree that there needs to be “principles” or “Schelling points.”

        The difference is that Catholics have an absolute moral code and a independent/competing authority system. Also, they make use of a broader array of moral resources, while MM tries to only use “self-interest” and the law.

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    5. ““Far from being morally illegitimate, the state is, from the point of view of traditional Catholic natural law theory, morally required. One reason for this is that that tradition has always forbidden the private enforcement of justice, in part for reasons that parallel those motivating the Catholic rejection of private judgment in matters of doctrine. Individuals – and, we might add, profit-seeking private protection and arbitration firms too – are too prone to bias in their own favor, and too limited in their understanding of what the natural law requires in the way of binding precepts and punishments for infringement. Even if some individuals should arrive at a defensible and unbiased conception of the details of the natural law, it might nevertheless conflict with other defensible conceptions also arrived at in good faith. An authoritative ongoing institutional structure, not identifiable with any private interest and governed by abstract and impersonal rules, is therefore necessary if the law is to be applied uniformly and impartially. There is also the crucial fact that there are inevitably going to be many in any society who are incapable of defending themselves against aggression or hiring others to defend them. Of course, in a free market there might be incentives for others to help them anyway, out of charitable motives; but then again, there might be no such incentives. Either way, the defense of the rights of the weak cannot justifiably be left to chance. That the weak ought to have their rights defended no less than the strong is not a matter of charity but a matter of justice. Hence the natural law requires an institution that will provide protection to all, and not just to paying customers.”

      This is instructive. In particular, you write: “An authoritative ongoing institutional structure, not identifiable with any private interest and governed by abstract and impersonal rules, is therefore necessary if the law is to be applied uniformly and impartially.”

      We agree on the need for “abstract and impersonal rules” or the law. The heart of Formalism (both political and legal) is that when it comes to the daily practice of hearing and judging “petitions” the sovereign/judge has the law and their job is largely to apply that law in good faith.

      The scheme:

      1: Material facts of the case.
      2: Assumptions, principles and rules.
      3: Judgement.

      However, despite your elegant presentation of Catholic thought ( which we have a great deal of respect for), is something we disagree with as we see Catholicism as a “sagely” regime. In short, we are working out, as no other reactionary is, a new philosophy of statecraft and governance, that is largely shorn of moral thinking as opposed to prudence, self-interest (state “self-interest”) and minimising harms.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. >In short, we are working out, as no other reactionary is, a new philosophy of statecraft and governance, that is largely shorn of moral thinking as opposed to prudence, self-interest (state “self-interest”) and minimising harms.

        Great work so far BTW. Amount of output on the blog is incredible! Looking forward to seeing its completion.

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    6. ““Clearly the traditional Christian view of government is at odds with both Filmerite-Machiavellian and Lockean-Rothbardian absolutist views.”

      Thank you for this crisp explanation of this claim. We are being sincere here. There is a value in philosophy when you have an opponent just clarify a target concept.

      There is one of the problems we have with many other reactionaries and conservatives in general. It is hard to neatly explain, but here it is.

      Politics is a dirty business. Governing is an endless toil, with few rewards and much stress. It is also morally soiling. To govern, it requires you to bloody your hands and make decisions that run contrary to Christian and other moral teaching.

      Christians – real Christians either cannot do this or will not do this. Thus, others will step into the breach. And because of the nature of the system, you get what we have.

      If we were Chinese, you would be the Confucian and we would be the Legalist.

      We will try to elaborate this difference in the future.

      We also agree with your claim that Absolutism was a late development.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. >Politics is a dirty business. Governing is an endless toil, with few rewards and much stress. It is also morally soiling. To govern, it requires you to bloody your hands and make decisions that run contrary to Christian and other moral teaching.

        I am in complete agreement with you actually. But the way I see it, it’s preferable to have a ruler which thinks what he has to do is wrong but necessary, than one that thinks there’s no right or wrong. Even in an ordinary person’s life I think, it is preferable to have high moral standards. Even if unfulfilled they will make that person move in the right direction throughout life (thus even if trajectory of his life wasn’t the most steady one, its gradient will be in the right direction).

        >Christians – real Christians either cannot do this or will not do this. Thus, others will step into the breach. And because of the nature of the system, you get what we have.

        There was a reason why in olden days where people took such things very seriously, the people tended, much like Constantine himself, to delay baptism for as long as possible. Infant baptism was instituted to counter this tendency.

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      2. “I am in complete agreement with you actually. But the way I see it, it’s preferable to have a ruler which thinks what he has to do is wrong but necessary, than one that thinks there’s no right or wrong. Even in an ordinary person’s life I think, it is preferable to have high moral standards. ”

        That is a key question. Later on, we will touch on “just war issues”.

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      3. “There was a reason why in olden days where people took such things very seriously, the people tended, much like Constantine himself, to delay baptism for as long as possible. Infant baptism was instituted to counter this tendency.”

        Fascinating. Asoka did something similar.

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  2. Thanks for your response. Great stuff on this blog.

    Reactionary Future’s post is helpful in clarifying that what is really going on in the leftward ratchet is a function of insecure power. It begs the question: why did people think democracy was a good idea? Moldbug’s answer: Puritan universalism. There is a grain of truth in that Cromwell and Milton were republicans. But it ignores the fact that England is not the whole West. The French crafted a revolution without a single Protestant anywhere in sight. Something else was going on to convince Westerners that democracy was the way to go.

    I don’t believe your evolutionary analysis adds anything. First, in biology, Darwinism is a theory in crisis and has been for some time. And it is far from clear we can apply Darwinism to cultural phenomena.

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    1. “It begs the question: why did people think democracy was a good idea? ”

      Which people? The poor would support it out of getting more stuff. The middle out of getting more freedom and opportunity. The intellectuals would have power, because it was they who were/would be in control.

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      1. About the “Puritan hypothesis”? How do you understand it? Also, what is your theory? One book that MM recommends, which we read and is very good, is Puritan Origins of American Patriotism.

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    2. “Something else was going on to convince Westerners that democracy was the way to go.”

      Right. Again, this shows the weakness of certain misconceptions about the whole “Puritan hypothesis”.

      See Patron Theory.

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    3. “I don’t believe your evolutionary analysis adds anything. First, in biology, Darwinism is a theory in crisis and has been for some time. And it is far from clear we can apply Darwinism to cultural phenomena.”

      Disagree here quite strongly. But let’s put the biology aside and focus on the political.

      We will develop this more in two crucial posts that will soon follow, but we have three key things:

      A: Variation of ideas.
      B: Competition among those ideas.
      C: Retention of those ideas in elite institutions, law and the media etc.

      However, what is the selector?

      Power is the selector.

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  3. When you can give a detailed step by step account of how a new function (such as echolocation in bats) “evolved” and not just hand waving (“well it could have been like this”), come talk to me. Otherwise forget it. Many on the dissident right need to take this advice.

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    1. This is too big an issue to get into here. But a few thoughts.

      Firstly, even without Darwinism, there is Hume’s arguments which, at the very least, place a big question mark beside the “design argument.”

      Then, there is the question of competing explanations for life, its development and ultimate, if any purpose.

      Finally, there is the moral aspect or problem of evil.

      The question is not just that God exists, but that God is Perfectly Good and can be known to be Good etc. In other words, it is not just the existence, but the attributes that matter.

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  4. Thanks for the clarification. RF’s view of Puritanism and its relation to Universalism actually makes a lot of sense now, I’d never really grasped it in the past.

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    1. Yes. It is not “Christianity” itself that is to blame. Indeed, if you like, both RF’s, ours and, if you like, Moldbug’s explanation exculpates Christianity as a system of belief, value and practice etc.

      The real villain is the Minotaur.

      We name an impersonal, abstract, complex set of causes that operate over hundreds of years the “Minotaur” to make the beast visible.

      We will have much more to say about this “Minotaur” in the next two posts: The European Minotaur of War and the American Minotaur of War.

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  5. … Thanks for reply… in regard to Soldier, Sages and Merchants. What is to Merchants as Kings are to Soldiers? The point is that rule by the Merchants is really rule by the very broad class that includes Merchants but also includes Judges and Statesmen and bureaucrats,…. And I believe it was this class that ruled in the Bronze age.

    Nowdays a Merchant is a CEO of a large corporation, say, and there is nothing more imaginable than a society ruled by these kinds of people surely? There is a revolving door between corporate board members and execs and politicitians, certainly in the UK. The UK is surely rule by this class.

    This is all of course hard to see when Plato’s 3 classes seem to fudge things, so you have people like Leo Strauss claiming that the Soldier class (Thumos) are the political people. Absolute nonesense…

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      1. …Guess I was thinking of Minoans of Crete or the Hittites as examples of merchant (trade) based, bronze-age civilizations (they had no huge natural resourses to speak of, compared to say Egypt, so had to rely on trade) – highly ordered societies, not particularly warlike or religious….

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      2. There does appear to be some evidence that the Minoans did engage in war. This would not disprove, however, that it was not a “merchant” regime. We would need to know more about who the “ruling Elite” were and why or what made them the Elite. Hittites were imperial no? Thus, they would have had armies.

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    1. “Nowdays a Merchant is a CEO of a large corporation, say, and there is nothing more imaginable than a society ruled by these kinds of people surely? There is a revolving door between corporate board members and execs and politicitians, certainly in the UK. The UK is surely rule by this class.”

      Are you claiming that it is the “merchant” class that rules in the West or the UK or both?

      We claim it is the Sages or Priests.

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      1. I think it is complicated….Am I right in saying that by Sages you mean academics? Because in my understanding, academics (the Cathedral) are really in the same class as merchants and statesmen and judges etc. For Cathedral academics are sophists, and sophists are the ‘shadow’ (the fake version) of statesmen and judges (and merchants), following Plato (in the Georgias).

        True sages or philosophers are rare and their shadow are the priests (literally) and the religious, and we are far off being ruled by them, aren’t we?

        In truth we are in an age of the Rule by Tyrants (in Plato’s sense of the term ‘tyrant’) – we recall the order of degradation of polities from the Replublic:- Oligarchy degrades to Democracy which degrades to Tyranny. (we can tell we have lost Democracy since it is on everyone’s lips, lauded by almost everyone).

        A tyrant in Plato’s sense are those who are greedy and they foment and attract ‘drones’ about them to do their bidding. Those drones are modern corporations, designed by greedy tryants (robber barons), to, by law, be short-term profit-maximizing drone, auxiliary tryants. These corporation maybe run by merchants but they are forced to behave collectively as tyrants, where enough is never enough, always more consumption and growth…..

        Just my 2 cent worth…:)

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      2. “Because in my understanding, academics (the Cathedral) are really in the same class as merchants and statesmen and judges etc.”

        Do you mean this in the “Platonic” (which we think you do?) or the “Moldbuggian” sense?

        For Cathedral academics are sophists, and sophists are the ‘shadow’ (the fake version) of statesmen and judges (and merchants), following Plato (in the Georgias).”

        They are worse than sophists, we would understand the term. Sophists sold their techniques for profit, but these people are the first to proclaim their sincerity.

        Sophists were honesty in their sophistry no?

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      3. “True sages or philosophers are rare and their shadow are the priests (literally) and the religious, and we are far off being ruled by them, aren’t we?”

        This is fair distinction. So Buddha was a real “Sage” and Plato was a real philosopher.

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      4. “In truth we are in an age of the Rule by Tyrants (in Plato’s sense of the term ‘tyrant’) ”

        Refresh our memory, but Aristotle’s tyrant is a bad king and Plato’s “tyrant” is a bad man yes?

        Not sure the root of the problem is greed – among the Ruling Elite.

        It is, as we hinted at earlier, something even more toxic.

        It is a disordered mix of hypocrisy, sincerity, moral meaning and material ambition; high-mindedness and Machiavellian cunning.

        Fake virtue done successfully by employing the methods of vice.

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      5. “A tyrant in Plato’s sense are those who are greedy and they foment and attract ‘drones’ about them to do their bidding. Those drones are modern corporations, designed by greedy tryants (robber barons), to, by law, be short-term profit-maximizing drone, auxiliary tryants. These corporation maybe run by merchants but they are forced to behave collectively as tyrants, where enough is never enough, always more consumption and growth…..”

        David Priestland makes a distinction between “hard” and “soft” merchant and claims we are ruled by the “soft” merchants. We claim that they are the “auxiliaries”

        Our argument is that the key institutions, the key people, and the key are ideas have been the same since 1933 in USG and 1945 in the UK. Corporations and “money-men” come and go, but it is the “Cathedral” that maintains its form and its hold on society year after year, slowly shaping it to its needs.

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      6. “There does appear to be some evidence that the Minoans did engage in war. This would not disprove, however, that it was not a “merchant” regime. We would need to know more about who the “ruling Elite” were and why or what made them the Elite. Hittites were imperial no? Thus, they would have had armies.”

        Yep, What is the difference between a merchant-led society that has an army (need to supress the tribes and fight the other empires from time to time) and a warrior-led society that trades (maybe Vikings?)…

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  6. “They are worse than sophists, we would understand the term. Sophists sold their techniques for profit, but these people are the first to proclaim their sincerity.

    Sophists were honesty in their sophistry no?”

    …Know what you are saying – we are all sick to the teeth with the ‘Cathedral’ – liked the recent Ikea man article in Jacobite… However I think reading Plato in the Protagoras where Protagoras is open in his claim to the label Sophist, we still get the feeling that Plato kind of thought he had a fake sincerity too…

    Which members of the Cathedral would ever volunteer in what they do in an ongoing way – a professorship unpaid? or a journalist? impossible they would never say that! Compare to a soldier who volunteers and would do even if just food and board…

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  7. “Our argument is that the key institutions, the key people, and the key are ideas have been the same since 1933 in USG and 1945 in the UK. Corporations and “money-men” come and go, but it is the “Cathedral” that maintains its form and its hold on society year after year, slowly shaping it to its needs.”

    However isn’t it true that the Cathedral has coincided with the oil boom that has fueled the radid growth of the last 100 years? How do we know that the Cathedral just appears to be in power, while the going is good? What happens if the going starts to go bad? Maybe the Cathedral power was just an illusion, they were just riding the wave…bit like an individual on the upside of the drugs/drink binge – their Ego may think itself in control, but the come-down shows this to be a bitter illusion…

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    1. Thank you for the reply.

      We strongly urge you to read this book:

      Consider the centuries long cultural and political dominance of the American North East, Protestant Puritan tradition. (Now, you know where we stand on the “Puritan Hypothesis” right? – see our recent post on Power Selection).

      Furthermore, consider that since 1933-1945 USG foreign policy has been run on the “Wilsonian” model. See here for more:

      https://imperialenergyblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/steel-cameralist-manifesto-part-3c-the-age-of-crisis-crime-chaos-conflict-and-the-centralising-power/

      Essentially, you have State running the world and State is a “dummy terminal” for Harvard and Harvard is the carrier for Universalist values.

      Thus, as we argue at lenght, it is the “sages” or the “priests” who run things and not “soldiers” or “merchants”.

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      1. Thanks the book, does look interesting – don’t get time to read as much as I would like (and still obsessed by Plato, Upanishads and Dao De Jing which cover a lot of the basses for me)

        Will be able to read your links though – I guess hearing about the Universalist Progressive religion and the Cathedral when I read MM was what was thrilling about the experience – but also his writing style. But then this is the worry – isn’t MM a sophist? – being carried away by good writing is what Plato would warn against. And as Lau Tzu says “Beautiful words aren’t true and true words are beautiful”…

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      2. You are welcome.

        There is indeed a danger. Thus, you have to try and judge the matter on the grounds of facts and logic.

        Is he a sophist or a philosopher though?

        How did you come to discover MM?

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  8. Which members of the Cathedral would ever volunteer in what they do in an ongoing way – a professorship unpaid? or a journalist? impossible they would never say that! Compare to a soldier who volunteers and would do even if just food and board…

    What I mean to say is that although they don’t talk about doing what they do for pay, they also don’t claim to do it for free, and they are well paid!!!

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  9. “Is he a sophist or a philosopher though?

    How did you come to discover MM?”

    I guess we need to answer, is he a lover of truth? Or Wisdom? Has he got a broad vision? Plato and Socrates would say that to be a philosopher you would need to see the value in the great game of elenchus (testing each other piece by piece without going off into big speeches).
    He maybe a philosopher operating in the mode of Sophist, or he maybe a sophist with a lot of the appearance of a philosopher? I have no idea…

    Found his writing through Nick Land Dark Enlightenment which I found through a recent Guardian article on Accelerationism

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  10. You might enjoy this:

    https://imperialenergyblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/steel-cam-v-nick-lands-tech-comm-accelerationism/

    We would classify Moldbug as a philosopher – a systematic one. He values, what he calls, “an accurate perception of reality”, as would most philosophers. His works covers political theory, history, philosophical history, political science; economics; international politics and epistemology.

    How much have you read of Moldbug?

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    1. Why systematic? Is he particularly internally consistent? Can you be a philosopher without a theory of who we are as humans? With Plato we see a correspondence between the inner and outer world, so although I have only read a three major MM threads (Open letter, gentle introduction, and a few others), I don’t see this kind of comprehensiveness that includes the inner world…Doesn’t he just have a standard modern view of the self, where there is no Good really as each person free to choose his own…

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      1. Why systematic you ask?

        When we saw the following for the first time it became clear to us right from the first second that he was systematic:

        http://moldbuggery.blogspot.co.uk/

        In fairness, we have read 90 percent of his work so our perspective will be different from your own due to experience.

        The question of consistency is one you can answer for yourself after more reading (if you so choose); however, let’s tackle the topic of philosophy and human nature.

        All political philosophy contains assumptions about human nature and MM has indeed ventured into this area and comes down on the side of one: the Right one. In the reply to follow, we will provide for you a set of links you may like to read.

        Are you British BTW, do you have experience or training in philosophy?

        From the Guardian to Land to Moldbug to here is quite a journey, what made you take it? What drives you?

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      2. We have prepared a little package for you on the subject of Moldbug, Human Nature and Philosophy. (The links below also links to books that you might want to check out.)

        Moldbug’s view is spread over a number of posts and we will link some of them below.

        First, however, we will frame the topic.

        https://darkreformation101.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/the-path-to-the-dark-reformation-part-b-after-humanity-a-neoreactionary-theory-of-modern-moral-and-political-history/

        https://darkreformation101.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/the-path-to-the-dark-reformation-part-c-the-black-god-delusion/

        The above is a good, systematic overview of the topic.

        Moldbug:

        http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/gentle-introduction-to-unqualified_22.html
        (HNU or HBD and the Cathedral.)

        http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.co.uk/2008/02/democracy-as-historical-phenomenon.html

        (In the above link, Moldbug links to this book:

        https://www.amazon.com/dp/0395877431/?tag=moldbuggery-20

        http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.co.uk/2007/11/why-i-am-not-white-nationalist.html

        (In the above link, Moldbug links to the following from a true blue, Boston Brahmin:

        http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/9996?msg=welcome_stranger

        Dark Reformaton also made extensive use of Adams in the Black God Delusion.)

        http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/solzhenitsyn-as-breathing-and.html

        (See for yourself.)

        Like

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