The STEEL-cameralist Manifesto Part 5: the Minotaur of War. (The Power Selection Theory.)

1: Purpose of the Theory.

2: Structure of and Influences on the Theory.

3: Significance of the Theory.

 

1: Purpose of the Theory.

1: Here we will introduce, describe and explain our STEEL-cameralist, neo-reactionary theory of history, politics, society and, well, everything. (See the previous entry on this topic here).

2: We christen the theory as the Power Selection Theory of Political and Social Evolution.

3: Power Selection theory belongs to the broader family of Darwinian explanation (Universal Darwinism) which is itself a central pillar of philosophical naturalism.

4:  The theory will be developed over three main sections:

A: The European Minotaur of War I: Origins and Development of the Minotaur.

B: The European Minotaur of War II: War Made the State and the State Made War.

C: The American Minotaur of War: Empire of the Minotaur.

5: Our theory is the ultimate root cause explanation of our previous explanation for the current political crisis within USG’s Tranzi fascist empire and our description and exploration of 20th Century fascism and its ideological origins and development over the course of five preceding centuries. Previously, what was missing was the ultimate explanation of how and why fascism(s) triumphed: which is what we will provide in the next several parts.

6: Our theory is one among many competing theories within political history and science that seeks to account for political development, state formation and Power; philosophically speaking, it is “materialist” as opposed to “idealist”; it posits that the pursuit of power and war-making is the “base” and everything else – such as ideology – is the “superstructure” (in the Marxian sense).  It is also opposed to some other neo-reactionary “theory of everything” explanations such as the misinterpreted “puritan hypothesis” and the incomplete Techno-Commercialist “theory”.

 

2: Influences and Structure.

1: Influences.

A: While the debt to old Master Moldbug is categorically clear; our theory is comprised of elements that Moldbug never touched upon or that were under-theorised in his work.

B: The two-central influences on our theory have been firstly, Bertrand de Jouvenel’s On Power: A Natural History of Its Growth (which Moldbug recommends as one of two key books to study for an accurate understanding of political history); secondly, Charles Tilly’s Coercion, Capital, and the European States, AD 990-1990.

2: What is the relationship between the Power Selection Theory of Politics and the Patron Theory of Politics?

A: Reactionary Future’s work, especially his Patron Theory of Politics, is a major source of both influence and inspiration for our theory. It was his clear, consistent and repeated drawing of attention to Jouvenel, Imperium in Imperio and the High-Low Alliance that caused us to study both Jouvenel in depth and consider the impact of war on political and social development.

B: We regard our theory as complimentary to his. Simply put, the division of explanatory labour sees Patron Theory explain the “internal” reasons and causes of the growth of Power (the Minotaur); Power Selection Theory, meanwhile, works more on the “external” reasons and causes of the growth of Power: war. As Jouvenel claims, which we both concur with, Power is a duality that seeks both “expansion” and “security”.

C: Patron Theory posits that the centralising power “Elite” uses proxies to secure its power by “levelling” the existing “Essentials” or Middle. It does this, so the theory claims, ultimately for the common good. Patron Theory posits this “for the common good” claim as an empirical thesis – as a description of the motives of the Elites.

Our theory attempt to set out the why behind the why. The ultimate reasons and causes operating behind the centralising power Elite’s seemingly benevolent actions, in our view, is the need for absolute command and control over resources (men, materials and money) in order to wage and win in an actual or potential war. In other words, war is, as Heraclitus said: “the father of all things and king of all.”

War-making is both the ultimate explanation for Power and is always a factor in the proximate explanation for its growth. War, the preparations for war and geo-political competition more broadly, are a permanent condition of Elite thought and action among those who play the Game. This reason, along with the strategic need to degrade, diminish or destroy internal rivals, obstacles and threats by patronising the use of Expendables or the “Low” is sufficient to explain the actions of the Elite centralisers.

So, the difference between us, it seems, is regarding questions of both ultimate causes and the weighting of various proximate causes of Power’s growth. However, we make one further distinction.

The “cynical” or “Machiavellian” motives of Elite centralisers should firstly be taken as a “regulative principle” and if such motives are sufficiently established by evidence, their Machiavellianism can be seen as constitutive.

(Here is a neat explanation of this distinction. A regulating principle of marriage is that it should last for life and if it does, the marriage is successful – in the constitutive sense; however, not all marriages are successful, but the regulating principle – the principle that regulates action – is that each person within the marriage ought to act with that end in mind.)

Elite action should be interpreted and explained in a Machiavellian “real” way and not by what Elites “formally” say themselves about their actions and motives: guilty until proven innocent in other words.

 

3: Other Influences.

A: There are two other influences or elements in our theory.

B: The first is Spandrell’s Status-seeking theory of individual behavior. This is a theory from the “bottom-up”; one that explains epistemically irrational belief and behaviors of individuals in terms of status-seeking.

C: Adam’s “top-down”, “Auditioning” theory of individual status seeking. This theory sets out the rationality of the “selector” regarding the individual status-seeker.

(Adam is also working within the explanatory framework of Patron Theory and also claims that Patron is a variant of “natural selection”.)

 

2: The Sequence and Structure of the Power Selection Theory of Political and Social Evolution.

Sequence.

A: Simply put, our theory of the sequence of Power’s evolution can be essentially understood in the following formula:

Man makes war; war makes the State and the State makes fascism.

B: In terms of Systems’ Thinking, what we are looking at here for the Western world is a millennia or more old expansionary feedback loop.

 

War, Power and Patronage.

A: What we will see with Jouvenel and Tilly is an expansionary, two-stage development of the growth of Power in the first and second millennium.

B: First, there is war-making and conquest which swells the territory of Power and brings men, materials, money and thus the need for civilian bureaucracy to manage these resources (which is promptly adapted from the already existing military bureaucracy). The result is that you have an Elite (likely a “war-leader” or a “chief of chiefs”) who is “first among equals” and is dependent upon his Essentials for civilian and military command and control and the provision of men, materials and money. This is the “external” or war made the state element of the theory.

C: The second stage of Power’s growth is the “political” growth of Power. Here, the conquering, “war-leader” Elite degrades, diminishes and or destroys the power of his original “Essentials” by patronising “proxies” or Expendables and then using them to undermine, weaken, threaten or replace the Essentials. This is the “internal” or Patron Theory element.

D: The result of a successful use of patronage and proxy politics is that now the Elite (King or Party or oligarchy) have more power or freedom of action to wage war more successfully against his ( later their) neighbors. And of course, if this new round of war-making is successful, it will both then require more bureaucracy – which brings more patronage and thus more social “levelling” or “re-distribution” of resources in its wake, because the Elite will have to weaken their new Essentials.

E: Zooming out, and looking out at the macro-historical picture, what we see is the Minotaur marching, slowly at first, then in big, bold and bloody strides to its position of supreme, global, absolutist power and dominance over the entire planet and all the people upon it.

 

The Metaphysics, Morality and Mythology of the Minotaur.

A: In terms of religious metaphysics, the Minotaur could be best understood as a satanic force, moving through history and seducing and coercing millions of its minions into doing its bidding.

B: In secular terms, the Minotaur is like an Artificial Intelligence unleashed eons ago upon man and nature and has been tirelessly re-purposing both to its will ever since.

C: The Minotaur respects nothing and no one; it will happily reduce entire cities and people to ash; adopt any idea or belief – no matter how contrary to facts, logic and morality; it will eagerly make use of the entire armamentarium of science and technology in pursuit of its sole objective; it will re-write the DNA of humans; it will install “machine parts” in men’s minds and will bend every force in the universe to its will should it need to do so. The Minotaur is an artist of power, a scientist of control and an engineer of domination.

The Minotaur cannot be reasoned or bargained with; it cannot be swayed with emotion or seduced. It demands only your surrender: body and mind; it has no use for your soul.

Run, and the Minotaur will run after you.

Hide, and the Minotaur will find you.

Fight, and the Minotaur will only grow stronger.

Finally, any attempt to destroy and or disperse the power of the Minotaur will only see it become stronger, more terrifying and more vicious than ever before.

 

Power Selection.

A: Power Selection is not completely artificial or fully natural selection, but a hybrid of the two.

B: Like with the other two forms of selection, for selection to occur there must be three necessary and jointly sufficient conditions present:

1: Variation.

2: Competition.

3: Retention.

C: In short, Power (the Minotaur) selects policies, people, ideas and technology that is useful for itself in gaining and maintaining power.

D: There is both a clear and consistent pattern to Power’s choices and a crisp logic that explains its actions or the actions of its “avatars”.

(We have set out the logic here with the “Rules for Ruling” and have explicated these rules within the “pure science of action” which is Misean Praxeology here; finally, we have already illustrated the logic and patterns of Power with two historical examples here and here.)

E: In short, the logic of Power, acting through its Elite “avatars”, will select and favor people who are firstly not Essential but Expendable. For instance, the King will staff his court and nascent bureaucracy with plebeians and not aristocrats (Expendables and not Essentials).

F: In short, Power will select and favor ideas, beliefs, religions and philosophies which rationalise its actions in (E). The ideas, beliefs etc., that are and will be favored are ideas that favor “equality” or “social justice” etc.

G: “Equality” memes will triumph over “liberty” memes. If “libertarian” memes are selected, and liberalizing policies enacted, it is only to “pry” certain groups or people from Essentials in order to augment the power of Power.

H: People and ideas but also structures, procedures and protocols will be retained via institutions.

Moldbug once used the term “repeater” and this was partly the inspiration for our concept of the “selector”; a different term for selector could also be reproducer.  In a different post, Moldbug once used the term “monitor” for the same idea as “repeater”.

There are two things missing from Moldbug’s use of the term however. Firstly, what is missing is that these “trusted institutions” (a term he also uses) must train, select and promote the people who will staff these institutions or other institutions. Secondly, what is missing is that these selectors within selectors will themselves affect the memetic content of the selector/repeater based on “feedback” from the congregation/target/client.

Anyone who has done either preaching/teaching or stand-up comedy has had the experience of subtly changing both their content and their manner of “delivery” based on how it affects the audience for whom it is intended. Some things get left out, some things are changed and some things get altered by accident: descent with modification in other words.

To pick one example, eugenics was once a thoroughly progressive idea and practice in America; advocates and their arguments along with medical practitioners of eugenics would have been selected and propagated. Today, however, anyone who advocated such a thing, never-mind practice it (it is illegal) would not be selected or would be de-selected from the key institutions such as Harvard, the New York Times and the National Institute of Health.

I: In today’s China for example, the main selector institution is the Communist Party of China. It selects students at university and subjects them to a constant, ongoing selection process. China, however, is less formalised and ideological than America and advancement is based more on social networks, loyalty and competence in governance than upon ideology.

J: In America, the main selection process begins by students taking a liberal arts course or a law degree at Ivy League universities; Harvard, meanwhile, is the main and most prestigious selector among universities of the future American ruling caste.

K: Nevertheless, there are many other auxiliary selectors, such as the media, with the New York Times leading the pack in terms of prestige and power. There is also the Political Parties; civil service and the judiciary.

L: In Moldbug’s system, we have the Cathedral, which is, in the strict sense, universities and the media – the “brains” of the Modern Structure; the Polygon, meanwhile, is the broader “apparat” which is the “extended” civil service such as the Fed, the big banks, the Military-Industrial-complex and, of course, the judiciary.

Nevertheless, virtually all of the personnel and operating ideas and values (Moldbug’s Kernel) can be traced to one, specific, institution (selector) – the university; one specific group of universities: the Ivy Leagues and one university in particular: Harvard.

Harvard is the selector of selectors – the heart of a heartless world and the jewel in the crown of the kingless Modern Structure; it is the Minotaur’s masterpiece.

 

3: Significance of the Theory.

A: Power Selection Theory has clear antecedents and is comprised of many other sub-theories; it is a member of the family of other Darwinian explanations (Universal Darwinism); despite all this, it is clearly novel and has vast scope and explanatory potential for politics, history, economics, culture and beyond.

B: It is the most expansive and systematic neo-reactionary theory of history and politics yet; one that builds upon and incorporates earlier theories into a holistic, coherent meta-philosophical system.

C: It contains serious implications for the structure of the state and the practice of statecraft.

D: The theory is also exculpatory. If you are a Christian neo-reactionary (or a Jewish one) then this theory exculpates both the Christian religion and its members for Progressivism.

The Minotaur is the name for a universal, timeless, and impersonal algorithmic process; a process that will make use of anyone and anything that it finds useful. Clearly, there is or was something within Christianity that the Minotaur found useful; however, if Christianity did not exist, then the Minotaur would have selected something else.

E: The theory is definitely pessimistic and is clearly part of the “Tragic vision” of politics, as set out by Thomas Sowell.

F: It is pessimistic and tragic largely because of the nature of war.

War will not end until it has exhausted its evolutionary possibilities and the Minotaur will not stop until it has fully manifested its full evolutionary scope and potential.

This means that the Minotaur cannot be defeated; at best, it can only be tamed because war is not something that can be “solved” (in the sense of designing and implementing a “solution” that eliminates war); war and the threat of war can only be “managed”.

 

Next Time.

In the next part, we examine closely the work of Bertrand De Jouvenel; then we will do the same for Charles Tilly’s work on state formation in the European Minotaur of War I and II respectively; then, we move to America and examine the origins, development and what will be the almost certain triumph of the American Minotaur of War. 

24 thoughts on “The STEEL-cameralist Manifesto Part 5: the Minotaur of War. (The Power Selection Theory.)

  1. Great stuff. While I would nuance some things, once it is pointed that the state is made for war, it would seem blindingly obvious how important war is in human society. But for some time now we have had to listen to liberal social theorists who treat war as if it were some social faux pas like smoking that is best ignored. How can an accurate account of human affairs be given without placing war front and center?

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  2. I: In today’s China for example, the main selector institution is the Communist Party of China. It selects students at university and subjects them to a constant, ongoing selection process. China, however, is less formalised and ideological than America and advancement is based more on social networks, loyalty and competence in governance than upon ideology.

    Meaning long term, as most states will reach relative parity ideology starts to make a profound difference||

    Ie in beginner-intermediate lifters total muscular mass only accounts for 30% of the strength difference but, at an advanced stage this is more than 60%||

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    1. “Meaning long term, as most states will reach relative parity ideology starts to make a profound difference||”

      Interesting hypothesis. One would also need to factor in the nation’s history and its geopolitical situation as well.

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      1. As in until state centralization is fully achieved, you will have traditional norms & only later on does the actual ideology start to take effect & alter course||

        We see thsi with christianity where a pagan nobility/honor culture survived till late & then liberalism could be seen as the logical socio-cultural outcome of an individualist ideology centred on interpersonal pacifism||

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