Imperial Circular 30/09/2017. (State, Collapse and Reaction.)


1: Trump and the White House Years.

If anyone is interested in what has happened to the Trump Presidency (it is over),  and how this happened then some insight will be found by reading Henry Kissinger’s White House Years. In the early chapters of the book, you will see Kissinger describe the Modern Structure (the Polygon part of it) in ways that match more or less directly to what Moldbug claims.

You will read about how weak the office of the presidency is. You will learn how defiant the State Department was (still is); the incestuous relationship between government and the media; how the Washington bureaucracy in general can not only undermine, but fail to inform the president of alternatives and even do the opposite of what the president orders.

It is deeply unsettling to read that Nixon’s and Kissinger’s strategy for dealing with the Soviet Union was resisted and undermined by the State Department and the media at every step of the way. Nixon’s plan was to engage in serious negotiations with the Soviets – one that would require “hard bargaining” and one that would give USG the time to build up its military strength. State wanted to essentially give the Soviet everything  they wanted without either pre-conditions or reciprocity.

It is the same today with Iran, Islamists and North Korea.

Trump was a great campaigner and had sound instincts. What he did not have was either Nixon’s knowledge and Machiavellian ruthlessness and a Kissinger to get the job done.

More than that, what Trump did not have was a “machine”.

The Trump presidency now appears to be nothing more than a Bush III presidency. It is a holding pattern until the next election (If Trump is not impeached).  

2: Judgement Day and Collapse.

There was a gloomy article from Richard Fernandez recently and we have also read the following book Re-Inventing Collapse: The Soviet Experience and American Prospects that is chilly, very chilly indeed.

This book is something that all reactionaries could benefit from. It is written by a Russian who experienced the collapse of the Soviet Union. To begin with, he describes the similarities and the differences between the US and The SU – it is not good; indeed, he argues that the Russian people had more resources to deal with their collapse compared to many Americans.

The reason that the Russian people were better placed to survive the collapse is, paradoxically, the reason why their system collapsed. In short, communism leads to collapse, but in a collapsed system, communism is better than “capitalism”.

Here are two examples.

1: All Russians had houses to live in supplied by the government and also had a strong “communal” sense and shared with others (mostly close families and friends). In America, many homes are only either rented or mortgaged. The result will be mass homelessness. Furthermore, Russians all lived close to their families, while Americans are all spread out over the country.

2: The Russians had not only gardens, but canteens in their public institutions which all continued to trudge along at the same “Soviet” speed as before. Americans, by contrast, depend on supermarkets and internet delivery which are vulnerable in a collapse.   

Thus, in a collapse, the “private” or capitalist system will leave people in a worse way than a communist system.

There is much – much – else in this book that is useful.

The book is elegantly written in a simple, poker-faced satirical style.  

In 2007, Moldbug wrote:

How many people were surprised, for example, when the Soviet Union collapsed? I would say this event and its aftermath changed a lot of peoples’ minds in quite unexpected ways. Especially if said people lived in the Soviet Union.

I am going out on a long limb here, I know, but I think a lot of people in the West may one day be rather similarly surprised. Most people in the West don’t think their entire system of government is fundamentally, irreparably corrupt. Nor did most people in the Soviet Union.

Or at least that’s what I think. But then again, I never lived in the Soviet Union. I’m sure at least one or two readers did – and perhaps they’ll be so kind as to contradict me.

In response to this question, Daniel A Nagy wrote:

I won’t argue with you much, because all my experience and observations point in the same general direction: big changes are brewing up in the world, challenging the very fundamentals of the established system of nation-state democracies in general and those of the U.S. in particular. The U.S. of today has more in common with the late USSR than most people are ready to acknowledge. Super-powers on the verge of financial, moral and cultural bankruptcy with globally deployed armed forces whose members are about to lose their jobs abroad and their social standing and respect at home, armed with huge amounts of hardware that is becoming more of a liability than an asset and which will ultimately end up sold either to self-motivated, irregular armed forces or as scrap metal and parts for the rest of the economy, have more than a passing semblance.

The huge army of workers with a wide range of qualifications that are currently employed to build and service the war-machine is caught up in the following process:

  1. Government thinks up mega-giga project that, (it hopes) will result in endowing it with Fnargl-like powers.
    2. Contractor demands X amount of resources to accomplish the project.
    3. Government asks whether it could be accomplished for X/2.
    4. Contractor, instead of admitting that even X was an excessively optimistic estimate, signals that it is worth a try.
    5. Giga-mega project gets approved. Y0:=X/2, i:=0
    6. When Yi is spent, the project is not even near to completion. Government is faced with the choice of either canceling the whole thing and cutting sum(j:=0 to i)(Yj) in losses or providing a “little more” funding, as asked by Contractor.
    7. i:=i+1, Government and Contractor haggle a bit until they agree on the next value of Yi.
    8. Until the costs become politically unjustifiable (or until an attempted half-baked deployment is proved totally ineffective in actual conflict), the process repeats with #6.
    9. Project is canceled, people working on it lose their jobs and their loyalty to Government.

Another Ex-Soviet (a Ukrainian), Victor, wrote:


I was born and raised in USSR (in Ukraine to be precise), and I assure you, very few people on the inside had much illusion about the soviet order. True, not many were expecting the Perestroyka and the subsequent collapse, as we were expecting the soviet government to continue holding it together through brute power; but the fundamental corruption of the socioeconomic order? Yeah, we all knew that.

While you might appreciate such utter cynicism, given your posts here, most people in USA would have no idea just how ridiculous, corrupt, and laughable USSR was sees as being, from the inside; no idea just how cynical about the world people can become. It was the butt of every other joke.

On the other hand, we had a very idealized view of the west, and especially of USA. Given the paucity of information, we constructed an entire image of USA from the paltry scraps we had.

I remember listening to Voice of America on our old radio, barely able to hear the words through the soviet scrambling signal. We thought USA was the land of milk and honey. We simply took whatever the soviet propaganda fed us, and assumed the exact opposite, because the bastards would lie about everything.

3: Wither Reaction.

The following article asks: Whither Reaction?

The author appears to be a reader of Imperial Energy and does ask in fairness why all the talk among reactionaries.

However, the author is missing a good deal of the overall plan (of Moldbug’s anyway).

Moldbug is heroic when it comes to truth and repeatedly says that he wants to have a “accurate perception of reality” and claims that “truth” is a large component of the strategy; however, the second component of the strategy is power.

In strategic terms, the plan is to build the AV and the AV “studies” USG and builds a “counter-formula” and a “case against” the Cathedral. It is the intellectual foundation. Foundation of what? Foundation of the Plinth.

So, the strategy is two-fold, you build a machine (a “truth-machine”) to build another machine (a power machine).

As for this whole “anti-social” dissident thing and truth, the INTJs ( which a majority of reactionaries probably are) are the most argumentative (except for us ENTJs) and iconoclastic type there is. However, introverts do not have the energy (usually) to go out and build a machine of people and get power. For that, you need more extroverted people. Finally, as for the sly reference to the possibility of a “Napoleon”, the “contingency plan” should be to have patrons and contacts within the “Complex” (if you know what we mean) and a viable political formula and intellectual and civilian base of support should the man on horseback make an appearance.

Let us be clear here, USG is in crisis and so is the international order.

The future is not only more dangerous than we suppose but more dangerous than we can suppose.



8 thoughts on “Imperial Circular 30/09/2017. (State, Collapse and Reaction.)

  1. Thanks for noticing that piece. It contains some thoughts that have been percolating over the last few months. While I am inclined to agree about the breadth and depth of the crisis, the Soviet Union is only one example. If De Maistre came back from the dead, he would be shocked that America made it this far, as he did not expect that a large democratic republic was even possible. We should be more circumspect in our prognostications, or at least I feel I should be.

    Interesting observation that INTJs will not be leading any Reaction. As you might imagine, I am inclined to see Moldbug’s UR as a thought experiment, rather than a plan for preparing a cadre of individuals to become a new aristocracy. While we know the sorts of events that cause regime change (e.g., losing a big war), the factions and causes at stake in these shifts are historical contingencies. Our Bonaparte (if any) would use NRx if found useful, but likely not.


    1. Thank you for your response.

      You write:

      “We should be more circumspect in our prognostications, or at least I feel I should be.”

      What do you mean? Is there not value in considering what the worst could be or what Black Swans may come?

      ” I am inclined to see Moldbug’s UR as a thought experiment, rather than a plan for preparing a cadre of individuals to become a new aristocracy. ”

      The Party Line!

      “the factions and causes at stake in these shifts are historical contingencies. ”

      They are not that contingent – see our posts on the Minotaur of War series and the forthcoming ones.

      “Our Bonaparte (if any) would use NRx if found useful, but likely not.”

      Would it not be a good idea, however, to have a cadre of people, both of the “academic” and “bureaucratic” kind, who could support someone embarked on reform or restoration? That is one of the main reasons Trump has failed.


  2. It would have been good for Trump to have had an “alternate” elite to assist him. On the other hand, Reagan did, and it didn’t make much difference.


    1. What Trump needed was not an “elite” per se but a “machine” (say Ray Dalio’s Principles for an explanation of this concept) to carry out his order and implement his vision.

      He needed loyal people to act as staffers; a “brain trust” and key people to staff not so much the top cabinet positions (those they are important) but the mid-level positions at Department of Defense but crucially at the Department of State.

      There is simply no way around the dilemma. Trump probably wanted to govern in a “normal” fashion (like a CEO) or what he thought the presidency would be like.

      However, what he had to do, was not govern “normally” or “build” but destroy. In short, “purge” and restructure. To do this, he needed a machine and aids who could keep everything else (especially in when came to foreign affairs) on “ice”.

      Think about what Erodgan did in Turkey.


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