Some Tough Questions for Neoreactionaries and Some Thoughts on Formalism and Violence.

Contents

1: Steelmanning.

2: Steelmanning the Modern Structure.

3: The Tough Question.

4: Formalism and Failure Modes.

5: Formalist Fire and Fury.

6: How Formalism Fails.

7: Formalism is Engineered Amoralism.

8: Formalist Perversity.

9: The Ultimate and Proximate Purpose of Formalism.

10: Conclusion.

1: Steelmanning.

Neovictorian has started a promising series with the goal of steelmanning liberalism:

What are the very best arguments for liberalism? What are the Steelmen?

Neovictorian has four areas of focus:

I identify four, in descending order of importance:

1: Liberalism prevents or makes very unlikely destructive war between nation-states

2: Liberalism prevents or makes very unlikely civil war within nation-states

3: Liberalism in general prohibits and discourages the killing of individual humans

4: Liberalism provides the maximum opportunity for individual humans to develop their “human potential”

The first entry in the series focused on (1) – war.

We responded with two comments. The first sets out a general neoreactionary argument, though with a STEEL twang. The second, however, is a follow up to Neovictorian’s reply (remember he is playing “Devil’s advocate” here), in which we set down some arguments which decisively defeats liberalism on liberalism’s own terms. (You can follow the link and see the arguments.)

Following on from Neovictorian then, we ask:

What is the best argument for sticking with the Modern Structure?

 

2: Steelmanning the Modern Structure.

Consider some of the following questions and think about how a Tranzi could say no?

1: The Cathedral (Universities and the Press).

(Is there any point in having a university anymore? Should we close them all down? Defund them? Should there be freedom of the press?)

2: The Polygon (extended “civil service”).

(Should we not outsource and privatise as much government functions as possible? Should we not disperse the various government agencies around the country so as to prevent bureaucratic bloat? Why should we have permanent employment for government employees? Should we not execute a complete reboot of the legal system, one that is a mix between the code Napoleon and Hans Hermann Hoppe’s or David Friedman’s “private law” system?)

3: The Brahmin Ruling Elite.

(Why should they rule? Are the officers of the U.S military, supplemented by select individuals, private contractors and businessmen, not a better ruling class?)

4: Universalism.

(If America is an empire and if you want to maintain the empire in some form, is the protection of private property and free enterprise not sufficient for this purpose?)

 

3: The Tough Question.

Now, we want to put down a specific tough question for neoreactionaires – especially those neoreactionaries of a more religious and ethno-nationalist bent (see our taxonomy on neoreaction here).

Our tough question is:

Is Universalism, and by extension the Modern Structure, the best and most practical system to defeat Islamic Jihad?

Clearly, this question has a lot of in built assumptions and to some it may sound simply incredible. However, the following might make things clear.

A: Universalism defeats Islam by liberating Islamic women.

(This may mean that Universalism will establish a gynocracy.)

B: Universalism defeats Islam by causing Muslims to abandon the faith via spreading science, reason, comedy and post-modern lunacy.

(Universalists have a large and diverse army of scholars, writers, activists and jokers. Universalism wins by forcing all other belief systems into an acid bath of scepticism, cynicism and relativism.)

C: Universalism defeats Islam by converting what is left of Muslims (after A and B) into “moderate Islam” – a Universalist creation.

(This means that “Muslims” are here to stay.)

D: Universalism defeats Islam by gradually “relaxing” the leash it has on the “racists”, “Islamaphobes” and “far-righters” who mop up the Jihadi remnants and scare all the others into A, B or C.

(This means not only more state control and state violence but terrorism and pogroms.)

In a sense then, Universalism comes down to Western women v Muslim men. Thus, the battle within the West, should reaction attempt a reboot, will be between Western Universalist women and Western Reactionary men.

Agree or disagree?

 

4: Formalism and Failure Modes.

If, as we argued in response to Neovictorian, liberalism is an intrinsically violent system, is neoreaction, specifically formalism, any better?

We will argue below that it is not intrinsically violent.

However, might it encourage violence?

That is to say, would a formalist world order not be a system of perpetual peace?

Alrenous thinks the answer is no.

Alrenous thinks that formalism as a political formula fails on its own terms; that it is self-defeating. (All formulas are “perverse” according to Alrenous.)

Alrenous:

Formalism is supposed to prevent violence, but instead encourages violence, in particular rare but catastrophic large-scale violence. It is supposed to be the political-formula-free formulation, but cashes out to right of conquest

If you dislike a power distribution, all you need to do is formally declare war on it and win, whereupon the formalist will dutifully switch to your side.

It’s a proof that the prewar formalist beliefs about who owns what was mistaken, and the war kindly corrected it.

The problem is that humans are manically optimistic. Wars frequently occur because of illusory opportunities. Hence, formalism in fact encourages the exact thing it is supposed to discourage.

As an aside, formalism also has two moral normsviolence is bad, and lying is bad. Moral norms have a poor track record as political engineering constraints. 

Alrenous is correct in his claim that formalism may lead to “rare but catastrophic large-scale violence”. However, this claim, while correct, is supported by false premises and spurious reasoning.

The defence of Moldbug’s formalism on this point is similar for defences concerning certain versions – the best version – of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism, as both a criterion of value and as a way of thinking about value, is an extraordinarily flexible piece of cognitive equipment. Utilitarianism can absorb seemingly devastating criticisms and evident failures in early versions but then adjust accordingly.

The best version of utilitarianism, in our view, would be a combination of the insights drawn from the following two books:

Utilitarianism as a Public Philosophy.   Robert E. Goodin.

Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics. David Owen Brink. (See the chapter Objective Utilitarianism and the later discussion on the distinction between utilitarianism as criterion of rightness and utilitarianism as decision procedure.)

By the same token, formalism is an extraordinarily flexible system and can absorb and adjust to criticisms; most importantly though, formalism has no problem adjusting to players who wish to aggress against the political and legal order that a formalist has created.

Let’s consider the possibility the Alrenous provides, which sees a player who wishes to capture some territory via war. If this war is successful, then the rule-breaking player is seen as legitimate – “might makes right”.

First of all, this is the very thing that formalism is designed to prevent and deter. Alrenous obviously understands this, but he assumes that if a player gets away with aggressive war-making his control of the captured territory is somehow legitimate. This is a conclusion that does not follow from the premises.

He may have the territory, but his control of that territory is not, necessarily, legitimate.

Under a formalist system, if player X declares himself free to wage war with impunity and expect others to formally recognise his conquests as legitimate, then X has signalled to all the other players that he has thrown out all the rules; at least, he is a dangerous rogue who needs to be dealt with.

Even if one player captures the territory of another and is militarily secure (for the moment), economic and legal measures could be used against them (sanctions, restrictions and lawfare).

The upstart player is literally an outlaw and is to be treated accordingly, perhaps by having a rush of players attacking him and stealing all his resources.

If other players do recognise his actions as legitimate, then they are also signalling that the rules no longer apply. However, this threatens to weaken the system as it will lead to more attempts to use aggression for self-interested reasons. This then will lead to distrust, fear and, in fact, more violence. Other players, however, anticipate this possibility and may (and should) make pre-emptive moves against these players. Further still, some players will begin to seriously punish those who broke the rules and those players who refused to punish (in order to maintain the system).

There is no limit to the scope and scale of the violence that a formalist could deploy in order to deter an aggressor or punish those who fail to deter an aggressor – so long as it is stipulated in the contract.

Simply put, you must punish rule-breakers and as for those players who are contractually required to punish rule-breakers but fail to do so, then you must punish them – harder.

Any good formalist will have all this nailed down and spelt out in the contract.

 

5: Formalist Fire and Fury.

The basic assumption of formalism is that if each player follows the rules, the system will reduce violence.

However, it is not just a case of simple rule following that gives formalism its bite. What makes formalism special is that the punishments for rule-breaking are specified in advance, with as much articulation as necessary.

For instance, here is Moldbug’s formalist system applied to preventing nuclear proliferation:

For example, here is one simple system of nuclear law that relies on performance inspections. This design is conflict-free and nonproliferative. However, it is not politically correct.

First, there are two types of sovorgs, nuclear sovorgs and nonnuclear sovorgs.

Second, delivery is assumed, and inspection is as simple as possible: anyone who can test a working bomb is a nuclear sovorg. Inspectors define “working” by their own judgment.

Third, every nonnuclear sovorg must maintain an official affiliation with one, and only one, nuclear sovorg. The nonnuclear sovorg is the client of the nuclear sovorg, which is the protector. A nuclear protector and its affiliates are a nuclear bloc. Either the client or the protector may sever this relationship, for any reason, at any time.

Fourth, an unaffiliated nonnuclear sovorg, or total defector, has no protection. Anyone may conquer and retain it. If multiple forces make the attempt, they should try and agree on a partition beforehand.

Fifth, in all suits between nuclear and nonnuclear sovorgs, whether or not the latter is affiliated with the former, the nuclear power prevails in all disputes except those solely affecting the territory of the nonnuclear sovorgs, in which case the nonnuclear sovorg prevails. Essentially, a nonnuclear sovorg controls its borders, everything inside them, and nothing else.

Sixth, all suits between nonnuclear sovorgs within a single nuclear bloc are judged by the protector. All suits between nonnuclear sovorgs in different blocs are judged by arbitrators appointed by agreement of both protectors. The same is the case for suits between nuclear sovorg, which hopefully will be rare.

Seventh, no nuclear sovorg allows its territory or the territory of its affiliates to be used for the planning or preparation of military attacks against any other sovorg, noting only that this rule cannot be invoked to demand any restriction on free expression.

Eighth, missile defense systems are prohibited, until they can be made as reliable as missiles. If this technical assessment changes, this rule should be revisited, but any missile defense system should be a joint effort between all nuclear sovorgs, designed only for total defectors.

It should be clear that anyone who feels the need to break these rules is a major psycho, and needs to be suppressed or at least contained by any means necessary. The idea of asymmetric war – a war in which different sides play by different rules – is one of the sickest jokes of the twentieth century. If you could explain this concept to Emerich de Vattel, he’d be retching for hours with awful, agonizing laughter. Washcorp can stop playing this game any time it decides it’s done.

It should also be clear that this design is antiproliferative. A nuclear protector has absolutely no incentive to allow its clients to go nuclear. It would lose a customer and gain a competitor.

Therefore, it will require that any client which does not have a nuclear program be prepared to prove it. And it will sever its ties with any client which does not comply. Presumably the latter will happen in time for the client to be devoured, like a shark in the shark tank, by its local competitors. Perhaps with some military aid from the protector if absolutely needed. If the rogue sovorg is to find another protector, it will face exactly the same ban.

Nuclear powers will also place golden handcuffs on their nuclear scientists, paying them like rock stars and placing restrictions on their movements and communication. There is no reason to do otherwise. Not all scientists will accept this bargain, but enough will.

This is all deterrence theory 101 but with more legalist panache.

 

6: How Formalism Fails.

In order to keep a formalist system running, you need all the players, or at least a sufficient number of them to enforce the rules with STEELY coldness. Indeed, you have to have an ethos of “stepping hard on things that would grow like cancer” as Charlie Munger described the Singaporean system.

But here is where Alrenous could counter. Alrenous could argue that, while this system may be excellent in preventing violence in general, all it takes is a black swan, a mule – a psychopath – to challenge the system and in this case, if the other players follow the rules, they end up falling into the abyss as the punishment attacks escalate into a total war.

This then leads, especially if new technology enters the frame, to a series of arms races and it may very well end in one big Thucydidean cluster fuck.

(The greatest example of which is surely the Great War.)

This is not just a possibility but an overwhelmingly probability unless all possible threats and all possible political, economic and technological developments are formalised.

Yet, this is as true of any system as it is of formalism. The only thing that could prevent this is a one-world government-singleton.

Is a singleton worth wanting?

 

7: Formalism is Engineered Amoralism.

Alrenous is right, but for the wrong reasons.

The decisive reply against the argument that Alrenous makes is that formalism does not have any moral norms whatsoever – neither violence nor lying.

Formalism (as you expect with formalism) has only once axiom:

Pacta Sunt Servanda.

All Agreements Must be Kept.

Moldbug:

My view is that a peaceful and prosperous modern society could operate entirely on the basis of pacta sunt servanda, without inalienable rights. In other words, it would recognize no wrong besides breach of contract, and give everyone full sovereignty over future selves.

(See the first reply that Moldbug makes in the comments.)

But, as we said, Alrenous still has one big truth which, when parsed carefully, turns out to be that formalism does not preclude massive violence as a necessary outcome of the formalist rules of the game. (Think of a scenario that is something like the Great War.)

Nevertheless, this is a distinctly different failure mode than what Alrenous posits. The failure of the formalist system that Alrenous discusses is a failure that results from the players not playing by the rules of the game. Our failure mode occurs because the players are, in fact, playing by the rules of the game.

If all this sounds academic, then let’s state the matter clearly.

A formalist USG would have every reason to use whatever means necessary, including nuclear strikes, to compel North Korea to give up their nuclear weapons program.

Most people assume that the violence in this case would be unacceptable. Perhaps Alrenous considers such a possibility a failure.

But is this really a failure in formalist terms?

No.

Formalism does not fail if violence occurs. Formalism fails if anarchy occurs and violence results from that anarchy.

 

8: Formalist Perversity.

There is, however, one more perverse (depending on your perspective) consequence of formalism.

Formalists have no “unassumed duties” or “intrinsic obligations” to any other state, group or individual unless there is a contract or agreement between them.

Indeed, if no such contract exists, then one could describe the “relationship” as starting from a default position of hostility. That is, one should assume hostile, predatory relations obtain from the moment of first contact.

For instance, if some weak country in the third or developing world has no contract, then it is little different than what a fish is to a fisherman as it is to a formalist.

Would this not create the violence that Alrenous writes about?

Conquest and colonialism?

Maybe.

But then, does formalism fall prey to the same decisive arguments we made against Neovictorian’s steelmanned liberalism?

No.

The difference is that formalism has nothing to say – at all – about the form of government, the people who run it and how and why they do so.

Muslims can continue to not eat pork and put black bags over their women’s heads, because these things need not matter to the formalist. All formalism says is that if they have an agreement with us – a formalist power – and if they break that agreement, then we will duly dole out the punishments, according to that agreement.

 

9: The Ultimate and Proximate Purpose of Formalism.

The purpose of formalism is indeed to reduce violence, but it aims to achieve that ultimate goal by securing proximate goals first. Moldbug:

In other words, violence equals conflict plus uncertainty. While there are wallets in the world, conflict will exist. But if we can eliminate uncertainty – if there is an unambiguous, unbreakable rule that tells us, in advance, who gets the wallet – I have no reason to sneak my hand into your pocket, and you have no reason to run after me shooting wildly into the air. Neither of our actions, by definition, can affect the outcome of the conflict.

Violence of any size makes no sense without uncertainty. Consider a war. If one army knows it will lose the war, perhaps on the advice of some infallible oracle, it has no reason to fight. Why not surrender and get it over with?

Muslims commit violence against Jews nearly every day because they know they can get away with it. However, if Muslims understood that if they do X (such as fire rockets against school children) the Jews will build a casino inside the Al-Aqsa mosque, complete with showgirls. In response, Muslims will either put up or shut-up. If they put up, by knifing Jews in the street, then Jews will respond by throwing them out – one street, town and city at a time. And if the violence continues, then the Jews will conquer Lebanon and any other surrounding territory. If Iran attempts to build a nuclear weapon, the Jews will knock out the program and destroy Iran’s electric grid and water supply for good measure. If hostilities continue, the Jews will step-up and carpet bomb Qom. And so on and so on, as per the rules and procedures stipulated in the contract.

And if there is no contract?

Then there is war.

And in war, the law is silent.

 

10: Conclusion.

Formalism can reduce violence by creating a legitimate architecture of legally codified relationships that is maintained by mutual self-interest and force. As for the relationships between great powers, a balance of terror is ultimately the last thing standing in the way of mutual annihilation.

Women, in general, have a hard time engaging in logical reasoning and Universalist women are particularly incapable of sound reasoning, never-mind following and accepting formalist logic.

Thus, if Universalism continues to be the West’s political formula, then it will be women who make the decisions concerning war and peace.

If so, the question then is to either support Universalism or support Islam?

(You could always just support the Jews….)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 thoughts on “Some Tough Questions for Neoreactionaries and Some Thoughts on Formalism and Violence.

  1. To answer the tough questions:

    1. Universalism has a spotty track-record with Islamic women. It would belie the evidence to suggest they’re secularizing.

    2. Science and empiricism have also proven unreliable as means to disarm radical Islamists. Note that many of the Islamist organs of political subversion and terror are all run by western educated Muslims who are no strangers to science.

    3. Though it is doubtless the case that moderate Islam exists, the Islamic subculture is incredibly opaque and shows little sign of future transparency. To that end, it is still very dangerous to have large Islamic communities in non-Muslim majority states. Conspiracies originating in “moderate,” mosques have tended to be stopped, not by help from moderates, but by highly skeptical neighbors.

    4. Universalism shows no signs of “relaxing,” on any of these groups. All native western competition to violent foreign behavior are crushed with the utmost prejudice.

    Universalism is simply a concept. In practice, universalism is anything but universal. It is a means by which a more coherent bloc takes advantage of a larger, but less coherent bloc; the results of which are both historically demonstrable and locally predictable.

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    1. Excellent arguments.

      All one could say is that the Opening is over and now the Middle periods of the game are afoot.

      One should expect more activity to occur across all four points in the future.

      That is, we should “expect” if Universalists are going to get their own house in order.

      A prospect that looks less and less likely.

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  2. First, I would encourage our hypothetical interlocutor who believes premises (1) and (2) to read Angelo Codevilla’s book “War.” War is part of the human condition, and any schemes to end war are utopian. Worse, the attempt to abandon war in favor of utopian schemes increases the risk of genocidal outcomes. As Codevilla notes, while war is hell, history shows that nations at war have an at least minimal concern for their armies in the field: food, shelter, etc. The real death toll follows when unarmed civilian populations are set upon by armed forces. Armies willingly fight and die to prevent this horror.

    “Liberal democracy” cannot change this, because the primary method of modern republics is representation. As Moldbug famously noted, “Representative democracy is a limited civil war in which the armies show up, get counted, but don’t actually fight.” The weakness of this scheme is that it is not always self-evident why the losing 49% should view themselves as being part of the same nation or polity as the winning 51%? It was long observed that global democracy was impossible because the Danes would always be outvoted by the Chinese. Every representative system has this problem. It is not keeping war in check; it is an expression of war. Case in point: #theresistance.

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  3. The obvious goal state under your formalist system is to acquire and centralize power – empire – until they’re strong enough to get away with declaring they no longer follow the rules. Until the Empire proper is formed, it may suppress overt violence, but there will be endless undercurrents of viciousness. Much as in a modern democracy, you’re not supposed to actually march up to the Capitol in front of a legion of tanks, but anything short of that is fair game. Due to the overconfidence I mention in my piece, many formalist actors will attempt to sub-violently conquer an empire even if it’s firmly impossible.

    By contrast, (assuming it is an exception to perversity) Exit is tolerant of empires. If the empire decides to try sucking, you leave. If the Turks try to take Constantinople, both Turks and the city’s citizens leave.

    Lying remains a moral norm in formalism. It’s implicit in keeping contracts.

    Your system is also suspiciously cooperative. As A, I certainly have agreed to attack B if B in turn attacks C. A’s actual interest is to attack both B and C once they’ve exhausted themselves. Of course Z is supposed to punish A if they behave like this, but Z shares a border with neither B nor C, so they have to be uncommonly foresighted to actually do so. It seems pacta sund servanta is destined to collapse – we’re supposed to keep our agreements, but in practice, we don’t. Oh well.

    The Caliphate grew almost exactly like this. The West had an interest in not allowing it to grow, but it was too much of a pain to actually punish it. Yes the joint-stock system would help some, but ultimately it merely delays the inevitable.

    Moldbug’s specific nuclear example stands in contrast. Allowing a nuclear war is directly dangerous to everyone, so Z does in fact have an incentive to police A, B, and Cs use of WMDs.

    Again, formalism makes this more dangerous, not less. If B and C are nuclear primaries, then they are unlikely to go to war. If, however, they agree not to use their nukes on each other, suddenly Z and A’s interest in keeping them in line wanes. Formalism in fact creates new opportunities for war.

    Exit says: everyone who doesn’t like war in B and C can and will leave it. And if they have, then any violence among those who remain is simply not my business: problem is indeed solved.

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    1. “Much as in a modern democracy, you’re not supposed to actually march up to the Capitol in front of a legion of tanks, but anything short of that is fair game. Due to the overconfidence I mention in my piece, many formalist actors will attempt to sub-violently conquer an empire even if it’s firmly impossible.”

      If they behave like that, then they are not formalists but anarchists. Formalists follow the rules.

      For sure, individuals and groups will seek advantage and try to exploit whatever openings and loop-holes exist, but within a formalist system these moves are countered by increasing the costs on these actors.

      Formalism works a little bit like Data’s strategy:

      “Lying remains a moral norm in formalism. It’s implicit in keeping contracts.”

      Technically, it is a necessary pre-condition for the possibility of any contract.

      “Your system is also suspiciously cooperative.”

      One would have thought it is suspiciously uncooperative.

      “so they have to be uncommonly foresighted to actually do so.”

      Perhaps, or maybe they would be properly motivated by punishment, reward and honor.

      “The Caliphate grew almost exactly like this. ”

      Formally speaking – as in the “Narrative” – but in reality, the Tranzis probably wanted it that way.

      “suddenly Z and A’s interest in keeping them in line wanes. Formalism in fact creates new opportunities for war.”

      Not sure what you mean.

      “Exit says: everyone who doesn’t like war in B and C can and will leave it. And if they have, then any violence among those who remain is simply not my business: problem is indeed solved.”

      One way of looking at the problem is that the planet is a prison: No Exit.

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  4. By the Caliphate, I’m referring to the original – the thing which inspired the Crusades. Of which, I understand, only the first was successful, and ultimately that crusade was rolled back. Which is one of the rare times moderns, especially Austrian economists, are wiser than ancients.

    To form a contract, you have to assume the other party isn’t lying.
    If you assume they are lying, then why are you wasting time and ink?
    (Shades of grey are simply superpositions of these poles.)

    The very nature of sovereign states means negative enforcement isn’t possible. And as the state is run by humans, positive enforcement is rarely sufficient. Further, as they are running a state, it is unlikely they have much in the way of hedonic deficit.

    I precisely assert that punishment and honour will are weighed against personal interest and general pain-in-the-ass-ness. If a state is enough of a pain the ass, then it will be let alone to avoid the trouble. Whereupon the other states will have a lightbulb go off – ah, I’m not enough of a pain in the ass.

    It’s not as if contracts between states hasn’t been tried before. As long as the state can force the citizen to bear the brunt of the costs of breaking the contract, it is unlikely the contracts will hold. Yes, the joint-stock structure would help. However, the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent, which in this case means they can think war is fine long enough for the war to be over.

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    1. “It’s not as if contracts between states hasn’t been tried before. As long as the state can force the citizen to bear the brunt of the costs of breaking the contract, it is unlikely the contracts will hold. Yes, the joint-stock structure would help. However, the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent, which in this case means they can think war is fine long enough for the war to be over.”

      Any good right-winger will agree with you, of course. Thomas Sowell did not call it the “Tragic Vision” for nothing.

      In a later post, we discuss Ventakesh Rao’s CEO’s Don’t Steer and what lessons can be learned for a potential sovereign. According to Rao, the CEO’s act as “orientation locks” for the corporation. For Adam at GAB this is similar to his concept of “centering”. What this means for this discussion is the sovereign number 1 job (in normal times) is to prevent what we describe as “internal deviation from the protocols” and prevent external interference. This means, as Munger says of Singapore, “stomping on things that could grow like cancer.” It is a life of constant toil and discipline.

      The problem of violence does not get solved, but that does not mean it cannot be managed. The question is one evaluation according to Sowell:

      1: Compared to what? (Neocam and STEEL-cam V?)

      2: At what cost? (Economic, moral.)

      3: What hard evidence do you have? (Logical argument; empirical and historical evidence that markets, incentives and corporations work; private security does exist; technology (Amazon ranking) now exists to help create private legal systems. Singapore, Hans Adam II…… Private towns…..)

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    1. The larger question is why should we try to minimize conflict.

      Starting with the global level, we have to think about the risks involved from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. We all also have to think about new technologies coming over the horizon.

      Furthermore, we also have to think about rogue states or resentful states (Iran, North Korea and maybe a future, failed China) giving nuclear material to terrorists.

      Nuclear weapons technology can never be unlearned and nuclear weapons can never be given up. We must know live with – live for – these weapons.

      What?

      Consider the following.

      We assume that these weapons can never be used but we also assume that they will exist forever. However, these weapons must be protected (cared for and looked after). The people who make, supervise and care for these weapons must also be looked after and supported.

      Why?

      The collapse of the Soviet Union gives us our answer. Here was a super-power that collapsed politically. There was a great deal of anarchy and confusion and individuals and groups on the make stripping state assets.

      The Russians did seem to secure their nuclear weapons stocks – but who knows.

      The general point is what could happen if America, China and France collapses and these some of these weapons or their material get’s sold or worse – the weapons come under the control of maniacs.

      The point about nuclear weapons generalizes. Since nukes will always exist, the army will always exist to guard them. If an army exists then so must the state.

      And if states exist, then there is always the possibility of war.

      However, as Christopher Coker put it, war will not end until it has exhausted its evolutionary possibilities.

      Look at the world; look at North Korea; look at China; look at Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

      Now look at American democracy and the UN.

      Are these institutions fit for purpose?

      Can they manage the existential risks of the 21st Century?

      Now, dropping down several levels. We have risks to person, family, community. We are living in an age which is seeing a breakdown of the most basic of state functions: security.

      Finally, what one has to worry about is not the violence today but the likely violence that is to come tomorrow.

      More philosophical answers.

      We have claimed that war is one of if not the central driver in state power and of history. War, however, is just natural selection in one of its modes.

      https://imperialenergyblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/the-steel-cameralist-manifesto-part-5-the-minotaur-of-war-the-power-selection-theory/

      War, as Grant said, is not only “progressive” but Progressive.

      At the very least, every last big war correlates with the expansion of leftism. Today, the war on “terror” is having similar effects.

      America’s democracy promotion in the Middle East has had the same effect it had in Germany: what is the similarities between the Nazis and ISIS other than both ending in the letter i and s?

      One has to think big – bigger than Moldbug – and bigger (and better) than even Henry Kissinger. What is needed is a Reactionary World Order that, unsurprisingly, maintains order (at nearly all costs).

      The risks are simply too high.

      However, to achieve this we need to have the right domestic order for America and there needs to be a complete re-conceptualization in our relationship with Russia, China and the Islamic world.

      Ethically, however, the concern with violence is pretty simple. Martin Van Creveld’s correct point aside (that many men love war), the destructiveness of war prevents the existence and emergence of other human values. Life is the necessary condition of all value after all. And of course, war advances the left.

      Finally then, we – Imperial Energy – are left with a kind of paradox. A paradox similar to the maxim: “if you want peace, prepare for war.”

      Philosophy, strategy and history is full of endless paradox.

      Perhaps the central paradox of Imperial Energy is that the only way to prevent (catastrophic) war is to put the warriors in charge and the only way to minimize violence is to put professional men of violence in charge.

      This was true in Egypt with Sisi, it was also true of Saddam in Iraq; it would also have been likely true of Germany if the military had of ran the government and not the Nazis.

      Who/Whom?

      1: Priests? (Harvard.)
      2: Merchants? (Wall Street.)
      3: Soldiers? (West Point.)

      Who/Whom?

      Like

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