After our previous post, the auto-bot (or whatever it is called) informed us that we had completed 100 posts on this blog. That is, in the time since September, we have “typed out” 100 blog posts in 273 days (approximately). A good many of the posts have well over 10,000 (and some have 20,000) words as their word count (though it should be said that a good deal of many of the bigger posts has longer extracts from books and articles).
The main manifesto (on STEEL-cameralism) is well over 300 pages in length. The manifesto’s first and second draft was written in little over a month but the subsequent drafts have, naturally, taken considerably longer. This manifesto was written a few months after completing a book length piece of work, the first part of which can be read here.
Nevertheless, these works, the two or three multi-part articles and standalone pieces are roughly only about 50-70% of our total output during the time period (correspondence, comments, replies, additional work for others etc etc).
So when we say we have energy, this is what we mean for we always say what we mean and do what we say.
And no. Imperial Energy is not a publishing house, or a magazine or a team or writers.
To mark the milestone, we decided to write a brief reflection on the process of writing; listing some of the most widely read posts and providing five of our own personal favorites.
The toughest post we ever had to write, one that was considerably frustrating, was A STEEL-cameralist Manifesto Part 3f: The Crisis of the Cathedral and the Structure of the Imperial Information Revolution.
This followed on the back of two posts on economics which, along with 3f, underwent significant revisions. Indeed, we completely redrafted the post at lest three times; each one completely different to the previous effort. On paper, it should not have been a particularly challenging post, but there you go.
Generally speaking, our posts are developed in one of three ways. Firstly, most of the standalone post come to us pretty much in a flash of lightening when one wakes up the morning. All in all, this is the most enjoyable type of writing, as you are fresh, excited and energized. Indeed, we often write for 4-6 hours straight in this manner, taking no breaks or having no breakfast, lunch and only having a late, late dinner.
(Because of our reasonably comfortable financial position (now sadly coming to an end), after many years of (hard) graft, scrimping and saving, we could afford to devote hours (sometimes up to 18 hours a day) to thinking, reading, writing and arguing. It was in China, where we developed the stamina for this kind of hard work where we rose at 5:30AM in the morning, and didn’t stop working until 5:00PM; work was then often followed by a few hours of eating, drinking and smoking with (usually Chinese) colleagues before returning (if we were sober enough) to a few more hours of study and writing, before finally turning in.)
The second type of post is usually the product of a few days of subconscious and conscious thinking, followed by a brief outline, a first draft and then further refinements.
The second type of post is a good combination of the spontaneity of the first with the detail and breadth of the third and final type.
The third and final type (of which the STEEL-cameralist Manifesto is the prime example) is the product of years of background reading, days of hard thinking, early mornings of inspiration, weeks of intense, energetic writing, and months of redrafting and revising.
The third type of post is also the most frustrating as it becomes something of a slog to finish. (It reminds us of something the beloved French film director, Francois Truffaut said about making movies in Day for Night.)
The post that was seen/read by the most people was the following short post A Very Short NRx Correction to Z-Man. The second was Christmas Gift: The Ten Pillars of Mencius Moldbug. Lastly, the following post (not unsurprisingly) did well White Women and the Red Pill.
Our five favorite posts, in descending order are the following:
More than half of this post was inspired by a fellow reactionary posting a link to Venkatesh Rao’s essay CEO’s Don’t Steer. We have been a fan of Rao’s work for a while, as he has the same fascination with the sociological minutia and psychological nuances of organisations and professions that we do. Nevertheless, his work helped catalyze and articulate better some assumptions we had about the nature and function of a sovereign. The part that we are most pleased with is the hour-by-hour and day-by-day account of what an American Sovereign’s life might be like; that, and the security system of a modern royalist.
This post, which is a type 1 post, could also have been called Neocameralism: The Board Game. Inspired by, one the one hand, the work of Hans Hermann Hoppe and Ray Dalio on the other. Additional influences are Sid Meyer’s Civilization and the concept of war-gaming more generally.
Clearly, we are a fan of Reactionary Future’s work and his magnum opus, the Patron Theory Theory of Politics, in particular. Reactionary Future (or Chris) kindly agreed to do an interview with us over the course of two posts where we hit many of the big themes in his work.
2: The Miracle of Michael Travers. We had a lot of fun with this one. This is a type 2 post, though we wrote it in a single day. We had considered writing a long post on Scott Alexander but, as you will see, Travers invited a neoreactionary to “answer him” and we duly obliged. Prior to writing the post, we read a great deal of the “back cat” of Travers and mapped out his evolution when it came to neoreaction and his deeply emotional response to the Trump victory. We let Travers know of this post, but he never responded (last time we looked anyway). In truth, it hard to see how he could have, as the post sees the man’s positions dismembered with surgical precision and his various arguments and opinions utterly demolished with volley after volley of howitzers.
1: Philosophy, Praxeology and Power. (1). and Part Two: Epistemological Foundations of Praxeology. (2/4). and Power, Praxeology and Three Reactionary Philosophies of History. (3/4). and The Praxeology of Power or the Science of Elite Action. (4/4).
We think this is the best work we have done here. It is a packed, sweeping panoramic of philosophy, history and neoreactionary theory, seasoned with a little bit of pop culture allusions and topped with a detailed, “applied analysis” (case study) of a particular historical event (the Chinese Cultural Revolution) in terms of neoreactionary theory.
This was a type one post, though the materials (such as part four’s analysis of the CCR) came together only after many years. We were inspired to write something on praxeology (the pons asinorum for logical and conceptual thinkers) and how it clearly connects to neoreactionary theory after reading Hoppe’s Economic Science and the Austrian Method.
Another type 1 post, one which we had a lot of fun doing as (we hope) the satirical elements and gallows humor of the blog are on full display. The short dialogue involving the security team responding to an Islamic terrorist attack captures the “logic” of neo (and STEEL) cameralist thinking. Moldbug’s “logic of profit” is depicted as, while sociopathic, completely effective and moral compared to others states with their “logic of charity and humanity”; the latter resulting in (literally speaking) explosions of sociopathy. The dialogue juxtaposes, to use Rao’s terminology, how the “clueless”, the “sociopaths” and the “losers” within the cameralist state respond to the incentives derived from the “logic of profit”, making for a grotesque black comedy.
This is our most referenced post. It is notable to the extent that the political scientist, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, has uncovered the same incentives and “forced moves” that Elites in positions of unsecure power face and must make that Jouvenel, Hoppe and Moldbug uncovered.
However, if it was not clear enough, it should be stated that the “rules for ruling” are presented in typical IE way. That is, this is the reality of power and unless you have a system of power where Elites do not face certain incentives, this is how they are likely to act – act badly, that is. Thus, it is not enough – not even close to enough – to simply find a “great man” and give him power.
Bertrand de Jouvenel’s On Power is one of Moldbug’s most important influences (which he probably discovered via reading Hoppe’s Democracy: the God that Failed). It is a masterpiece of philosophical history and social criticism. An electrifying work that is both equally horrifying and enlightening. In the above post, we perform what the French call commentair de texte on Jouvenel’s masterwork. The ultimate conclusion we came to, further buttressed in the following post The STEEL-cameralist Manifesto Part 5B The European Minotaur of War II: War Made the State. was that war is the ultimate driver of state power (and thus of Leftism) and much of the proximate growth as well.
Since the development of nearly all modern states took place in conditions of Imperium in Imperio, the need to wage war (offensively and defensively) forced the political Elites (whether Royalists or Republicans) to make use of Low against Middle in order to free up the necessary men, material and money so that they could wage war.
Leftism then, understood politically and historically (as opposed to psychologically and philosophically), is a stratagem of unsecure Elites and a memetic weapon par excellence in the struggle between what we call Elites and Essentials and rival Elites of different states.
We applied the insights of Jouvenel, Tilly and Mesquita to America’s political and military evolution in the following post: The STEEL-cameralist Manifesto Part 5C: The American Minotaur of War. (Recently, Malcolm of the Waka Waka Waka blog put us on to the following book Crisis and Leviathan that seems to have a similar thesis, one developed over the course the entire history of the Republic.
All in all, the conclusion that one draws is one of skepticism and pessimism over the “mastering” of the Minotaur. Taken to the extreme, the prospects of putting an end to the features that those on the alt-right and neoreaction find objectionable and what a good many liberals and leftists object to as well (Equality and Diversity on the one hand, imperialism and war on the other) are unstoppable, “natural” forces.
That is, no one and no group is responsible; the problem is not bad people or bad ideas and even, in the final analysis, having a well-structured government and sound legal system will ultimately prove insufficient in preventing the relentless march of the Minotaur of War.
The state is akin to a living organism – it is a predator, one that does not have human flourishing as its object. This has always been true. The difference between today and centuries past is that the state now has access to a vast armamentarium of science, technology and industry to aid and assist its task of total domination and exploitation of men, money and materials.
We finish we the following, rather appropriate passage, from Nick Land:
For the hardcore neo-reactionaries, democracy is not merely doomed, it is doom itself. Fleeing it approaches an ultimate imperative. The subterranean current that propels such anti-politics is recognizably Hobbesian, a coherent dark enlightenment, devoid from its beginning of any Rousseauistic enthusiasm for popular expression. Predisposed, in any case, to perceive the politically awakened masses as a howling irrational mob, it conceives the dynamics of democratization as fundamentally degenerative: systematically consolidating and exacerbating private vices, resentments, and deficiencies until they reach the level of collective criminality and comprehensive social corruption. The democratic politician and the electorate are bound together by a circuit of reciprocal incitement, in which each side drives the other to ever more shameless extremities of hooting, prancing cannibalism, until the only alternative to shouting is being eaten.
Where the progressive enlightenment sees political ideals, the dark enlightenment sees appetites. It accepts that governments are made out of people, and that they will eat well. Setting its expectations as low as reasonably possible, it seeks only to spare civilization from frenzied, ruinous, gluttonous debauch. From Thomas Hobbes to Hans-Hermann Hoppe and beyond, it asks: How can the sovereign power be prevented – or at least dissuaded — from devouring society? It consistently finds democratic ‘solutions’ to this problem risible, at best.
In the end, the best that any neoreactionary state can aspire to is to be a bit better than “democracy” and a lot better, but not much better, than “doom” itself.
In the final posts of the STEEL-cameralist Manifesto, we look at what a possible solution might be – after being imposed by certain factions within USG.