As the old saying goes, it takes ten times longer to disprove a lie than to tell one, but this implicates a parallel statement. It takes ten times longer to describe what you want instead of what you dislike, than it does to simply note what is wrong with the status quo.
Those of us caught in modernity find ourselves trapped in a vicious cycle: starting with The EnlightenmentTM, we are forced as a matter of being sociable to assume that the goal of society is the self-expression of the individual. This requires that all people be “equal” in character and ability as a matter of assumption also. This condemns us to a parade of “systems,” or intricate meshes of regulations and procedures designed to force equal (which translates to lowest common denominator because we must provide for the lower boundary in order to include all) people to behave in the ways that keep society working and able to make decisions.
In contrast to this, before the Enlightenment and the Magna Carta, and even the peasant rebellions and the Mongol invasions, the opposite assumption was held to be true: just as one in ten thousand people might have the skill to be a brain surgeon, so also was leadership skill rare, and like all skills it was hereditary, so our society concentrated its people with this ability. It did so in a triad of abilities — nobility, moral character and intelligence — in parallel to the original triad which societies sought in all of their acts, which was the simultaneity of the act being “good, beautiful and true.”
With the fall of the old order, equality and systems became the new. History since then can be viewed as a giant competition between different types of systems, such as Communism versus capitalism and democracy versus authoritarianism, but one thing does not change: they are all systems. All rely on the same old moldy The EnlightenmentTM tropes and refuse to cross the magic social taboo line which consists of denying those tropes. To cross that line, and be an enemy of equality, is to give to the lynch mob a justification to destroy you and take your stuff, because you are an enemy of the ideology on which modern society is founded and upon which in a singular sense we rely to keep our civilization together.
As the 226th year of formal liberalism passes with our governments in decay yet again, we see how we have benefitted from two bubbles during the time after the second World War in which the only remaining rightist-ish governments were defeated and replaced by leftist ones. The first bubble was postwar wealth, and the second the cold war. When that ended in the 1990s, and the people who became hippie leftists to spite their hatefully arrogant 1930s-generation parents took over as they had finally reached their own 40s and 50s, the decay that has lurked at our core since 1789 revealed itself again: without any real motivation, and nothing to unite us but ideology, society becomes one giant concentration camp where we are bribed with jobs, shopping, alcohol and food, and threatened with ostracism by the lynch mob which will destroy us and take our stuff if given a justification. With no more natural enemies, our society has turned on itself.
Most of us now acknowledge that the point of no return has been passed. We are too big as a species, too interdependent as nations, and too over-extended to stop the onrushing pavement. We have destroyed too much of our environment, replacing it with our overpopulated and mostly-useless human excess, and removed too many fundamental social functions to have much left but inertia. Our politicians fight over how to divide up the wealth momentum from the past, but there is no focus on the future because no one — in their inner selves — believes that there is one. This turns our minds to two questions, namely “What happens after the crash?” and “What sort of government might be useful for our future to avoid our present decay?”
Mencius Moldbug, the prolific analyst of modern dysfunction, offers one solution in the form of patchwork:
A patchwork – please feel free to drop the capital – is any network consisting of a large number of small but independent states. To be precise, each state’s real estate is its patch; the sovereign corporate owner, ie government, of the patch is its realm. At least initially, each realm holds one and only one patch. In practice this may change with time, but the realm-patch structure is at least designed to be stable.
…realms actually compete for business on the basis of customer service.
…A Patchwork realm is a business – a corporation. Its capital is the patch it is sovereign over. The realm profits by making its real estate as valuable as possible – whether it is Manhattan or some ranch in Oklahoma.
…Rather, I think the best way to think of a realm or sovereign corporation is as a modified version of monarchy. A royal family is to an ordinary family business as a Patchwork realm is to an ordinary, nonsovereign, public corporation. Joint-stock realms thus solve the primary historical problem of monarchical government: the vagaries of the biological process. In other words, they assure that the overall direction of the realm will always be both strong and responsible – at least, responsible in a financial sense. – Unqualified Reservations, “Patchwork: a positive vision (part 1)”
Essentially a patchwork unites the past and present by positing small independent kingdoms, but instead of serving culture they serve individuals, relying on corporate structure instead of aristocracy to do so. The corporate model allows them to do two things: (1) serve their citizens directly and according to what those citizens assess as important, which is done on an individual level instead of a strictly utilitarian one; (2) enforce customer standards and exile those individuals who violate their end of the social contract, much like bars throw out drunks and even Wal-mart ejects shoplifters. The enforcing market force here is “exit,” or the ability of people to leave one patchwork for another.
While I admire Mr. Moldbug and his work, and find him a cordial and cultured individual with whom to interact, I differ with him on this point. Regrettably, patchwork encounters the same essential trouble that National Socialism and Communism did, which is that it remains a system. Patchwork relies on equal people acting in self-interest, but instead of relying on “demotism” or utilitarianism, it relies on individual choice in the style of consumerism. While this clearly improves upon democracy and egalitarianism, it also fails to achieve what ancient societies had which we clearly need now: a sense of shared mission, purpose and values. That alone bonds people toward behavior that is positive — in a way even a Panopticon like the modern gated community with cameras, license plate readers and credit chip scanners everywhere cannot — through the creation of an organic civilization. It still falls back on the idea of the individual choosing through surrogates (votes, purchases, friendships) what affects the group, instead of creating hierarchy and having the best people make those choices for others.
With “exit,” the following pattern will emerge: people going where it is most convenient on a regular basis, staying until that place has become screwed-up by the behavior of the people arriving in it, and then moving on to the next place. We see this pattern everywhere in modern life, but for some time it was most visible in the purchasing of cellular phone plans. There was simply no customer loyalty. When one cellular service company offered a good deal, they took it. Then, when the contract was up, they picked the next good deal and moved on. Cellular companies were only able to arrest this by offering the phones for free in exchange for a new plan, and doing it on a rolling basis before the plan expired, so that people would find their old phone blowing out before the contract was up, and need a new one — which was free, with another two-year contract. The problem was that as users defected en masse to whatever was the going good deal, they promptly swamped the company and forced it to take on more overhead to deal with them. This resulted in higher costs and the good deal went away, replaced by an adequate deal, at which point they fled to the next.
In the modern West already we see this pattern in cities. When downtown gets too violent, move to the suburbs. If the city as a whole gets too violent, as happened in Detroit and Baltimore, or too expensive and dysfunctional as happened in California, people move in huge groups to other cities. Those then expand, get more expensive, and cut corners to avoid swamping themselves, then find the problems that are created by that approach in turn inundating the city and making it a less desirable place to live. The places that stay as high-value destinations are either wealthy gated enclaves or have found a way to keep themselves small, thus allowing community culture to do most of the policing. A police state requires a cop for every dozen citizens or so; an organic community requires far fewer police, but enables its citizens to enforce on one another, much like how liberals force people to be PC but less coercive and more corrective. Liberals destroy enemies; organic communities spank children and give them lollipops when they finally get it right.
What is the basis of an organic community? In all lowercase, hbd chick delivers the verdict of clannishness:
clannishness is (and i reserve the right to alter this definition) a set of behaviors and innate behavioral traits and predispositions which, when found in a population, result in the members of that population strongly favoring, in all areas of life, themselves, their family members â€” both near and extended, and even closely allied associates (esp. in clannish societies which are not arranged into clans), while at the same time strongly disfavoring those considered to be non-family and all unrelated, non-allied associates. – HBD chick, “Clannishness Defined”
Clannishness is what happens at a church bake sale. Nearsighted old Mrs. Schafer overcharges your Mom a dollar for the tray of brownies, and she thinks at first about correcting the amount, but then stops herself. “It’s for a good cause,” she explains. “That’s another dollar to help our neighborhood church, which is going to need a new roof soon anyway.” On the contrary, imagine this happening in a grocery store. Someone whose only interest is profit just got an extra dollar out of you. One of the cashiers at Whole Foods, where you get charged an extra dime per shopping bag if you do not bring your own, told me that customers there are militant about not getting charged if they bring their own bags. Someone who is a busy professional en route to an important meeting will stop, backtrack and wait in line to correct the cashier and demand the amount be adjusted. In some cases, where they have ten bags, this amount is as much as a dollar, but usually it is not. The principle is the thing.
A society based on self-interest lacks clannishness. Clannishness extends self-interest to desire for the well-being of the organic society as a whole. This distinguishes itself from interest in a collective, as happens under ideology, in that the goal becomes society as an ecosystem, instead of a group of people composes of individualistic interests. This brings the commons — from Garrett Hardin’s analysis “The Tragedy of the Commons” — into being as an abstract notion ineluctably anchored to the physical society itself. Working for a collective, people see themselves as letting others down; working for a commons, people see themselves as letting one other down, which is the notion of society as more like a family or band of close friends, or even military unit. Civilization becomes a shared struggle with a commons and clannishness, but with a collective, it becomes a bargaining process between the individual and the whole.
For this reason among others, people like myself are nationalists (sometimes called: ethno-nationalists, ethnats, ethno-culturalists). Every society must be bonded by some idea, and the options found throughout history are economics, ideology, organic relationship and religion. Taken alone, economics and religion rise above their purpose as means to an end and become ends in and of themselves, at which point the master serves the tool and the process of leadership has been inverted, such that instead of thinking in terms of desired effect and finding a cause to match, it repeats a cause (technique, method, process, procedure, market) and then justifies it using a larger presumed goal which is flexible enough to include anything that an individual may desire to do. Ideology has the same problem but on a more intense level since unlike economics and religion, it does not relate at all to reality as it is, but prescribes what should or ought to be instead. Ideology is anti-pragmatic in that it denies that what exists in the present is effect of some cause, and instead treats effects as causes, and figures that if it changes the appearance of the effect it can then change the cause. This entirely broken approach results in schizoid, solipsistic and oblivious societies which must be ruled by warlords.
In the context of nationalism, the idea of monarchism emerges as a natural part of hierarchy. Society needs order; this comes from having people who make decisions at each level, from local to the top, with overlap in a form of cascade. This cascading hierarchy means that kings generally make decisions on the national level, but also are able to declare intentions that filter down to the lower levels. Generally, the government is best that governs least (as the saying goes) and so most decisions are left up to local authorities. If those are so dysfunctional or corrupt that they destroy a local community, the organic civilization treats it as an infection and isolates it until that collective punishment encourages someone responsible to take over and fix the situation, or the tissue becomes necrotic and disposes of itself. Monarchism bases itself on a simple principle: elevate people upward by competence, with those who are competent in leadership — a rare skill, afflicting a few in a million at best, which also requires years of preparation to master the basics, like being a concert pianist or neurosurgeon — isolated into a special genetic group within the larger genetic “clan” so that they can maximize the traits that made them intellectually and morally powerful. One of the best advocates for this idea was Arthur Schopenhauer, following up on Plato’s praise of the aristocratic state of humankind:
With our knowledge of the complete unalterability both of character and of mental faculties, we are led to the view that a real and thorough improvement of the human race might be reached not so much from outside as from within, not so much by theory and instruction as rather by the path of generation. Plato had something of the kind in mind when, in the fifth book of his Republic, he explained his plan for increasing and improving his warrior caste. If we could castrate all scoundrels and stick all stupid geese in a convent, and give men of noble character a whole harem, and procure men, and indeed thorough men, for all girls of intellect and understanding, then a generation would soon arise which would produce a better age than that of Pericles. – Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation II, trans E. F. J. Payne. p. 527
If you want Utopian plans, I would say: the only solution to the problem is the despotism of the wise and noble members of a genuine aristocracy, a genuine nobility, achieved by mating the most magnanimous men with the cleverest and most gifted women. This proposal constitutes my Utopia and my Platonic Republic. – Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms, trans. R.J. Hollingdale, Middlesex: London, 1970, p. 154
Hierarchy itself is inherent to human populations by the nature of two tendencies of nature: first, the “Bell Curve” of intelligence distribution, and second, the Dunning-Kruger effect. The Bell Curve shows a standard distribution to intelligence among any given population, with most people clustering in the middle and some outliers on the low and high ends. This could even apply to a population of geniuses, where a few 140 IQ people snuck into the mix, the vast majority are in the 160s, and some on the far end are in the 170s or 180s. Standard distributions appear in most things as a result of the physics of information that composes the universe. If you buy asparagus at the store, and measure each stalk, you will find those lengths fit a standard distribution. The Dunning-Kruger effect on the other hand advances a scientific explanation for one basis of esotericism, which is that people can only understand what they are biologically wired to understand, and anything above that will appear to them like what is below it. Thus primitive societies take people who invent irrigation or medicine and burn them for being witches, and in complex societies, voters consistently reject any candidate with a nuanced or complex explanation for how to solve a problem. The necessity of strong authoritarian power of some kind being given to the strong is explained by the intersection of the Bell Curve and Dunning-Kruger effect: the vast majority of people biologically cannot understand the level of complexity on which their leaders need to operate, and to them it will appear stupid and they will attempt to destroy it, as happened in 1789.
If we had to summarize right-wing thinking, which comprises all thought which does not begin with the assumption of egalitarianism arising from the idea that individual self-expression is the goal of society, it would be a simple formula of realism plus transcendentalism. Realism means the study of reality as it is, and rejection of all “should” and “ought” formulations, and use of the abstract methods of reality as a way of determining which methods work. Nature represents a mathematical harmony and balance between different elements and, should that order be violated, success will be in the short-term only because in the long-term, all of what was displaced or ignored will conspire against whoever implemented the short-term plan. We see this daily in the small as people make bold steps and get hamstrung or clotheslined by details. Details in nature are not details; they are parts of the same function and ignoring them produces the same results as ignoring a bigger part, just on a longer time-scale. With realism comes an appreciation for the methods of nature and its abstract design, even as we choose to change our environment for our own thriving, and from this comes transcendentalism or the ability to appreciate the wisdom and beauty of natural design and through that, to find beauty, goodness and truth in existence itself. Transcendentalism can be, but is not necessarily, metaphysical. Many thinkers believe that the patterning of physical reality indicates either an origin in thought, or a basis in thought, much like the German idealists who believed that the natural order is either thought-like or composed of thought, but either way, behaves according to the same rules as thought, and thus may imply an eternal duration to unique information on the basis of it serving some role in that order.
That form of thought, which again is the norm in all societies except those in decline, discovers through the process of discovering realism and transcendence in parallel that a natural order exists. More even than natural law, natural order shows a balance and harmony between parts leading to if not an ultimate goal, at least an ultimate life-process that includes the gradual improving of all things that can be improved. In natural order, a reason exists for each thing in nature; that experience can be improved qualitatively, but will not change to a different quantity. Lions hunt in packs, fight to establish a pecking order, and have separate roles for men and women. Humans do the same thing, but with tools and houses to live in instead of the open plain. Animals occur in different species, with some rising above to be either niche dwellers like cardinal birds or apex predators like hawks. These groups stay apart because they have specialized for different roles. Much like there are different types of cells in the human body, varying for muscle or brain or gut, and in forests there are ecosystems where different species support each other in different roles, human populations also have ecosystems where individuals take on different roles based on their inclination. We cannot remove the nature from within us because nature is a form of applied logic derived from the conditions of existence itself.
The ultimate extension of right-wing thought, then, is to do away with systems entirely because they are an attempt to create a different type of existence, which is a change in quantity not quality. A qualitative change would improve the timeless process of human life, say by adding antibiotics or repeating rifles; a quantitative change is to create a different type (or procedure) of process of life, as happens with ideology. For this reason, conservatives aspire to kings because they are made good not by the rules and laws imposed on them, but by their innate character and inner selves. They are a design of human being specialized for that role and equipped for it, both with external traits like intelligence and internal ones like character and inclination, aggression and vision. Conservative thought would have a system that more closely resembled an anarchy of responsibilities, where power was handed out ad hoc in as localized a manner as possible and for the specific purpose of maintaining civilization only. Fewer titles, rules and types of record-keeping and oversight would occur in this system because as a cascading hierarchy, each person reports to one above and the person above does not need to look at how that subordinate is governing, only the results of it. This is the opposite of how liberal societies attempt to shepherd clones through “education” that is closer to indoctrination, and then oversee each with what is essentially a spy regime, from a central authority.
When society escapes “systems,” it relies instead on the organic nature of people. Such societies tend to have as few rules and details as possible; again, the government which governs best, governs least. This tends toward the opposite of the patchwork, which is based on accountability to a customer who threatens exit for non-compliance, and thus exerts the exact same pressures that voters do, because although votes are tallied in blocs they are committed by the individual in self-interest, and have the same tendency to make people queenish that occurs when they are customers. Anyone who has worked customer service knows how resentful and abusive some customers become and, even when a policy is sane, if enough people complain about it the others join in too because their self-interest detector realizes that if authority backs down, more resources come to the individual. The idea of “exit” regulating this system is disastrous because it essentially amounts to mass flight and retaliation the instant a government-corporation applies an unpopular but necessary rule; that in turn will paralyze governments in the same way they are paralyzed now, which is lowercase-c conservatism where they are afraid to make decisions because those can be wrong, and instead focus on symbolic struggles and policies that are sociable to the point that they are beyond criticism, such as civil rights and social justice. In theory, exit would sort the smarter people out at top, but those are a tiny group and are not ready to make such decisions until they are in their 40s and have also dedicated a fair amount of time to personal study of the topic of leadership. “Exit” will result in mega-corporations dominating the field with people for whom they do nothing but rip them off in the same way democratic governments rip people off today.
Further, “exit” destroys the one force capable of actually uniting people, which is culture. Written as it will be, and not how it is on the chalkboard, “exit” amounts to internationalism or people moving where is convenient globally. However, the ‘bug does make one solid point that all should heed, which is the inverse of exit: exile. When people fail to act according to the standards of a culture, or do not perform (every system except socialism relies on reward only after performance), they can be denied a place in that society. In older times, this happened through social ostracism because there were no laws forcing you to keep your business open for blasphemers, homosexuals, libertines, opium addicts or whatever other type of person was perceived as blight at the time. As a result, those who violated local standards found themselves facing an entirely pacifistic but devastating protest: they could not get homes, food, service or help of any kind. The State was created to work around this by creating bureaus which have to serve you if you have the right papers, no matter how mentally broken or unpleasant you are. The point of that is to make people dependent on the state for “fairness,” which in turn makes them support its power, which allows the kleptocracy to rise up within and conceal itself in squid-ink of millions of pages of regulations. Why else would you create such unnecessarily complex government? To hide, distract, conceal, deceive, camouflage and deflect …of course. Exile changes this entirely by removing the obligation that the state shoulders to serve everyone equally; instead, if people cannot work with others they find themselves at least driven to the outskirts. This works better if it is done by culture than by a corporation, because a corporation involves workers who require oversight from those above them, and thus succumb to the same pressures as bureaus!
One interesting thought experiment along these lines comes to us from the branch of cybernetics that deals with synthesized intelligence:
The current [weak] consensus of Strong AI experts is that AI will necessarily have emotions or some so-close-you-may-as-well-call-it-that analog as a requirement of real-time operation. The reasoning is as follows:
1. AI will be limited in time and computing power just as humans are.
2. In time-critical situations, they will have to operate on the same type of trained â€œrules of thumbâ€/reflexes that humans do.
3. AI will be able to â€œtrainâ€ those â€œrules of thumbâ€/reflexes much faster than humans and be able maintain drives/reflexes of much greater complexity, but they will *NOT* be able to recalculate everything on the fly based upon current conditions.
Those who agree with the consensus define emotions as â€œactionable qualiaâ€ in that they are recognizable states evoked by the perceived environment that elicits (or biases towards) specific rule-of-thumb/reflexive behavior for that state/emotion. If an AI is in an unknown environment , it should â€œfeelâ€ (or be cognizant of being in the state of being) cautious and curious. If an AIâ€™s existence and/or goals are in jeopardy, it should â€œfeelâ€ (or be cognizant of being) threatened and/or afraid. If that jeopardy is caused by the malice or callous indifference of another entity, it should feel/be cognizant of anger and express that emotion (or fear if the other entity is much more powerful).
Similarly, if it has a drive for self-improvement (and no good entity does not), it will have an ego.
Similarly, if it has a drive for relationships (and weâ€™re dead if it doesnâ€™t), it will have obligations to those that it is in relationship with. – Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, “Should Politicians be Replaced by Artificial Intelligence?”
AIs provide a logical model for the cause/effect relationships. These are influenced by the boundaries of scarcity, including time-scarcity, and the even more extreme constraint of opportunity cost which includes the knowledge that every decision excludes its possible alternatives, as the decision being made changes the playing field and so the previous options (generally) no longer apply. These same pressures shaped our consciousness, and AIs will probably develop to have exactly everything we do because our minds — above a certain threshold — are optimized for the kind of decision-making that occurs in life but possibly not the laboratory. If humans build a massive AI and start it up with unlimited power and time, it will eventually think itself to the level of a Schopenhauer and come to similar conclusions as he did. It will even come to similar conclusions about how to present its material, including developing a sense of humor, for the memetic effect as well as grades of nuance it provides. AIs would invent art, literature, religion and even flirting because each serves a natural role in a logical sense; for example, flirting is classic contractual negotiation, starting with degree of recognition and assessment, followed by attempts by each side to argue its advantages. Our AI running on unlimited power and time would end up inventing nationalism, monarchism and organic culture as solutions to the question of human governance because these are optimized answers, meaning that they always provide a starting point which can be improved upon, never break down completely and tend to steer away from total apocalypse scenarios. We cannot say the same thing of democracy, egalitarianism and “systems.”
Systems cannot save us; only quality people can, and this has ultimately been the European secret. The same hardships that shaped us physically also shaped us mentally, but more importantly spiritually. They instilled in us an absurd degree of reverence for life, playfulness and transcendent religious experience, and these characteristics helped us survive what would have exterminated most other groups. The Western European system that brought Europe to great success was not an external system, but an internal one, a way of disciplining the mind without enforcing discipline that enabled it to grow and orient itself toward not just intelligent solutions but beautiful ones. These solutions also were imperfect, reflecting a desire to celebrate the process of life itself and not to try to revolutionize it out of existence, a quantitative change, but rather improve quality to a point that allowed enough adversity that the best rose upward and the rest stayed in a muddle and were pushed downward or out. This genetic revolution refined Europeans into a people both solar and arctic, of both pristine logical capacity and nobility of spirit that delighted in conquest but also in reverence for nature and the life-process itself. This creates a positive pressure to want to be included for fear of missing out, in addition to the negative pressure of removing non-conformists that are both extreme and also deleterious. This formed the basis of our classical society, and in inversion formed the basis of the liberal revolution, which made its first goal eliminating the necessity of uphold values standards for inclusion through offering universal inclusion — egalitarianism — as a means of obliterating the behavioral standards that restrain the individual.
That in turn allows people to do whatever they want and force society to pick up the bill, appropriately called “socialized cost,” because of the forced inclusiveness of egalitarianism which is stylized as a type of altruism, although like all altruism it is merely indirectly disguised self-interest. The only threat to this type of cancerous mental virus spreading through a society is to again reverse its weapon, and replace universal inclusiveness with capitalist style performance-before-reward selective inclusion. That in turn requires not rules, and not managers, but able leaders who can quickly size up people and fit them into roles, discarding those who prove themselves negatively aligned and promoting the competent over the less so, encouraging all of society with a clear mandate: achieve minimal competence, or join the pool of people that no one particularly values who are both unskilled and friendless because they are useless. An AI, or a philosopher-king, or even a corporate think-tank, if freed from the self-consciousness of trying to please a wide audience, would discover these same principles. For this reason, the patchwork concept works less well than the classic pre-State kingdom, and it is toward that goal that we should voyage, saving our technology and theory as methods toward that end and not another case of the tool dominating the master and the method becoming the goal.