Good post overall.

But monarchies leak power too.

In fact, if we were to go really historic on this topic, absolute monarchies leaked power like a motherfucker.

It is in fact the leakage of power of absolute monarchies that ended up birthing absolute democracies and their constituent bureaucracies. The process, (as described by Jouvenel, with which you are familiar) goes something like this:

The King wants to do King shit. But he is limited by the influence of those pesky Aristocrats, in essence mini-kings in the Pyramidal hierarchy of the Feudal System. These guys are lame, because they want to limit Power. They want to limit it, because they don't have all of it. And they can limit it, because they have some of it. Separation of Power is actually a thing - but only if you literally split the kingdom in a lot of actual mini-kingdoms. Derp Montesquieu.

Anyways, at one point the King figures out how to circumvent the pesky Aristocracy. The solution, it turns out, is simple - he will start leaking power to the lower classes. If he leaks power to the plebs he can create a brand new class of loyal followers, whom he can use to staff his own government. They are loyal, because yesterday they were plebs. They know they are nothing without this willful power leakage by the King. So the King can be pretty sure he will not get fucked by them. For now.

So the King uses the new loyal class to staff his government and replace all the aristocrats who previously occupied these positions by the right of blood. This new way is better, the King says. The right of blood sometimes selects people who are retarded. Genetics can be quite random, unfortunately. In this new way, the King, in all his kingly wisdom, can select only the *best* men for the job. Or so he says. We will call this new selection mechanism "meritocracy" - selection by merit, not by birth! Or so he claims. Of course, he simply selects for what expands his Power.

So the King has effectively created a new class. And not just any new class, a new class which has the potential to exercise Power. The king has thus expanded the scope of the elite from which the ruling class is staffed. In Mosca's terms, the ruling class is no longer purely Aristocratic in its selection mechanism. It is now also Democratic. What shall we call this new section of the elite class? Maybe pick some fancy-sounding french word?

I am maybe getting carried away. By now it is obvious where I am going with this. Eventually, the bourgeoise, being elite products of a new selection mechanism and being capable of logical thought realize that the elite products of the old selection mechanism - the aristocracy - are its enemies. Enemies, which would definitely kill them if they could, or would promptly turn them back into poor and powerless plebs. Because they are competition. And "competition is for losers" - Peter Thiel. Aristocratiam delenda est, concludes the bourgeoise. So they invent the guillotine. But wait, isn't our gracious King also an Aristocrat? Oui. Unfortunately, his head also has to go. The King, in his thirst for power, has knighted his own executioners. But Power is a blind instinct.

ANY monarchy has an incentive to leak power. No, scratch that. ANY regime has an incentive to leak power. Because Power wants to expand. Leaking power allows to expand the scope of power beyond its formalized borders. And expansion is the only thing that Power wants. Hell it is the only thing it knows. It doesn't want to do anything else. Is it possible for a regime to exist, which doesn't have an incentive to leak power? I don't think so. Maybe at first it doesn't leak, but eventually entropy gets a hold of everything...is this possibly what the ominous "for a while..." inserts stand for?

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Isn't this power leakage just a 'field' (to borrow a Physics term) which governs the Iron Law of Oligarchy? The only difference between the democratic and monarchic examples seems to be the nominal face of power - 'The King' v. 'The People'. Each is always a lie to some degree.

The King doesn't have absolute power because he doesn't oversee the day-to-day operations of the Kingdom - the aristocrats/lords do - and offing too many of them will drastically increase the odds that his next meal will be poisoned.

Likewise, the People don't have absolute control (and arguably significantly less so) over their Democracy, because the voter doesn't have the right to walk down to the DMV/Courthouse (despite such civil servants 'working *for* the People') and fire everyone in the room for incompetency.

It seems inevitable, then, that *no* container is capable of holding power with a perfect seal. It is too entropic, and just like an expanding gas it just wants too badly to be on the outside of its container. Thus the only inevitability is leaking - or explosion. When the leaks start forming, the 'power parasites' (who are Oligarchs themselves to one degree or another) come along to start suckling on the sweet teat of power to which they are drawn by nature.

Being the parasites they are, they are very difficult to remove without damaging the host (if you can see them at all - and with the most adept ones, you most certainly can't), as they will thrash about violently in all directions when you try to do so in an effort to make the process as painful as possible (their friends will probably join in the party too, as they know that they will be next). And even if you could - they would just be replaced by another (possibly more damaging) parasite.

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So it seems indeed.

To (mis)use one of Yarvin's metaphors, Power is like a nuclear reactor, but an inherently unstable one. It constantly leaks, because it constantly wants to explode.

As you note, the Iron Law of Oligarchy always rules. However, what is traditionally missed about this Law is that it works in BOTH directions. An initially democratic structure will necessarily evolve into an oligarchic one. But the same will also happen to an initially monarchic structure.

Absolute monarchs are the exception, not the rule, at the least because exceptional individuals, who have such exceptional capacity to are obviously an exception, not the rule. Sooner or later (usually sooner) every political regime ends up functioning as an oligarchy. It happened to the Rome of August, the France of Louis XIV and the USA of FDR. And in fact it is usually the absolute monarchs themselves, who ironically set up the foundation for the oligarchical structure into which their own absolute regime will (d)evolve.

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At a certain point, can’t we say that so much power has leaked that the oligarchy has gotten too sclerotic and it is time for a circulation of the elites? We are way past that point.

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An absolute monarchy doesn't have an incentive to leak power. While it's true there can never be a perfectly absolute monarchy, a number of regimes have come reasonably close.

The general problem with near-absolute monarchy is biological. The heirs are unlikely to maintain near-absolute power over time.

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Sounds like bioleninism to me Mr. Spandrell

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I think the host is just wishing it away at this point in terms of solutions.

This gets solved one way, a way that Pelosi and the rest reached for first.

Now can General Nancy wield this sword?

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Can General Trump? It appears not.

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You missed the point, General Nancy drew the sword, I mean the actual Military. They are guarding her office, literally.

General Trump did not - he ran to Florida. He’s out.

As far as drawing the sword he was never in. Troops are not defending Mar a lago, they are defending the Capitol. From ...nothing...by the way. Unless you mean the occasional crackhead or the homeless camp on Massachusetts and 2d. The homeless aren’t really a threat, they have to get up and go to work in the morning. Really. So they have a stake in the system. That at least was the situation as of 2200 hours last night.

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She isn’t commanding anything. If General Nancy could draw the sword, that’s only because the system above already had the sword.

Of course, for reasons Curtis outlines, her drawing the sword anyway isn’t a particularly wise move.

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My Dear sir,

I am a small molecule of said sword, and if it isn’t General Nancy, its a “committee” she is part of, who commands is not relevant.

What is relevant is the sword is drawn. Openly.

Politics is Power and that power is nakedly displayed. A show of force remains force. And no, this has never happened in America before - its a first for us.

Worse; that sword is not sworn to Nancy, or “the system” - and you are more than a bit off saying the system above had that sword.

Weezus are sworn to The Constitution, which CY wittily says is “archived”.


Well, then who does Weezus serve, and what is the legal basis or any basis at all to command anyone?

The answer; dupes. But dupes who know they’ve been played false? Who you know believe in honor and their sacred oaths?

The real answer is on 8 January constitutionally valid orders were given (to the doubting but faithfully following) and on 20 Jan those orders...were invalidated.

You speak of this system as if you know it, or Yarvin does? He does not.

He knows the Foreign Service etc world. The actual system could not summon DOD, who wisely refused. The call for help from panicked hysterics* was then sent to 4 state governors of Democratic states- NY, NJ, VA, MD. They answered the call. Now you might not believe it but troops are neither automatons nor retarded.

They understand much, much unseen by the wits herein. Silence is discipline, not stupidity.

The discipline comes from within; and its basis is Honor- and the Oath Sacred to the “archived” parchment.

Oh dear.

Oh dear. What have the clever sillies wrought?

But let us consider not ah ..sentiment.

Lets consider using men of violence as instruments.

Well you can dupe unwitting instruments - but when they are quite witting...

Or you could coerce for a time...but you have to be intrinsically dangerous for that to work. Running and hiding from cosplayers is not a good start for a repressive govt, you see.

You could coerce from law...but on what basis?

The laws all follow from the Constitution.


An appeal to Honor? Quiere morir puta?

The good of the nation?

A word about instruments; actual criminals would never deceive direct instruments of the crime as to being criminals.

As for soldiers; You can do anything with bayonets but sit on them.

Even if loyal.

When you clearly have tricked honorable men you used as dupes, you really don’t want them around...yet weezus linger, much longer than safe. For anyone.

Inertia is your hold over us.

Other than that faith to our comrades...

Thats not the rest of you.

It could be America, our love, our heart ❤️ who has deserted not mere us, but herself,

My dear, most don’t know it but when a suitor comes calling ...

You see. And no amount of clever silliness escapes the consequences.

The system commands nothing. It played its last card, and now is holding ..nothing. One may mock the cosplayers of Jan 6 wandering around looking for the next level, but thats a forgotten trifle compared to the gross errors by “the Cathedral” since.

All their power has leaked away, and its inertia now- and bluff.

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Nice references to Elon lol

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Also, the Tsar being a senile old man with a junkei for a son was probably a reference to Joe Biden

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"Groundbreaking" is obviously a reference to the Boring Company.

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"their new monarch—also a highly progenitive man, with redundant budding heirs"

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Curtis, just an FYI, links to graymirror.substack.com are shadow-banned on Hacker News. I did an Ask HN: post about the ban just now, and some mod deleted it after a few minutes.

Presumably, Substack (aren't they funded by Y Combinator?) should be made aware that one of their popular authors are being banned.

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Please no, if you think substacks mutopian staff will have the will or capability to protect beloved moldy here from shadow banning, you are sadly mistaken

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Removing a shadow ban isn't an acceptable resolution. There should not be shadow bans except for spam, and maybe not even for that. HN made their choice. It's over.

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I think we all understand that - barring Moldy having a change of heart and accepting that sweet, sweet Mutopian cash - this substack is doomed to being memory-holed eventually. Better for us that we don't draw too much attention to it prior to its "time".

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Update: @dang confirmed the shadow-ban. Here's what he had to say: "I banned it a while ago because it seemed obvious that there would be no non-flamewar threads about these articles, and HN isn't a site for flamewars."

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I'll just check if yarvin has a new article before I go to bed.... every time.

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When it rains, it pours! Thank you Trump, I guess! :D

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> So the new, free Mundana is run by its unbiased liberal intellectuals. Things are looking up in Mundana! And they’ll keep getting better—for a while…

"For a while" ... ominous.

The dominant and recessive power myopia concept is cute, but let's go full Darwin: The power leakage is like an incontinence gene (with different alleles of severity) introduced by a virus through reverse transcriptase. That virus? Government itself. The effect? Low T.

"For a while" because even the best prince, drenched in tactical nihilism and forged, commands a system that has AIDS.

All of this monarchy stuff is so old and boring. Start playing with the CRISPR-Cas9 toolkit of anarcho-capitalism and excise those viral genes. The only ecological stability is created by private property. Competition is the only balancing force in nature.

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Oh dear libertarians you’ll soon be missing govt.

I’d join a gang, fast.

The police can’t come even if the phones work.

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Here's a thought experiment: Imagine you lived in the Soviet Union and you didn't know about capitalist countries at all. Imagine that a "crazy" libertarian comes up to you in a bread line and whispers, "Comrade, if we had private property and companies pursuing profit to create food products, we'd have supermarkets filled with 30,000 items, and no lines!"

You'd say, "Shut up you crazy fool. What's more important than food?! The government obviously has to provide it. Your crazy utopia will lead to famine."

The problem is monopoly -- the lack of competition. Now apply the thought experiment to police and courts. Quibble with the analogy if you'd like, but the burden of proof is on you, my friend, not me.

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"The problem is monopoly"

I love ancapism (not even /s, I find it fascinating and even quite romantic).

The problem is not monopoly, it's *people*. People love power. Pride is the sin of Satan after all, and nothing feeds that pride live having (or feeling like you have) real power.

The thing about monopolies is that they are very, very good for power. Competition is anathema to power. People don't want to constantly compete (it sucks and is hard), they want to *rule* - and rule is always achieved through the utter destruction of all competition.

You and I might want to live as ancaps, happily bartering and bitcoining back and forth between our agorist-inspired homestead farms, but guess what? Your neighbor living in a city just a short drive from you doesn't. He wants to rule, or at least be part of the ruling gang - and that includes ruling you.

I believe that long-term trends generally continue (hence why they are long-term), unless something changes the equation drastically. Like it or not, Bitcoin doesn't have a Navy. If we are to use historical trends as a guide, currencies (ones that have any buying power anyway) need Navies, and human civilizations need governance.

I will one-up your "thought experiments" with "actual history". Find me a stable human civilization in the past, lets say, 2000 years that operated in an even remotely ancap-ish fashion. Preferably one in which (adjusted for time period) doesn't sound like a living nightmare, or wasn't promptly conquered by a much more realistic neighbor. Now, "the burden of proof is on you", my friend.

Gang up bro, you might find that you can get a lot more of what you really want that way anyway.

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Fair points. I think ancaps could out-produce and out-maneuver governments in war just as much as in food production, but I don't deny the possibility of sufficiently brutal people to outcompete ancaps. I don't believe in teleology.

> Find me a stable human civilization in the past, lets say, 2000 years that operated in an even remotely ancap-ish fashion.

There isn't one, as much as David Friedman might object. And that doesn't matter. An 18th century you could've said the same thing to the settlers of North America: Find me a stable human civilization that operated in an even remotely minarchist fashion.

Then America become the richest country on Earth. Unfortunately that also drove the growth of the governmental parasite which is now devouring its host.

In other words, your thought experiment doesn't prove anything. My burden-of-proof argument is based on ethics. Government is immoral and ancapism is sufficiently plausible. See https://spot.colorado.edu/~huemer/1.htm

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You've stumbled on Curtis' original raison d'etre for Unqualified Reservations. If you go back to his first post, A Formalist Manifesto, he grapples with several of the questions we see here about libertarianism: if it's so obviously great, why don't we see it happening everywhere? Why has our society, founded on libertarian principles, consistently and calculably moved away from them since its inception? And the answer, I think, brings us here...

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I believe the ancap answer (or a generalized anarchist answer) to "our society, founded on libertarian principles," would be that it wasn't.

Any form of governmental structure, no matter how small; will eventually (as described in Yarvin's article) expand on that power.

if the power is as little as delivering the mail, if there is so much as a postman, that postman may exercise the small power he holds and inevitable grow it larger, e.g should he decide not to deliver mail to his neighbor because he discovered he is fucking his wife, soon enough the postman realizes he can hold a whole block hostage and extort it for personal income so he can live a more cushy life and perhaps the new ferrari will persuade his wife to climb back into his bed. extrapolate ad absurdum.

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"I dont believe in teleology"

Teleology only refers to the description of reality. If your beautiful system (and I really mean that) has a design flaw, in that it is unstable, and degenerates through violence and fraud into statehood, what do you gain from having a particular orientation towards teleology?

A genuine question: In the event of say, a resource conflict between private companies, why would you expect the companies or their rights enforcement agencies to engage in peaceful negotiation? Game theory? One need only to look to the westphalian system. When did this ever not have war and fraud? When did game theory lead to peace?

I read the chapters of Political Authority you posted. Yes government authority is a moral illusion, but so what? Private property is a moral illusion. Right and Wrong are moral illusions? Does this analysis inform the creation of stable systems of government which provide for the long term well being of the people and land?

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What's your ancap courts and police would compete for and why they wouldn't evolve into gangs and proto-states quickly?

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For those of us for whom anarchy is not theory ~ the gangs part will happen quickly, the proto~states not.

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It's never been tried, so it's just a hypothesis at this point, and it's possible that it will devolve into gangs and proto-states. However, there are plausible reasons to think that this wouldn't happen: costs of violence, general opposition to murder, etc. For a detailed exploration, see The Problem of Political Authority by Huemer.

The general Bayesian prior is: we know monopoly shitifies everything else, so it's reasonable to assume it shitifies courts, police, and everything else the government has, quite obviously, shitified as we can see with our own eyes. Are you excited to get good service when you call the police or start a trial?

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>However, there are plausible reasons to think that this wouldn't happen

We happen to live in a world where it did happen. Human societies eventually formed states, which essentially means "gained monopoly on power on a certain territory". I don't see how your ancap police, courts or corporations for that matter wouldn't immediately try to secure safe controllable land. They might even define it as their private property for that matter. How would that differ eventually from where we are? Global politics is an anarchy. The fact, that you're named a free citizen, rather than a serf doesn't change the fact that you're pretty much owned by the state.

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> We happen to live in a world where it did happen. Human societies eventually formed states, which essentially means "gained monopoly on power on a certain territory".

I fully accept the possibility that primitive societies can only evolve into government societies. I think the best evidence of this is that this tends to happen with prison gangs all the time.

However, it's also possible that ancapism can only evolve from government systems in the same way. I disagree that early societies were ancapism; they were simply anarchic. Ancapism is a different flavor of anarchy. In the same way that I think anarcho-communism, anarcho-socialism, and anarcho-syndicalism are stupid.

Copying my response to a similar comment:


> Find me a stable human civilization in the past, lets say, 2000 years that operated in an even remotely ancap-ish fashion.

There isn't one, as much as David Friedman might object. And that doesn't matter. An 18th century you could've said the same thing to the settlers of North America: Find me a stable human civilization that operated in an even remotely minarchist fashion.

Then America become the richest country on Earth. Unfortunately that also drove the growth of the governmental parasite which is now devouring its host.

In other words, your thought experiment doesn't prove anything. My burden-of-proof argument is based on ethics. Government is immoral and ancapism is sufficiently plausible. See https://spot.colorado.edu/~huemer/1.htm


> I don't see how your ancap police, courts or corporations for that matter wouldn't immediately try to secure safe controllable land.

I don't understand. Secure, safe, controllable land is a prerequisite for ancapism. Everything would be based on private property.

> They might even define it as their private property for that matter.

Yes, exactly. But the point is that -- in an ethical system -- you can't simply declare to own someone else's property or body.

> How would that differ eventually from where we are?

Everything would be based on private property and contract (and, no, there is no such thing as a social contract; I haven't consented).

Please read The Problem of Political Authority by Huemer as it will answer your questions much more methodically.

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The short and cheap comeback here is that the public sector did just fine with the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Program.

Cleary, none of the parts of our government here are working. But China, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore seem to be quite competent.

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Governments can do things. Just worse than free markets. The Soviet Union did _work_. Just shittily. Yes, modern communist China works better than the Soviet Union. I'm not so sure the United States is that far from communism.

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Who pray tell imposes the burden of proof on me?

Or anyone?

Its 0311 and I’m bored, tell me who or what imposes this burden, mind you without violating NAP?

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For a detailed exploration, see The Problem of Political Authority by Huemer. Here's an excerpt that addresses your fundamental question: https://spot.colorado.edu/~huemer/1.htm

I don't believe in the NAP by the way. I believe in the non-aggression presumption, not principle. Deriving grand ethical theories seems to be impossible.

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Thank you,

I believe the answer is none<.

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You're welcome.

I believe your sarcasm is useless and projects your insecurity.

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Re climate change, I think the above scheme gets the do-nothing/do-something reversed. The "dominant" idea is "the climate is changing; therefore we need to have wave after wave of moral hysteria, the population is very wicked. Its wicked Sin is causing the climate to change." The non-dominant idea is "the climate is changing; here are some ideas about how to deal lost coastline, shifting precipitation patterns, altered aquifers, etc., when that happens; here's a Manhattan Project for fusion and solar panelization of buildings--which btw we should want anyway, regardless of climate." The latter grouping is the do-something view and is marginal.

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"So in the furtive, candle-lit garrets of dissident Mundana, the ideas that win are just the best ideas; the intellectuals that win are just the best thinkers. In Mundana, the only selective advantage an idea can have is its mere truth and/or beauty. The life of a Mundanan dissident is terrible, but diamond-hard and extremely pure."

The analysis of how power corrupts truth is correct, but power isn't the only thing that can corrupt. The dissidents might profess e.g. that they're saved by faith alone, or that sexual libertinism is the sign of an enlightened mind. Such ideas appeal to people's baser natures and will have a selective advantage in any society where they're not vigorously repressed.

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So we’re trapped in this endless cycle, hoping to be born and to live in the “for a while..." times? Nihilism ftw!

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This is the Hard Times part, learn to be strong men, and we will have the Honor of making good times.

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My sense is that yes this is indeed the trend. Technology is the big linearly developing trend that seems to expand and change the nature and character of each iteration of this cycle. There is certainly advancement in the long term in many fronts, primarily driven by technology but it has never been able to solve every problem quick enough to stop these inevitable societal collapses. I’m by no means a full fledged Kurtzweil-ite but I do think that technology at some point has the possibility of changing the nature of These trends at some point. But we seem to be at least a cycle or more from that at all. I believe for our lifetime at least, we’re better served by something like nihilism than techno-Utopianism or anything else as relates to the acquisition of power.

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Generally cycling through the Platonic-Aristotelian ring of polity types has had a trad method: an ugly one.

What you may really need to flesh out isn't so much a descriptive operational manual of the next regime, but a more formal and fully described means of operating the cycle. One that will stand the test of time. Yes, you've said what should and shouldn't (pyramids of former regime toady skulls) be done. And sketched out means (remove them. Oh, problem solved! Like in that Bugs Bunny episode where he tells Fudd that if only Elmer will invent gunpowder, the gun will follow. But that really isn't an instruction manual). Otherwise the "Shortest End" will always seem the surest. Dead men tell no tales (problem is the river of blood and the fact that someone, or many someones, will want to avenge them - talking like a pure pragmatist here, a Sternerite, if you will, to maintain the frame of positivism. We're all mid-20th-century social-science positivists here! Amirite? How could that - the Harvard of 1951 - possibly go wrong?).

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Actually the Deep State Sorcerers just installed a pair of fetching puppets.

We’re in Green Zone govt, soon enough Red Zone USA.

Because the Sorcerers are long dead, the Deep State now are apprentices.

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I personally love the idea of federal agents with Mickey Mouse ears! (Fantasia - The Sorcerer's Apprentice.)

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Well its actually not the agents, its the academics playing John LeCarre.

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Ah, I see what you mean. (Sadly LeCarre has been unreadable since the wall fell.)

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He was however published.

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Old Mu proverb: the branches of Mundanan saplings taste like carrots, the Mutopian carrot grown too long becomes a stick.

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Curtis please stop trying to get Great Leader killed, thank you

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You will want to read this Gelernter essay if you haven't already: https://www.aei.org/articles/the-gothic-vision/

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I discovered Curtis Yarvin on Tucker Carlson today. I have since heard some older interviews of Yarvin and ordered three Yarvin recommended books, so far.

In this cathedral column, the ending take of Mutopia seems like a good description of the current Biden stolen Presidency, mostly, but Biden does not seem to be doing this for the good of the USA, rather for the good of countries who hate the USA. China benefits from the lack of interest in making the CCP pay reparations to the world for COVID-19, and it only costs the CCP millions USD to the Biden family, instead of trillions to the countries of the world in 2021. Trump was a danger to this situation, indeed. Then Beijing Biden frees the contained Middle East Terror network via Afghanistan, in an embarrassing and disloyal departure, encouraging and paying USD to our Tolly Bon enemies while leaving our Afghan allies and fucking USA citizens to live or due under the whims of terrorists, while Biden claims victory for getting out.

Will Biden hand eventually hand over the entire USA to the control of the CCP, the same way he carelessly left Afghanistan? If you wanted to destroy the USA in 2021, you would be doing what Biden has been doing in 2021. How does the cathedral apply now? How do you like Mao in the USA?

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I was just scrolling through my Twitter feed and had a realization that the mechanism of selection of dominant ideas is also what is responsible for the power's support for the transgender movement. It puzzled me before when I was talking to some anti-globalist people online. They would group feminism, trans rights, and globalism together, and that didn't make sense to me because I couldn't see how those movements were practically useful to any hypothetical globalist agenda. Yet, there was an apparent correlation. It was a puzzle!

The Cathedral is a much better explanation because it does account for all of it, including globalism itself. To restate, it's not that any of these ideas or movements are inherently good or bad just by association, it's that they demand action and activism, they promote power and give people the feeling of mattering. For that reason alone, they travel together, not because promoting transgender rights makes some corporation able to sell more purple widgets.

The next question is, why weren't these ideas prevalent before? There is a clear progression here, pardon the pun. Is it that the social sciences is really the science of discovery of dominant ideas? And religion - a set of curated ideas? I would be interested in reading an expanded treatment of the Canon, by the way. What is its origin and its relationship to the market of ideas?

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Pin this post for the newcomers :)

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