The resistance and the insurrection
"It is you who are mistaken... about a great many things."
The Resistance is in power! Ave Caesar! Hail the Resistance!
Hey, Resistance: what should we call you now? What about—the Power? Or maybe just—the System? Or a good old-fashioned choice: the Establishment? But you’re in charge, after all. You get to pick your own proper noun. Just let us know, guys.
As I write, Citizen Dorsey has just suspended the Ogre’s Twitter account—rendering him powerless to call his people into the streets (again!). Theoretically, he still has the Emergency Broadcast Network. But I doubt, like the nuclear button, it would work. Right now, the Ogre must be in as soft a captivity as can be managed—maybe padded.
Of course, the Insurrection, the Great Coup of 2021, has been defeated. The seditious traitors who invaded the temple of democracy, even stealing the ceremonial podium (certain speeches will not be spiritually valid until it is returned and reconsecrated) must and will be identified and destroyed. As Nancy Pelosi put it:
It’s over… We are coming tonight. You will come out from inside. Prepare yourself from tonight. We will come house by house, room by room. We will find you in your closets. We will have no mercy and no pity.
Sorry—that was Muammar al-Qaddafi. But that insurgency, or rather, resistance—being made out of noble freedom fighters rather than, as Colonel Qaddafi so elegantly put it, “greasy rats”—got a “no-fly zone.” It was America’s “responsibility to protect.”
The Libyan Resistance, due their hard fighting, inner nobility, and copious air support, in the end triumphed—and have governed Libya nobly ever since. Perhaps, in our own time of troubles, we can look to the brilliant example they’ve set. It’s a beautiful world.
It is strange, though, don’t you think—to have an Insurrection against a Resistance? It’s like, setting fire on fire, or something. Clearly, one of these things is not at all like the other. Yet the words mean precisely the same thing, don’t they? Can you explain? (If you succeed—you won’t—try politics and democracy.)
Noah Smith, who I could swear is the spitting image of O’Brien from 1984—you can tell he knows exactly what he’s doing, he’s wicked smart, and I’m very sure his Substack will leap past mine on the leaderboard any day now—to each his own. Noah writes, very perceptively for such a successful mitarbeiter:
Democrats and liberals need to stop seeing themselves as the insurgency. This is not the 1970s anymore. Liberalism has successfully taken over institution after institution, and now the Presidency and Congress too.
Has he been… reading my blog? Gosh! It’s so nice to agree with a real journalist on the simple, basic, obvious facts of reality! Do you think I could… quote Noah on that?
(BTW: I know Noah will kick my ass anyhow, so go subscribe to his Substack now. Let’s get him on the leaderboard with these huge-ass normie-destroying truth bombs!)
And when you take over the country, you have to act like it. We need law enforcement to punish the coup plotters severely if we don’t want to encourage future attempts.
I love it when people give me an opportunity to sound like James Earl Jones. Noah! Feel the powah of the dahk side! [Darth Vader respirator noises—with mild covid.]
Alas, Noah’s excellent advice was equally perfect advice for the “coup plotters.” They didn’t take it, did they? You see why who’s in charge is in charge. Perhaps I am just being an idiot in complaining about this natural and Nietzschean state of affairs.
Noah, can we agree that the Resistance is a winner and the Insurrection a loser? In that case—why are you so scared of these losers? It’s always the winning force that scares me—because it’s only the winning force that’s still alive.
Of course, Noah isn’t actually scared. He knows a winner when he sees one—he has never picked a losing horse. “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they like the strong horse.” Noah is more successful than me for many reasons—mainly because I have some kind of birth defect, and always like the weak horse.
To expand on a theme in my last post, the new clarity of this new stage of the affair—the cold civil war, as Noah calls it (great minds think alike!)—is stunning. The political atmosphere, once swampy and full of mirages, has the dry icy clarity of a cold front.
Now there are no issues. Now there are no platforms. Now there are no personalities. Now there are no parties. Now there are only two kinds of politics: pro-government and anti-government. Now and until the end, all politics is either fake, or existential.
As a student of history, I know what burden the System has taken on by this step. Such an escalation is a ratchet. Once you enter the mindset of the Eastern bloc and declare the revolution as a permanent axiom, which makes anyone who opposes or even doubts the revolution into a potentially violent criminal, there is no way back.
Did you like the normal we used to have? It actually wasn’t normal at all—but we can never go back. Noah will never be able to put down that red lightsaber. You have to admit that he’s good with it. I wonder what would happen if I went full Yoda on him.
I love that people are using the word sedition in earnest. Everyone reading this blog should now make themselves aware of the Great Sedition Trial of 1944. TLDR: the US actually has a law against sedition, the Smith Act.
Before you panic and start deleting your browser tabs, the Smith Act is considered a dead letter. Not that musty old conventions can bind these people, of course. Till Flynn, the Logan Act was in the same category. Yet there have been only two serious attempts to use the Smith Act—one under McCarthyism, one by FDR in 1944.
Both were total debacles—and anything FDR couldn’t do at the height of World War II, that is at the height of his near-absolute power, is—well, it’s a stretch. But, I mean, on this timeline—you never know, do you? Good times!
It will be interesting to see if all the major social networks come out with policies on sedition. They will probably cling to elegant interpretations of violence—for example, the Ogre calling his supporters “patriots” is clearly violence. Still, now that the idea is in everyone’s heads, it is useless to deny the nature and purpose of the regulations.
Every system of censorship evolves to mainly target disrespect to the powers that be. When convicted of racism, you are not directly disrespecting the government; you are disrespecting a race; but since this race is a protected class, you are indirectly insulting the government that protects it.
But the crime of sedition is literally and directly the crime of mocking the regime. And let there be no mistake: the primary effect of the Insurrection was to hugely wound the dignity of the System. This dignity is no cosmetic nicety; it is crucial to sovereignty. This is why the hornet’s nest is so pissed right now. Don’t get stung!
This simplification is irreversible. Once the direct nature of the conflict is visible, once Noah and I see just the same reality from different sides (come over to the Rebellion, Noah! We have cookies), there are only two clear sides: the overdog and the underdog. You are either with Admiral Ackbar, or Grand Moff Tarkin.
Real life isn’t Hollywood. In real life, Grand Moff Tarkin cleans up the “greasy rats” quickly, brutally and effectively—in a month, he will report to the Emperor with the heads of Kenobi, Skywalker, Organa, Solo and Ackbar—frozen (for forensic purposes). So much for your insurrection, rebels! The evil ideology of Jedi supremacy is extinct. And this OKR is complete! Your next orders, please, my Emperor!
(Darth Vader ain’t have to do shit—the real Vader is the Goering of the Empire—he’s hacked his respirator into a vaporizer, and also gotten super into GTA X in VR—VR, bro, is totally different when you have the Force…)
Can we picture Noah Smith, in an Imperial uniform? It would have to be tailored… any burlap robe will fit me. I am basically Ben Kenobi, I feel, at this point. I keep expecting Mark Hamill and a couple of droids to show up at my cave way out here in the desert, and be like: “we’re looking for someone named Mencius Moldbug. Do you know him?”
Here is the problem with the Establishment going full Palpatine, like it did today. It can’t be reversed—but it also can’t be sustained.
The mode of direct censorship—where it is unambiguously clear that the main offense is insulting the revolution, anti-Soviet agitation as it were—works. It is sound and sustainable as a mode of government. Of course it implies an existential, binary politics. But it has a serious problem in the modern world.
The direct approach to politics takes an enormous amount of political energy. You really need the Two Minutes’ Hate to be live, and lit, every day. And political energy is just what America has—
This week. Probably next week, too. Maybe for the whole month of January. Maybe… maybe all the way to May? What will we be debating in May? The deficit? Healthcare policy? Our nation’s Middle East strategy? Man… that’ll be one dull May… everything will be boring, after this fucking radioactive shit we were slamming this week. Fuck! We are all, like, I AM A GOLDEN GOD—as Billy Crudup put it in Almost Famous.
But, you know—with drugs—eventually you’re using just to feel normal. And… welcome to the Biden Administration. Welcome to Turkey. Turkey? “The name is Turkey… Cold Turkey. I’m sorry, sir—but we’re going to have to strap you down for this.”
Once you enter into the binary, Schmittian politics of the total state, you can never come back. Once an addict—always an addict. You’re hooked! The monkey’s got you!
And the end state of the total state swings around the corner into view. It’s actually quite easy to define. It is the world of Brezhnev—of the Soviet bloc in the ‘80s.
This is the world in which the ratchet has ratcheted and all thought must be filtered by the total state—but actually, no one cares. No one is excited. The romance of power is completely and utterly dead. In Minsk in 1982, no one at all is intoxicated with the emotional thunder and liberating excitement of Marx’s unforgettable, blinding prose.
It took a long time for the eros of Karl Marx to die. But—how long will it take for the eros of Joseph R. “China Joe” Biden to die? As Lenin said, there are decades when nothing happens—and weeks when decades happen. Please fasten your seatbelt, sir.