Preliminary throat clearing: I’m certainly not any specialist in Moldbug’s theories and background. I have just gone through the Open Letter and some few more texts. I’m just getting started in the Patchwork, still have to proceed to the Gentle Introduction. So I’m not pretending I know more than these guys about that. My objective in my last article was merely to elaborate on Land’s theories, which I’m more familiar with and draw (apparently selectively) on Moldbug’s cannon.
With that out of the way, the main response from both Anomaly UK and Reactionary Future was: the shareholders are sovereign (as a body), everything else is top-down delegation from them.
The meaning of sovereign here is the main question, I guess. If we follow Moldbug, it means that these men can, as a body, do whatever they want within the limits of their property, totally unchecked.
This, of course, not true. Not even great Fnargl himself can do whatever he pleases within his (now global) realm. Consequences must be taken into account (RF explicitly recognizes this, and AUK strongly suggests it). Reality rules, so power is primordially checked by it. I guess none of my critics disagree with that.
If sovereignty isn’t being able to do whatever one pleases within his realm, what is it? maybe, as RF put it, it is not being “bound by anyone, or anything but consequences”, i. e. doing whatever one pleases within his realms that is compatible with reality. Both me and Land would not disagree with such formulation.
But that, per se, doesn’t say anything about division or concentration of power. If I read my critics correctly, both of them believe that concentration works better than division, and this efficiency-in-survival criteria is their main reason to promote centralization (and not some romantic, moralistic delusion). Put differently, they believe centralization is more compatible with reality than division of power.
I also suppose I’m not wrong in assuming both of them agree that formalism is a central tenet (of not the central tenet) of civilization. With that in mind, the question arises: does the sovereign (stockholders or king) need other people to act for him to govern. if they do, his sovereignty rests on loyalty (something Moldbug arguably wants to fix with cryptographic control – although that demands that programmers are loyal as well).
Isn’t such sovereign better if they are able to recognize, promptly and formally, the powers that influence such loyalty (not the least, the press, the educational system, the formation of military, the intellectuals and religious people within his realm, etc)? And, in formally recognizing such power, is he not effectively dividing power? Is he not recognizing that such power are checks on his sovereignty? (In fact, doesn’t this reduce their sovereignty to, as Land puts it, “a strictly formal or contractual usage of ‘control’ to designate the exclusive right to free disposal or commercial alienation“?)
For instance, the estates of realm didn’t arise from nowhere, they weren’t the mere will of some enlightened relu-maker. Their formalization – as a constitution – was supposed to recognize the actual structure of power that underlay sovereignty. Once again, constitutionalism is simply this recognition and formalization of reality (and, possibly, the will to better adapt to it).
Even sovereign stockholders are better off if their power if formally checked, than if the real checks remain invisible to them. Only thus can they operate realistically on such reality and ensure loyalty is there when needed (fundamentally, constitutionalism is a cybernetic point).
So, if Moldbug in fact did not advocate for the formalization fo the division of power between stockholders, management and customers (and, as AUK points, “suppliers, neighbours, and competitors”), by his very criteria of formalism, he should have. Of course, such internal inconsistency is not what it seem from the Open Letter, where he points such formalism as the why corporations work better than governments:
Call a controller model with a single shared concept of responsibility coherent. How, with an impossibly fuzzy word like “responsibility,” can we round up a large number of intelligent individuals who share a common definition? The task seems impossible. And our whole design relies on this coherent back-end.
Actually, there’s one way to do it. We can define responsibility in financial terms. If we think of California as a profitable corporation, a capital asset whose purpose is to maximize its production of cash, we have a definition of responsibility which is not only precise and unambiguous, but indeed quantitative.
Moreover, this definition solves a second problem: how do we select the controllers? If our controllers are the parties to whom the profits are actually paid, and their voting power is proportional to the fractions they receive, they have not only a shared definition of responsibility, but an incentive to apply that definition in practice.
Think about this for a minute. Steve is responsible to his controllers, who evaluate his performance based on his stewardship of one asset: California. The value of California is the sum of the value of its shares. If one goes up or down, so does the other.
Which is worth more? California, or California infested by Jew-eating crocodiles? Which can be made to produce more revenue? The former, clearly. Jews pay taxes. Crocodile dung doesn’t. And from the perspective of either Steve or the Jews, what is the difference between crocodiles and stormtroopers? At least the former will work for free.
I’ll state it again, because it seems to be the central point of Outer (Liberal?) NRx in this regard: if the West is failing now, it is more because it has abandoned constitutionalism (and hence realism in government administration) in favor of mass politics (demotism), than because it stuck to that.
19 thoughts on “neocameralism and constitutions 2”
You start off headstrong and confident with all the talk of “faceless things hiding in reality, and they are already machinic, algorithmic, automatic. the men involved are rather instruments in the hands (claws) of such fanged noumena than sovereign willing persons,” yet look at how you end both posts.
In the first; “reality rules. and if reality selects constitutions, if they are more efficient than other options, well then, Kings are to go.” Yet isn’t your own analysis that the West is now going “demotic” and leaving behind constitutionalism? Well, reality rules.
On the second; “if the West is failing now, it is more because it has abandoned constitutionalism (and hence realism in government administration) in favor of mass politics (demotism), than because it stuck to that.”
So now the odd “claw” going by “cyborg_nomade” is granting agency to the “West” and pronouncing judgement on who “abandoned” what?
Does not your entire line of reasoning regarding the “demise” of “absolutism” also apply to “constitutionalism?”
Also, since RF appears to read your site…
“the estates of realm didn’t arise from nowhere, they weren’t the mere will of some enlightened relu-maker. Their formalization – as a constitution – was supposed to recognize the actual structure of power that underlay sovereignty.”
Chris may eventually seriously consider the implications of this statement.
yes, if the West (as a faceless dynamic process of genetic replication) falls and constitutionalism dies with it, then constitutionalism is to go as well.
but, as you quoted, my point is more that the West will die and constitutionalism will remain, and that the death of the West is consequence of its abandoning constitutionalism.
I’d love to hear what Chris is got to say on the estate of the realm
“but, as you quoted, my point is more that the West will die and constitutionalism will remain, and that the death of the West is consequence of its abandoning constitutionalism.”
Strange. You don’t identify constitutionalism with the West? And you think the “others” that have or may import constitutionalism would keep to it without the subsidies from the West? You are a true believer it appears.
“I’d love to hear what Chris is got to say on the estate of the realm”
Guess: Sovereignty is conserved (mic drop [to crickets])
I identify constitutionalism with increases in formalism, hence civilization. recognizing reality is a feature of everything that survives. non Western peoples, if they are to outlive the West, will come to the conclusion that the best way to deal with other people that have power is to lay down rules that everyone can play by.
I don’t quite know what “sovereignty is conserved” means in such context, but it doesn’t strike me as something that has been fleshed out to completely debunk constitutionalism. it might, of course, but I haven’t seen that yet.
“non Western peoples, if they are to outlive the West, will come to the conclusion that the best way to deal with other people that have power is to lay down rules that everyone can play by.”
You do realize how strange this reply is when you started off this series with the Feigned Noumena talk? Or do you not see, if not a contradiction, a dramatic lack of any cohesiveness?
“I don’t quite know what “sovereignty is conserved” means in such context”
you think my dismissal of personal will as an illusion doesn’t afford me to talk about the future paths peoples take?
What would that matter?
Enjoying your posts (thanks to Chris for linking). Any specific posts you recommend?
intensification till dissolution, Proudhonian solution, mutualism
Thanks. Have you gotten any of those linked by XS or other NRx sites?
Enjoyed the “the left can’t govern” as well. To state your hypothesis on the outer right-wing (libertarian, Capital worshipping, Austrian, blah) under left-wing government a bit differently:
“At some point you may realize that these NRx sites are currently just as much a part of a rebellion against order among people as their so called enemies. It is understandable as these males are understandably jaded by the use of authority and social pressure in their past. However, the response of “overwriting or re-purposing by ideology” their ability to serve is very similar to a young female who, after being molested, purposely gains weight or similar so males will find her unattractive. Fortunately for the these disordered males, there are plenty of fatty-fuckers who will whisper sweet nothings in their ear and give their life a purpose, if only for fleeting moments.”
Out of curiosity (seeing as you have “cyborg” in your name and talk about the “human security system”), do you have a link to wherever Land called himself a cyborg sent to destroy human security?
XS linked me twice (and then the blogroll), but first it was “to the left 2” and then to a translation of a Brazilian author “small treatise on political corruption”.
I’m not quite sure, but I believe it was in some Fanged noumena text. there’s the link to the PDF in the first NC and constitutions post.
And FYI; if you ever tire of your proposed bad-boy persona of “criminal. traitor. madman.”, you still have parasite infected worshiper of Gnon.
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link for Gnon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacculina
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