A Statement of Principles

[the post below has been written in 2013 and posted originally here. my objective in translating and posting it here is to review and add criticism to my own past views. the original translated text will be unmarked, the new remarks will be in bold between square brackets.]

For my debut article in this blog, I would like to draft the philosophical, political, and economic principles that guide my analysis of society, and that will pervade my writing in future articles. Criticism, corrections, debate and of course compliments are very welcome.

Liberty and Equality

The twin concepts of Liberty and Equality are the central tenets of my world view, which might be described as market socialism, left-libertarianism, or individualist anarchism, since these names have been used throughout history for roughly the same set of principles I am about to lay out here.

[Of those names, I would only keep “individualist anarchism”. Libertarianism is, of course, intrinsically left-wing in most if not all social contexts (America probably being the only exception). But it’s not intrinsically realist, as I take the individualist anarchists to have been (in stark contrast to the other anarchist segments), such that I would adopt only this label to myself. “Market socialism” is a contradiction in terms, only useful as viral strategy to infect the brahmin socialists with the market meme, or for irony.]

Liberty is to be understood as the ability and right of all sentient beings to dispose of their persons and the fruits of their labor, and nothing else, as they see fit. This stems from their self-awareness and their ability to control and choose the content of their actions.

[I like the way this definition seeks to equate right  to ability. This pragmatist stance towards morality is something I grew to find most respectable. It is the very ability to control their actions that grant individuals their right to dispose of the products of their own labor. It’s a true might producing a right. A cybernetic principle, present originally in individualist anarchism: internalize costs (close the loop).  Consequences accrue to the motors. Lack of control equals the loss of the right.]

Equality is to be understood as the state of no imbalance of power, that is, of no subjection to another sentient being. This stems from their universal ability for empathy, and from their equal ability for reason.

[Here my main reference is Long’s undying article on Equality. As he shows there, there is an essential affirmation of equality in the core of liberty (as pragmatically defined above). Not merely a formal equality, nor an equality of wealth or income, but an equality of power (in Proudhon’s wording: an equality of conditions). It’s only among beings of equal standing, where one cannot possibly subjugate the other, that liberty in fact exists. If liberty is to be established, this is the equality one has to pursue. No moral code is going to solve that if, in reality, such equality doesn’t exist. As all things, liberty has to be technically produced. All else is little more than idle babble.]

It is important to notice that, contrary to usual statements of these two principles, my standpoint is that Liberty and Equality here are not merely compatible, meaning they could coexist in some possible universe, but rather they are two sides of the same coin, complementary and interdependent. There can be NO Liberty where there is no Equality, for the imbalance of power, the state of subjection, will render sentient beings unable to dispose of their persons and the fruits of their labor[1], and it will limit their ability to choose over their rightful jurisdiction. Likewise, there can be NO Equality without Liberty, for restraining sentient beings’ ability to choose and dispose of their persons and fruits of labor will render some more powerful than the rest, and establish a state of subjection.

Social and personal order and peace depend entirely on the maintenance of these principles. The breach of either Liberty or Equality results in suffering, insanity, bloodshed, waste and misery, as History will promptly show us. It leads to the withering of empathy, the establishment of classes (and the associate class warfare), hierarchy and slavery. It’s no coincidence that these principles have constantly been associated to Justice and Goodness, for there can be none of these without them.

[The general do-gooder tone is rather annoying, I know. But the statements are not incorrect: where there is no actual  equality of power (and thus liberty), there are uncontrolled power-nodes, usually in homeostatic balance, but eventually engaging in destructive escalations of violence. Most importantly, where there isn’t liberty (internalization of costs and benefits), productivity dwindles, and so does survival capabilities. It’s no surprise individualists usually win wars.]

Mutualism and Individualism

The maintenance of Liberty and Equality, central as they are to the welfare and integrity of sentient beings in a society, depends heavily on the organization of such society and the kind of relations undertaken within it. Two organizational and ethical systems most consistently embody, in my opinion, the principles of Liberty and Equality, namely Mutualism and Individualism.

[This much is already established by the very definitions in the section above. Liberty is built upon an Equality that demands production. Social organization for said production is an important issues. Some interesting linkage on the topics of mutualism, reciprocal altruism, and individualism might be useful.]

By Mutualism, I am referring to the social organization defended by the political school of thought pioneered by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and later taken further by Benjamin Tucker and the other individualist anarchists. Mutualism is characterized by relations in which equal parties voluntarily and reciprocally provide one another with the fruits of their own labor. Being voluntary and equal exchanges, these relations are by definition both mutually beneficial and non-exploitative. Institutions in Mutualism are horizontal, participatory, and democratic by nature in virtue of the relations within them. Examples of mutualist institutions include the Federation described by Proudhon in his work, as well mutual banks and other mutual aid organizations, friendly societies, commons, commerce, cooperatives, peer-to-peer networks, and any other in which the participants join voluntarily and as equals. The 19th century communist motto very fairly describes the spirit of Mutualism too: “From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs”.

[The similarity of mutualism and hbdchick’s individualism-collectivism is incredible. As explicit from the links above, mutualism is merely reciprocal altruism.

From this section, though, I would remove the “participatory and democratic” as features of mutualism. Mutualism is interactive rather than participatory, i. e., it relies more on spontaneous (unplanned for) interaction between individuals than the participation in some kind of institution. Mostly the point is: you don’t have to be anywhere, vote for anything etc. to do something between consenting partners. Democratic is also misleading. The correct term, as described below is decentralized. It’s democratic only insofar as each person takes care of their own life (being thus “a (self) government of the people (individually) by the people (individually)).

Also, scrape the communist motto if it’s not saying “everyone is getting what they produce”, i. e., cost internalization. In fact, everything any individualist anarchist/mutualist ever wrote can be summarized as “internalize costs”.]

Individualism is the social ethos by which every individual sentient being in a society is recognized as unique and irreplaceable, as having their own private goals and desires and therefore as an end in themselves. It affirms that the individual is the fundamental building block of the larger organism that is society, and hence that all analysis of such society must take them as its starting point. It holds sacred that every individual has the ability, right, and duty to choose their own goals independently, and is autonomously able to pursue them, with respect to every others’ equal right. It can be found as a guiding principle in many religious beliefs and philosophical doctrines, but I find it rather exquisitely expressed by the Wiccan Rede: “An it harm none, do as thou wilt”.

[The Thelema is probably better suited: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law (see here). There is very little I would change in this section. Probably the only thing worth mentioning is that all these beliefs are instrumental in building a working free society. I don’t actually believe “individuals” to be any more stable wholes than cities or cells. This article by Shawn Wilbur probably covers most of the important proudhonian reasoning behind my views.]

Thus, Individualism explicitly informs society that every individual will pursue their own purposes, and Mutualism guarantees individuals will have the ability to make such purposes beneficial to themselves and to society, through free trade and equal exchange. Individualism gives individuals the reason and the weapons to resist when hierarchy arises, and Mutualism assures society has the ability to organize such resistance.

Mutualism and Individualism so stand in dynamic equilibrium, expliciting the tension between personal and social interests, and making it possible for such tension to be resolved peacefully, with the best possible results for both the individuals and their comrades. They both together provide society with the will to mutually help and the acknowledgement of the infinite, unique contribution of its members.

[The humanistic undertone is killing me. But the essential idea is there: society is a being made of parts (just like individuals). It only functions insofar as its parts can freely adapt to its environment and function properly. This demands freedom (movement). Individualism is the “internal rule” of a working (free) society. Do your thing, and we see if it works.]

Decentralization and Skepticism

[This is the section I originally was hesitant about writing, and now I’m grateful I have, because it’s precisely the point of connection with most of my current views. Here is the base of the techno-scientific infrastructure that make any of the above principles or social organizations possible at all. Without this, everything else said this far is rendered moot.]

Societies can be viewed as systems of information flow, in which knowledge needs to be acquired by individuals in order to better decide about their living, both personally and socially. For a society to be organized through Mutualism and Individualism, the acquisition of knowledge to make decisions need be performed through Decentralized means, at the social level, and through a fair layer of Skepticism at the individual level.

At the social level, Decentralism holds that those agents closest to the actions and events taking place at a certain location are the ones in the best position, with the best available knowledge to decide about those actions and events. Because individuals only have a small fraction of the whole knowledge owned collectively, decisions should not be made by central authorities, small in number and knowledge, far removed from the place where such decisions will take effect. Decentralism holds that individuals can manage to decide locally, and that mechanisms of spontaneous, emergent orders, arising from the voluntary and equal exchanges described above, will synchronize local and personal knowledge, ultimatelty leading to the harmonization of the several individual objectives in society. In short, Decentralism is Mutualism applied to knowledge acquisition.

[I should have said merely “blockchain everything”.]

At the individual level, Skeptcism[2] asserts the uncertainty and limitations of knowledge, and holds that every new belief must be well supported by evidence and logical arguments convincing enough to individuals before being incorporated into their set of beliefs. In other words, it holds that individuals should not alter their goals and principles except in face of hard evidence to the contrary. Thus, it demands a questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions, as well as doubt regarding claims that are usually taken for granted. In short, Skepticism is the Individualist postion towards knowledge.

[“Distrust, and test, test, test … to destruction wherever possible.” as Nick Land puts it.]

Conclusion: Anarchy and Markets

These six principles I have laid out, if followed consistently, advocate for a specific political-economic system usually referred to as market anarchism.

[Should have said “produce… market anarchism”.]

Anarchism is the political system under which political institutions are voluntary and self-governed. It opposes hierarchical organization and authority, thus making anarchist institutions within non-hierarchical free associations of free individuals. It’s characterized by the absolute absence of privilege and coercion, as well as a deep sense of anti-violence[3].

[Hierarchy as an emergent phenomenon – the fact that some people will eventually lead, and others will follow – is inherent in markets, where differences of competence can fully express themselves. If anarchy demands the active extirpation of hierarchy defined this way, it is in a hell of a bad position. Mostly because you cannot abolish this kind of hierarchy without creating the other, much worse kind of hierarchy as holiness, purity and immutable authority. If you suppress bottom-up, spontaneous hierarchy, you create top-down, centralized hierarchy. Even in 2013 I was well aware of that, and here, though I do not clarify this point, I already advocated for the first type of hierarchy against the second. The boundaries, I see now, are way less clear (is military competence included in spontaneous hierarchy?), but I gravitate always towards decentralization and the multiplication of forces

This certainly leads to retreat from the anti-violence thing there. Conflict is inherent in anything that works. The only reduction of violence a pragmatist libertarian can wish for is a reduction of waste (an increase in productive efficiency).

This two points, spontaneous hierarchy and conflict as productive, if stapled together, points to a very hard to swallow concept of freedom: freedom is not for everyone, but only for those who can assert themselves as possessors of productive power (and thus of exit). No one is going to give you anything for free. All individuals are inherently competitors, and only occasionally cooperators. Everybody lies, and everybody will try to get advantage out of you. If you don’t bite back, they will tread on you. And it’s only this fanged freedom in the hobbesian jungle of reality, this unrestrained competition that produces liberty as a right: when people are efficient enough, they become equals and their (effective, defensible) withdrawal is expected if less than full respect is shown to their right over their own labor.

Put this way, anarchy is both the beginning and the end of reality.]

Market economy is the economic system under which goods and services are freely produced and distributed, as opposed to a planned or regulated economy, such as the current one. In such system, fluctuations of price are determined by supply and demand, and in the long run, the prices of freely reproducible goods and services tend to reflect the labor-value embodied in them. And, as the individualist anarchists held, the natural wage of labor in such a system is its full product, no tributes paid to bureaucrats, landlords or capitalists.

[Okay, the labour-theory of value is in no way an economic consensus. Much less in the subjectivist stance adopted by Kevin Carson in his seminal book Studies in Mutualist Political Economy. I will try and dig out some way of showing that, even though marginalism has shown itself to be very predictive, versatile and mostly true scientific theory, subjective LTV has got some deep cybernetic insights, and that it may be plugged it into the marginalist mainstream, without major losses. To advance a brief and fundamental point while we’re at it, the last sentence in the paragraph above knits it nicely: if all costs and benefits are internalized in the productive unit, the input of energy over a certain period of time (work) is the quantity that predicts most linearly the output (production). 

Internalization of costs is the whole of acceleration.]

In my social analysis, the closer a society is to such system, the more fully will it embrace and enjoy those principles, and vice-versa. The transition strategies from our current statist and oppressive society, to the one envisioned in this article is way beyond the scope here. But adopting and acting according to the principles above, and advancing market anarchy in any way possible is the only manner to enjoy the benefits and the dignity they provide.

[The most bleakest ending paragraph ever written. “Do good and it all will end well”. No shit, Sherlock. The question is: how do you do good? I will explore more of that in coming texts, but once again: blockchain everything.]


[1] Although by no means do they lose their right to liberty, which is a normative fact inherent to their condition as sentient beings.

[2] The definition I use here is a general understanding of Skepticism as a questioning attitude, as opposed to blind faith and easy acceptance. It’s fundamentally different from Cartesian methodological doubt, and related but more allowing than Humean empiricism. My epistemological approach might be better described as within the coherentist label, under which the truth of a new propostion is to be probed against the individual’s set of beliefs, and will required ever more evidence and logical arguments to be incorporated as more central it is to that belief set. I include logical arguments (and other deductive knowledge) as well as empirical and experiential knowledge because, even though I hold all information is necessarily derived from the senses, knowledge can be achived by relating experiential information through deduction.

[3] There are legitmate uses of force, namely defensive force. But even when justified, violence in anarchist societies are likely to be viewed as a last resort.

Human Liberation

i used to write a blog before this.

mostly, in fact, i used to translate things in said blog. but sometimes i would write.

there i wrote things from the point of view of a three-way conjunction: libertarianism + direct action (anarchism) + humanism.

i have since repudiated humanism entirely, and driven my anarchic libertarian view towards a more realist/Darwinist stance. i could argue i have simply made my mutualism thicker, but that’s for another occasion.

nonetheless, i want to bring some of my old writing into focus here, and add the proper criticism to it.

i will be thus translating and adding new remarks and bits to my old posts. they will be archived in the “Human Liberation” header in the sidebar. i hope to bring forth through this a more profound comprehension of my own current view.

after that i shall goes into further depths of coldness…

O plano de Peter Thiel para se tornar o CEO da América

por Samuel Hammond

O infame investidor fez uma aposta de longo prazo em Trump para tornar os Estados Unidos mais parecido com uma monarquia, perturbar sua burocracia decadente e reviver o status do mito e da hierarquia na sociedade

O capitalista de risco bilionário Peter Thiel fez um monte de cabeças virarem quando se descobriu que ele seria delegado de Donald Trump. Alguns até pensaram que deveria ser um Peter Thiel diferente. A intriga apenas aumentou quando foi confirmado que ele daria um discurso endossando vigorosamente  Trump na Convenção Nacional Republicana. Então o Vale do Silício se sintonizou, buscando uma resposta. Em vez disso, ele ficaram “atordoados e confusos” pelo que ouviram, de acordo com um relato.

Aos meus olhos, o discurso de Thiel pode ter sido surreal, mas nada sobre ele foi confuso. Como alguns já notaram, Thiel claramente quer modernizar a perspectiva do GOP sobre a comunidade LGBT e mover o partido para além do Reaganismo de pequeno governo, em apoio a coisas como grandes programas de infraestrutura e P&D.

Mas esses são ambos feijõezinhos se comparados ao que eu vejo como o principal propósito (e aposta) de Thiel ao endossar Trump: Peter Thiel vê uma presidência de Trump como seu caminho para se tornar o CEO sombra dos Estados Unidos da América.


Perseguição e a Arte de Investir

Thiel parecia fora do personagem. Claramente nervoso, ele falava apressadamente, em vez do seu ritmo normal mais considerado, e com uma retórica bem mais grandiosa e incauta do que aquela pela qual ele é conhecido. Com olhos arregalados e ligeiramente aterrorizados, ele recapitulou sua bem conhecida visão de que o progresso tecnológico estagnou (embora sem muita indicação de como uma presidência de Trump ajudaria) e se declarou orgulhoso de ser gay e Republicano, antes de sair correndo do palco, como se tivesse algum outro lugar para estar.

Aparências de lado, por quê, de todas as pessoas, o cofundador do PayPal e notório libertário estaria lançando seu peso por trás de alguém tão controverso e volátil quanto Trump? As duas questões centrais de Trump, comércio e imigração, não são conhecidas por serem grandes preocupações de Thiel. Se qualquer coisa, Thiel, como muitos no Vale do Silício, quer dramaticamente mais imigração especializada. Thiel é, ele mesmo, de uma família imigrante. Ele já até mesmo prometeu um financiamento para um esquema que propunha dar uma volta nas cotas de imigração, hospedando criadores de tecnologia nascidos no exterior em um navio ancorado nas águas internacionais de São Francisco. Lá se vai a lei e a ordem.

Mas, antes de atribuí-la a seu contrarianismo cru, mais uma dos infames traços de caráter de Thiel, um olhar mais atento sobre suas fixações filosóficas e teoria de empreendedorismo revela um método em sua loucura. Eu admito que isso é especulativo. Mas, na tradição de Leo Strauss, Thiel vê valor em criar camadas de significado para diferentes públicos – o que lhe deixa aberto a uma interpretação mais especulativa.

Para começo de conversa, Thiel é um acólito do falecido cientista social e filósofo francês René Girard. Girard é mais famoso por sua teoria do “desejo mimético”, que afirma que os humanos invariavelmente tomam suas ideias emprestadas das outras pessoas, tanto para imitar quanto para impressionar. Longe de ser um contrariano reflexivo, a filosofia de investimento de Thiel, explicada em seu livro Zero to One, é sobre deliberadamente tentar transcender o desejo de imitação, ser o proverbial “escolhido” que pode, então, colher lucros monopolistas.

O desejo mimético se revela no “viés de desejabilidade social“, a tendência bem-fundamentada dos respondedores de pesquisas de dizer as coisas e marcar as caixas que lhes farão parece mais favoráveis ao seus pares, em vez de sua crença verdadeira e autônoma. Mas, se pessoas o suficiente se esquivam de uma ideia por causa do medo de serem julgadas ou para seguir a multidão, isso naturalmente cria uma oportunidade de lucro. O inverso também é verdade. Se conseguir um MBA ou um diploma de direito vem com bastante status social, é melhor evitar estas coisas, Thiel argumentou, porque você sacrifica uma oportunidade de verdadeira grandeza ao entrar em campo abarrotado.

Apoiar Hillary Clinton é, portanto, muito parecido com abrir um restaurante. É socialmente desejável – não é necessário olhar além das dúzias de celebridades, comediantes e músicos que participaram da Convenção Nacional Democrata. Mas endossar algo popular vem com uma escassa margem além da aprovação de seus pares e de estar no centro de um nexo social positivo. Se voz é o que você quer, Clinton já tem muitas mãos para lavar, favores para retribuir e quiproquós.

Trump, por outro lado, está faminto por apoio da elite. De fato, ele mal consegue guiar as elites dentro de seu próprio partido. Então, porque Thiel não aproveitaria uma chance única na vida de ir de zero a um, de ganhar uma influência significante sobre o potencial próximo Presidente dos EUA, ao custo de um leve constrangimento?


Reservas de Qualificação

Quando o New York Times relatou que Trump tentou convencer John Kasich a ser seu companheiro de chapa oferecendo-lhe controle total sobre a “política tanto interna quanto externa”, isso revelou algo sobre o estilo administrativo de Trump: Ele delega. Igualmente, não é nenhum segredo que seus filhos têm operado muito de sua campanha.

Isto ajuda a explicar o paradoxo de qualificação notado por Timothy B. Lee, que escreve que “o argumento de Peter Thiel a favor de Donald Trump não faz nenhum sentido. …É difícil ver como eleger Donald Trump – um homem pouco conhecido por sua competência gerencial ou por seu domínio dos detalhes políticos – poderia tornar o governo competente novamente”. A única explicação, de acordo com Lee, é que Thiel quer que Trump “exploda o sistema e comece de novo”.

Ainda assim, não está claro em que explodir o sistema implica, ou como isso ajuda Thiel. Mais provavelmente, Thiel mirando não apenas em ter o ouvido do Presidente, mas também em ter delegado um poder de decisão significante. Desta forma, Thiel não está votando pela competência de Trump. Ele está votando pela sua própria.

Competência sobre o que? O discurso de Thiel contém uma pista. Nele, ele argumentou que a América dos anos 50 e 60 era fundamentalmente high tech. Ela empurrava as fronteiras da ciência e integrava seu serviço público com as últimas tecnologias. O Projeto Apolo é um caso em questão. Decidimos ir à lua e, sete anos mais tarde, o fizemos. Hoje, demora sete anos só para construir uma ponte; às vezes só para lhe dar um nome.

Felizmente, sobre esses pontos Thiel parece ter algumas respostas. Através do Founders Fund, Thiel investiu dezenas de milhões de dólares na Space-X, a companhia de foguetes de Elon Musk, que está planejando uma viagem tripulada à Marte. E a Palantir, a companhia de análise de US$20 bilhões de Thiel, tem centenas de milhões de dólares em contratos do governo dos EUA para ajudar agência federais como o DHS e a CIA a integrar e estruturar dados. Como Thiel conclui, “seria generoso dizer que os softwares do governo funciona mal, porque na maior parte do tempo eles sequer funcionam”.

O fraseado é importante, já que pode ser uma referência direta ao DCGS-A, ou Distributed Common Ground System-Army (Sistema Distribuído de Terreno Comum-Exército, em tradução livre), o sistema do Exército dos EUA para integrar e disseminar inteligência, vigilância e reconhecimento por todos os níveis do Exército. O sistema é notoriamente ruim, com os comandantes de solo o descrevendo como “imanuseável e inconfiável, difícil de aprender e difícil de usar”.

Thiel quer que a Palantir substitua o DCGS-A, e por boas razões. Quando o Exército lançou mão da tecnologia da Palantir no Afeganistão como parte de uma “Avaliação Operacional Avançada” em 2012, 96% do pessoal pesquisado a descreveu como “eficaz em apoiar sua missão”. Algumas unidades continuam a usá-la numa base ad hoc. Como relatou-se um oficial dizer, “a Palantir de fato funciona. Quando o DCGS de fato funcionar, estaremos prontos para usá-lo”.

Ainda assim, o Exército gastou mais de US$6 bilhões desenvolvendo o DCGS-A e treinando os usuários em “longas e supercomplicadas instruções em sala de aula” e não quer simplesmente deixar para lá. Então, no mês passado, enquanto o Exército dos EUA solicita ofertas para uma segunda fase em seu desenvolvimento, a Palantir revelou sua intenção de processar. A Palantir alega que a solicitação do Exército é “ilegal, irracional, arbitrária e caprichosa” por não adotar seu software evidentemente superior. Como a Bloomberg reportou, em jogo “está um potencial contrato de US$206 milhões, que é a primeira porção do que provavelmente será um sistema multi-anual e multi-bilionário de coleta e visualização de dados que serviria de eixo de inteligência do Exército”.

Foi um ano duro para a Palantir, tendo perdido alguns grandes clientes como a Coca-Cola, a American Express e a Nasdaq, então é um contrato que Thiel quer desesperadamente. E um contrato que um Comandante-em-Chefe Trump poderia lhe ajudar a conseguir. Por quê? Porque Trump só se cerca dos melhores.

Feudalismo Corporativo

Encontre, em qualquer país, o Homem Mais Capaz que ali existe; eleve-o ao lugar supremo e lealmente o reverencie: você tem um governo perfeito para esse país; nenhuma urna, eloquência parlamentar, votação, construção de constituições ou outro maquinário que seja pode melhorá-lo em uma partícula que seja. Ele está no estado perfeito; um país ideal.

Estas são as palavras do ensaísta escocês do século XIX Thomas Carlyle, um outro vigoroso defensor do governo pelos melhores.

É também a passagem que o infame blogger neorreacionário, Mencius Moldbug, nome real Curtis Yarvin, publicou na ocasião da morte de Steve Jobs.

A conexão? Na visão de Yarvin, o governo é apenas uma corporação com algumas camadas adicionais de pompa e circunstância democrática. Um governo efetivo, como uma corporação efetiva, precisa de um grande CEO; um monarca esclarecido; alguém com visão, força e, de maneira importante, a capacidade de delegar. “Eu posso lhe dizer exatamente como as decisões são feitas na Apple”, escreveu Yarvin em um post de 2009. “Primeiro, a Apple encontra um homem. Contrata-o, na verdade. E tendo encontrado este homem, ela lhe diz: senhor, esta decisão é sua“.

Similarmente, quando perguntado sobre como ele consertaria o decadente governo dos EUA, Yarvin respondeu “Encontre o melhor jogador de xadrez que você puder encontrar e lhe dê o emprego”. Esse emprego sendo um CEO não eleito da América, a nação enquanto corporação de acionistas, que poderia exercer uma autoridade soberana completa para fazer com o Departamento de Educação e o DCGS-A o que Steve Jobs fez com o decadente e improdutivo Advanced Technology Group da Apple em 1997 – aposentar todos os empregados e fechá-lo.

Thiel é esse homem para Trump? Thiel certamente parece simpático às visões de Yarvin. Das aulas sobre statups de Thiel:

Uma startup é basicamente estruturada como uma monarquia. Não chamamos assim, claro. Isso pareceria estranhamente antiquado, e nada que não seja democracia deixa as pessoas desconfortáveis. Estamos enviesados em direção ao lado democrático-republicano do espectro. É a isso que estamos acostumados pelas aulas de educação cívica. Mas a verdade é que startups e fundadores se inclinam em direção ao lado ditatorial, porque essa estrutura funciona melhor para statups.

E do ensaio de Thiel no Cato Undbound:

Eu não acredito mais que a liberdade e a democracia sejam compatíveis. …Uma metáfora melhor é a de que estamos em uma corrida mortal entre a política e a tecnologia. O futuro será muito melhor ou muito pior, mas a questão do futuro continua muito aberta, de fato. Não sabemos exatamente o quão acirrada está essa corrida, mas eu suspeito que ela poder estar muito acirrada, até mesmo por um fio. Ao contrário do mundo da política, no mundo da tecnologia as escolhas de indivíduos ainda podem ser vitais. O destino de nosso mundo pode depender do esforço de uma única pessoa que construa e propague o maquinário da liberdade que torne o mundo seguro para o capitalismo.

Como suas notas de aula indicam, monarquia é o outro significado de Zero to One. Ou, como Trump colocou, a ideia é que “Só eu consigo consertá-la”.

Os especialistas têm, até agora, identificado erroneamente a subcorrente do Grande Homem em Trump e nos seus apoiadores como fascismo latente. O termo mais preciso pode ser feudalismo corporativo ou absolutismo esclarecido (Make America Frederick the Great Again), uma ideia que também anima o interesse de Thiel no Seasteading.

O feudalismo classicamente envolvia uma classe nobre de proprietários de terras conhecida como Senhores, que mantém domínio completo sobre suas faixas de terra, ou feudos. Trump, como um magnata do setor imobiliário, já tem a maioria dos adesivos da nobreza, indo tão longe quanto a dar o nome de seu filho mais moço de Barron, um sinônimo de Senhor.

Feudos são a casa de vassalos, camponeses que recebem proteções e bens básicos em troca de serviços prestados ao Senhor. Isso não é exatamente a mesma coisa de direitos humanos básicos ou direitos de propriedade, já que são contingentes e acidentais, não morais ou meritórios. Daí o conforto de Trump com um uso liberal das expropriações de terra.

Seasteading é a mesma ideia do feudalismo clássico, mas sobre plataformas no oceano. Em teoria, Senhores e CEOs tem um incentivo para produzir um governo relativamente bom, a fim de atrair acionistas e vassalos. E, uma vez que o que conta como bom governo pode variar, vassalos votam com seus pés, a fim de optar pelo feudo ou seastead que mais se alinha com seus valores.

Economistas chamam isto de classificação de Tiebout, um modelo que inspirou uma geração de libertários a um tipo de fetichismo municipal que exagerava vastamente a disposição de uma pessoa média de se mudar e subestimava vastamente o potencial para formas localizadas de tirania. E, na teoria legal, é chamada de lei policêntrica, ou devolução da lei estatutária monopolista para jurisdições concorrentes e mesmo sobrepostas.

Embora cidades-estado modernas, como Cingapura, forneçam alguma evidência de que um ditador benevolente e tecnocrático possa de fato produzir uma sociedade próspera ao longo de um modelo corporativo, e o sucesso de Hong Kong e de zonas econômicas especiais como Shenzhen e Xiamen mostrem que experimentos de devolução legal tenham muito mérito, isso arrisca um tipo de falácia do atirador de elite. A saber, enfatiza os sucessos ao passo em que ignora os muitos estados falidos e outros experimentos de ditadores menos do que benevolentes, assim como o centralismo oculto que sustenta implementações bem-sucedidas e não anárquicas de devolução legal. Abordagens mais quantitativas, em contraste, continuam a descobrir que a democracia tem um efeito pró-crescimento “robusto e considerável”.

Não obstante, o fascínio de Thiel com o feudalismo se estende da terra e do mar para o ciberespaço, com seu investimento no Urbit, um projeto de Curtis Yarvin de incorporar as teorias sociais neorreacionárias em uma camada da internet. O Urbit faz muitas coisas, mas sua função principal é criar uma cadeia descentralizada digital de títulos a endereços de rede, como endereços IP peer-to-peer comercializáveis. Uma vez que seu espaço de nomes é um recurso escasso, não muito diferente da terra, não é surpresa que ele seja modelado sobre princípios feudais, com a soberania distribuída policentricamente por entre uma constelação de comunidades rigidamente hierárquicas.


Reequilíbrio Global

Quer Thiel seja mesmo um neorreacionário ou não, estritamente falando, é irrelevante. O que é importante é que ele tem constantemente identificado a “liberdade” com uma versão do feudalismo corporativo em pequena escala e tem indicado ser hora de uma versão se sedimentar em nível nacional, se não internacional.

O plano de Trump para desmantelar a OTAN e reverter a política histórica dos EUA de internacionalismo faria exatamente isso e também é consistente com o apoio anterior de Thiel a céticos da OTAN, tais como Ron Paul. A política externa declarada de Trump reequilibraria o globo, saindo da hegemonia dos EUA enquanto bastião do cosmopolitismo liberal e exportador de valores democráticos, em favor dos valores autoritários da China e da Rússia.

China e Rússia já operam em versões cruas do feudalismo corporativo, com Xi Jinping e Vladmir Putin como seus respectivos CEOs. E, apesar de ambos serem antigos países comunistas, cada um exporta sistemas de valores que são bem menos igualitários do que o dos Estados Unidos – e bem menos “politicamente corretos”.

De acordo com Thiel, “Se apropriadamente entendido, o politicamente correto é nosso grande problema político”, pelo que ele quer dizer o comprometimento semi-teológico da sociedade ocidental com o igualitarismo liberal. Isto, por sua vez, levou a elite da América ao “[Diversity Myth” de que o multiculturalismo funciona, à negação de diferenças inatas de gênero ou raça nos talentos individuais, a escrúpulos em torno de qualquer coisa semelhante à eugenia e à marginalização da tradição religiosa.

Em contraste, a China, liderada por uma “Nobreza Vermelha” de pincipelhos privilegiados, tem ganhado vantagem tecnológica na engenharia genômica ao deixar de lado medos de descobertas desconfortáveis. Enquanto isso, Putin tem pressionado o renascimento de um mythos pré-soviético baseado na ideia da Rússia enquanto uma civilização oriental ortodoxa distinta que se ajoelha ao ritual, à hierarquia e aos papéis tradicionais de gênero.

Assim, quando Donald Trump alega que ele quer “Make America Great Again”, não é meramente uma nostalgia pela Era Reagan ou o último viva de uma classe trabalhadora branca que se encolhe. Antes, é que a narrativa da decadência, como ecoada nos sentimentos de Thiel sobre a modernidade e a incompetência do governo, necessariamente cria corolário narrativo de retorno e renascimento.

Como quando Putin retornou para reviver uma Rússia doente em 2000.

Ou quando Steve Jobs retornou à Apple em 1996.

Cada um deles suplantou a narrativa do declínio com um novo mito, seja ele o Cristianismo Ortodoxo ou a reputação da Apple em design. Assim, enquanto Trump assume o augusto papel de uma figura cerimonial, isso deixa Thiel e companhia preencherem o resto das chefias e perseguirem a ambiciosa tarefa de restruturar as instituições decadentes da América a partir de dentro, incluindo, talvez, a criação de um novo mito americano também.

Mas se isso não é para você, como um Seastead mal gerido, você sempre tem a opção de ir embora.

O Canadá lhe recebe de braços abertos.

Samuel Hammond é analista da Pobreza e de políticas de Bem-Estar no Niskanen Center, um think tank libertário com base em Washington, D. C. As visões expressas neste ensaio são suas. Siga-o no Twitter @hamandcheese

a wall for liberalism.

[this is a text i wrote on the situation of Brazilian liberalism – not readily applicable anywhere else]

Brazilian political tradition, heir to Portuguese and Iberian political traditions, is a tradition of centralization, dirigisme, nationalism, militarism, “great saviors for the homeland” – its epitome is Vargism.

Any respectable Brazilian conservatism will conserve this tradition. That Vargas is disputed both by Left and Right is an example that such is Brazil’s general political culture. Brazilian conservatism was never and hence will never be an Old Whig or a New Tory, it will never be Burkean.

Liberalismo, therefore, is radical opposition in Brazil. It is isolated at a corner, always a minority. If liberalismo doesn’t put itself there, the option is its death. For any alliance means its effacement and the undoing of its advance. There is no tradition of popular will which it can cling to. Its only defense is its morality and efficiency.

A liberalism that repeats its past mistakes – its shady alliance with the military – will have the same destiny of previous liberalisms – guilty of everything, all the while powerless.

Brazilian liberalism in the 21st century needs a wall. A gigantic, extensive wall between itself and conservatism.

Whoever opposes such creation, must be on the other side of it. Those that want half-freedom do not interest us. Populist and vainglorious emotions do not interest us. At last, no alliances interest us. Socialists have known this for years now, and have built their own wall. If we want any chance of doing anything liberalwe must do the same.

If “liberalism” means anything, its a combination of modern – shifting, inovative, industrial – and counter-political. It seeks to release the individual from the ties of the state, so that they can create new things, by themselves, in a competitive environment (market). The defense of “the tradition of spontaneous order (…), the conception of commercial society as relief from politics, and (…) naturalistic approaches that position distributed, competitive dynamism as an ultimate explanatory and genetic principle”. This is its creed. This  is its profession of faith. It is this that we – liberals – will defend.

To those that worship other gods, may they have their own space to test what they think – and that’s why we defend the idea of a republic (i.e., rule of law), a constitution and federalism. On your side of the wall, you do what you will. This is our relation to the others: autonomy.

Thus is how we promote liberty: exit creation, separation, disintegration, fragmentation, independence. The rest is none of out interest.

feminism should be studied.

why only in modernity? feminism’s own search and struggle in finding and making ancestors for the female society is a demonstration of its lack of examples.

why only during capitalism? the morally incorrect view, one proposed – if only in guise – by Levi-Strauss in his elementary structures of kinship, is that women are the *primary* commodity. as capitalism develops, commodities are increasingly freed from territorial groundmarks (*father*lands), and now move freely, in an ever enlarging circles of exogamy (commercium with aliens).

does feminism – thus understood as capitalism itself in yet a new disguise – destroy humanity? is there still any doubts of it?
kill the country. fuse with the matrix.

as above, so below.

exitocracy anotated

Axel just published the 4th chapter of his ongoing Neocameral Future. In what can be described as the textual version of a YouTube reaction video, I’ve made commentary on his main propositions and thesis. Hopefully this will promote debate and thus strengthen his upcoming book.

* * *

On materialism vs idealism (ideology/religion)

  1. Much as I agree with that “Humans are MEAT ROBOTS. Free will in an illusion“, it’s important to keep in mind that the reductions of social processes to biology are not simple and that we don’t know how to do most of them (just as we don’t know how to reduce a great many biological processes to physical processes). It’s important to restate that insofar as you keep receiving true feedback from reality (empiricism) it’s perfectly fine to postulate social mechanisms that explain certain events. Social constructivism, to the extent that it doesn’t deny other empirical findings and conform to its own facts, is also materialistic.
  2. It is only when it is corrupted with cultish notions that it becomes evil” is a good assessment of reality, indeed. But religious (ideal/ideological) thought is a natural companion of abstract investigation (and hence intelligence). You can’t make it go away by mere wish (and if you do, you are being ideological yourself). Ideological/religious thinking has to be institutionalized and driven into producing realistic feedback. Empiricism didn’t arise from mere physicalist atheists, but physicalist atheists who believed it was possible to understand reality through abstract concepts. I.e., smart (rather than communist) physicalist atheists.

On stability

  1. Stability is not actually a good argument for a political system” Indeed, if you understand “stability” to mean “remaining the same forever, no matter what”. A good argument is adaptability and it is hard to not see adaptability as stability, once you grasp the basic underlying cybernetics.

On objections to unified power

  1. Demotism is Conserved.” Nope. Although mass communication (and, more to the point, the ever greater dissipation of mass lethal power) is an ongoing fact since the dawn of modernity, and one that is unlikely to go away (short of Peak Oil or something), there is ever less a need to control the mob’s minds. The trend set in motion with the internet is much more of cultural, social and (therefore) political fragmentation than of mass maneuver of opinion. The very costs of attempting something like that are ever greater.

    So, from what I grasp of the political trends in the 21st century, demotism has its days numbered, T minus the time necessary to build safe exit options. Bit-nations contracting with luxury gated cities for free pass, and ever more nomadic elites wandering around the world. No need for mob control, except insofar as “heavier walls” is mob control.

  2. Secure Power is an Illusion.” I’ve written three pieces on that. Spandrell probably gets most of the things. No disagreement here.
  3. Monarchy is Lazy Design.” Laziest of the lazy. But also very natural to civilized humans. It builds (and wrecks down) naturally from male hierarchy, hence its commonality. Of course, it is never secure, nor absolutist (absolutism in fact is a rather characteristically French rationalist lunacy born in the early 18th century).

    A further criticism is that monarchy depends on deep ties of loyalty and a stable male hierarchy, both profoundly disturbed by the uprooting and individualism needed to run a market economy. Given market economy’s clear superiority to traditional economy in output, it should be obvious no monarchy can survive under global market conditions (except as a rather romantic honorific to a cryptographically secure CEO – which is probably how Moldbug meant it).

  4. Nukes are an Issue.” And so is its spread and ever further miniaturization. Of course, it makes it easier for city-states (and hence the Patchwork) to emerge. Which means it makes secession easier by providing leverage against centralized governments. Which in turn makes the collapse of The Cathedral inevitable rather than unrealistic. Accelerationism is simply the research program for pocket nukes.
  5. NRx will be Made Obsolete.” Possibly one the most important points in the chapter. Puts the movement in perspective. 10 years ago Moldbug was creating an account on Blogspot and Nick Land was… Gnon knows what. Ten years from now the whole thing will probably have unfolded in crazier ways than expected.

    That point made, the Cathedral – unless very unpredictable turns are taken – will die out fighting against gene editing, even if it’s for “good purposes”. Eugenics was extirpated from Progressivism 90 years ago, and it’s unlikely to get back on track before Progressivism goes away. Many progressives, on the other hand, may indeed make great use of genetic science for their purposes, while making Progress great again. It’s not hard to imagine lesbian couples producing high IQ design babies in HK in 20 years. But not in NY, that’s for sure.

  6. It is Not a Single Monolithic Thing.” Good point. But the whole point of coining “demotism” was probably to pin down one specific kind of democracy: 1848-like universal-suffrage democracy. Decentralization is not a problem (rather it is the purported solution), bureaucratic institutions are not a problem (probably it what kept the boat from sinking so far), and even very limited voice (as in corporative boards) is fine, as long as it’s accompanied by the correlative costs. The problem is simply: universal, unqualified, “free” voice – literally mass tyranny. This is as monolithic a thing as it gets, and has been described over and over in political philosophy ever since Aristotle as a degeneration of the greatest idea: constitutions. De-enfranchise people and whatever else is left of democracy is probably OK.
  7. Reforming the cathedral is not impossible” I would phrase it as “Making the Cathedral go away without much noise is not impossible”. But I’ll be back to this when I finish the other chapters.

On the causes of Cathedral

  1. The actual cause of the Cathedral is compromise in an unsecure power structure, not the nature of unsecure power itself. COMPROMISE, not imperium in imperio, is the actual cause of left-wing power.” Another very central point of the chapter. The refusal of dialectics – living humiliated under the rule of the enemy – is not likely to be widely accepted as a central tenet of right-wing thought. Much of the reactionaries around are damn certain they don’t just want to flee to better lands, but to purge their enemies, enslave them, chain them or, at least, make them live under the “right” government. The average type on both blue and red tribes just want to vanquish the other, kill their men, rape their women and enslave their children. Monkey business at its prime.
  2. On matters of division of power – imperium in imperio – I guess I made my points on the neocameralism and constitutions series (1, 2, 3). In sum: stable (adaptive) systems are those with nodes no more controlling than controlled. Much on that to come in the next months, but what is essential to the argument under consideration here is that the Cathedral thrived (at least partially) because, and not in spite, of divided powers. It was when such division was abandoned that the degenerative ratchet finally got a grip on history. Odysseus could tie himself, but only for so long. Getting him sober from siren vocal poison and making him tie himself again and better is probably the aim of any proposed new kind of republicanism. ” It is true that unsecure power tends to breed compromise as a result of a majoritarian system” is the main hint of what exactly went wrong with the US Constitution.

On Multi-Part Elections

  1. Formalism ends violence by making the outcome of a dispute known. Another way of saying this is that a process is formalized when violence is eliminated through a rule based mechanism that turns it into a game or contract of sorts.” It’s important to keep in mind that one needs an unambiguous unbreakable rule for this to work – enforcement matters. I’m saying this to make clear that the criteria for Multi-Part Elections to work is that it provides not only unambiguous rules for conflicts, but also an enforcement mechanism.
  2. People will separate themselves based on ideological lines. The separation will reinforce itself. It is precisely this separation that actually leads to stability.” Until it grows far too much. Not to get all Marxist about a market of little governments, but some will definitely get more guns than others, and once that is in play, the talk must shift to military technology systems and what they imply in terms of political organization. We didn’t get to the nation state model arbitrarily, and we won’t get out of it arbitrarily. The question is: how do you effectively defend something, without breaking the whole system? Which leads us to…
  3. Power creates ideology.” This is unconvincing, if only because ideology is itself a source of power. You seem to admit it straight away: “any different system will seem immoral to you, because you, having been indoctrinated by the current system, share its morals“. To distinguish between power and the idea of power will demand something more than mere affirmation.

    The following discussion, based on this distinction, is not so wrong as it reverses the true complication: “The ideology becomes whatever is necessary to justify the power system. In the System of systems, aka, the exitocracy, a form of “live and let live” becomes the standard. The federal government is forced to take a culturally relativist position in order to maintain military control over its territory.” Can the federal government maintain that position and have military control? What does the military believe? What is the ideology of those with military capability? Power is this ideology, what will make them pull the trigger.

  4. “[T]he federal government which does ONLY military, intelligence, and security matters.” Only? If the federal government holds sway of sovereign (primary) property, what about the outside? If it’s Fnargl, what will make it turn from Cathedral usual business to “a box for every monkey”?

Maybe I’m jumping ahead right here, but these are the main questions – that remain so far largely unanswered within NRx. The whole mechanics (the rules of the system) seems very neat, but the enforcement mechanism is still vague, at best. If the counties default to Fedgov’s authority for solving their (inevitable) quibbles, what makes the Fedgov accept this whole scheme in the first place? And what about what is outside of it (because internal trade barriers will certainly hamper the Federation’s industrial ability, as the Federalist Papers already had in mind)?