neocameralism and constitutions

so, recently I noticed a whole lotta hate for Land’s constitutionalism (surging after this came from the vast abrupt). reactionary future is not pleased with “liberal neoreaction”. anomaly UK is still not convinced either.

their contention, from what I grasped, is “sovereignty cannot be effectively divided, only distributed (exponentially)”. constitutions are bullshit, men take decisions, not algorithms (ultimately). trying to do so only generates disorder (anarchy) and parasitism. [there’s also some babbling on the “anthropological error” of individualism, but I’ll deal with that elsewhere]

obviously, not wasting their time reading such left liberal bullshit of cybernetics and spontaneous order (damn hippies!), they were interested in the morally superior works of Thomas Carlyle and DeJouvenal. only dirty leftists such as me and Mr. werewolf Land could suggest a man’s Will is not sovereign, per se.

all the arcane bullshit about the functioning of the universe and horrorism that accompanies XS’s writing are not mere musings (I mean, seriously). mythology helps us think (as this elderly French says).

The real — free or fated — thing wears a face, as an allotted role within the world“.  remove the faces and you see the underlying processes that actually run things. Henry VI, Henry VII, Louis XV, etc are avatars, interfaces, symptoms, not causes, of material (efficient) processes. we are gene machines. computers are bit machines. machines connected to machines. machines interrupting the flows of other machines. the mouth machine and the milk machine. anus and shit.

this alone is already enough to show the whole “sovereignty conserves” thing is either misguided or misused. it’s not possible, ever, to have a man making decisions on his own, unchecked by anyone or anything else. there are 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.

in such a machinic reality, power is an idea, and ideas are primordially checked by their effects. power is selected to check itself, because of its inherent economic quality: to survive, increase and improve, power needs to identify its reality with the outside. it needs to calculate its odds of survival, needs to develop an algorithm of the workings of the wolves of Gnon, before they find where it hides. intelligence optimization demands a will-to-think.

think of this as the “fundamental problem of loyalty”: “will the generals obey? will the soldiers shoot?“. from the (surely little) i know of Moldbug, neocameralism seeks to replace the old cameralist trust-demanding “loyalty to the king” with the trustless capitalist joint-stock corporation. why? because corporations work better. it survives longer, it grows and it improves on itself. it reaches cybernetic closure: no nodes more controlled than controlling. stockholders choose CEOs, thus checking them. CEOs choose marketing, checking consumers. consumers choose products, checking stockholders. corporations work because they’re checked, not in spite of it. without such checks and balances, there’s no alignment of companies and clients interests.

constitutionalism is merely a recognition of this reality. RF tells us Moldbug is obviously against constitutions:

“In reality, no sovereign can be subject to law. This is a political perpetual motion machine. Law is not law unless it is judged and enforced. And by whom? For example, if you think a supreme court with judicial review can make government subject to law, you are obviously unfamiliar with the sordid history of American constitutional jurisprudence. All your design has achieved is to make your supreme court sovereign. Indeed if the court had only one justice, a proper title for that justice would be “King.” Sorry, kid, you haven’t violated the conservation of anything.”

well, if it is so, why have stockholders at all? isn’t it “imperium in imperio”? here‘s Moldbug stating right away that sovcorps should have division of power:

“A responsible, effective government has three basic parts. One is the front end: all the people who report to Steve. Two is the middle: Steve himself. Three is the back end: the people Steve is responsible to. (…)

Call the back end the controllers. The controllers have one job: deciding whether or not Steve is managing responsibly. If not, they need to fire Steve and hire a new Steve. (Marc Andreesen, perhaps.)

This design requires a substantial number of reasonably cogent controllers, whose collective opinion is likely to be trustworthy, and who share a single concept of responsibility. (…)”

power divided not only between two, but three bodies. and not few, but a “substantial number” of controllers. so much for imperium.

why, oh why? because Moldbug is a realist. he knows that a power that does not check itself, dies:

“The CEO and the monarch owe their positions to a law which all can obey, and those who choose to obey the law are naturally a winning coalition against those who choose to break it. The dictator’s position is the result of his primacy in a pyramid of criminals. This structure is naturally unstable.”

men cannot choose at will. there is the unwritten constitution of that which functions better, and if he fails to acknowledge it, he dies an ugly death. patches in the patchwork are checked by natural selection: those that thrive, survive. power is primordially checked, by reality.

in fact, the history of the modern downfall of monarchism can be seen in this light, as a failure of absolutist kings to understand the economic nature of their power. Alexis de Tcqueville’s main thesis in his works is that the French Revolution stemmed first and foremost from the increasing centralization of power undertaken by the french monarchy. the failure to recognize and bring the power of the estates together in a balanced system is at the core of the demotic nightmare that followed.

similar points can be made about pretty much all other modern revolutions: the Glorious Revolution happened to protect the (aristocratic) parliament from being dissolved, the American Revolution happened to stop the king from not recognizing the factual economic sovereignty of the colonies, the Russian Revolution happened to show the czar that he can’t just put his brother as general without verifying if there is loyalty in the lower echelons of the army. the reverse is also true, Japanese quasi-mythical single royal lineage has always been a sham of “absolutism”, lasting mostly because of its ability to be checked. even the much heralded Chinese monarchy lasted only when the emperors were checked by palace checks that made them fulfill their duties. responsibility is difficult.

the conflation of democracy insurgence and division of power apparently happened because the kings chose to make sure the only way to check them was beheading them. a Schelling point arose in which both popular sovereignty and division of power could both be believed.  (Anomaly UK points out that the kings believed liberal demotic discourse. if only had they had someone to tell them to quit it.)

it’s important to remember as well that the Cathedral won. it consistently won over all absolutist regimes. it survived. that it is failing as of now is more a signal of its abandonment of its (very successful) doctrine of checks-and-balances than the contrary. if anyone wants to topple it, it takes – realistically – more division of power.

reality rules. and if reality selects constitutions, if they are more efficient than other options, well then, Kings are to go. let’s test it, shall we?

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on realism (aka “stop whining”)

on realism (aka “stop whining”)
if reality rules, the first thing is to recognize it.
civilization works and wins out. liberal civilization works better and wins out even more often.
civilization is able to produce a legitimized and hence very functional hierarchy out of essentially egalitarian young male primates. this turns out to be a very efficient military organization, that eliminates its competition. territorial conquest follows.
the downside of civilization is that after some time it gets exhausted. status competition becomes more central than military conquer, resources get mostly concentrated in the hand of a few, people – especially the essentially egalitarian young male primates who were the basis of civilization – get fucking pissed off at dying for a few leaders (that are usually the moronic sons of former approved kings, or the compulsive liar politicians of late republics) and internal order collapses inexorably. too bad, but natural selection is a tough bitch. stupidity dies.
western (i.e., liberal) civilization works pretty much the same way all civilizations: astounding military conquest, territorial expansion, ensuing stupidity in managing social order. but some strange loops make liberal civilization weirder (and gets one wondering if this time it’s different).
anyone attempting to analyse or do something in the present is certainly advised to looking back to history as a teacher. but not as a moral teacher. to think that history is unfair – our side lost! – is already to give up any sort of teaching it may have. spooky ghosts won’t teach you what works. and what doesn’t work dies. in fact the very definition of “death” could be “not functioning”. whining about how wicked civilization is, or how improperly demoralized liberal civilization has become, is to ignore that, well, civilization slaughtered every other type of social organization and, well, liberal civilization overtook the globe. sadness is not an argument.
once one learns the lessons of history, the question is “what happens next?” good prediction makes fortune. the more moralistic “what should be done?” is going to look for ghosts. of course, individually everyone will have to decide what to do at every moment. that’s the predicament of human life: imperfect knowledge and hence free will. our feebleness entertains the gods. but if a blurry glimpse of the future is allowed to our primitive senses through prediction, fortune may be made.
so, what works for the Left in the wake of the 21st century, in view of history and the little prediction we can harvest? a few themes suggest themselves:
1) give up governments, go to small scale: fragmentation is becoming the worldwide trend, not onyl in communication, but emanating out of it into human organization. it’s a known in network science that centralized networks are less resilient (and hence less durable) than decentralized or (preferrably) distributed ones.
2) relentless outbreeding and/or genetic engineering towards human admixture (we’ve been through this yesterday, go check).
3) guns and AI are your friends; “proper science” is not: if we’re coming back to small-scale, lab-coat monks are not the raw materials. we need insane inventors, like old scientists, not theoreticians.
4) kill Christianity once and for all; side with witches: i am not one to despise the strength of organized rituals, but rejecting human imperfection in search for some “transcendental values” (even if they are oh so very progressive), and looking forward to taming dissent, is not at all what the Left feeds on. what ever happened to “we are the daughters of all the witches you couldn’t burn”. stick to the runes and the naturalness of paganism. the elementals are closer to reality than the Pope or the Good Book.
5) stop whining; start doing: the Left shall slowly perish into a whirlwind of complaints as long as it views its objective as “pleading for our rights”. the State doesn’t care, God doesn’t care, no one cares, which your supposed “rights” are. if you can’t build and defend them, they are void.
a realist Left, that understands power in order to effectively distribute it, that brings its madness into action (and not merely lodge it in low-grade literary academic papers) is the challenge ahead. if we fail reality, reality doesn’t go away, we do.
whining will only get yourself killed.