The Daily Moldbug post

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I just set up a new system that should result in a post being made to /r/darkenlightenment each day that contains one or more links to Moldbug’s unqualified reservations. I made a second sub, /r/TheDailyMoldbug, which will only have these posts for more easy reference. Posts will start being made starting on August first. Below is the announcement I have made at /r/darkenlightenment outlining my reasons for setting this up:

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Tl;dr There will be a post linking to Unqualified Reservations each day starting on August 1st. The main goals of The Daily Moldbug post:

* familiarize new people with Moldbug’s work
* provide an easy, structured schedule for both newbs and veterans to go through moldbug’s entire work, which is the length of multiple books.
* remind everyone that even though groups, such as hestia, may claim official leadership of neoreaction, it is ultimately a result of moldbug’s work and not hestia’s. Neoreaction/Dark enlightenment is a philosophy, not a movement. Unilaterally declaring leadership or official status has dubious support.
* now that concerns of users have been addressed, I am going to be stricter in moderating concern trolling when I see it and will start banning people.

Hello /r/darkenlightenment,

I can’t remember exactly when, but about six months ago there was a self post which was all concern trolling, but I decided on leniency in that particular case and didn’t remove it. Its main point was that there had been a change in topic focus in submissions to the sub. IIRC the complaint was that there were too many HBD posts compared to other posts. Personally I thought the he was exaggerating the issue, and anyway HBD posts are always welcome because that issue is and always has been part of the dark enlightenment. I am not going to remove relevant posts to come to some subjective “proper” balance of topics.

However, that doesn’t mean that steps can’t be taken to add more variety and/or remind new people of the basics. Immediately after reviewing the above-mentioned post I started working on a project which I thought could improve the sub and address these concerns. That project is The Daily Moldbug post. The idea is that on a daily basis automoderator will make a self-post submission that will include at least one link to Unqualified Reservations. UR is the blog of Curtis Yarvin who wrote under the name of Mencius Moldbug.  He coined the term neoreaction, and was the initial inspiration for many or most of the blog writers currently in the endorsed categories on this sub. This includes yours truly, and that counts for both my blog and for starting up this sub. It was my initial reading of “A gentle introduction to unqualified reservations” that motivated me to take over here and start building this place. In other words, neoreaction/ the dark enlightenment is strongly tied into this original material and new-comers should be and remain familiar with it. I also thought it would be helpful for people who want to go through these posts, but are daunted by the sheer volume. A daily post sets up a clear and structured schedule at a manageable pace.

To get this project working, I had to compile a list of all the UR link addresses and decide which ones to post and in what order. What I ended up deciding was that every single UR post will be linked to, in chronological order, but not every post will get its own separate submission. I didn’t want to omit a post based solely on my subjective opinion and I also created a reasonable work around for really short posts. Short posts, meta announcements, and poems will get included with the immediately preceding long-form post. For example, on some days it will just be one long-form UR link, on others it will be one long-form UR link followed by one or more links to short posts (usually poems) that came immediately after it chronologically. There was no hard rule on what counts as a short post, I just used my best judgment based on the length and content. With the above in mind, I ended up with 240 individual daily moldbug posts. They will start getting posted daily starting on August 1st 2016 and the last post will be on March 28th 2017. The cycle will automatically repeat with the first post being repeated again on March 29th 2017 and on until the end of the world. Of course, this is assuming I coded everything right. I have checked and rechecked but it is possible there are mistakes in there somewhere that I will need to fix. If so there may be some slight alterations of the schedule, but even so I am committed to getting this up and running. If you ever notice an issue with one or more of these posts, please message the mods. If you are following along and reading the daily post each day, and fall behind for whatever reason, you can go to the new sister sub /r/thedailymoldbug to catch up. This tracks the submissions in the main sub and won’t have anything else, so you can quickly go back to where you left off.

Even though I started working on this quite some time ago, I only worked on it sporadically and in a very leisurely way at first (there was a lot of tedious stuff to do). I decided to start really getting things moving after my falling out with Hestia society because that incident strongly suggested a need for a purist revival. Like I mentioned earlier, neoreaction and the dark enlightenment exists to a large extent only because of moldbug’s persuasive and creative writing on history and politics. Hestia wouldn’t deny that, I don’t think, but they also don’t mention it a whole lot either. The original content from UR makes it clear that neoreaction/the dark enlightenment was always meant to be a philosophy and not a movement. Basically it is an intellectual and/or philosophical branch of thinking that movements, such as the alt-right, can use in whatever battles with leftists they find themselves in. Movements understandably have leaders and structure. Philosophies can have leaders as well, but it is harder to define and much harder to defend the title. At this point, the only one who really has any standing to claim leadership or official status is Moldbug himself. Myself and many others don’t believe any other entity, regardless of claims to the contrary, has any standing to claim leadership or official status of neoreaction or the dark enlightenment. Even if someone did have such standing, it is arguably heresy to purist neoreactionary philosophy. Anyone can go through the original moldbug posts and start writing on the same topics without much or any reference to writers that came afterward. With the daily moldbug post, it will hopefully be easier to encourage more smart people to do exactly that.

Lastly, we circle back to the original reason I started this project: Concern trolling. I have spent a great amount of effort getting this daily post going in order to address concerns some of you have. Getting all those links compiled in the right order, categorizing long vs. short, and coding around each submission was an incredibly tedious process. I have done far more to address these concerns than 99% of the other mods on reddit would have bothered with, for free, and despite concern trolling being officially against the rules.  I even had to ask reddit to make an exception on number of allowed scheduled posts, which they kindly provided (I was pleasantly surprised). As such, I consider these concerns thoroughly addressed and will be taking a harder stance against concern trolling in the future. When the sub first started people complained it had too much influence from the red pill, later other people though it was too much about HBD. In the last week I have had a number of comments claiming it is too alt-right, or too white nationalist, or not true enough to the original work. Whaa, whaa, whaa. Somebody is always going to be unhappy no matter what is done. Typically such concerned comments come with a very distinct lack of details, examples, or suggestions for how to improve.

It may, MAY, be true that there have been more posts focused on race recently. But then we have had how many attacks by brown people on whites in the last month? How many riots by brown people against whites have we had in the last two years? If more posts are on race relations, it is because the regular writers are addressing it more because of current events. This is not an issue with the sub so much as an issue with the reality of the world in 2016. EDIT: Speak of the devil. Yet another terrorist attack happens while I am writing up this announcement.

With the advent of the daily moldbug post, concern trolling comments of this sort are going to now be removed without mercy. First strike will result in a warning and a temporary ban of up to a week, depending on how severe it is. Second strike will result in a permanent ban. I reserve the right to perma-ban on a first strike if a post is particularly egregious. From this point on, you only have two points of recourse for your concerns about the sub.

1) You can privately message the mods with your concerns and suggestions for improvement. That last part is important, directionless whining is useless.

2) If you feel there should be more of a certain kind of content, then it is your job to find and post that kind of content. Don’t whine or complain, submit the content you think the sub needs more of and keep concern trolling out of my comment sections. I have made a list of competent writers which you can use to help in this task.

Those of you who have been concern trolling recently, you know who you are. There will be no retroactive response to comments already made, but from now on you need to follow the above in addressing your concerns.

As always, thank you for being here and please enjoy this new feature of the sub.

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My blog-roll page has been updated to be substantially larger and to match the endorsed flairs on the /r/darkenlightenment subreddit

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[Special thanks to Nick B Steves and /u/nemester for helping me with updating the list. The lists of sites included under each of the following flairs can be seen here on my blogroll page, which is also on the sidebar. I have made sure that my blogroll matches the lists used by this sub for flair rules.]

The Endorsed DE Site flair (DE is short for Dark Enlightenment) has been used for awhile in /r/darkenlightenment to help distinguish between articles of interest from outsiders and articles prepared by those acknowledged by community consensus as being part of or closely related to the Dark Enlightenment. Automoderator would add the flair automatically to a list of specific domains. The main purpose of the flair was to use it rather than having to outright remove articles not specifically endorsed or even opposed by the community. This way, if someone posts a highly progressive article worth analyzing, or some crazed rant calling for extreme measures it would be quite clear the content was not Dark Enlightenment endorsed. Since that distinction is clear, the mods are less obliged to remove it. This flair was used very generally before this update and included writers both in the core group and those with only one narrow interest of overlap. For example, a prominent writer on HBD is clearly of interest even if they never tackle any other issues such as democracy or tradition, or even if they disagreed with the dark enlightenment’s view on democracy and tradition. Nemester created it fairly quickly by inferring the most prominent sites based on what seemed to be most discussed. Heroes of the Dark Enlightenment especially helped in providing the initial list. I have been talking with Nemester privately about improving the flair rules and adding substantially more sites to the list based on my discussions with the Neoreactionary community. The Endorsed DE Site flair will still be used, but will be reserved for more peripheral writers. Typically, that means that they have one narrow interest of overlap with the darkenlightenment but are in disagreement or have no comment about other parts. For example, Heartiste talks about masculinity and white nationalism, but also writes on hook-up culture which is understood if not endorsed. HBDchick only discusses HBD. Etc.

The NRx endorsed site flair (NRx is short for Neoreaction) has been added and will automatically be applied to writers considered part of the core group. Clearly all these people do not agree on every single point, however the consensus among them is much tighter than the more generalized circle of the Dark Enlightenment and they are more likely to address each of the various points of interest at one point or another in their writing.

The Fellow Travelers flair is used for sites which core neoreaction likes to read for news or posts, but are either not neoreaction or dark enlightenment, or who would not like the label applied to themselves. It is more or less a catch all flair for sites that did not seem appropriate for the previous two flairs. Degree of overlap with the dark enlightenment is variable.

The main consequence of this change is that the list of auto-flaired domains has been substantially increased and it gives you a better idea of the stratification of writers in the community. Chances are you have not seen many of the bloggers included in this list and I encourage you to look through the list and check out some of their articles.

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The Neoreactionary Inquisition

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(Image Source, T-shirt available)

Writing under my alternative username Nemester, the head moderator over at /r/darkenlightenment, I made a post and a comment in which I discussed entryists and how they might be effectively dealt with. I have gained lots of direct experience with actually dealing with entryists which should be valuable to everyone. The comment thread in question can be found here. To paraphrase, someone asked “Why don’t we just make our own SJW free communities?” Well, we all know the answer to that. Entryists will not follow “live and let live.” If you have a community which does not have sjw values, prig progs will move in and ruin it if given the opportunity. Many may do so unconsciously and unintentionally, but at least some are quite conscious of what they are attempting to do. Enough that they constitute a real threat to any genuine and healthy community. Here is my original comment on the question of how to deal with entryists:

Its not that easy, trust me. Leftists will come in and will try to change the nature of the sub. Generally, we refer to it as “entryism” when they pretend to be moderate or “reasonable” or whatever and slowly shift the overton window. The SJW manual (before sjw was a coined term) is “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky. It specifically tells these busy bodies to invade other organizations discretely, even ostensibly apolitical ones, so they can be transformed to push for sjw causes. There really are people out there who consciously invade communities like parasites to change it to fit their utopian ideals, which of course ruins the community in the process and often causes it to dissolve because it no longer represents what it is supposed to represent .

Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.

-John Derbyshire, Conquest’s Laws

Over in /r/darkenlightenment and in neoreaction generally, huge amounts of effort has been spent trying to analyze this problem and how best to handle it. We make a great deal of effort to signal in such a way as to be repugnant to sjws. This keeps some of them away, but not all. I also try to make sure that entryists are banned when I find them. Sometimes easy, sometimes not based on comment history. Even today, there were three SJW transexuals in the sub commenting, presumably subscribed, and trying to change the overton window. I don’t think neoreaction could have done anything more to signal that we aren’t fond of sjws, or the treating of a mental illness as if it were normal. If /r/darkenlightenment has a problem with sjws persisting there, then everyone has a problem. Yet there they were. 3 of them. These people are crazy and apparently masochistic. Crazy enough that instead of sticking to their corner of the internet they will invade yours and try to force you to think like them even if they know the established community strongly dislikes them. And they will use deceit in order to do it, per their own instruction manual. Normal people don’t do that.

What is needed for virtually every single community no matter how apolitical is something akin to an inquisition. The inquisition gets a bad rap, thanks to old protestant propaganda. But the catholic church never actually killed anyone, or even stated that anyone should be killed even if found guilty. It was the king of the country that did that. In almost all cases accused witches or whatever were found to be innocent. Moreover, the inquisition prevented a lot of revolutionary mob behavior that killed way more people in protestant countries than ever died as a result of the inquisition. Especially witch burnings. Effectively, the inquisition was a way responsible men could prevent the mob from going crazy and doing stupid shit. To make sure cooler heads prevailed. Think of all the twitter witch hunt campaigns, that didn’t start with twitter. In the case of communities, established and trusted non-sjws (i.e., inquisitors) have to be put in charge with the mission of firmly clamping down on them and ejecting sjws as soon as they are seen. These inquisitors have to be both smart and informed enough to know an sjw when they see them, which can be hard because many are crafty and/or sincere “moderates” who aren’t aware of what they are doing in shifting the discourse leftward. Essentially creating an easier entry point for more radical sjws to follow. There absolutely is no other way. At least no other way that doesn’t require an extreme and directed dedication to preventing entryism. I can tell you right now, that isn’t easy. You really have to be informed on how these people operate, because they will dress up their language to try to appear like they are part of the community and some of them are extremely good at that. It really requires the most competent of the anti-sjws to do something like that effectively, and getting people dedicated and competent enough to start running all of these communities is not easy. Not only that, but unfortunately you have to reject libertarian ideals with regards to freedom of speech. I love freedom of speech generally, but specific communities have to be strict to maintain their culture because there are lots of people out there who will ruin it if given a chance. A community has to formulate their values effectively and clearly and actively enforce those values. If not, they will drift left and eventually become an sjw organization. To me it is clear what the lesser of two evils is.

My answer to the problem of entryism is a strict and authoritative inquisition with reliable and trustworthy inquisitors who have the intellectual capability and necessary knowledge to pick out even well camouflaged entryists and promptly eject them from the community. Easier said than done, but it is a practical plan on effective community governance.

There is just one problem. Wasn’t the inquisition that evil and oppressive church using their power against the poor, oppressed masses? Didn’t they just go out and murder a bunch of people willy nilly just because they were a bunch of fascist pricks? Surely such an institution should not be a source of inspiration. Surely.

Fortunately, I also provided was a link  which elaborates on why the commonly held views on the inquisition, its purpose, and the results of its actions are little more than myth. Myth originating from old protestant propaganda. The original progressives. The propaganda was passed down the generations in the west and eventually was assumed to be truth.

As it turns out, the inquisition was originally formed mainly because uneducated, illiterate mobs regularly found people they considered to be heretics against god and promptly wanted to execute them with some gusto. Or maybe that was just an excuse for a community to kill someone they didn’t like. In any event, one of the main purposes of the inquisition was to give such accused people a fair hearing, with due process and all those inconveniences, to see if they actually were heretics before they were burned to death. Specifically, the inquisition was set up so the accused were judged by someone who was actually able to read. You know, the ones who might actually have some idea about what the bible says god likes or doesn’t like.

As the inquisition took on more complexity from more humble beginnings, this was how it was structured:

Following the most progressive law codes of the day, the Church in the 13th century formed inquisitorial tribunals answerable to Rome rather than local bishops. To ensure fairness and uniformity, manuals were written for inquisitorial officials.

By the 14th century, the Inquisition represented the best legal practices available. Inquisition officials were university-trained specialists in law and theology. The procedures were similar to those used in secular inquisitions (we call them “inquests” today, but it’s the same word).

Sounds really oppressive. Let’s gather a mob and burn them at the stake.

Seriously though, maybe it is just me, but I think I would rather be judged by an inquisitor than an angry mob. Probably just me.

Moreover, unlike non-church authorities and the unruly mobs who saw heretics as evil traitors deserving of a quickly administered slow and painful death, the church felt that true heretics were in fact just lost sheep and deserved compassion. In other words, they should be lead back to the church if at all possible rather than be killed. True to their intentions, most of the people seen by the inquisition were acquitted or given a suspended sentence. Those who were truly guilty were made to confess sin, do penance, and eventually released back to the community. Only those few truly belligerent souls were ever found guilty, and it was the non-church authorities that decided the proper punishment was death. In reality, the inquisition saved many, many people from unruly mobs; far more than ever died from being found guilty. And that doesn’t even consider lynch mobs that didn’t bother getting started because they knew the inquisition would put a stop to it. Chances are that without the inquisition many more than just that minority would have been found guilty by the local yokels and would have gotten their own front row seat at the barbeque.

Considering how often leftist mobs go out of their way to ruin people, can there be any doubt that if they had the authority they would eagerly call for the same people to be killed? I don’t think so. Its a scary thought considering there is an example of mob social media attacks against typically innocent people almost every week. The last few weeks seemed to have even more than usual.

Well, the medieval inquisition seems relatively fair, but that doesn’t seem to have much to do with entryism. The Spanish inquisition specifically turns out to be the actual role-model to consider; at least the last stage.

A good place to start seems to be a summary of the entire life of the Spanish inquisition before picking the part that is best suited to being a guide in combating entryism. It seems that medieval Spain was quite the diverse place owing to various conquests by Christians and Muslims in the area. Muslims, Christians and Jews all lived side by side in the same area and attempted to get along (tongue in cheek). However, in 1391 an angry Christian mob in Barcelona and other towns went to the Jewish quarter, rounded up all the Jews, and gave them a choice between baptism and death for the exact same reasons given every other time in history something like this has ever happened. Most accepted baptism. Later the King of the area, who had made a failed attempt to stop the mob, reminded everyone that forced baptisms don’t count and allowed all Jews to return to their religion. However, most of the new converts decided to remain Catholic. These Jews for Jesus, or conversos, created an initial population which subsequently received a steady stream of additional voluntary converts (3000 alone after one debate between a rabbi and a Christian). However, most retained many of their old customs and the new Christians never fully integrated with the old Christians. Therefore, a new culture of religiously Christian, yet ethnically and culturally Jewish, people was born. Some even had arrogance enough to claim they were better Christians because they were related by blood to Jesus and Mary.

In any event, the new converso class managed to gain a fair amount of wealth and success (probably as a result of IQ differentials which are still present today). This led to old Christian nobles to become jealous and start accusing the conversos of not really being Christian; they believed the conversos were in fact still secretly Jewish and were working to infiltrate and take over the society as part of a conspiracy to destroy it from within. Though I doubt any such conspiracy actually existed, modern scholars, including Jewish ones, have embraced the conspiracy theory as part of a narrative where Jews oppressed by the Catholic church struggled to maintain their faith. Sigh. Who would have thought that Nazis and progressives would find something other than socialism to share in common (Nazi is short for National socialist), and that it would be a Jewish conspiracy theory of all things? Progressives really need to learn some basic logic, if only to maintain some consistency. The reality was most of the conversos were in fact faithful Catholics.

All these agitations and accusations by the mob, and advanced by nobles, is what led to the formation of the Spanish inquisition, which was under the authority of the Spanish government rather than the church. What ended up happening is that old Christians, not under investigation since they weren’t new converts, and practicing Jews, not bound by the Catholic church in any way, used the inquisition to try to settle scores against conversos they had personal issues with. Jews were not subject to the inquisition because the purpose of the institution was to find wayward Christians and set them back on the right path. It never did anything to actual Jews. There were certainly some abuses in the early years of the institution, but that was probably because it was under local authority rather than the church. The pope did in fact try to stop the mob’s undue influence on the determination of guilt, and to make it a policy to throw out questionable testimony. The pope specifically condemned burning people at the stake. This did not initially work because of the secular king’s control, and more substantial abuses (i.e., deaths) were had that were primarily fueled by mob agitation and hysteria.

Eventually, however, the institution was reformed and proper legal practices were implemented. Any potential secret Jews were given due process and most were found to be innocent; those guilty were treated humanely and given an opportunity to do better. These reforms ended up working out pretty well, and the Spanish inquisition eventually assumed its proper role of stopping mob violence.

Staffed by well-educated legal professionals, [the spanish inquisition] was one of the most efficient and compassionate judicial bodies in Europe. No major court in Europe executed fewer people than the Spanish Inquisition. This was a time, after all, when damaging shrubs in a public garden in London carried the death penalty. Across Europe, executions were everyday events. But not so with the Spanish Inquisition. In its 350-year lifespan only about 4,000 people were put to the stake. Compare that with the witch-hunts that raged across the rest of Catholic and Protestant Europe, in which 60,000 people, mostly women, were roasted. Spain was spared this hysteria precisely because the Spanish Inquisition stopped it at the border. When the first accusations of witchcraft surfaced in northern Spain, the Inquisition sent its people to investigate. These trained legal scholars found no believable evidence for witches’ Sabbaths, black magic, or baby roasting. It was also noted that those confessing to witchcraft had a curious inability to fly through keyholes. While Europeans were throwing women onto bonfires with abandon, the Spanish Inquisition slammed the door shut on this insanity. (For the record, the Roman Inquisition also kept the witch craze from infecting Italy.)

The Spanish inquisition got its bad name not from the early episode with conversos, however. Nor from its obviously reasonable response to the witch hysteria. Rather, it got its bad name as a result of the protestant reformation and the propaganda spewing from northern European printing presses. The Spanish decided early on that they were defenders of the Catholic church and that they were in no way going to allow the earliest iteration of the progressive memeplex to infect their country.

Innumerable books and pamphlets poured from northern presses accusing the Spanish Empire of inhuman depravity and horrible atrocities in the New World. Opulent Spain was cast as a place of darkness, ignorance, and evil. Although modern scholars have long ago discarded the Black Legend, it still remains very much alive today. Quick: Think of a good conquistador.

Sound familiar? Na, just a coincidence obviously.

In any event, this last episode is where the Spanish inquisition really shines. They were in fact combating the ancestors of the very same cathedral we still face today and did so quite effectively in the face of their main weapon of propaganda; propaganda remarkably similar to that still used today. Reasonable, informed men worked within the institution of the inquisition to make sure protestant entryists did not succeed in their culture. Even though they were firm, they did not engage excessively in executions or torture relative to their contemporaries. They merely identified entryists and gave them the option to stop trying to destroy the culture from within or face imprisonment. Ceasing to attempt to destroy the culture usually got them a slap on the wrist and they were free to go. It worked pretty well too it would seem. They also did not concern themselves with people who did not claim to be a part of the christian community. If you were part of an out-group, and you maintained your separation, you had absolutely nothing to worry about. Sounds like a good policy. Understanding the exact processes and procedures implemented by this late stage of the Spanish inquisition thus seems like an extremely valuable area of study. They took on the progressives and within their territory they won. At least they won until the protestant countries, and specifically the US, achieved much greater financial and cultural success later and were able to exert enough soft power to disrupt other cultures.

Though clearly neoreactionary communities don’t have the level of authority that the Spanish inquisition possessed, valuable lessons could be learned regardless. Every neoreactionary community requires trusted, intelligent, and knowledgeable inquisitors who can properly, fairly, and compassionately govern them. Inquisitors who nonetheless can be firm when necessary.

EDIT:

Here is another article on the Spanish inquisition.

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Institutional Capture and The Eugenic Monarchy

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I was browsing the subreddit /r/debateDE (affiliated with /r/darkenlightenment) when I stumbled across this comment in a thread on monarchy. /u/stanislawiii made an extremely astute observation about something that adds stability to government systems and specifically to democracy relative to monarchy. Something that provides an alternative to revolution for ambitious newcomers:

The issue is that in most monarchies, there’s an aristocracy that constrains the government. While the King is in charge, in most feudalist societies, the local Lord and down the aristocratic line the Earl, Duke, and Knight all wield economic power (they own the land that generates the income to fund the government) — thus if the local aristocrats all in a single voice decided not to pay tax, that’s the end of the idea. The other thing to keep in mind is that people could and often did revolt and remove bad leaders. The only country that really never had a war of succession is Japan. It’s the same ruling family for 5000 years, and while there were feudal leaders, the emperor stayed. In the rest of the world, dynasties ended when they got too ham-fisted or greedy.

On the other hand, Democracy actually prevents such a thing. Most of the real power in a democratic system is behind the throne. Lobbies and so on are the real power in a democracy, and they’re literally untouchable. No matter how bad the SJW type lobbies get in demanding things from the government, you can’t get rid of them. No matter how bad bankers get, there’s no possibility of deposing them without seriously bringing down 90% of the country. Even bringing down the government might not be enough because they aren’t in government. The CEO of JP Morgan isn’t in government, and in fact it would represent a loss of power for him to do so. As CEO of a banking system, he can buy the government, and he can have 60 Senators on the line in a hearbeat, all clammoring to do exactly what he wants. Why step down and run for a mere government position where he’s one voice in 536 (president and congress) in which no one is compelled to listen to you? And that’s the problem — there’s less accountability in democracy because the powerful simply purchase their goals from the government rather than running for themselves.

We all know why democracy is unstable in the long run and part of the reason is that special interests are able to peacefully capture the government and either crush productivity or divert production towards wasteful ends.  However, it is probable that in the short term, the ability to capture government by ambitious newcomers from the outside actually adds stability because capture is often preferable to revolution for those with the capability to do either.  It is the path of least resistance. To an extent, I disagree with /u/stanislawii’s choice of example as representative of ultimate bad because when business elites capture government it is at least a possibility that the consequence will be wealth generation; especially considering that in a Democracy they may be actively countering growth killing socialist policies. In all government structures it is possible for wealthy elites to capture government, but only in Democracy is it possible for the lowliest proles to capture government. Proles who can be expected to contribute nothing and demand everything. Consequently, the proles will parasitically bankrupt the host nation. This, ultimately, is what separates democracy from other arrangements and guarantees doom in the long-term.

However, that still leaves the question of why the Japanese imperial line has remained intact for an extremely long period when most other monarchies failed much more quickly and often had wars of succession. Mentioning this forced me to remember something I had learned in a Japanese culture and history course I once took. (Since Japanese history isn’t what I want to focus on in this blog and because I think this demonstrates a good point as a hypothetical even if it wasn’t actually implemented in the past, I am simply going to relay what I remember rather than exhaustively verify it. Feel free to research it yourself and comment if you feel so inclined.) An interesting aspect of Japanese imperial succession was that their unique marriage system allowed the position to be captured by ambitious aristocratic families. After marriage, the queen would remain living in the house of her parents rather than in her husbands house (at least for the emperor). Consequently, she would also raise her children in her father’s household away from the emperor. The result of this arrangement was that the next Emperor was mostly influenced by people who were not related to the previous imperial line. Should the current emperor die, the de facto leader (regent) would become the maternal grandfather of the 1st son of the recently deceased Emperor. In addition, since the new emperor grew up with his maternal family, he was likely to desire to advance their interests as a result of his experience as much as from his biological relation. An ambitious aristocratic family only had to arrange for the emperor to marry their daughters to have a shot at ultimate power. Wealth and power made it possible for them to make such arrangements. In this way, as the winds of fortune and genetics favored some families over others, they were able to impose themselves and their interests into the imperial line. The ambitious newcomer did not need to resort to revolution against the current order to gain power, which consequently would have also resulted in the lose of an important Schelling point in the form of the emperor. In other words, the possibility of institutional capture was able to provide at least some stability by being an available alternative to revolution. Whenever it was possible for a powerful newcomer to cause a revolution, they very often opted for the path of least resistance instead. Because there was a mechanism of capture available, multitudes of powerfully elite families worked for institutional capture rather than revolution. Of course, there were still periods of war and disorder, but it can be imagined that without this mechanism there likely would have been more violence than there was.

Another positive benefit of the Japanese arrangement is that periodically the imperial line would have genes from the most capable and successful families available mixed in. In theory, this should result in a positive eugenic pressure on that line and ensure that the relative fraction of competent monarchs stays high. If hereditary rule is fragile against genetic decline of the dynasty line over generations, then the Japanese model provides a eugenic mechanism to counter that trend. For those interested in restoring some form of monarchy, this might be a good example to draw from. Requiring monarchs to select a spouse from among the families who demonstrate the greatest levels of success through meritocratic mechanisms could ensure high levels of ability from generation to generation in the ruling dynasty. I am thinking of economic success mostly, but that doesn’t have to be the only measure of success used as criteria.

Thinking about the fact that institutional capture was both present in and provided at least some stability to at least two radically different government systems makes me draw several conclusions.

  1. Institutional capture will always be tempting to some and thus present in all times and in all forms of government. There isn’t anything that can be done to prevent this.
  2. Even if institutional capture could be eliminated, removing it as an option only makes it more likely that violent revolutions will be attempted because there is nothing else that could be tried. Some stability would be sacrificed by designing the perfect system that was capture proof.
  3. It is likely inevitable that given enough time any form of Government will get to a state where it is severely dysfunctional. In such a case, institutional capture (relative to revolution) becomes a desired mechanism of transition rather than something to guard against.

One of the “virtues” most trumpeted about democracy is that it provides a peaceful mechanism for institutional capture that in theory is supposed to prevent bad governments from perpetuating indefinitely. To some degree this may be true because it prevents the absolute worst possible governments. However, it also prevents the best forms of government from ever getting a chance because sometimes the best medicines just don’t taste very good and the general public lacks the self-discipline to take such medicine; hence the tendency to euphemistically refer to democracies as “mediocracies.” In addition, in practical experience democracies tend to get captured by the worst forms of special interests; interests which usually demand government money without providing any productivity in return.  At least the powerful business elite who slows growth by arranging to have a monopoly still runs a business and is providing some jobs. You can’t say the same about most entitlements.

The point here is that even though democratic forms of institutional capture are indeed risible, the higher-level phenomenon is here to stay whether anyone likes it or not and that is fine because it is on occasion a good thing. Since neoreaction is in the business of proposing hypothetical high-quality governments, they will need to grapple with building in peaceful mechanisms of institutional capture which can consistently lead to above average governance. Imperial Japan provides a non-democratic example of peaceful institutional capture and at least hints that other mechanisms might exist for the sufficiently imaginative.

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