Is Richard Spencer controlled opposition?

Some conspiratorial accusations have been going around about Richard Spencer, founder of the national policy institute and Radix journal. The claim is that he is “controlled opposition.” The idea being that he is a government shill who is tricking people into exposing their real identity and/or trying to radicalize the “alt-right” to discredit the overall movement. Evidenced by giving “Nazi Salutes” and more seriously, allowing the mainstream media to attend his conference. These claims were voiced most loudly by Mike Cernovich, a journalist who made a name for himself during gamergate and the trump campaign. Paul Joseph Watson of Alex Jones’ Infowars comes in at a close second in spreading this.

Notably, infowars made a substantial pivot during the trump campaign to somewhat distance themselves from previous conspiratorial material to a greater sympathy with alt-right (alt-lite?). After the pivot, they seem to have in general as much credibility as the mainstream media. I never thought I would say that, but it has only a little to do with changes at infowars and a lot more to do with the suicidal “reporting” in the MSM. When almost everything the MSM says is a lie, it isn’t hard to make a name for yourself telling the truth, even selectively.

Vox Day and some other prominent figures also seemed at least sympathetic to this view. Vox seemingly made his journey to the right through gamergate and the rabid/sad puppies campaigns. In Vox’s case, support for conspiracies seems to be a result of naked financial interest. He is named as editor on Cernovich’s book and likely stands to lose money, perhaps a substantial amount, if the broader community turns on Cernovich. I like Vox’s writing, but this naked self-interest in turning on a fellow traveler doesn’t help his credibility. The only ones deserving of a harsher fate than leftists are traitors. And just to be clear, disagreements between like-minded individuals is entirely different from the treachery of siding with leftists against fellow travelers.

I have been a participant in the Dark Enlightenment and Neoreaction for a fairly long time now. Not as long as some of the veterans, but definitely longer than most of those who now call themselves alt-right. It is hard to remember exact dates, but I started reading Moldbug in late 2013 (see also), I took over the darkenlightenment subreddit shortly thereafter, and started this blog in late May of 2014. Now I know that that isn’t quite the same thing as the alt-right as currently configured, which really didn’t exist to any substantial degree at the time, but there was and is a lot of overlap and you get to know the various publications involved. NPI, Radix, and Spencer were all well known to us back then and their work was respected and well-liked. So much so that he was easily included in an old radish post called “The heroes of the Dark Enlightenment.” The page has been taken down due to copyright complaints based on the images used, but I helpfully saved a [PDF] copy. The image at the top of this post was taken from there. The heroes of the Dark Enlightenment post was made before Spencer or NPI had gotten all that much fame. In addition, his publications have been a part of my endorsed site system ever since I created it about a year and a half ago. Well before the rise of the alt-right to its current prominence.

This presence shows Spencer et al have been around for a very long time producing content with a very consistent and respectable tone. Spencer has, in my opinion, proven his sincerity and genuineness through this long and appreciated work. His group talks about real issues and never resort to unnecessary racial epithets when discussing the biological reality of race (and sometimes gender) issues. I have a series of rules on my sub which lays out that any race or gender issue can be discussed (yes, even about jews), but it should be discussed in a rational and respectable manner. Basically, you can talk about Jewish influence in campaign finance and media, but avoid saying “gas the kikes.” You can also talk about black violence, but “lynch the niggers” isn’t necessary and doesn’t help your argument with respect to fellow travelers and curious, potential enlistments. Never once has anything produced by Spencer, NPI, or Radix ever violated these very strictly enforced rules (ask my subscribers) and that includes the transcript of the NPI speech at the heart of this controversy. Moreover, even though Spencer did say “Hail Trump” mostly ironically and to be funny, that is quite obvious, he did not himself even do the salute. To quote Steve Sailer “Here we have giving a Roman salute a Vietnamese minor league Kardashian, Tila Tequilia, and an alienated half Jew. Is this a sizable demo?” These two who don’t fit the alt-right demographic undoubtedly did it for the lolz as well, anyway, but that is besides the point. In what sane world would Spencer be blamed for their actions? Why should we be upset when leftists are triggered? Also, have we already forgotten this is no different from what half of the internet has been doing for the last year?

Now, there may be a genuine complaint about inviting the MSM. They are vile, lying cockroaches and their presence puts well-meaning attendees at risk of doxxing. A reporter from vice apparently had to be kicked out because he was trying to take pictures of attendees for this purpose. Unsurprisingly, they also lied about the content of Spencer’s speech saying that he was calling Jews soulless, when in reality he was referring to the media as a whole because of how much they lie. I don’t know which is more ironic, that they immediately proved his point by highlighting the very sentence he used to call them out or their implicit admission that Jews are heavily over-represented in the media and do the bulk of the soulless lying. It is so stupid that it almost seems like a divine influence intervened to cause the seemingly unforced error, at least for those with the eyes to see. The whole of the last year has seemed like that actually.

Now note that I say there MAY be a genuine complaint, not that there definitely is one. After the last year, I can’t deny how effective such crude terminology and iconography has been when used in the context of triggering brainwashed leftists. Every time something like this blows up, it inevitably gets proven that the media is full of shit and that many more people stop listening to them. Whatever differences Neoreaction and the Alt-right may have ( The highlights being distrust of crudeness, naive clinging to democracy by some on the alt-right, and abhorrence of mob populism), the end result in this particular case is equally lauded as good by both parties. Every time trust in the cathedral is lowered, we get that much closer to a true restoration. Spencer’s strategy of dealing with the media may work in this context and towards this aim (and this is in addition to getting more eyes reading about alternatives to progressivism). However, my opinion is that it is potentially a very dangerous gambit. The media has and will stir up a mob of proles who could physically attack and/or kill Spencer or his attendees. That is Spencer’s risk to take if he wants to personally, but I think it would be a good idea for him to avoid putting his supporters in such a risky position in the future. However, this is a mild concern and in no way warrants any sort of condemnation of Spencer.

This entire controversy was a lie manufactured by the media, and the likes of Cernovich, Vox Day, and Paul Watson, among others, jumped right on the band-wagon uncritically. They sided with lying leftists and attacked to the right. That is treachery, plain and simple. All of these people could be classified, more or less, as Johnny-come-latelys. We more commonly call this phenomenon “entryism” in neoreaction, and the only good reaction is expulsion. This is especially true of Cernovich and Watson. I had never heard of them until the trump campaign, and think it is more than a little likely that they just attached to the phenomenon of the reactionary right to further their own personal self interests. That is, increasing prominence to enhance sales of media and/or books (or bogus vitamin supplements in the case of infowars). They weren’t around when the reactionary right was much less famous and had much, much less glory. Richard Spencer was. He has seniority and has proven himself. If anyone needs to be disavowed and exiled, it is Spencer’s critics. The cause being treason.

I am going to be charitable though, because these folks, who have been misguided by the lugenpresse with respect to Spencer, have done some decent work exposing SJWs, the lying media, etc. I suspect this whole thing started as an impulsive and uncritical rant by Cernovich, who now is sticking to his guns despite his mistake being more than a little obvious. Why is he and others sticking to their guns? Ego. So many people feel the need to inject their own personality into the content and topics they discuss. They are their positions and vice versa. Cernovich, Watson, Vox, Milo, and a number of others at least partially generate a personality cult to help sell their brand and content. While I am quite sure that helps their bottom line, it doesn’t help ensure impartial appraisal of their own actions. And certainly won’t help them acknowledge a mistake like this. My suggestion is that Pride is a sin, and that egos should be swallowed, mistakes acknowledged, and we should all move on. The left is the real enemy.

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Adjusting the Connotation of White Privilege

To those who are paying attention, there is a lot of anti-white sentiments in our culture and they seem to be increasing at a dramatic rate year after year. You can see this article written that seeks to ban whites from holding elected office in student governments in Britain. Considering Britain is a natively white country, the audaciousness is astounding. That it is published in a mainstream newspaper, rather than some fringe blog, is even more concerning. In another example, a student banned white men from her organization then claimed she wasn’t racist because racism is a quality unique to whites. Sure. Or racism is a word used to attack whites by other ethnic groups, and that power isn’t as helpful if whites can use it too. There are plenty of other examples, but this drives the point home. A significant portion of society hates white people, and white males especially, and would like nothing better than to turn us all into second class citizens; in our own countries. Enough people agree with this that they can publish such articles and opinions in mainstream outlets. It isn’t clear that they won’t succeed either.

Knowing the attitudes of these people towards myself and people like me makes it very clear that they are my enemy. They want to see me and my kin reduced to nothing politically, socially, and economically. They probably would love to see us all dead too; though they usually avoid stating this preference publicly. Usually.

I didn’t ask for this. I have never gone out of my way to inconvenience anyone because of their race or gender. I would have loved to continue on neutral to the whole business of identity politics. This sort of increasing and outspoken aggression has convinced me to take a side. My side; which in this case means my people’s side. Since whites are being attacked as group, they must resist as a group. There are still many whites who have yet to realize this important turning point in their attitudes, but as the rhetoric against whites continues to increase, so will the willingness to “pick a side” increase. In theory, people will tend to pick the side that best promotes their personal interests; at least when things become saliently dire. In this case, that means picking the side of anyone that promotes a positive white identity; and if you look around there are preciously few groups with such a message. Given the candidates, I worry that this may end up very badly for a lot of people. Still, if forced to do so, I will choose which ever group is available and has its interests aligned with my own. If there is only one group which will protect my person and my interests as a white male, then the choice will be a no-brainer based purely on self-interest. Here’s to hoping against worse case scenarios, though.

One method of attempting to turn the tables on enemies, hopefully well before anything nasty happens, is to take their rhetoric and reconnotate or redefine it. By redefining racism as something justified and worthwhile, by showing drastically contrasting stats for criminal acts for example, you could make it so people no longer have to dodge the accusation. In fact, they may even embrace it. The attack term thus looses its claws and can even become an asset. There are many terms which could, with variable levels of difficulty, be redefined in such a way (racism has a long way to go, though).  Some time ago, there was a very good article which conceded “white privilege” as a concept worth discussing, but that it was not something that white people just got because they happened to be white. White privilege is a normative commons that white people as a group earn by foregoing opportunity costs. For example, stores where whites are the main customers can leave their merchandise out in the open and unguarded because whites as a group accept the opportunity cost of not stealing. As a group they support the normative commons of having open selections. Some other ethnicities support similar normative commons, and may even have commons unique to them, while others do not. The groups who do not support such commons and regularly steal items from stores are faced with straight-forward results; merchandise is kept behind the counter or there is a heavy security presence. Is this racism? Well, racist is just another word for someone who accepts the reality of group differences, so I guess so. Nothing wrong with that at all.

This is a nice bit of white magic, but I think we can go even further. White privilege can be more than an abstraction; it can be a consciously pursued policy. Basically, white privilege is something whites should actively work towards granting other whites. When given a choice, say you have a project and have a series of different people to choose to hire, choose the white male. Choose the option that keeps the benefits within your in-group. Clearly the government limits choice for many businesses, but there are still opportunities where white males can be consciously favored by other white males. Do so every chance you can get without running afoul of the law (or when the eye of Sauron won’t spot you). We must still render unto Caesar, and thus follow the laws even when they are absurd, harm ourselves, and harm our group because we are not in a position of sovereignty, but that doesn’t mean we are completely unable to act. (The restrictions suck, but it is what it is).

The way I see it, as a white male I do not owe anything to anyone who hasn’t earned it. I especially do not owe anything to groups of people who regularly and without shame call for using the government to increase the difficulties for me and my kin; in the countries that were single-handedly built by MY ancestors, not theirs. Anyone who has applied for a job in recent years gets a constant reminder of anti-white discrimination on every. single. application. I think the constant reminder of the state of things is what is most frustrating. Businesses are forced to preferentially hire minorities over me, regardless of relative merits. If I can go out of my way to return the favor by discriminating against the people who discriminate against me, then I will. Quite happily I might add.

Even so, I realize that most people of any group are just trying to get along with their lives. I do not, and do not advocate, going out of the way to inconvenience or harm them. What I am advocating is going out of your way to benefit your in-group whenever possible. Given a choice, pick the option which ends up helping the white male. The other people are merely left at a neutral position; or to pursue similar treatment from their own co-ethnics. Undoubtedly they receive it all the time. Other than whites, all groups do this as a normal part of their lives and culture; and there is nothing wrong with it. There is no reason we shouldn’t also.

Recently, I was faced with such a decision. I needed some work performed and I posted a job to a forum asking for applications. I was given 10 or so options to choose from. Most of the applicants were ethnic minorities from other countries and two were white male Americans. As far as quality of work goes, most seemed perfectly capable of completing the project successfully based on their portfolios. Some of the foreign labor even had more references than the white males. At the end of the day I decided to use racism to help me with my decision. I gave the job to one of the white males, and the deciding factor was his identity as a white male. I couldn’t be happier with the results of the contract either. It exceeded my expectations.

Though granting white privilege purely to benefit your in-group is worthwhile on its own, it also increases the probability you will be the beneficiary of a higher quality performance or have better work completed. As a group, you know that whites have a long history called western civilization in which they collectively performed very well. There are exceptions, but you increase your probability of success by choosing someone from a group with a good track record. Not to mention group differences in IQ tests. By that logic, you could also use racism successfully in choosing whom to hire even when a white male isn’t an option. Northeast Asians, like the Japanese, would also be very likely to provide good labor. So would ethnic Indians (dot, not the feather). By applying your knowledge of group differences discriminately, you are more likely to get the quality you want. Though, you still have to work within the bounds of the law.

A person who utilizes white privilege in their business dealings is moral because to benefit your in-group is moral self interest. I am not saying that someone shouldn’t have to earn their white privilege, they do, but if they can then you help yourself by selectively helping them. Or, that would be true if most whites would act this way because the benefits would eventually hit everyone in the community. It is something worth working toward. In addition, you are also more likely to get higher quality work, and are less likely to be screwed over. European high trust societies mean that whites generally are more trustworthy as a result of their genetic inheritance. As savvy as Asians are at building civilizations, there is a reason they prefer to invest in governments, banks, and other institutions that are primarily European run. As a group, Europeans tend to engage in corruption less often and therefore their money is safer than with their own co-ethnics.

So be proud of your white privilege. Be proud to grant white privilege. Its a good thing, use it. You’ve earned it.

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Reversing the Demographic Winter

I found this documentary via reddit which found it via thinking housewife. It discusses an issue of deep concern to the dark enlightenment and that is the issue of population decline. For what I guess is a mainstream documentary, it is refreshingly frank with regards to the negative consequences modernism/post-modernism is having on our culture and subsequently population. Big factors in this decline and identified by the doc are feminism, the break down of sexual continence, divorce friendly laws, and promoting careerist women (mostly discussed in part 2) All of these things work together to destroy the family and set off a runaway effect of ever decreasing fertility. Watch it, it is pretty good:

Part 1

Part 2

As the documentary shows, it isn’t just white Europeans that are having fertility declines even if they are are most advanced in said decline (with the exception of some Asian countries). Even the countries which supply the current batch of immigrants to the west may not be able to keep that up if the same trends advance in their countries and they are only lagging by maybe 20-30 years behind the west. The whole white genocide meme put forward by identitarians may end up needing an overhaul and be redefined as human genocide. Actually, I think it is better called human suicide than genocide as it is mostly a voluntary action. Not to discount the fact that it is intentionally inspired cultural marxism, but people do assent to its ideas more or less voluntarily. It is an interesting idea to think that the immigration issue may be resolved by fertility drops in the rest of the world, though I am not holding my breath on that one. Lots of people worry about Muslim fertility, myself included, but Iran for example has one of the worst fertility crises in the middle east. Clearly this isn’t a European only problem. It is a global problem with various groups merely at different stages of it and with a few particularly disturbing exceptions to the trend. Though most of that population will probably remain confined to their current locations.

Of course,  I have written several posts tangentially related to this. Of Madonnas and whores is one, shrug is another. The first is on how a culture which has a healthy fertility rate is structured and the other is on how men should respond to the current horribly designed structure. It occurs to me that these two posts probably appear on the surface to be at odds with one another because one attempts to reverse the problem while the other attempts to exacerbate it. However, there is a method to my deep and frightful madness. I refer you to the analogy of a frog in boiling water. If you put a frog into luke-warm water and then slowly bring it to a boil, the frog will swim merrily and make no attempt at escape until it is too late. However, if you drop the frog into water that is already very hot it spends its few remaining moments among the living desperately attempting to escape. (I have never actually attempted to boil live frogs, so maybe they don’t act as described, but the analogy creates a vivid picture anyway and is thus rhetorically useful.)

The analogy demonstrates that it is the nature and speed of the transition which is the governing force of the response to the change rather than the destination of the change itself. A jarring transition spurs reaction, while a slow transition results in docile acquiescence. The purpose of articles like shrug is to create such a sudden and uncomfortable transition in our culture that it becomes fertile for introspection and ultimately action. Well, hopefully the correct sort of reaction like that described in Of Madonnas and whores and other articles. By magnifying the problems faced by both family destroying women and the state, you may, just may, catalyze some pragmatic thinking. Not to mention sparing as many individual men from the machinations of the state as possible.

Of course I am just some trivial blogger who very few people read. : ( My articles are likely to be quite inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Or maybe not. There are a lot of men in positions which make them quite receptive to a new and sympathetic view of their situation that not only successfully diagnoses their problem, but also suggests some sort of solution. It is that last part that is most important. Men naturally want solutions. If there is a problem in their lives, they are much more likely compared to women to take some sort of unilateral action. Even if there are downsides to that action in this situation, the alternative is something akin to slavery. Worse maybe because of the culture of contempt directed towards so-called “dead-beat dads.” Therefore, the level of acceptable costs and downsides with respect to the working of the divorce industry are quite high. Even more, many men are likely to accept a great deal of problems if it means they can ensure that the state and the parasitic ex-wife come up empty handed merely as a result of well-deserved spite.

However, there is one last piece of this puzzle which must be dealt with before men shrug en masse and inflict a painful jolt on the system. Men have to be ideologically deprogrammed. Both social conservatives and the cultural marxists demand sacrifice from men for the sake of women and children and indoctrinate them accordingly. Sacrifice of men for those groups isn’t so bad when it is paired with the rewards and assurances given them in a traditional context. It was merely a more or less fair contract. The dominant culture on the left and “right” have decided that they can get away with taking those rewards and assurances away without any consequences. Well, we already know that didn’t turn out to be true, but even with the current consequences things seem to be accelerating leftward rather than reversing. Perplexing that. It seems that the consequences haven’t been severe or blatant enough which is why it is probably still the time of creative destruction rather than direct building (outside of individual properly patriarchal families, a difficult thing to achieve today even for the most skilled). Acceleration towards the left singularity has continued unaltered because of the so far effective ideological indoctrination men face from both the left and “right.”

The incentives that should result in men exiting en masse are already well established and have been for a long time. The only thing keeping them around is the tiny thread of cultural mind control; a thread that is ripe for the cutting. This indoctrination mainly revolves around questions of what is and isn’t moral. So long as good men believe that exiting from the unfair arrangement is immoral, they will be loathe to do so regardless of the cost to themselves. In shrug, the question of the morality of exit is directly addressed, although briefly:

I can think of the obvious objection [with respect to exit from alimony and child support]: “Won’t someone please think of the children!” Well, I am. I am thinking about children (and the whole family), but I have escaped myopia and took a view that extends all the way to the horizon. Children are done a huge disservice by easy divorce. It is a fact that they are better off when their parents stay together until at least they grow up. So long as the system exists in the current state, the only thing we can be sure of is that millions more men and children will be caught in its clutches in the future. Suffering will only increase and increase. Anything that lets the system of easy, no-fault divorce with the concomitant asset division last even one week longer than it has to is immoral.

In a properly functioning society, going after fathers who shirked their duty is a just imperative. We don’t live in a properly functioning society. These days it is rare that family breakdown is caused by men unwilling to be fathers. Worse, they have absolutely no power to prevent the destruction of the family that causes so much suffering to everyone, especially children. When family breaks down, it is not their fault. Such men are thus morally guiltless for leaving. As much should be explained to them and they should be encouraged to shrug. The men who willingly continue to pay into this system are essentially complicit in its perpetuation, at least once they understand how it works. They are just like Hank Rearden who through his diligent efforts kept the morally bankrupt society going that much longer than otherwise had to be. He did this despite emotional torture by his ungrateful family and incrementally increased injustice towards him by society. By keeping the current system solvent, today’s men ensure that more men in the future will be dragged into it. By shrugging, they bring the day of its collapse closer and ensure that less children will ultimately be caught up in it. Continuing to pay into the system, judged by the number of future men and children who will be dragged into it by its continuation, is thus itself the height of immorality.

In other words, it is the demands society place on men without compensation or assurance that is immoral. Men not only have a justification for exit, they are morally obligated to demand their dues for their sacrifice because if they do not they are dooming future generations to the perdition caused by incorrigibly capricious women and the ever more greedy state. If they are not given what they are owed, they must exit as a moral imperative. The elucidation of pragmatic morality here cuts the thread of indoctrination and prepares men psychologically for the difficult decision to pursue exit as the difficult solution to their involuntary servitude. The sting of mass exit would then ultimately facilitate some move back towards tradition.

At least this is the theory. Why should anyone listen to someone like me? Well it seems that at least one person has. Though I am not a MGTOW myself, I subscribe to the subreddit because they sometimes have interesting links. If anything, MGTOW philosophy will just make the demographic winter even worse so ultimately it has no promise as an effective strategy for a better future. Anyway, I stumbled on this self post which stated:

Frankly, we need to be very specific here about a certain aspect of going your own way. I’m looking for that direct insider info strictly speaking of alimony and child support obligations and uprooting and leaving it all behind.

Has anyone up and left, and the consequences be damned? Like, as in – I Don’t Give One Single Fuck what the ex, or the courts are gonna do to me type of attitude.

Seriously looking into this, if the statistics of non-payment of child support are such that “billions of dollars have gone uncollected” Then I must be living a delusion that I will in-fact go to jail for non-payment, and this can all be managed in a way that we can call their bluff and move on with our lives.

So speaking of what did you do, how far did you move? Out of county, out of state, out of country? How far did the legal system pursue you in your new found location? What and who did you leave behind? What would you have rather actually kept and/or sold or left behind? What legal ramifications were the result of leaving your “free-range prison” behind? (Think alimony, child support, garnishments, mortage, etc.) Were you able to successfully break free forever? Or did you come back and have to pay the piper? How did you hide assets like a home, or your money from being legally stolen from you? Would it have been a better idea to keep the home and rent it out while away, or sell the home because of the headaches, ramifications and hassle while gone? How have your children taken the change, and have you managed to keep in touch? Has the ex held them back from keeping a relationship with you because you are no longer paying for the extortion known as child support? Has she kept the children from relatives while you are gone? How much better was the new life compared to the old life? Any other comments or words of wisdom we could all potentially glean from you that aren’t covered here?

We are not discussing the morality of such decisions, or how you came to get to this point. We all come to our own point of no return, and I for one, and you yourself do not deserve to be ground into dust with no recompense for the rest of our lives.

Of course this reminded me of my shrug article so I told him about it in a comment to which he replied:

You have a really great website! I’ve read that article before too, and re-read it.

Flattery aside, I feel a bit like I may have opened pandora’s box (it was bound to be opened eventually by someone). If we take the 1% rule seriously, then there may be at least 100 more men out there somewhere who read that article and took it to heart and are seriously considering implementing the suggestion. That is assuming I have seen every instance of a re-post of this article, which I probably haven’t and would mean there are more than this. Of course, even if they don’t act on the idea it is in their head and they will think about it regularly because they will be faced with their burdens regularly. They will also likely spread the idea to other men (with or without linking back to me) and some of those men will act. The redefinition of appropriate moral response to the current divorce regime could eventually have significant repercussions and things will get worse generally before they get better. I have, in concert with the efforts of many others, engaged in black magic. What is and is not moral is changed to be a more accurate representation of reality. Moreover, from what we know about moral signaling behavior this redefinition could spread quickly and rabidly if it becomes entrenched in some dedicated minority. Considering the current incentive structure, such a result might be expected. People will fall all over themselves to do the right thing in the eyes of their peers, especially if they have overwhelming personal incentives rarely present in other moral signaling games.

All I can say is that I hope my appraisal of the situation is correct and that this action brings closer the light at the end of the tunnel. If I’m wrong about this, though I don’t think I am, then the spreading of the idea could result in some difficult to reverse consequences. Either way, what is done is done and the lid can not be put back on the box. At the very least, progressive culture will suffer mightily for ignoring gnon. Most importantly, though, individual men will be more likely to free themselves from involuntary servitude and that is a positive moral change even if that is the only positive change that results.


Here is another self-post titled “How to shrug at the family courts and evade slavery.” Though I didn’t ask him if this had anything to do with my article in my comment, the wording suggests he had read it.

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Institutional Capture and The Eugenic Monarchy

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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