Monday, March 3, 2014

Capitalism versus Democracy

America's true king!
I've been meaning to post these for a while, but since the subject came up on a recent post, now seems like an appropriate time. They are a number of links examining the Neoreactionary movement, or the discussion of whether we need to return to a pre-Enlightement form of society.

The Dark Enlightenment: The Creepy Internet Movement You’d Better Take Seriously (Vocativ)

Why are U.S. conservatives so obsessed with monarchies? (The Week)

America Needs a King (Politico) and Where Is Your King, America? (Gawker)

Geeks for Monarchy (Tech Crunch)

Trotskyite singularitarians for Monarchism! A political speculation. (Charlie Stross):
Despair is a common reaction to defeat, as is Stockholm syndrome: with the impending death of neoliberalism becoming clearer to the many libertarians who assumed it would bring about the small government/small world goals of the paleolibertarians—as it becomes clear that the fruits of neoliberalism are instability and corporate parasitism rather than liberty and justice for all—is it unreasonable of them to look to an earlier, superficially simpler settlement?

This we come full-circle. The Trotskyites of old have donned the Armani suits of libertarian and neoliberal think-tank mavens. And the libertarians have begun to search for a purer pre-modern framework with which to defend themselves against the searing vision of the radiant future. Welcome to the century of the Trotskyite monarchists, the revolutionary reactionaries, and the fringe politics of the paradoxical! I hope you brought popcorn: it's going to be nothing if not entertaining.
Thoughts on the Neoreactionaries (Noahpinion)

"Neo-Reactionaries" drop all pretense: End democracy and bring back lords! (David Brin)

The Anti-Reactionary FAQ (Slate Star Codex) From that entry:
It is a staple of Reactionary thought that everything is getting gradually worse. As traditional ideas cede to their Progressive replacements, the fabric of society tears apart on measurable ways. Michael Anissimov writes:

    The present system has every incentive to portray itself as superior to all past systems. Reactionaries point out this is not the case, and actually see present society in a state of severe decline, pointing to historically high levels of crime, suicide, government and household debt, increasing time preference, and low levels of civic participation and self-reported happiness as a few examples of a current cultural and historical crisis.

Reactionaries usually avoid getting this specific, and with good reason. Now that Michael has revealed the domains in which he is critiquing modern society, we can start to double-check them to see whether Progressivism has indeed sent everything to Hell in a handbasket.
My first impression is that I've levelled a lot of those criticisms myself. But I cerainly don't advocate returning to manoarchy. In fact, I don't see what any of these things have to do with monarchy at all! All the problems named above seem to stem from modern corporate capitalism i.e. the breaking of traditional lifeways in favor of expansionary industrial capitalism. They have nothing to do with "Progressivism." Democracy has made us depressed and suicidal? No, it's compulsory schooling, boring cubicle jobs, incessant advertising, and loss of community that have done that. I think they're misunderstanding the root cause of their criticisms.

Note that the social maladies lamented above are largely absent from traditional cutures like the Amish, or hunter-gatherer cultures, for example, neither of which are ruled by kings. Are these Neoreactionaries proposing limiting technology or capitalism? I don't get it.

It's hard to believe this is a serious topic of discussion in twenty-first century America. Things like this tend to make me believe that we're inevitably headed back toward the pyramid-shaped feudal social structure that we've had for most of post-agricultural human history as the oil runs out.


  1. Anissimov is the poster boy for Pinky Dick White Geeks.

    1. I thought that title would belong to Curtis Yarvin, AKA Mencius Moldbug.


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