This promises to be a crooked investigation. To begin with Trump and arrive at Fnargl. So far my expertise on the subject has been confined to twitter, but as the Trumpenvolk plant their frenzied memes ever more forcefully into my cortex, slowly conditioning my thoughts until I find myself prostrate before the Trump Shrine I have built in my wardrobe, rubbing the mutant head of TrumpKek I have tattooed on my inner thighs, and fantasizing about our next first lady in every honorable position, I realize I have to remind myself that my marginal support for our Savior Of The White Race comes solely from a state of detached nihilistic irony. So that’s why I’m writing this. I only hope this admission of less-than-sincere enthusiasm will not provoke the Trumpsters, or is it Trumpets, no, Trumpists, Trumpians? … Anyway, the last thing I want to do is fall on the radar of the Trumpenvolk as an enemy of The Cause, because those guys rule the internet, and I have no intention of becoming Jew-fuel for their oven parties. So let’s keep this analysis objective.
Let’s start with the basics: Populism. This has been a target of anti-Trump rhetoric from the beginning, namely, he’s an unprincipled demagogue, feeding off the growths of resentment that have been festering in the hearts of the fashy-inclined ever since they entered the ZOG-mandated education system, where they were made to attend pious lectures on the pernicious influence of their Aryan purity, and coerced into watching interracial cuckold-fetish pornography until their viking hearts screamed out in the primordial anguish of their selfish genetics. Yes, life under the stomping boot of The Synagogue was a dystopian nightmare for every budding pan-European identitarian. But what the hell am I talking about? … Oh yes, demagoguery, which is to be strictly distinguished from democracy. See, the first is where a con-artist manipulates the masses by appealing to their base and rotten natures, winning their support with false promises and offensive lies, dividing a populace with an “us vs them” mentality, playing an exclusionary game of tribal intimidation, breeding conflict and hatred, bigotry and mega-Hitlers, and relying on the popularity that comes from being the schoolyard bully, while all the weak-willed and domesticated slave-minds fall in line behind them, hypnotized like stroked chickens, and grossly infatuated with the erotics of domineering sadism. The second is where respected representatives work hard through public service to win a legitimating majority of votes from an altruistic and educated electorate. That’s a big difference. It’s the difference between lies and truth. Between barbarism and civility. Between hard fascism and soft socialism. But you don’t need me to remind you.
What we need is a mechanism that will prevent majority decision-making from crossing the ever-threatening threshold into dastardly mob rule. In theory, this should be a breeze, considering the vast gulf between tyranny and democracy that we have outlined above. Social consensus brooks no debate, democracy is the very opposite and antithesis of tyranny. Our only problem is the ease with which the former transforms into the latter. Quite the paradox of synthesis!
Coincidentally, the giants of media have recently re-opened the debate on possible filters for democratic enfranchisement. The premise is quite simple: ignorant people vote for bad policies, like lower income taxes. These misinformed voters are oblivious to the fact that government spending is the main stimulus for our economy of fairness and equality, and without it, we’d all be up the allegorical creek without a welfare recipient paddling into the new subsidized housing next door. Disastrous gentrification would be all but inevitable, and that’s a major cause of global warming, terrorism, crime, poverty, you name it, it’s bad. There has to be a better way. Luckily, we have epistemology. Yes, that’s right, if there is a decision to be made, more knowledge ensures better outcomes. How convenient! Now all we have to do is spread the gospel of education reform, because if there’s one thing we can be sure of in the West it’s that education is universal. A fact is a fact: undeniable, solid, encyclopedic. Epistemology knows no privilege. Can there be anything more egalitarian than learning? It’s available to everyone. Well, except the disabled, and maybe the majority of the electorate, but that only proves the rule. Take for instance the idea of a mandatory civics test in order to be eligible for voting rights. Mr. Harsanyi has obviously thought this proposal through for a long time, and he provides a few examples of the kinds of questions he feels are essential to his litmus test for civic participation. Two of these are “what rights are granted by the first amendment?” and a related inquiry “what is freedom of religion?”
Well, readers? Do you have the answer? We don’t have all day. 10 more seconds. Pens down! If you answered, “the right to believe and say anything I damn well please provided I understand that it can be persecuted as libel in a court of law, you low-life media schmuck”, you’d be correct, even if a little needlessly provocative. Congratulations! You have proven yourself to be educated. I think we can now all feel a lot safer in your hands. The benefits of this type of knowledge is endless. For example, if we organised a federal program to teach every Joe and Grace the fundamentals of the constitution, they would learn that there is nothing in the document that grants authority to the federal government to preside over the education of the populace. Yes, if you want to teach your children that a coming apocalypse will involve an alien mothership piloted by a Thetan Fnargl that will genocide the Caucasian race and restore the Black Nation to its former position as masters of the universe the government can do nothing more than protect your right to believe it. Hail Xenu! Freedom of religion baby. It’s the bomb. Harold Bloom’s American Religion is unthinkable without it. It’s enriched our lives with lively cults and heresies for centuries. Sure, the earth is a disk carried on the back of cosmic turtle-riding elephants, it’s says so in my sacred book. Whatchagonnadoaboutit? After all, a fact is a fact, and the first amendment is a fact of law. So talk to the hand.
Ok, ok. I know what you’re thinking. Kevin Williamson thinks so too. Even Ilya Somin is wary of the objectivity of a political factoid filter. The problem with facts is twofold. First, it’s not certain that more knowledge will lead to a change in preferences. Second, there’s no way to be sure your knowledge tests are free from bias. You have to give WaPo credit for giving us both sides of the debate on facts. They’ve tried to give us all the facts on the efficacy of facts. What would David Hume think of all this? Will our philosophers help us out here? Or is that entire tradition dominated by western imperialism to the point of intrinsic and irretrievable bias? Are facts factual, or are they backdoor values? A sneaky method of rigging the system under the presumption of benign guidance? A sham of objectivity peddled by the ignorance of amateur epistemologists? The mind figuratively boggles. Can democratic education survive this subversion of its key tenets of unbiased inclusivity? I’ll leave that question as an exercise for the reader.
The night is getting old, and we’ve only just started. Stay with us noble browser of the blogosphere! That was only an introduction. Not more than a joke. But now we’re getting into the meat. This is where the mask comes off. The gaping maw of our problematic yawns before us. Nevermind that we could reveal too much of our nature. It’s too late to stop now. Already there are dark snares lurking in the peripheries, and mocking voices, they have already come this far, they say, and have journeyed further. We are falling behind even while we race ahead! Cities live a million lives in a day, and our poor hands are hovering timidly over our qwerty, too carefully, too cautiously! Our ordered political lives are lost, and chaos has broken its cover, and now stakes its claim upon our beautiful empire of absolute knowledge, as does the jungle over some lost relic in the abandoned cities of long-dead tribes. The facts? Illegal. Values? Only war survives…
(to be continued)
This piece is carrying on from another Future Primaeval post titled “Inference With A Vampire”, in which Brennan introduces, under so many names, the concepts of Induction and Duration, and establishes from them a methodical sociology of cumulative knowledge. Now, there’s a lot going on in IWAV that we will likely do the injustice of neglect, but justice is not our primary intent, what we are looking for is instead to awaken the vampire from its undead position as a perfect and indifferent observer, and reconnect it with the social fields through which it has conveyed itself. This is already to do some violence to the vampire, as its original vision was in line with a relative constant that has been extracted from the variations of relations it has encountered. Is handling the vampire this way possible? Would we now already have turned our vampire into a puny human, or enacted some equally damaging transfer of power? The last thing we want to do is to mummify the vampire, who is already so devitalized. Since this is a question of epistemology, there will be inherent bias in what we take to be relevant information in our vampire studies. Do we concern ourselves with its secret life as a blood-sucking monster and murderer of human children? Does it eat human children, or does it feast on the elderly for (warped) ethical reasons? We are told that the vampire is “evil”, so presumably children are on the menu. Further, let’s say we are undertaking a (perverse?) study of the sexual psychology of women in Victorian England. We are curious as to whether the vampire has first-hand experiences of these feminine desires, perhaps as a voluptuous agent directly involved in the nefarious details of the private life of Victorian women in the bedroom, or has it simply read Freud in an armchair from a position of total celibacy? Can vampires make love to humans? …. Damn, already so many questions, and honestly, I already have the suspicion that the best approach to this problem is a stake through its heart, but this is not an “interrogation of the vampire”, we are just trying to learn from its so very valuable experience, which by all accounts is incredible.
Our vampire is known to be a very adept master of the sciences, updating its belief according to the facts of hard science as they are discovered, as well as being an astute consumer of the details of other forms of social knowledge as they emerge. But hold on, we are reminded that the vampire lacks one essential feature of every human life. Mortality. Sure, it is in a more intimate relation with death than any human could conceive, being not so much alive as an animation of death itself, but it is this curse that restricts it from ever crossing over to either side, it’s in purgatory, not human, not dead, but between worlds, and excluded from both. How could it ever become attached to a social form to the extent that its life is irretrievably entangled with the success or failure of their project, when it is incapable of vital involvement? A social field, inextricable from the intensities of bodies that traverse it, is from the perspective of the vampire simply an alienated matter to be observed, without ever intervening in a capacity that allows it to affect the variables from within the dimensions that define their nature. Our vampire is an archetypal outsider-intellectual to the nth-degree. It’s basically a platonic form in itself, and all but useless, like heaven is for a pigeon. A problem we are trying to avoid is the essentializing of human knowledge and psychology, as though there were objective facts of experiential value that a simple duration of observation will allow a theoretical monster-genius to comprehend, free from any compromising engagement. It seems our vampire has yet to fully understand the implications of the age of entanglement, and here we thought it was the best scientist an indefinite duration of ethical malpractice could produce. At best, it will be an excellent behaviourist. Let’s not even get into the sorts of experiments it might have conducted on humans in the dark immunity of its dungeon dwellings.
I would just conclude, that if one is looking to revive a concept of a living body of traditional knowledge, using the vampire as an analogy is probably counter-productive, and this has been a question of probability all along. As an entertaining defense of the wisdom of the library however, it has a lot to recommend it.
This is a post to clarify (or perhaps complicate) some of the insights that I gleaned from the short post by Warg Franklin on “Three Types Of Property”. First let’s discuss the distinction that Franklin has made between Primary and Secondary Property, taking his example of a wallet as an instance of the first category. Now, what Franklin has done to justify this categorical induction is that he has implicitly placed the wallet in a system of intensive (and extended) agency. In other words, the wallet has been included as a component in an imminent relation with a sovereign assemblage that is defined by its capacity to effectuate a credible defense and deterrence threat. This is Franklin’s “contest of force” whereby the wallet is a secure possession backed by the potential vigor of its securing agent. Arguably the wallet is not in fact sovereign (or primary) property and is rather secondary property in relation to the securing agent that can affect their rights of possession. What this means is that if you leave your wallet somewhere unattended, outside of the range of its potential security, then it becomes inert, the object becomes a standing reserve that can be expropriated, appropriated, or stolen. In my definition primary property cannot be considered apart from the system of agency that enacts rights of possession. More nuanced, we can say the wallet is a primary property as long as it has been secured in range of an extended system of agency, or what’s the same thing, has become a component in the assemblage that secures it. We can keep the idea of secondary property if the deterrence or defense threat is effectuated by an assemblage that is exterior (and separate) from its imminent relations. For example, the police academy is an assemblage that secures your wallet by a law of authority (credible deterrence) but is exterior to the “man-wallet-fist” assemblage in which the wallet is a territorial component (in Franklin’s terms, the form of this security relies on the “grace of a higher power”, or a transcendental relation). A heavily encrypted digital wallet is less ambiguously a primary property as its security is imminent to the functions of its use. An iphone can be stolen as hardware but the private keys that lock its software effect a credible, and even unassailable, defensive composition. In this instance we would say the software is primary and the hardware is secondary.
To include consensus property in our definition we will need to accommodate for a theory of perceptive materialism. This is not so difficult. All it means it that an assemblage (as a formal, and irreducible, relation of composition) exists independently of our minds, but also that the perception of the reality of the assemblage can be erroneous to a minimum or maximum degree. Take for a study the Howard Hawkes film “The Outlaw”. Pat Garret is an officer of the law, but in the desert this authoritative declaration of official rights is a purely transcendental relation and predictably neither outlaw, Billy The Kid or Doc Holliday, recognize his legitimacy apart from his capacity to affect its emergence. They aren’t going to take his word for it. They ride by the law of the gun. The Kid is a formidable gunfighter who aims before he draws his weapon, because “his hands are quicker than his eyes”. In a one-on-one contest he will outdraw Garret every time. So a theory of primary property here will have to account for the co-efficient of speed of the hand-tool affect and its dynamic relation with the visual precision that achieves the accuracy of its discharge. Other characteristics of the gunfighter are also relevant, such as his retention of composure under pressure etc. All of these factors combine to create an emergent property that is dependent on its components without being thus reducible. Now, in the final scenes (spoiler alert) there is a variation of the “it works better with bullets” trope, whereby Garret believes he has deceived The Kid into accepting an unloaded weapon, thereby decomposing the dynamic assemblage by which The Kid can execute a credible threat. Long story short, The Kid perceives the emptiness of the cartridge by the weight of the gun in his hand and accomplishes a “double switcheroo” whereby Garret ends up with the disassembled component. Garret acts as though he has a loaded gun, falling victim to a misperception of the content of the assemblage, which of course does not change the configuration of its real (independent) material properties. We can conclude that an action of an agent does not need to be in alignment with the reality of its constitution. This in turn has far-reaching consequences for ideas of consensus property, and goes a short way towards explaining the concept of preference cascades. Garret’s disposition changes irrevocably once he learns of the objective attributes of sovereign formation and is confronted by a fully-armed and flawlessly calm Billy The Kid.
There’s a lot more to be said about the game-theoretic aspects of sovereign contests (games of chicken and bluff), as well as ideas of institutional legitimacy as an emergent property of formal rules of relation. This would take us into questions of empirical thresholds, as well as distinctions between pragmatics, tradition, and charisma as qualifying rules of legitimacy, and even the problem of succession. That would be moving into another post so I will leave it here for now.