Have you noticed that our massive government is no longer able to solve the problems of the real world that affect us? Whatever you believe is the greatest problem – environmental degradation, inflation, crime, health care, world peace – pick one; guaranteed the government is not succeeding at fixing it. How can this be? Is not our federal government’s budget over $4,000,000,000,000? To say nothing of the size of state and local government…
Why is this?
A friend sent me an interesting article the other day, a description of the “Cathedral” which now governs the United States and most of Europe. A synergy between the intelligencia, the media, the church, and the bureaucrats who selectively leak state power to this or that like-minded institution to fertilize the field of American minds with ‘dominant’ ideas which ensure the upward advancement of Americas new aristocracy. It’s not really controversial, people seek security – as my first college history professor taught me. Nations seek security from other nations (if you don’t believe me, ask the Ukrainians). Just the same people seek security against other people. Better zip codes to protect themselves from the criminals; better schools to protect themselves from dangerous ideas (but who decides what is dangerous?); jobs with no threat of censure, where success is rewarded and failure diffused.
An “End of History” Burnhamian revolutionary world where the plutarchy vacations in Aspen or Mayorca, the aristocracy rides their horses anonymously in Fauquier County and the proles labor in the fields, never rising up because the ‘cathedral’ has told them that rising up is a ‘recessive’ idea and the aristocracy – the managers – leak power selectively only into ponds stinking only with a certain idea.
Gramsci would be proud.
Again, it’s about success. Braces for your kids; vacation to ‘woke’ Disney where you can get “Catholic Cathedral” ideas from a fun, colorful fount; upward mobility with promises of managing the speed bumps, hopes of grabbing Angus Deaton’s ‘ladder’ just before it is lifted allowing you to escape to the inferiors under you. Kick them off if you have to.
Why is it, do you think, that so many of us find that world insufferable? I think that is probably the most important question of the day. It’s also the question that the “Cathedral” desperately asks itself; because it is the ghost in their machine, the unanswerable question, the enigma under the crusted outside of their perfect order.
I find myself asking this question a lot. I don’t think the answer is that complicated. It is found perhaps in Mencius Moldbug’s idea of Mundana, and specifically the underground rebellion against the totalitarian state. This idea, rebellion – the fight to be free – is the dominant idea, the red pill in the perfect managerial society into which the Mutopians want to deliver us. It exists just as much in Mutopia as it does in Mundana. Rebellion is about two things, two sides of the same coin: first, it’s the willingness to sacrifice for a ‘recessive’ idea; and second, it’s the desire to stand out, to stand alone, to be counted and identified as unique among the crowd. We certainly can add morality into this equation, or sacred values, or whatever else you want. But the challenge is these are different for everybody – case in point, I would go to the guillotine for the idea that Christ died for humanity and rose again, while a majority of people in the world would just yawn and shrug and look at me weird, but the other day some dude died after lighting himself on fire at the Supreme Court over climate beliefs (note to self – fire actually adds warming, he should have frozen himself to death). Sacred beliefs are tricky things, and not the subject of this essay.
I digress. Why don’t we accept the path to stability we are given by our Managerial Aristocracy – why don’t we ‘get with the program’? Where the hell does Donald Trump come from (to put not too fine a point on it)? This comes from the nature of ‘dominant’ ideas themselves and the human desire to rebel and stand out. When ‘equality’ (or equity) is dominant, those who remind the world of the importance of difference will gain new power. When ideas of racial superiority abound, those who remind us of the singularity of the human desire to be free will fill our imaginations. Indians fighting against the caste system, to finally shrug off the mantle of inherited oppression; while Vladimir Putin and his Julius Evola inspired Eurasian philosophies push for the return of castes as the only stable vessel of order.
It all returns, basically, to Dr. Seuss and the Starbelly Sneetches. With Sylvester McMonkey McBean the only real winner; a scammer balancing on the edge of ‘dominant’ and ‘recessive’ ideas, cashing in on both.
I read an interesting article yesterday about Trump ’25, and the radical advance of what might be a 2nd Trump Administration. It does not, however, read like ‘draining the swamp’ – returning Moldbug’s “once-blue mountain lake” back to beauty by shutting down the pig farm. It reads like replacing one pig-farm with another pig farm; George Orwell anyone? And my guess is that the interaction of chemicals in the once-blue lake would become unstable and finally ignite. The ensuing firestorm would be historic. None of which, if I may return to the point, will solve whatever you think is the greatest problem – climate, inflation, equality, education, health care, etc. etc. etc. Fighting over who controls the administrative state won’t make the administrative state any more effective. My wife reminded me, though, that at times the world comes up with people who are not just trying to displace ‘dominant’ with ‘regressive’ ideas in that Sneetchey way, but who in fact stand outside the ‘revolutions’ as real figures of change. And they never come from the bureaucracy – people like Mandela and De Klerk or Violeta Chamorro or Helmut Kohl. This is a special kind of rebellion – and the one we are hunting for. A rebellion of solutions.
A revolution of solutions: makes too much sense so probably has no future. BUT I agree. We need to spend more time on problems that SHOULD have solutions that could be supported by a vast majority of citizens. Your barbeque guy is a perfect example….energy is the lifeblood of all that we do as a civilization, so we need to face some facts about physics, thermodynamics, etc. and start moving in the direction of long-term solutions. Once people understand that they can cling to their illusions of a “green revolution” and freeze, bake, and starve OR they can make use of the fossil fuels that are charging all the batteries of the Teslas that don’t self-destruct WHILE demanding that politicians funnel money toward things like LIQUID FLUORIDE THORIUM REACTORS that promise less danger, less pollution, more energy. This is a technology that has been proven but was sacrificed on the altar of the MIC and its need for the fissile byproducts needed for nuclear war.
Anyway, great eye-opening post!
Thanks. Feels like our tired republic needs a renewal or a revival.
“No longer able…” Was it ever able? The demand that something be done has much to do with how we got here in the first place.
So I’m reading some of Mencius Moldbug’s stuff. Will write about it eventually. His contention is that humanity doesn’t seek freedom, but order. Spontaneous order (the libertarian dream) is the highest and most balanced form of order, but it does not work when the entire apparatus is malfunctioning (sort of like Maslow’s hierarchy I suppose). First you need peace, then you need safety, then you need law and finally only after that can you arrive at order. Getting to your point, we no longer have safety, and our laws are unenforceable so we can’t have spontaneous order. So, if we were to try and implement a libertarian model, it would fail to itself. We need to find our way back to security and law, only then can we ‘loose our grip’.