Monday, December 4, 2017

Hooting, prancing, cannibalism

"It is a structural inevitability that the libertarian voice is drowned out in democracy, and according to Lind it should be. Ever more libertarians are likely to agree. ‘Voice’ is democracy itself, in its historically dominant, Rousseauistic strain. It models the state as a representation of popular will, and making oneself heard means more politics. If voting as the mass self-expression of politically empowered peoples is a nightmare engulfing the world, adding to the hubbub doesn’t help. Even more than Equality-vs-Liberty, Voice-vs-Exit is the rising alternative, and libertarians are opting for voiceless flight. Patri Friedman remarks: “we think that free exit is so important that we’ve called it the only Universal Human Right.”

"For the hardcore neo-reactionaries, democracy is not merely doomed, it is doom itself. Fleeing it approaches an ultimate imperative. The subterranean current that propels such anti-politics is recognizably Hobbesian, a coherent dark enlightenment, devoid from its beginning of any Rousseauistic enthusiasm for popular expression. Predisposed, in any case, to perceive the politically awakened masses as a howling irrational mob, it conceives the dynamics of democratization as fundamentally degenerative: systematically consolidating and exacerbating private vices, resentments, and deficiencies until they reach the level of collective criminality and comprehensive social corruption. The democratic politician and the electorate are bound together by a circuit of reciprocal incitement, in which each side drives the other to ever more shameless extremities of hooting, prancing cannibalism, until the only alternative to shouting is being eaten.

"Where the progressive enlightenment sees political ideals, the dark enlightenment sees appetites. It accepts that governments are made out of people, and that they will eat well. Setting its expectations as low as reasonably possible, it seeks only to spare civilization from frenzied, ruinous, gluttonous debauch. From Thomas Hobbes to Hans-Hermann Hoppe and beyond, it asks: How can the sovereign power be prevented – or at least dissuaded — from devouring society? It consistently finds democratic ‘solutions’ to this problem risible, at best."
The Dark Enlightenment, by Nick Land


  1. I take issue with the presumption that the mob is sovereign. It is undeniable that the mob is frenzied, ruinous, and increasingly debauched; however, the mob rarely gets what it wants. Progressive advance is largely the tale of a nominally conservative mob that was repeatedly brow beaten, duped, and threatened into becoming a cowed animal, put out to pasture in order to make way for a new mob. Democracy as described by reactionaries like Land sounds an awful lot like Civics 101. The perfect mob rule, yes. Every vote counts towards that majority tally and their will be done! Yet the only thing more risible than the mob's political fecundity is the notion that solutions to the problem of democracy could be circumvented by criticizing such a gross misrepresentation of how democracy (in the present context) actually allocates political power.

    1. I was just interested in showing the manifestation of an incentive, and the incentive itself. Democracy, by favoring voice over exit, creates an incentive for manufactured grievance. People then act on that incentive, and because people are bad at cognitive dissonance they come to drink their own Kool-aid, and believe their own lies. The idea that White people cause all the world's problems is one such lie, designed to justify transfers of wealth.

      Maybe the mob isn't sovereign. Can any low agency person ever really be sovereign, even over themselves?

    2. "Maybe the mob isn't sovereign. Can any low agency person ever really be sovereign, even over themselves?"

      I don't think the mob is sovereign, though they are certainly part of the equation of sovereignty. The actual ruling cohort feeds the mob its lies/narratives. Granted, the mob does occasionally run on errant narratives, but these do not often impact policy making. The extent to which the mob impacts the narrative is non-zero, but only appears to be meaningful when a rival power center provides them both narrative and resource opportunity. In that sense, voice is orthogonal to exit as voice is simply the amplification of an approved narrative and exit (to the extent it is possible) is afforded to those who either become powerful enough to ignore the narrative or parrot it effectively.