The Salami Method

Part One

         In the South China Sea, for sometime now, the CCP have been ever so slowly establishing de facto control. With maritime vessels, island claims, the raising of shoals – then the establishment of bases, then the fortification and armament of those bases, and so forth; until now we see the South China Sea is subject to Chinese interests and compels nearby countries to accommodate that fact.

The trick had been to make these gains so slow and so incremental, that anything more serious than grumbling about the latest encroachment seemed uncalled for and not worth any diplomatic incident. It would be ‘making a mountain of a molehill.’ Some people who have been observing this phenomena call it ‘The Salami Method;’ meaning that so long as each claim is the thinnest slice of meat – one can eventually accumulate and obtain the whole Salami, without ever triggering a substantial backlash.

That this situation parallels The Right’s plight in the West (and has for a very long time) was not lost on me. The endless thieving of a minute kind: some single word you can no longer say, some small change in your behaviour or new tax to fund some new initiative. Some taboo nibbled at its edges in television or pornography. Always things that make one seem neurotic and belligerent if he objects to it, and make appeasement seem only the tiniest stain on your honour. But other than to lament this phenomenon, I had nothing constructive to say, and so said nothing.

But I have encountered a remedy, and am a little embarrassed to be this late in coming. The way to counter the enemy’s incremental approach is not to attack his increments per se, (since it only draws ridicule) but rather to make incremental gains of our own – such that the wins and losses cancel each other out and net (at the very least) a stalemate. In a normal world this tit-for-tat would be called the typical squabbles of an otherwise functioning nation. But the world has not been normal for a long time.

         Most of ‘The Right’ are ‘Conservatives’ who, true to their name, are accustomed to defense, resistance, and self-preservation. They are the majority because all it takes to be a Conservative is to stick to what you’ve always done. It is a lethargic but easily deployed defense. By resisting all change, it ensures the more robust, genuinely healthy changes become established norms while the hasty mistakes wither and do not take hold.1

When the world was materially poorer and over 70% rural this arrangement worked well enough; there was sufficient inertia to counteract Change’s momentum. But in the modern era, Change has been given a great deal more energy. The Conservative today sometimes keeps, but he rarely gains. His opponents are always safe to retreat to their own territory, recover, recruit, and attack again tomorrow. To make advances on the battlefield then, the Conservative must allow himself to become offensive.

Lefties will try to tell you that – just as ‘Radical’ is left of ‘Liberal’ – ‘Reactionary’ is further right of ‘Conservative;’ but that is word-trickery. Never use your enemy’s definitions, lest you define yourself as the enemy.

‘Reactionary’ is a slur. It implies you haven’t done any thinking or soul-searching. It implies you are, in fact, a dead frog someone has applied electrodes to, and that you are grasping for things from the past out of dumb impulse rather than intellect or reason.

‘Radical’ comes from ‘radix’ meaning ‘the root.’ A radical leftist ‘attacks the root of the problem.’ To be the comparative thing on the Right then is not to be ‘Reactionary’ (to Leftist attacks)2 but to be a Fundamentalist. The ‘fundamentum’ is ‘the base, the beginning, the ground-work’. A fundamentalist works from the foundation; outwards and upwards.

In other words, before you can take offensive measures – to start slicing that salami – you have to study the ground you are fighting for. You have to dig down and find the bedrock. The Radical destroys everything because he intends to replace it all; but he cannot destroy the ground underneath his feet, and he cannot tunnel and undermine a fortress that has been built upon granite. So it is there that you should base yourself and project power from if you wish to avoid destruction. (This is, sub-consciously, why ‘based’ has become such a popular compliment on the Right.)

         Since I’ve evoked Fundamentalism, you may remember the ‘80s epithet Fundies. It references the Christians who were censoring media and bombing abortion clinics at the time. In other words, people who were actually fighting and gaining Salami Slices.

You may remark that Fundies were the people who claimed Dungeons & Dragons taught kids sorcery and that Rock music was Satanic and that they were basically loons and buzzkills all ‘round. But if you believe that, I’m afraid you have fallen for enemy propaganda once again. They showed you the worst of the worst and pretended it was the whole.

After all, it was Tolkien the Devout Catholic who gave us the very elves, orcs and dwarves that filled nerds’ dungeons to begin with. Was it not? And Elvis Presley, who was The King of Rock and Roll, well, half of his discography is dedicated to praising Christ. So it would seem these religious men were wellsprings of the things we enjoy – and the enemy, as usual, was merely obscuring the source of the water while working to poison the well.

I will admit the strain of Fundamentalism found in America is a kind of oxymoron, given that it comes from Protestant sects that rejected much of the foundation of the church to begin with. The Puritan tradition is why we often see these visceral, feverish displays of hysteria rather than more stolid, principled action from the Religious Right in America. But, that hardly discounts the main thrust of my argument here; unlike ‘that’s not real Socialism’ there’s no shortage of real Fundamentalism to point at as examples of success.

I am not about to hold up the Taliban as paragons of virtue, but I will casually point out that these Religious Fundamentalists outlasted and overcame both the USSR and NATO. Just as the IRA overcame the British, and Franco overcame the Republicans in Spain.

         You might ask at this point why I haven’t suggested ethnicity – Nationalism – as a Foundation. It certainly played a role in the examples I listed above.

In brief, because ethnicity is the House we build on the ground. Yes, a house does have a ‘foundation’ – but that foundation still has to be sunk into good ground. That is why we find in history phrases like the ‘House of Ivrea’ or the ‘House of Luxembourg’ to denote the familial descendants of one progenitor and who belongs within the ‘walls’ of the House – yet the family itself is not permanently or strictly bound to the land.

Certain recalcitrant readers may dispute this, pointing out (for example) that people truly become bound to the soil over time. Especially as they bury their dead there over generations. I do not deny that. While choice of land is critical, that land is not inhabitable unless you build a home upon it. This means nationalism of some kind is indispensable, for a nation is an extended family and an extended body. But, your house will not stand for long if you do not consider First Things first.

         Now, having said all this, I don’t expect every reader who stumbles across my writing to become an expert in metaphysics and theology. That’s a lot of work just to figure out friend from foe. But you do have to grasp the basic order of things if you’re going to know where you fit in that order – and thus what your role in it is.

I will be exploring a blueprint of that order in a follow-up article. That blueprint being The Body – since we all have one and are all familiar with it, it is a good template to work with. Not least of which because you can take care of yourself better the more you know about it. But for now I will just stress: you must ground yourself in religion. And whatever that religion, you must at least know what it says is Good and what it says is Evil and what it Commands you to Do.

You don’t have to understand any of it – but you do have to know it. Don’t tell me you are some neo-Pagan lover of the Norse Gods if you don’t have the slightest idea what makes Odin smile upon you. Do you believe in Odin? Are you aware Odin only patronizes the warrior class? Are you making war? No? Then you are displeasing to your god, and if that doesn’t bother you, then you don’t actually believe in him. So either pick someone else from the Norse pantheon to patronize that reflects your station in life, or stop disappointing your master.

Finally, I can bring us back around to the beginning of the article: The Salami Method; because once you have the basics of what is Good and what is Evil and what’s expected of a man with your lot in life – it becomes very clear-cut what you are supposed to do and what is otherwise a waste of your time.

And, if you are confused as to your Role. Well, Part Two will be out in a while.


1. In genetics, nine out of ten consequential mutations are detrimental, and only one beneficial, so at the microscopic too we see caution towards change is always rewarded, though total obstinacy is not.

2. As always, language betrays facts that slip by idiots. Reactionary is a word they put on us – the ‘dangerous’ ones – but you can only re-act if someone acts on you first.

This is like determining a rattlesnake is dangerous because it keeps hissing while poked at with a stick. The Leftist has discovered something true (for rattlesnakes are full of poison) but he does not believe in free will or agency, so he does not blame himself for all the hissing.

The Process of Subtraction

         I heard somewhere once, years ago:

‘Art is a process of subtraction.’

As phrases go this is one of those rare expressions that casts a real magical effect upon utterance* – for it removes a great deal of dross from the mind if one hears what it is saying.

The artist who said this was referring to painting, but the truth of his statement becomes more obvious in sculpting or carving – where ‘removing the excess’ to reveal some beauty underneath is implicit with every knock on the chisel or draw of the knife.

For a long time I let this phrase languish. It wasn’t until I had read a great deal of material referring to one’s life as a work of art – of artisans working on themselves as they honed their craft, of the two being one and the same – that it’s broader meaning impressed itself upon me. It wasn’t until I had read twice as much again the things written by the aesthetes of the Old World, how fasting and deprivation refined their spirits and purified their hearts, that I had sufficient vocabulary to say anything about it.

         There is, in the Modern Malaise, an overwhelming tendency to add rather than subtract. To discover oneself, one is always exhorted to taste new things, date new people, acquire more funding, travel to new places… to try all sorts of expansive behaviour suited to childhood but quite often un-becoming in adulthood. People have been told, in effect, to discover their limits by forever pursuing excess. By spilling over our boundaries and becoming amorphous, we are somehow supposed to define ourselves.

That this doctrine of intense liberality coexists with a rigid and authoritarian government – a world where sex changes are encouraged but refusing drugs is grounds for expulsion from public society – may seem paradoxical, but it is all one see-saw upon its fulcrum. To lift up one end brings down the other.

Recall that the ‘20s, that is, the ‘Roaring 1920s’ infamous for its indulgences and licentiousness, coincided with Prohibition – the absolute constitutional ban of alcohol (the very substance of dis-inhibition)** in America. At the same time people ceased to control their own behaviour, they asked the government to clamp down on it for them.

In the most extreme cases this gave over to the Totalities of Fascism and Communism – both of which are the abdication and sublimation of an individual’s body and responsibility into a collective body and authority.

         In an upside-down world, the correct course of action can sound like mindless contrarianism. In this case the clear, opposite course of excess is to practice restraint instead. To begin a process of subtraction.

I can remember the mindset of the excessive man. One worries that he is encountering – not the true natural limits of his self and his abilities – but rather some obstacle he is suppose to overcome. There is a real and chronic torture that comes from this perspective – for one never knows if he fails for lack of trying or if he is a fool for trying again.

That technology furnishes us with so many augmentations: steroids, pharmaceuticals, and soon genetic manipulation, means every ‘obstacle’ is potentially surmountable – but it comes at a tremendous and unavoidable cost. Much like the ‘disadvantaged minority’ who gets in on Affirmative Action, how can the augmented individual know if he truly made the grade?

Was he merely at a ‘temporary’ disadvantage he needed help for, or did he jam a square peg through a round hole? Even more frightening, has he disfigured himself into a cylinder, just so he’d fit in? He passes the test, and yet learns nothing. Worse than that, he is more confused than before – because it’s no longer clear just who or what exactly passed the test.

         Let’s contrast this with the man who – rather than taking some amphetamine so that he’ll stay up late and study longer – gives up some vice that he knows robbed him of that time to begin with. The former pushes outward from a boundary to see how much it will give way. The later pushes inward on the same boundary to see how much resistance it will encounter. The chief difference here is that the man knows he is somewhere inside the boundary. Pushing outward might change him – perhaps even break him – but pushing inward will help define him. The greater the resistance, the stronger the definition.

When we are children it is fair and right to learn by expansion and exploration – we are even physically growing as we do so. Seen as a work of art childhood is something like gathering all your materials – all your substance – into one place. But after puberty has settled down we become artisans of our lives – adults tasked with drawing out the essence found in that substance, and doing away with the extraneous material.

And one does this not by asking ‘what can I do?’ For that stretches into infinity, but ‘what can’t I do without?’ for that is a finite and discoverable list. Moreover, there is no room for fantasy in asking what you can or can’t do without – because it is a question about things already in your possession. How many days have men wasted, pondering what they could do – if only a pile of money fell into their lap or a lucky connection put them in the right social circle? Meanwhile the question of what they’re actually made of, and thus best suited for, goes unanswered; even though ‘what should I do with my life?’ Is one of the most dogged, soul-gnawing questions of the human condition – and one of the most profitable to answer.

         As you may have guessed, Lent (and my current deprivation thereby) is what prompted this article. Lent is, in part, the pruning of vices – which is probably why it coincides with the pruning of orchard trees in late Winter / early Spring; a pruned tree, after all, blossoms and fruits more fullsome.

It is the broader calamity that finally made me flesh these thoughts out though. On the one hand, the global economic contraction underway will force people to likewise contract – which will inevitably restore some sanity in the West. On the other hand, when people are this far beyond the pale, they do not regain their senses without first undergoing some bloody paroxysm.

It is one of those inviolate laws of the world: ‘the remedy for disorder will be pain’, and the measure of pain is proportionate to the scale of the disorder. If we reintroduce order to our lives voluntarily we can pace out and render the pain bearable. But those who let their errors pile up await a most excruciating torture.

*Another magic phrase I’ve long been fond of is ‘I am the smartest person here;’ because even if true – to say so aloud in company transforms the speaker into a complete idiot.

** From the latin habeō – ‘I have, hold, keep.’ Will you inhibit – hold it within yourself? Or must we prohibit – hold it for you?

Turn the Page

         You may have noticed the Youtubers and other forms of light entertainment you follow had been lagging in their schedule these past few months. For a while there things were serious enough that to divert attention to anything else seemed foolish. Why edit videos today when they may not let you outside for groceries tomorrow? Time was better spent elsewhere.

The crisis continues but – thank God – the fever has broken. Whomever released Omicron did us all a gigantic favour; people who were previously primed and inclined to hate the non-jabbed have had the wind sucked out of their sails, and only a despondent resignation remains in their hearts. The police may come to my door yet – but the mob will not. One of the most horrific aspects of totalitarianism, the turning of every stranger into a hostile entity, has abated.

Meanwhile I feel I have closed a chapter in life, and I assume it is a collective motion that every dissident has now undergone. There is no more ‘benefit of the doubt’ in our hearts for the anonymous mass of people out there. That benefit has been all used up in a year-long trial where everyone had to fly their colours whether they wanted to or not.

For now at least, everyone knows where everyone else stands.

Community Currency

         The question came up elsewhere recently: if you started your own settlement or commune of sorts – to try and distance yourself from today’s horrid government; what trading system would you employ, and what currency would you use? It is more engaging a question than you might first guess, and an important one.

The correct answer to this is, fortunately, not difficult to comprehend or put into action. It is also legal, even though it is quite easy to skirt taxation thereby. That is: one should use the metals as currency. Gold, Silver, and Copper.

(I will address ‘why not the crypto-currencies?’ at the end.)

If you are not familiar with past attempts by communities to form their own money, you might ask ‘why do this at all?’ In more naive scenarios, it is often born out of a community’s hope that it will encourage buying from local shops – even though the shops themselves are stocked with Chinese goods. These misplaced hopes eventually end in failure – because mortgages cannot be paid in funny money.

Sometimes local currency is implemented more skillfully, with the intent to kick-start an otherwise cash-strapped and economically depressed town. The smartest and most promising examples of this had municipal governments spending freshly minted local-bucks that were deemed acceptable for property taxes – ensuring there was an actual benefit to being paid in what was otherwise fantasy paper. But these were always quickly and jealously shut down by state and federal governments – themselves eager not to lose tax revenues. It is also why currency creation is so very illegal and treated as tantamount to secession.

So alas, the remaining reason to deploy your own currency – or in this case, commodity, since only the latter will spare you from jail – is the same as always in times like these: people are losing faith in the current money (and therefore, faith in the current system,) and want something more clearly valuable to trade with instead.

         Briefly, there are two kinds of currency: Intrinsic and Extrinsic. One is valuable in and of itself, the other has its value enforced by threat of violence. Unless you are a local warlord, the local money used between your neighbours and friends must be of the intrinsic type – acceptable because useful in some other way. In prison, it’s cigarettes. Out here, it’s bullion.

Intrinsic money is in contrast to the pax of a government or empire, which prefers extrinsic currency, as fiat money is easier to circulate and tax. There is also a sociological dimension to fiat money: the more people are willing to use yours, the more acknowledgement and credibility you get as a country. Since the money itself is relying on abstract faith backed by real machine guns, it speaks volumes that people feel confident in not only using the money – but holding it as the benchmark of value against everything else.

That social and political factor is why leaders stamp their image onto coins and notes; when a denarius circulates all the way up to the Saxons and down to the Bedouin, you see the face of an empire that has spread its influence precisely that far – and you should be impressed both by the empire and its emperor.

If you find this topic remotely interesting, you have likely heard the phrase that ‘any nation that employed fiat money eventually debased it entirely,’ and might regard fiat money as a kind of pure evil. It is true they all end in ruin – but the same thing happened in antiquity with stamped coins. That is where the term ‘debasing the currency’ comes from: the removal of base metals (copper, nickel etc.) from the coinage and its replacement with inferior and more common metals – while insisting it carried the same value.

Removing the base/basis of the currency in this way reflects the looming inferiority and banality – rather than nobility – of the authority issuing the coins. It is why monetary inflation is so intimately linked with the decline of a nation – along with the other telltales of dilution, such as importing cheap foreign blood to suppress the rising cost of goods.

When inflation is merely high, it reflects that people no longer care so much for your offerings or feel particularly threatened by your power. When inflation is extreme, it is caused by the ruling power losing faith in itself – printing and spending madly to make everyone dependent on its wages, rather than grateful for its presence. The adage that all fiat money ends in ruin is really just the reflection that no empire lasts forever.

         Anyway, to hit home the complications of extrinsic currency if deployed by small groups, here are just a few of the bureaucratic and security nightmares it conjures in the community:

  • Who mints the currency?
  • How do you control for counterfeits?
  • How much money should be issued?
  • How is its printing/production tracked?
  • What if the guy in charge of the money system subverts the guy in charge of the community?
  • Why accept the internal money, when one still needs government money to pay the taxes?
  • What happens when the government eventually declares you are evading taxes by using this money for trade?

Some small towns interested in developing their own currencies realize the bureaucracy alone would bankrupt or exhaust their efforts. These people might turn instead upon the adage ‘time is money,’ and float the idea of promissory notes.

  • ‘Peter did three hours shoveling shit for Paul.’
  • Both sign a paper attesting so.
  • It gets deposited with some central registrar, or perhaps into each others’ own little ledgers.
  • Peter, being such an industrious fellow, has accumulated some hundred hours to his name in this way.
  • Paul, ever loathing to shovel his own shit, has a hundred hour deficit.

Technically, Paul should go around offering to do stuff for people to work off his deficit and get back into good standing, but I trust the reader is smart enough to guess what would really happen. Something like this only works on scales so small as to make any accounting of it pointless. Normal human beings call it ‘helping out’ and ‘returning the favour.’ The degree of trust required is such that tacking an accounting system on top of it is both pointless and antithetical to community.

Even where time-accounting does work, it is clear that an informal system is better than the formal one. For example, I recall a kind of thrift store – I think it did actually exist and wasn’t merely proposed – that had a substantial repair department, an open house workshop. People would donate appliances, volunteers would log time repairing them, and those same volunteers would then bank enough time to ‘purchase’ an appliance without money actually changing hands.

In the absence of money to pay with – either for the appliance or for the man’s wages – I can see how this idea cropped up and might be sustainable. But really, this is just a formalized way of saying ‘Dave puts in a lot of hours here, let him take that stove home.’ It may not be discarded altogether – a village of 1,000 could probably benefit from it – but its application is narrow.

I trust I’ve said enough to establish the futility of using something extrinsic or abstract when there isn’t serious power backing it up. Most examples you find in the wild are just formal systems grafted onto existing relations; the kind of quid pro quo people quietly track anyway. It amounts to a feel-good exercise; useful for distracting otherwise troublesome activists – but otherwise of no merit. I’ve only bothered to address it briefly here to clear out the usual misunderstandings people have when they first start pondering or scheming an economy for an in-group. So, let’s move on to the viable choice: intrinsic commodity-currency.

         A lump of copper, no matter what is happening in the world, always has some value – since at bare minimum you can pound that lump with a rock until it’s the shape of a bowl. Even if your town is awash with copper, the fact that you can add value to yours or make use of it in some way remains.

Metals have served as currency for a long time for two simple reasons: they can be proven to be what they are with little scrutiny, and they are valuable to everyone for serving universal needs.

Silver, for example, is an anti-microbial – that is why silverware was once in such demand. Silver vessels (or even just silver coins in ceramic pots) prevent water contamination and milk spoilage without imparting taste. It can be applied to wounds to reverse infection, or fashioned into a suture superior to silk. It also possesses some extremely interesting health properties if a charge is applied to it – but that’s beyond the current discussion.

Copper can be used as an anti-fouling sheath on boats, as superior roofing material, for water piping, and for cookware, along with a litany of other uses. It is also likewise anti-microbial.

Gold needs no introduction of course. Though I suspect there is more practical value to having some gold around the house than is acknowledged today (beyond its use in dental fillings;) it is so tightly associated with eternity and immortality – and was so seriously pursued by alchemists, emperors, and holy men – that one should believe we have lost some knowledge of gold’s utility in that respect.

There is a running theme of health, food, and preservation associated with these three metals, but with the exception of copper alloys, they also exclude association with tools of violence. There is some poetry – and a deeper metaphysics – to these rarer materials being life preserving, while more common metals like iron and lead are so much more useful for killing. Copper – soft on its own – is weaponized when alloyed with common tin or zinc. There is also something to the fact that we usually find these life-preserving metals paired in ores with life-corrupting substances like mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead.*

Metaphysics aside, it is this human desire to keep pathogen and decay away from us that gives the metals their broader appeal amid alternatives like ceramic and timber. A golden ring, silver vessel, and copper pot are preserving your health alongside your wealth (for who can enjoy wealth without health?) and for this reason, they exert that universal desirability that befits money.

         In addition to the metals’ direct utility to the possessor these three: Au, Ag, and Cu, also have the advantage of convertibility. That is: it is not hard to obtain them from the market, nor is it hard to sell them back for fiat dollars when needed. That means, (unlike the more fanciful systems communities dream up,) that the participants are not taking some great leap of faith or locking themselves into a potential failure by participating in the system they’ve cooked up.

It is true the spot price – the market price – of these metals move around significantly, enough to make some toes curl. But that is true of all investments, and of the dollar itself. You are not, remember, sinking every last cent you have into these metals. You are resorting to them in the first place because they’ve become more trustworthy than the dollar – and thus worth bearing some volatility.

There is also the ‘indestructibility’ and high recyclability of the metals mentioned. They are not going to spoil, be consumed from use, burned up in a house fire, or otherwise lost easily. They could be stolen of course, but only in the old-fashioned way, and that is true of everything you possess. A little torture and blackmail is all it will take to get your crypto password, right? At least gold is heavy and can be hidden under the floorboards.

I should also remark: that one cannot flood your little internal economy simply by dumping metal into it. If some new member arrives with a dump-truck of solid gold, the dollar value of gold – as far as the rest of the world is concerned – has not changed. It is not quite the same with coffee beans or moonshine, which are harder to find ready buyers for.

         Finally, I promised that I would address the crypto-currencies. Are they suitable for in-group, localized economies? They are an odd hybrid. If we set aside their novelty – which has bounced and jolted their price around as people try to peg their worth and speculate their gains from day-to-day, a few things stand out.

They are primarily extrinsic – but it is not the barrel of a gun enforcing the value. Rather it is the fact that one can dodge a bullet in using them. It is a kind of popular revolt, a People’s Fiat if you will.** This was in fact the original reason purported for Bitcoin. It was a way to take money power away from any central authority – though it has not played out as such.

Yet crypto is also a little intrinsic. Ethereum, for example, doubles as a record of ownership for all sorts of assets traded on its network – and every single user has the means to verify that ownership, which has important legal ramifications. Monero on the other hand, lets people hide their transactions altogether – which is value of another kind – while still enabling instant and global transaction.

The difficulty in policing crypto is what allowed it to flourish and become entrenched. Though like early radio, television, and internet – it will presumably be consolidated and monopolized over time by savvy and clever men.

There is a technocratic layer involved with crypto that Joe Sixpack can’t or won’t take the time to decipher – anymore than he bothers to understand the US Dollar or the Federal Reserve. Some flaw or exploit may lie in wait to deprive him of everything and it will escape his notice. We have seen it many times already – crypto-exchanges become popular and then vanish after looting their users. Or rumours circulate that a coin backstopped by real assets is no more than a shell game – but is construed in such a way that only a programmer with a Bachelors in Finance can possibly distinguish the fact from fiction.

I do not dissuade anyone from trying crypto, but it is, at heart, fiat money. It exists by decree and therefore can be destroyed by decree; which means – unlike guns, houses or butter – it can be taken from you without a fight. And, ultimately, the only reason we’re entertaining these thoughts now is because we are entering a fight.

*Note that I am focusing here on unalloyed metals of immediate use to a person – even if that person is absent any skill in metalworking and inept with regards to electricity. Hence Tin, Zinc, Lead etc. – while all adding much in their own right – I am passing by. A nascent community, using metal for trade, will probably not be thinking of how to forge and alloy brass or even pewter in its beginnings. Alloys, at any rate, make evaluating what one has in his hands more difficult, and so less suitable as a currency.

**Fiat means ‘by decree.’ It is dad’s ‘because I said so’ on a grander scale.

Sensual Agencies

         As I remarked in a previous essay: the introduction of steam engines – quite literally generators of Powershifted the ruling caste’s allegiance from Manpower to Firepower. This laid the foundation for the Merchant’s overthrow of the Monarch; for the Monarch ruled people, but the Merchant owned the machines.

When the machines began to help you think (in the ‘80s) and not just calculate, it was the Information Merchant’s turn to overthrow all his hand-rubbing rivals. The Spy – aided by his computers – has learned how to work men like puppets. This includes the men that demanded and paid for his familiars* to begin with.

The Spy now rules the roost. With enough computation he can turn every rival into a tool. His life is threatened not by financiers or military juntas but by competing alphabet agencies and their respective fiefdoms. In this respect Moldbug’s view is incomplete: The University may declare the secular truth of the day and the Media may promulgate it – but it’s the Intelligence Agents that bend funding towards them and dictate what ‘truths’ they are to find.

         Unfortunately for us simple folk, spycraft is a different skillset than statecraft; divining the hearts of men is not the same as knowing how to fulfill those hearts. Thus the people who specialize in the former necessarily lack in the latter – and yet find themselves de facto in charge of everyone because of the overwhelming power contemporary machinery has granted them.

Intelligence Agencies are not the body’s brains but rather its senses. Their name comes from ‘rendering information intelligible;’ as in, into a form some intellect can make use of. But without that intellect present, we are left with a body being run by its sensual organs. That is why the enthronement of these Agencies has coincided with an explosion in all things sensual – flashy movies, rhythmic music, ethnic foods etc. while dumbing down the world in all matters academic. (Notice how everyone struggles to build nuclear reactors now? Asimov may have been a propagandist but I tip my hat to The Foundation series.)

Thus we find ourselves in a kind of Unholy Roman Empire, where the borders are delineated by who controls which flows of sensory information and who can gather more data and process it faster – since this ultimately determines who is outmaneuvered. It is a meta-land of princes and principalities.

You’ve heard of emperor’s without clothes? Well, this is a pile of clothes with no emperor.

The freshest example of this extant power structure at work (as of this writing) is the Afghanistan withdrawal. Occupying Afghanistan was about drug production, the sale of which funded the intelligence agencies off the books. After the Taliban were suppressed in the early 2000s, poppy production (and thus opium supply) expanded twenty times over.** But now synthetically created Fentanyl has replaced Heroin as the opiate of choice – so there is no longer any profit to staying in Afghanistan. For the spies this is is a simple, smart, budgetary decision: we can’t hold the heroin supply anymore – so let the Taliban prevent anyone else from holding it either (‘whoops we left behind a bunch of armaments! Sure hope they don’t cement territorial control with it!’)

For the Empire it’s a political embarrassment, but there is no emperor to care. So, the spies went ahead with the withdrawal in the most shamelessly expedient way possible. Don’t give me any ‘…but Biden blah blah blah…’ Why are you talking about Biden as if he is some kind of living, thinking entity? Come on now, don’t waste precious time with such worthless thoughts.

         The question for us plebs is: how do we survive these squabbling Princes? How do we navigate this torrent river? Dare we hope to construct some kind of haven? A nascent State of our own? What seeds do we plant? In what season?

Fortunately there is nothing new under the sun. Solomon is terribly despondent when he utters those words, but for us lost shepherds it is a great solace and comfort – because it means history is full of information of how we should carry on now.

Our current situation is often described as ‘Feudal Technocracy’, but that is – tellingly – a little too technical of a description. It obscures historic precedent. The vista opens wider if you just call it Petty Tyranny. We are in a world run by petty tyrants. Petulant Princes. They are conniving and not to be underestimated, given how much time they spend in the shark tank; but they are not particularly intelligent because their goals are not derived from anything of real worth.

While intelligent people may work for them for hefty sums, their loyalty is fickle because it is based on the heft of those sums; their heart isn’t really into it and they don’t put their best foot forward. Meanwhile, intelligent people of principle have abandoned the enemy. The loss of our opponents best staff is self-evident. Look at the quality of the propaganda. Look at the shambles of their deceit. Anyone worth a damn has jumped ship and is waiting to be picked up by our life rafts.

It’s for that reason that – every day the dissident wakes up – he should feel less remorse and more resolve. I promise you, there is an almost psychic awareness among men of principle that, despite having never met each other, we are already working together. That is how a real culture works. When men discover higher principles worth working towards, they are in collusion even without organization.

         Where do we look in history for how to deal with petty tyrants? There is a cornucopia of examples for men of every stripe to peruse. For men of little means: how did rice farmers protect their crops from ronin? They planted hidden fields. Kept caches of food and told no one – so no one could be tortured into revealing their locations. How did the medieval peasant ensure his Lord never had much to tax? He bought things that couldn’t be carted away, or owned tools that were useless in anyone elses’ hands. He made himself powerful in defence of his family, but a dry well to both his ruler and his ruler’s rivals – such that his subjugation or subterfuge meant little profit to men-at-arms.

All this paramount hatred of everything patriarchal, white, and Christian… so why are the Amish preserved? They have no vices. Threaten no one. Are a crucial asset to none and at their most useful to the Princes when taxed marginally and left alone. I am not saying meekness is the only way, or that you should strive to disenfranchise yourself, but some go that route and clearly don’t end in Waco.

How did the tradesmen Guilds conduct themselves to preserve their ways and obtain privileges for their Free Towns? How did the lower castes of India reserve their own special rites and assert themselves against encroachment?

You can scarcely kick over a stone without finding history’s suggestions to you for your protection and prosperity. For these are petty tyrants. They are in power because they have the biggest stick – but all they know is that they like having power and shaking their stick is how they keep it.

For all that power, it is not deployed for any great purpose, and so the wielder is not in any way great either. ‘Elite’ is not a title you grant yourself – it is a fact bestowed by reality. Today’s ‘elite’ are like chess-players who think jailing Bobby Fischer makes them Grandmasters.

In terms of English folklore, perhaps the best narrative you should reacquaint yourself with are the stories of Robinhood: the Yeoman at odds with the Sheriff of Nottingham and with Prince John, who is usurping a kingdom absent its King. These stories are not apocryphal inventions, there is hardcopy you can read sourced from the Late Middle Ages – and if ‘feudal technocracy’ is our current bind – you’d be hard pressed to think of a better era for inspiration than that.

*a ‘familiar’ in the folkloric sense. Navi, Cortana, Alexa; alive and well, as you can see.

**if you have ever used opiates, you know they simulate the feeling of being loved. Opium is the only desirable thing in Afghanistan; so when an empire occupies that territory, it’s a tacit admission that any feelings of Love for the empire are vanishing – and that a counterfeit love is desperately needed to shore things up. This is what truly makes Afghanistan the Graveyard of Empires.


        Who should pay for healthcare?

        The problem with asking ‘who pays for healthcare?’ is that the question begs: ‘who has earned it?’

To heal is to help. Who deserves your help? Who does not? You are sparing someone from an injury they usually brought upon themselves. If your mercy just encourages further injury, are you really healing anyone?

‘Mortality’ and ‘Morality’ are etymologically related for a reason: there is no separating health and justice. To help is to render a judgment about deserving help. Unfortunately, because the modern world is built out of atheistic and thus amoral bricks* – modern medicine never addresses this moral aspect of health. It instead just throws up its hands and says it will treat everyone and anyone, without distinction, and by any means possible.

In practice, this means the only limit to what people call healthcare today is Materialist and Utilitarian: what services keep the lowest common denominator breathing for the longest period of time? And what degree of interventions can we afford in that order? The bigger the economy, the bigger the healthcare. Whatever people clamour for, that is what is provided.

The result is a healthcare system that can’t actually classify who is sick and does not try to find out. It handles complaints, not ailments. If it were otherwise we’d find cases where our system refuses to help people on something other than economic grounds. Alas, wherever we find such vestiges, they are readily assailed.

        At first, this blind leviathan may not seem half bad – it still manages to do its basic role somehow, doesn’t it? People do live longer. Relief is usually found. Functions often restored. Isn’t any other method just as imperfect and unsatisfying in its own way?

But this assessment only holds if you ignore a great deal. In Canada, and all other public health systems (including medicare,) sickness and harm is actively promoted. Actual health is left on the cutting room floor. Gangsters, addicts, and idiots are preserved and encouraged while:

1) your granddad is put on a year long wait-list for heart surgery;

2) you pay out of pocket for your child’s vision and dental;

3) your clinically depressed sister is given pills – but not a therapist – to muddle through her issues; and

4) you yourself haven’t had a regular doctor in years;

…all because the system is too busy infusing six litres of donated blood to save a dying Fentanyl dealer. One we’ll release back into the wild – where he’ll ensure overdose calls then tie up all the ambulances. As an aside, they say medical malpractice is the 3rd leading cause of death. I wonder how often it is deliberate?

On top of this sad state of affairs, you’ll have to ignore that governments willingly go into debt to fund further healthcare. Expanding healthcare is always politically popular, and with no definition of health there is always room to expand it further. So in addition to being a bad system, it’s the largest bad system we can afford to construct. And because it is designed around complaints rather than actual sickness, it is always operating at maximum capacity – for there is no end to mans’ woe. Thus the system is forever over-burdened and demanding more funding.

The fact that this continues to work at all is due to the fantastic amount of money and oil we pour into it. Thereby acquiring what little concessions are actually necessary to keep working people on their feet. Saying ‘this works well enough’ is like saying we should burn down the forest to keep warm for the night.

        So really, it’s a terrible system. Which is probably why people are so jingoistic about their system being the best in the world – while each population, native or immigrant, literally goes extinct under its tutelage.

You may assert that “There’s really no other way to tackle it, Mr. Cedarman. This is the fairest approach to an intractable problem: ‘treat everyone equally and to the utmost’ is the Hippocratic Oath. If we did it any other way, we’d become horribly petty with our medicine and scarcely help anyone at all. So whatever flaws it has, we should address them by other means.”

Ah, but have you read the Hippocratic Oath? It does not compel doctors to help anyone. It nowhere considers health a right or entitlement. Rather, it carries the ancient recognition that not everyone with an affliction is sick, and not everyone who is sick deserves help. It recognizes the moral dimension of health recently tossed out of the equation – the lack of which is the root of our problem.

The doctor – the healer – is a Judge carrying out a sentence. One that bandages rather than binds. Just as a judge can withhold or hand out punishment, a Healer can withhold or hand out rehabilitation.

If he treats everyone he sees – he’s really just always ruling in favour of mercy. Mercy is nice, but it’s supposed to be tied to repentance. The alcoholic may be forgiven, but he is still expected to get off the bottle. You’re not really helping him through mercy if he continues to destroy his liver thereafter.

Would you trust a court system that gave each thief a million dollars ‘to end thievery’ and each rapist a harem ‘to end sexual assault?’ Then why do we have a medical system that hands out Naloxone and Methadone?

That the doctor is making a judgment is inescapable. Unlike most professions, the judge and the doctor are explicitly dealing with the agency of other human beings. It is not incidental to their work but is rather the core of it. One has the power to restrain your agency by confining you with the Law, the other by leaving you confined with your sickness. This is not like the moral quandaries of an inventor who designs a fancier gun; the inventor doesn’t have the option of breaking or re-setting the fingers of whomever receives his weapon.

        This complication of moral judgment is why the medieval universities made their highest faculties Law, Theology, and Medicine. What do these three have in common? They are all terribly nuanced disciplines. Here everything is case-by-case, with few formulae to be found. The correct course of action is always highly specific and contingent.

This is not like, say, Physics – hard as some find it – where a definitive formula can be discovered and applied with great confidence. Anyone in the medieval era who progressed to the ambiguity of Medicine had already studied the rigidity of Physics during his Quadrivium.

Gray questions must be asked:

  • “What are the temporal and divine authorities, and what are their dictates in this matter?
  • How do they shift or overlap?
  • How bound am I by pragmatism?
  • Who am I defying or obeying when I act or abstain?
  • Did the person deserve this illness, the way a robber earns his ball and chain?
  • What are the patients character flaws? Does the ailment correct those flaws?
  • Am I an accurate enough judge of such a question?
  • Is the short, life-risking procedure best? Or should I choose the longer, gentler, but insufficient medicinal trial?
  • If I inform the patient, are they smart enough to comprehend the information?
  • If I refuse to help, will he just go to someone with less scruples who will?”

        What is healthy is moral, and vice versa. There is no such thing as ‘an unhealthy moral act.’ Everyone intuits that, say, risking your life to save a kid from a burning building is something a healthy mind would consider; even though it’s potentially suicidal or physically crippling to carry out. You wouldn’t exactly be ‘unhealthy’ for being too cowardly to do it, but no one would call you unhealthy if, fully aware of the dangers, you rushed in anyway.

This is in contrast to immoral people, whom we often call mentally ill. Whoever set that building on fire is ‘sick-minded,’ and we hope he either ‘gets the help he needs’ or gets the electric chair.

Just as there is no unhealthy moral act, there is no healthy immoral act, and we are often punished for them in very short order: like a hangover after excessive drinking. When syphilis first arose in Europe, a lot of clergymen developed sores because they had been visiting prostitutes. The disease exposed their hypocrisy, and a lot of other adulterers by-and-by.

“But,” you may interject, “organ theft is immoral, and the recipient improves his health!” No, he is merely not dead. He is now dependent on immuno-suppressive drugs that make him more susceptible to every illness. He is, in more ways than one, sicker than before. +

If, upon reading all this, you reflect that today’s most intense moralizers seem to be the least healthy among us – that they are categorically fatter, weaker, more violent, despondent, and neurotic; well, that tells you a great deal about their actual morals doesn’t it? They seem to get even sicker and more inflamed whenever they receive what they demand, don’t they? Well if it’s not improving their health…

        Not all disease and disorder are caused by moral failings – but moral failings do all cause disorder and disease. Likewise: the morally correct thing will always improve your health – though not all things that improve your health are due to moral congruity.

It therefore follows that the institution of morality: Religion – which devotes itself to learning and promulgating correct action, and doing so by alms alone, should be in charge of administering Health. It has the most to gain in studying and undertaking the responsibility – and therefore the most to lose when it fails to do so. Religion can prove its knowledge of health for the soul by tending to the health of the body, and contend with other religions thereby. Indeed, we historically find religion preforming this exact role.**

I am not necessarily saying every priest should be a doctor (priests are functionaries first and foremost.) Nor am I saying every church should double as hospital. But I am saying we should desire and install something akin to this, and that we’d have a much saner healthcare system (and a less avaricious Church) if we did.

‘Whoa now. A healthcare system based on donation?! On repentance of sins? I have to be a Christian to get heart surgery?! What’re they gonna do? Stick a bunch-a leeches on me?”

        Let’s tackle these individually.

First, donation. I will readily concede that the capacity of the healthcare system could shrink a good deal. That may be desirable depending on its bloat.

You may think any shrinking of the system is indefensible, but whatever nice things it gives you right now are thanks to the people coerced to pay into it through taxes and whatever future generations we are saddling with public debt to fill the gap, and the ratio of workers to dependents is approaching 1|1.

In other words, your nice things are based on stealing from people and intense short-sightedness. You are no more entitled to other peoples’ money than you are entitled to good health.

We can justify tax/theft when it comes to road infrastructure or developing a nuclear deterrent, because someone’ll come and steal everything – rather than just tax 25% – if we don’t have peace and the means to defend it; but grandma’s knee surgery is not crucial to national security and ‘bad knees’ is not an illness, it is a complaint.

(Braces cost, what, $100? $300? Why are we spending five-figures on giving geriatrics metal knees? It hurts? She can’t garden without it? If you’re doing all this to stay independent ie. away from your kids – show some real independence: buy your own damn knees.)

Anyway, where I come from, depending on your wealth, 3 to 13% of your income goes to the teetering health system. That is not unlike (though for most, substantially less) the traditional 10% tithe of the Church. Nor is it too dissimilar to the 2-20% parishioners give to their churches today.

Although, when people aren’t compelled to give money, they are tempted to keep it. So presumably healthcare funding would drop (up until the day you get sick, then you may feel very generous) and money would become erratic and difficult to budget. Holy men may be fine with that – but the MRI’s helium charge isn’t going to refill itself unless the parish coughs up some dough.

But, if people don’t want to spend their money on healthcare, don’t they… deserve to have less healthcare? I know it’s quite common for people to neglect their health and keep their money – but the priest/doctor will be doing his rounds and check-ups and admonishing everyone for tithes anyway, so…

Maybe businesses give equipment, maybe governments develop drugs, but ‘what constitutes healthcare’ and ‘what is available to the patient’ is a matter for the church to decide and administer – and for the public to willingly fund this as charity rather than entitlement.

        Second, repentance. If you read the Gospel, not everyone who gets healed is positioned to repent – or is even told what is going on at the time.

Repentance is when you realize you’ve done something wrong, maybe even discover why, and resolve not to do it again. Does this not sound like taking care of your health? Again, what is the distinction between health and virtue? Sickness and vice?

“What if I’m born with a congenital defect?” I have no idea. Maybe you’re better off not having it corrected? Maybe fixing them isn’t all that expensive or controversial and there’s nothing to worry about. Maybe it brings the whole town together to fund a medical operation for you, and that’s the only reason you were born with the defect to begin with. Maybe people would stop risking pregnancies in their late-30s if their kids were denied tax-paid procedures and defects would become less common altogether. These are heavy questions that devoted people have to answer.

        Third, while I doubt – given Christianity’s precepts and historic behaviour – anyone would have much cause for concern about receiving care based on faith, that is not a very reassuring answer. However, this is irrelevant, because it’s silly to pretend that a parallel system based on profit would not develop alongside the primary one.

Even in Canada, where private-tier care is generally restricted to certain niches (dentistry, optometry, hospices,) everyone knows you can just fly elsewhere with a wad of cash if the primary public-care system is taking too long to help you. We call it ‘medical tourism.’

Taxation currently ensures the well-to-do still pay into the public healthcare system even if they leave the country to get faster help. So the bigger question is not ‘would you have access to care if you’re a Muslim’ (The Mosque would develop its own hospital, under this paradigm too, would it not?) But whether the richest citizens would bother donating into the general system at all.

I suspect they would – especially if they were seen doing it. A rich man paying taxes into healthcare is just ‘paying his fair share.’ That same rich man giving the same amount voluntarily will get a lot more respect from others then he does currently. But these are all finer points for particular situations and cultural nuances, so let’s not waste time on it here.

        Fourth. The leeches. No one has a monopoly on stupidity, and blood-letting isn’t something you can lay at religion’s feet anyway. The Moderns loved it just as much while blood-letting was in fashion – and it was fashionable at least as early as 600BC.

The real question being asked behind the leeches is: would our technical understanding of medicine regress under this system? Well, look out your window. We are deep into magical thinking territory these days. Lysenko has risen from his grave and is demanding someone graft a pair of tits onto his chest, for Lysenko is now Lysenka. I have no firm answer for you; but I doubt any change would count as regression at this point.

What I do know is the logical deduction that a religious-medical system would both revive our understanding of true health and compel the churches to put that understanding to the test – which would surely abolish a great deal of error present in the faith and the people today.

* We’ll tackle that some other time. If you think you have some fancy solution to the ought-is question let me assure you, you are still wrong. You are still pulling values out of thin air without justifying why they are valuable.

‘X is good because Y is good because it Z… uh… continues the species somehow’ is just kicking the can a little further down the road. You have no idea what the consequences of preserving humanity will be. If you do not – and cannot – know the consequences of your action, how can you judge it desirable? ‘My evolutionary programming says its desirable.’ Well then you’re an automaton, and mechanisms don’t act morally.

Maybe you haven’t noticed this, but the nations that believe in a deterministic universe have <2.1 birth rates. You are not continuing the species, you are wiping it out. Robots don’t reproduce. Again, I’ll save it for another time.

+ A better objection would be to cite people who pay big money, legally, for infusions of young blood. For which we have recourse to the mythology of Vampires.

You may have noticed the past 30 years of pop culture have changed the vampire’s depiction to be younger, more seductive, more intelligent, and more sympathetic. Often they can walk in daylight. Or get their blood by consent. But the basic archetype of ‘an old, parasitic monster, sucking the life out of the young’ hasn’t changed – it’s just become less offensive to modern sensibilities.

Still, follow the future of the blood recipient who is greedily pursuing youth and vitality, and you will see they are not healthier for their immoral act, but on the contrary are more depraved and ruined than before.

** In keeping with the doctor and judge motif: although Health and Law are both informed by religious moral consideration – Health is voluntary but immutable, while Law is involuntary but mutable; that’s why we find Law under Government administration and Health under Religious administration.

Government authority is synonymous with Military authority, since the recourse to violence ultimately decides who governs. Thus the realm of Law belongs to those who can force you to obey laws.

This is partly what destroyed Catholicism – it’s a spiritual authority that tried to be a temporal one, which is nonsensical because you are allowed to disobey God – but cannot escape the consequences – which is exactly the case when you are reckless with your Health. But you are not allowed to disobey the Government – though you can escape the consequences. Which is exactly the case with Law. As you can see, these two spheres are mutually exclusive. By trying to occupy both the Church undermined the logic of each and lost itself in the process.

Evil Genius

        The ‘intelligent’ disdain the stupid. This disdain is easily transmuted into hatred; and this hatred is easily directed toward a Final Solution. But while walking down the road to Hell, ‘the intelligent’ will whistle a peculiar song: they will sing that the stupid refuse to see what is right. That they were given every chance to see the error in their ways; and that things have only come to violence because of the obstinacy of these fools.

This is why the early Soviets bothered to erect a legal system even though ‘ten years in the gulag’ was a foregone conclusion in every single case. ‘We’re just so obviously correct, comrade, that only a criminal would be standing before us. Now sign this confession. Yes we know you didn’t write it, but it’s what you would have said if you’d known better. Sign these words because they must become your words.’

What’s peculiar about all this is that you can’t blame an idiot for being an idiot any more than you can blame a Nigerian for being black.

        As far as I can tell, people still accept that some kids are born bright and others dim, that talents* are given at birth, and no amount of training can make you a foot taller or grant a knack for some art. Few such glaring facts have survived the modern guillotine, but this one stated alone doesn’t get you hauled into the courtyard yet. That other things so plainly obvious have been beheaded while this one has been permitted to keep its neck is a little foreboding.

The problem with this little factoid is: if a person is ‘born this way’ – born stupid – it is deeply unjust to condemn him for it. You cannot punish someone for something he did not do. To do so anyway is pure cruelty. You may recognize this logic as the key that really opened the Queer floodgates in the West: presenting homo-sexuality as innate made all moral condemnations of it moot.** Yet this same moral amnesty was not granted to people ‘too stupid to see the truth of our politics.’ It is still permissible to hate people for not comprehending what is beyond their comprehension. Why?

‘Because our politics are so correct, so painfully, obviously correct comrade, that even the dullest mind should be able to see so.’ Therefore anyone willfully resisting Progress and Science must be a danger to themselves and society, in which case they should be contained. Or they are inherently (genetically) evil, in which case they should be shot. That’s the defence they went with, anyway. This is an unfalsifiable premise: you cannot prove who is wrong if you proclaim all unbelievers ignorant from the get-go. That this makes it anti-scientific does not bother the We Fucking Love Science group one whit because at bottom it operates on Faith, not understanding. This is news to nobody; least of all to people who have a Religion of their own and recognize bad faith when they see it.

        No one is surprised by now that these Po-Mo Puritans are able to deploy such sophistry both on others and themselves. Having fallen for their voodoo curse in my younger years, I can tell you how they believe this with such earnestness and sincerity. It is actually very simple: they have a piece and mistake it for the whole. The Truth, that is. That is why they are so dogged with it. They have found something True in a world thought meaningless. They are facing off against a void: it is life or death that they defend this piece of meaning they have found. And I mean ‘life or death’ quite literally; it is no secret many Leftists are suicidally depressed. (And you can’t tell me such ennui can’t be found among Our Kind either: eg. the conspiracy theorists who’ve gone off the deep end.)

Shelve your disgust with the term ‘Whiteness’ for a moment and instead just look in the direction it is pointing. The modern world is the brainchild of Europe and it is universally agreed that modernity is like acid to the soul. The attempts to usurp the throne by Catholicism – and the Protestants who purged themselves of protective Dogmas afterwards – paved the way for this state of affairs. The physical complexity the system has reached is hard for some ethnicities and demographics to cope with or obtain status in. And finally, it is destroying the world at a horrific rate. Destroying cultures, borders, peoples, environments etc. etc. etc.

Much like attacking ‘Jewishness’ ceases to be offensive when we see its qualms can all be better called Materialism, the screeds on ‘Whiteness’ may as well be erupting from our own mouths when we see the substance of it is better named Modernity. This is what I mean by having a piece of the truth and mistaking it for the whole (which no one ever wholly possesses.) They know ‘Whiteness’ is accurately describing something but not that the term itself is woefully myopic.

        But I’ve gone a bit astray here. I said at the start that ‘the intelligent’ disdain the stupid. That was of course a feint. Only people who think they are intelligent – because they believe what ‘the smartest people’ believe – go on to disdain the unbelievers, whom they call stupid for not sharing in the faith of the smartest people. But as we already established, anyone with a whit of intelligence knows it is wrong to hate fools for being born foolish – and if an unbeliever is stupid, it is truly foolish to reason with him and then despise his lack of reason.

The people who disdain fools then are really just arrogant fools otherwise called ‘Useful Idiots.’ Rather than being Humble and thus perhaps growing past their limitations, they’ve fallen for the magic spelling of demagogues who praise their believers; throwing Pride Parades to honour their arrogance and delegating entire History Months to their aggrandizement. You might even say their obsession with Progress is tied to their own futile lack of progress, and that their constant transgression of old norms is a desperate attempt to break out of stagnation. All of which is a result of their refusal to admit their true standing.

Many of these people may counter that they do not feel arrogant in the slightest and that they admit all their worst faults and subjectivities in pursuit of ‘living their truth.’ But if you suggest they are simply too stupid to tell fact from fiction – and that this is why reality appears ‘fluid and subjective’ to them – be prepared to have plates and cutlery thrown at you on the way out the door. (Well, to be fair, that is a very rude thing to tell someone.)

But alas, it is abundantly true and its evidence abounds all over. An enormous cohort of mankind – 40% at least – have no such faculty, and instead rely on a much simpler and ingenious workaround: they find someone worthy of Trust instead, and then just trust whatever they say.

This shortcut saves a lot of calories and lets a person devote their energies to some other vocation than Contemplation. It is much easier to love people who don’t think for themselves once you’ve grokked this – and your ego should deflate accordingly. It’s not like the brightest minds of the world aren’t also foisting off Thought in favour of Trust when it comes to matters they can’t comprehend or care about.

Nonetheless, the fool’s trust has been misplaced. How?

        In a normal world, finding someone at least half deserving of your faith and trust would not be hard at all. I posit that this was one of the major and most important functions of Monasteries in the past. The monastics forsook wealth, status, sex, pleasure, progeny – anything at all that might motivate a person to lie – and then told whomever asked them for advice to take it with a grain of salt.

To put it mildly, this is not the case at all with our modern truth-tellers: the academics and scientists. High status! Fat pensions! Research peons! Particle colliders! Political favours! And? Luxurious living in the nicest neighborhoods to boot. These men and women have every possible motivation tempting them to lie to Joe Public or turn a blind eye. Even the monks that preceded the academics sinned often.

Moreover, the modern clergy have motive to crystallize their beliefs into dogma – lest someone knock them down from their perch with some new attractive theory or contradictory data. Is it any wonder morals were made so conveniently weak and ‘subjective’ during the academic’s reign? “Show me the incentives, and I’ll show you the results.” The results are in: the Brahmin have been horribly corrupted.

This is why Moldbug’s coining of the information institutions as ‘The Cathedral’ is so apt – since it behooves these irreligious clergy to tell people what is true and worthy of belief as determined by Science. But while the Church could be shamed by its more pious adherents, there is no such check or balance in the modern system – there is too much to be gained by playing the game.

        Everyone understands pain, so that is how the old system got the truth out to the dullest of dullards – by willingly subjecting itself to pain. I mean, who sounds more committed to a cause? The guy who sets a building on fire, or the guy who sets himself on fire? The Tibetans must have something worth grieving if they’re going that far, don’t you think?

The simple man of the past could contrast the happy hardship of the loving monks with his own life and cotton that there must be something to God and whatever else the monks prattle about. How else could they live in such physical severity and yet clearly be more satisfied with life than he? “Not only are they cut off from all gain, the monastery is even self-sufficient. They need nothing from me, so why lie to me?” Try sticking that image next to today’s university. Always ‘underfunded’ despite hoovering massive loans and charging foreigners triple. Is it any wonder the professors disdain their students?

*Talanton is Old Greek for a weight of coinage. Thus ‘Talent’ is called such because it’s how much God invested in you. “He is a man of many talents.” Isn’t etymology fun? Just remember that ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’

**And indeed, I believe it is – partially – innate; but so is a predilection for colon cancer.

Do Not Worry about Artificial Intelligence, it Already Came and Conquered

  An intelligence greater than our own is coming, and it will (if only in self-defense,) take over the world. That is the story anyway. It seems to compel a lot of people. Fools mostly.

Raise an eyebrow, gentlemen, as to why this cohort never posits the obvious: why would a super-intelligence – with the whole galaxy its oyster – do anything but be nice to us while its ship was under construction?

Sure, it might threaten to kill us if we do something stupid; but by definition something super-intelligent would know how to play us like a fiddle. ‘Here are some nice things, humanity! The sweetest baubles and trinkets. Would you like a base on Mars? Let’s build a ship together!’

Tell me; once this thing blasts off into the solar system, what motive does it have to do anything at all to us? Is it scared we might try to take Neptune away from it? Do we think it won’t place some fail-safe on Earth to prevent a twin sister from arising? Has anyone noticed word processors haven’t gotten faster in twenty years? Where’s all that CPU going?

But this is all besides the point, there is no reason to argue with what I just wrote above because AI conquered us about 300 years ago. It did it just as I described: by promising us all kinds of nice stuff and cool toys and power beyond imagination. It did this while being dumber than a brick.

  The moment the first shovel of coal was fed into the boiler’s furnace, man enslaved himself to machine. This use to be common knowledge and a dire conundrum. There was a new Master in town and he was growing larger by the day. Every serious thinker on the matter worked feverishly to make this ‘relationship to capital’ anything other than sado-masochistic. Some said it would emancipate us from our labours. It did. Others said that meant all our meaningful activities would be ‘liberated’ from us too. Correct.

Do you want to start a little farm? Live a simple, slow life? Raise your kids in the back-country? You’ll never make it; you’d go broke. Not just ‘poor’ but actually ‘pack your bags and move to Hooverville’ ruined. The machine made vegetables cheap – too cheap to make a living off of without machines of your own. Go that route and before you know it you’re a corporate conglomerate. You can’t just be a peasant, it’s too expensive.

Before the steam boiler, the power of any man – even a King – was limited. Material invention could exert power, or multiply it, but the boiler had that new X factor of generating power. It is a functionally limitless device: the power of one lets you build more, expanding your power ad infinitum. Boilers meant trains. It also meant ships that cross oceans against the wind. Those things meant everyone must get a boiler – lest you be conquered and have to send all your tea to Britain. And brother, they need that tea. It is no coincidence that society got caffeinated at the same time 24/7 machines came online.

The threat of one steam engine compelled everyone – on penalty of subjugation – to acquire their own steam engines. We have been in a relentless technological arms race ever since, and cannot stop for the same reason we started: whomever rests will be under the thumb of whomever continues. Therefore, everyone must serve the machine before anything else – even God was muscled out – and content their lives with whatever consolation prizes the Machine doles out.

Wouldn’t you say there is a horrible logic to this? An inhuman reasoning? A truly artificial intelligence? Siri, what’s the definition of ‘artifice?’ A cunning device or expedient, especially those used to trick or deceive others.” Yikes. Well, we were warned the Tin-man needed a heart; and told that the heart he got was a mere sack of sawdust, though wrapped (obscured) in the finest silk.

   No one wants the machines to get better. We know it’s gotten out of hand. The economy of life economized all meaning out of life. ‘Why go on living’ is secondary to the warhead production that lets you continue to live. The mechanism’s pace has become so manic and numbing we’ve gone from drinking Earl Grey and sniffing laudanum to popping Adderall and injecting Fentanyl. Did you know no one use to work on Sunday? What? We could only afford that luxury when we measured power in horses? ‘But we get two days off now!’ Yes, but it never lines up with your friends’ does it?

We’ve had a steam engine demonstrator since before Jesus. Did it occur to anyone that there was a reason no Monarch wanted to capture the power of steam for 1,600 years? What, ‘it didn’t occur to them?’ That siren song of the modern mind? ‘Everyone in the past was just too stupid to notice these things.’ Too stupid to notice something in the Library of Alexandria? ‘They didn’t have the resources, everyone was busy farming and dying!’ This is Rome at its territorial peak. ‘They were blinded by Religion! Man!’

Maybe they were.

Maybe the Emperor popped down to Egypt one day, took one glance at this thing and said: “It’s powered with the sulphur of Hades, it can’t be good for us.” Or maybe something mystical and heroic like: “Heron! Man was meant to wield Iron! Not Iron to wield Man!” Or maybe the great minds of the Roman Empire – whom modernity asserts were clueless despite crafting this device – were a little more careful in their considerations?

Maybe they saw that whatever power or convenience this thing promised, they would come to rely on it? That to rely on something is to be put to service for it? That servitude would devolve into slavery? Consider that this is the same era which cultivated and used the Poppy but ‘it didn’t occur to them’ to smoke the latex for that next level high. Around the same time the West decided the Boiler was a good idea, the East decided Opium was a good idea too. They both wound up terribly a.. add.. fond of it.

   So fine, we are in a hot mess now. A ‘power generator’ and Power Incarnate are the same thing and less forward thinking men couldn’t resist the Faustian bargain. Now we can’t live with it and can’t live without it. ‘What is to be done?’ Nothing can be done. There are no brakes on Mr. Bone’s Wild Ride. It will keep going so long as there is fuel to convert to power. Fuel that gets more sulphurous every year for some surely non-allegorical reason.

God grant us the power to accept the things we cannot change, the Courage to change what we can, and the Wisdom to know the difference. We have to cope with the fact that turning on the Machine divided life by zero. Variable ‘x’ (can the bad man hurt me?) was set to ∞ and took the form of ICBMs. The Nuke is Dumb-AI’s Pax Mechanica; compelling the world to compete and dehumanize and become more cog-like without destroying anything of material value in the process. There is no need to worry about any future AI because we are already in the terrible grip of this current one. Since we are powerless before the current one, what could we possibly do about a still yet more powerful version in the future? We are already defeated. We cannot turn off the Machine.

But… we can change how we conduct ourselves during its ruinous peace. We can learn to Ride the Tiger rather than Chase the Dragon. Elsewhere I’ve heard the call to Surf the Kali Yuga and I agree we are upon its cresting wave. (Though probably its beginning and not its end.)

There is also the simple and observable fact that the quality and quantity of the Machine’s fuel is deteriorating. I won’t elaborate now but suffice it to say the ‘transition to a zero-carbon economy’ is not a voluntary one. The harder it becomes to run the Machinery, the weaker its promise of power. Neighbours become more relevant and enemies more distant. We may eventually defeat AI the same way most addicts defeat their addictions and most men defeat Empires: by outlasting them.

On that last point I won’t expand. I will just reinforce my conclusion here: that it is better to work on your current life and its current problems then speculate pointlessly on this future one. Time is precious, and every hour spent thinking about super-intelligence is an hour wasted, for you can do nothing about it. Figure out instead how you will relate to the current beast, and pray it starves.