He sat alone on a giant throne
Pretending he’s the king.
A little tyke who’s rather like
A puppet on a string.
— “The Phoney King of England”
Long before anyone thought to call him a neoreactionary, mostly because he himself said it’d be the term a Harvard progressive would use to describe him, Mencius Moldbug called himself a formalist. You can always, and probably should, read about his ideas on formalism by yourself. For those of you with no patience for long-winded essays mired in Gen-X cynical and self-referential humor, here’s the skinny: violence is bad, violence is best defined as conflict + uncertainty (Moldbug would rather concede that friction is a better term for what he calls violence) and leads to suffering, and the best way to excise it from the world is to eliminate uncertainty. That is to say: formalize all relations so that there may be no uncertainty as to what belongs to whom and which responsibility falls on whom. In practice, this would mean abolishing the current political system wholesale and replacing it with one where the actual power-holders are formally recognized as such. One way of doing that is turning a country into a joint-stock corporation and issuing stock to the actual power-holders. So, theoretically, a formalization of America would end up with various arms of the government, media, NGO sector, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, the intelligence community, academia, foreign nations, and the military-industrial complex owning shares in the US government.
How would that change anything? Don’t these institutions already rule? How would formalizing their rule improve our situation? Three ways.
First, it would strip away the charade of democratic rule and rule of law, saving a lot of resources that currently go into political campaigns and de-escalating a good deal of the political conflict which occurs among the population. If you have no voice in how you’re ruled, there’s no point in arguing about it with your uncle at Thanksgiving, denouncing your errant brother, or blocking people on Facebook over it.
Secondly, it would put an end to the constant vying for power between the various power centers. American democratic politics, as per the neoreactionary model, is a low-level civil war between the coalition of the permanent bureaucracy, media, Silicon Valley, academia, the American empire’s European satrapies, half of Wall Street, and three-quarters of the intelligence community — which you may know as the Blue Empire and I like to call Team Moloch — versus the coalition of the US military, the military-industrial sector, the American empire’s Middle Eastern satrapies, the other half of Wall Street, and the remaining quarter of the intelligence services — which you may know as the Red Empire and I like to call Team Mammon. In fact, if you want to get anything done, you have to throw a bone to each of these actors with varied and diverse agendas, and each seems to have veto power. By formalizing their ownership, they can now vie for power in relatively civilized ways, whether by buying and selling government stock in the open market, or maybe by engaging in open warfare, which would result in one massive instance of extreme violence followed by a long period of stability, as opposed to the current unworkable middle of 250 years of constant low-level civil war (with brief violent flare-ups during the War Between the States and the Mormon War).
Thirdly, the true owners of the country and directors of its policies will be revealed, which means that the spotlight of scrutiny would shine upon them. Indeed, neoreactionary lore hinges on the idea that informal power is a thousand times more exploitative and tyrannical than formal power, given that whenever the oppressed can credibly claim that he is being tyrannized, the oppressor can even more credibly claim that he has no power to tyrannize with; he has just some authority, that he is not a cruel despot ruling over cowering peasants, but a private citizen offering learned counsel, or even a beleaguered public servant catering to the whims of ungrateful rubes. Indeed, the informality of power is a shroud that the powerful use to secure their position against scrutiny and thus become more powerful than even the kings of yore. It also means power without skin in the game — the king always shares the fate of the kingdom. If he tyrannizes his nobles or the peasants, his head can end up on a pike, his house can be sundered, and his sons made landless. The bureaucrats behind the West’s many fuckups and tyrannies are alive and well, and probably not even weighed down by a guilty conscience — after all, they’re just public servants. I’ve likened an informal system of power to a poorly constructed plumbing and sewage network. Power leaks out of it like water and sewage leak out of a system, and parasites of all kinds attach themselves to the pipes, trying to suck as much water out while directing the flow of sewage towards their competitors. Inevitably, some sewage gets into the water.
Now, I have my disagreements with ol’ Moldbug. He has many blind spots, and then there’s the problematic issue of his heritage, which really shows in his teleology, to say nothing of the mandatory slander of Dr. Kevin MacDonald. If you go to an Ashkenazi programmer for your political philosophy, you should expect that he’ll be allergic to “friction,” — or power plays — and dismissive of the idea of tight-knit ethnic lobbies wielding inordinate amounts of power. Nerds are conflict-averse to begin with and become more conflict-averse with every conflict they inevitably lose. To understand that there exists a class of men who not only relish conflict, but would go mad with boredom in the absence of it, is difficult for them. But nevertheless, he presents us with an interesting and workable model of the US government as it is, and gives some interesting suggestions on what should be done to fix it. He is certainly directionally right, which is to say he thinks in the right direction, especially given the early date of his thought (2007).
Of note, what really turns a lot of people off from neoreaction is the fact that Moldbug isn’t exactly a big fan of changing the owners, merely formalizing their ownership. Some are disgusted by the very idea of a sovereign corporation, others yet question the wisdom of finding out who’s in charge of the monstrosity we call modernity and then not hanging the bastard(s). Then there’s the whole issue of why things are the way they are and not some other way. Many neoreactionaries admire Singapore. Why isn’t there a European Singapore? My answer is that Europeans aren’t Asians and cannot be governed like Asians. They’ll say liberalism is a problem, and I agree, but you have to ask yourself why liberalism arose — and the answer might be that it could be the only practical way to govern white people at a certain stage in our civilizational cycle. You can read more on my thoughts on that subject in this essay, where I announce my monumental discovery that civilizations aren’t cars.
Now, all that being said, formalism has obvious benefits, outlined above. And I believe it stands to reason that more formalism is better than less formalism, if only that the resulting ugliness would shock society into restructuring. The shock of Queen Hillary in 2016 was palpable, and sent shockwaves throughout the world from which globohomo may never recover. Queen Hillary in particular managed, somehow, to unite the entire power structure on her side. Although nominally of Team Blue, she managed to secure the allegiance of Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, the upper echelons of the US military, and even the traditionally red MENA satrapies. But then electoral democracy happened. More specifically, an ugly and unlikable woman was pitted against an immensely entertaining alpha male. And then she lost. And then Team Mammon neutralized Trump. But we got some really good memes out of it, and the real power-brokers were forced to show their hands. The entire government apparatus of the US was in more-or-less open rebellion against Donald Trump. The security services even bogged him down in impeachment. Now niche terms like deep state are commonplace, one power center — the media — is completely defanged, and others are on the wane.
Having Donald Trump in the White House has been good for formalism because it showed just how powerless the President truly is, even with the much-ballyhooed Republican congressional supermajority in the first two years of his presidency. The nominally most powerful man in the world pushing with all his might and failing to get a single inch has been an immense red pill. That is, until he was neutralized. Now he’s a good Team Mammon player who only wins insignificant battles – losing by winning. It’s the only way he can get something, anything, done. Sometimes I step into MAGAtwitter and find myself in a world where Reagan-nostalgia and bog-standard cuckservative tropes are radical realignments that will defeat the Libturd DemonRats™ once and for all. WWGWWA! All hail secretary Q! A C T I V A T E S E S S I O N S.
Lest we slip back into the idea that the President has actual power and that he is on the verge of arresting the deep state en-masse, a different approach needs to be taken. A President with an agenda of his own pushing back against the establishment was tried, and it worked for a while, but then the enemy came up with a response to the stratagem — let him keep his bluster and help him lose by winning. I suggest something radical.
I suggest America elect an actual, smiling, giggling even, non-entity. I suggest America elect someone who is incapable of ruling, or even appearing to rule. I suggest America elect someone who is literally brainless, or as close as one can get under the circumstances. I suggest America elect a demented old man who rants about his hairy legs and Cornpop, the Scourge of Wilmington, Delaware. In case I’m not making myself clear, I suggest America dispense with the malarkey and get to ridin’ with Biden.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. The scuttlebutt on the street is that some of the smarter leftoids and globalists are #RidinWithBiden for this precise reason: so that the “experts” staffing the American bureaucracy can rule through this much-venerated senile figurehead. The Trump administration has shown us the great dangers of a President with a mind of his own. Indeed, Donnie Boy is only the most egregious example of a chaotic commander-in-chief interfering with the power centers in ways that disrupt the stability of the US sovereign corporation. Barack Obama brazenly humiliated Our Greatest Ally™ and made noises which made Wall Street and the MI complex very uncomfortable. Indeed, a temporary alliance between State under Hillary and Defense under Leon Panetta was forged to take the initiative on the Libya conflict, while Obama preferred to let the French take the lead. And ol’ Dubya was, for a while at least, literally Hitler, offending the sensibilities of academia, media, and the European satrapies. His rehabilitation in the age of Trump notwithstanding, the very idea of a Connecticut Yankee LARPing as a Texas cowboy in the White House was the highest of heresies at the time.
In fact, the only two Presidents I can think of which didn’t annoy any of the power vertices too much were Franklin D. Roosevelt and Bill Clinton. Roosevelt, of course, built most of them, and Bill Clinton presided over the most peaceful, almost frictionless period in recent history, a mythical time known as the 90s. Indeed, so peaceful and frictionless were the 90s, that the most interesting political issue of the age was Slick Willie getting a bee-jay from a fat Jewish woman — all while NATO was bombing the shit out of Serbia, or some other boring, irrelevant shit characteristic of the victorious Idea merely annexing unowned ideological space. History had, in fact, ended, or so we were told by the esteemed Mr. Fukuyama. Bubba Bill was notorious for “triangulating” with Team Mammon’s emissary Newt Gingrich and throwing them a bone or two. So emblematic are the 90s that vast swathes of the population dream of going back to this golden age of ahistory.
Now hold on a minute. You can say many things about Bubba, but he ain’t brainless, right? I mean, he too probably has hairy legs and loves it when children jump on them, but at least he has the good sense to keep mum about it. Well, that’s the thing. Bubba was very smart, but completely ruled by sin. He was so corrupt that it made no difference to him whether the bribes and hookers came from Team Moloch or Team Mammon. That’s why he could triangulate. Sin makes man into a non-entity. There is no man behind the eyes anymore, only a gaping, sucking hole that has to be filled with indulgence after indulgence. But even a sinful man has a limit — pride is a sin, after all, and pride can fuck everything up. Prideful men make for poor puppets.
Therefore, I propose that a literally brainless man be put into the White House, so that it may become apparent who rules and all political friction is removed, or at least brought out into the open, instead of fought over through proxies. This time, there won’t even be Slick Willie’s sociopathic charisma to paper over the naked power plays. Those who hold power will be formally recognized as such. No more hiding, no more cloak and dagger.
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