Chronic Kinglessness

A while back, someone linked me to this interview with Tory MP Rory Stuart from 2014 (H/T: Peregrin). It was rather informative on what is wrong with modern politics (read it all).

“But in our situation we’re all powerless. I mean, we pretend we’re run by people. We’re not run by anybody. The secret of modern Britain is there is no power anywhere.” Some commentators, he says, think we’re run by an oligarchy. “But we’re not. I mean, nobody can see power in Britain. The politicians think journalists have power. The journalists know they don’t have any. Then they think the bankers have power. The bankers know they don’t have any. None of them have any power.”

And this from a man who only two years ago attended the Bilderberg conference, a highly exclusive and secretive gathering of the world’s most powerful bankers, politicians and businesspeople?

“Well there we are, you see,” he smiles. “I can tell you, there is nothing there. It’s like the wizard of Oz. This is the age of the wizard of Oz, you know. In the end you get behind the curtain and you finally meet the wizard and there’s this tiny, frightened figure. I think every prime minister has sort of said this since Blair. You get there and you pull the lever, and nothing happens.”

This is a perfect example of what Moldbug, referencing Carlyle, referred to as chronic kinglessness.

This is the secret of politics and modern society: nobody is in charge, no one has power, and nobody is running the show: not the people, not the corporations, not the politicians, not the bureaucrats, not the courts, not the military, not the journalists, not the bankers, not the white male patriarchs, not the SJW’s, not the Jews, not Davos, not the Bilderbergs, not the Tri-lateral Commission, not the Illuminati, and not the lizard-people.

Everybody likes to posit that some bogeyman composed of people they dislike is in charge and running, ruining, things behind the scenes because that is comforting. Even if a conspiracy is leading to disaster, at least we’re being led. Even if they are evil incarnate, at least they know what they’re doing and are leading society in a specific direction. It is comforting to know someone is in charge, even if we hate them.

But we’re not that lucky. There is no one who really knows what they’re doing and no one is in charge. Everybody has just a little bit of power, some have more some less, to accomplish tiny things, so nobody has any real power to accomplish anything. Our system is vieled anarchy.

Society’s moving the way it is not because anyone is willing it, but because society’s movement has taken on an inertia of its own, and continues moving along this inertial path whatever actual people may desire. It has almost become a will of its own, some have taken to calling it an egregore, but it’s not really mystical or mysterious. It moves because that’s the way it has moved, so people follow it along and continue to move it, so it moves.

We have the rule of law, but the law is unknown and unconstrained by man.

****

Don’t believe me, remember this picture:

The wife of the leader of the free world was so powerless, she had to make meaningless twitter activism to try to rescue for a few hundred kidnapped girls. The so-called Leader of the Free World, who ostensibly has the most powerful military in the history of the world under his command, couldn’t liberate a few hundred girls from a few hundred tribal savages, so she had to pray to the activism gods.

The king of any third-rate kingdom in history would laugh at the pitiable weakness of any other king who couldn’t even round up 100 aging men to rescue some maidens to make his queen smile. Yet, the Commander in Chief of the the million man army of the strongest empire in history failed to do this.

The girls were later saved by a hundred aging South African mercenaries. I’ll also note, that despite being able to do what the US President was powerless to, these mercenaries also expressed feelings of powerlessness.

****

Because everybody has some power, but nobody has real power, there is no responsibility. Back to the interview:

Whenever Stewart took one of these ideas, such as rule of law, to an actual Afghan village, it became meaningless. “None of the things that I’m looking for exist. There obviously isn’t police, or a judge, there isn’t a legal code, there isn’t a prison. There’s a bunch of guys with white beards sitting around, and their system of doing that might be quite different from the next-door village. So then how do you get from there to here? Well, it can be done, but it’s not going to be done by a foreigner who barely understands any of that.”

These bearded men have real power. It may be limited to a small village, but it is real in a way no modern in the West could understand. There is no legal power or police backing them up, but they still have control over their local village. Because they have real power, they also have real responsibility; even an outsider who knows nothing can tell exactly who’s in charge. The village knows exactly who to hold accountable if something goes wrong, and if leadership is bad enough, they know exactly who to shoot.

On the other hand, let’s examine our governance using Obamacare as an example. Obamacare was nightmare of inefficincies, failed deadlines, and rising health insurance prices. Despite being named after Obama, the blame gets heaped everywhere: Obama who championed the bill, Republicans who obstructed it and watered it down, the lobbyists and interns who actually wrote the bill, Justice Roberts who ruled a not-tax was a tax, the IT company that screwed the website, the bureaucracy implementing the plan, the insurance companies who didn’t act the way leftists wanted, or the people who elected those who put the whole thing into place.

Nobody got what they wanted out of this debacle, and everybody’s unhappy. Everybody was acting like they were powerless to get what they wanted and their opponents were using their overwhelming power to get their way. The only person who had even a hint of real power in this whole thing was Roberts who technically could have squashed it, but who felt he didn’t have the power to, so instead he made the cockamamie excuse that something that was specifically written as not being a tax was a tax.

Everybody has some power, but nobody has real power, so nobody nobody knows who to blame, beyond the other guy, and nobody can be held accountable, when things go wrong.

The reverse holds true as well, no responsibility means no authority. If no one is responsible for something, no one has legitimate authority over it, no one has power over it. Every villager in this village, knows who has authority. Nobody in the US has any clue who actually has authority.

****

Power flows from authority, authority flows from legitimacy.

At its essence, power is violence, real or implied. It is the ability to force others to do your will.

But, the violent capacities of one man are extremely limited, no one man could stop ten, let alone a hundred thousand, so the capacity for violence, real or implied, comes not from personal capacities, but from the ability to command others to carry out violence on your behalf. A man’s power is essentially: if he ordered it, how many man would commit violence on his behalf. The ability to carry out your will, particularly through the use of others, is authority. Authority is from here power flows.

Legitimacy is whether men accept your authority. Do men believe you have the right to command them and do they believe they have a duty to obey when you command? You can temporarily force people to obey without legitimacy through fear, but this illusionary authority lasts only until someone openly disobeys without consequence or someone responds with greater force.

****

So, who today has power?

The President can, with enough political maneveuring, command thousands of men into war, but that is limited. He couldn’t even command 100 men to #bringbackourgirls to please his wife. Should the President command a war, Justice Roberts could force the war to end, if he declared it unconstiutional. Theoretically, the Constitution states that Congress decides when men are sent to war, they could theoretically overrule the President, but they seem to not have been particularly effective in stopping the President in recent history. A general could theoretically disobey the president; he controls the men with guns. Come to that, the men with guns themselves could do whatever they desired, who could stop them?

So, in theory, nobody really controls when men are sent to war, yet, the men still march to war, and the wars end up wasteful and counter-productive. This century, our enemies always seem to end up controlling the countries the US invades, yet no one is ever held responsible.

You will notice the Constitution mentioned repeatedly above. Odd that a document, a set of words that could be destroyed by a single 10-cent match, controls so much. The Constitution has power because the constitution confers legitimacy. The legitimacy confers authority.

Yet, the legitimacy of the Constitution has been waning. When will the living document lose its power?

This basis of legitimacy is dedicated to preventing any one man from obtaining any real power. This was more or less functional when government was small and controlled, power rested outside the government, so there was little power for the Constitution to to distribute. It may have been uncontrolled, but it was a toddler swinging wildly. But as government has grown, so to has the dysfunctionality. More power rests with the government, but nobody has any real power over that power. The power of government swings around madly, like an enraged and blinded Hercules.

Also, odd, isn’t it, that the Constitution fails utterly to check the growth of government power, yet it strongly checks the power of any single man.

****

We are suffering chronic kinglessness. Everybody has some power, but nobody has real power. All the men we think are powerful, think themselves powerless. Instead of a directed, functional state, we a hyper-powerful super-state throwing its tremendous weight around blindly, destroying everything in its path. The Constitution, which limits any man from having real power, prevents any man from exercising real authority, yet at the same time it is helpless to limit government, so the behemoth fumbles around blindly leaving a swath of destruction in its wake.

27 comments

  1. Dividing up power doesn’t seem to limit its growth real good, does it. The metaphor that comes to mind is “Kessler syndrome”.

  2. This is a great post, very concisely expressed.

    The country I come from is suffering from the same problem: lack of competent, secure authority. The government is devided into two main “power-sharing” parties and they cannot or will not cooperate because they have radically different goals. Indeed, my government often has to shut-down as a result. My country is Northern Ireland.

    Thanks for the link and article.

  3. “This is the secret of politics and modern society: nobody is in charge, no one has power, and nobody is running the show: not the people, not the corporations, not the politicians, not the bureaucrats, not the courts, not the military, not the journalists, not the bankers, not the white male patriarchs, not the SJW’s, not the Jews, not Davos, not the Bilderbergs, not the Tri-lateral Commission, not the Illuminati, and not the lizard-people.”

    Correct – so far as it goes. But it does not go far enough. God is left out of the explanation.

    The real war is spiritual, the real power is supernatural – the bad things are strategically planned and executed by supernatural powers of purposive evil – Satan, demons and those they possess and who serve them or are duped by them.

    That is why there is a very obvious direction to history (and its strategy is longer than human generations), why the pendulum does not swing back, and why any attempts to reverse the decline – by a real Christian awakening – are purposively subverted, corrupted, destroyed, inverted (generally from within the main churches)…

    Rory Stewart is choosing his words carefully, being disingenuous – he knows exactly what IS going-on; but it suits the agenda to encourage nihilism (‘it is all meaningless’) and helpless despair (which Christians regard as a sin). That way we will all damn ourselves. (Which is actually the only way we can be damned.)

    But there is real power for Good, and reason for hope – however, a necessary step is to acknowledge that when The West (incrementally but now very fully) rejected God (which was the first and remains the core plank of the Left agenda), it rendered itself helpless against real evil.

    Solzhenitsyn perceived this:
    http://www.roca.org/OA/36/36h.htm

  4. You may remember Lou Rockwell or other Austrian school types talking about wanting anarchy. They like to say anarchy isn’t about no rules, but no rulers. I even tried calling myself an anarchist, but it didn’t work- doesn’t really work for any of the Austrian school people either, since they believe in private property. We have their poor definition of anarchy now- many rules, no rulers. It would be preferable to have many rulers in a simple sense- many owners of various properties deciding what can and cannot go on in their areas, and few rules. Indeed, instead of rules per se, published and promulgated as universal, what would happen instead would likely be much more like negotiation, and personalized.

    This would lead to good breeding again, with successful rulers ruling more, and having more children, who would in turn either rule and/or raise the general capacity of the people to rule.

  5. Glad to see you’re back to posting articles of your own.

    I like a lot of what you say but disagree with some of it too. It’s obviously not true that no one has any power; lots of people have lots of power. It’s just that 1) they’re often at odds with each other and frustrate each others’ plans, 2) the massive scale and complexity of our society means that the things powerful people try to do often don’t work out how they wanted 3) people are constantly gaining and losing power (like Trump severely wounding the Bush wing of the GOP), leading to chaos and unpredictability for all, and 4) while the Constitution is still seen as the legitimate source of authority, in practice our gov’t almost totally ignores it, a classic example of Moldbuggian corruption (“a thing that isn’t what it appears to be”)

    As for why Obama didn’t go after Boko Haram, I’d wager $1,000 it was because no one (including Michelle) actually gave a shit, it was all just signalling. We have extensive evidence that Presidents are perfectly capable of sending commando teams into random countries to f*ck their sh*t up.

    And as for Obamacare, it wasn’t that no one had power (if they didn’t it never would’ve been written or passed or rubberstamped by the courts), it just a basic “too many unaccountable cooks spoil the broth” bureaucratic f*ck-up, as many major reform bills wind up being.

    What you seem to be saying is that no single entity is powerful enough to get 100% of what it wants all the time, and that’s certainly true, but then I’m not sure kings ever really had that kind of power either; they too had factions and interests they needed to appease if they wanted their reigns to be smooth and stable.

    Most broadly I’d agree that we’d be better off with a much, much clearer and more transparent hierarchy of who runs what and who’s accountable for what. As for how we get there from here though, who knows.

    Lastly, I’d take quotes like that with a grain of salt. I’m sure the politicians/bankers/Soros types at Bilderberg would just love to have the public believe they’re all a bunch of helpless babes in the woods, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.

  6. Rejection of God inevitably leads to a dissipation of power. Spiritual entropy, if you like. Democratic governments can only facilitate this process.

    Without God as sovereign, power dissipates quickly even in small groups. For example, if Tom, Dick and Harry each act as their own sovereign, power would be dissipated in n(n-1) = 6 directions. If there are four sovereigns, dissipation occurs in 12 directions and with 100 sovereigns, in 9900 directions. By the time we get to a million, sovereign power is disspated nearly a trillion-fold. This sort of dissipation can be understood as political entropy.

    An isolated system’s entropy never decreases. The system will spontaneously evolve towards equilibrium, the state with maximum entropy. Thus without external sovereignty, all power dissipates. Equality is entropic and therefore degenerative to God’s creative purposes.

  7. Also, odd, isn’t it, that the [U.S.] Constitution fails utterly to check the growth of government power, yet it strongly checks the power of any single man.

    Nothing odd about that at all. Indeed, this is exactly what that aged piece of parchment was written for: to consolidate real political power into the hands of a central government, at the expense of local political entities (and thus the People) and in direct contravention of the spirit and vision of the revolution that birthed the independent nation. That this had to be done through subterfuge and manipulation by a shadowy and disreputable cult that had its fingers in every stage of the nation’s settlement and formation is very telling.

  8. Here’s another definition of the word Constitution and should be pointed out to show the difference between Constitution and “Constitution (document)”:

    A person’s physical state as regards vitality, health, and strength.

    A.J.P>

  9. “Jacob”, do you ever stop to wonder in amazement about how few people know what sanctification means, even so called intellectual blogger types?

    Best regards,

    A.J.P.

  10. @AJP.

    Not really. The biblical meaning of sanctification is set apart by God, which the intellectual blogger types seem to have no trouble with. The evangelical churchian types warming the pews in the West seem to have more difficulty grasping its meaning.

  11. Well, if you say so. However, if the topic were approached as a motivating force instead of a goal in and of itself, there might be more light shed on the problems of today.

    Something you wrote made that come to mind, but if you’re satisfied with the common understanding among red-pill bloggers, then that’s well enough.

    Best regards,

    A.J.P.

  12. @AJP

    I should clarify however that just because a Red Pill Christian blogger may know what sanctification means, it may not characterise their approach to the topics under discussion. I’ve come across many who write about being sanctified but don’t act that way, myself and our host included.

    I think I’d agree that sanctification is more revealing when treated as a motivating force – that would certainly be consistent with the biblical view. Sanctification isn’t something Christians do, it’s something Christ does when people are saved. Christians are sanctified by their salvation, they don’t work for it but they do need to respond to it. Even a perpetually disobedient and lazy Christian blogger is sanctified.

    However, since Red Pill blogs are characterized by their polished and arresting mostly right-leaning rhetoric, including the new wave of Alt-Right identity politics, it may well be moee revealing as a goal. It certainly seems to have a winnowing effect, separating the wheat from the chaff, if that makes sense.

  13. “Jacob”,

    Sure, but I don’t want to insult anybody, so if you already think that it’s good enough, the chance is that I’ll end up broaching the topic at a different time, when it is more approachable.

    A.J.P.

  14. i wrote a three-piece series on constitutionalism. the theme is not all that different from what you cover.

    the essential insight of constitutionalism is to understand the actual power relations in society (stemming from authority and legitimization, as you put) and formalize them in bodies of actual power, with the correct incentives to control each other.

    the experience of Constitutionalism in the US have fared really well, until it was outright abandoned and replaced by a civil service rule based on a multitude of regulations, most of which are rarely thought in a more systematic way.

    my central proposal is not a centralization of power – as your own formulation states it, power depends on relations and thus is already spread – by rather a more cybernetic (dynamic systematic control) approach to constitutionalism, aiming a producing and keeping a proper balance of power among formalized institutions. even a well ruled monarchy could profit from such approach, its legitimacy stemming from law rather from personal rule (as Moldbug is keen on reminding).

  15. I don’t believe this because I’ve seen different with my own eyes. You believe what some politician says when it’s in his best interest to dissemble? The whole thing in nonsense and can be easily proven to be so.

    On 9-11 building #7, not hit by a plane, fell the same speed as a rock dropped in mid air for roughly 108 feet. The only variables in this are the gravity field on the rock and the building, which are equal, and the density or resistance to falling of the material below the rock and the building. Below our imaginary rock was air and the building fell the same speed so the building was supported by…air. We all know the building wasn’t floating in air so the only other possibility is that the bottom was demoed out from under the building providing no support. Due to this the US military started wars all over the planet and killed possibly millions of people. Is that powerful or not?

    We are fed bullshit and lies continuously in the media. Is this power or not to shape most all the populations perception?

    Bankers can create money out of thin air and the FED has the balls to charge us interest on money they create out of thin air. Is this power or not?

    During the housing crisis the FED gave fortunes to the bankers at zero interest. I’m betting they own just about everything now. We know they gave them $16 trillion and I’ve read analyst that say the amount was closer to $29 Trillion. At $29 Trillion and 300 million Americans we could have given a zero interest loan for every family of four of $386,666. Housing crisis solved and the economy would have roared with all that cash going into people’s pockets. Is this power or not?

    We don’t need a King we need to put the corrupt in jail, limit campaign financing for politicians only from people in the districts they cover and limit the voting process to those who pay taxes. If corporations want to have a vote, give money, like people then they should be allowed no tax breaks that people can’t take and they should have the same limited liability that people have which is none. Treat them the same as people and when they break the law put them in jail.

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