Keeping up with the FITs, 4/7
David Goldman on China; Jacob Siegel on Curtis Yarvin; Curtis Yarvin on deep politics; Faridaily on Ukraine; Scott Sumner on the Gold Standard; Infovores on The Batman
In a podcast with Richard Reinsch, David P. Goldman says,
Remember, China is not a country. We tend to think of it as a country. It is a heterogeneous empire with 200 languages spoken in 90 major ethnic groups, and always at risk of falling apart. The Chinese Empire, whoever runs it, whether it’s called an Imperial Dynasty or a Communist Party, lives in terror of a rebel province that will encourage other rebel provinces. So that’s why China will go to war over Taiwan. It will never allow Taiwan independence without a real fight.
. . .the Chinese tend to like having a strong emperor because in their experience, when you don’t have one you have civil war
it is correct to describe Yarvin as a Machiavellian, in the meaning given to that term by the American political writer James Burnham. . .
Burnham argues that all complex societies are in effect oligarchies ruled by a small number of elites. To hide this fact and legitimize their rule in the eyes of the masses, oligarchies employ the powers of mystification and propaganda. Indeed, Yarvin believes that America stopped being a democracy sometime after the end of World War II and became instead a “bureaucratic oligarchy”—meaning that political power is concentrated within a small group of people who are selected not on the basis of hereditary title or pure merit but through their entry into the bureaucratic organs of the state. What remains of American democracy is pageantry and symbolism
When I read,
Elsewhere, he [Yarvin] puts it differently: “I favor absolute monarchy in the abstract sense: unconditional personal authority, subject to some responsibility mechanism.”
My first thought was, is the COO/CA model Moldbug Lite?
Every regime, outnumbered by its public, must obtain its psychological consent.
He cites an Italian political scientist, Gaetano Mosca. But he could just as well cite Murray Edelman, an American political scientist, who wrote The Symbolic Uses of Politics. Edelman’s thesis was that elites used political symbols to obtain what he called the “quiescence” of the public.
Yarvin goes on to describe what Eric Weinstein calls the Distributed Information Suppression Complex.
The imposition of personal sanctions and the severing of ties with the outside world have led to another consequence for Russian elites. Because of the loss of their financial position and the enormous political consequences, different interest groups and clans have, as one of my interlocutors put it, “squeezed together.”
A Russia that is suffering hardship but determined to prevail. Any historical precedent for that?
In the Gold Standard of posts, Scott Sumner writes,
In my preferred gold standard, the government would merely define the unit of account as a fixed quantity of gold, and then do nothing. For example, “The US dollar is one gram of gold”. That’s all. No central bank, no government currency issue, no regulation of banking, etc. That sort of international gold standard never existed. If that sort of system is viewed as the theoretical ideal, one might say that 1879-1914 was an 80% gold standard, 1926-33 was a 60% gold standard, and 1950-68 was a 20% gold standard.
When the Dark Knight released in 2008 (the year of Obama’s campaign), “burn it all down” attitudes were relatively marginal and uncommon. Today they are widespread
From his analysis of “The Batman,” it sounds like the movie affirms that we are in a Martin Gurri world.
Yarvin, Burnham, Weinstein, Mosca, and Edelman highlight elite capture of democracy. They are half right. The other half of the story would highlight grassroots pressures on democracy; for example, the median voter, populism, status anxiety, safety anxiety, and preferences for 3rd-party payment, redistribution, and kicking the can down the road.
If China isn't a real county, no country is!
What's scary about WWII is that Hitler was disappointed by Munich. How dare they deny me my war! My gut (which could be wrong) says Putin would have been satisfied by Munich, that is why I hold out some hope for Ukraine resolving.
With Taiwan the issue is Chinese pride. Can Chinese pride be satisfied by a Munich. If so, maybe we can avoid WWIII. If not then China will seek a war. I'm of the opinion that the satisfaction of Chinese pride is contingent rather then determined. I hope that is not a misread.