Cloak and Dagger

Alternative Title: A Grounding Framework for a Theory of Deep States

What is most important to any “conspiracy”?

1. Power Dynamics

2. Proper Networking

3. Feedback Loops

4. An alignment of interests among disparate entities

Centralized co-ordination is key to a conspiracy, but not a “conspiracy”. Is the difference starting to set in?* I hope so. Otherwise you won’t understand it at all when I tell you that most perceived conspiracies are actually “conspiracies” but that there is always room for a conspiracy to exist within a “conspiracy” (though just because a vacuum for a conspiracy can exist within a “conspiracy” does not mean that said vacuum has as of yet been filled).

*If the difference is not clear yet, then I should state clearly that a conspiracy is any intentional plan among a group of people, whereas a “conspiracy” is a phenomenon by which it appears that core actors are intentionally colluding but that this perception is actually the result of emergent phenomena. Think of it as working together for something versus working concurrently towards something.

That should be enough foundation theory for this piece.

Oh wait, not yet. I forgot to mention that the American “Deep State’ (we will discuss the limitations of this theory soon enough) needs to be differentiated from the “global elite” in order to be examined properly, but that there is a certain overlap and level of connection between those two entities (due to the various nodes that are placed within the systematic connections that compose these two partially-overlapping but still distinct “fuzzy”* entities)

*Fuzzy in the sense that they lack clearly defined boundaries. An attempt to physically represent these objects would thus have to use fog as its imagery, and not something with more defined limits on its volume.

Have I lost you all yet? I do hope not. This is about to get a bit more concrete, I promise…but only just a bit.

I have written multiple times about deep states before. However, I feel that I would be remiss if I did not make a comment on my previous works in light of the further nuance I have incorporated into my views on the matter.

In short, the idea of a “Deep State” is an example of a conspiracy, while much of what actually goes on underneath the surface seems much more like a “conspiracy”. I do not rule out the existence of conspiracies, though with the exception of a few particular levels of interaction, it seems much more likely that most actions is dictated by a series of “conspiracies”.

The mental picture you should imagine is a sea of “conspiracies” in which all manner of conspiracies may flourish, with some conspiracies being either bigger and/or more secret than others, and some conspiracies being higher or lower on the “food chain”, as it were.

In light of this, the phrase “deep state” itself seems to be an imprecisely-tuned semantic instrument when it comes to the task of explicating all that occurs in the layers and layers below the surface of “official” politicking and policy-making. State itself as a word implies too much of a conscious intent. In fact, (in the case of the US, at least), talk of a Deep State itself serves to muddy the waters and turn people away from the idea that what lurks in deeper waters is not a deep state, but an entire Deep System, a shadow society with immense impact on the functioning and decision-making of American (dare I even say Anglo-American?) civilizational apparatus.

Talk of deep states is worthwhile because any serious engagement with the idea is remarkably effective at shattering ones previous conceptions of how power works in a complex and advanced non-Formalist state. Whether or not one then acts to dive deeper into the matter is less important from a lay-perspective, as the “Deep State” paradigm is a more truthful one than what existed prior (and it serves as almost a complete examination of power in countries with a less byzantine and elaborate civilizational apparatus than the United States). However, for those cursed with a curiosity and a propensity to stick our noses were we shouldn’t, the “Deep State” paradigm is a tool that is useful but woefully inadequate.

What is really going on?

As I see it, circles within circles within circles within circles and conspiracies within conspiracies within conspiracies within conspiracies, all jostling and hustling and overlapping and intertwining and yet all  still separate forces oscillating and vibrating as they see fit, with every layer able to influence that which is below while operating beyond the rational comprehension of each level below it.

Do you not feel the hum? That buzzing all around you? Can you sense the chaos of this roaring thermodynamic system moving at a speed so beyond comprehension that it takes not a scientist or an engineer to get to the heart of it, but someone who can be something greater?

All that I have written so far in this post has been my best attempt to unpack and explicate exactly quite what I am getting at with that metaphor that has seared itself into my head. I hope for the sake of anyone who managed to read through that whole thing that I was able to make myself at least somewhat clear…


…But I fear I didn’t. I fear I tossed you all into the deep end and gave to nothing with which to float. I apologize to those of you who drowned, but I felt it necessary to hit you with the big picture so all these parts I plan to throw at you will stick together in the right way.

The US government is the 800-pound gorilla. It sits wherever it wants. But “it” is not one entity. It is, again, a network of competing power centers.

Perhaps the most important fact about power is that the powerful are almost always sincere.

The Polygon might be defined as the “extended civil service.” It consists not of those who hold actual formal GS rank, but those whose position demands a sense of civic responsibility – real or fake. The major vertices of the Polygon, by my count, are the press, the universities, the judiciary, the Fed and the banks, the “Hill” (congressional staff), the civil service proper, the NGOs and transnationals, the military, the Beltway bandits (defense and other contractors), and corporate holders of official monopolies (such as “intellectual property”).

Mencius Moldbug

The Governments of all the world’s nation-states, the global mass media conglomerate, the Transnational Investment and Extractor Corporations, Non-Profit Foundations, the entire UN structure including NGO’s, the World Bank and IMF, as well as the members of Global political groups like the …all of these entities and organizations are interconnected and interlocked in a similar manner as the two examples of FXC and BlackRock are highlighted in the Occupy report.

There is no conspiracy theory. There is only an interconnected and interlocked conglomeration of entities conspiring for the maintenance of total global control. Control to maximize shareholder profits by managing the exploitation the world’s vast natural and human resources.

Hawaiian Libertarian

  • There is no end to the number of theories as to who really runs the US, but many of them tend to focus on similar players.

I will not go so far as to attempt to lay out which conspiracies operate within which “conspiracies” and give a grand overview of how these interlocking parts operate and give rise to the systems of power we find ourselves living under. I have only attempted to lay out a framework that explicates the mechanisms by which these things operate while also emphasizing the murky nature of this subject matter. I do not take back my previous writings on deep states, but I hope that this has been sufficient as a critique, an update, and a grounding for the Deep State fragments I have previously released.

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Friday Night Fragments #35

Despite having dropped Prohibition-themed fragments a few times over the past few weeks, there’s still a few ideas worth typing I’ve still not shoe-horned in yet. For example, it’s fairly well-known that almost all prohibition agents charged with enforcing the law were on the take. I find this to be an example of an interesting phenomenon: that in which private entities find themselves in a position of taking on a task either not being done or being done inefficiently by a public structure. In this case, said private entities completely nullified the effect of the public structure that opposed them: co-opting as many public agents as they could and finding ways to outwit and out-maneuver those they couldn’t.

Is there a deep state lesson here?

I noticed that #WhoisBurningBlackChurches was trending earlier this week. I will be the first to admit that I have no idea who is burning black churches, being neither a member of a black congregation nor an arsonist specializing in places of worship. However, being an individual with a brain that occasionally works, I do have a few possible idea.

1. The feds are doing it as a follow-up to their false flag attack.*

2. These events are a mere coincidence following the Charleston attack and none (or most) of these fires are the result of purposeful action.

3. Blacks are burning down their own churches and for whatever reason some in the media are trying to paint a usual pattern of activity into something unusual.

4. Some who are sympathetic to Dylann Roof’s intentions are trying to follow up and carry out their own acts.

5. Nothing of any importance is going on and people are just being the mindless apes that are every second of every day.

6. Mountains are being made out of molehills and innocuous acts or teenage shenanigans are being made out to be something far more malicious in light of the current context.

What do I believe? None of these. I don’t know what might or might not be going and I see no reason to engage in anything further than mere speculation.

*This option relies on the assumption that the Charleston attack was some kind of false flag event. I won’t deny that this is a possibility, though I categorically refuse to either believe or disbelieve any interpretation of recent events as such without compelling evidence strong enough to sway me to either conviction.

Hey, speaking of surreptitious maneuvers in the realm of the political, who else noticed that the whole Confederate Flag kerfuffle was a great smokescreen to get a bunch of groundwork laid for approval of the TTP and TTIP trade deals?

I’ll admit that I don’t know enough about these agreements to pass any kind of educated judgement on the matter, but the manner in which their implementation consists of just about every red flag possible, which makes me suspicious. If any of my readers have any good reading on the matter, I hope you share it with me.

Spend too long talking with customer service trying to fix your internet and you realize just how much the idea of enslaving proles is based mostly on emotional satisfaction. Then you take two seconds and realize that to the people who get to make the decisions as to who gets a lifeboat and who gets thrown to the impersonal forces of fate, we’re basically all proles. Relative status can be a bitch sometimes, and it makes one really, really hungry for power; not so much to wield it, but to avoid being prey for those on the top of the food chain.

In other words, I’m honestly not so much opposed to the powers that be so much as I’m interested in not being a piece of chattel they can cash in if it’s in their interest.

Isegoria links to an interesting analysis of how conspiracies usually operate. It also covers quite a bit more than that, so I’m loath to characterize this piece as just that, but if that’s not already an effective hook this might not be of great interest to you anyway. There’s quite a bit of good stuff in there about self-interest, bureaucracies, and how easy it is to mis-attribute the reasons behind the behavior of others.

The word “intent” breaks down because we do not have a handy English word to describe subconscious, institutional, or evolutionary intent. Many low-status outsiders observe the institution acting like a vampire, but they do not understand the internal dynamic, so they assume that the selfishness is conscious, when it is not. Their mistaken analysis of the internal dynamic makes them look like cranks, even though the overall observation is correct.

Because intent is so complicated, it hardly makes sense to even analyze it. To judge an institution, watch what it does. Look at the pressure that shapes its decisions.

Insiders generally know the details of how things work, but are often blind to the over-arching pattern of who is winning and who is losing. They are often quite deluded about the divergence between stated intentions and actual results.

The outsiders can see these patterns, but don’t understand the details, so come across as cranks when trying to do analysis. Should the outsiders gain authority, they have no real power, because they do not know how to work the levers to operate the machine. They don’t even know where the levers are. When they try to fix the machine, they get duped, get discredited, and end up out of power again.

Give it a good read. The read it over again to let the major points sink in a bit.

The tendency to anthropomorphize emergent phenomena has been a characteristic of humanity since at least the idea of nature spirits (and almost certainly longer than that). It’s not hard to see how a species with a record of seeing supernatural forces behind volcanoes and the tides might see conscious intent behind the chaotic turbulence of economic and political structures.

Over-estimation of conscious intent and over-estimation of central co-ordination. These are the most common errors made when outsiders attempt to examine the working of “conspiracies”. These were errors that may have been made in my own work on deep states. Expect updates on my previous work shortly.

Powertalk in Action

A while ago, I put up the above clip as a demonstration of powertalk in action. However, I feel that I was remiss in not analyzing exactly what about this scene makes it such a good demonstration of this particular form of verbal maneuvering. Today, I remedy that.

There is much to analyze in this scene, but for our purposes here, only the words that are spoken will be examined. There is much to learn about how powertalk in action actually works. I hope you find it illuminating.

Prince Oberyn.

Lord Tywin.

The two players exchange acknowledgement of each others’ presence without giving ground. It’s time to play.

May we have the room?

Tywin wants the following conversation to be private. Oberyn sees that the man is very serious, and it’s going to be best to go along with his request. You see how Tywin is already setting the tone for the resulting exchange.

Game on.

Would you like to sit?

No, thank you.

Some wine?

No, thank you.

Polite pleasantries on the surface, but what is happening is that Oberyn is testing Tywin to see if he will break his stern countenance and submit to the prince’s attempt to display authority over the situation. Doing so would constitute a gesture of submission to the younger man, and make it that much harder for Tywin to enforce his will over the situation and get what he wants. Tywin, being a master statesman, does not go along with this.

I’m sorry about your grandson.

Are you?

I don’t believe that a child is responsible for the sins of his father. Or his grandfather…

On the surface, more pleasantries, but Oberyn barely disguises his thrust. Oberyn despises Tywin, and being the less subtle of the two, he has no problem implying that he thinks Tywin is the one who should have died, and not Tywin’s grandson, the former king. This is another attempt to throw Tywin off of his game and expose some kind of weakness that can be exploited.

…an awful way to die.

Which way is that?

Are you interrogating me, Lord Tywin?

A normal person would have agreed with Oberyn that the king died in an awful way. A normal person would have let the flow of the conversation slip away from him. Tywin is trying to retain control of the conversation, and he also knows that Oberyn is going to be hostile and minimally co-operative. As such, he dispenses with the cooperative assumption of normal conversational implicature and tries to pin down Oberyn and get him to say exactly what he thinks.

Some believe the king choked.

Some believe the sky is blue because we live inside the eye of a blue-eyed giant. The king was poisoned.

“Some people believe this possibility that obviously didn’t happen. This is the last chance for you to retain plausible deniability before we move out of the preliminary proceedings and begin the main part of this conversation.”

“We are not some people. We both know what really happened. We will take this conversation to the next level and talk as men who know what really happened and we will not dive into discussion of things that did not happen.”

This marks a shift in the conversation from feeling out each other’s frames into a discussion of the matters Tywin wishes to discuss.

I hear you studied poisons at the Citadel.

I did. This is why I know.

Tywin is implying to Oberyn that he might be a suspect in the murder of the king. It’s an attempt to rattle him. Killing a king is a great crime, and bad things happen to those found guilty of it. In order not to lose face, Oberyn has to show that he isn’t rattled. It’s easy for him, because he isn’t. This time, it’s Tywin who fails to perturb his opponent.

Your hatred for my family is rather well-known. You arrive at the capital an expert in poisoning. Some days later, my grandson dies of poisoning.

That is suspicious. Why haven’t you thrown me in a dungeon?

Oberyn takes note of the implied threat and calls it out for the bluff that it really is. He knows that if Tywin was really planning on arresting him, he would already be sitting in a jail cell, not hosting orgies with his paramour. Oberyn still doesn’t know what Tywin wants, but at this point he knows that despite Tywin’s fearsome demeanor, there is no intention of hostile action on the part of the old lion.

You spoke with Tyrion in this very brothel on the day you arrived. What did you discuss?

You think we conspired together?

Tyrion (Tywin’s son) is the primary suspect in the murder of the king. Tywin knows that he couldn’t have done it alone. This question could help him get some information that could be useful for the trial, but the real intent here is to assess how much of a threat Oberyn might be. For all Tywin knows, Oberyn might very well be the real killer. If that’s the case, there’s no telling who else might be next to swallow something that might fatally disagree with them. Perhaps Tywin himself is in danger. This next part of the conversation is an attempt to assess how much danger Tywin and the other members of his family are in.

What did you discuss?

The death of my sister.

For which you blame me.

She was raped and murdered by The Mountain. The Mountain follows your orders. Of course I blame you.

You’ll note that this is the first straight answer that either one of these players has given the other in this exchange. They’ve both stuck to their guns in holding frame up to this point, but Oberyn switches tactics in order to 1) remind Tywin of their mutual hostility, 2) attempt to intimidate him, and 3) see if he can get Tywin to admit whether or not Tywin gave the order to have Elia Martell (Oberyn’s sister) brutally murdered. But how many of these will hit the mark?

Well here I stand, unarmed, unguarded. Should I be concerned?

You are unarmed and unguarded because you know me better than that. I am a man of reason. If I cut your throat today I will be drawn and quartered tomorrow.

 “How far are you willing to go?”

“I may be reckless and impulsive and very good at violence, but I don’t want to die.”

Oberyn loses points here. Though his intent was to imply that he hasn’t ruled out killing Tywin at some other time, he ends up admitting that he isn’t willing to die in order to take revenge on Tywin. It’s a tactical error on Oberyn’s part, and now Tywin knows that this is not a situation in which he has anything to fear from the legendary warrior. You will see this reflected in the bold-faced lie that he will tell Oberyn very shortly.

Oberyn could have taken Tywin if it came to violence between the two. Tywin knows this, which is why he displays a certain reserved caution towards the younger, more physically dangerous man. Oberyn, in letting slip that he will not kill Tywin, has just forfeited a major psychological advantage that he had been holding up until that moment. This permanently shifts the balance of power between the two. For the rest of this exchange, Tywin is in control, and Oberyn finds himself fighting from his back foot.

This could have been avoided if Oberyn had ignored the bait and had kept talking about his sister, but his hatred for Tywin drove him to run full force into the trap that the other man had set. Massive points to Tywin here.

Men at war commit all kinds of crimes without their superior’s knowledge.

You deny any involvement in Elia’s murder?

Categorically.

We see immediate effects from Oberyn’s display of weakness. Tywin realizes that he can defect without fear of punishment in this prisoner’s dilemma, and he promptly does so. Oberyn told Tywin what he and Tyrion had discussed previously because he thought that he could then get Tywin to admit that Elia had been murdered on Tywin’s orders. Oberyn offered up truthful information, but Tywin reciprocated with a lie, and Oberyn knows it. This reneges on the offer of fair play that Oberyn had implicitly granted by accepting Tywin’s frame and then speaking truthfully. Oberyn, on hearing the obvious lie, realizes his mistake, but he also knows better than to push the matter.

This is the end of this phase of the conversation. Tywin is gaining massive momentum. All that is left for him to to clean up and extract the concessions he needs.

 I would like to speak with the Mountain.

This is Oberyn’s attempt to recover from his slip-up and reclaim some sense of authority over the situation. Gregor Clegane (aka The Mountain) is on his hit list, and there’s practically nothing that Oberyn wouldn’t give for a chance to kill the man. With good play, Oberyn can still salvage this situation and extract an opportunity to take revenge on the object of his ire. It’s clear that this line of thought is running through his mind.

I’m sure he would enjoy speaking with you.

He might not enjoy it as much as he thinks he would.

“I’m sure The Mountain would be willing to let you try to kill him. You do realize who we’re talking about, right? The guy is an enormous, inhumanly strong, nigh-unkillable human being. He could eat you for breakfast and still be hungry.”

“Tell that giant, freakish, rapey, eight-foot tall cunt that I will fucking end him as slowly and painfully as I can manage before my self-control gives out and I put him in his fucking grave. I could kill him easily and I know it.”

I could arrange for this meeting.

But you want something in return.

Clegane is offered up as a bargaining chip. Oberyn wants to know what is being bargained before he takes it. He still feels the sting of the preceding moment when he charged ahead without thinking. He won’t make that mistake a second time.

There will be a trial for my son, and as custom dictates, three judges will render a verdict. I will preside. Mace Tyrell will serve as the second judge. I would like you to be the third.

Why?

Tywin dangles a prize in front of Oberyn, but it’s not much of a prize. Oberyn isn’t going to snap at such meager bait. But why is Tywin asking him to do this? What is really going on here? Oberyn wants to know.

Not long ago, the Tyrells sided with Renly Baratheon — declared themselves enemies of the throne. Now they are our strongest ally.

So you make the Tyrell girl a queen. Asking me to judge at your son’s trial isn’t quite as tempting.

The backstory here isn’t important. What is important is that Oberyn isn’t going to dance for Tywin just for a few ceremonial honors. He knows Tywin really wants to win him over, and he’s not going to sell himself for such a low price.

I would also invite you to sit on the Small Council to serve as one of the new king’s principal advisers.

Boom. This is a big offer. Very big, and now Oberyn is very curious. Tywon wouldn’t offer this up unless he really needed Oberyn for something…something important. Now the prince knows that something big is going on that he doesn’t know about.

I never realized you had such respect for Dorne, Lord Tywin.

Dorne is the region of the empire from which Oberyn hails. The other kingdoms that compose the realm tend to look down on it for its loose sexual attitudes and (on a relative basis) progressive attitudes towards social issues. Tywin himself has indicated (to Oberyn’s face) a certain distaste for the region’s cultural norms. Thus, painting this offer as a reflection on Tywin’s views toward Dorne is an attempt to draw out exactly why Tywin is so keen on allying himself with Oberyn. As it turns out, this is about winning over Dorne, and not Oberyn in particular, but Oberyn doesn’t know this yet.

We are not seven kingdoms until Dorne returns to the fold. The king is dead. The Greyjoys are in open rebellion. A wildling army marches on the Wall, and in the east, the Targaryen girl has three dragons. Before long she will turn her eyes to Westeros…

Blah, blah, blah, backstory. Basically, the Kingdom is fucked unless all the bickering, feuding families who hold power can come together, stop all their plotting and backstabbing, and deal with the perfect storm of existential threats raging outside (and inside) the borders of Westeros. Tywin is being honest and straight-talking here because:

…only the Dornish managed to resist Aegon Targaryen and his dragons.

This is Tywin’s moment of weakness. This is why he’s spent all this time trying to assert his power over Oberyn. Much as he may dislike the Dornish, they were the only people who were able to hold out the last time the Targaryens decided to fly their dragons into Westeros and take over. This is Tywin at the height of his statesmanship. He knows that he needs an alliance with people he dislikes if he is to even have the faintest chance at preventing the realm from descending into anarchy.

This sentence gives quite a bit of power back to Oberyn, which is why Tywin tried to accrue as much as he could in the previous few minutes. He doesn’t want to lose any more power than he has to here, because he’s the only one with the capability to keep the kingdom together and fend off the threats that would destroy it. If he shows too much weakness and appears too vulnerable, his rivals (such as Oberyn) might try to remove him from his position as regent and kill him. If that happens, all Westeros is likely to be destroyed. For the sake of his own position (and thus, for the sake of the realm), he needs to make this request from a position of strength. He’s been setting this up ever since he walked in the room.

You’re saying you need us. That must be hard for you to admit.

 “That must be hard for you to admit” is unnecessary here, and it exposes Oberyn’s insecurity at not being in control of this exchange. It’s very effective as a personal jab, but it’s a sub-optimal rejoinder by the standards of powertalk. It shows that Oberyn feels his control over the situation slipping away, and now he’s lashing out in an attempt to score a few more points.

It still hits the mark, but the prince of Dorne would have done better for himself had he been a little less quick with his tongue. That said, this moment is still a minor victory for Oberyn. He definitely hit a nerve with Tywin on this one, as Tywin hates to admit any weakness.

We need each other…

 No, they don’t. Tywin needs Oberyn but that need isn’t mutual. This is classic politician-speech. It’s an attempt to save face. I actually can’t tell if Tywin is just trying to reframe the situation or if he’s trying to convince himself here that both men need each other. It’s probably a bit of both.

…You help me serve justice to the king’s assassins and I will help you serve justice to Elia’s.

Is the personal political? Yes and no, but by helping Oberyn get what he wants in the personal realm, Tywin gets what he needs in the realm of the political.

Final verdict? A remarkable level of play by both participants, but with the edge to Tywin for not only his masterful display, but also his success in getting everything he needed out of the interaction for the price of mere promises.

This is one of my favorite scenes from Game Of Thrones because it’s such a superb display of negotiating and politicking between two powerful men who know how the game is played. As such, it is a rich treasure for those who enjoying studying this particular aspect of human interaction.

Wrapping this up, I will point out some principles that are at work throughout the entirety of this interaction. You will also notice that both men do their utmost to avoid answering any question directly. Doing so would do what I warned against in my last Friday Night Fragments: playing a game when you aren’t the one setting the rules. Both men here are seeking to impose their will on the situation and they are no fools. They know the pitfalls to avoid.

Why does Tywin not just come out and say all that he needs to directly? He could, but he would suffer a loss in power and reputation by doing so, as the admission that only Oberyn can help him places Oberyn in a position of power over him. These delicate maneuverings are essential to making sure that the overall balance of power between the two men remains, at worst, neutral. It also has the added side effect of making Oberyn think that he is getting what he wants in a fair trade, while also increasing the prince’s opinion of Tywin and enhancing Tywin’s reputation as a strong, forceful man. Tywin could have gotten what he wanted by sacrificing some political and social capital, but by going about things in this way, he gains in stature. It is by playing games like this that he is able to project strength and head off potential challenges to his power and authority. Were he to be straightforward and honest, his political capital would be slowly chipped away until he was seen as nothing more than an old, toothless lion, and there’s nothing like the perception of weakness to make all those with even a hint of ambition feel bold enough to strike.

And that’s just how the game is played.

Now, I suppose you could argue that this is a work of fiction and that there is absolutely nothing that you can take away from this, but you’d be wrong. Good fiction is not just grounded in real-life truths, but is immersed in it, and scenes such as the above differ from reality only in regard to the most minute of details. There are a multitude of lessons that can be learned from this material and many others like it, and you’re a fool if you think otherwise.

Besides, if you really read all of this, you don’t actually believe there’s nothing to take away. You just think you do.

Powertalk

In a previous Friday Night Fragments, I put up a quick exchange I had with Aeoli Pera on the subject of powertalk. It is a matter worth significant attention. But what is Powertalk?

If you’ve read The Gervais Principle, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Good.

Now go read Part Two again. Do it whether you’ve read it before or not. This is not a recommendation. I just read it over again myself and I need you to be on top of your game and have the concepts completely fresh in your mind if you plan on reading this post.

Are you finally ready? Good.

 (Side note: Rao uses the word “sociopath” to mean someone who perceives things as they are and is able to think about them without passing moral judgement. I understand this can be a bit confusing in lieu of the “baggage” that comes with that particular word, but I encourage you to read his remarks on this particular word choice and at least try to understand why he does this.)

 

 Multiple layers of meaning are not what make Powertalk unique. Irony and sarcasm are modes of layered communication available to anybody. As you’ll learn if you read the Transactional Analysis books, Gametalk is all about multiple (usually two) levels of communication. What distinguishes Powertalk is that with every word uttered, the power equation between the two speakers shifts just a little. Sometimes both gain slightly, at the expense of some poor schmuck. Sometimes one yields ground to the other. Powertalk in other words, is a consequential language.

The Gervais Principle II: Posturetalk, Powertalk, Babytalk and Gametalk

Powertalk. A way of speaking in which power dynamics actually shift over the course of the conversation. Phrased like that, I would argue that all talk is powertalk. That said, 1) that is my phrasing, not Rao’s, so it wouldn’t be fair to judge him on that front, 2) there is an intentionality to powertalk not present in “normal” speech, and 3) that would probably say more about me than anything else now, wouldn’t it?

So let’s adjust that definition just slightly. All meaningful talk is powertalk.

Is your skin crawling yet? It should be. Now why should that be?

Simple. Not all meaningful talk is powertalk. Not at all.

Let us go back and focus our attention on an idea that Rao touches on only once for the briefest of moments: straight talk.

Sociopaths and Losers speak rarely to each other at all. One of the functions of the Clueless, recall, is to provide a buffer in what would otherwise be a painfully raw master-slave dynamic in a pure Sociopath-Loser organization. But when they do talk, they actually speak an unadorned language you could call Straight Talk if it were worth naming. It is the ordinary  (if rare) utilitarian language of the sane, with no ulterior motives flying around. The mean-what-you-say-and-say-what-you-mean stuff between two people in a fixed, asymmetric power relationship, who don’t want or need to play real or fake power games. This is the unmarked black triangle edge in the diagram.

Good philosophical discourse is straight talk. Proper intellectual inquiry is straight talk. An academic culture cannot function without straight talk.

Being “based” is straight talk.

The interesting thing about neoreactionary culture (insofar as there is such a thing) is that it’s respect for “being based” constitutes an apotheosis of straight-talk in the purest sense. One does not win acclaim by mincing words and gambling with status, but by being straightforward and authentic.

It’s actually a little unusual when you think about it. Granted, straight talk may seem an intuitive notion to the usual type of person attracted to this sphere, but it isn’t really a normal facet of human interaction in any significant sense. That it has become the dominant form of interaction among the right people is astonishing when you think about it.

Uniqueness aside, the fixture of straight talk among the foundations of neoreactionary culture is one of the core pieces of social technology that makes this entire edifice possible.

The risk here, of course, is that too strong an emphasis on being based leads to a short circuiting of the concept, turning straight talk into game talk and degenerating blunt dialectic into monkey politics and shibboleth-speaking.

Any status mechanism can be short circuited. Once that happens, a Red Queen scenario kicks in and everyone needs to short circuit the mechanism in order to accrue status, at which point people are pursing status for the sake of status instead of earning status commensurate with the intended purpose of the original mechanism. Holiness cycles are one manifestation of the phenomenon, and offer a great example for what happens with this chain of events is allowed to proceed to completion.

Heading these sorts of things off before they come to pass is imperative for any organization with interests beyond status signaling and monkey politics.

If you wish to straight talk to the best of your ability, then be as blunt as you can be without being more than you need to be. Try too hard and it becomes posture talk.

And really, after all we’ve been through, wouldn’t it be just downright disappointing to let that happen?

Friday Night Fragments #32

It’s another Friday night, and that means another edition of the Friday Night Fragments. We get into some crazy stuff this round. You might want to be high for this.

With that warning in place, let’s dive in.

Tonight’s edition of the fragments is brought to you by the Emma Sulkowicz (aka “Mattress Girl”) sex tape. I’d offer a quick recap and a review myself, but that would require mattressgirlthat I actually watch the whole thing. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t try, but the first 30 seconds was more than sufficient to drive me sprinting from my laptop and towards the nearest shower.

However, it appears that some had stronger stomachs than I did. Notoriously fabulous journalist (and notable GamerGate figure) Milo Yiannopolous has his own review up, and it is nothing short of spectacular. It starts off like this:

In preparing for this review, my researcher had to watch Emma Sulkowicz, a.k.a. “Mattress Girl,” perform fellatio on an overweight man eleven times. He tells me that he is now seriously considering homosexuality.

…and it only gets better from there. Milo wields both the hammer and the shiv for this one. It is absolutely brutal, so needless to say it is great fun to read.

Gregory Cochran proposes the Iraqi government hire mercenaries to deal with their ISIS problem. I’ll admit I have a bit of a soft spot for mercenaries, and I have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to support their usage in this brave new world that is emerging. This is, of course, an impulse worth tempering, because as Machiavelli pointed out, there are times when mercenaries are the worst of all possible options for increasing your military power. As such, I shall refrain from passing judgement in this case (with the exception of noting that the US government would never allow it), but the proposal is worth looking over.

Cochran even throws in a reference to The Ten Thousand, which makes for an oddly fitting analogy in this situation. Eerily fitting, really.

Steve Harris over at Amerika asks “What are SJWs“? He gives an answer that is contestable but also interesting in its own way: they are a potentially profitable demographic that demonstrates their holiness in part by buying clothing, trinkets and other merchandise that signal “correct opinions”. They are sheep to be fleeced, and there are many who seek to cultivate their flocks.

Does this answer run up against the common trope of SJWs as rent-seeking parasites? Possibly. Possibly not. There seem to be a tension, however, between the idea that SJWs have nothing to offer except holiness and the idea that they are a profitable demographic (though you will note that “being rent-seekers” and “having nothing to offer” are two different ideas, not two ways of saying the same thing).

The conception of SJWs as a shell company of sorts for wealth redistribution from productive citizens to corporate entities is, if nothing else, a very intriguing idea. Combine that with their (indirect) cries for greater political power to central entities in the name of fighting “-isms” and “-phobias” and you can see why they make for such great useful idiots. If I was wealthy and powerful, I too would be in support of the social justice warriors.

This is an idea that I think I deserves a fully fleshed-out post.

This week, I learned that both woman’s suffrage and income taxes were pushed forward by progressives as a way of making sure that they would have political and financial pieces in place to bring about Prohibition. If that isn’t an unpleasant thought, I don’t know what is.

If you ever doubt that SJWs are manical fanatics determined to take destroy anything good in the world, remember that the SJWs of 100 years ago foisted income taxes on you in order to pay the government to take your booze away from you.

Who doesn’t like swimming pools? Pools are pretty great. One problem though: they often require a lot of upkeep. Solution? Get a mob of teens to be rowdy and belligerent in a suburban residential area to provide cover while you take over a pool that isn’t yours. Make sure said teens are “oppressed” and “underprivileged”, because when they inevitably get in trouble, the full force of the media and the manufactured consensus of the country will come down like a hammer in support of them. We have to show those evil, oppressive white people who’s boss, after all.

You know, it’s almost like the media wants people with a modicum of intelligence to assume that blacks getting mistreated deserve it in order to provide cover for the elites as they continually foment discord in order to keep everyone distracted and inattentive as they channel ever greater amounts of money and power into their clutches.

Do blacks deserve it? It doesn’t really matter when it comes to the activities of the powers that be. Truth or lies don’t matter, power always finds a way. That’s how power works.

Finally, to close off this edition of the fragments, I have a confession to make. Thanks to the courageous examples of Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal, I feel strong enough to say this publicly for the first time.

I identity as trans-Caesar. I believe that I am the reincarnation of Julius Caesar, and it would be trans-phobic of you not to let me have sex with your wives, sisters, and daughters while I overthrow the Republic.

I’ve shared this with several close friends up to this point, and they all agree to support me in my dream, right up to the moment when I will be assassinated beneath the statue of Pompey. You have no idea how much my heart swells when I think of those who have been open enough and courageous enough to support me in my struggle. I would like to express my gratitude and love for all of you, especially those whose support was so strong and whose love was so great that you agreed to brutally murder me without hesitation and without a second thought. You inspire me to keep persisting in my struggle for acceptance, tolerance, supreme & uncontested power, and a metric fuckton of hot, adulterous sex.

#SoBrave

Rolling in the Deep

There’s a party game I was introduced to a few years back called “Innuendos”. The rules are simple. Each round, you pick a noun, such as “coffee”. Each person goes around and says “I like my men like I my coffee…” and then follows it up with a sexual joke. For example, you might say:

I like my men like I like my coffee…tall and black.

Or, instead of being banal and unimaginative, you might be clever and say something like:

I like my men like I like my coffee…I pick them up at Starbucks and I finish them in my car.

If you play it with the right people, you’ll often end up in stitches. Make it into a drinking game and things will get uproarious very quickly.

Over the past few months, there have been moments when you would be justified in wondering if Neoreaction likes its governments like it likes its swimming pools…deep. Talk of deep states has been simmering somewhat periodically for about half a year now. I’ve touched on the subject myself a few times. Here I am revisiting it yet again, and this time it gets a full post to itself, instead of a chunk in one of the fragments.

Necessary review here. Read it before we begin.

In democracies, voting is intended to be a feedback mechanism in order to ensure that the actions of the government are in accord with the will of the people. The system starts to function in unintended ways, however, when the will of the people becomes something manufactured by sanctimonious elites striving for secular holiness. The political process stops being a means to ensure that the will of the people is carried out, and instead becomes a tool to stir up social and political tension. This conflict then acts as vector by which to drive surreptitious shifts in targeted societal structures.

So is propaganda and mass media the underlying cause behind the rise of a deep state? I don’t know, but it seems to be something more akin to a “necessary but not sufficient” condition. This description doesn’t quite seem to encapsulate what is actually going on, but as a placeholder term it seems sufficient at this point in the process of this inquiry.

There is still speculation as to which factors are most conducive to the rise of deep states. This is not a topic on which I am versed enough to speculate openly, but I will say this: the Iron Law of Oligarchy does not necessarily entail that the resultant group of decision-makers need be publicly known or acknowledged. This allows for grounds to question whether deep states are likely (or even inevitable) occurrences within sufficiently advanced democratic polities.

A deep state may or may not be an inevitability (or something resembling one) in a democratic society, but in a society that was once capable of democratic government but is now no longer so capable, a deep state becomes a necessity for keeping up the same level of functioning (or perhaps more accurately, the appearance of upholding the same level of functioning). Yet, even though a deep state may be needed, any single deep state that emerges is likely to be an insufficient solution to the growing challenges that would obvious be presenting themselves in any society that had begun degenerating from a prior state of being.

Furthermore, as I’ve mentioned before, it is not an unknown occurrence for the leaders of an organization to run said organization for their own benefit, not for the good of the organization.This is where things get really interesting.

The worrisome implication here is not that the rise of a deep state in a democratic society is a symptom of dysfunction and decline. The worrisome implication here is that the deep state will become an existentially self-justifying entity that facilitates continual breakdown and decline (or at the very least, allows a continued degeneration) as a means of perpetuating its own existence, which seem the be the exact thing that our current deep state is now doing.

I certainly understand the sentiment that a deep state is an improvement on the sclerotic mess that currently masquerades as the center of power in American society. It probably is, but I’m not sure that “being better” is the best metric to go by, especially when one notices that the current powers behind the throne are acting in a way that looks suspiciously like sinking the ship while stealing the life boats. Forgive me if I find it difficult to condone that sort of behavior.

While I do agree that there are situations in which a deep state is a useful (dare I say necessary?) entity, I cannot overlook the simple fact that any particular deep state is likely to still do harm in the long run while enriching itself in the process. Save for remarkable circumstances, we cannot put our faith in deep states as anything more than a temporary mechanism.

We could gamble on it, of course. I’ve got pretty good luck. The lesson you learn when you have luck like mine, however, is to never gamble on any wager that forces you to rely on the luck of others. With 320 million people in the United States, that is exactly what this sort of bet would be.

Dark of the Moon

What serves the higher type of men as nourishment or delectation must almost be poison for a different and inferior type. The virtues of the common man might perhaps signify vices and weaknesses in a philosopher.

Whatever is profound loves masks; what is most profound even hates image and parable. Might not nothing less than the opposite be the proper disguise for the shame of a god? A questionable question: it would be odd if some mystic had not risked something to that effect in his mind. There are occurrences of such a delicate nature that one does well to cover them up with some rudeness to conceal them; there are actions of love and extravagant generosity after which nothing is more advisable than to take a stick and give any eyewitness a sound thrashing: that would muddle his memory. Some know how to muddle and abuse their own memory in order to have their revenge at least against this only witness: shame is inventive.

It is not the worst things that cause the worst shame: there is not only guile behind a mask — there is so much graciousness in cunning. I could imagine that a human being who had to guard something precious and vulnerable might roll through life, rude and round as an old green wine cask with heavy hoops: the refinement of his shame would want it that way.

A man whose sense of shame has some profundity encounters his destinies and delicate decisions, too, on paths which few ever reach and of whose mere existence his closest intimates must not know: his mortal danger is concealed from their eyes, and so is his regained sureness of life. Such a concealed man who instinctively needs speech for silence and who is inexhaustible in his evasion of communication, wants and sees to it that a mask of him roams in his place through the hearts and heads of his friends. And supposing that he did not want it, he would still realize some day that in spite of that a mask of him is there — and that this is well. Every profound spirit needs a mask: even more, around every profound spirit a mask is growing continually, owing to the constantly false, namely shallow, interpretation of every word, ever step, ever sign of life he gives.

-Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Sections 30, 40

As always, the bolded emphasis was mine.

I love Nietzsche. I make no secret of it. I devour his works. I have discussed him before on this blog. I obviously don’t agree with everything he said, of course, but I think there is much that he got right, and those matters on which he was wrong he was not 100% wrong.

I don’t consider myself a Nietzschean, as I’ve never met a self-proclaimed Nietzschean who didn’t selectively interpret Nietzsche in such a way that removed all the subtlety and nuance; cherry-picking passages that stroked the ego while overlooking the caveats, implications, and true substance hidden beneath the superficial meaning.

I did the same thing when I styled myself as such. Then I made the effort to actually read Nietzsche, and I realized that in my shallow interpretation, I was not giving the man nearly enough credit.

But enough about Nietzsche. I have no doubt that I shall return to him another time.

Let us talk about anonymity.

Who am I? Donovan Greene. Who is Donovan Greene? Does it matter?

newtwitterphotosquareDonovan Greene is a lie. It is an illusion. It is a front for someone who reveals far less of himself than he is letting on, while at the same time revealing of himself so much more. It is a mask for one who also called himself “Legionnaire”, styling himself under the aegis of the eagle before trading it in for a white raven ensconced in black fire.

Have my words changed since I began? Of course. I am smarter and older and wiser than I was when began this blog, back in 2013 not too long after the Cambrian Explosion of Neoreaction. I expect to look back in 2017 and feel much the same way about my current work as I do when I look back to my beginnings.

I am a better writer and a better thinker now than I was then. I reap these benefits in my “personal” life, that life in which my mask is my face and my face is a mask, but am I truly any less anonymous when I wrap myself in my physical features as opposed to when I speak from behind the veil of the blue and the gold? You will not see my true self either way, for I could stand in front of you, naked and uncovered and speaking nothing but unvarnished truth, and yet still be as mysterious and inscrutable and opaque as I am when I speak from the mouth of the raven. Is one approach really any less anonymous than the other?

Who am I? Donovan Greene. Who is Donovan Greene? It doesn’t matter.

Among the many things I do, I happen to have a few blogs. I use one of these blogs as a platform to communicate with and write for Neoreactionaries and other rare folk who are delving in strange places and doing strange things. It does not follow from this that I must dedicate my life to fighting for the “cause of Neoreaction”. It does not follow from this that I ought to charge into the breach like a good little soldier so that I can join my “comrades” in dying like so many chickens.

That’s all a metaphor, of course. Points if you get the reference, too. I’ve mangled it and paraphrased it, but the essence is still there and it is still recognizable.

I love people who feel that great urge to mass together and charge, of course. They make great underlings, especially when you need someone effective yet dispensable. Let your hammers be your hammers and let them do what hammers do. Just make sure to keep them out of the high command. That’s where you want people with more than one trick.

Not directly relevant to this post, and not all that great a documentary either, but it is informative and it has a good narrative and it does a great job of demonstrating the point that I have just made.

I am a Neoreactionary. So what? Am I under obligation to proclaim this matter to the world? This line of thinking strikes me as identical to the impulse so common among many in the LGBT movement who think that someone who is not straight is obligated to come out and obligated to share who they are with the world.

They are not. You are not. I am not. I am under no obligation to share every meaningless facet of my entity with anyone and everyone. You want to do that? Go for it. You do you. There is no higher advice than “just be yourself”, after all. Be you, but do not make the mistake of assuming that I am like you. I have no doubt that no matter how similar we may be, there are many traits on which we differ, especially if you harbor a strong desire to proclaim who you are. That is an impulse I do not share, Millennial though I am, and raised in that great sea of narcissism and self-indulgence though I was. I am a ship upon those waters, but though the deck gets splashed when the seas froth up and rear their ugly waves, there is little that is touched by the swell.

I am perhaps the one member of the selfie generation who has no desire to parade what I am for all the world to see, who does not need to reaffirm daily that I exist and that I am seen because I knew very well that I exist and that I am seen and I know for a fact that I never need fear that incomprehensible horror lurking in the hearts of my peers: to be ignored, overlooked, and irrelevant.

That great nothingness is the true fear of the internet generation, but I do not fear the nothingness, for the void becomes me and I traverse both it and the world of being and being noticed like a salamander, with a foot in both worlds and eternally comfortable no matter where I am.

I do not understand those who clamor to drop the “anonymity”. I do not understand those who are driven by the impulse to confess their sins or who feel so defensive about their beliefs they seek to actively manage what people think of them by preemptively airing their “dirty laundry”. I must confess the lack of reserve makes no sense to me. Do you bring your resume on dates?

But fine, let’s reframe this to make it about some grand neoreactionary cause. Perhaps you might argue that it is our duty to stand up and suffer whatever consequences may arise from doing so, that it is our responsibility and our burden, and that those who are not willing to do so are cowards who do not deserve to label themselves as Neoreactionaries.

I’m glad for you. I’m proud that you aspire to be a sacrifice. It’s very noble of you, really. I wish you all the best.

What a brilliantly remarkable case study of a natural servant, just begging to be ordered forward into the enemy. What fascinating insights into the mind of a such a creature. Look at how many assumptions are being called into play by this beast!

I have no qualms about releasing the hounds, but there is a time and place to do such things. You really want to make Neoreaction a crusade to which you will dedicate your life? Good. Neoreaction needs crusaders, but don’t delude yourself into thinking that even a metaphorical charge of the cavalry will usher in sweeping reform in the vein that most pleases you. You might hate the modern, but you’ll need the modern to fight the modern. If you aren’t willing to do that, then you’re not in this to win. You’re in it for glory.

Never fight the way you want to fight. Fight in the way that will be most effective for you given: your strengths and your weaknesses, the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent(s), and the context in which you find yourself.

If you are one of those who want to make this into a fight, that is the best advice that I can give you.

(Update: For the purposes of clarification, I wish to make it clear that I do not forthright condemn those who dispense with anonymity, only those who do so out of narcissism. My invective does not apply to those who are merely behaving in accordance with an open, honest, straightforward character).