Saturday, January 23, 2016

Make It Burn

If there is a constant in revolutionary / reactionary ideas, it's this: The End-Game Is About Opportunistic Crisis Management.

In other words: when society / patriarchy / capitalism / democracy collapses we'll be there to pick up the pieces and guide the phoenix rising from the ashes on the strength of (a) our ideas and (b) our preparations.

This, of course, is the weak-point for revolutionary ideas that aren't also essentially well-armed political movements. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt can take advantage of the collapse of the state (caused by social unrest and idealistic college-educated minorities) because they essentially are / were an opposition party that was armed and ready before the collapse.

Conversely, say, radical feminism, can't seriously plan to turn the world into a matriarchy egalitarian utopia because there is no realistic transition plan. This goes for communism (the fall of capitalism will morph into the Marxist utopia? Uhm--no--in chaos strongmen win. That's why they're called strongmen and chaos is called chaos).

The Blind Spot

The blind spot for revolutionaries be they Bernie Sanders voters or NRx philosopher-gods is that they believe that their ideas are strong enough to carry the day (either by invigorating the populace or by influencing ubermen in positions of real power with real guns). This, of course, isn't the case: no one's ideas alone are good enough to win the risk-analysis game during a crash.

Let's say you think that universal single-payer health-care the right way to go in America--so you create a crisis where insurance companies collapse and health care becomes economically inaccessible to a VAST swath of the populace--no, this isn't cleverly arguing that this was the idea behind Obamacare--sorry.

In this scenario, the country is suddenly in crisis--let's throw in an epidemic of deadly bird-flu to get chaos amped up.

If you think your ideas about universal coverage will lead chaos into a working health-care plan, you're not looking hard enough at the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Similarly, ideas will not overcome the inertia of a collapsing state towards tyranny and despair. The Muslim Brotherhood can set up an Islamic dictatorship since (a) that is pretty easy to do comparatively and (b) they have laid the groundwork. Setting up a working government out of chaos that isn't an iron-fisted dictatorship is going to be echelons and echelons harder.

What you will get is everyone--including probably you--dead of bird flu and whatever gets put together after will be based on, mostly, what was there before.

How You Get Buy In

So if you are a revolutionary / reactionary and you want to replace the dominant paradigm--what are you to do? By definition you don't control the major levers of power and, depending on the values behind your idea, you may have problems with scaling your movement out of the gate (see radical feminism, for example). The good news is that there's a model for this.

The model is unwinding the banks. After 2008 the Federal Government has required that the mega-banks have a so-called "living-will" that will allow the government to take a pan-global juggernaut and break it up without killing the financial system (which would have been impossible in 2008--which is why no one did it--and why "break up the banks" people were out of their depth with their ideas about doing so).

The specifics of breaking up a mega-leviathian aren't the point here--the question is: how do you get someone to undertake this? Who gets to decide how this is done? The answer is that in order to be given the kill (and re-birth) switch you have to be a Trusted Adviser.

A Trusted Adviser is the term for someone who gets listened to in times of crisis even if they don't directly control assets. To become a Trusted Adviser you have to establish the following:
  1. You understand the stakeholder / their drivers
  2. You have a track-record of success and tangible accomplishment (with them)
  3. You are a proven value-added ally before the crash
If you establish this then when the crash / crisis comes you can be in place to utilize your ideas. You can influence who gets killed and who doesn't. You may not be able to change massive "inertial impacts"--but you can influence direction.

Essentially? To make your philosophy of change-by-ideas work? You have to already be embedded in the system.

The Paradox: Trusted Advisers Aren't Revolutionary

The problem here is immediately visible: a person with Trusted Adviser status isn't going to be a revolutionary or a bomb-thrower. This is why, for example, Ted Cruz looks to be a very poor chief executive--his ideas about government are not going to get along with the rest of government--even his allies--and his apparent unwillingness to make deals disqualifies himself from any position below "Emperor."

This is even more visible for, say, radical feminism. If you define consensual sex as rape--because patriarchy--there is simply no transition plan--no endgame--and no one in power can afford to take you seriously. The result is that any work you do towards subverting the dominant paradigm is going to be constantly against the machinery of the state--and in anything other than an extinction-level-event crisis it's going to fail.

The NRx Origins Of This Piece

This post is born out of a discussion with Nick Land about how the NRx plans to enact its influence--by "whispering" to the organs of power (that is: those with organic weapons such as the security apparatus of the state) so that when the collapse comes they can possibly control / crash-land enough of it to have a (beneficial) impact.

The Omnivore thinks this doesn't have a chance--not because their ideas are bad--that's not relevant--but because the security apparatus of the state(s) during a real crisis are going to be responding according to risk-analysis (and an amoeboid level of risk-analysis at that). Unless you are a very, very trusted adviser at high levels--with a proven track record, with a history of value-add, you simply are too dangerous to listen to when things are burning.

This, The Omnivore asserts, is essentially the Second Law of Political Dynamics: things tend towards chaos and your ideas are not more chaos suppressive than killing indiscriminately in defense of the status quo.

The Lesson for the GOP

TruCons have a similar problem--they can--and are--creating a serious crisis in the Republican party. The problem for them is that their end-state is either nihilistic or delusional. The odds of getting all the way to the nomination on the back of nihilism seems low (not that many people are nihilists). The odds of the delusion holding up (that Trump can both win a national election and usher in a new golden age of Americana) is also low.

In other words: they have about half the lift-off they need to achieve orbit and unless their (untested) fuel holds out longer than seems likely they are going to get to about March 15th and then realize they have made a dire mistake. This isn't the way to run a revolution--but when your ideas start with "after the collapse we'll--" that's what you've got. 

1 comment:

  1. Dennis: Come see the violence inherent in the system!

    King Arthur: Be quiet!

    Dennis: Help, help, I'm being repressed!

    King Arthur: Bloody peasant!

    -- Ω