September 27, 2005


Been waiting for the book to arrive here before posting on the topic, but this group blog on James C. Bennet's Hyperstitional Megaconstruct 'the Anglosphere' is worth pointing out immediately.

(Maybe it will divert some of the heat while I hastily prepare for the impending Hyperstition Linguistics Challenge)

Posted by CCRU-Shanghai at September 27, 2005 10:59 AM | TrackBack




"a particularly strong and independent civil society; openness and receptivity to the world, its people, and its ideas; and a dynamic economy"

If these are the advantages which the Anglosphere is said to be equipped with, then there is at least one obvious question: to what extent have Protestant memes played a key role in their evolution?

Maybe this is banging the meme and evolution drums a bit too much, but I would be surprised if The Anglosphere Challenge didn't explore some of the following:

- the emergence of a dynamic middle-class as a result of Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII's attacks on Papal Supremacy, which led to church lands being sold to an emergent class with capital at its disposal

- the translation of The Bible into English (non-authorized and authorized), which led to independent interpretation and a rejection of imposed, external authority, the most significant expression of which was the Puritan abandonment of the Isles.

- the English Civil War and Regicide, which led to Parliamentary supremacy and a symbolic monarchy

- Britain developing as a financial company rather than a mafia-style dynasty (Simon Schama very good on this in the episode 'Britannia Incorporated' in A History of Britain).

- The American War of Independence (and its 1787 Constitution) as catalyst for European radicalism (the French Revolution, Tom Paine, Blake's 'America', Mary Wollstonecraft, the Polish Constitution of 1791)

All of the above contrasting with French Absolutism and the centralized Napoleonic Empire, and with the mafia-style dynasties and autocracies that carved up Central and Eastern Europe (the Romanovs, Hohenzollern Prussia, the Ottomans). The machinery of authority in the memes of Catholicism, the Eastern Orthodox church, Islam and German Protestantism are obviously crucial here.

all a question of how authority and control have developed differently in various competing lineages.

[In the complex strategy game Europa Univeralis II, switching to Protestantism plunges your country into years of deep instability, but pays back later in terms of innovation, military professionalism, technological development and economy - which means if you play the USA you can crank up your army and annex large chunks of demotivated, backward Catholic Europe, if that's what takes your fancy.]

Posted by: sd at September 27, 2005 12:15 PM



Protestantism evidently a crucial factor - but the order of causality is uncertain. Did Anglo contractualism and individualism predispose to Protestantism, rather than the reverse? The Anglosphereans seem very interested in the work of Alan Macfarlane who traces the British individualistic tradition back much further than Luther, for instance women's right to choose their own marriage partners (back to 13th c. if I'm remembering right).
Think this book the key:

German / Swedish protestantism doesn't seem to have led to the same social conclusions

Posted by: Nick at September 27, 2005 12:46 PM



you all are familiar by now with my tiresome refrain (unless actually carried out by way of attempted, and assumpted virtue; drop the feint go for the thrust):
split splinter n pulverize spaceless poderoso aplenny then let life do the splicin' or we'll be stranded sanded flooded and mudded.

a man responsibe for this:
"The world of alternative worship and emerging church is a complex and fluid network, and any attempt to define sites by category is approximate. Sites may appear in more than one list because they contain a variety of material or functions. Blogs, in particular, combine personal opinion, authoritative writing, debate, resource-sharing, and networking, so it's no surprise that they are at the heart of the emerging church community."

runs this also:
'smashing time at grace'
(pulverizing plates in church to draw crowd and pay the rent -

I go: I have written lots on stashes of ashes hidden in rock and to be mourned

much for not/if not/when not being fetched from the gates of

hell and taken to ease compostage task, to see and

synthesize the light organized as a living church no longer

confined to a stone building but contiguous, touching and

seamlessly landscapewide and furthering glory very far. So,

bash that uptight ash and rejoice in this work of the Lord

which he merely mimed being restricted by the highly sterile

and symbolicized times he suffered through.

Posted by: warshipshapecombplocks at September 27, 2005 01:32 PM



warshipshapecomblocks - the double spacing is a little annoying

Posted by: Nick at September 27, 2005 02:16 PM



In that second alinea of the linked post (to a blog where, as per usual, that offensive way with space is only a click away) the author is trying to say what I did in the first (using waaaay fewer words; a dutch sport ((every stead used to have it's holy of holies never used)) ultra-conservative in the peaceful sense, keeping them from getting ((away)) 'quick' and dirty, like self defense ammunition; the joys one cannot do justice with mere words) but it takes a sharp eye to notice.

by the way, it will be non-anglos who consistentize the english language for one; witness the 452 uses for 'assumpted'

Posted by: warshipshapecombplocks at September 27, 2005 02:26 PM



Nick - Thanks for the book tip (more reading - ouch!)

Well the obvious forerunners to Luther were John Wyclif and the Lollards. There was a movement of anti-clerical dissent - tied to translating The Bible into vernacular English (1381) - up and running in England over 130 years before Luther appeared on the scene.

David Crystal (Stories of English) draws attention to the importance of Chancery in late 14th Century England. I don't have the book at hand, but wikipedia has a couple of relevant sentences:

"In the later fourteenth century, Chancery Standard (or London English) - itself a phenomenon produced by the increase of bureaucracy in London, and a concomitant increase in London literary production - introduced a greater deal of conformity in English spelling."

It is no accident that Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the best example of Middle English vernacular, was started around 1380.

So, in the late 14th C, there was: anti-clericalism, a literacy boom, and the emergence of a standardized vernacular. These were the prerequisites for following an independent, anti-authoritarian path.

Simon Schama also suggests the Black Death was instrumental in freeing up the economy: the plague created gaping gaps and niches for exploitation. The opportunity was seized in England.

With regard to German and Swedish Protestantism, both of them were embroiled in the idiotic Thirty Years War, whereas England escaped major confrontation (the advantages of being insular).

(I don't know enough about this but...) Also with German protestantism I have an inkling the absence of a strong, independent state might be a key factor (German principalities and the ineffectual Holy Roman Empire).

Sweden was a contender in the 17th C, but made the perennial mistake of invading Russia and never recovered.

Posted by: sd at September 27, 2005 02:38 PM



sd - lots of chew over ...
this essay by Bennet linked to from the Anglo blog is excellent:

I've got pretty huge problems with Schama - thought his history of Britain TV series was utterly BBC, total contempt for economics, markets, free-trade, all replaced by generalized whinging, soft soci*lism and religious babble - with a ghastly leftoid teleology hanging over the whole thing (as if the Omega-point of British history was - the BBC)

warshipshapecomblocks - "it will be non-anglos who consistentize the english language for one" - not sure I entirely understand this, but actually suspect I agree with it ...

Posted by: Nick at September 27, 2005 03:00 PM



"I've got pretty huge problems with Schama" Why am I not surprised!

The series would have been much more radical in the hands of Norman Davies (who wouldn't have allowed the word Britain to appear till the 18th century), but Schama does have occasional interesting angles (e.g. ignoring the War of the Roses in favour of domestic correspondence which is focused on shopping; ignoring The Napoleonic Wars in favour of Mary Wollstonecraft) and it's possible to celebrate the things he is covertly bemoaning. Plus, he's quite clear it's only 'A' history.

There's a dearth of good history progs - if it isn't smug Schama it's dumbed-down Channel 4 & 5 sensationalism. Gotta work with something though.

Posted by: sd at September 27, 2005 03:12 PM



Kind of metacomment / question:
Could Hyperstition be crudely but productively defined as 'Political Ontology' - a domain of virtual politically efficient objects, realized (in a circuit) through political operations?
Wondering, obviously, because the Anglosphere seems to broadly conform to this definition - and I take it be behind the (sd) insight into Kurzweil's loopy relation to Singularity.

(There's a whole Enochian angle to this as well, but I guess that should wait until our resident nommomaniac fiscal complexicon shows up ...)

Posted by: Nick at September 27, 2005 04:41 PM



erm, still chewing the James C. Bennet essay!

This needs to be fleshed out: "virtual politically efficient objects, realized (in a circuit) through political operations."

is this the skeleton?

K says The Singularity is near, backs up prophecy with research > the concept of S becomes acceptable currency > science/the military/the software industry/others on the bandwagon start consciously cranking up investment in developing AI > AI becomes increasingly tangible & credible > investment cranked up again > then before we know it S is here

not taking reaction into account, of course.

Posted by: sd at September 27, 2005 05:16 PM



sd - circuit you sketch highly plausible. Of course there would be innumerable variations, and many subsidiary issues to thrash out, but IMHO there's an abstract diagram there productively applicable to a wide variety of cases.
Productively: with supplementary hyperstitional efficacy (?).

Thesis: Techocapitalism intensifies hyperstitional efficiency. As investment is monetized (fluidized and anonymized) in conjunction with technological condensation of the virtual, hyperstitional circuitry consolidates with ever greater rapidity, complexity, and consequentiality. (Probably this just restates a fairly standard 'acceleration thesis' in hyperstitional terms)
[brain fried, jargoplexing ... better crash]

Posted by: Nick at September 27, 2005 05:28 PM



... or is it:
Technocapitalism just is the intensification of hyperstitional efficiency (and if efficiency intrinsic to hyperstitional circuit, just - of hyperstition)?

Posted by: Nick at September 27, 2005 05:32 PM



Author expresses faith the singularity will propel the anglosphere ahead in such a way it will prolong it's first place among the world's most civil nations

Fanciful multi-layered presumptions about protestant values (attempting to borrow from the real empowdering thing to add force to the fable) of diversity (not really derived hither thereby nor driven thither therefrom) supposedly catalyzing some sort of vaguely splendogloriously coronating singularity aside, what is being professed here? No fessin' up to a lack of green slumless cities in the old United Kingdom right? No imperialist and supremist smog production spotlighted here. No mobility and concommitant costly 'remotage' dependency crash looming warned about right?

I climbed onto the shoulders of Julius Hensel in the 80s and am doing the best I can to attract attention to an in detail very different (Hensel thought the world was a mere 5000 years old) but in essence similar (though aeon spanning) exegesis of the unseemly and most unassumingly seamless 'matters of course', the longer than long lag and haul, the eminently intra-terrestrial, the heavy heave and high hope credit dispensary mechanism. Once again I will try splayn to you how this inexhaustible slow release consistency can be such a simple, in our face and ageless wonder that the fact we (wo)manage to ignore it is a sin even more miraculous.
Opening and 'dispursing' the types of rock that prove to contain key components for the establishment of true diversity (as far as the latter isn't synonymous for complete absence of degenerate anthropods, a situation that is very rare these days)

1 = halts well short of being pushover easy, a hurdle and threshold that is or is not about to give (not just a Bouter, unless he remains deeply depressed for lack of ((rapidly (((enough))) growing choice of choice)) partners) new meaning to the term fit(-in)ness

2 = is not enough to turn a sordid situation into heaven as if by magic and on command, it merely initiates processes which are fairly slow (yet nonetheless very sure) to show a return for our trouble (though I always like to repeat the slow but perceptible electrolysis of water to form fresh oxygen ((puddlebubbles in the sun)) example, a popperer than popperian experience; in any case, present day conceptions of 'overdonderende' ((jovian)) songyulayriddey remain stoopitly and stubbornly mum about those very to better day way giving ways and the rewards, as do rocks themselves).

3 = is never impossible, nor do they become or stay too exclusively impenetrable and cryptic for too long though over the course of a few generations those affected by niggardly nugatoriness might have and use reason to utter oncological complain. In short, there is no valid reason why soon as possible ain't good enough an even much better than some other time to go for smooth and single, selfless, yea even singularly selfless mud .. . we should be so lucky .. . to mug a cupfull of shapelessly golemic representation for unnamable unknowable substrates and conditions of divined abundances .. .
.. . .. on to the language game theory; can't wait to break out my old Joyce the adieu todew todelewdjew alc-addled muddlehead file.

Posted by: Golemma Morfus at September 27, 2005 05:40 PM



a slice of experience

Posted by: thread on rock dust at September 27, 2005 05:57 PM



"can't wait to break out my old Joyce the adieu todew todelewdjew alc-addled muddlehead file."

Do you have to? Really

I mean Joyce was principled, precise, unobtrusive and a pleasure to read (well, sometimes), whereas your prose and poetry is a stream of painful, incoherent, uncontrolled vomit.

Posted by: sd at September 27, 2005 06:13 PM



gee thanks, I'll test your simulacrumb for fertility next, see if I like it as much as you my ways of pointing at the real thing, just for the off chance I can return the flavor

Posted by: Chu Ckup at September 27, 2005 06:57 PM



Golemma Morfus/Chu Ckup - it's very easy to hide the fact you've got almost nothing to say by spluttering and babbling rivers of pretentious dross. If you are going to label it Joycean then it becomes even more embarrassing.

Posted by: sd at September 27, 2005 10:55 PM



given that you are afflicted with the impression I unload unsavory business right before your very eyes intent on force feeding it to you a little overreaction such as above must be forgiven, specially since it is obviously not further aggravated with the disastrous dutch sense of decency to look away; however this is not multicultural reality, this is the internet; I beg you again, not to confuse the two.

Here's something to clear your palate:

"Harper's Magazine" article, "In Defiance of Gravity: Writing, Wisdom and the Fabulous Club Gemini," --
I can't find this online, reference to it

here: // and here:

The word of the day is:

edacious \e-DAY-shuss\, adj.
Origin: Latin 'edere', to eat.

* Of or relating to eating.
* Voracious (as in reading).
* Greedy or all-consuming (as in time).

The second sense is illustrated here:

For too many years my edacious reading habits had been
leading me into one unappealing corner after another,
dank cul-de-sacs littered with tear-stained diaries,
empty pill bottles, bulging briefcases, broken vows,
humdrum phrases, sociological swab samples, and the
(lovely?) bones of dismembered children: the detritus
of a literary scene that, with several notable
exceptions, has been about as entertaining as a
Taliban theme park and as elevating as the prayer
breakfast at the Bates Motel. [1]

According to word maven Michael Quinion, 'edacious' has almost
completely disappeared, "perhaps because /voracious/ is a better
established and more vigorous-sounding alternative." [2] Also
according to Quinion, 'Edacious' now usually refers to time
because of Ovid's zinger "Tempus edax rerum" ("Time devours


[1] Tom Robbins, 'In Defiance of Gravity', in _Harper's_, September
2004, p. 57

from over a Megabite worth of text: stoopit stewpit

stupid; he could have cut it down to at half that taking all the repetitive

routing specs out. last edited one year ago - HEY!!!!!!, a dark tone wiki!! quantum magic love quarks (8 folds)
by Tom Robbins (Harpers Magazine, September 2004)
... There's some validity, I suppose, in the academic approach, for, as Big Mama's accompanist would attest, our culture simply has a far greater demand for the predictable bow-wow than for the unexpected caterwaul: orthodox woofing pays the rent. In a dogma-eat-dogma world, a few teachers, editors and critics may be hip enough to tolerate a subversive mew, a quirky purr now and again, but they're well aware of those who produce --or sanction-- mysterious off-the-wall meowing when familiar yaps and snarls are clearly called for. Let me explain that when I refer to "meowing" here, what I'm really talking about is the human impulse to be playful; an impulse all too frequently demeaned and suppressed in the adult population, especially when it manifests itself in an unconventional manner or inappropriate context. To bark at the end of a song entitled "Hound Dog" is just playful enough to elicit a soupçon of mainstream amusement, but Fred (I believe that was the sessionman's name), in wanting to meow, was pushing the envelope and raising the stakes, raising them to a "hipper" level perhaps, a more irreverent level undoubtedly. There's a sense in which ol' Fred was showing a tiny spark of that the Tibetans call "crazy wisdom," a sense in which he was assuming for a bare instant the archetypal role of the holy fool.
... ...
Although serious playfulness may be an effective means of domesticating fear and pain, it's not about meowing past the graveyard. No, the seriously playful individual meows right through the graveyard gate, meows into his or her very grave. When Oscar Wilde allegedly gestured at the garish wallpaper in his cheap Parisian hotel room and announced with his dying breath, "Either it goes, or I go," he was exhibiting something beyond an irrepressibly brilliant wit. Freud, you see, wasn't whistling "Edelweiss" when he wrote that gallows humor is indicative of greatness of soul.
... journal.cgi?folder=2004rundowns&next=144 - 7k -
TOPIC: Conversation with Tom Robbins
GUESTS: Tom Robbins, author of Villa Incognito and other novels.
Maverick Pacific Northwest-based Author, Tom Robbins, has a manifesto in this month’s Harpers Magazine, titled In Defiance of Gravity: Writing, Wisdom, and the Fabulous Club Gemini." He's depressed about the depressing nature and unmitigated sadness in contemporary English language literature. In the manifesto he writes: "I'll stand by my contention that when it comes to writing, a fusion of Prankish Asian Wisdom, extra-dimensional Latin magic, and two-fisted North-American poetic pizzazz (as exotic as that concept might seem to some) could be our best hope for clearing passageways through our heart-numbing, soul-shrinking, spirit-smothering oceans of frost." In my recent conversation with Tom Robbins, we started off by talking about these oceans of frost, depression, and despair, and how Asian culture and Buddhism was a jumping off point to challenging this Western emotional state.

your comments are welcome but don't overdo it. We may have taken spew as far as it will spill.

Posted by: Chu Ckup at September 27, 2005 10:56 PM




Posted by: sd at September 27, 2005 11:04 PM



It's way beyond Joycean in that I stick to essentials a lot more and fuck the trivia, explain the mechanics of word salad and syllable tinkerment (in for instance children's ways of making sense and sending refreshments into the rivers of the world; richness of grammar as analog to trace element content and exposure) plus roundly denounce the role of alcohol delirium interfering with that type of progress in his work

Posted by: piet at September 27, 2005 11:06 PM



piet - "I stick to essentials a lot more and ... explain the mechanics of word salad" - ???
but you know, the blizzard slipped for a minute there ... another couple of savage abusive kicks and you're in serious danger of being understood (well, maybe not that serious)

Posted by: Nick at September 28, 2005 12:19 AM



"a fusion of Prankish Asian Wisdom, extra-dimensional Latin magic, and two-fisted North-American poetic pizzazz" - ouch. The ammo you've just piled up for us now ... truly sublime pixy-hat problems hurtling in your direction

Posted by: Nick at September 28, 2005 12:23 AM



piet: the blog was doing better without your word salads, pls return to the stone from under whioh you crawled.

Posted by: cynoia at September 28, 2005 02:34 AM



yeah I'll be holding up (my torsionportion of the cornerkey..err..thingy in the private little niche of) my own again in a minute but I won't leave this thread without a few links to places I see as what's hopeful about and in the anglosphere

. .. .eh .. . no never mind; go see the last third of a post called 'one man's anglosphere ain't = another's' if you're curious.

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 28, 2005 11:54 AM



nick - what enochian angle?

Posted by: northanger at September 28, 2005 04:05 PM



Angelic Sphaeres

Posted by: Nick at September 28, 2005 04:17 PM



nick - btw, my ability to numify is offline at the moment.

what does Angelic Sphaeres have to do with the Anglosphere? (for the sake of online brevity, please chunk massively!).

Posted by: northanger at September 28, 2005 04:29 PM



Nick - the James C. Bennett essay is very useful - wish i'd had it earlier.

The analysis of the EU is spot-on. And the stuff about private internet currencies - fascinating. Also like the network commonwealth diagrams very much.

Comments & Questions:

1. Bennett identifies strong civil society (and the traditions that go with it) as being a prerequisite for democracy and free market economies. He also astutely identifies a lack of civil tradition in the sphere of Russian influence:

"The market economy also requires a civil society with general acceptance of a common framework of laws, practices and manners. Without a general acceptance of fair dealing, an agreement on what fair dealing means, and an adjudication system that can resolve and enforce resolution of disputes, a true market economy cannot exist - as developments in the post-Soviet sphere indicate."

This is clearly true in the cases of Belarus and Ukraine, new nations formed from territories and cultures variously carved up and suppressed throughout history by Russia and Poland. It is also clearly true of Russia, a country which, except for a few months in 1917, knew no societal power structure other than autocracy/dictatorship until the 90s. Putin is popular precisely because his power is autocratic. Democracy has problems taking hold where it has no roots.

The ex-Soviet bloc countries which had civic traditions before Stalinism arrived (e.g. Estonia, which was populated by industrious, protestant Baltic Germans; Poland and Lithuania through the decentralized and ultimately anarchic Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; the Czechs through liberal Bohemia and subjection to Habsburg administration) have been able to develop reasonably efficient democracies and economies with competitive potential. [crass simplification here, I know]

The question is: if democracy and free market economies require strong civil society, which, as Bennett makes clear, takes time and slowly evolving tradition, what are the alternatives for countries which have not developed along these lines? A deeply embedded autocratic lineage cannot just switch to democracy, so what can it do?

This question leads to the wisdom of trying to foster democracy in Arab countries where strong civil society is fundamentally alien. Democracy can be imposed at gunpoint, but it won't work at gunpoint, and imposing social structures is undemocratic and uncivil - so surely Team America need to search for other strategies. [?]

[question 2 later – brain thoroughly overloaded at the mo]

Posted by: sd at September 28, 2005 04:30 PM



sd - "Without a general acceptance of fair dealing, an agreement on what fair dealing means, and an adjudication system that can resolve and enforce resolution of disputes, a true market economy cannot exist".

after reading about Patrick's billing problems makes me wonder about "fair dealing"? is it relative? only applies to those in power? has no bearing in the market?


couldn't we say a "civil society" is the definition that works for those in power?

Posted by: northanger at September 28, 2005 04:38 PM



northanger - "couldn't we say a "civil society" is the definition that works for those in power?"

Bennett describes the strong civic state as emerging from "one of many different mechanisms by which local communities gave or withheld their consent to the state"

It's possible to see this as idealistic, in that it ignores coercion and colonialism, but there is a grain of truth in it - the USA emerged through refusing consent to the British state.

Military power equips the community with the power to refuse consent - if the community doesn't have military power (or an alliance) then it'll be conquered.

Posted by: sd at September 28, 2005 04:52 PM



northanger - unless linguistic history is entirely contingent (a quite rational, empirically plausible, but qabbalistically unconvincing assumption) then the name of the Anglosphere is programmed by apocalyptic forces of deep hyperstition to coincide with the dominion of the Angelic Tongue (August Barrow's 'Anglossic') over the secular oecumenon of the End Times ... got to do a little skrying and I'll get back to you ...

sd - q. / point you raise haunting all the sane political discussions of the age - to recap., if profound cultural legacies (glacial meme-flow) are ineliminable factors in any realistic social theory, how can modifications in the direction of contemporaneously functional systems take place in acceptable time-frames? Everyone is waiting for the quixotic neocons (I don't mean this insultingly) to burn out in their heroic attempt to rapidly transplant quasi-anglospherean models into infertile terrain, and when (if?) they fail - what exactly comes next? Among all the leftist/palaeocon/kumbaya libertarian gloating, the throat of hell yawns open.
Take a couple of relatively modest assumptions:

1) No responsible US administration is going to permit theocratic barbarians to crank up their terroristic madness to the WMD stage. (Even if they were, there's no sustainable isolationist strategy left in a technoshrinking world, so they get dragged back by spectacular provocations)
2) But with neocon idealism in ashes (hypothetically), there's no realistic vision remaining of a rapid worldwide abandonment of theocratic barbarism in the name of neoliberal universalism.
- how to spin this in a way that doesn't rapidly escalate to truly monumental and open-ended body-counts?

Posted by: Nick at September 28, 2005 05:00 PM




Posted by: sd at September 28, 2005 05:10 PM



"couldn't we say a 'civil society' is the definition that works for those in power?"
- northanger, you really have to spend more time steeped in Hobbes. The superficial aggravations of technocapitalist existence in a civilized society need to be contextualized by the body-carving nightmare of ANARCHY=FASCISM which lurks just outside, and we haven't seen anything yet (although Zarqawi's doing a pretty good job of showing us what we can expect).

Posted by: Nick at September 28, 2005 05:11 PM



nick - "got to do a little skrying". lol.

gosh, just had a brainfart about reporters getting news by skrying. or, market info!

Posted by: northanger at September 28, 2005 05:16 PM



If the neocons turn out to be as wrong as almost everybody seems to be hoping (I like them - foreign policy-wise - but I'm not a zealot about the credibility of their basic model) people are REALLY going to miss them when they're gone, and we're back to wandering the mean streets of Hobbesville Jihadistan without a map

Posted by: Nick at September 28, 2005 05:19 PM



well, maybe everybody should stop thinking they need a map. the map is not the territory, and all that.

Posted by: northanger at September 28, 2005 05:40 PM



sorry for the cliche.

Posted by: northanger at September 28, 2005 05:44 PM



Just to grind this in -
If the neocon project (spreading functional civilization) collapses, do we get:
(a) "Guess we're just going to have to let them have their nukes and accept spreading dhimmitude, endless planetary malfunction and Holocaust of the Jews II" or
(b) "Looks like we're going to have to waste the mofos in truly gargantuan quantities"

northanger - in this case, a map's what keeps you from just turning the whole place into a parking lot

Posted by: Nick at September 28, 2005 05:45 PM



ok, nick.
"[Hobbes] scholarly efforts at the time were aimed at a careful study of classic Greek and Latin authors, the outcome of which was, in 1628, his great translation of Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War, the first translation of that work into English. Hobbes believed that Thucydides' account of the Peloponnesian War showed that democratic government could not survive war or provide stability and was thus undesirable."
The effect of caffeine on spider web construction.

Posted by: northanger at September 28, 2005 05:49 PM



nick - are you for the "neocon project"?

Posted by: northanger at September 28, 2005 05:53 PM



i have a hard time (considering US politics) understanding the neocon position. do they support the iraq war? are neocons fiscal conservatives? i need a cheatsheet to keep track of everybody.

btw, is the iraq war a good idea or isn't it? difficult to get a good idea what international consensus (including Iraq itself) really thinks about this.

on the surface, spreading functional civilization seems like a good idea. is it anything like spreading around democracy?

define "functional civilization" — what percentage of folks benefit from the FC?

Posted by: northanger at September 28, 2005 06:06 PM



imho. run the most dominant simulation.

Posted by: northanger at September 28, 2005 06:13 PM



Nick - pathetically putting the apocalyptic neocon collapse to one side for a mo

2. One of the propects outlined at in Bennett's text is the possible collapse of (some) nation states into city alliances and economic alliances supercoordinated by cultural/linguistic alliances.

Since nations are meme fictions which come and go (e.g. Italy, Germany), whereas ethnic cultures are more stable factories for the production of these "self-affirming narratives", fanatical or otherwise, the concept of Network Commonwealth means we can finally have done with nation, and that the 21st century is a potential for hybrid-bastard-molecular narratives to really take hold.

The EU might actually work if national governments and borders were scrapped, in favour of massive boosts to regional legislatitive power. If the EU did away with its ludicrous linguistic cacaphony and did all its business in English, and stopped meddling in local politics and imposing standards, it could be a contender, as a purely economic confederation. [mere fantasy]

The possibility of Britain opting out of the EU and putting all its eggs in the Anglosphere basket is a more plausible scenario, as is Spain's drift into the Hispanosphere. With the Anglosphere, the Hispanosphere, the PacRimsphere [?!] and Indiasphere [?!] emerging as intersecting players, where does that leave Russia? A unified Slavopshere is extremely unlikely.

When the grip of Network Commonwealths tightens, we will increasingly be defined by what we buy, what we think and say, the cities and sites we visit, the languages we have mastered, the data we send, receive and store on discs. Is this the road future security profiling will go down, as passports become meaningless? Brain and disc scans for memes?

Posted by: sd at September 28, 2005 07:01 PM



have you ever read any Leopold Kohr?

Sings the praises of the middle ages; lived in Puerto rico a long time; urban development ace.

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 28, 2005 07:15 PM



northanger - 'what is a neocon?' There's a fairly huge literature on this now - its more intricate than many think, but not entirely intractable. Hence, IMHO:
Neocons are liberals (in US sense, basically soci*lists) 'mugged by reality' (too lazy to attribute this now - W. Buckley?) who became conservatives (also in weird US sense, let's just say, usually Republicans for now) in two big waves. First, preparing ground for Reagan revolution, were those mostly disillusioned by failures of American Welfare State (New Deal and - especially - Great Society program) whose perverse incentives and unintended consequences were turning poor folks into a hopeless embittered racially stigmatized underclass. These first neocons were typically focused on domestic policy, had no particular phobia about 'big government,' but were economically/sociologically literate enough to realize when programs were doing more harm than good and (unlike 'liberals') were honest and serious enough to try and work out alternatives. Their mag - Commentary (back issues give the flavour).
The second wave - inspired by legacy of DP Moynihan (always a Dem) and Jeane Kirkpatrick had similar left-to-right political biographies, but focused more on the wider world, seeing the UN as a giant failed welfare program choked with unintended consequence and posturing special interests. DPM and JK themselves were characterized by sophisticated realism and American patriotism (itself a long-overdue realistic assessment of the real consequences of US behaviour, i.e. the survival of free societies in a world of commie sharks and other piratical tyrants). Typically (v. crude sweeping assertion coming) the later neocons were more Wilsonian, synthesizing realism with idealistic hopes about the exportability of certain key values of functional civilization (democracy and liberal economics). The most sensible way to talk about 'neocons' today is probably in reference to US foreign-policy, referring to those like (the notorious but to any objective observer total sweetie-pops) Wolfowitz for e.g. who believe in the strong transmissability of social sanity memes.
The left hates these guys for being hegemonists (which of course they are, but hegemonism is an alternative to imperialism as Hanson shows in a great essay that I'll track down later if asked) - left attitude: "who are we to say that genital mutilation and suicide bombing is worse than McDonalds?" (or, hard left version, "its obvious genital mutilation and suicide bombing are far preferable to McDonalds")
The various elbowed-off-centre-stage species of rightists hate them because they think their starry-eyed idealism is going to get lots of Americans killed to no purpose. (palaeocon "don't see why some good christian boy should give up his life for an ineducable raghead", moonbat fringe: "anyway we know the neocons are all ZOG agents secretly programmed by Strauss")
New-wave neocons also seem to have inherited acceptance of grossly obese government. Dubya seems to me strongly influenced by both neocon waves outlined above.
Personally I'd like to see more libertarian/Goldwater/Reaganite counter-influence and massive reductions - say halving - of US govt spending (while doubling the defense budget, which would be easily compatible) - so guess that means I'm not a neocon, but I'm basically a sympathizer.
More important - they're the nice guys. If they're proved wrong, it won't be because their intentions were malignant, but rather the opposite: they believed people everywhere wanted peace, prosperity and progess and they didn't want to blow away more foreigners than strictly necessary.

Posted by: Nick at September 29, 2005 02:55 AM



sd - once again, think your q.s spot on. Interested that Bennett sees deep narratives as essential components of these cultures / emerging Network Commonweaths, so each should operate as a giant hyperstitional laboratory. If the non-Anglosphere versions could kick their addiction to the "wouldn't it be great if America collapsed" genre of ressentimental hyperstition, we might see a lot more productive variation.

on future of profiling as meme-scanning - one q. is: what are the functional analogs of this? need time to ponder ...

powderwellerpiet - will check out Leopold Kohr - won't thank you for ref. until i find out where it leads ;)

Posted by: Nick at September 29, 2005 03:11 AM



And northanger - this refrain:
"define 'functional civilization' — what percentage of folks benefit from the FC" - verging on implicit moonbattery.
The only people who don't benefit from FC are predatory criminals, whose marginalization in society serves as a definition of FC.
Who would benefit if Hong Kong (FC) was more like Somalia or Haiti (non-FC) - not enough people to affect relevant policy decisions, surely? (of course, the harder types of leftists - Islamarxists etc - love predatory criminals for 'sticking it to the man' so FC is pure bourgeois oppression in their book. At the same time, not many Western Islamarxists showing much interest in relocating to Somalia - weird that)

Posted by: Nick at September 29, 2005 03:37 AM



Just a little OT, but this Fouad Ajami essay on local background to contemporary Iraqi conflicts truly excellent:

Posted by: Nick at September 29, 2005 04:23 AM



"a great essay that I'll track down later if asked"

yes please!

Posted by: sd at September 29, 2005 06:14 AM



1: Point of Ajami's article:
Zarqawi is a bigot Shia hater, the Arabs deserve better, things would be all civil if the Sunnis weren't so damn afraid of the Shias.

2: Point made by Nick regarding mofos:
Either we waste the mofos, or the world goes to hell, lamenting the demise of the only true narrative, the AS.

1+2=3: by turning Iran into parking lot, we neutralize Zarqawi's main raison d'etre (the world's only officially Shia government) opening the way for rekindled romance with the Sunni buggerers (a term of endearment attributed to Corsi) whose self-appointed earthly leaders (the Saudi clergy/monarchy) are behind the 911 thing in the first place.

As for holocausts, the remaining Shias in the hated "Shia Crescent" are easily rooted out or converted to "true Islam" in the abscence of their main source of funding, the damned Persians (Didn't they understand that the Gulf is meant for Semites only?).

Saudi princes feel less threatened, and their relationship with the US becomes far smoother in the absence of "the Shia problem".

Civil Society and Anglosphere triumphant, the paranoid spirit of Hobbes rests easy for a few minutes, basking in the warm glow of his Leviathan.
On to China.

Posted by: god at September 29, 2005 08:07 AM



sd - it wasn't Hanson, it was Lee Harris:

Posted by: Nick at September 29, 2005 11:53 AM



god - fascinating stuff, are you saying this is Ajami's scenario?

Posted by: Nick at September 29, 2005 12:09 PM



That seems improbable ...

Posted by: Nick at September 29, 2005 12:22 PM



This is not my interpretation of Ajami's writings, merely a synthesis of two seemingly unconnected points in the thread. Point out ties and have fun with them.
This is one of the things I get to do as a privileged free member of the Anglosphere.
As to non-members who make connections, I regard them as mere conspiracy theorists.
Hail Britannia.

Posted by: god at September 29, 2005 01:16 PM



never mind about Kohr, he won't help you decide in your vascillation between fostering feudal mercenarity or ultraconian defense budget doubling

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 29, 2005 02:03 PM



thanks god
thank god, god showed
thankfully, god showed up tricky
thank god who showed up tricky nicky
god helps to show up tricky nicky
show's up tricky nicky,
god helps those who help god
help god

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 29, 2005 02:13 PM



god - duly noted (and appreciated).
Not remotely conspiracy theory IMHO, although not necessarily entirely convincing either - the Iranian populace are too pro-American to merit a thorough paving-over anytime soon (though Sadr's maniacs make your synthesis a little more imaginable with each burning armoured car, and Hezbollah are already in overtime)

powderwellerpiet - your greatest and most emotionally wrenching lyric triumph yet, I believe, if only for this theolinguistic dagger-to-the-heart, which will be with me until my deathbed: "thank god who showed up tricky nicky / god helps to show up tricky nicky / show's up tricky nicky"

Posted by: Nick at September 29, 2005 02:49 PM



knew hyperstition would eventually take god's name in vain.

Posted by: northanger at September 29, 2005 04:51 PM



hey nick, challenge for you.

how's your elvish?

Sancho Bunce of Brockenborings

see if you can reverse engineer this.

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 29, 2005 07:23 PM



sorry, I lied, that was hobbit, but we got elvish for you just the same: Finwë Felagund

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 29, 2005 07:24 PM



you mention strauss I mention Grimes disecting Strauss: //

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 29, 2005 08:07 PM



Nick - the Lee Evans essay is (mostly)a fine piece of dissection. Not sure how useful it is now - the Chomsky-conflation of hegemony and empire is pretty well fixed, the damage done. Chomsky's linguistic vandalism is ironic indeed.

However, Evans thoroughly slanders Pinker (very surprising for me to say that, but there you go).

1. The recent ruck between Chomsky and Pinker over the evolution of language is fairly solid proof that Pinker is not Chomsky's 'high priest'.

2. The reference to Orwell and Newspeak in The Language Instinct is in no way a 'sneer'. Given that Orwell is one of Pinker's favorite authors, Evans choice of this reporting verb comes as a bit of a shock.

Pinker's uses Orwell to kick off the chapter "Mentalese" in The Language Instinct. Orwell conjured up a future in which the state reduced language by distorting meaning and restricting possible uses. Orwell:

"The word 'free' still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as "This dog is free from lice" or "This field is free from weeds". It could not be used in its old sense of 'politically free' or 'intellectually free, since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless.
... A person growing up with Newspeak as his sole language would no more know that 'equal' had once the secondary meaning of 'politically equal', or that 'free' had once meant 'intellectually free' than, for instance, a person who had never heard of chess would be aware of the secondary meanings attaching to 'queen' and 'rook'. There would be many crimes and errors which it would be beyond his power to commit, simply because they were nameless and therefore unimaginable."

Pinker's perspective is more optimistic:

"Is thought dependent on words? Do people literally think in English, Cherokee, Kivunjo, or, by 2050, Newspeak? Or are our thoughts couched in some silent medium of the brain - a language of thought, or 'mentalese' - and merely clothed in words whenever we need to communicate them to a listener? No question could be more central to understanding the language instinct."

Of course Pinkers answers No to the first question and Yes to the second, presenting convincing evidence and arguments as he does so. His position is anti=Whorfian, anti-Nietzsche/Wittgenstein 'we are prisoners of our language' whinging, anti-postmodernism 'our thought is completely determined by culture' incapacitation. He concludes the chapter:

"So where does all this leave Newspeak? Here are my predictions for the year 2050. First, since mental life goes on independently of particular languages, concepts of freedom and equality will be thinkable even if they are nameless. Second, since there are far more concepts than there are words, and listeners must always charitably fill in what the speaker leaves unsaid, existing words will quickly gain new senses, perhaps even regain their original senses. Third, since children are not content to reproduce any old input from adults but create a complex grammar that can go beyond it, they would creolize Newspeak into a natural language, possibly in a single generation. The twenty-first-century toddler may be Winston Smith's revenge."

The whole chapter is written in rigorous answer to Orwell - hardly 'sneering', by any definition of the word. Evans, like Chomsky, is being intellectually sloppy. [Anyway, what is it with this Evans guy? He seriously misrepresents Dawkins in his esay on ID too. And the book he provides a link to in the essay costs $1,200 on Amazon.]

god - 'the paranoid spirit of Hobbes'?!!

Only the naive drunk-on-Rousseau left, pre-Manson hippies and bouncy Christians could describe Hobbes as paranoid.

It's as simple as this: Men are not noble savages corrupted by civilisation, they are revolting male primates sometimes kept in check by civilisation and fear of eternal damnation.

this random list of atrocities cannot be satisfactorily explained through the lens of class conflict:

Posted by: sd at September 29, 2005 10:44 PM



"Of course Pinker answers"

as the Hyperstition Linguistics Challenge looms, my grammar 'n spelling disintegrates.

[I find The Fitch, Hauser & Chomsky reply to Pinker and Jackendoff rather daunting - these gentlemen certainly get down to the nitty gritty and beyond, to the point where they lose sight of the bigger picture (maybe that's the aim.]

Posted by: sd at September 29, 2005 10:55 PM



geez sd. i'm still on your first post trying to catch up & now this.

Posted by: northanger at September 30, 2005 04:22 AM



northanger - sorry(!), but the latest links are meant purely as a batch of examples, not as essential reading - some of the stuff is pretty grim reading, especially about Congo (the BBC link), so you might want to avoid it if you want to have a nice day.

this site is good for those who like numbers though:

Numbers are generally numbing - they don't shock as much as description.

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 04:59 AM



the reading demands of Hyperstition have to grow exponentially anyway. looming catastrophe forces the development of processing capacity. soon we'll have tentacles sprouting from our heads.

[plus Chomsky's always good for impressing people at parties.]

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 05:04 AM



this link is good for commie-bashing:

see, you can pick and choose.

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 05:09 AM



Mrr? god a Pinko? How knee-jerk of you.

Please explain how Hobbes' "sovereign" is in any way different from the type of rule(r) advocated by Stalin, Mao, or Islamo-fascists?

My comrade/brother/citizen: Hobbes central idea that "the people" don't know what's good for them and the only way to maintain order is through a sovereign entity which imposes rules for the populace's well-being through force, is really not different from the typical state of affairs in all of human history.

You should remember that Hobbes wasn't concerned whether Civil control came from a King, religious figure, republic, or Cthullu, so long as the hierarchy which ensured obedience was maintained. The fundamental reason for his entire diatribe is his fear of the neighbors. I am not saying Hobbes was alone in his paranoia any more than the average wussy-ass man-on-the street, regardless of the name of the regime under which he survives.

Everyone feels better when justifying pre-existing conditions. You can find this attitude everywhere in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Babylon, Ancient Persia and the US without even trying hard.

In light of this, it is silly to view Hobbes as a thinker who had anything new to add to the status quo. Kings, priests and revolutionaries of all stripes have followed "his" line of thought since prehistory. We need to find someone a bit more original to base the idea of the Anglosphere on, maybe Plato. Yes, the same story all over again, but at least with the Greeks the patina of age lends an air of respectability, and Plato cam from a Blue-Blood background. Besides, the Greeks and Brits have so much in common.

Posted by: god at September 30, 2005 06:11 AM



god - your comments Hobbes are fantastically simplistic. His analysis of self-interest, conflict and pre-emptive strike is basically confirmed by evolutionary biology and studies of conflict escalation.

"Please explain how Hobbes' "sovereign" is in any way different from the type of rule(r) advocated by Stalin, Mao, or Islamo-fascists?"

A quick answer to this is consent. The concept of consent has arisen in this thread, in James C. Bennett's essay on Network Commonwealths and Lee Evan's Essay on Hegemony - have you bothered to read them? The key idea from Hobbes is that "There is safety in numbers, so humans, bound by shared genes or reciprocal promises, form coalitions for protection." (The Blank Slate , Chapter 17, Violence - well worth reading).

Civil society is formed by consenting to Leviathan - this is the basis of legitimate government. Of course, it is not irrelevant that Hobbes wrote Leviathan during the chaos of the English Civil War - it colours his calls for an authoritarian monarch. Neither is it irrelevant that real parliamentary power (a more democratic leviathan)was the ultimate outcome of the English Civil War.

The key difference between the English regicide and the French regicide is that the English killed their King as part of a dispute who should make decisions, whereas the French attacked their aristocracy from resentment and replaced one tyranny with another.

Obviously who gave their 'consent' was a slow, developing process (a constant expansion of the 'mental circle').

There is a total absence of consent in Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism and Islamic theocracy.

Maybe your objections to Hobbes really come from the fact he is not idealistic, like Plato. There is no consent under the rule of Philosopher Kings either.

[sorry if these comments seem a bit rushed - I'm very busy trying to make some money at the moment.]

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 07:34 AM



see, it's happened again. "Comments on Hobbes"

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 07:35 AM



god - also (additional to sd on Hobbes) it is surely productive to distinguish the analysis of Leviathan from its prescriptions. While few today would agree with Hobbes that absolute monarchy is an attractive principle for the government of a commonwealth, his broad description of social reality in the absence of competent authority has dated vastly better than Rousseau's disastrous alternative, exemplified by Somalia and other 'failed states'(whose record of unmitigated horror is matched only by extreme totalitarianism - ANARCHY=FASCISM). For a contemporary Hobbesian who continually shows the relevance of this insight, see Robert Kaplan (The Coming Anarchy for e.g.)
Hobbes will be indispensable for as long as naive leftism clings to its Rousseauistic illusions ("pull out the American kapitalist zionazis and the world will be one big happy bongo-drumming party")

Posted by: nick at September 30, 2005 08:15 AM



"I'm very busy trying to make some money at the moment" - major gddmn distraction, isn't it ... ;)

Posted by: nick at September 30, 2005 08:17 AM



"...Lastly, the agreement of these creatures is Naturall; that of men, is by Covenant only, which is Artificiall: and therefore it is no wonder if there be somewhat else required (besides Covenant) to make their Agreement constant and lasting; which is a Common Power, to keep them in awe, and to direct their actions to the common benefit.
The only way to erect such a Common Power as may be able to defend them from the invaion of Forraigners, and the injuries of one another, and thereby to secure them in such sort, as that by their own industrie, and by the Fruites of the Earth, they may nourish themselves and live contentedly; is, to conferre all their power and strength upon one Man, or upon one Assembly of men, that may reduce all their Wills, by pluratity of voices, unto one Will: which is as much to say, to appoint one man, or Assembly of men, to beare their Person; and every one to owne, and acknowledge himselfe to be Author of whatsoever he that so beareth their Person, shall Act, or cause to be Acted, in those things which concerne the Common peace and Safetie; and therein to submit their Wills, every one to his Will, and their Judgements, to his Judgement. This is more than Consent or Concord; it is a real Unitie of them all, in one and the same Person, made by Covenant of every man with every man, in such manner, as if every man should say to every man, 'I Authorise and give up my Right of Governing my selfe, to this Man, or to this Assembly of men, on this condition, that thou give up thy Right to him, and Authorise all his actions in like manner.' This done, the Multitude so united in one Person, is called a COMMON-WEALTH, in latine CIVITAS. This is the generation of that great LEVIATHAN, or rather (to speak more reverently) of that Mortall God, to which wee owe under the Immortall God, our peace and defence. For by this Authoritie, given him by every particular man in the Common-Wealth, he hath the use of so much Power and Strength conferred on him, that by terror thereof, he is inabled to forme the wills of them all, to Peace at home, and mutuall ayd against their enemies abroad. And in him consiteth the Essence of the Common-Wealth; which (to define it,) is 'One Person, of whose Acts a great Mulittude, by mutuall Covenants one with another, have made themselves every one the Author, to the end that he may use the strength and means of them all, as he shall think expedient, for their Peace and Common Defence." Hobbes, The Leviathan , Part II, Of Common-Wealth, Chap XVII.

['odd' spellings Hobbes' this time]

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 08:18 AM



"major gddmn distraction, isn't it ... ;)"

Indeed it is. But it does free up my motivation, if you know what I mean.

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 08:21 AM



sd- on Lee Harris (not 'Evans' - we've both managed to mangle this ref. hideously on this thread) - totally forgot the Chomsky/Pinker mentions, but don't think they're more than incidental.

Posted by: nick at September 30, 2005 08:24 AM



oops. my brain's all over the place at the mo. Sorry Mr Harris. I think Lee Evans is a crap commedian - where did that come from.

I don't know if the Chomsky/Pinker references are entirely incidental. Chomsky is a valid target. With regard to Pinker (and maybe Dawkins), think there's a certain amount of stuffy resentment running through his texts.

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 08:33 AM



I'll keep my eye open for it.

Posted by: nick at September 30, 2005 08:42 AM



More than one eye open at a time seems excessive.

Posted by: nick at September 30, 2005 08:43 AM



god - 'the paranoid spirit of Hobbes'?!!

Only the naive drunk-on-Rousseau left, pre-Manson hippies and bouncy Christians could describe Hobbes as paranoid.

OK, lemme give it a shot: Hobbes is Calvin's Tiger .. . .eh no. .. wrong station .. ..kkkrrggrrr.llrsspsss fffft .. . Hobbes is a great guy and all . .but eh .. .completely devoid, bereft, out of touch with and innocent of knowledge concerning the gearbox of abundance. That better?

Not enough planets to go around so every body can have the green part of the spectrum slot in their filled you know. Hence no resonance, no feel no nada. Same is true for language; it's kinda like that poor boy's marble roller coaster/obstacle course. If you ain't gettin enough marbles you won't fill all the holes no matter how skillfull you manage to steer the ones you got, stole, begged or borrowed.

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 30, 2005 08:46 AM



that's where tentacles would come in handy.

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 08:48 AM



and where are your marbles, powderwellerpiet?

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 08:53 AM



o terrible terrible, the opium wars didn't kill the mongol. oh just terrible .. .he muttered.

discussion page behind link sd provided says in part:

change in perspective?
I think some revision of this subject is required. I think the tone of the piece passes judgment on the Mongols as savage barbarians. In particular, I think the following two paragraphs should be reworked to reflect a more nuanced understanding of motivations behind Mongol behavior towards their conquests:

"Conquest, in the Khan's initial viewpoint, did not consist of subordination of competing cultures to the nomadic way of life, but rather in their looting and destruction. As a nomad, Genghis Khan is supposed to not have understood (or cared) of the supposed benefits in the city dwellers' way of life. This contrasts with their dependence on trade with the cities. However, the economic theories of these relationships still lay seven centuries in the future.

The Khan's initial plan of conquest was sacking all that was valuable, and then razing the city and killing the entire population, leaving only artists and human shields (for future campaigns) to survive. Different theories exist for why the Mongols were initially so extreme. Militarily, the Mongols were often far from home territory and greatly out-numbered, and wouldn't want to leave enemies in their rear. Psychologically, the Mongols were a nomadic people, and saw no use for a civilian population. Economically, destroying population centers gave the Mongols more room to graze their herds."''

I would recommend reading "Genghis Kahn and the Making of the Modern World" by Jack Weatherford for a fresh perspective and as support for my following assertions. Weatherford's book suggests that, in accordance with their hunter/ shepherd mindset, the Mongols viewed sedentary agricultural civilizations as a resource to be cultivated in the manner as would a hunter/ gather/ shepherd. They had no inclination to adopt, however, the sedentary lifestyle of their "civilized" neighbors. What was created, then, was a fairly sophisticated system of exploitation, trade and patronage. I think that Genghis Khan was astute enough to fully understand what he had conquered and how to exploit it fully. It is true, however, that Mongols had initiated conquest in order to obtain material wealth through plundering their conquered neighbors, but I think to stop at that without further elaboration of the development of trade within the Mongol empire would be to mischaracterize the subject.

I think you are falling into the trap, recently greatly in vogue, of believing that every ancient culture long reviled as "barbarians" by western scholars, must have not been. The common belief seems to be that western history has been entirely false in every regard! On this topic, I happen to think western scholars were (probably through no merit of their own) correct to a large degree. How do you equate your notion of the Khans as cultivators, with the destruction of the Mesopotamian irrigation system, drastically reducing that land's population carrying capacity? With the reduction of Kiev from a bustling trading port to a burnt-out shell? I have heard claims that the area has still not recovered economically. That the Mongols traded is, of course, undisputable, though much of that economy was based on continuing influx of war spoils. I also think you're trying to whitewash them by saying they "had no inclination" to "adopt... [a] sedentary lifestyle". That's a lot milder, after all, than saying they burnt down cities across Asia. Even if they didn't necessarily raze every single city they encountered, they certainly had little interest in what we call civilization. Genghis, perhaps, had the vision to see more, but his descendants seemed interested in little more than conquest after conquest. (Please note, however, that I do not mean this rebuttal in any acrimonious way, and if you have sources besides Weatherford's book - which I'll try to find a copy of - I'd love to hear about them. :) -Kasreyn

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 30, 2005 08:57 AM



thanks powderdwellerpiet. interesting.

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 09:02 AM



'have the green part of the spectrum slot in their filled'

should be

have the green part of the spectrum in their birthchartsnapshotslot filled .. .. enough to never forget (the latter alas, doesn't imply/come with surefire ability to communicate and/or tap actual and/or virtual manifestations of such in any case, regardless, spontaneously generating source).

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 30, 2005 09:59 AM



Nick: "Rousseau's disastrous alternative, exemplified by Somalia" -

somalia doesn't strike me as the permaculture paradise Rousseau deserves to rest in from his efforts and bongo drumming don't cut it for those off the hollow stuff. It's the knock that opens going all the rage nowadays dontcha know? I can't believe China, famous in the organic ag crowd for taking trouble to cart good valley soil up the mountains hasn't any rock crushers and garden (with products thereof) sprinklers; make yourself useful and find me some evidence since you're there already, instead of slandering dead folks. Shame on you I might add borrowing George Galloway's recent and already immortal use of the phrase.

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 30, 2005 10:08 AM



Interesting duality that is being set up here:
Either you are a worshipper of Hobbes,
and if not, ipso facto
you must be a worshipper of Rousseau.
This is a machine which facilitates all argument, since we are well aware Rousseau was full of shit. Anyone not crediting Hobbes with genius, is therefore a Rousseau-worshipper, therefore full of shit. Elementary logic, very well applied. Or maybe you see a small flaw in this line of reasoning.

"'I Authorise and give up my Right of Governing my selfe, to this Man, or to this Assembly of men, on this condition, that thou give up thy Right to him, and Authorise all his actions in like manner.' "
The above is really not different in any way from Marxist nor Islamofascist ideology. The moment this covenant is broken, the transgressor becomes a member of the "criminal" realm and the rest punish him. Witness pretty much any states-rights oriented movement, or its diametrically opposite urban counterparts.

My point on Plato is exactly as you say, that he was in favor of despotism, however benevolent, just like Hobbes, Marx, Mao, and Mohammed. All were equally guilty of philosophical transgressions against the individual, and all spent their lives trying to convince people why they ought to consent to this set of ideas. The first two didn't have the means of raising an army so they counted on others to spread their political gospel. The other two, lucky for them, unlucky for everyone else, got their hands on some big weapons.To claim that Hobbes is different from others because he mentions "consent" is patently false. Hobbes obviously speaks at length about the application of force if the covenant is broken. The idea of a charade of consent is fundamental to all political philosophies.

In all politics there are three poles:
The Bond, the authoritarian enforcement of law. See any unpopular president.
The Covenant, the consensual enforcement of law. See any popular president.
The Refusal, the rejection of Bond by those controlled because of the breaking of the Covenant by those in control. See any revolution or civil war, including the one which spawned Hobbes.

These ideas are not new and have had their ideology enshrined in various gods, for example Varuna, Mithra, Indra, respectively.

Recognizing this long-established reality doesn't imply a yearning for anarchy or any significant alteration to human nature, because these are not compelling scenarios. It is however, a way of calling bullshit on every chauvinist.

In sum, the Anglosphere needs to find some way to distinguish itself from its enemies through means which don't rely on grade-school philosophies or fundamental principles of establishing authority. Otherwise, we are just another empire, no better or worse than that wave of primitive Aryans who conquered the Middle East in 500 BC, before they decided to go down to Athens and burn it down, setting in motion the chain of events leading us to this discussion.

Posted by: god at September 30, 2005 10:14 AM



sd, that Hobbes quote shows him at his plum crazyest.


he wanted to bury one man under a pile of pow(d)er as big as a piramid?

hey, I'm all for it, let's start with Bush and the Cabal behind him, lessay, someplace in the dakotas; cordon the place off but allow people to take everything from vials to wheelbarrows in and out at a time for a little free souvenir to be contained in a mold shaped like say the Bush
'bakkes', like the Lourdes water ones you know, and be sure to hand out flyers about the use of it in their gardens; by the time their fans dig them out again a better reputation will have sprouted from the old.

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 30, 2005 10:20 AM



speaking about opium wars; the fucking slobberysnobsuns turning mothers to bitches have certainly got an imperially appropriate echo of long duration: our sorry present day affairs, to wit: "Afghan poppy-farmers repay failed loans w/daughters (Boston via HuffPo)" (via robotwisdom)

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 30, 2005 10:42 AM



meanwhile in another fucked up part of the (former) anglosphere of influence: // [lbo-talk] Palestinian writer nominates Israeli author, Sami Michael, for Nobel Prize in Lit Bryan Atinsky

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 30, 2005 11:28 AM



god - i'm not sure whether you are being deliberately perverse or not. Possibly you are not.

Viewing some of Hobbes' insights and ideas as useful and, on a certain level, fundamentally true, does not amount to worshipping Hobbes or accepting all of his program. The question at stake with Hobbes and Rousseau is that of human nature, with Rousseau being an idealist whose picture is easily disproved by human history, and Hobbes being more realistic, his picture easly supported by human history (and current behaviour) - hence why he is important in evolutionary biology. As Nick has mentioned on an earlier thread, on the level of facts,Hobbes is right, Rousseau is wrong.

When it comes to contrasting Hobbes and Marx etc, it would be more fruitful to look at how their ideas have been put into practice. If you are allied to the Anglosphere (and are not just pissing about) then you have to recognise that the Anglosphere is what it is (at least partly) because of the memes that Hobbes put into motion. Consent is the cornerstone of parliamentary democracy. The extent to which consent is ignored or enforced at gunpoint is the extent to which a societal structure is not democratic. Democracy is not ideal - there will always be conflict of interest, but there is far more room for citizens to grant or withhold their consent under the democratic Leviathan than there is under the Leviathans of dictatorships.

There is also a world of difference between Leviathan as (elected) policeman and Leviathan as (unelected) policeman and central planner of the economy.

[again, sorry for the rush]

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 11:59 AM



confusion abounds. democracy (D shall we?) purports to protect voluntariness and from predators; see any volunts arising to speak of?

D is co-opted and degenerated into trap triggering sticky stuff

I appreciate what you are trying to salvage from Hobbes there but if you want to see a fleshed out version unburdened by the wildly monomanic alpha g(l)orification I simply HAVE to remind you of the reason you all keep going on making inane circular reasoning excercizes, Y'ALL OBVIOUSLY REFUSE TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK and I am getting tired of reminding you deaf sparring partners of

A: the need to read Beckerath et al on this;

B: the demise of D suffered the minute one type of money was supposed to be good enough since/and it didn't erase the difference between bonds and stocks was close to if not the very same minute that winner takes all (instead of D as a differtiation and diversity device) stupidity started dragging us all down into the drain less than 2 centuries ago.

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 30, 2005 12:21 PM



A = B in case of the equation as set up/out above.

Basically the teutonicontinental ways of making a difference and setting up a gendered and productive polarity that scaled very well (easily onto venus by the time it rolls around and relieves us in the scheme of things, but you'd have to be hippy enough to derive pleasure from swimming in and against the evolutionary current to cherish the early phases especially) was defeated much earlier by law than by the famed and blamed WWz

Posted by: powderwellerpiet at September 30, 2005 12:45 PM



"what you are trying to salvage from Hobbes"

nobody is trying to salvage anything from Hobbes. Hobbes is an embedded part of the Anglosphere operating system, whether we like it or not.

just as Rousseau is an inextricable part of the leftoid libidinal mismanagement operating in the EU.

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 01:16 PM



Last time. Simplified.

Opposing Hobbes does not put one in the Rousseau sphere. Rousseau was wrong in his hippyism, Hobbes unoriginal in his fascism. The whole point is that simplifying an argument down to two weak sides and choosing the less delusional one is not the way to really understand any issue. I am sad to inform that the world is not made up of a simple Hobbes/Rousseau duality.

The Anglosphere owes nothing to Hobbes because his thought is entirely unoriginal. At most he deserves translator's fees.
Because his writings are reiterations of old thought systems, originally expressed by foreigners, we are being intellectually dishonest if we claim that his book differentiates us from others.
Our history shows we can do better.

Posted by: god at September 30, 2005 01:22 PM



god - hugely enjoying the tone and content of your argument here, but I'm not sure your three poles are altogether persuasive. If we're looking for Anglosphere characteristics worthy of advocacy, surely an essential one is the division of powers, especially as it applies to the distinction between legislation and administration. Whether a president is popular or not does not seem especially germane within an Anglospherean society - the executive power does not embody the law but draws its legitimate power from the law, and should defer to this - not to popularity. (This runs contra Hobbesian monarchism, admittedly, although Hobbes argument for the opposite is an interestingly ultrarealist one based on a sound appreciation of at least semi-plausible incentives, an anomaly worthy of respect within the context of European political theory, which is typically (and catastrophically) representationalist.)
This might seem like nitpicking - but I don't think it is. Hobbes absolutism is entirely different to the other types you mention (double pincer with sd coming up) because it lays no claim to representation. The Hobbesian government is not the representation of any kind of popular will or universal philosophical idea, it has no utopian pretention (which all the others do), it is no more than the top-cop (the 'nightwatchman state') - and in terms of modern Anglosherean political culture this means the enforcer (not the source) of the law. There is thus a paradoxical proximity of Hobbesian political ideas to classical liberal ones, because neither idealize the role of government, but rather restrict themselves to explaining why and to what extent it should be tolerated. The idea that government is a channel through which positive freedoms (entitlements) might flourish is entirely alien to both.
IMHO it is entirely healthy that libertarians (for e.g.) radically interrogate the scope and function of Leviathan, although it is also crucial that Rousseau-type assumptions are not permitted to transform such critiques into infantile anarchist delusions.
In a global context the Hobbesian influence is also positive - some effective power is needed to hang the pirates, full stop. The desirability of a world government representing the interests of all parties does not enter the equation. The vanity of UN posturing and 'transnational progressivist' aspirations are exposed for the degenerate Rousseauisms they are.

Posted by: Nick at September 30, 2005 01:23 PM



PS god - we crossed on last posts. At the end of the day, anyone dissing Rousseau as a hippy idiot is on the side of the angels. Anyone loathing Hobbes gets a pass in my book, just as long as they hold Rousseau and his followers in withering contempt.

Posted by: Nick at September 30, 2005 01:27 PM



piet - all my Beckerath investigations seem to lead to system crashes and other technical dead-ends - haven't given up though.

Posted by: Nick at September 30, 2005 01:37 PM



god - seeing as you love simplifying and seem to ignore the literature on the subject:

either Men are lovely peaceful little creatures (that share everything with distantly related strangers) in their natural, pre-social state,

or they are fiercely competitive animals that are prone to violence (particularly when it comes to their treatment of women as a source of gene replication) both in their pre-social and social state.

all the evidence points to the latter. to describe the latter as the state of affairs does not amount to facism.

"Hobbes because his thought is entirely unoriginal. At most he deserves translator's fees.
Because his writings are reiterations of old thought systems, originally expressed by foreigners"

Please supply evidence for this - it's ridiculous.

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 01:40 PM



Nick's much better at dealing with god than I am.

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 02:20 PM



hark hark, pay heed and all that good stuff; nick: "haven't given up though." - he obviously hasn't started, let that be a hint on how per-, ob-, in- sub-, semi- and superversive our jokerp0ker really operates .. .

I have never not been able to reach (click the orange homepage text) and its earlier incarnations for years now; and take note, this stuff was penned between the big wars (discount the gold talk and substitute hippy basket index thinking to take the pirates, sleigh of handers and fastonepullers out of the loop in one fell swoop. Hah, if only the magic spellspoolster spilled one on me).

Posted by: pro peace practitioner at September 30, 2005 02:23 PM



Fascinating facts and figures:

The number of words devoted to Rousseau in Wikipedia: 2979

The number of words devoted to Thomas Hobbes in Wikipedia: 4003

The number of words devoted to Calvin and Hobbes in Wikipedia: 7241

powderwelleppiet, you're right: "The tiger in Bill Watterson's comic strip Calvin and Hobbes was, in fact, named after Thomas Hobbes; the boy was named after the Reformation theologian John Calvin."

And for those Fight Club fans: Hobbes is Tyler Durden

sorry for being a bit facetious. tough day.

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 04:21 PM



sd. completely off: paparazzi snap giant squid! check out those tentacles.
On September 27, 2005, scientists released over 500 photographs taken at the end of October 2004 of a live giant squid. The photo sequence, taken at a depth of 900 m (nearly 3000 ft) off Japan's Ogasawara Islands, shows the squid homing in on the baited line and enveloping it in "a ball of tentacles."

Posted by: northanger at September 30, 2005 05:38 PM



Holy Squid indeed! I's gotta get me some of them!

[maybe there's a OT free-for-all after the 100 mark of reasonably on topic comments is reached, as a reward for discipline]

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 05:55 PM



>>Obviously who gave their 'consent' was a slow, developing process (a constant expansion of the 'mental circle').




Posted by: northanger at September 30, 2005 06:03 PM



sd. could be.


Posted by: northanger at September 30, 2005 06:05 PM



so what would the Northern Hinterland be?

Posted by: sd at September 30, 2005 06:11 PM



sd. (this is merely coincidental to your question)



(sukla paksha means "bright fortnight")

Posted by: northanger at September 30, 2005 06:16 PM



The_Blank_Space (Sergei Medvedev)
Glenn Gould, Russia, Finland And The North

Finland: A Northern Road To Postmodernity
By virtue of history and geography, Finland has been marginalized thrice: as a NORTHERN HINTERLAND of Europe, as a Swedish, and later Russian, province, and as an East-West border. Finland has been permanently finding herself in No Man's Land, a mythical Ultima Thule, in a liminal position, like Karl Jaspers' "ultimate situation" or Gilles Deleuze's "schizophrenia". Finland is a generic periphery, a northern borderland which has become a state.

Posted by: northanger at September 30, 2005 06:20 PM




The Tzikvik associate it with Tchukululok (fabled City of the Worms), and emphasize its numerical cross-match with the 5+4 Syzygy, whose demonic carrier they call Kattku (the Nma ‘Katak'). The Xxignal track Utterminus is dedicated to the Ninth Gate, linking it to K-goth synthanatonic fugues ... The real alterations, however, occur at a deeper level and take the form of the deep spinal undulations which form the baseline of tracks such as 'Utterminus'.

Posted by: northanger at September 30, 2005 06:30 PM




The Golden Dog Le Chien d'Or. (William Kirby)
"What care I, Amélie, so long as Angélique is not weak and fickle to me?" answered he; "but she will think her tardy lover is both weak and fickle unless I breajer in a speedy appearance at the Maison des Meloises!" He rose up as if to depart, still holding his sister by the hand.

Posted by: northanger at September 30, 2005 07:07 PM



northanger - don't let anyone tell you your endeavours are hopelessly and indeed quite psychotically in vain: my last Beckerath search on google was directed pretty directly into one of your numbo-jumbo incantations (he's best known these days for AQ 357 = ULRICH VON BECKERATH = CYBERNETIC CULTURE = SIGNS ARE ARBITRARY, but don't tell piet)

Posted by: Nick at September 30, 2005 07:19 PM



wow, and i am supposed to be the one set up with, burdened by and lug about the 'word-salad tosser' reputation???? At least mine don't have the chill of automation.

aproHIPPYpo (quite anglos(O)phearsome no?):

Doug Henwood wrote:

> Leigh Meyers wrote:
>> It's all true, and Lyndie England is STILL responsible for her
>> actions.
> In a legal sense, yes. But it gives me the creeps how quick you are
> to denounce her with enthusiasm. She was produced by a particular set
> of gender and class relations and then twisted by the military. You
> sound like some hyperindividualist right-winger - which is not
> unrelated to hippiedom, is it?

No... beyond legal "sense" (which legal system?)

...and by this: "You sound like some hyperindividualist
right-winger - which is not unrelated to hippiedom, is it?"

You mean as in "pretty little fascists"?

I'm a "hypercommunalist", not a "hyperindividualist". Lyndie
England, among MANY MANY others, have endangered our
society, community and more, in ways too numerous to count,
and ostracism is one of the gentler tools used historically to
counter that.

HumVees represent "Hyperindividualism"... The person telling the person
driving the HumVee that they're fucking up the planet is not commiting
that "sin". I think you have it backwards.

"How many Iraqis per mile is that SUV getting?" is a form of ostracism
that many folks have taken to using in *that* war.

I just feel, at a lot of levels, that "procrastination time" is over
if US society, and by unfortunate extention, much of the world
hopes to continue to towards any socially progressive goals, and
making Lyndie England some sort of "poster child" for societal
abuse doesn't cut it. By the standards you are using, we're all
victims... and we are, sooooooo, what then?

...and that "enthusiasm" isn't mine. A projection perhaps?


Posted by: pro peace practitioner at September 30, 2005 07:41 PM



>>don't let anyone tell you your endeavours are hopelessly and indeed quite psychotically in vain

including you, nicholas? (haha. just kidding).

Posted by: northanger at September 30, 2005 07:43 PM




Posted by: northanger at September 30, 2005 07:56 PM



"Moses, the spectator of the invisible nature, the man who really saw God--for the sacred scriptures say that he entered into the [thick] darkness:

what's thicker dark than rock and didn't that fella get famed for striking some?

unfortunately Dolf Boek still talking out of his gay ass.

first google hit shows how 'touchy' he is about his mad schemery.. .. .heh .. heh ... schemerig means dusky in dutch

Posted by: pro peace practitioner at September 30, 2005 08:35 PM



Fareed Zakaria on why (excessive) American oil consumption works against Anglosphere influence:

Posted by: sd at October 1, 2005 10:00 AM



reading The Anglosphere Challenge now (along with lots of HLC stuff, honest!) - turns out Bennett is obsessed with what he calls "the revolutions of the Singularity" which he thinks the Anglosphere is uniquely well placed to both catalyse and manage.
Book utterly fascinating so far, ++ recommended.

Posted by: Nick at October 1, 2005 03:38 PM



my amazon bill is already escalating...

Posted by: sd at October 1, 2005 05:09 PM




(interestingly, BAHIA = ASIA & MAGDALENA = SHANGHAI)

Posted by: northanger at October 1, 2005 08:45 PM



northanger - last equations based on some degenerate gematria of slight credibility however ;)

Posted by: Nick at October 2, 2005 11:52 PM



nicholas, that is absolutely spot on, as usual.

Posted by: northanger at October 3, 2005 06:19 AM



Great piece by Niall Ferguson on China (wanted to put it Off Topic but can't get in there right now):

Posted by: nick at October 5, 2005 03:51 AM



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