I Am Thankful For

Effluvia

…Mrs. Clark's holiday meal, and Mencious Moldbug's latest post, both of which I am currently digesting.

Last 5 posts by Clark

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. TimS  •  Nov 28, 2013 @8:31 pm

    Monarchism does not seem particularly consistent with classical liberal thought from which springs modern libertarianism – especially as actually practiced or as Moldbug proposes to apply it (google "patches Moldbug").

    Clark, given your strong endorsement of libertarian thought and hostility to statism, I'm surprised you thinks Moldbug is interesting since his critique of government seems to be that modern government is too responsive to popular opinion and individual rights.

    To say nothing of that fact that his historical analysis, while superficially insightful, is hopelessly confused. To paraphrase the apocryphal quote, what is good from Moldbug is not original to him, and what is original is not good.

  2. Deathpony  •  Nov 28, 2013 @8:58 pm

    Have a wonderful day, hopefully involving a truckoad of turkey and pumpkin pie. We dont have Thanksgiving here alas, but I can still be thankful for many things anyway, including this insightful and always thought provoking blog as well as its denizens.

  3. babaganusz  •  Nov 29, 2013 @12:35 am

    I'm with Deathpony (except that 'we' have Thanksgiving 'here').

    also,

    I really ought to give this thing the thorough reaming it deserves. But in general, it's not bad enough to be funny and not good enough to be interesting. I'm a busy guy and my motivation does flag.

    deliberately blurring the line between need for and overdose of irony supplements? cozy.

  4. Xennady  •  Nov 29, 2013 @1:02 am

    That post by Mr. Moldbug is the most stirring defense of Kim Jong-un I have ever read.

    The only one, too.

    I hope Mr. Moldbug gets the psychiatric cares he so sorely needs, and learns to understand that prosperity is better than genocide, for most people.

  5. a useless curiosity  •  Nov 29, 2013 @2:06 am

    Augh, that blog post is too dense for me to be reading at one in the morning after thanksgiving dinner. I think my brain is overheating.
    Regardless, I managed to persevere— up to the point where he referred to the Tea Party as "a non-astroturf political force", whereupon I had to go get a cloth to clean the pumpkin pie chunks off of my monitor. I think I'll leave the consumption of Moldbug up to other people, it seems that the things he emits would just give me indigestion.

  6. George William Herbert  •  Nov 29, 2013 @2:15 am

    Deeper than that, folks.

    When it comes around to the FDA, however, and the various roles of the US government arms (democratic and not), he fails to note that 'nutritional supplements' were first FDA regulated and then FDA UNregulated by democratic force, after some significant popular discontent.

  7. picklefactory  •  Nov 29, 2013 @5:54 am

    Did you need something to lull you to sleep after your holiday meal? Guy is a crank as well as insufferably prolix.

    I do hope you Hoon an Urb for us soon Clark, I could use a laugh and I'm not about to wade through his anti-documentation.

  8. Grey Ghost  •  Nov 29, 2013 @7:39 am

    Was that stupid shit actually speaking English? I don't know that I've read anything so intentionally incomprehensible since a college English Comp TA made me read Foucault.

  9. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Nov 29, 2013 @8:29 am

    There is this to say in favor of Monarchy;

    In the ideal case (which is, after all, what all proponents of all political structures argue) the person running the country will have been trained from birth to the job.

    And in the less than ideal case (read "normal") you only have to kill one fool to change the government.

  10. Andyjunction  •  Nov 29, 2013 @9:32 am

    I wasn't able to read beyond this part… "For instance, the closest thing America has to a non-astroturf political force is the Tea Party".

  11. TimS  •  Nov 29, 2013 @10:25 am

    Mr. Schofield,

    If it were true that only one person need be removed to end a tyranny, Morsi would still be president of Egypt (after the removal of Mubarak) and the Syrian rebels would already have won by assassinating Assad.

  12. RKN  •  Nov 29, 2013 @10:44 am

    Moldbug: It was like trying to eat the turkey whole, before baking, before defeathering, nay, before execution! Without so much as a glass of water.

  13. David  •  Nov 29, 2013 @11:51 am

    It was like trying to eat the turkey whole, before baking, before defeathering, nay, before execution!

    The stage you're looking for: when it was but a cracked egg.

  14. David C  •  Nov 29, 2013 @11:53 am

    Possibly they're so insane that they'd keep them anyway – but I suspect not. Historical examples of a genuinely insane monarch are rare – he has trouble hanging on to his throne.

    Because of the possibility of… revolution? If you take that off the table, what actually DOES stop the genuinely insane monarch from hanging on to the throne?

  15. Ryan  •  Nov 29, 2013 @11:56 am

    @David

    Their ambitious but less-insane successors and theiradvisors/supporters? :)

  16. David C  •  Nov 29, 2013 @12:35 pm

    "This isn't a revolution, it's just a civil war"?

  17. Dion starfire  •  Nov 29, 2013 @12:49 pm

    @Clark: Of the two, which one will be deposited in the toilet* first?

    *Just as all roads lead to Rome, all digestive processes lead to the porcelain throne.

  18. Rhonda Lea Kirk Fries  •  Nov 29, 2013 @12:49 pm

    A day late, but…

    I am thankful for the overall demonstration of sanity from my fellow audience members.

    I am also thankful for Clark, because he routinely searches out the bizarre in his effort to facilitate conversation. (Three paragraphs in, my eyes crossed and my head split open. Are we entirely certain that Mr. Moldberg isn't a screedbot?)

    I'll spare you the remainder of my thankfulness, because we'd be here all day.

  19. Richard  •  Nov 29, 2013 @12:50 pm

    @TimS

    Mr. Schofield,

    If it were true that only one person need be removed to end a tyranny, Morsi would still be president of Egypt (after the removal of Mubarak) and the Syrian rebels would already have won by assassinating Assad.

    I think your comment was a bit of a non sequitir, for two reasons: the confusion of "monarchy" (the term Schoefield used) with "tyranny" (the term you used), and the confusion of "change of government" with "better government."

    First, monarchy is a form of government where most of the power is vested in one person and passed down by heredity, and tyranny is where all of the power is vested in one person (and the term is usually used when that person abuses that power).

    Many (and maybe most) monarchies are tyrannical, but not all tyrannical regimes are monarchies.

    Egypt was not a monarchy under Musharraf – it was a military dictatorship. And even if it had been, the regime did change after Musharraf was deposed, and elections were held, and a new party came into power. That party has since been overthrown (another regime change), but while it was in power, Egypt was indeed run differently than it was before – and it indeed is being run differently now than it did under Musharraf or Morsi.

    That being said, you seem to be conflating "changing the government" with "removing tyranny." The French, in the 18th and 19th centuries, had a half-dozen revolutions, alternating back and forth between democracy and autocracy (I'm still shaking my head how they didn't see it coming when they elected a guy whose last name was Napoleon and he declared himself Emperor Napoleon III). It took them almost 80 years after removing King Louis XVI before they actually manage to make democracy stick. That doesn't mean that the way France was ruled stayed static throughout those 80 years.

    As for Syria, I have no argument against your implication that it is, effectively, a monarchy (Bashar al-Assad having taken over power directly through his father, and the two, combined, having ruled Syria for 40+ years), nor that the Syrians have failed, despite having killed many people, to enact regime change.

    However, the fact that it is difficult to kill a tyrant in an otherwise bloodless coup does not change the fact that if they had managed to kill Assad, it would have brought about some sort of diplomatic change. That is, for all the people the rebels have killed, they haven't killed the one person whose death would initiate a regime change. It's still just one death that would turn the power over to a new ruler, but they have been unable to accomplish said assassination thus far, and in their efforts twards that goal, have killed many others.

  20. Grey Ghost  •  Nov 29, 2013 @1:20 pm

    Mubarak. Musharraf was the not-monarch of Pakistan.

    "How long, father, does it take for a steward to become a king, if the king returns not?"

    "In lesser lands, perhaps little time, my son. In Gondor, not even a thousand years would suffice."

  21. J@m3z Aitch  •  Nov 29, 2013 @1:36 pm

    I hope Mrs. Clark is a forgiving soul, for your having compated her cooking to that essay; overdone, over-spiced, dry, and if not exactly indigestible, at least rather nausea-inducing and of almost no nutritional value.

  22. Marconi Darwin  •  Nov 29, 2013 @2:47 pm

    There are a handful of absolute monarchies, not including the Vatican: Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland. We'll leave aside N. Korea since Dennis Rodman has obviously corrupted it.

    Wonder why the monarchy-lovers extol their virtues from such utopias rather than from debt-ridden demotist regimes. The corporate-CEO-loving neo-reactionaries/formalists could appoint Whitman, Mayer—scratch that, they are wimmin—James Dixon as their CEO in any sheikdom he can get a emirate/lordship.

    Decent people should not live in Gotham, they'd happier somewhere else.

    That said, the references in the Moldbug post anoint a couple of the geek anarchists, notably Pax Dickinson. I wonder how he'd serve the pus-bucket Anil Dash when the latter acquires the throne.

  23. barry  •  Nov 29, 2013 @2:51 pm

    It's the kind of satire that depends on the dupe reader thinking the others who don't know what's going on are the dupes. Or it could be auto-satire, where it's the writer.

  24. Clark  •  Nov 29, 2013 @4:50 pm

    @J@m3z Aitch

    I hope Mrs. Clark is a forgiving soul, for your having compated her cooking to that essay; overdone, over-spiced, dry, and if not exactly indigestible, at least rather nausea-inducing and of almost no nutritional value.

    After the model

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If-by-whiskey

    If when you say whiskey you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.

    But, if when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.

    This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.

    I say:

    If by comparing Moldbug to Mrs. Clark's cooking, you mean tough, over-spiced, and dry, then I certainly do not want to call them similar.

    But, if by comparing Moldbug to Mrs. Clark's cooking, you mean subtle, sophisticated, taking time to appreciate and savor properly, and not catering to the lowest common denominator, then, yes, they are quite similar.

  25. J@m3z Aitch  •  Nov 29, 2013 @5:45 pm

    Perhaps time will enable me to appreciate and savor correctly. But I'll bet I'd appreciate Mrs. Clark's cooking quickly and with certainty. ;)

  26. TimS  •  Nov 29, 2013 @6:29 pm

    Richard,

    You say I am conflating "change of government" and "better government." I think that is the implication of Mr. Schofield's comment. Why otherwise is the ease of change of government a virtue of monarchy? If I misread his intent, then I agree I produced a bit of a non sequitur.

    Also, you say that I am conflating "tyrant" and "monarch." I think the neo-reactionary authoritarians like Moldbug would not make the distinction you draw between absolute monarch and tyrant. I suspect they would say tyrants are just absolute rulers the speaker doesn't like. Moldbug has explicitly stated that modern government theory went wrong somewhere around the time of the Glorious Revolution.

    If Mr. Schofield's comment is not an endorsement of this anti-Enlightenment kind of thought, then I owe him an apology for misreading him so badly.

  27. Mikhael  •  Nov 30, 2013 @6:49 am

    Puerile, I know, but what a ridiculous name.

  28. HandOfGod137  •  Nov 30, 2013 @8:47 am

    Has Mr Moldbug ever encountered the concept of well-formed sentences used in sequence to clearly and unambiguously convey meaning to the reader, or is he more interested in impressing those who discard semantic content in favour of prolix bollocks measured by the tonne?

  29. William  •  Dec 1, 2013 @9:32 pm

    Have a read of the Anti-Reactionary FAQ:http://slatestarcodex.com/2013/10/20/the-anti-reactionary-faq/
    and this lovely discussion on (oh, the papal irony) antipope about the craziness modern political positions: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2013/11/trotskyite-singularitarians-fo.html

  30. Marzipan  •  Dec 1, 2013 @10:06 pm

    It fascinates me to have come across Uncensored John Simon and Clark's pointer to Mencius Moldbug this weekend. Both writers seem to have a love of the language, though it also seems that lately, both of them love twisting their baroque prose more than making cogent arguments. I'd like to see the two of them get into an intellectual cage match.

  31. RKN  •  Dec 2, 2013 @1:50 pm

    I'd like to see the two of them get into an intellectual cage match.

    I don't know, based on a very brief reading of Simon at your link (I'd never heard of him before), he's like the King of Clarity compared to Moldbug, who to me read like a collision between Finnegan's Wake & Gravity's Rainbow.