Lysis and the Democratic Disconnect

Lysis 1

Lysis 2

Lysis 3It’s worth noting that this conversation was didactic, but not for the sake of Lysis. Rather, Hippothales, in love with Lysis, was praising the boy in poetry and songs, and needed to be shown the proper way to treat young men. The role of older men was to teach boys to be humble and unpretentious, introspective and thoughtful rather than brash, self-aggrandising and modern in the most vulgar sense of the word. The good old Greeks knew what was up. After all, a reactionary spirit embiggens the smallest man.

Essentially, the argument is for technocracy, and as Moldbug pointed out, it is only through vestigial technocracy in the form of the public service that we find any good in the USG at all. In Australia, it’s down to one thing: the government fears the election after listening to the policy advice of the people far more than it fears the election after not listening to them. In a long winded piece in The Monthly, Richard Cooke has argued that the people should be listened to more closely, but presumably only on the issues he agrees with.

Noting that Australia’s political settlement is broadly in favour of less-un-free markets and social conservatism on issues other than immigration, he points to the polling that Australians are a bunch of Arthur ‘Two Wongs don’t make a White’ Calwell’s voters: progressive on government, progressive on society, but please stop importing new people.

This dissonance helps explain why the last two election campaigns were so shambolic. They were failed sales jobs, repetitive, mendacious and joyless attempts to win over slivers of the population. The most recent, in 2013, managed to limbo even under the abysmal standard of the 2010 campaign. Several political veterans described it as the worst they had ever seen.

But, in his world view, that means we should bankrupt ourselves by truly and sincerely listening to the people, and doing what they tell us, unless the policies would harm the ‘economically weak’ (his rhetoric, not mine). He can’t accept the possibility that it’s not because ‘special interests’ are strong, but rather that they are right when they advocate for lower taxes and less regulation, just as David Marr needed to be shocked into realising that the people didn’t always conform to his progressive faith on the death penalty. How bizarre it is that the people could ever have the temerity to disagree with the Brahmin taste-makers.

The current government has just concluded negotiations on a preferential trade deal with China (a follow on from similar agreements with South Korea and Japan), which will, generally, be good for Australia. After all, without ideological bluster, capitalism is just trade. But there is no way such a deal would have been passed if the people had been allowed to vote on it directly. Even the agrarian party, the Nationals, have been out spruiking the benefits to their sceptical, generally protectionist electorate.

Living in the hangover of Whitlam’s three chaotic, reckless years, less intolerable governments from both the Coalition and Labor have tried their best to contain the explosive spending he saddled the nation with. But there has been a battle against the idea of introducing a $7 fee for visiting the doctor, or paying marginally more for your Bachelor of International Socialism. Our gimmedats are under threat, quick, someone call the activists!

A French aristocrat had far more in common with a Russian aristocrat than he did with the people over whom he ruled, but in terms of what he wanted (a little rent-seeking, deference, and no challenges to his authority), he was far closer in his attitudes to the people he governed (who generally wanted to be left alone, and were willing to tolerate a little rent-seeking, being deferential, and accepting the status quo in order to get it). We did not see government embrace fundamentally different things to the people in terms of the policies enacted. But now, thinking that they have seized power, the demos gets upset when they aren’t listened to.

You wouldn’t feed your child 10kg of sugar everyday because that’s what they ask for. Nor would you feed a horde of zombies brains because a lot of them are shambling towards you. Those who know nothing (but don’t have the capacity to know that they know nothing), claim to have some special right to get their own way based on the sheer virtue of their numbers. Breeding frequently cannot be sufficient for political power, and we should be sprinting away from the idea of greater popular rule than we already have, instead of acquiescing to yet another round of activism. Most of the trouble seems to stem from the fact that there is so little competition in the governance market.

And the treasurer of this government, constantly decried as it is for being filled to the brim with right-wing extremists (it isn’t) wants to put a stop to what little tax competition exists in the world today. This is on the back of the usurpation of income tax by the Federal Government in 1942, and the Ermächtigungsgesetz-by-referendum in 1946. The premise of a federated system is not for the federal government to seize the powers of the originally empowered states and raise the overwhelming majority of tax, but rather to coordinate a common policy on defence, border protection, and foreign affairs. But the moment you introduce the element of voting into this fragile balance, you inevitable find that people will happily vote away the competition that slows the Overton Window’s leftward movement. Hell, if team red turns out to be rubbish, we can always just vote in team blue in three years. And if team blue turns out to be super mean and say that there should only be a 7% increase in government spending, good old reliable team red can come back and make it 15% again. The only question is whether or not modern vulgarity is triumphing fast enough.

The ultimate technocracy is Patchwork. It produces a system of non-ideological government that is self-perpetuating. Given the chance, even a single patch would swiftly capture a large portion of the world’s wealth, and in-so-doing, cause others to follow suit.

But surely support for techno-commercialism, social Darwinism, and traditionalism constitutes an ideology. Neoreaction is not an ideology. Patchwork and/ or monarchy tells us nothing about the policies that will be enacted by that system. A leftist fights for a favourable system of government (democracy) and then uses it to claim power over the people, giving them their own money back in bribes every election (minus a hefty fee, of course). Vestigial competition in the market forces technocratic policies from the elected officials, which pushes their attitudes far from those of the people they claim to represent. Neoreaction has the supposition that in a highly competitive, for-profit government market, orthodox economics (econography) will become more prevalent, and that people will fall out of the gene pool if they are not fit, and that traditional values won’t generally be supplanted, and has created a system that is favourable to those outcomes, but it does not suppose that any of us would be in a position to directly shape the outcome following Restoration. We rely on the function of the system itself to produce positive outcomes, and while predicting what they would be (if only as a function of the critique of progressivism), are cogs in the machine, moving as a part of it, not as its director.

Nicolás Gómez Davila once noted:

Modern man believes he lives amidst a pluralism of opinions, when what prevails today is a stifling unanimity.
Of course, he was quite correct. There is only one model of government in the West: democratic republicanism, with only progressive modernism as its ideology. Patchwork is the opposite: a model of competitive governments which must produce tangible benefits to their residents in order to keep them there. For government to produce these benefits it needs to be professional, and to be professional, it cannot be popular. We understood the division of labour in a healthy state long ago. A king to rule, an upper class to serve at his pleasure, a middle class to grow wealth, and a working class to be left generally to their own devices.
Lysis 4The people know what they want, but not what they need. It should be left to those who do, and can demonstrate that fact in measurable ways. The last word belongs to Pope:
For Forms of Government let fools contest;
whatever is best administered is best.

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