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‘Chronic kinglessness’

The term ‘chronic kinglessness‘ is apparently a coinage of Curtis Yarvin, better known as the NeoRx guru, Mencius Moldbug.  In this thought-provoking post from Free Northerner, we are told that the idea of ‘chronic kinglessness’ comes from Thomas Carlyle, though I haven’t found that exact term attributed to him, but whatever its source, the subject is an interesting one, and very apposite to our time.

The blog piece quotes from a British MP, Rory Stuart, in an interview from 2014, in which Stuart says that the dire political situation in his country (and the rest of the world, apparently) is due to the fact that no one has any real power.

“But in our situation we’re all powerless. I mean, we pretend we’re run by people. We’re not run by anybody. The secret of modern Britain is there is no power anywhere.” Some commentators, he says, think we’re run by an oligarchy. “But we’re not. I mean, nobody can see power in Britain. The politicians think journalists have power. The journalists know they don’t have any. Then they think the bankers have power. The bankers know they don’t have any. None of them have any power.

[…]It’s like the wizard of Oz. This is the age of the wizard of Oz, you know. In the end you get behind the curtain and you finally meet the wizard and there’s this tiny, frightened figure. I think every prime minister has sort of said this since Blair. You get there and you pull the lever, and nothing happens.”

This, says the blog piece, is chronic kinglessness.

The blogger postulates that there really is no one in effective charge. The problem, he says, is not one of a world run by a cabal or an oligarchy of faceless men, a huge far-reaching conspiracy, as many of us believe, but of there being a vacuum at the center — insofar as there is a center.

It’s an interesting thought, especially for those of us who have spent so much time and who have written so many words over the years analyzing or opining or speculating about the cause of the rampant madness in the world.

It would be an almost comforting thought, in a way, to believe that to be the case. And I am willing to entertain that possibility if only because it would be preferable to believe that it is a ‘Wizard of Oz’ scenario, in which whoever is at the center is just a big humbug (as ‘Oz the Great’ said he was) or just an inept and insecure little man (or group of men) hiding behind a show of power and bluster. If only that were known to be the case.

I can’t say it might not be true. But let’s just suppose for the moment that it is true. What then? How do we rectify the situation, as we are about to careen off the cliff in a driverless, brakeless vehicle?

I can’t do justice to the essay here but I encourage you to read it in its entirety.

I will say that I agree with many points made by the writer, but I tend to agree with the commenter NZT, who says, among other things, that this apparent lack of power is often just a cover for lack of will to do certain things, whether for political or ideological reasons — or just for reasons of sloth and ineptitude, or even malice. The question raised about lack of action by the administration on behalf of the kidnapped girls in Africa, taken captive by Boko Haram, was probably an example of a show of concern being made for political (PC) reasons, but lack of real commitment to do anything. In our corrupt world, showing ‘good intentions’, or virtue signalling, too often stand in for actual caring and ‘compassion.’ What one does means less than saying the ‘right’ things, or the politically correct things. Even for presidents.

And in connection with this question of ‘who is in charge’, who holds the real power, and how does one obtain legitimacy to exercise power, I immediately thought of the writings of Étienne de La Boétie, whose work Discourse on Voluntary Servitude I excerpted years ago on the old blog. Among the main points of that work was that tyranny was always made possible by the acquiescence of the populace. Of the tyrant, he wrote:

“[H]e has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you. Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had no cooperation from you? What could he do to you if you yourselves did not connive with the thief who plunders you, if you were not accomplices of the murderer who kills you, if you were not traitors to yourselves?

[…](Y)ou can deliver yourselves if you try, not by taking action, but merely by willing to be free. Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.”

It may be that Rory Stuart, the Tory MP who was quoted at the beginning of this post, is engaging in some deceit himself, attempting to deflate all the ‘tinfoil hat conspiracy theories’ that are out there, attempting — as we’ve read of paid operatives doing on the Internet — to discredit those who point to what is going on under our noses, and those who see patterns at work.

Who knows? It is certainly something to ponder, though it seems as if there is little time to philosophize, as things rapidly build to — what?

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2 thoughts on “‘Chronic kinglessness’

  1. Thanks for pointing out this article VA. I think our rulers know a lot about holding onto power, but very little on balancing the numbers in our complex societies to keep them on track.

    Putting together that Asians flooding our graduate engineering schools displaces our own people from good jobs who then flee into law until it is overcrowded is not one that easily comes to them even now. They can’t relate that college debt partly flows from good paying blue collar work being harder to get. They also don’t see many good paying blue collar jobs have immigrants in them.

    People I know in the establishment don’t know the demographic statistics or sources of them that you have shown us how to use over the years. Their knowledge of the demography of social difference is almost non-existent.

    They have a lot of apathy to themselves learning skills like using these resources or databases or taking the MOOC courses available for free. At the same time, they see the public as apathetic both to learn skills and to learn about the economy or politics.

    A lot of the establishment’s dynamics are based on contempt and a pecking order. Contempt is not a good attitude for learning. The people I know in the establishment seem embarrassed at times of what is going on. I don’t find them to be proud of the America they created. It is more they are hiding from acknowledging how bad it has turned out. Some of them realize they were duped, whether by bad memes or beings.

    I think our establishment lurches from thing to thing in their thinking. The way our elections are degraded from careful deliberation on our situation comes from them. They are the ones who want to put the process in the gutter. This is comforting to them, because they blame the public for not wanting to talk about the substance.

    Contempt of the public is the comfort blanket of the establishment. Whatever increases their contempt of people makes them feel good about themselves. But this is a momentary rush and they need more right away.

    Thus as college kids are piled with debt, many struggle, no one in their family learns engineering, they feel good from that. Then they realize they have been fools, but they feel it is too late.

    For women feminism is another drug of contempt. Contempt towards men and towards women who have what was once normal fertility. You’ve done a good job pointing this out one way or another.

    The morality plays that succeed one another on the news half take in even the establishment. Knowing they are contrived, it is still what they know.

    I don’t think they have a secret Internet where they discuss the social stats and data you have shown us over the years since when I talk to them they don’t even know what you have discussed, as I mentioned above. They really don’t know that much of substance. They seem surprised when their bad policies rot out the guts of society and there is nothing left to support the huge government programs and private excess at the top.

    The luxury homes of a century ago put the modern ones to shame. They can’t even copy the designs properly. A single Victorian era neighborhood of the past shows more creative design and distinction than the entire body of modern architecture world wide. There is a rot of blandness in our times that is deep in the minds of the establishment. They are empty heads full of disdain. Contempt is all they know and all they need to know. It shows.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your detailed response, OA. I am surprised in one way to read what you say about the lack of awareness or knowledge that you observe. Yet in a way I am not surprised, only because it seems that everything is in a shambles, which would not seem likely to happen if we had competent, knowledgeable people in control anywhere.

    Is it ineptitude, indifference, or as the blog piece suggests, a lack of authority or responsibility from those on higher levels? I guess we can only wonder.
    -VA

    Liked by 1 person

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