Wolf Tivy on democracy, “governance futurism”, Palladium, religion and transhumanism

Elite aesthetics.
  • A mechanical engineer by training.
  • Lawyers vs. engineers (there are too many lawyers in power vs. engineers).
  • The project is to influence the most important people on a 20-50 year timescale and contribute to the consciousness of the Western elite by taking the most sophisticated view possible.
  • Democracy doesn’t matter, the question is elite competence. Democracy is an elite ideology, it’s an incentive for elites to govern well. Do the elite believe they need to govern well?
  • The goal is a collective political community that does great things. What is the inspiration and energy amongst the elite that will lead toward those things?
  • The real question of functional democracy: can the elite agree about who should be in charge and get feedback from the population? In China they get “big data” feedback from the population.
  • Democracy is a big public ritual that reaffirms the elite ideology. The ritual of democracy is distracting. We have incredible inefficiency that isn’t necessarily caused by democracy but encrusted upon it.
  • The 60’s revolution was somewhat justified in trying to “stop the machine” but that’s all it did and now we’re “frozen”.
  • Palladium aims at elites but those outside of the current paradigm vs. those at the top of the current setup (those taking a chance on creating something new vs. those invested in the status quo).
  • “Noblesse oblige”, “skin in the game” (concepts introduced by interviewer) come down to elite ideology, even in a democracy the elite can stagnate for decades and face no accountability.
  • We have an entrenched regime of the upper middle class. “When you become powerful you can use that power to entrench yourself.”
  • People’s opinions are shaped and organized by the system in order to sustain the system. Elections and organizing are happening ways the system knows how to digest.
  • Elites are accountable to God because if elites stagnate they won’t be prepared for exogenous threats (subjects can become warlords, you can be conquered from outside etc.).
  • Do the elites of a system have a vision to do something? Do they have the discipline to do the work? If yes, they will be fine. The question for elites is “what do you care about”.
  • But if the focus is “I want to retire on my yacht” or “go to Epstein’s island” that’s doomed.
  • In democracy subjects become liabilities rather than assets (“we have to brainwash them”) vs. people to be lead in pursuit of something great.
  • Interviewer question: “Is there anyone in charge right now?. No, to the extent there is a regime, it’s failing.
  • Dissident scenes (like the “conservative world”) complain about being oppressed but if you actually try to do anything you will win by default because the regime is in its death throes.
  • The regime/system is actually good in that it’s holding back chaos and giving us “time to work”. The job is not to oppose the system but to create a coherent elite in order to inherit and steward the system/civilization.
  • The WASP elite failed and nothing really replaced them. There are conspiracies and interest groups but no one is in charge. No one is able to “act above the institutions” and direct them.
  • It’s a spiritual question: one faction of current elite have a spiritual commitment to the pleasure of the self (it’s not “material” but still transcendent in its own way).
  • Liberal-individualism in it’s original conception was a serious/interesting ideal (heroic individualism like Mills and Emerson), but it became “we are going to retreat into the pleasures of the self”.
  • Rather than answering questions with exploratory individualism liberalism turned to stopping thought. Popper says “destroy anything that could actually create change” (his admittedly negative reading of Popper).
  • Better to put individualism on equal footing with other ideologies like “theism”.
  • Utilitarianism is an evil ideology.
  • The key question: “what is the vision that I have for the cosmic order and my place in it?” Once you’re thinking about that you’ve evaded the “thought stopper”. “Which visions are we compelled by?”.
  • It doesn’t have to be religious in the sense that most people mean but it is religious in the original mean of the word: “binding”. “Are you bound by some system of principles and transcendent values?”
  • The secular modern scientific worldview is a religious one.
  • The “thought stopper” could be seen as a defence against what science actually implies because if you take science and technology to their full potential you get a religious vision.
  • The work has not been done to update Christianity in light of science nor to drive science forward to deal with theology and value.
  • Anti-transhumanist in the current day but “ultimately we end up there” if you take the scientific/modern worldview seriously (but OPPOSED to the “self-worshipping” and “fake” transhumanism of the current day).
  • “Is mankind the perfect being?”. No, we can create a being that will surpass us. It’s the principle which animates being that is important rather than humans as is.
  • “God is manifesting into the world the kind of beings he wants to have a relationship with”
  • “I am a religious ideologue”
  • “Governance futurism” and “luxury political theory”
  • Governance futurism is concerned with “elite and regime formation”. The aim is to lay a definitive foothold in a subject with each issue of Palladium.
  • “Luxury political theory” is the aesthetic element (an issue of Palladium can look beautiful just sitting on your coffee table).
  • We are not in the game of subversion, rather construction (maybe circumvention). Subversion is a “standoffish” and “avant garde” approach.
  • Recommends Thoreau in the vein of “quit your job” as Thoreau questioned a life based on acquisition and thought humans should be worthy of material progress.

Why don’t people believe in God anymore? Walter Lippmann on religiosity by political analogy and secularization

“These pictures of how the universe is governed change with men’s political experience. Thus it would not have been easy for an Asiatic people to imagine the divine government in any other way but as a despotism, and Yahveh, as he appears in many famous portraits in the Old Testament, is very evidently an Oriental monarch inclined to be somewhat moody and very vain. He governs as he chooses, constrained by no law, and often without mercy, justice, or righteousness. The God of mediaeval Christianity, on the other hand, is more like a great feudal lord, supreme and yet bound by covenants to treat his vassals on earth according to a well-established system of reciprocal rights and duties. The God of the Enlightenment in the Eighteenth Century is a constitutional monarch who reigns but does not govern. And the God of Modernism, who is variously pictured as the elan vital within the evolutionary process, or as the sum total of the laws of nature, is really a kind of constitutionalism deified.

Provided that the picture is so consistent with experience that it is taken utterly for granted, it will serve as a background for the religious experience. But when daily experience for one reason or another provides no credible analogy by which men can imagine that the universe is governed by a supernatural king and father, then the disposition to believe, however strong it may be at the roots, is like a vine that reaches out and can find nothing solid upon which to grow. It cannot support itself. If faith is to flourish, there must be a conception of how the universe is governed to support it.

It is these supporting conceptions — the unconscious assumption that we are related to God as creatures to creator, as vassals to a king, as children to a father — that the acids of modernity have, eaten away. The modem man’s daily experience of modernity makes instinctively incredible to him these unconscious ideas which are at the core of the great traditional and popular religions. He does not wantonly reject belief, as so many churchmen assert. His predicament is much more serious. With the best will in the world, he finds himself not quite believing.

In the last four hundred years many influences have conspired to make incredible the idea that the universe is governed by a kingly person. An account of all of these influences would be a history of the growth of modern civilization. I am attempting nothing so comprehensive or so ambitious. I should like merely to note certain aspects of that revolutionary change which, as Lord Acton says, came “unheralded” and “founded a new order of things . . . sapping the ancient reign of continuity.” For that new order of things has made it impossible for us to believe, as plainly and literally as our forefathers did, that the universe is a monarchy administered on this planet through divinely commissioned, and, therefore, unimpeachably authoritative ministers.”

Bonus: Aristotle in The Politics

“That is why men say that the Gods have a king, because they themselves either are or were in ancient times under the rule of a king. For they imagine not only the forms of the Gods but their ways of life to be like their own.”