An Open Letter Chapter 8 - A Reset is not a Revolution

An Open Letter Chapter 8 - A Reset is not a Revolution

Full Title: Chapter 8: A Reset Is Not a Revolution | An Open Letter to Open-Minded Progressives | Unqualified Reservations by Mencius Moldbug
Creator: Mencius Moldbug (Curtis Yarvin)
Publication Date: June 5, 2008
Link: Audio: An Open Letter to Open Minded Progressives - Chapter 8 - A Reset Is Not a Revolution - YouTube

Brief Summary:

The Power Dynamics of the Modern World

Who Holds the Reigns?

  • Individuals aligned with progressive ideals are at the forefront of shaping the world.
  • The power shifts with the changing agreement among these individuals.

The Cathedral: The Epicenter of Power

  • The Cathedral is a powerful, multi-headed (decentralized) group of institutions that controls the overall narratives and institutions in society.
  • It includes the education system, established media, NGO's, and government bureaucracies (at a minimum).
  • Universities set public policy (indirectly) while the press shapes public opinion (manufactures consent).
  • Acts as a brain guiding the broader structure, the Polygon or Apparat, encompassing civil services and NGOs.
  • Power Through Dependency: The Cathedral exerts its power by creating dependency. It provides essential services but also fosters a sense of helplessness and reliance on its authority.

The Apparat: AKA The Deep State

  • Simply, this includes the permanent Civil Service (whose positions are typically immune to partisan politics)
  • Includes all nonmilitary officials and entities aiming to influence public policy.
  • Extends to NGOs, highlighting their influence despite being "non-governmental."
  • This may even extend to international corporations at this point as well (through the managerial governance structure.)

The 20th Century’s Ideological Shift

  • The Cathedral's origins trace back to New Deal era politics.
  • Societal politics shifted from a personality cult & political parties to a more sophisticated peer-to-peer network.
  • Transitioned from 19th-century democratic policy-making to a "scientific" government approach (Technocracy).
  • This shift introduced the concept of pseudoscience in public policy
  • Notice the disparity between it's predictions and its actual achievements.
  • All 20th century governing regimes buy into the principle of popular sovereignty.
  • The modern regime struggles with the paradox of infallible public opinion needing guidance.
  • When the Cathedral and public opinion agree, public opinion is correct.
  • When public opinion differs, it is in need of more education
  • The assumption is its own judgments are infallible.
  • Think: Guided popular sovereignty or Managed Democracy

The Role of Media and Education

  • For a long time, media and educational institutions were strongly associated with respect.
  • The credibility of media sources and the educational system within the Cathedral framework should be questioned.
  • Do you trust The NY Times? CNN? NBC? How about Harvard, Stanford, or just about any other university, public or private?
  • Look at how difficult it is currently to challenge the approved narratives of the Cathedral. Where do you even access opposing information?
  • Most people focus their political energy on the enemies of the Cathedral.
  • Moldbug gives some examples of the civil rights and sexual revolution movements in the 1960's. Specifically, they had opposition from the "silent majority" of Americans. But there is no hint of a successor to the opposing movements.

Strategies for Change

Capturing Versus Using Power

  • Change comes in 2 parts:
  1. Capturing Power
  1. Using that Power
  • How to use the power: create a secure, responsible, and effective government.

Ineffective Strategies Explored

  • Mimicking the most effective progressive strategies like revolutionary violence and incrementalism (Gramscian/bureaucratic or Fabian/democratic) is the most common error made by anti-progressive movements.

Fascism & Political Violence

  • Reactionary governments (Japan, Italy and Germany in the 20th century) all had brief success through violence, but all followed Monarchies,
  • Fascism was a reaction to Communism.
  • The Progressive world order is sublimely attuned to ferret out and destroy anything that might use the "fascist gate to power."

Gramscian Incrementalism

  • Gramscian beaurocratic incrementalism is explored through the example of the Federalist Society.
  • Gramscian progressives push their organization toward ineffective policies, thus creating a limitless supply of work for him. A Gramscian reactionary essentially does the same thing, and thereby becomes a de facto progressive

Fabian Incrementalism

  • Reactionary Fabian or Democratic Incrementalists would support either the Outer Party or a minor party (Libertarians)
  • Our form of government doesn't allow politicians to actually formulate policy. - Only the Cathedral does that.
  • When the Outer Party (Republicans) win an election - they still have no power.
  • Example of US Government 2000-2006 - Republicans held the presidency, as well as majorities in the Senate, House, and Supreme Court... and yet did NOTHING with it.
  • Further, Outer Party politicians who have any success are tempted to replace their principles with more progressive ones.

The Huckabee Plan

  • Success by being as stupid as possible - which attracts a surprising number of voters
  • The Cathedral likes to promote these politicians, just to make their own side look better in comparison.
  • The very existence of the Outer Party creates a "menace to society" which serves to motivate Inner Party activists.
  • If the Outer Party didn't exist, the fact that we live under One-Party rule would be obvious.

A Call for Reset - Toward a New Government

  • Moldbug proposes a transition in government like bringing back the Stuarts to rule England
  • This Reset would involve a complete overhaul, NOT incremental changes.
  • A single, decisive step to restore effective governance is necessary at this point.
  • Example: When your computer is running slow, rebooting rarely helps. You need to install Linux and start over.

Three Reset Principles

  1. The existing government must be thoroughly cleansed to the core. Fire the whole of the public service outside of security forces and essential technical personnel.
  2. A reset is not a revolution - there is no conspiracy with murderous intent. It is simply a restoration of secure, effective, and responsible government. (Careful here, a failed reset can result in revolution.)
  3. The reset must happen in a single step, not a gradual effort.
  • This outlines a non-revolutionary, orderly transition to a new administration through a direct appeal to the people.
  • Suggests conducting an independent election to demonstrate majority support for change.

Quotes of Note:

  • "The Cathedral" - is a frequently referenced term used to describe the all-encompassing institutions controlling society's narratives.
  • "Protection racket" is a colorful analogy used to describe the way the Cathedral appears to exert control.
  • "Ideas like viruses" - ideas can spread like viruses in the information/internet age. Touches on the "mimetic virus" concept as well
  • "Smart vs. Less Smart Ideas" - this captures the core of Moldbug's argument about quality vs. quantity in idea transmission.
  • "Meme-pocalypse" - term coined to describe how information is conveyed since the onset of the internet age.


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