T Nation

The State and I


#1

I'm curious about the nature of the relationship between the individual and the state.

So first, what is "the state?" In the Weberian sense, it's the faction or factions who hold the monopoly of force over a given territory - and by extension, the institutions that sanction their power. The state is also a psychological consensus of "law abiding" citizens who have a stake in the preservation of the current order and give sanction to its power by submission to its authority and enforcement of its laws. This is the "social contract".

The "law abiding citizen" in the modern era also upholds a dogmatic ideology of some sort - ours could be described as liberalism, progressivism, egalitarianism, secular humanism etc. This is the "ideological state apparatus" and in totality these ideas constitute a dogmatic worldview; a religion. It has heretics and martyrs; saints and sinners; forbidden knowledge; dire prognostications(global warming), seers and prophets; noble warriors(social justice); ritual offerings/sacrifice(paying tax) and ceremonies(voting); fetishism and taboos(political correctness). It has its heretics(racists, sexists, homophobes etc).

It is a metaphysical system no different from religion. It is ideology; a worldview. In fact, it is spiritual - not by virtue of the fact that it is dogmatic or requires faith. It is a religious because it contains a mystical or quasi-mystical element. This mystical element is not perceived by most but it's what allows the ideology to sustain itself. The mystical element is nihilism. Revolutionary and reactionary forces are transcendental forces: revolution is nihilistic; counterrevolution is "traditionalist" by which I mean it seeks to preserve or recover metaphysical truth. Revolution can also be a traditionalist expression in the Nietzschean sense of "putting one's shoulder to the plough" - knocking down the ruins to make way for the new or the Phoenix-like rebirth of tradition.

To be a "law abiding" citizen is to engage in a psychological projection with the state and to consider the state as an extension of one's own authority. If someone steals from you, you are using the authority of the state to recover your property and punish the perpetrator. The state becomes a projection of your authority.

However, when you perceive the state to have overstepped its legitimate authority the psychological projection is abruptly dropped and your "locus of control" is externalised. The state becomes a hostile, foreign entity - the other.

"People with an external locus of control tend to believe that the things which happen in their lives are out of their control, and even that their own actions are a result of external factors, such as fate, luck, the influence of powerful others (such as doctors, the police, or government officials) and/or a belief that the world is too complex for one to predict or successfully control its outcomes. Such people tend to blame others rather than themselves for their lives' outcomes..."

When the individual believes that the state is aligned with his interests and more broadly with the interests of the civil society or his tribe(ideally they're one in the same), he feels that he has some level of control over his own destiny and his ancestral destiny. This is of course an illusion in the modern nation state and was only ever realisable in Athens when the state was a projection of the civil society and the citizens voted on every important matter of the state. A small, tight knit, homogenous community with a shared identity and metaphysical system. In a country of tens of millions of people the personal identification with the state is an illusion sustained by an elaborate system that buries the paper trail of authority amidst a bureaucratic and judicial firewall. It's this disguising and blurring of authority that sustains the charade. It allows us to internalise our "locus of control" and delude ourselves into believing we control the Leviathan and our own destiny.

So the relationship of the individual to the modern nation state is schizophrenic - on the one hand the state is a projection of the self; when its actions are perceived to be legitimate one internalises one's "locus of control" and the state is benign. On the other hand there is another state; one that is illegitimate, one that is the other. We reserve a separate compartment in our psyche for that state; we externalise our locus of control. The psychological projection of the state as ourselves ends.

Legitimate authority is that which we sanction and identify as our own authority and tyranny is that authority to which we have not given sanction and to which we don't identify. This is the essence of sovereign individualism to which the Enlightenment gave rise. But the Enlightenment also gave rise to atheism and traditional men; men who believed in divine law were confronted with a million and one plans for organised nihilism of one form or another; all of them attempting to place ultimate authority with "the people" - an abstraction. Piece by piece they deconstructed the traditional social order. Some societies went all the way with the lowest order usurping the state apparatus(Bolsheviks) - others retained a middle class/plutocrat alliance under a liberal/laissez faire ideological framework.

Liberal democracy is a collective delusion whereby we convince ourselves that we have control over our destiny. The illegitimate forces that are arrayed against us should not be credited with being "the state" - they are the antithesis of the state because the state is that we sanction as legitimate. "Statists" are essentially anti-statists in that they do not conform to our definition of "the state" and they build an apparatus that transcends "the state" and becomes a tyrannical entity.

To identify the legitimate functions of the state; to define what the state is, you have to identify the source of ultimate authority from where all legitimate power derives. "The people" is an abstraction beyond the scope of a homogenous, ethnic city state of no more than 60,000 people. So the abstraction has to be hidden behind layers of "checks and balances" and "independent oversight" and "balance of powers." All of it smoke and mirrors to hide back room deals with vested interests, arbitrary decisions by some oversight group, compromise haggled out between factions etc. To believe that any one person has any measure of control over the Leviathan is a fantasy.

Well, that's my view of the individual's relationship to the modern nation state.

Any thoughts?


#2

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#3

100% in agreement, SM.


#4

#5

The State is an institution through which individuals and groups seek to exercise POWER, but it is also an institution that exercises power over individuals and groups.

It’s constructed by people, but can operate beyond the control of the people.

And although it might be intended to serve the people, it often just serves itself.


#6

[quote]NickViar wrote:
100% in agreement, SM.[/quote]

Thanks Nick. Sorry for railing on you the other day. Political discussions can get a bit heated amongst serious debaters. I agree with what you were saying about monarchy BTW. Just on a practical level, if you look at monarchies historically, they subsume about 2-5% of GDP; the King has a long term stake in the financial and social well being of the people; taxes were infinitely less than under a modern nation state; the King rarely attacks his own people; his power is contingent upon the level of authority the aristocracy and to a lesser extent that the people accede to him.

Monarchy is the natural patriarchal power structure that is in harmony with the eternal order of things. It’s the family structure on a tribal or citystate level. The “good King” is synonymous with the good father who nurtures the spiritual well being and provides the structure, hierarchy and authority of the family and community. The King is the natural centre of power and authority and as ultimate authority serves as a reference point; power deriving from a central authority made legitimate by collective identification of the individual with the whole structure.

However due to the essentially evil nature of man, the King is corrupted and loses legitimacy and authority divests upon the aristocracy. The aristocracy is likewise corrupted and the people wrest control from the oligarchs and plutocrats. The people, corrupt beyond all others and debased in their essential nature and further debased by the fall of their betters, become an irrational force of pure nihilism that destroys every last vestige of metaphysical, aesthetic and transcendental truths. This is the essence of revolution. Political revolution in its purest form is a metaphysical revolution of organised nihilism - the destruction and debasement of all higher values and truths; all in the name of “the people” - a universalist abstraction that is measured in terms of materialism, consumption and geared towards Epicureanism/hedonism.

Reactionary and counter-revolutionary forces are seeking a reconnection with the traditional spiritual orders of society that existed in the Middle Ages and the ancient world. Japan is the closest modern relic of a traditional society but it has fractured completely and the “modern” Japanese man is a debased, single 45-year-old man who’s never been married and sits at home masturbating to online porn and maybe commits suicide at age 50. That’s the kind of pure nihilism that traditional men are at war with. Japan has the lowest birthrate in the entire world. It’s the remnant of a noble, traditionalist civilisation that had a final flurt with active nihilism and then metaphysically disemboweled itself when the world announced to them that “God(the Emperor) is dead”. Their civilisation literally(and biologically) ended when the traditional, spiritual order of their society collapsed. It was a metaphysical revolution; the annihilation of objective, transcendental truths.

Edited


#7

[quote]jjackkrash wrote:

Teddy boys, beatniks, hippies, mods, rockers, punks, hipsters, greasers etc. They’re all expressions of postmodernity and nihilism. Rebel Without A Cause and The Wild One are the two movies that encapsulated the youth rebelling against the traditional order and sinking into the depths of nihilism. That’s the essential nature of the post-war culture revolution of the baby boomers. It was an anti-cultural movement; a destruction of culture, values, aesthetic beauty and metaphysical truth.

In terms of aesthetics modernity’s pure nihilism is unmasked. You only need to look at a work of modern art to understand the inherently subversive and nihilistic nature of modernity. The artist Andre Breton said that the purest expression of surrealism would be to grab a gun and run out into the street shooting passersby at random. This is the essential truth behind the modern day spree killer epitomised by Charles Whitman: they’re performance artists expressing Nietzschean Ressentiment in response to existential nihilism and the absurd. This is where postmodernity leads. The postmodern, postindustrial age is an age in which spree killers are an everyday event; they’re part of the zeitgeist of techno-nihilism and alienation.


#8

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]jjackkrash wrote:

Teddy boys, beatniks, hippies, mods, rockers, punks, hipsters, greasers etc. They’re all expressions of postmodernity and nihilism. Rebel Without A Cause and The Wild One are the two movies that encapsulated the youth rebelling against the traditional order and sinking into the depths of nihilism. That’s the essential nature of the post-war culture revolution of the baby boomers. It was an anti-cultural movement; a destruction of culture, values, aesthetic beauty and metaphysical truth.

In terms of aesthetics modernity’s pure nihilism is unmasked. You only need to look at a work of modern art to understand the inherently subversive and nihilistic nature of modernity. The artist Andre Breton said that the purest expression of surrealism would be to grab a gun and run out into the street shooting passersby at random. This is the essential truth behind the modern day spree killer epitomised by Charles Whitman: they’re performance artists expressing Nietzschean Ressentiment in response to existential nihilism and the absurd. This is where postmodernity leads. The postmodern, postindustrial age is an age in which spree killers are an everyday event; they’re part of the zeitgeist of techno-nihilism and alienation.[/quote]

What I’m getting from this is that you don’t dig The Clash.


#9

[quote]jjackkrash wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]jjackkrash wrote:

Teddy boys, beatniks, hippies, mods, rockers, punks, hipsters, greasers etc. They’re all expressions of postmodernity and nihilism. Rebel Without A Cause and The Wild One are the two movies that encapsulated the youth rebelling against the traditional order and sinking into the depths of nihilism. That’s the essential nature of the post-war culture revolution of the baby boomers. It was an anti-cultural movement; a destruction of culture, values, aesthetic beauty and metaphysical truth.

In terms of aesthetics modernity’s pure nihilism is unmasked. You only need to look at a work of modern art to understand the inherently subversive and nihilistic nature of modernity. The artist Andre Breton said that the purest expression of surrealism would be to grab a gun and run out into the street shooting passersby at random. This is the essential truth behind the modern day spree killer epitomised by Charles Whitman: they’re performance artists expressing Nietzschean Ressentiment in response to existential nihilism and the absurd. This is where postmodernity leads. The postmodern, postindustrial age is an age in which spree killers are an everyday event; they’re part of the zeitgeist of techno-nihilism and alienation.[/quote]

What I’m getting from this is that you don’t dig The Clash.

[/quote]

Actually I do like a lot of different modern music but I think of it as a sort of forbidden fruit in that it is inherently subversive and nihilistic. I find the aesthetic beauty of some music and art to be completely incidental to its value however. For example, the Nirvana Unplugged MTV Album. I really like the songs on the album; even though the aesthetic beauty of the music stems from irrational, nihilistic impulses about radical animal rights, anti-Christianity and all the other pathologies that drove Cobain.

But my point is essentially that I have a conviction that art and knowledge; aesthetic and metaphysical truth, can potentially be dangerous and even existentially dangerous to mankind. That some knowledge and metaphysical systems should ideally be suppressed. For example, one of the earliest nihilist philosophers was an Assyrian named Hegesias. He taught an ultra-pessimistic nihilism that encouraged his followers to stop eating and starve themselves to death. His writings were banned in Alexandria and elsewhere as large numbers of his followers began killing themselves. We see a less nuanced and more irrational form of this phenomena today with the suicide cults. Serial killers, spree killers, suicide cults; they’re all just more extreme versions of nihilism and modernity.


#10

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]NickViar wrote:
100% in agreement, SM.[/quote]

Thanks Nick. Sorry for railing on you the other day. Political discussions can get a bit heated amongst serious debaters. I agree with what you were saying about monarchy BTW. Just on a practical level, if you look at monarchies historically, they subsume about 2-5% of GDP; the King has a long term stake in the financial and social well being of the people; taxes were infinitely less than under a modern nation state; the King rarely attacks his own people; his power is contingent upon the level of authority the aristocracy and to a lesser extent that the people accede to him.

Monarchy is the natural patriarchal power structure that is in harmony with the eternal order of things. It’s the family structure on a tribal or citystate level. The “good King” is synonymous with the good father who nurtures the spiritual well being and provides the structure, hierarchy and authority of the family and community. The King is the natural centre of power and authority and as ultimate authority serves as a reference point; power deriving from a central authority made legitimate by collective identification of the individual with the whole structure.

However due to the essentially evil nature of man, the King is corrupted and loses legitimacy and authority divests upon the aristocracy. The aristocracy is likewise corrupted and the people wrest control from the oligarchs and plutocrats. The people, corrupt beyond all others and debased in their essential nature and further debased by the fall of their betters, become an irrational force of pure nihilism that destroys every last vestige of metaphysical, aesthetic and transcendental truths. This is the essence of revolution. Political revolution in its purest form is a metaphysical revolution of organised nihilism - the destruction and debasement of all higher values and truths; all in the name of “the people” - a universalist abstraction that is measured in terms of materialism, consumption and geared towards Epicureanism/hedonism.

Reactionary and counter-revolutionary forces are seeking a reconnection with the traditional spiritual orders of society that existed in the Middle Ages and the ancient world. Japan is the closest modern relic of a traditional society but it has fractured completely and the “modern” Japanese man is a debased, single 45-year-old man who’s never been married and sits at home masturbating to online porn and maybe commits suicide at age 50. That’s the kind of pure nihilism that traditional men are at war with. Japan has the lowest birthrate in the entire world. It’s the remnant of a noble, traditionalist civilisation that had a final flurt with active nihilism and then metaphysically disemboweled itself when the world announced to them that “God(the Emperor) is dead”. Their civilisation literally(and biologically) ended when the traditional, spiritual order of their society collapsed. It was a metaphysical revolution; the annihilation of objective, transcendental truths.

Edited[/quote]

I also 100% agree with this, and it’s why I support a restoration of monarchy.


#11

[quote] NickViar wrote:

I also 100% agree with this, and it’s why I support a restoration of monarchy.

[/quote]

The problem arises of how to create a monarchy. In reality a monarch creates himself. Primordial monarchy can be seen in the “big man” culture of many primitive tribes.

“A Big Man refers to a highly influential individual in a tribe, especially in Melanesia and Polynesia. Such person may not have formal tribal or other authority (through for instance material possessions, or inheritance of rights), but can maintain recognition through skilled persuasion and wisdom. The big man has a large group of followers, both from his clan and from other clans. He provides his followers with protection and economic assistance, in return receiving support which he uses to increase his status…”

This is primordial monarchy. The “big man” is the warlord; the conqueror. To make the transition from a primitive “big man” to a “King” he needs to show that he can rule as well as conquer. Many primitive societies have not yet actually made the metaphysical transition from big man to monarch. This is why it’s insane to think anyone could impose representative democracy on such a people. They have yet to progress to the point of even entering what’s called the “social cycle” of which “anacyclosis” is a political model thereof:

The kind of political structures man makes for himself are merely expressions of his fundamental, metaphysical state; his spiritual state. This is why authentic, traditionalist monarchy is not possible today. Monarchy requires:

  1. A primordial “big man” to assume the role of warlord and conqueror and found and legitimatise his authority over a geographic territory for a specific cultural and ethnic people.

  2. The big man connects his deeds and endeavours to a preexisting set of beliefs, myths and cultural symbols that identify a specific people

  3. The big man’s deeds and endeavours are successful, his authority is legitimised by the people he rules, his heirs are recognised successors to his position according to a formalised set of inheritance laws

  4. The big man and his heirs confer titles and allocate land to subordinates(barons, knights etc) - these constitute the aristocracy and provide a sacred oath to provide the King with soldiers when needed in return for land

Over the generations the big man, his deeds and endeavours and those of his heirs become mixed in or syncretised with the founding myths of the distinct people and the destiny of the King and the royal line becomes entwined with the destiny of the people. The people identify as part of a tribal structure. They sanction the authority of the king and the king’s line.

It’s only then that the “big man” becomes a King. Authentic monarchy takes centuries to establish as its origins must stretch back to the distant past and intertwine with the heroic age, the primordial past and the founding myths of antiquity. For an aristocrat to be an aristocrat he has to have a genealogical chart that shows his link to the divine stretching back through the ages, consorting with all the semi-mythological and mythological characters of the past. He needs to be a living, breathing connection with the divine.

Authentic monarchy requires obscure origins shrouded in myth, centuries of tradition, pageantry, mystique, ceremony; centuries of tales of heroic deeds and epic battles. All of it narrating an epic story of a distinct people.

Monarchy and aristocracy are shaped by their antiquity. Age refines the traditional ceremonies and rituals and gives them a transcendental and timeless character. This is the mystical element that monarchy requires. Myth and great antiquity; the shared destiny of rulers and ruled; divinely sanctioned authority.

The ancients generally agreed monarchy was the most primitive of the three main forms of government. But some thinkers, like Xenophon for instance, perceived the superior qualities in a healthy monarchy. A healthy monarchy is actually the most advanced form of government as it requires spiritually ascended subjects and leaders whose destinies are intertwined. The monarchy becomes a social structure in the same way as the family. If the members of the family think of themselves as part of a family and accept their place and position in the order; accept and sanction the authority of the King - then you have a healthy, functioning society.


#12

Kennedy and Khrushchev were both effected by how close the “Leviathan” came to destroying life as we know it during the Cuban missile crisis when the so called finger on the trigger ended up the responsibility of many men, and hence the state. This is as close to “metaphysical disembowelment” as it gets on a collective level, “the annihilation of objective, transcendental truths” or perhaps the the revelation of the ultimate truth. These two were high priests in your mystical interpretation, and even they realized the state is an entity of it’s own.

Most of the revolution the world has encountered are of this more active nihilism, better to burn out than fade away as it is said, even if it is ultimately self-destructive. This is the traditionalist interpretation you described, to get rid of the old state to make way for the new state, more capable of embodying these higher metaphysical truths.

But even states are at the mercy of natural events: Earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, even a comet impacting Earth, and hence the typical aversion of an enlightened individual to the concept of a “mystical” state somehow capable of representing “the source of ultimate authority from where all legitimate power derives”.

I believe the last concept is out there, but it will not be found in an individual’s relationship with the state, and it is the cure for the inactive nihilism plaguing the world today. The quest for this ultimate authority, without projecting it onto a state, is what has driven men since time immemorial.


#13

[quote]theuofh wrote:
Kennedy and Khrushchev were both effected by how close the “Leviathan” came to destroying life as we know it during the Cuban missile crisis when the so called finger on the trigger ended up the responsibility of many men, and hence the state. This is as close to “metaphysical disembowelment” as it gets on a collective level, “the annihilation of objective, transcendental truths” or perhaps the the revelation of the ultimate truth. These two were high priests in your mystical interpretation, and even they realized the state is an entity of it’s own.

Most of the revolution the world has encountered are of this more active nihilism, better to burn out than fade away as it is said, even if it is ultimately self-destructive. This is the traditionalist interpretation you described, to get rid of the old state to make way for the new state, more capable of embodying these higher metaphysical truths.

[/quote]

Traditionalism is a counter-revolutionary force. It’s the antithesis of revolution. Traditional forces want to preserve values of the present and past. Traditionalists are always working against history. They are pushing in a counter clockwise direction when the history or “progress” or “modernity” is turning clockwise. The Nietzschean response to the “social cycle” when it’s in its final stage is to help it along and push in a clockwise direction, in order to bring the cycle back to the beginning and start anew. The logic is that it takes longer and is harder to work backward against history; better to work with history and the cycle and help it on its way. The choice isn’t important ultimately. What’s important is that traditionalism is preserved through the Dark Ages and reborn again. The traditional man in modernity then becomes the guardian and preserver of esoteric knowledge.

If you mean man will lose his faith in God when confronted with the absurd, it is the duty of traditional men to keep alive the faith. This was the purpose of chivalry in the Middle Ages: the adherence to and preservation of divine law. Chivalry is an aristocratic concept and a manifestation of traditionalism.

[quote]

I believe the last concept is out there, but it will not be found in an individual’s relationship with the state, and it is the cure for the inactive nihilism plaguing the world today. The quest for this ultimate authority, without projecting it onto a state, is what has driven men since time immemorial. [/quote]

I’m not projecting it upon the state. Ultimate authority derives from God and a Kingdom is legitimate if its subjects accede to the King’s authority. A kingdom takes on an organic unity synonymous with the tribe led by the “big man”.


#14

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]theuofh wrote:
Kennedy and Khrushchev were both effected by how close the “Leviathan” came to destroying life as we know it during the Cuban missile crisis when the so called finger on the trigger ended up the responsibility of many men, and hence the state. This is as close to “metaphysical disembowelment” as it gets on a collective level, “the annihilation of objective, transcendental truths” or perhaps the the revelation of the ultimate truth. These two were high priests in your mystical interpretation, and even they realized the state is an entity of it’s own.

Most of the revolution the world has encountered are of this more active nihilism, better to burn out than fade away as it is said, even if it is ultimately self-destructive. This is the traditionalist interpretation you described, to get rid of the old state to make way for the new state, more capable of embodying these higher metaphysical truths.

[/quote]

Traditionalism is a counter-revolutionary force. It’s the antithesis of revolution. Traditional forces want to preserve values of the present and past. Traditionalists are always working against history. They are pushing in a counter clockwise direction when the history or “progress” or “modernity” is turning clockwise. The Nietzschean response to the “social cycle” when it’s in its final stage is to help it along and push in a clockwise direction, in order to bring the cycle back to the beginning and start anew. The logic is that it takes longer and is harder to work backward against history; better to work with history and the cycle and help it on its way. The choice isn’t important ultimately. What’s important is that traditionalism is preserved through the Dark Ages and reborn again. The traditional man in modernity then becomes the guardian and preserver of esoteric knowledge.

If you mean man will lose his faith in God when confronted with the absurd, it is the duty of traditional men to keep alive the faith. This was the purpose of chivalry in the Middle Ages: the adherence to and preservation of divine law. Chivalry is an aristocratic concept and a manifestation of traditionalism.

What I am saying is that the concept of the state has been evolving over time, and each iteration it seems to get a little closer to legitimately representing these higher virtues.

Sure, if you have a “big man” that is a good ruler he can bring back a “golden age” where these higher virtues are evident in their policies. These rulers are the exception, and reverting back to the divine right of kings, will not solve the spiritual problems of a citizenry.


#15

[quote]theuofh wrote:

What I am saying is that the concept of the state has been evolving over time, and each iteration it seems to get a little closer to legitimately representing these higher virtues.
[/quote]

I disagree entirely. The state goes through a cycle and we’re at the end of the cycle. We live in an age in which all values are gone(not just higher ones).

[quote]

Sure, if you have a “big man” that is a good ruler he can bring back a “golden age” where these higher virtues are evident in their policies. These rulers are the exception, and reverting back to the divine right of kings, will not solve the spiritual problems of a citizenry. [/quote]

Spiritual ascendency can exist in any political system. It’s present when the citizens don’t need to be ruled because they rule themselves.