Sunday, June 13, 2021

Political "Catholicism"

 This week I've been reading Yoram Hazony's "The Virtue of Nationalism".  He had an interesting term for Wokeism - he called it a type of anti-liberal catholicism.

His idea was that wokeism is at least as religious as any other conventional religion, has the same type of appeals to authority as any other religion, has the political desires of medieval catholicism, and has the same assumptions of universality as small c catholicism (it is all encompassing and nothing escapes it).

Looks like Tim Pool has an editor from the New York post on who is following the same line of reasoning.  Wokeism is a new political religious force that just assumes it is the only possible paradigm and all other perspectives are just wrong an sinful.

As you can see, this sets up a huge fight with America's protestant roots.  You don't have to go too far back (to the time of Kennedy) to remember how reviled papists were.

I'll have to see how this interview goes.  Tim Pool, tends to be a bit too non-academic for me to handle his long-form stuff...

America's Political Prisoners

 No more needs to be said.

The US is now a third world democracy at least in most places where things actually matter.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Back to Religion's Roots

I have just started reading Czachesz's article on the transmission of early christian thought in order to get some info on its parallels to Wokeism.

It's hard for us to remember that religion WAS NOT historically in control of a unified system of narratives, rituals, social life, philosophy, etc. This turn happened during the axial age (8th to 3rd century BCE). 

Not only the variety, but also the complexity of early Christian religion is highly perplexing. Most religions in Greco-Roman antiquity were cults, which can be basically described in terms of rites and institutions. Mythology was also important, but it was transmitted in a number of different ways (history, poetry, fine arts, etc.) rather than controlled by religious institutions. The interpretation of mythology, together with the discussion of the great issues of life, was outside the realm of religion. In early Christianity, in contrast, a single institution coordinated aspects of mythology, ritual, social life, philosophy and ethics.  - pp 66

Thus Wokeism is probably just taking us back to the roots of socio-political religion. It is not an aberration. It's the de facto way cults, temples, shamans etc. used to operate.

Right now we see a cultish explosion and people tend to think, "that can't be religion.... it doesn't have much supernaturalism to it".  Well, it certainly has a devil figure. Does it really need a fully embodied deity?  Will the quintessential BIPOC develop?

Other people see Wokeism's fragmented cults and think "that can't be religion.... it is not a formal institution".  Sorry, as I've said before, it seems like most ancient cults and chiefdom era temple-based groups weren't either.  They were more akin to political thought tanks that had a decent-enough influence on some of the populous to act like a CNN contributor.  They both spout some imaginary stuff, push a certain meta-narrative view, have specific views that can be modified or enlarged by the right "donation" or ask by the right sort of power figure.  Should they both have messaging that comes out on the "right side of history" they add to a meta-narrative cannon.  This cannon, should it resonate with larger cultural wells can then tweak that society's grand meta-narrative textural base.  For instance the addition of a Baal vs Elohim script. Or a 1619 counterfactual trope.

I'm looking forward to reading more...

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Great Awokenings In Early China

 This last year or so I've been looking deeper into "Axial Age" transitions. 

Jespers was the originator of the Axial age transition. His theory was that something fundamental happened in governenance and religion around 800 BC to 300 BC to move societies to function more liberally.

Peter Turchin's crowd did a deep dive with the Seshat database to test this idea.  The conclusion was that there was no formal axial age transition.  Rather, various liberal principles came in and went away, in a variety of Kingdom age polities.  There was no evidence for a single phase change once a critical mass of liberalness developed.

The latest book I'm reading in this vein in Li Feng's Early China.  It time focus is on 2000BC to about 300 BC. This includes the Erlitou, Xia, Shang, Zhou and later dynasties.  If I'm remembering the details correctly, during the Xia and Shang eras a very strong kin based morality developed. New territory was awarded to family lineages. The meta-morality was the taking care of ancestral roots. Ancestral veneration was tied up in this. But is was a bit more than ancestral veneration - it was an expansionist morality that tied the adaptive benefits of familial lineages into a religious code and day-to-day moral compass. In some sense, to me it seems reminiscent of North American tribal societies where religion couldn't be separated out from wise behaviour and cultural narratives.

But, what's neat is how this morality was overthrown during the fall of the Western? Zhou empire. A growing abundance of elites and geometric realities of territorial expansion meant that family lineage based city state control could no longer provide the adaptive benefits necessary to "keep things in the family". Very quickly, a new morality emerged that eschewed ancestral line control. There was a huge shift to intra-elite competition. Quid pro quo alliances quickly dominated. These quickly devolved into outright war. The number of elite "families" shrunk.  But the weak empire didn't split neatly into two nearly equal halves (or so I think). 

It's hard not to see this shift from lineage veneration/morality as anything other than a Great Awakening.

The next major Awakening is the emergence of the Shin class.  This is basically the emergence of a middle-class.  This is where Confucius comes in.  It's hard not to see this as a solution to disparity between elite classes and commoner classes.  After the warring states period, I suspect the commoner class was depopulated and the elite class growth had stalled and shrunk.  According to Turchin, that drives up commoner's real wages.  That's probably why the middle class was able to emerge and gain power.

The main relevance of these things for today is how powerful Great Awakenings and their correlated social dynamics are.  I really see resistance to Wokeness akin to the futility of resistance to Roman era Christianity, or to pagan resistance to European Catholicism.

In some ways this is not at all bad. We definitely need some more equality in society. The Iron Rule of Oligarchies is only making this more true.  One just hopes that Woke extremists don't reproduce the follies of 1900's socialism. But I don't see that as likely.  Political leaders see the power of Wokeism and the opportunities for grift it affords and just can't keep their hands out of the cookie jar.  Thus Wokeism has emerged at the wrong phase in Turchin's secular cycles.  It has emerged during the climb to peak elite overproduction, not at its denouement. To me, that's a VERY bad sign.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Grand Narrative Truth Wars

 A few years ago I had a four part post on Grand Narratives (policy meta-fables).  Here's a great example of their memetic fitness issues.  Hannah-Jones is the founder and pusher of the 1619 trope (America's founding was fundamentally oriented and based on slavery and racism).

I’m still marveling at the defense of Nikole Hannah-Jones over this tenure stuff. A core tenant of journalism should be, I think: “Don’t make stuff up,” and yet every historian actually trained on the topic she writes about said that’s exactly what she did.

There's obviously a lot of push back, and push forward, on this idea.  From a broader lens what is happening is a fight between meta-narrative truth and objective truth.  From some perspectives, meta-narrative (or in this case post-factual truth) is actually more accurate than objective truth. That's because meta-narrative truth encodes "balancing information" that insists interpretation done in modern contexts.

It's as if there is a complicated and subtle math function that most people will get wrong, in well known ways, when they try and use it. Objective fact leaves those issues for the user to worry about.  Grand Narratives (or post-factual truth) includes a bunch of "balancers" that ensure the average use of the complicated and subtle function will produce the desired result.

Another analogy is engineering.  Meta-narrative truth is akin to engineering a bridge to minimum strength standards by doing the minimum strength calc and then doubling its value. If the minimum strength function really produces a "minimum" strength number, then why double it? It is by definition illogical (assuming of course your minimum strength function is accurate).  That's the meta-narrative truth of 1619 and Critical Race Wokesim.  The meta-narrative is always more accurate than the facts.  

That's why hate hoaxes and more true than actual hate crimes. They reflect the deeper reality of the "real" levels of trauma.  Only the super-marginalized need to personify their trauma in order for it to even be heard.  It is a Kafka trap. The only way to truly signify marginalization starts to become to hyper-sensationalize it so even the most minor problems are personified as huge.  New religions and religions undergoing normal inquisitional cycles do this too. Soon it's not just sexual misconduct that's a sin, it is the mere thought of it that is. It's not alcohol that is a sin, the use of grapes themselves becomes a sin.

This is a classic purge dynamic. Costly commitment displays and faith tests are an adaptive way to clean house and install a new, purified, ruling class and norm enforcement protocols.  That's also why there is so much push back to this stuff, and why the only adaptive solution to counter this push back is to form resistance to it as a Kafka trap.

Critical Race Theory has done this beautifully.  US wokeism is a disease akin to Nazism, 1900's marxism. But it's also just as much a disease as 4th century Christianity, Christ era Christianity, or any  axial age religion.  Trying to judge things on an objective - factual basis misses the point.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Religious Garb

 Is this how the identity demarkation of religious garb starts?

Not the Babylon Bee

I feel the need to continue wearing my mask outside even though I’m fully vaccinated because the inconvenience of having to wear a mask is more than worth it to have people not think I’m a conservative

Friday, March 5, 2021

Woke racial hysteria weaponized for bullying

 Here's an article I stumbled on - it gives background on the Papa John's founder = racist story that went around 2 years ago.  Looks like it was the soon to be fired PR's firm revenge for something or the other....  Papa John's not using Kanye West because he used swear words, and the PR firm getting ticked off?

The relevance here is how wokeist religion is getting used for political ends.

If you wanted to get a co-worker or boss fired, how would you go about doing it today....  I certainly know.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Consequences of the loss of trust in the rule of law

Here is a good example of what loss of trust in the rule of law will likely produce.  For instance, I consider it very illogical to now trust that any government institution will be guaranteed to have your interests in mind should you have the wrong identity or some wrong identity expression history.

FBI -> Gestapo

What's more scary is, I don't think this is nearly as conspiratorial as it might initially appear.

Monday, February 22, 2021

4th Century Christianity as a template for Woke Political Takeover

 For the last half year I've been looking into possible dynamic parallels between the Christian takeover of Roman politics with our current Wokeism political & institutional takeover.  The main idea supposition is rooted in Peter Turchin's elite overproduction model for secular dynamics.  This is a predictive model for great awakening cycles.  In case you didn't notice - we're in a major one.

I've enjoyed the non-technical Fall of Civilizations podcasts.  The images (in those that have them) are great.

I've started to go through the classic Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but its not terribly good.  Maybe you just need to be in the mood for its type of romp.

My latest big find is Gabriel Gardan's The Relationship Between Church and State during the 4th Century.  It's a very nice find.  Beyond getting the reference for the main 4th century historian (Glen Thompson), it has a number of very dynamically relevant quotes. 

 The first signals of the cruel Christians persecution started in the Eastern part of the Empire, where Diocletian and Galerius governed during the year 298. Under the pretext of purging the army of any dangerous elements, a significant number of Christian soldiers were martyred. Around the year 300 the loyalty of the soldiers became a capital matter for the imperial politics. In this context the Caesar Galerius in the East and Maximian in the West started promoting their anti-Christian politics. As a result of their refusal to participate to the acts of sacrifice, the Christian soldiers were to be accused of lack of loyalty towards the Empire and its leaders. Moreover, the failure of the worshiping acts was attributed to the presence of the Christian soldiers at these sacrifices, where they would mark their own foreheads with theeternal sign”
The nice bit of info here is how signs of oblations were used to marginalize Christians.  Basically their refusal to perform normal societal rituals threatened social stability.  It's akin to refusing to stand for the national anthem.

But we have to be careful not to look for exact parallels.  For instance while Wokeism is a start up religion of equality, much like Christianity was, this does not mean we should look for our political states to use oblation tests to oppress wokeism.  While you could stretch that parallel with 1950's McCarthyism, the dynamical parallel is simply the fact that simple display commitment tests tend to get used to purify the large group.  In this sense, I tend to see wokeism performing these functions.  Biden's recent and unprecedented military purge has these hallmarks. You will soon be required to make very dubios faith-like pledges to prove your woke / anti-white/conservative bonafides.

On the 23rd of February 303 the Christian cathedral of Nicomedia was devastated, and the following day an edict was made public stipulating that the followers of the Christian religion could no longer occupy the designated official functions and dignities. The Christian churches had to be demolished, the Scriptures and the religious books were to be burnt, the liturgical vessels were to be confiscated, and the meetings were forbidden. In order to stop any complaints regarding these regular abuses, the complaints brought in front of the judges had to be preceded by acts of sacrifice on altars placed at the entrance of the judging courts. The ones that refused to apostasy were punished, and the punishment was always an exemplary one

Exemplary punishments are an obvious dynamical parallel.  But this tends to be fairly common with any authoritarian reaction.  As states get larger, punishments need to be more symbolic.  The Soviet Union and Maoist China certainly realized this.

In terms of modern politicized Wokeism, we see a similar dynamic of "reach prevention".  Social media giants are doing just this to conservative identities.  The gathering of such groups will gradually be outlawed as "hate speech". We already see some very one sided protest prosecutions using Covid's convenient scape-goating.  The dynamic similarity with court systems is also very interesting.  You need to make the right oblations to be given standing.  The DC swamp is certainly heading that way.

Here we see how common spaces were used to enforce litmus tests.  You can imagine woke slogans and "don't enter if you're a white supremacist" signs fulfilling the same function today.  You just have to remember that dynamical parallels don't imply equal action intensity.  Life was values very differently in the 4th century than today.  We're looking for dynamical parity.  That should give us insight into evolution landscapes.

As Constantine takes over we start to see him settling the differences between Christian sects.  Constantine expressed his belief that “the greater the honor towards divinity, the greater the goodness manifested regarding the public matters, and from the letters of the convocation of the synods against the Donatists, there resulted the belief promoted by Constantine regarding his duty, which was to make sure that the problems of the Church were solved by free consent during the assembly of the bishops19. The measures adopted in favor of the Church aimed at two main levels: the life of Church itself and the relations of the Church with the world, with pagans and with the Jews.
Constantine likely used the reconciliation process to favour sects that moved his political agenda.  Need the black vote, let's favour the reparations branch of wokeism over ANTIFA goons.

The other interesting feature of Christian political takeover is the establishment of two judicial streams.  Bishops were empowered to act as judges for Chirstian matters. This is a very anti-Roman thing to do (ie one law for every citizen). It is rather reminiscent of Canada's restorative justice path.  The US is almost certain to follow suit. Thought crimes may be able to be minimally punished in a Constitutional democracy like the US with explicit free speech protections, but you can certainly set up some extra legal institutions - at least if you want to keep your public standing (ie a functional social credit score).

Constantine did not limit himself to these measures. He started to interfere with the doctrinaire problems of the Church. The problem was brought forth by the dissident Donatist branch of the Church in North Africa which stated that the emperor should judge and intervene in the internal disagreements. There was in history a precedent in this sense. The eastern bishops were in a dispute with the heretic Paul of Samosata, and asked the emperor Aurelian to settle the dispute. Aurelian established a precedent himself, by bringing the problem to the attention and the judging of the bishop of Rome and soliciting a solution. Initially Constantine intended to adopt a similar solution, and in the year 313, he asked the bishop Miltiades of Rome to judge the matter. The protests of the Donatists determined him to establish another precedent, this time around in favor of the Church, and decided to summon a synod at Arelate, in the year 314, where bishops from the West were invited to participate and analyze the doctrinaire and disciplinary dissensions that divided the Church in the North of Africa.

Here we can see an obvious Biden move.  Instead of judging maters via State systems, turn it over to Woke institutions/mobs like the NAACP, ACLU, and SPLC.  Then just follow their edict.  But, put some government officials into the "discourse" so control is maintained, albeit at arms reach from normal political safeguards.

Following this line of precedents, we must mention alongside Constantine’s decision to summon the synod, another precedent which targeted the assurance of the necessary means for the travel of the bishops in order to reach an optimal development of the activity of the synod. Due to the fact that the decisions of this synod were not accepted by the Donatists, Constantine went further and acted by force, via imperial decrees and via the armed hand of the state, in order to reestablish the order in the Church28. Harold Drake believes that it is not exaggerated to consider that the formal relations between the Church and the Roman Empire follow directly the steps Constantine followed in order to solve the controversy. The Donatists episode revealed Constantine’s option and his involvement in the life of the Church in general, and especially in the theological disputes.

Here we more clearly see theological reconciliations being used to shape Church growth, presumably according to Constantines desired political reformation strategic plan.  Thus, we'd expect to see a Harris (if she's competent enough - Biden is too demetia'ed out to be functional here) or some other Left leaning political figure like Pelosi start to settle Woke 'theological' disputes as a way of exerting power and filtering out political opponents.

The main idea is that this process ensures the stability of Church-state.  The leaders can rationalize any power movements as creating a better future.  This type of utopian thinking is a classic trap for hard core authoritarians like Mao, Stalin, Hitler, etc.

What apparently spells disaster is pluralism.  

In the year 337, at Constantine’s death, the governance of the Empire was taken over by his three sons: Constantine II (337-340), Constantius II (337-361) and Constant 194(337-350). Their reign is marked by political and ecclesiastic confusion. From the point of view of the church, the period overlaps with the second stage of the Arian crisis. Their religious politics was confusing: on the one hand they continued their father’s tendency to favor and privilege Christianity; on the other hand they interfered more and more with the Arian theological disputes, manifesting equivocal attitudes towards the heretics, intentionally ignoring sometimes the decisions of the synods. The most faithful image of this period is represented by the case of the intransigent Nicene bishop Athanasius, dismissed and put back in his chair, exiled, self-exiled, blamed and adulated.

From an evolutionary point of view focussed on adaptive groups, you want to look for unique benefits provided to the group being favoured.  For example, we are now heading to two tiered justice - certain minorities whose political intersection matches the states, are increasingly likely to get "free passes" (at least if they get the right public 'reach'.  Those who commit crimes against protected groups now get 'hate' enhancements - right now sometimes regardless of racial intent.

the Jews were not allowed to buy Christians as slaves (CT 16 .9.2); the sons of the clergy young and poor were exempt from some public obligations (CT 16.2.11); tax exempts and other privileges of the clergy were confirmed and extended (CT 16.2.8-9). Special laws that bring new elements are the ones regarding the pagans. In the year 341 the pagan sacrifices were forbidden, and in the year 346 the temples of the cities were closed (CT 16.10.2-4). The situation did not register significant changes after 350 when Constantius II remained the only leader of the Empire. He continued to promote laws favoring Christianity and the Church: some properties of the clergy were exempt from taxes (CT 16.2.10); the capital punishment was established for the ones that raped widows and nuns (CT 9.25.1); all the properties of the Church were exempts from taxes (CT 11.1.1); the monks were exempt from the state obligations (CT 16.2.16). The legislation against pagans and Jews became more and more restrictive and the Christians that were converted to paganism were to lose their properties (CT 16.8.7);

Here's one example of how the modern parallels are working....  (but note, this particular video is light on the religious side of things).