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Brexit the movie

 

 

This is an altogether a fine movie, filled with political insight. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Dominic Cummings, the architect of the victorious leave vote. The credits say that some portions of the movie are fictional, leaving one to infer that most of it is just how it happened. The portion I am sure is fictional is a scene near the end between Dominic Cummings and the head organizer of the Remain campaign, a Tory working for Prime Minister Campbell. They are in a pub after a long day’s work.  It is becoming clear to the Stay side that they are losing and they are surprised and outraged. They would stay that way for four more years. The Tory political professional running the Stay campaign accuses Cummings of undermining the rule of experts and of opening up political life in England to a set of forces that will be impossible to control.

Broadly speaking, the accusation is true. What kept politics manageable for the ruling classes was a consensus that experts in fact knew more than most people and that their rule was legitimate. This is under challenge in the English-speaking democracies.

Curtis Yarvin, of Mencius Moldbug fame, explains this as the rule of the Cathedral. It is a vitally important concept, and Brexit the movie touches upon it in the exchange between Dominic Cummings and the lead organizer for the Stay campaign.

“The mystery of the cathedral is that all the modern world’s legitimate and prestigious intellectual institutions, even though they have no central organizational connection, behave in many ways as if they were a single organizational structure.

Most notably, this pseudo-structure is synoptic: it has one clear doctrine or perspective. It always agrees with itself. Still more puzzlingly, its doctrine is not static; it evolves; this doctrine has a predictable direction of evolution, and the whole structure moves together.”

I am uncertain whether the term “the Cathedral” has to be conceived as Yarvin does. Yet it is stands as a useful metaphor for the collective inertia of received ideas that dominate political discourse these days.

Watch the Brexit movie. It will get you to the core of the issues. As the referendum approached, there was a telling scene during a focus group being held by the Remain side where some frizzy blonde-haired working class woman entirely loses it, and starts screaming that she is absolutely fed up with being told she is a racist for having a dim view of current rates of immigration, and that she has been fed up with this state of repression for the past twenty years. The meeting descends into chaos. At that point the chief organizer for the Remain side knows for sure that he is going to lose.

I wonder when that point will be reached in Canada.

 

 

Bronze Age Pervert, second take

I copy this from The Deep State versus the Deep Right, in The American Mind. Curtis Yarvin (formerly Mencius Moldbug) wrote this appreciation of Bronze Age Pervert, the enfant terrible of alt. right thought. Wikipedia does not like Curtis Yarvin, and it will dislike Bronze Age Pervert even more when an article on him is proposed for it.

Yarvin writes:

“Apart perhaps from Houellebecq, Bronze Age Pervert is the first major writer in our time to understand and inhabit this reality. Of course, that doesn’t mean we need his foam in our cappuccino. Indeed, when the future looks back, Bronze Age Mindset will be seen as an early, badly edited and produced, slightly embarrassing effort—notable for when, not what. Yet the Pervert himself may be best positioned to surpass his early work.

(In fact such a book, a book of true power, should not be a crappy POD edition, available to any digital idiot, but a limited calfskin printing, sold by invitation only. Everything about both experience and object must be unique, amazing, and intimidating: a book, like its author, must thrive.)

Yet the mission of the work is simple. Many misunderstand the message: they see BAP make a positive case for this thing, that thing, some crazy thing; Hollow Earth, Fomenko chronology, genetic inferiority of Udmurt and other Finnic peoples… wake up! BAP has no “message” in this stupid sense.

Like his ancestor Nietzsche, BAP is not “for” this, that, the other thing. His book is not a lecture but a fire. It does not teach, it burns; it is not words, but an act.

And it has no message. But it does have a theme. The theme of Bronze Age Mindset is the smallness of the modern world—in mind, in space, in time. …

The ocean is much larger than its surface. Most of it is an empty desert. As a mass of meat, a mere human army, the deep right is tiny.

Yet as a space—artistic, philosophical, literary, historical, even sometimes scientific—all fields that are ultimately arts—the deep right is much larger than the mainstream.

If we compare just the books published in 1919, to those published in 2019, we see a far wider range of perspectives. Almost all present ideas are also found in the past; but almost all ideas found in the past have vanished. Like languages, human traditions are disappearing—and a tradition is much easier to extinguish than a language.

The theme of Bronze Age Mindset is that if you think your mind is broad and open, you are wrong. It is a tiny, hard lump, like a baby oyster—closed hard as cement by nothing but fear. “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

This message cannot be said. It must be shown—performed. And the only way to show it is for one author, a character yet more than a character, to display mastery of that space—the whole immense space of mind and time and space outside our increasingly absurd little “mainstream” bubble.”

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I cannot tell whether this is pretentious twaddle, the beginning of something important, or both.