Eruditorum Press

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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later.Support Elizabeth on Patreon.

23 Comments

  1. Eve Schmitt
    February 15, 2016 @ 6:02 pm

    Goldbug would not survive a Doctor Who episode. His willingness to accept tyranny and slavery casts him as the kind of character that would gladly make a deal with a monster to save his own hide, never suspecting that the monster will betray him. He’s the kind of asshole who opens a side door in the walls, hoping that the invaders will spare him. He’s the kind of man who will kiss up to a tyrant in the hope of a good government position. He is a Collaborator.

    Reply

  2. LordRiven
    February 15, 2016 @ 7:22 pm

    The strangest thing about this is that he seems to think ‘profit-motive’ and ‘monarchy’ are synonymous, when ‘profit-motive’ is a pretty modern conception that comes to of capitalism, which has no (and largely could not have) held sway before the industrial revolution made ‘goods’ something that could truly be mass-market.

    Monarchy, for most of history, was based on different conceptions of power, ones not tied to profit* such as family dynamics or religious duty. There was even monarchs who ruled from a sense of obligation, of service, of commitment to a people rather than the self.**

    My point, which I may not have made well, is that monarchy, both structurally and from a justification standpoint, is neither simple nor natural. At the very least, he seems to think monarchs ruled absolutely, but there have only ever been a handful of true, unopposed, absolute rulers in all of history. Most rulers spent most of their reigns either being controlled by other, or trying to exert control over others, with varying degrees of success. Look at the histories of the Kings of France, absolute rulers who often controlled little beyond the bounds of Paris. Look at the rise and fall of the emperors of China, or the emperors of Japan, stripped of all power and left as symbols twice in the last thousand years. Look at the later Roman emperors, absolute rulers offed by their own guardsmen. And so on.

    Monarchy is hard, and it doesn’t work without the participation of the ruled, even if the history books like to overlook the ebb and flow of court intrigue and popular uprisings. Ever ruler in history who kept their throne did so only because enough people chose not to rise up and kill them then they might have done otherwise.

    *Which is not to say that it was never about greed, or the gaining of wealth, but profit requires a system of markets and products that did not exist on a large-enough scale in most of history. You can’t make money as a ‘businessman’ in a world where almost no one has money, as those that do have it tend to only buy food and art. Crossus was not a tycoon among many, he was a tycoon at a time when you got maybe one tycoon a century – there’s no businessman ‘class’ the way there is today. You can’t be a Trump in a world where land is tied to family lines and the idea of selling it is inconceivable. You can’t be a Walmart in an era when most people live by the barter system, and so on. Profit, as a national pursuit, is modern.

    ** I’m not saying this made them good rulers, mind, or that this absolves monarchy of anything.

    Reply

    • Gavin Burrows
      February 16, 2016 @ 6:36 pm

      ”The strangest thing about this is that he seems to think ‘profit-motive’ and ‘monarchy’ are synonymous,”

      Like you say, here ‘monarchy’ is just assumed to be corporations without all the politically-correct-health-and-safety stuff holding them back. It’s a way of getting what they perceive as the good stuff, bold visionaries able to achieve their advances unconstrained, with a mechanism which cleanly lops off what’s held to be bad.
       
      I may be leaping from one loopy group to another, but notably the Freemen of the Land define modern government as a corporation in disguise. Except unlike with the Kings it’s everything they don’t like about corporations. Government doesn’t have the right to rule you except by your consent. (Note, it’s not ‘shouldn’t’ but ‘doesn’t’.) So it’s forever trying to seduce you into signing yourself into a contract with it, just like a loan company endlessly phoning you up to get you to take their credit card.

      But the result is remarkably similar to Moldbug. Notably they never seem to criticise actual corporations. (Here in the UK where TV licensing or Student Loan collection is outsourced this is often highlighted, but with the implication what it really does is prove the Government is in fact a corporation itself.) After a while you start to suspect their Aunt Sally of a ‘rogue corporation’ seems constructed primarily to take the focus off those actual corporations.

      Corporations are seen as the default form of human behaviour. But when talking about then the last thing we should do is think about actually existing corporations and how they behave in our world. Look for them everywhere, except from where they actually are. So much the better to locate their ‘good’ and ‘bad’ examples.

      Reply

      • LordRiven
        February 17, 2016 @ 3:40 am

        And again, that weird idea that there’s something ‘natural’ about corporations, the corporation eternal, when corporations themselves are only several centuries old, and the corporation in the modern conception is, well, modern.

        Reply

        • Gavin Burrows
          February 17, 2016 @ 5:48 pm

          I think it comes from their underlying notion that capitalism isn’t a social system which arose but the inevitable expression of ‘human nature’, surfacing separately from inside a zillion individuals. Like a picture made up of thousands of tiny pixels, but where the pixels are all exactly the same colour. Which requires all this papering-over, to cover the fact that for most of human history we didn’t live under capitalism or anything like it. When your theory’s totally ahistoric history becomes a bit of a problem…

          Reply

  3. 5tephe
    February 16, 2016 @ 5:54 am

    Holy crap, it’s phenomenal the level of delusion that simply living in America and using words like “freedom”, “equality”, or even “fairness” requires. And of course “democracy”, but you never really had that.

    Superb link to Ta-Nehisi Coates piece. I hadn’t read it, and remedied that situation just as you advised. Thank you very much for that.

    Reply

  4. Simon Blake
    February 16, 2016 @ 11:39 am

    “the logic that allows an armed white militia to insinuate its intention to shoot cops for weeks but allows Tamir Rice two seconds before he’s gunned down”

    The logic there is that Rice was in a city park (i.e. a crowded urban area), whereas Vanilla ISIS were, by their deliberate design, a long way from anywhere and no imminent risk to anyone – talk, even if it’s of shooting cops, is cheap, particularly if the nearest cop is 30 minutes drive away. If Y’All Qaeda had set themselves up in Central Park they’d all have been dead before the sun went down on January 2nd – and they knew that.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      February 16, 2016 @ 7:44 pm

      I’m willing to bet with some confidence that a black nationalist militia would be given somewhat less leeway as well, and that a white kid with a toy gun would have had seconds in the double or even triple digits.

      Reply

  5. Mark P.
    February 17, 2016 @ 8:12 pm

    You’ve written an interesting post. But it’d have been better if you’d noted that the real world, away from Mencius Moldbug’s chumpery, what Flint in large measure is about is our financial masters’ ongoing and very practical campaign — akin to the Enclosure Acts of the U.K. in the 19th century but on a global scale — to privatize water supplies and extract rents from captive populations.

    http://motorcitymuckraker.com/2016/01/23/gov-snyder-lied-flint-water-switch-was-not-about-money-records-show/

    It’s a long-term campaign to steal the commons. If one focuses on anti-black racism/slavery, one can lose sight of that fact and that the Owner class want to do the same thing to all of us, white, black or whatever. Flint, with its majority black population, was just a place where they thought they could get away with it more easily..

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      February 17, 2016 @ 9:28 pm

      It would also not have been an essay that extended out of the other work I was doing and was thus a sensible thing to pop over and write, of course.

      That said, I’m largely inclined to resist the “no war but class war” sentiment. Certainly the bourgeoisie would like to steal everything. But when it comes time to probe resistance and explore the boundaries of what can be gotten away with, it is generally going to be black people who get robbed first, just as it is on black people that we test the full implications of a militarized police force, or where we test the idea of regressive taxation through fines.

      If these ideas work out well for the bourgeoisie, might they then be expanded to new areas? Perhaps. That is certainly often the hope. But when the game is often “how much can you get away with,” the fact that black America is where you can get away with more is striking.

      Put another way, any form of resistance that does not recognize that the black proletariat forms an underclass of the proletariat is simply too naive about how the bourgeoisie works to resist it with any efficacy.

      Reply

  6. Ed Azad
    February 19, 2016 @ 2:34 am

    You’re playing with fire this time, Phil! It doesn’t take much for these alt-right guys to start brigading threads.

    I read an interesting piece the other day about the dangers of introducing Libertarianism into the public sphere. You begin as a conservative, someone who rejects the predominately liberal notion that the government can be a useful tool for the people. Then someone comes along as says, “hey, has it ever occurred to you that the government only does bad things”, and so you become a libertarian or Tea Partier. And so you settle into that niche for a while.

    Then someone else will come along and ask, ‘hey, has it occurred to you that government has only done bad things throughout human history’, and you become an ancap or “alt-right”. Everyone who starts on the libertarian slippery slope ends up at the ancap bottom sooner or later. Because once you realize you can blame the government for everything, well.

    Surprising it took us ten years to start hitting bottom. This might be the coffin nail in the U.S. experiment.

    Reply

  7. Houshalter
    February 20, 2016 @ 6:45 am

    I don’t know what is point article is. An unelected official made a mistake. Apparently, elected officials never make mistakes. Therefore democracy is the best form of government, and neo reactionaries are wrong. QED.

    I exaggerate of course, but this comparison seems pointless. And let me be clear, I’m not defending Moldbug. I think his system of government is so terrible you don’t need to dispute it. Just explain it and no sane person would agree with it.

    But I agree, at least, with his sentiment that democracy isn’t the best thing ever. Governments, elected or not, make mistakes every single day. They are often incredibly backwards, inefficient, and arbitrary. You even need to be a libertarian to see that.

    An elected official put in charge of a city with a failing budget might make the same decision, and do the same things to cover it up when things went wrong. After all, he was appointed by a governor who was elected. A governor who presumably cares about being reelected, his party, and the people of his state (or at least the people of his state believed that he cared.)

    The solution isn’t monarchy. There might be a solution. Personally I am in favor of a government created by drawing from a random sample of the population. It’s like democracy, but without the pandering to uninformed voters.

    Reply

    • Artur Nowrot
      February 22, 2016 @ 8:42 am

      Just out of curiosity: did you encounter that idea in “The Napoleon of Notting Hill”?

      Reply

  8. Irving
    March 15, 2016 @ 10:41 pm

    If you’re going to write a book on neoreaction , at least get you’re facts right. Nick Land opposes white nationalism and is hated by white nationalists. In fact, he explicitly defines neoreaction as being, in part, and alternative to white nationalism.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      March 15, 2016 @ 11:01 pm

      That’s not really what he says in “The Dark Enlightenment,” although he does leave himself some charming “plausible deniability” in the face of his ostentatious philosophical heel turn. Anyway, I’ve not read every last blog post, so I may well have missed where he elaborates on his viewpoints as you describe; I’d love a link.

      Reply

      • Irving
        March 16, 2016 @ 3:33 am

        Land started his blog in 2013, and even back then, he explicitly rejected white nationalism, as he does here: http://www.xenosystems.net/zacked/ .

        The reason why Land rejects white nationalism, though, is going to take a while for you to understand if you aren’t already familiar with the science behind racial differences. To put it bluntly, the science, as much as white nationalists want to say otherwise, does not in any way, shape or form legitimate or prescribe a political ideology based on ‘racial purity’. All that it says is that the races evolved separately and that, as a consequence, there are differences, of a purely quantitative nature, between the races. Land has the view that race doesn’t matter, only the quality (as measured, for example, by IQ) of individuals matter, but that quality is dispersed unequally between the races, and for that reason a certain kind of racism is justified. But in principle Land would say that, say, a black guy with a high-IQ is far superior to, say, a white guy with a low-IQ, and that he would much rather live with, associate, etc., with the high-IQ black guy than the low-IQ white guy.

        The complication here is the theory, held by a very small number of evolutionary scientists (most prominently, by Kevin Macdonald and Frank Salter), concerning what they call ‘ethnic genetic interests’. They believe, basically, that everyone has a vested interest in the perpetuation of their race, and that the only rational thing for them to do is organize politically in order to achieve that. This is the theory what white nationalists latch on to in order to give their position some scientific credibility. Yet, Land has many posts–you need only search for them–in which he argues against that theory, rejects it, refutes it, and links to other people who have refuted it, such as Richard Dawkins (but, if you’re interested, here’s a neoreactionary writer, whose long since stopped blogging, doing an epic take down of one of Salter’s books, concerning ‘ethnic genetic interest’: https://victoriespyrrhic.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/a-refutation-of-salterism/).

        Also, Land has only revulsion for anything to do with populism, and white nationalism is essentially a populist political movement. Land couldn’t care less about the ultimate fate of white people, most of whom he thinks are worthless in every sense and are responsible for the problems (like mass immigration, etc.) that they’re currently suffering, so long as all high-IQ white people had somewhere to go where they could continue to develop the sciences and finally create an artificial intelligence, which will usher in a technological singularity. Land’s ideal state is not a racially homogeneous state, but a high-IQ one, with (the multiracial, multicultural) Singapore being the ideal. Land doesn’t believe that fighting for a racially homogeneous state makes sense at this point in time anyway, given that with the advent of genetic engineering and cloning and such technologies, the racial problem will be utterly transcended in its importance. This is the point, by the way, that he was making in the “Dark Enlightenment” essay that you seem to have missed. In the part about face tentacles, he was pointing out that people are misguided to focus on the ‘racist’ parts of evolutionary science, given that what these sciences are really saying is much different than what the SJWs and white nationalists think they are saying.

        Reply

        • Irving
          March 16, 2016 @ 3:42 am

          …Whereas SJWs and white nationalists think that these sciences are advocating a political program that needs either to be resisted or promoted, Land is showing that they actually offer humans a way of usher in a truly post-human, and therefore post-racial, future.

          White nationalists hate Land given that he says all of this. White nationalists think that evolutionary science proves the white race’s biological superiority over other races, whereas what it really does, as Land repeatedly reminds them, is that what it really shows is the abject inferiority of pretty much the entire human race and the superiority of only a very small number of people, a disproportionate number of whom may very well be white, but among whom are also members of other races, and that anyway it is stupid to go off and create a state based on race, given that there are a lot of white people and, since all of their jobs will be automated soon enough, they’ll all just end up being an economic drag on your society, so much so that that state will not be economically viable in the long term.

          Reply

          • Elizabeth Sandifer
            March 16, 2016 @ 4:04 am

            I don’t think there’s anything in this essay that contradicts any of that, at least in terms of Land; note that I focused more on Moldbug here.

          • Irving
            March 16, 2016 @ 4:25 am

            Moldbug also explicitly rejected white nationalism: http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/11/why-i-am-not-white-nationalist.html

            By the way, there are a lot of Jews affiliated with neoreaction, including Moldbug himself, as well as philo-semites, like Land, and this contributes to the the hostility between neoreaction and white nationalism.

            The main point here is that neoreaction not be conflated with white nationalism, given that the two are completely and irreconcilably different. But of course, as you do your research for the book you’re writing, you’ll know all about this soon enough.

          • Elizabeth Sandifer
            March 16, 2016 @ 6:32 am

            Notably, I don’t accuse Moldbug of being a white nationalist either.

          • Anonymous
            March 17, 2016 @ 3:06 am

            “White nationalists hate Land given that he says all of this.”

            Not a WN here, but someone that dislikes Land. This is disingenuous, and is clearly written by a fanboy that hasn’t done a genealogy of Land’s oeuvre. One of the major attacks on Land from various groups on the right is on his ethos within NRx, i.e. his character, given his history. This is the fact that if you read Land’s previous work as part of the CCRU, it appears that his current philosophical output is a continuation of his accelerationist and hyperstitional agenda. It’s strongly probable that he doesn’t actually believe any of the stuff he is writing, and some of his current rhetorical strategies completely match up with writing made 20 years ago (like creating apocalyptic memes within the right wing, or creating a group that constantly splits due to infighting). Tech-comm NRx is a means to his strategic ends of Deleuzean acceleration of the capitalist system. At heart, he is still a Marxist. That’s not an ad hominem either, as it is strongly backed up by his behavior and history. You only need to start at the beginning of his writing, and read it all up to now. It’s also backed up by weird contextual aspects outside of his writing, like the fact that Nick’s wife continues to write about feminism in China of all places. How is that home life supposed to make sense where on the one hand you talk about the dreaded “cathedral” and exiting from it on your blog during the day, while your SJW wife — who also used to be CCRU — sleeps in the same bed as you at night? If you were an intelligence officer trained in deception analysis, such anomalistic behavior should set off alarm bells. But given most of NRx are spergs, and take things as face value, it either doesn’t warrant mention or he is defended by fanboys. People like yourself, Irving, can continue jerking yourself off to Land’s work and defending him, but you are basically a puppet in a larger occulted scheme. I’d suggest reading less Land, and pick up a book on self-deception, or as Moldbug said when alluding to the Birchers as the best historians of the 20th Century, some histories of communist subversion, because you are being played like a fiddle.

          • anonymous2
            March 18, 2016 @ 8:04 pm

            Would you care to explain in what sense of the word he is a Marxist and how is he continuing his hyperstitional agenda? And how is he detrimental to the general NRx agenda? I’m genuinely interested to hear your arguments.

          • Elizabeth Sandifer
            March 18, 2016 @ 10:18 pm

            I’m just kind of curious who his wife is.

            Though I’d also strongly prefer that slurs like “sperg” not get used here, thanks.

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