Incentive Systems & Politics: Part 3

This is the third and final part in my response to Extra Credits’ series of videos by the same name.

In Part 1 I discussed how Politics needs to be about more than just winning elections, and provided a few statistics demonstrating the overall decline of our society.

In Part 2 I covered how addressing financial corruption doesn’t address the underlying problems.

Now it’s time to wrap this up in Part 3.

Section 5: Gerrymandering and Community

Gerrymandering is the process of redrawing the boundaries of politcal districts in order to be more favourable to you or your party.  You see, originally most districts were drawn based on geography, or some vague idea of a shared community.

Both myself, and the Extra Credits team are skipping over a major issue here, and I don’t want to pretend that it’s beneath consideration.  I want to identify it, and then move on to the topic we’re discussing in particular.

It’s a simple fact that every system of organization involves democratic elements on some level.  The King has his nobles, the Corporation has its shareholders, and even the Dictator has his ministers.  Eventually, no matter what the system, there’s going to be a vote.  The questions of “Who gets to vote?” and “What do they get to vote on?” are critical fields of study.  It’s a form of applied Game Theory, which used to be the primary focus of Political Science.  To suggest that this stuff is easy would be the height of arrogance.

But we’re not talking about the study of gerrymandering, we’re talking about the breakdown of gerrymandering, despite an available wealth of knowledge.  For more on the Political Science behind it, I’ll point you in the direction of CGP Grey: he did an excellent video on the topic.

What I’d like to address is Extra Credits’ statement about “a vague idea of a shared community.”

In their series of videos, Extra Credits has focused upon how the present system is spinning out of control, noting particularly stupid game-theoretic problems with the American Government.  In doing so, they beg the question of why.

I’m talking about the Logic of Institution.

A system is always more than the sum of its parts.  There’s an ethos, an esprit de corps that comes along with it, regardless of whether it’s well-designed or not.  A perfect example of this (as well as a thematically-appropriate example) is video games.

Let’s take two games with well-designed systems, who share surface similarities: World of Warcraft and The Elder Scrolls Series.  One is a MMORPG, and the other is a single-player RPG.  Within the rule-sets governing these games you’ll see many of the same things, and yet the games themselves are entirely different.  World of Warcraft is about community and ‘card collecting’ – that is, getting a collection of in-game items that are braggable, in an endless cycle of growth.  The Elder Scrolls, on the other hand, is story driven.  The mechanics of levelling-up take a back-seat; their primary purpose is to denote the story-arc of the character.

Preference between these two games is not a question of quality, it’s a question of qualities; people play these two games for entirely different reasons.  As video games, the major causal factor in this divide is the mechanics of the system.  The differing mechanics are what drive the differing experiences – not, for instance, the writing.  Both could have epic plots written into them, but at the end of the day World of Warcraft is about forming Guilds with your friends, while The Elder Scrolls is about a specific character’s story, a story which eventually comes to a close.

The point being: fiddling with the rules won’t turn Tetris into Super Mario.

An organization needs a unifying principle, and with a nation-state that principle must be the community – a definition of what The Good Life is.  Take Switzerland, as an example.  The system in Switzerland is horribly designed, it’s full of potential exploits, and other factors which ought to spell doom for the country – and yet, because it’s all based around the concept of an ethno-state, it manages to tick-along rather well.  The system is flawed, but it knows its purpose: to promote the Swiss way of life.

In the United States – and much of the West – we’ve embraced relativism.  Non-judgmentalism. “Otherness” as David Brin put it (mistaking it for a good thing).  We no longer celebrate what we stand for – rather, we celebrate ‘diversity.’ Discrimination is one of the greatest sins in our moral lexicon – and when you fail to discriminate, you become indiscriminate.

This is the system-logic of Western-style Democracy™: that all opinions are equally valid, and that all lifestyles are equally worthwhile.

At its foundation, the American Experiment was about something.  Freedom of Religion, yes – but only because we can’t entrust the Absolute Truth to one man, or one Church.  The Founding Fathers all agreed that there was a single Truth, but they argued that the best way to find it was through rigorous debate.  Over the years this has been forgotten.  In today’s world, asserting that there is a single Truth (even something as simple as 2+2=4) will earn you the title ‘arrogant.’

Back then the franchise was considered a privilege and a responsibility, not a Right (this is why they never encoded Democracy in their foundational documents).  In the present, we view opinion as a right, and the doctrine of the Living Constitution throws everything into a relativistic abstract.  There is no purpose anymore – no ethos – no point to the Game.  There is only winning.

You could put the perfect system of gerrymandering into place tomorrow, and our present problems would persist.  The State needs a foundation to stand upon; the fatuous, hormonal thoughts of the citizens are an insufficient mandate.

Section 6: Politics ≠ Governance

Originally, when our districts more closely represented communities or geographic regions, they tended to be relatively balanced in terms of political opinions.  Some leaned a bit to the left, and others a bit to the right, but overall you only rarely saw districts that were overwhelmingly partisan.  This forced politicians to try and assemble a majority out of people with somewhat differing views – which tended to push them more towards the centre of the political spectrum.

Part of the devolution which has been driven by Democracy™ is the conflation of politics with governance; or more specifically, the conflation of the Left-Right Divide with Politics.

The Left-Right Divide is a modern phenomenon, driven by the same factors which led to the French Revolution and all of its blood-soaked horrors.  Prior to the Enlightenment, all politics were what we now term realpolitik, with an infusion of Catholic morality.  It was a system which openly acknowledged power-divides, while also including an upward-pull towards moral behaviour.  On an inter-state level this meant that weaker nations had to respect the power of the greats, but that so long as they did, a certain level of autonomy could be maintained.  On the intra-state level, this meant that the peasants weren’t allowed to mouth-off to the nobility, but the nobility were expected to respect the dignity of the peasants, so long as they behaved civilly.

Contrast to the vulgarity we see extreme-leftist groups exhibiting to their betters, and it’s hard to call the present situation a case of “moral advancement.”

What Extra Credits is trying to reach towards with their statement “This forced politicians to try and assemble a majority out of people with somewhat differing views” is related to the concept I advanced earlier about every system being democratic on some level.  Governance is about making the best decision possible, despite the constraints of time and knowledge (which is also the 8th Principle of Leadership, incidentally).  Governance means paying attention to your community, and trying to understand what’s happening on the lowest levels.  It means being informed and responsible.

It doesn’t mean pandering to special-interest groups.

The Left-Right Divide is a real psychological phenomenon (as explored by the Anonymous Conservative in his excellent book), but it’s not real politics – any more than a spat between a brother and sister is a real aspect of leading a family.  Democratic Relativism creates ever more extreme groups on both sides, and trying to appease both of them plays into the fallacy of the false middle – it’s rare that you’ll find one group arguing that 2+2=3, while the other argues that 2+2=5.  More often than not, compromise involves skewing heavily in one direction.

This is why we see the Leftward drift in politics over the past century, summarized by the saying “Cthulu only swims left.”

The problem is one of inputs.  The brother-sister spat should not be an input into family leadership.  At least one side will be at fault, and often enough both of them are; compromising between them without overweening considerations won’t lead anywhere good.  Similarly, compromising between two special-interest groups is going to create policy which is ineffective at best, and schizophrenic at worst.

Real politics should be asking the question “What is the best we can do with the resources that we have?”

Left-Right politics is asking “Who gets the welfare?  Who gets the tax-credit?”

Conclusion: No King; No Constitution

The great thing about the form of government we’ve adopted is that it’s flexible.  We have the power to change it… I hope we’ve manged to stir some ideas and create a discussion though, but more than anything, I hope you’ve come to realized You are the players in this great game.  You can move the pieces, and no matter how small your part, you can help to ensure that the rules are rewritten.

I hope I’ve begun to demonstrate the exact opposite.

Systems and rules have an underlying ethos to them – and stating that Change is one of the rules, doesn’t mean that it isn’t still a rule.

From “The Unofficial Official Rules of Calvinball”:

Permanent Rule: You may not play the Calvinball the same way twice.

Primary Rule: The following rules are subject to be changed, amended, or deleted by any player(s) involved. These rules are not required, nor necessary to play Calvinball.

Calvinball – whatever it might be – is not Chess.  It is not Dungeons and Dragons.  It is – and forever shall be – Calvinball.

Within the world of Calvin & Hobbes, Calvinball is the escapist pursuit of an incredibly bright and creative young man, trapped in a world of mediocre dullards.  Calvin plays the game with an edge of irony, playing and laughing at the concept of a rule denying a rule, in the same way philosophers will laugh at the phrase “This sentence is false.” One of my favourite strips from the series was the comic where his father explained old black & white photographs: just like Calvin, his father is bored with the dullards of the world who cannot think logically, so he hands his son a ridiculous logical puzzle to play with, knowing that he has the intellect to see it through.

Calvin and his father are what Thomas Jefferson meant when he talked about the Natural Aristocracy – but when their toys are handed over to the degenerate masses, a cyclopean twilight descends.

Modern culture is Calvinball writ large: narcissism, and the redefinition of reality to suit the egoistic demands of the individual.  Progressives just keep progressing, Hope and Change means that things will never stop changing, and the rejection of an objective standard of Truth means a relativistic circling of the drain.

Changing the system won’t actually change the system!  Change is the system!

This whole series by Extra Credits presupposes a grand architect, a Game Designer creating the system from on-high – and yet, they’re discussing a system which rejects the whole notion of an Architect.  Modern Western Democracy not only rejects the notion of an Architect for Governance, it rejects the concept of an Architect for Man!  There is no Good Life anymore – there is no such thing as an Ethical Absolute – there is only the mass opinion, the swell of the majority subsuming all individuality into a sea of self-referenced irony and earlobe spacers.

There is a fundamental truism which we never hear anymore: that you are going to be controlled – period.  This control is either explicit… or it’s occult, hidden from view.  But it’s always there.

Calvin plays his ridiculous games, knowing full well that if the score is made up, then so is the concept of winning; and yet he acknowledges winning as a True concept.  Win and Lose are part of the explicit control, and in Calvinball, even when you win, you still lose, since you did it by cheating.  That’s the joke.

When the massed degenerates pick up his game, however, they don’t get the joke.  They sit around watching their televisions, buying their Air Jordans, voting for a Change that never comes, and slaving away for the corporations – and they think that they’re Free.

A woman who marries a man of her choosing, and devotes her time to raising a family is called a slave; a woman who pursues the empty accolades of careerism is called empowered.

Every system is about control; without control – without rules – there is no winning, there is no catharsis, there is no video game.  Democracy, by claiming it’s about change, simply moves the control to the meta-level.  An explicit, hierarchical system allows legitimate routes to advancement.  In an occult system, everyone thinks they’re free, while the sneaky bastards pull the strings.

The solution isn’t to become another cog, voting and lobbying to get more of the same change.  The solution is to recognize this Strange Game for what it is, and realize that…

Winning Move

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Davis M.J. Aurini

Trained as a Historian at McMaster University, and as an Infantry soldier in the Canadian Forces, I'm a Scholar, Author, Film Maker, and a God fearing Catholic, who loves women for their illogical nature.

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8 Responses

  1. “…that you are the players in this great game.” Bullshit. As HawaiianLibertarian says, the System is working as intended. Fixing the fillibuster would only increase the rate of institutional conquest. Ah, I see Aurini found the same point in the video disagreeable.

    The winning move is to play for yourself. Right now not playing is a stop-gap measure. Are we not playing? The time to formulate the culture and the in-group to inherit Western civilization is now. All solutions that assume an inviolable WE are full of shit. I am against monarchy for me. With high enough cultural standards, you would not need monarchy. Monarchy is a primitive form of government. I’d say the anarchists are on to something, but they ruin it with a false purity of no institutions. What is needed is for natural nobles to break and make their institutions at will in a free market of violence and ideas. That is how life works out sooner or later. It would be more efficient and productive in terms of human lives to harmonize with ecology and evolution sooner rather than later. Slaves can be useful members of society, but free quality men are better if you can get them. I think culture will evolve to the point that only able philosophers will be first citizens, or else humanity will forever be stunted in its development. It is so obviously the next level. It will happen only with wise discrimination that will take its toll on natural parasites. Can’t happen soon enought. I don’t see the point in keeping them around with the technological leverage we have today to get things done without them. I don’t think a man able to be a philosopher-king of his castle and a male popular soveriegn is anything but hurt by rule under a king. Jeopardy makes virtue and vice. That is why I like ecology. The point of institution is to be delegatory to the ruling class and to thwart institutional advantage that picks the winners and losers. Even when institution take responsibility for defense, it takes privilege for making war and laying taxes in blood and treasure. Let minute men take on that burden and privilege with the jeapardy of their homes, families, and neighborhoods. Men who only seek economic acheivement are political freeloaders anyway. Let the law be every man’s duty. Let those who can only bungle it be weeded out or put in a place by a first-class citizen. That’s my vision of the society I would have. Granted that it’s a moot opinion, but we know not what seeds the future as we market our ideas to each other as intellectual peers. The great thing about free markets and ecology, we don’t need to, which is how mother nature works in the first place. Rationalism trusts empericism sooner rather than later.

  2. Aurini says:

    It’s not that I disagree with you when you say “Monarchy is a primitive form of government,” – it’s that I think we’re still incredibly primitive.

    Just look at what we managed to do with Democracy; Anarchy would be ten times as bad. We’re like a child playing with a loaded gun.

  3. “I think we’re still incredibly primitive.” “We’re like a child playing with a loaded gun.”

    On the aggregate, yes, weeee are like that. Is there an emotional sticking point to consider whether or not some of us are not? If some of us are not, do we need to keep around those who are? Women have historically been put in their places out of necessity. A woman out of her place with means is damage done. Take away the means. That goes for anyone who is a danger to the civilized living to their potentials. Slavery died from north to south in the United States because free labor became available and replaced slave labor, which is inferior in terms of production. Slaves are not motivated to work, care for equipment, etc. I speak of chattel slaves and note slavery has a current state of the art in fiat money and beyond.

    Big question: If some of us ARE civilized, do we need those who are not civilized at all? I think they need us, and where they are not useful to our purposes, let them fend for themselves outside of where I live. Do we need those who are civilized but hostile and hurtful to us? I don’t understand how we can all be familiar with how nature works from all the nature shows on TV and not see this. There is no improvement in humanity if the threshold for suffering and death does not go up in terms of cultural class. You are the thinking man you are precisely because less intelligent men and their reproductive fruits were culled out of life. The process never ends. Being alive is being process. Our process is evolution. Our sustaining environment is ecology. Static order is corruption leading to death. We all must aspire. Life is competitive and merciless. Moochers aspire to mooch. I don’t condemn a hammer for its propensity to hammer things, but I know if it’s a moocher or me, I choose me. I would insult myself to not aspire to reach my potential. If everyone chases their potentials, the cream will rise to the top and the dregs will fail. That is our process of natural selection. It exists in some form, going in some direction. If better men compete to win, things get better for those who win, who exist. If better men roll over, they are not really better men according to the laws of nature. That is the mindfuck on us from the Establishment. They want us to not aspire to free our own potential, to be trapped in the universal WE. They have no such delusions. I suspect the elite who run the world strongly derive their culture and values from Judaism. Jews know who they are and they play to win. They are the oldest group of elitist around, and they codefied debt slavery as foundational to their culture over 2,000 years ago. I don’t fault the global elite for playing to win, or Jews for taking advantage. Might makes right, so if they win, they deserve to win. I did not make the rules. The rules are evolution, natural selection. There is no morality except in cooperation made in good faith. The universal we is not cooperating with me in good faith I can assure you. The default in life is amorality, or else the morality of might makes right. Any other ‘morality’ is a construct in life, a little bubble of something more, that still must honor might making right or it dies at the natural foundation. Much called morality is an illusion of simple certainty in exchange for freedom. It is domestication.

    I know I’ve gone off on very little prompting. I am addressing what I think people generally do in their thinking. I’ve come up against resistance again and again. People shunning my ideas and values comply with conventional thought out of fear and expedience and call it virtue. That is what women do. They follow authority and mimick what authority will reward. That is no way for a man to live. Our reward for allegiance is the gradual destruction of our lives, as some sick insurance against total failure, total death. I don’t advocate a suicidal mission of resistance, but damn if people can’t even think to be independent and realize death is a part of life. There never can be a universal we. Sexual reproduction takes aimless chances. It is a shame to waist better people for the sake of worse. The sake of parasites are worth nothing without the sake of a host. What thinking person would invest limited resources in inveterate net consumers? Is it really such a loss to cull certain millions who have been bred precisely for our political conquest from within? If my freedom requires the death of millions of inveterate moochers, I’ll take my freedom with the slightest qualm, thank you.

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” –Thomas Jefferson

    “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.” –Patrick Henry

  4. Correction: If my freedom requires the death of millions of inveterate moochers, I’ll take my freedom withOUT the slightest qualm, thank you.

  5. And as for playing with loaded guns. Democracy came out of a free market of violence. Nature is a free market of violence. We have the Second Amendment here in the States. There is no virtue is there is no jeopardy. Culture forms and advances precisely because people take the law into their own hands, think about how to do things better out of necessity. Conventions arise as to how to resolve disputes. Then those conventions, and the disciple, that worked so well becomes institutionalized, and conventions are pushed top-down in an orderly way. That is a death knell because natural life is not orderly in a static sense. Free markets have homeostasis. The political order we have is homeostasis, just not enough to be healthy and naturally progressive. If everyone can’t take the law into their own hands, you don’t have universal democracy as nature measures things. Ultimately, we do have natural democracy, with domesticated individuals on the sidelines taking what they get. What would a disarmed people get? Japan is going back to their roots, btw. It is the rebellious spirit that stirs the pot and makes white society sometimes a spectacular success. Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I think it is better to claim one’s violent capacity for oneself than to never have claimed it at all. It keeps people honest when everyone does that. Any suffering is then a firsthand lesson, unlike the neat and clean order we have today where the lesson is be the best degenerate you can be, trust no one, mooch best, pretend to be compassionate for being an outward collectivist. So the question is: Is the absence of violence a good thing? Are we afraid to fail to the point of not daring to succeed? The United States has been great, and people were armed and took the law into their own hands. It was glorious. Men were men, and women were ladies.

  6. Edwin Calais says:

    The sad thing is, the closer people like you get to revealing “The Truth”, the more you now alienate yourself from the rest of society.

    This may seem like a small observation, but really, it is the disease that grips us all.

    The way successful civilizations were set up… were set up that way for a reason.

    That we seem to be even incapable of understanding the motivations of our ancestors indicates more and more that we are “lost” rather than “advanced.”

    How is losing the wisdom of our ancestors an “advance” when at the same time, ignoring the wisdom of the Boomer generation is supposed to be “ignorant, misogynist and racict?”

    There’s a big “hiccup” in history here that we aren’t paying attention to. It all points to Boomertopia being false, but most citizens are now boomers.

    God help us all until he removes these peoples from our political system!

  7. Eric says:

    *ehem* just thought I’d point out a typo near the beginning of this article. “In Par 2” Feel free to delete this comment if you want.

    Ed: Thanks!

  8. Exfernal says:

    Sticking to basics: what is assumed to be changeless, besides pure math? Laws of physical reality? Anything more is subject to change, only at different speeds and different trajectories. Combinations are endless, making each particular situation a novel experience in part. Technological change is one of the most powerful variables, making rules written for one period totally unsuitable for another.