People often ask me to recommend them books to read on the subjects that I bring up here. For the life of me, I can’t think of a single book (except for my own, of course) that is worth the investment of time and energy that it takes to read and understand it relative to the insight that one gains into these topics. Besides, most of the insights that I share on the blog I stumbled across or synthesized myself. I’m not saying that there haven’t been writers and thinkers smarter than myself who beat me to the punch, just that most of the conclusions seem to have been arrived at by multiple people coming from different backgrounds and using different means. This indicates to me that these ideas are perennial.
One of the most educational experiences for me was running a Russian-language podcast and engaging in the wider Russian-speaking right-o-sphere. During the course of this project, I picked up most of the insights that I share now.
Back in the day, right-wingers only really talked about their preferred political ideology and critiqued the ones that they didn’t like. I got tired of constantly debating history and ideology, so I decided that we had to move past ideology to be able to say something new that could cut across traditional party lines. When thinking about what exactly to replace ideology with, I settled on a new first principle and a practice-based approach. So that’s at least one insight I gleaned out of the practical necessity of actually trying to organize people with differing pet political theories to get them to start working together.
When you’re trying to get people to actually do stuff like write texts, make memes and placards, and start actively challenging the hegemony of more established groups, you find that ideology has very little bearing on results. Instead, you just start looking for competent people. Someone to run a group, someone to produce content and so on. Organizations with talent, I discovered, do better than those who may have good ideas, but who are populated by untalented people or unorganized people. We ended up cycling through literally dozens of content-creators of various ideological stripes and few of them had even a passing understanding of our ideas. So long as we paid and prodded them, they did their work, for the most part. Our efforts changed to focus on attracting talent and our work became a matter of managing people, essentially. The structure of the project began to resemble a corporation, with an irate boss trying to force unmotivated wage-lemmings to produce a somewhat quality product. It’s almost as if this structure is perennial, it emerges whether or not you’re designing gay dating apps, mass producing widgets or trying to create an internet propaganda machine.
This conclusion didn’t escape some of the great organizers that have come and gone throughout history. If we simply read their personal correspondence, we find out that 90% of their time was spent wrangling the retards that surrounded them and quashing constant internal squabbling. The other 10% is what history remembers - the lofty-sounding ideas and ideology that they produced.
The main determiner of success appears to be the effective political machines that people build. And, to keep these machines running, ideology often has to be sacrificed in the name of practical effectiveness, which, to me, indicates that the latter is far more important than the former. Take Lenin as an example: after years of trying to run his revolutionary think tank as a democratic institution where measures and ideas were voted on and no one was more equal than anyone else, he eventually realized the necessity of adopting an authoritarian command structure within the party, and spent still more years cajoling, convincing and killing off people to achieve this aim.
I too tried to make things run with a council of like-minded peers taking collective responsibility for the operation of our little organization. Naturally, it broke down into in-fighting and factionalized into two bickering camps eventually. Then, it became terminally entropic, and all work simply ground to a halt. Eventually, my partner and I ushered in the beginning of the Imperial period of our outfit’s history by declaring ourselves co-Emperors of the movement and parting ways with the faction that refused to recognize our divine right to lead. I am sure that the period of the diarchy will be remembered by historians as a period of stability and growth for the movement that fixed many of the problems of the squabbling republican period that preceded it.
As you can see, I extrapolated the lessons that I learned from running an inconsequential internet troll outfit to world history and other, far more serious political movements. Thus, yet another one of the key points that I stress on this blog was really just arrived at through hands-on experimentation.
Another one of the key ideas that I have yet to fully flesh out is an exegesis on the Power of Friendship. Take Putin, for example. His entire politicking strategy consisted of taking his Judo friends with him from St. Petersburg to Moscow and giving them positions in the newly-formed presidential administration. He is not alone in pursuing this strategy - Zelensky’s entire government appears to be staffed by people who attended his Bar Mitzvah when he was a teenager. Political change is effected by kicking one guy out of office and firing his friends, making way for your friends to assume the newly-vacated offices. Ideally, your friends possess a good balance of both loyalty and actual competence. If things work well, you’re a reformer. If they don’t, you’re a corrupt political tycoon.
If one takes even a passing interest in politics, it would be a good use of one’s time and efforts to study how to organize people to do things and work together. Before diving into political discussions with one’s friends, try instead to get them to organize something or work together to achieve a common goal. I recommend starting small with a picnic or a BBQ. It becomes clear quite quickly who is competent and who is just a useless eater. Who tries to make sure everyone is having a good time and who can’t even find the park that you picked out without calling you 5 times complaining about their GPS. Watch as the men jockey for control of the spatula and the grill. Observe who proposes a friendly game of volleyball and whether he has a good eye for picking fair teams.
With groups of friends who don’t do much but drink and gripe together, incompetency and stupidity can be tolerated. But, even doing something as simple as trying to organize a paintball team means having to make cuts, even if the person is sympathetic or subscribes to the same ideology as you (liking paintball in this example).
There’s also very little that cannot be extrapolated from the micro to the macro or vice versa.
Everything that one could ever need to know about democratic political systems one could have picked up in K-12, for example. In America, every single class president or school president I ever served under was non-White and the vast majority of them were black. The reason for this was simple: the teachers encouraged the swarthies to run for office, thinking it would empower them and no doubt because they were priming their White students to accept minority rule in the near future. Looking back on that time, I remember that the Da’avon Administration was a joke, but the De’Shawn and Deandre Administrations were OK, I guess. I liked their lunchroom policies.
It’s really just as simple to manipulate the masses into taking a clot shot as it is to convince students to vote for the black kid. The teachers i.e., the institutional powers shape the agenda, and then the rest falls into place through inertia.
My point is that life is always teaching us lessons, but few seem to be paying any attention.
I see this blog as a kind of remedial course in simple political truths for myself and my readers.