Izabella Kaminska’s recent article in the FT on seasteading does have some genuine criticism’s of the Seasteading Institute’s more utopian goals, including its supposed desire to achieve full political independence from the modern world. No such project can ever truly do this, and despite the heady heights of some of seasteading’s advocates I’m sure most recognise that pragmatism and time are needed. However the rest of the article is a glorified diatribe against political competition and in support of our static status quo. The simplicity of Kaminska’s message underlies the simplistic worldview that defines it. Continue reading
The supposed nationalist revolt encapsulated by Brexit and Trump have now been adequately shown to be elaborate exercises in pacification, further sweeping away questions of European and American White identity in the 21st century as populist insurgencies prove to be wholly conjunctural. They represent neither the beginning of a new order or the end of the old, instead showing a stopgap in the working orders of modernity. Trump nor Brexit will become harbingers, as both are mired in discourses and forms of mass. Mass in this case being a centralised totality of peoples, flows and governance. Alongside the mass of the Cathedral and the neoliberal economy, these new populist totalities are effectively vying in this centralised arena. Continue reading
Modernity’s fascination with the depolitical continues to be seen even in the heady times of populist groundswells, secessionist movements and economic and climatic change which potentially necessitate new ways of thinking about wider economies and polities. Many dominant and even nascent ideologies implicitly rely upon this drive toward depoliticisation, separating public spheres, counter-publics and the everyday political from the wider governmentality of the macro-environment. In effect, the issue of governance as a multiplicity of issues is skirted by placing institutions and mechanisms into situations of automaticity. The surrounding environment of markets and regulatory agencies are ruled by this automaticity, with their innate laws dictating the movement of resources and assuming an implicit equality of power. This understanding then colours how things are to be seen, with politics as a critique of existing power and an arena for the debate and creation of alternatives sidelined in favour of a kind of expertise and independent knowledge that remains unquestionable except to those ‘in the know’. However this in itself is a political concept. Expertise as knowledge and the structuration of markets and regulatory laws as scientific and ethereal suggest a politics of resources and power that removes agency from the public sphere toward precast institutions that internalise governance. Continue reading
The Catalan parliament’s declaration of independence is not a sea change in the way modern governance will work, particularly as the Spanish government has come down on this declaration of independence with an iron fist, allowing the Guardia Civil to abuse referendum voters and now removing the Catalan government from power. Instead it is a potentially catalytic moment that signals new possibilities in a world still largely (but only nominally) determined by the consensus of large, centralised nation-states controlling the main levers of political and socio-economic power. And judging by the reactions of the Spanish government and the EU, such potentiality worries the established governmental frameworks in Europe. Of course the Catalan independence movement is not a panacea, with many problems from the actors involved to the endgame vision envisioned by activists and politicians. Its strength lies in its innate ability to question received wisdom and the apodicticity of the state as the only means of legislation and decision-making, suggesting that Catalan independence can become a spear for further decentralisation and the move toward a multi-scalar, multi-institutional complex of governance and rule-making. Continue reading
Brexit is being considered the most important geopolitical development in the UK this century. It has already been cemented as a great plebiscitary revolt that has smashed the establishment narrative, repositioning British politics and causing a sudden change in the way the general electorate understand politics and government. In this sense, Brexit can be seen as a conjuncture, splitting open the common sense of modern politics in a fragmentary and indeterminable way. The way this conjunctural effect has evolved in the referendum vote and the resultant Brexit can be seen as a development of the extent of neoliberal subjectivity in the UK, where the economy has become practically depoliticised, removed from political/social critique, which the Leave campaign and the vast majority of Leave voters accepted as a political norm, as polling data and campaign discourse showed. Brexit then is a conjunctural revolt of culture, developing a half-way house lebenswelt that is pre-nascent, unable to develop a fully explanatory critique of modernity due to neoliberalism’s enclosure of the economy as an unquestionable dynamic of modern life.
Charlottesville seems to have been the coming together of two groups who pine after political power and control. Both Antifa and the Alt-Right seem determined to control the cultural and societal apparatuses that inform the major narratives and discourses of the US, pushing their understandings to the forefront of media exposure. Thus both groups are trying to stake their own political power within the state structures of the US government and its subsidiaries, attempting to exist within the centralised organs of governmental control. With this we see the fundamental problem. Two completely opposed groups vying for socio-cultural recognition and fighting for scraps from the US government itself. The fact that both are trying to do this will inevitably lead to conflict like that seen in Charlottesville. There will never be a political system that will encompass both anti-fascists (and their narratives of white privilege, structural racism and anti-dialogic engagement) and the Alt-Right (and their narratives of White identity, ethnocentrism and cultural homogeneity). The violence of Charlottesville shows the innate tendencies of modern politics when there is no dialogic or deliberative arena in which to air grievances and construct debate. The views of both groups are so anathema that such an arena is not even theoretically possible. The simple reality is that these groups cannot co-exist, and will when possible chase after the illusive power of institutionalised governance and the control of social and industrial complexes. Continue reading
In my previous essay I outline the conceptions of an idealised natural order of political and socio-economic authority consisting of overlapping platoons of varying organisational modes and jurisdictional structures. While an idealised type, this concept of a natural order is not a fully prescriptive universality, that prescribes particular hierarchical forms of governance upon the multiplicity of governmental forms. Rather, it is a recognition of the non-egalitarian nature of social life, and thus pushes against utopian ideals that take on a universal quality. It is a meta concept with varying degrees of applicability that presents the potential for new governmental forms to emerge, moving beyond both neoliberalism and egalitarianism which are themselves overarching abstractions that aim at the assimilation of heterogeneity and variety. Continue reading
Mass, the totality of people, goods and information, defines the modern world. Mass production, big data, the masses. Modern politics is focusing more on the masses than ever before, yet contradictorily polarisation increases and the masses become ever more fragmented and decentral. While production is nominally decentralised into global production networks, mass production continues in all facets, from material resources to consumer goods. Everything is total and categorisable, with any diminution seen as an aberration in the move to homogeneity. Continue reading
I did a talk for the Libertarian Alliance where I outline the problems with libertarian political engagement and potential solutions that allow for libertarianism to be relevant and radical.
Here is the talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLmlUylfIOQ
And this is the transcript:
The aim of this talk is to look into the idea of a libertarian moment, whereby there will be a particular turning point in the political environment that will provide a pathway for libertarian policies and forms of governance. This idea is encapsulated in the statement, “many people are libertarians, they just don’t know it yet”. Looking in particular at the UK and its political context, as well as parts of the US political makeup, I hope to show why this moment has probably passed on by, and how libertarianism in its current guise has failed to mobilise on a social, economic or political front. From that, I hope to offer ideas and questions that may push forth newer conceptions of libertarianism that can address these failures. Continue reading
The original intent of my website was to simply talk about libertarian theory, applying it to my interests and ideas as they evolved. There was no necessary coherence apart from what I was thinking about at the time. However as my ideas have developed further, delving into libertarian and non-libertarian concepts and coalescing around particular points that can be considered a general ideology, I think it would be best to provide a foundational document for my website that best explains its reasoning and understanding in short form. Continue reading