The anti-anti reactionary FAQ Part 1, Terror and mass murder

In this post, I address Scott’s anti reactionary FAQ on terrors and mass murders.  In other posts I will address economic growth, sex, freedom, art, and other issues. The anti reactionary FAQ is big, and has a lot of points, most of which I will deal with in separate posts.

Reactionaries say that democracy leads to the left singularity, which at best results in great suffering, and usually in mass murder.

Scott in his anti reactionary FAQ refutes this by a pile of supposed reactionary mass murders, notable among them the horrible reactionary mass murderer Zhang Xianzhong, better known to reactionaries as the horrible radical leftist mass murderer Chang Hsien-chong, the man who distributed the wealth of the landlords to the poor, then ate the landlords for oppressing the poor, then exterminated the intellectuals for infecting the poor with insufficiently progressive ideas, then flayed the poor alive for being insufficiently grateful for having the wealth of their oppressors redistributed to them.

Of all those who write in English, the historian Donnithorde was in the best position to know the truth about Chang Hsien-chong, and he tells us that the radical leftist Chang Hsien-chong reduced the population of Szechwan from three million to seven thousand, largely by torturing people to death.

The Ming dynasty was under attack by left wing revolutionaries.  The most extreme, and most religious, of the leftists rose to the top, being holier than any of the others.  Inevitably he found that not only were the elite not left enough, but the masses were not left enough.  And soon after that, his own lieutenants were not left enough either.

This seems to be the closest approach to the left singularity ever.

Earlier I wrote

The left singularity is the same each time in its approach to infinite leftism, but differs chaotically and surprisingly each time in its ending short of infinite leftism

If it did not end, the final outcome, infinite leftism in finite time, would be that everyone is tortured to death for insufficient leftism, except the last torturer, who then commits suicide to punish himself for failure to inflict infinitely severe torments, but this does not happen in practice, because always at some point short of infinite leftism, something, or someone, goes boom – though not necessarily very far short of infinite leftism.

Which is a close approximation to the career of  Chang Hsien-chong.  Things did not go boom until rather late in the process.

Wikipedia gives a more progressive account, but the whitewash seems to be based on nothing but wishful thinking, on progressive unwillingness to believe ill of progressives. They cite Donnithorde to tell us that the seven kill stele is a myth, but neglect to cite Donnithorde that the words were Chang’s, irrespective of whether he carved them on a stele.

Chang said:

Heaven brings forth innumerable things to nurture man.
Man has nothing good with which to recompense Heaven
Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill.

To update his words to the twenty first century just substitute earth for heaven:

Earth brings forth innumerable things to nurture man.
Man has nothing good with which to recompense Earth
Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill.
10:10 no pressure.

The progressive rationale is that it was not Chang Hsien-chong Zhang Xianzhong that killed all these people, but something or someone else, that no one noticed at the time.

Hang on. China in the seventeenth century was a literate and bureaucratic society. We have a pile of census records showing the near total depopulation of Szechwan.  If someone or something killed everyone in Szechwan, it would have been noticed. There is overwhelming historical evidence that Chang Hsien-chong did it, or rather that the population of Szechwan did it to each other under his leadership and under the influence of his ideas. There is precisely zero evidence of anyone or anything else doing it.

So the progressive position on Chang Hsien-chong Zhang Xianzhong is similar to their position on Pol Pot and Kim Il Sung.  Supposedly he is a reactionary, and anyway the CIA made him do it.  If reactionaries want a monarch, was not Kim il Sung a monarch?

Well actually, no, Kim Il Sung was not a monarch.  He was a demotic radical, and should his descendents become monarchs, which may well happen, then North Korea will be fine.  But since they are demotic radicals, North Korea is a hell hole, though not as bad a hell hole as was Szechwan province under Chang Hsien-chong.

Supposedly, if Zhang Xianzhong did it, he was a reactionary and monarch (Scott’s position), and if he was a radical leftist, he supposedly did not do it (Wikipedia position).

This post cheerfully stolen from Konkvistador

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60 Responses to “The anti-anti reactionary FAQ Part 1, Terror and mass murder”

  1. Gian says:

    But why do you call a bandit and an adventurer a Leftist?
    DId he have typical leftist views such as Equality, Liberty and Fraternity?
    Did he even have an idealogy?

    • spandrell says:

      He lead a peasant revolt against the legal emperor.

      • Gian says:

        I know what an ’emperor’ is.
        But what is a ‘legal emperor’?

        • spandrell says:

          The one who has the legal title to rule, i.e. not just some guy with an army.

          • Gian says:

            And who or what gives an emperor a ‘legal title to rule’?
            Pope? In Europe maybe.
            But it could not be so in China.

            • jim says:

              Same as the difference between legal tender and counterfeit money.

              The violence of the legal emperor is decorously clothed. The violence of the would be emperor is naked.

          • Konkvistador says:

            Mandate of Heaven makes for pretty interesting game theory. A revolt against the Emperor is illegitimate until it is successful in reuniting the Empire, then it is legitimate (because for this to have happened the previous dynasty must have lost the mandate of heaven).

          • Gian says:

            By “decorum” do you mean traditions and conventions of the particular State?

            The conservative (“rightist”) respects his traditions. The “leftist” does not. This might be one way to define “left”.

    • red says:

      Leftism = short term power and disorder. Right = long term power and order.

    • jim says:

      Certainly he had an ideology: Wikipedia calls him the leader of a peasant revolt, though I would say he began as one of the leaders and became “the” leader.

      His initial crimes were directed at the supposedly oppressing classes.

      http://books.google.com.au/books?id=qa7a68bIfPkC&pg=PA202&lpg=PA202&ots=LpE8kRogAF&sig=2YrEnDfgNWDllUWS3T2M2aaaBVk&redir_esc=y tells us “These rebellions attempted to build a broad popular base by focussing on class issues, the demand being to equalize land between rich and poor.”

      One of his banners declared “Follow the right way on behalf of heaven in killing the wealthy and aiding the poor”

      To run the same banner at Occupy Wall Street, change “heaven” to “the earth”

      In the The Journal of Asian studies, which used to be a commie journal, maybe still is, Hu Zhaoxi tells us that most of Zhang’s victims were Ming nobles, rich landlords, and other “counter-revolutionary” elements

      • Gian says:

        Peasants revolted against Bolsheviks too-see Tambov revolt.
        But peasants famously lack idealogy. They only want land and an end to local oppression.

        • jim says:

          “Follow the right way on behalf of heaven in killing the wealthy and aiding the poor”

          Sure sounds like ideology to me. If you doubt it, substitute “the earth” for “heaven”, and hold out the banner at Occupy Wall Street.

          “Follow the right way on behalf of The Earth in killing the wealthy and aiding the poor”

  2. Konkvistador says:

    “Hang on. China in the fifteenth century was a literate and bureaucratic society. ”

    You mean 17th century?

  3. […] The anti-anti reactionary FAQ Part 1, Terror and mass murder « Jim’s Blog […]

  4. VXXC says:

    O/T – Pen Register warrants invalidate crypto, conscience compels shuttering.

    http://torrentfreak.com/vpn-provider-shuts-down-after-lavabit-case-undermines-security-131022/

    • jim says:

      Courts allow pen registers to be dragnets, catching everyone and the entire contents of all traffic, not just those subject to warrant describing particular individuals. This is flagrantly unconstitutional. So courts also forbid people to speak of them.

  5. Konkvistador says:

    The relationship between milleniarism and movements prone to the leftist singularity should be explored.

    Lets look at one (fortunately extinct) memetic branch:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazdak
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khurramites

    You see thins like opening of the granaries to feed the poor rather than the king’s soldiers, free love, sexual equality, ect. pop up over and over again in the history of many seemingly unrelated movements.

    I suspect this is because a “end of the world” or “soon a new Earth will be here” memes collapse time preferences and so it accumulates rationalizations to enable these actions.

    The Khurramites are an excellent example of Moldbug’s approach to classifying memeplexes on features basically giving a very common sense answer. The answer is that Khurramites weren’t functionally Muslim, they where best understood as Zoroastrian heretics. This is is an answer the modern Progressive has no problem approaching as can be seen from the wikipedia because they are extinct.

    Had the Khurramites won it hardly seems crazy to suggest they might have ended up atheist but still functionally recognizably Zoroastrian heretics with some minor Islamic drag in tow.

    The Khurramites are also important because while they don’t clear Pseudo-Monotheism, they seem to clear the Jews (and by extension Christianity/Islam as *uniquely* the progenitors of this. Christianity isn’t the only “slave morality” religion despite the claims of some Pagan minded rightists. A history without Jews seems likely to have still had at least the Mazdakists, and indeed without Islam rushing in Persia might have festered spawn of that madness longer than it did.

    • Konkvistador says:

      By collapsing time preferences, I awkwardly meant to say time preferences become higher and higher and things as a result go terribly wrong. Mass famine or violence wrong.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nongqawuse

      • jim says:

        Obviously a secure dynasty has long time preference and the mobile bandit short time preference. A left singularity is the manifestation of a struggle for power, even if one man (the holiest of them all) manages to remain on top of the tiger, hence short time preference.

    • Erik says:

      It also helps clear the Jews.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculturalism

      This one doesn’t seem to have gotten to a millennial point, due to being purged by rivals, but it also fits into the model of classifying ideologies by features.

      To the Agriculturalists, the ideal society, modeled after that of Shennong’s, is communal, agrarian, and egalitarian. The Agriculturalist believed that the ideal government is led by a benevolent king, one who works alongside the people in tilling the fields. The Agriculturalist king is not paid by the government through its treasuries; his livelihood is derived from the profits he earns working in the fields and cooking his own meals, not his leadership.

      The Agriculturalists supported the fixing of prices, in which all similar goods, regardless of differences in quality and demand, are set at exactly the same, unchanging price. They suggested that people should be paid the same amount for the same services, a policy criticized by the Confucians as encouraging products of low quality, which “destroys the earnest standards of craftmanship.”

      • Erik says:

        It also helps clear the Jews.
        (Can this be edited into my comment above?)

      • Konkvistador says:

        To be clear the Jews are still clearly the progenitors of a lot of leftism, I was just arguing they aren’t the unique source of such evolution. Neither is apparently Christianity.

        Progressive Atheist Puritan Christianity is just the leftism that won and conquered the world, but other beasts could have evolved to take its place had it been cut down.

        • I think this is an important, under-exposed point: The Puritan variant just happened to arise in an otherwise magnificently capable people, who just happened to be presented with a practically free continent.

          • jim says:

            I would say that Massachusetts conquered America, rather than just happened to inherit it. People who were seeking theocratic power in England were exiled to America, where they went right on seeking theocratic power.

          • Well there wasn’t much to conquer at first. But truly they did manage to bring their much more moderate Southern and Middle State brethren to heel later.

        • jim says:

          The main contenders being french leftism, which, as we saw in the holy wars in Spain and in the Vendee, was cladistically Gallicanism, and communism, which was cladistically a direct spawn of that father of religions, Judaism.

          • VXXC says:

            Jim,

            MASS is only part of the story, they have been dominant but not solely wielding power since 1865.

            50 years ago they threw down Jesus because they were holier than Jesus. At the same time they lost all martial or even physical violence vigor, probity, ethics, solvency and the gift of rule. There was a break in the passing on of rule, it is lost to them. For example they’ve been floundering around looking for a substitute religion…anybody remember Gaia? Forgot already? Oh and they decided to hand over the law and the money to history’s great lawyers and financiers. Whose criminal element [that hides behind the Orthodox innocents] knows no bounds, and IT’S.OVER.

            IT’S.OVER.

            However. We are already splitting into camps…most uneven. The progs and their lemming victims who are determined to go down with them cannot and will not be saved. The rest of us who’ve faced reality will have to endure the thrashings of their passing. We absolutely should not in even the slightest conversation, never mind confrontation give any ground regardless of how tactically unsound it may seem. I do not think however do not for certain know if it will or won’t come to going house to house rounding people up.

            I can say with all the certainty of facing the Human animal that they will go for the weak first – and indeed as much as possible exclusively. I mention this as caution – if they know you’ll back down at work, they can make a good judgement [and follow instincts] you’ll keep backing down. Do not stand down or back until you’ve made the point you are not a victim, like Luke preach this Gospel wherever you go, unlike Luke you should rule out words to convey the message.

            We should also [always] be prepared against disruption and ready to defend ourselves. Over time – by which I mean all time – humans find it easier to defend in packs.

            If you show the slightest interest in MANNING UP I think you’ll find friends, and you’ll find that blessedly in our American case the Police and Military are [blessedly] not what certain ahem people think they are, as they are apparently missing that police and military are not the dumb ape version of Academia .

            And it’s in Academia that the worst excesses and probably reactions will happen. Academia will be more dangerous than the inner city when the EBTs stop working.

  6. […] The Ming dynasty was under attack by left wing revolutionaries. The most extreme and most religious … […]

  7. Iralie says:

    Yeah, the left kills people too. More of us should be willing to admit that.

    It’s kinda what totalitarians have a habit of doing.
    Stalin, Pol Pot, revolutionaries all over South America.

    However that is not how the left has to be, the problem is that the structure of the state and status quo is entrenched with right wing people who will not give up power peacefully.
    This leads to a situation where the leaders of left movements that seize power need to be willing to kill people on a large scale as it tends to proceed via civil war or revolution.
    It is not a result of the left, just a result of the root taken to reach the state of new government.

    • Red says:

      Only the left murders it’s own supporters. Most of the people killed by Mao and Pol Pot were fellow leftists.

      • Jake says:

        When you kill 30% of your country’s population, odds are most of the people you killed were not “fellow leftists”, even if fellow leftists were targets in the worst purges.

        • jim says:

          The Khmer Rouge killed almost all the intellectuals. I am pretty sure that almost all the intellectuals were leftists, and that almost all the Khmer Rouge were killed by the Khmer Rouge.

    • spandrell says:

      That is not how nomad conquests have to be, the problem is that the structure of the state and status quo is entrenched with settled people who will not open the gates peacefully.
      This leads to a situation where the leaders of the Mongol hordes that siege cities need to be willing to kill people on a large scale as it tends to proceed to full scale war.
      It is not a result of Gengis Khan, just a result of the root taken to reach the state of a new government.

      See? That was easy.

    • jim says:

      However that is not how the left has to be, the problem is that the structure of the state and status quo is entrenched with right wing people who will not give up power peacefully.

      Untrue. The biggest killings happened after right wing people had given up power peacefully. King Louis XVI yielded power peacefully, then they killed him, then they killed all the aristocrats, then they killed each other.

      Similarly the Tsar.

      The more violently leftists are resisted, for example Charles the First, the less they are apt to be murderous if they win.

  8. […] The anti-anti reactionary FAQ Part 1, Terror and mass murder « Jim’s Blog […]

  9. Joseph Tkach says:

    I don’t quite understand how Kim Jong Il or Kim Jong Un are not monarchs. I consider myself to be a neoreactionary, but Scott’s assertion that North Korea is a monarchy has been causing me some distress. Above, when you say “Well actually, no, Kim Il Sung was not a monarch. He was a demotic radical”, it seems to me like an instance of “No True Scotsman”.

    The official state ideology of North Korea is clearly a leftist philosophy, but in practice it seems that their government has the structure of a monarchy. Can you please explain this in more detail?

    • Steve Johnson says:

      The difference is the source of legitimacy – which boils down to the narrative that is in everyone’s head as to why they obey or carry out orders.

      A king is king because when someone asks “why obey the king?” the answer is “he is the rightful ruler”.

      When someone is asked why they obey a demotic radical the answer is “he represents the will of the people”.

      If someone represents an idea they are always vulnerable to someone else representing that idea better than they do.

      If at some point the answer to “why does Kim Jong Il rule?” changes from “he represents the will of the people” to “he is the heir to a living god who was the embodiment of the will of the people” then North Korea will be a reactionary state.

      • Joseph Tkach says:

        So is it your contention that if Kim Jong Un believed that he his sovereign power derives from his divine right as a king, then he would decide to close his re-education camps and allow his people to engage in free trade? I’m worried it will sound like I am trolling here, but I am not.

        • Steve Johnson says:

          So is it your contention that if Kim Jong Un believed that he his sovereign power derives from his divine right as a king he would…

          Not quite – if his army and police forces believed this and he explicitly claimed it then he’d allow trade.

          The re-eduction camps would probably stay – need to have somewhere to put agents of Harvard / the State Department who try to infiltrate his country.

          • jim says:

            Exactly so.

            The North Korean regime has from time to time attempted to allow trade, special economic zones, and is about to try them yet again, and each time, had to back off, because with trade came dangerous ideas.

            Why dangerous?

            Because the regime’s legitimacy depends on radical demotism.

            If he was a King the way Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is a King, the ideas that come with trade would be no more dangerous to him than they are to Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

          • Anomaly UK says:

            It’s still possible that DPRK could gradually convert into a monarchy, but I’m not sure it’s particularly likely. http://anomalyuk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/executions-in-north-korea.html

  10. […] will have to respond to. Michael has already done a short, preliminary response, while Jim has critiqued one particular aspect of the […]

  11. […] but not entirely well-aimed rebuttal to Reaction are now available from Foseti, Bryce, Jim part 1 and part […]

  12. Zach says:

    Maybe it’s worth considering adding this entry, and the following entries in this FAQ to the liberty site after a good scrubbin’?

    • jim says:

      A good though, see how it goes. It would have to become the neo reaction faq though, rather than the anti anti reactionary faq.

      I am working on a non pinker graph of war through time, which I expect to show that European monarchies were peaceful, while progressivism has become more and more violent.

      • Zach says:

        Good going!

        I work with an old robotics fellow now. Not that it is relevant here, but the man is not only brilliant, but easy to work with, funny, and overflowing with wisdom.

        I almost fell to my knees laughing at some of his stories. This is a great man. He started on a chicken farm with his brother. Sounds boring, but, when he gets into smashing rats with hammers, a guy like me starts to giggle… and then hysteria ensues.

        Love that old bastard.

        • Zach says:

          When young the old man set up a plate to electrocute the rats. There was only one path in and out. The plate had so much energy as to kill almost ANYTHING.

          Thousands of “rat cries” later, the old man set up shop where the plate was with a hammer. As each rat exited the barn, BOOM!

          …hammer killed.

          Long story short: rats are tough. I was in awe. Rats can take a ridiculous amount of punishment. Good god. Can’t remember the numbers but it is far beyond what a human can survive “in theory”.

  13. […] The anti-anti reactionary FAQ Part 1, Terror and mass murder « Jim’s Blog […]

  14. […] of the anti-reaction FAQ. Related: The decline frame. Related: In response to claims concerning Chang Hsien-chong Related: Jim on crime against the anti-reactionary FAQ. Related: The problem of measuring the […]

  15. Konkvistador says:

    Recently I’ve learned quite a bit about Muslim vegetarian socialists that rebelled against the rightful monarch/theocrat to try and build a society of equality and reason in about 900 AD.

    And naturally they ended up running an economy based on slavery on massive scale, sacking Mecca and slaughtering pilgrims who engaged in the superstition of the Hajj, who had it coming for being insufficiently holy. It was a republic of course. “The Qarma?ians instigated what [ Al-Jub?r?] termed a “century of terrorism” in Kufa”

    There are some very juicy things in other sources on them, the accounts are fascinating, but I’m not sure how trustworthy, as I don’t know much of the period, so I am just going to back this up with the Cathedral approved Wikipedia page. Even that is very interesting and damning. The belief section is suspiciously empty. Guess what memes are associated with it:

    “In an echo of cyclical Mazdean thought, the Qarmatian world view was one where every phenomenon repeated itself in cycles, where every incident was replayed over and over again.”

    “The year 931 was also highly important for the Qarmatians’ mahdi fervor, as it was 1,500 years after the prophet Zoroaster’s death and the end of the epoch of Alexander, which predicted the reign of the Magians.

    Jesus, I thought Mazdakism had been killed twice by then. The history of leftist-ish ideologies is like a bad horror movie, they, keep, coming, back. http://blog.jim.com/politics/the-anti-anti-reactionary-faq-part-1-terror-and-mass-murder.html/comment-page-1#comment-399344

    Remember this is just one year after they sacked Mecca, desecrating its holy sites with pilgrim corpses:

    “Therefore, in 931 Abu Tahir handed over power to a young Persian man whom he believed to be the awaited mahdi. This new Persian Qarmatian leader acted unexpectedly, forbidding Islamic law and prayer, ordering the cursing of many imams and Muslim prophets, supported the worship of fire, killed prominent Qarmati leaders, and proclaimed a religion centered on Adam, the first man. The expected mahdi ruled only 80 days; Abu Tahir had no choice but to kill him, though his bizarre rule severely destabilized the Qarmatian movement.”

    That escalated quickly. Besides being strong evidence for at least one core of very much Zoroastrian heresy of the type I speculated upon earlier in the movement, it features an individual with power killing off those who are getting too holy for his health and makes the regime somewhat less insane. A arrested leftist singularity.

    History sometimes looks like reactionary fanfiction.

    • Konkvistador says:

      I’m fascinated at how quickly they needed to become overtly Holier than Mohammed. Maybe sacking Mecca accelerated it?

    • jim says:

      Elsewhere I have argued that the French Revolution and its red terror, which gave us the word “leftism”, descended not from the Puritans, but from the false Popes of Avignon.

      The largest and most powerful branch of a leftwards movement is that which takes the longest time to go singular, goes singular most slowly, and the slowest part of the movement takes, very roughly, a few centuries. One the one hand, the most extreme leader, the one who is lefter than all of the others, comes out on top. On the other hand, the polity in which this process takes place most slowly is the one that survives long enough to conquer the known world.

  16. […] partially covered in various comments. Besides Michael‘s piece with which I agree with, here are some of the responses to it I may not. In one of his responses James A. Donald elaborated somewhat […]

  17. […] Zhang Xianzhong was a radical leftist, not an emperor, and violence diminished after Zhang Xianzhong, because everyone was so horrified by the […]

  18. […] Jim Donald, “The Anti-Anti Reactionary FAQ” (Series, Part 1, 2, 3, 4, Sluts, War and Democide, […]

  19. […] James Donald: terror and mass murder […]

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