Leftism as cancer

Leftism is to memes as cancer is genes.

If the cells of the body mutate, cells that multiply at the expense of the body will be selected.  And cells that mutate to a faster mutation rate will be selected, since they will have more fast multiplying variants.

In a healthy body, each cell lives for the body, and performs its role in the whole body, making the body one. In cancer, each cancer cell lives for itself, at the expense of the body, parasitically, until the parasites devour the host

Left wing memes are selected by propagation through state power for propagation through state power.

In a healthy state the state is one, but there is large civil society, which is many. Following Marx’s definition, by capitalism and civil society we mean the “society of industry, of general competition, of freely pursued private interest, of anarchy, of natural and spiritual individuality alienated from self.”

The civil society, which is many, produces the wealth, the science, and the technology. The state, which is one, defends civil society from enemies internal and external.  For the reasons explained by Hayek and Mises, and colorfully dramatized by Ayn Rand, a unitary entity just cannot coordinate production very well.  It runs into analogous problems with technology and science.

For civil society to function, to create wealth, knowledge, and technology, it must be free, a hundred flowers. For the state to function, it must be one flower. Elements of the state apparatus cannot be permitted to use state power to pursue their own goals. Elements of the state apparatus must be profoundly unfree in their role of elements of the state, in their exercise of the powers of the state, so that the state can be one.

In anarcho tyranny each groupuscule of the state uses state power and state resources to pursue its own particular good, thus the state spends money it does not have, and taxes and regulates beyond the laffer limit, suffering the tragedy of the commons.  That is the anarchy.  Because the state regulates beyond the laffer limit, we also get tyranny.  Civil society, instead of having a hundred voices, has one voice, the voice of the state

Here is the state launching its latest little attack on the family and Christmas.

That is the tyranny, a hundred supposedly independent voices of civil society speaking the exact same words.

Thus instead of the state being one, and civil society many, civil society is the voice of the state, one microphone heard through a thousand megaphones, while the state is many, and state resources suffer the tragedy of the commons, and the state is unable to pass a budget.

Elements of the state apparatus are free in their exercise of state power, thus everyday life of respectable people is subject to capricious tyranny, while criminals run free.

The left singularity is analogous to aneuploidy in a cancer.  Cancers get selected for a high mutation rate, and left wing memes get selected for a high mutation rate.

This results in rising time preference, as depicted by Konkistador, and affinity for r-selected behaviors, as depicted by Anonymous Conservative.

Thus left wing movements start out each quite different from each other, and converge more and more to the left archetype, under the selective pressure for the niche of state mediated propagation of memes, just as all severely aneuploid malignant metastatic cancers look pretty much alike, by convergent evolution, and not much like their various tissues of origin.

If you are going to have a state, you are going to have a state religion or state ideology.  The only way to avoid this is anarcho capitalism.

If you are going to have a state, you are going to have state official truth.  If you are going to have state official truth, you need to stop it from endlessly mutating to ever greater virulence.

To prevent the official belief system from suffering memetic selection, the only solution is to have bishops, rather than open entry to the role of “opinion leader”.  The Bishops need to maintain a monopoly on the state propagation of official truth, and any elements of the state that start free lancing need to be, at a minimum, excluded from the state, which is to say, at a minimum fired, and, in serious cases, convicted of apostasy from the official belief system, and imprisoned, sold into slavery, or executed.   If your official belief system will not sell William Wilberforce into slavery for apostasy from the thirty nine articles, his beliefs will win and the official beliefs will lose.  His beliefs may well be better than the previous official beliefs, but every man jack will proceed with further improvements, resulting in memetic selection for virulence and a high mutation rate.

Non state apostates are harmless, since their belief systems are not selected for propagation by power.  The problem is state and quasi state apostasy. Apostasy, in the sense of the sort of apostasy that the state should worry about and suppress,  is mutation in the state meme system, mutations in the memes propagated by power.

Late stage leftism is the memetic equivalent of aneuploid maligant metastatic cancer.  In cancer, the genes are selected for virulence within somatic growth, in leftism, the memes are selected for virulence within the state propagation of official memes.

Alien memes need to be excluded from participating in state power, thus the list (antibodies) of forbidden thoughts (antigens) needs to be updated frequently, while the list of required thoughts should be kept short, unchanging, and immune from empirical falsification by the facts of this world, to minimize memetic selection for propagation by power.  This suggests an Archbishop to ensure that official memes do not mutate, to propagate the official and unchanging list of official memes, the archbishop having final responsibility for the propagation of the official list of unchanging official memes, and a Grand Inquisitor, to detect entryists and the undercover use of state power to propagate unofficial memes, or to furtively mutate official memes.  The Grand Inquisitor should deal with endless change by ever changing conspiracies like that revealed by the Climategate Files, the Archbishop with unchanging official truth.

People who are in the position to deploy state power to propagate their beliefs need to be severely unfree in what beliefs they may espouse, just as police are not free to make up their own laws.  To constrain such people, to constrain the state apparatus, we need the traditional thought control apparatus of Bishops and Inquisition, just as the courts are supposed to constrain the police.

If, however, that apparatus were to be applied to civil society, science, technology, and capitalism would be destroyed.  The only penalty applied to people thinking unapproved thoughts should be exclusion from state employment and high status universities, exclusion from teaching jobs in the government education system, and the resulting lower status.  We need to avoid penalties for thoughtcrime from pervading the civil society through regulation the way they do now, because that adversely affects the creation of wealth and knowledge.  The state should be one being, and should therefore hold one set of official beliefs.  Civil society should be many beings, so that the truth will out.  To avoid potential conflicts between state and civil society, official truths should be either demonstrably true, or difficult to falsify.

It follows that the state cannot directly sponsor science, cannot be the sort of entity capable of directly sponsoring science.  What the state can do to sponsor science is pay for impressive technological feats, and those who are successful in providing impressive technologies will sponsor science.  Galilean  kinematics was developed to land cannon balls on targets out of sight behind city walls, and the telescope with which Galileo saw the phases of Venus and the moons of Saturn was developed to spy on enemy fleets at sea.  Should the state directly sponsor science (a most dangerous practice, for it is likely to wind up sponsoring apostatic religion dressed in the robes of science) it needs to forbid and severely criminalize peer review, and any form of science by consensus.  Consensus is for bishops, not scientists.  Scientists should form their opinions on the basis of public and replicated evidence, not on the basis of discussions behind closed doors, discussions which will inevitably lead to wanted evidence being published, and unwanted evidence being suppressed or “corrected”.

Restating in slightly different words:

Cancer cells are selected for rapid multiplication.  They run into various limits that are supposed to stop body cells from multiplying out of control.  In escaping these limits, they become aneuploid, thus develop a very high mutation rate.

Those mutants most apt to multiply rapidly and to penetrate other tissues are selected, thus cancer progressively becomes more cancerous, eventually becoming aneuploid metastatic malignant cancer.

If one is going to have a state belief system, and this seems unavoidable if one is going to have a state, then one needs an archbishop to ensure that all elements of the state apparatus stay on message – that in the cancer analogy, all cells of the body display stable and unchanging self antigens, and a grand inquisitor to detect hostile entryist belief systems.

In the cancer analogy:  The Archbishop enforces mandatory unchanging self antigens, the Grand Inquisitor searches out and prohibits ever changing non self antigens.

Of course, if the Archbishop enforces self antigens on absolutely everyone, intrudes on the civil society, this is horribly oppressive, and has, as in Spain, extremely bad economic effects, but it is reasonable to enforce self antigens on everyone who matters in the state apparatus.  Thus, in restoration England, if one wanted to be a member of parliament, be a professor at the best universities, have senior government employment, etc, one had to subscribe to the thirty nine articles.

Once in a while, in restoration England, heretics got their houses burned down by hostile mobs while authority looked the other way, but as far as I can tell this was only when their heresy pursued state power, engaged in entryism.  You could be a Jew, a Puritan, or a Roman Catholic in Restoration England, and suffer no very great disadvantages other than lower status and exclusion from the state apparatus.

No matter how badly the official belief system stinks, if it is subject to furtive mutation and selection for virulence, it will in time stink even worse.  To prevent this, the Archbishop should prohibit spontaneous memetic mutation, the Grand Inquisitor should detect hostile memes and eradicate them from the state apparatus.

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40 Responses to “Leftism as cancer”

  1. […] Liberty in an unfree world « Leftism as cancer […]

  2. Provocative and insightful as usual.
    However I really am puzzles about the alleged state sources for that
    robotic message in the YouTube video. Do you have any evidence?
    Regardless, it was certainly quite scary.

    • Alrenous says:

      I think it’s not so much an official state source but rather a common root. State officials and these supposed NGOs both follow the words of some high-status but obscure leftist.

      Actually leftists are like this almost all the time. E.g. Kolya and Hidden Author are not obviously robotic parrots, but that just means they’re non-obvious robotic parrots. To check, note that if you know their coding language you can get them to do pretty much anything.

    • Handle says:

      It’s not a government source.

      It’s just the ‘local TV news network-affiliate’ version of what the AP does for newspapers and what Clear Channel or CBS does for radio stations. And even what ‘Always Save’ (and sometimes Walmart) do for other ‘non-brand generic brands’ do for identical bulk products.

      That is, economies of scale in a broadcast industry, but hiding behind the apparent distinctness of local actors mouthing the same words a thousand times off the teleprompter text that was written by one central team.

      • jim says:

        And the AP, notoriously, has to toe various lines to maintain access to the authorities. The supposedly local actors are broadcasting over government owned airwaves. It is not just economies of scale. It is economies of scale in dealing with state authority.

        It is reasonable to regurgitate AP news one thousand times in one thousand voices.

        It is not reasonable to regurgitate a political editorial one thousand times in one thousand voices

  3. tgmoderator says:

    Ideally we would like to have more people like Galileo and fewer inquisitors. People like Galileo rise from the civil society when that civil society has a large smart fraction. Unfortunately a person does not need to be brilliant to parrot the party line so the inquisitors can be rather average. As the example of the video shows we have thousands of inquisitors now all sharing the same ideology, yet would our society be much better off with a single grand inquisitor? I do not think the decline of our society has as much to do with the type of governing system that we have as it is a result of a declining smart fraction. Over a hundred years ago smart people were able to realize that giant trusts were causing problems for the capitalist civil society so laws were created to prevent some anticompetitive practices. Try to talk about this today and hear crickets. (Steve Sailer brings this up from time to time) Over 200 years ago some smart guys figured out that the powers of the state must be limited so they tried to establish a constitution that limited and divided state power. It seemed to work for a short time. I can see where consolidating state power under a single authority would work if and only if that single archbishop is a very smart guy at least somewhat familiar with history. If such state power were consolidated today we would get to be ruled by one of the Barbies in your video above. Four legs good–two legs bad. There is no systemic solution–we just need a smarter populace.

    • Lesser Bull says:

      You don’t have to agree with Jim, but you’ll understand his point much better if you work out how a society with a high smart fraction and a bunch of smart people in it managed to drive their society to where it is today.

    • peppermint says:

      > limit state power

      > constitution

      > a document rules men


    • jim says:

      Over a hundred years ago smart people were able to realize that giant trusts were causing problems for the capitalist civil society so laws were created to prevent some anticompetitive practices.

      I don’t think so. The number one such “trust” was standard oil, which got to where it was by bringing down the cost of refining gasoline and improving the quality of gasoline. In practice, anti trust law is invariably applied to prevent competition and stop technological progress, a process that might be called regulatory capture, except that the regulators started off captured from the beginning.

      • tg moderator says:

        I need to read more slow history to be sure since I can’t trust what is in the books. You may be correct that trust busting was not effective in dealing with Standard Oil. One area where it was somewhat effective was in dealing with railroads. Apparently there was a great deal of price fixing going on. Farmers did not like it one bit. The Interstate commerce act and the Sherman act were passed.

        The Interstate commerce act of 1887:

        “The Act required that railroad rates be “reasonable and just,” but did not empower the government to fix specific rates. It also required that railroads publicize shipping rates and prohibited short haul or long haul fare discrimination, a form of price discrimination against smaller markets, particularly farmers.”

        The Sherman act:

        “This ground breaking piece of legislation was the result of intense public opposition to the concentration of economic power in large corporations and in combinations of business concerns (i,e., trusts) that had been taking place in the U.S. in the decades following the Civil War. Opposition to the trusts was particularly strong among farmers, who protested the high charges for transporting their products to the cities by railroad.”

        Some markets work very well and almost perfect competition exists–example farms. Other markets where entry is difficult and start up costs are very high, example : oil refineries, will never be as competitive. Were these two acts reactionary or leftist at the time? I am certain that most people would see them as liberal, yet they may have encouraged a more civil society and more effective markets.

        These kind of acts are not even considered today. Instead we get 4000 page health care bills, and 3000 page telecommunication bills. The assertion that a society that allows any sort of democracy moves ever leftward seems to be historically accurate, yet the pace was not very fast, nor the results very destructive before 1963. (except for that little problem in the early 1860’s.) I think this is why so many conservatives will need reluctant to embrace reaction wholeheartedly. They like pre-1963 liberalism just fine.

        • jim says:

          Railroads form a natural monopoly. But, not until a railroad is built. Expected monopoly profits encourage the building of railroads, which tends to compete away monopoly profits.

          Since the cost of building a railroad was high, and operating a railroad was low, regulating away monopoly profits may well effectively expropriate the investors in favor of customers who already have a railroad passing through their area, to the disadvantage of people who do not yet have a railroad in their area.

          That which is seen, is people who financially benefited because they were not charged monopoly railroad fees. That which is not seen, is railroads not built.

          However, the favorite example of a trust is Standard Oil, which attained its monopoly by radically and rapidly reducing the cost of gasoline.

          In this case, that which is not seen, is other people doing similar things with other products.

          I am fond of saying that if your big example of a female scientist is Marie Curie, then females are not very good at science. Similarly, if your best examples of evil monopoly trusts are the railroads and standard oil, trusts and monopolies are not a problem.

  4. Nick Land says:

    The Chinese system might be tending to this model — it makes a lot of sense of the Xi-Li regime. The Party fiercely polices its own ideology and administrative behavior, while freeing up a (suitably deferential) civil society to grow the capabilities of modernity.

  5. Handle says:

    The amount of ‘Great Firewall’ / ‘from outside the state’ censorship required to implement this system seems a profoundly difficult thing to overcome. Especially when you have alien squid countries and their mass-content-dissemination industries constantly trying to penetrate the walls or get their little squid tendrils under it and onto your citizens.

  6. Kevin C. says:

    Right on target, except that for patient Human Civilization, the cancer is already terminal.

    • peppermint says:

      this is a Christian blog. Please keep in mind the theological virtues of hope, faith, and charity.

      • jim says:

        Not a Christian blog. I think Christianity, or at least the forms of Christianity that existed before 1950, lend divine authority to ancient wisdom, and therefore Christianity is a good thing.

        But I think the disciples got the tomb guards drunk, stole the corpse, and brought in a Jesus impersonator.

  7. peppermint says:

    Jupiter has 4 moons big enough to be seen with early telescopes. The first measurement of the speed of light was done in the 17th century by observing them.

  8. peppermint says:

    What did Spain do with all that American gold?


  9. B says:

    You have some inherent problems here.

    First, beliefs that seem unfalsifiable or demonstrably true are inherently vulnerable to becoming falsifiable or demonstrably of limited applicability with time. At that point, those holding such beliefs must either change them formally, perform meaning substitution upon them, or look like jackasses, losing credibility.

    Second, if these beliefs have consequences, i.e., they inform the actions of the entity holding them, then even if unfalsifiable logically at a given time, they will be more or less adaptive, and this renders them vulnerable to challenge, due to the opportunity cost of not adapting more adaptive beliefs. So your colossus has feet of clay.

    Third, if these beliefs do not inform the actions of the entity holding them, then OTHER beliefs and assumptions will. This makes your official truths irrelevant and an object of mockery.

    Fourth, any government worth anything is in constant competition with the private sector for talented personnel and is constantly pulling ideas from the private sector even in the absence of personnel movement, and vice versa. Your blood-brain barrier is leaky. It MIGHT work with a caste system like that of India, where your merchants, warriors, rulers and priests are rigidly segregated, and even then you have a program of falling competitiveness relative to other societies-India got eaten alive by a much smaller and resource-poorer Europe because of this system. It WILL NOT work in a non caste-based system like Episcopalian England for any length of time, and it didn’t.

    • jim says:

      Your argument seems to suppose that there are societies where the state does not have an official belief system, or that there are societies in which large numbers of people decline to go along with the official belief system.

      The problem with official belief systems is not that they tend to be shattered by reality, but that they tend to result in everyone ignoring reality.

      The official belief system does not need to be protected from civil society. Civil society needs to be protected from the official belief system.

      The drift to increasing malignancy is a drift to belief systems that are ever more absurd, and are impressed on civil society with ever more vigor. Official beliefs have little need to be protected from reality. They need to be protected from madness.

      • B says:

        There are societies which do not have EXPLICIT official belief systems (say, Russia in the 90s,) and there are societies in which large people do not go along with the official belief system (for instance, the US, where there are millions of Amish, Orthodox Jews, etc., or pre-Revolutionary Russia, or pre-Revolutionary Britain/America.)

        Official belief systems DO tend to be shattered by reality, if they do not change with it. Everyone (or a significant fraction) ignoring reality is an unsustainable state, and causes falling competitiveness vs. opponents either within a society or without it. You don’t see the Aztec official belief system around today.

        Official belief systems do not need to be protected from reality-they need to be not in visible conflict with it. Once an official belief system is in visible conflict with reality, it becomes discredited amongst the exact segment of society that it needs to continue to function, that it can’t afford to alienate. For instance, the Soviet dissidents and their sympathizers, or today’s neo-reactionaries. If you want to keep your society functioning, you need to keep your intelligent and intellectually aggressive males invested. Pajama Boy and Latrina will not go anywhere, but if you lose your Moldbugs and Fosetis, you are fucked. They will not just drop out, which is bad enough-these people can’t sit still and will actively subvert you. If you turn your society into a giant frozen edifice, you can keep these guys quiet, but you will lose their intellectual productivity, making you progressively more vulnerable to external competition. Hence, you see rapid economic and cultural growth correlated with subversion and social decay in 19th and early 20th century Russia, in Athens, everywhere.

        • B says:

          >there are societies in which large people do not go along with the official belief system (for instance, the US, where there are millions of Amish, Orthodox Jews, etc., or pre-Revolutionary Russia, or pre-Revolutionary Britain/America

          There is a dichotomy here between quiescent optout and dissent, which is probably determined by the outside option. For Orthodox Jews, the Amish, etc., the outside option is ok right now-quiescence means being allowed to live at an acceptable standard within your community and alternate belief system as an outlet for intellectual energy. For Moldbug, Foseti, Roissy, there is no acceptable outside option-they have no alternate community, or established alternate belief system. Being intellectually inclined, they really have no choice but dissent or buyin. Enough pressure could be applied to coerce buyin, but the opportunity cost grows exponentially-there wasn’t any dissent in Cambodia in the 70s, but it wasn’t too competitive with its neighbors.

        • jim says:

          there are societies in which large people do not go along with the official belief system (for instance, the US, where there are millions of Amish, Orthodox Jews,

          But every US government employee, every US academic, everyone in the press, everyone in the government education system, every judge, goes along with the official belief system, or pretends to do so. Even though very large numbers of Americans have beliefs similar to those of, for example, Phil Robertson, no one with those beliefs is allowed in any governing positions, or an academic position at any university.

          Thus, for example, in the eighties it was obvious that the Soviet Union was falling, obvious to a great many people. Yet not one academic in America noticed this until after the Soviet Union fall.

          Once an official belief system is in visible conflict with reality, it becomes discredited amongst the exact segment of society that it needs to continue to function, that it can’t afford to alienate

          But our official belief system is in conspicuous and obvious conflict with reality – for example, anyone who says what Derbyshire said will find that tenure does not protect dissent, and even far more delicate and indirect references to reality, for example Napoleon Chagnon pointing out that human nature is the product of Darwinian evolution, still results in “early retirement” – in other words loss of tenure. A government employee could have sex with a dead boy on a crowded street in the center of the city, and not lose his job. He can corruptly do favors for bankers that cause people to lose billions of dollars and not lose his job (the infamous “friends of Angelo). He can run cover for the greatest ponzi scheme in human history, Madoffs ponzi scheme, and not lose his job, but if he implies that human nature is the product of natural selection, as Chagnon did, he will lose his job.

          • B says:

            Of course if you hold an official position, you have to pay obeisance to the official ideology. I was just using some examples to show that “there are societies in which large numbers of people decline to go along with the official belief system.”

            >no one with those beliefs is allowed in any governing positions, or an academic position at any university.

            Not sure about the latter. I don’t think Kevin MacDonald or Greg Cochran are about to be purged any time soon. Administrative university positions, yes.

            >But our official belief system is in conspicuous and obvious conflict with reality

            And so you see it progressively losing adherents and gaining dissidents among the exact people it needs to keep in the long run. Its repressions against dissidents, by the way, are a product of deep insecurity and shakiness-it knows in its bones that it is on shaky ground. Its solution ensures progressive desynchronization from reality and progressive shakiness-a positive feedback loop.

            • jim says:

              But our official belief system is in conspicuous and obvious conflict with reality

              And so you see it progressively losing adherents and gaining dissidents among the exact people it needs to keep in the long run.

              You optimistically suppose that progressivism will naturally lose to reality and truth. That would be great, but I don’t see that happening. Rather, I see it going deeper into madness until it completely hits bottom.

              Seems to me that progressives were proven horribly wrong on women and the family, on slavery, and on colonialism back in the nineteenth century, and their reaction was to double down.

          • B says:

            They doubled down because it was adaptive in internal and external competition.

            Hitting bottom and losing to reality and truth are synonymous, at least as best as I can tell. Carlyle seems to agree.

  10. […] For civil society to function, to create wealth, knowledge, and technology, it must be free, a hundr… […]

  11. […] is simply at his absolute best in Leftism as Cancer. That one is for the Reactionary Canon. See also reasons for the leftward […]

  12. […] Leftism as cancer. Related: The reasons for the endless leftward movement. […]

  13. Reakcionar says:

    Your theory seems quite logical on the macro scale, but I just don’t get this Christmas TV news thing on the micro scale. How exactly does that process go with individuals involved?

    If there is no institution of Media Overlords who e-mailed all of these TV stations what to say, that must be some kind of “spontaneous synchronization” between individual TV editors. It’s perfectly clear how every single TV editor who cares about his reputation will react to cases where he or she needs to signal loyalty to the Cathedral (Trayvon Martin), and use the same terminology (privilege, phobia, bigotry etc) – but I just can’t understand how on Earth can 20-30 different TV stations get to the exactly same sentence? Coincidence? Or truly a secret top-down conspiracy of media moguls? Or has the Cathedral developed memetic weapons of such might that a group of individuals come to the exactly same sentence just following it’s theology? Ideological-pathogens that alter the minds in such a way to make them process such identical “goodthink”?

    • jim says:

      Media overlords. Script.

      Reasonable to follow a script when you are reporting the news. Fraudulent when editorializing progressively.

      • Reakcionar says:

        Who is the script written by, and how is it delivered to 30 different TV stations?

        Btw, it’s really funny to see how bad sync works when Cathedral conquers a new territory. Here in Croatia we had a big referendum about gay marriage, and all of the intellectuals were out there defending gays from the “new holocaust”. One of them, a prominent commie writer, said that homosexuality is a disease, and any homosexual would cure himself of that curse, if only he had the means, therefore we must protect them.

  14. Zach says:

    I either saw a commercial somewhere very recently, or saw a preview to something at the movie theater that was basically saying what you did in the first two paragraphs.

    Now if only… I … could… remember… then… Curious if you saw the same thing is all?

  15. […] picked up this book on Jim’s advice, and enjoyed it. It’s a mix of evolutionary psychology, r/K selection theory, and revanchist […]

  16. […] nearly impossible to resist.  Whether you describe them technically as memes or through analogy as cancer, the basic idea is that fighting it directly is like fighting the Hydra; for each head cut off, two […]

  17. […] has been painstakingly drilled into since infancy. Jim Donald linked to an eerie example of unified TV propaganda here, although that was engineered. Uncouth Reflections links to this piece on the global warming […]

  18. […] “Leftism as Cancer” stopped being accessible through google in the course of a blog backup and restore, so reposting it. […]

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