An often overlooked benefit of authoritarianism (if done right) - Expression and debate of ideas could never be more free and open

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Let me start by saying Fascism, Communism, Theocracy, and any other "ideologically motivated" form of authoritarianism if ostensibly "doing it wrong."
Doing autocracy right looks more like Cameralism. The primary motive of the autocratic ruler would be to maximize his own finances and/or those of invested parties. This leaves the dictator largely unconcerned with the public so long as they're being productive, paying taxes, and not fucking with anyone else's ability to do so. Being materially rather than ideologically motivated means he won't be incentivized to stamp out dissenting opinion or to regulate non-destructive behavior. He will, in fact, be incentivized against it; people don't want to move to an oppressive shithole after all. If people don't want to live there, that means less revenue for the state.
Being undemocratic, the media/education complex won't have nearly the same incentive they do in a democratic society to influence the minds of the people, and the state would have no incentive to implement bad ideas from this complex. That's a death blow to political correctness and the bad legislation it comes with. Good ideas will spread and bad ideas will fall based on their capacity to improve the finances of the state (depending on the competence of the ruler). These could either make life better for the common man (higher standard of living means more people would want to come there and pay taxes) or directly improve economic output (more revenue means more money for the state).

[Note: These ideas are not my own nor do I wholeheartedly agree. I will play defense on this concept, but its largely coming from this blog post series by Curtis Yarvin (Mencius Moldbug)]
 

alreadyhome

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I agree with you that prudent authoritarianism would resemble Cameralism, which itself is very much related to certain forms of feudal monarchies. However I would add two things after reading your assessment: ideological motivation is very much materially motivated; these are not in opposition. Also, in your statement "Good ideas will spread and bad ideas will fall based on their capacity to improve the finances of the state" you have yourself conflated the merit of all ideas with the judgement of the hypothetical state. Surely there are ideas which are good despite their neutrality or negativity to the state, and ideas that are bad despite being good in the opinion of the state.
 

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ideological motivation is very much materially motivated; these are not in opposition.
Care to elaborate how that would work in this context? I get how a democratic society would leverage the government for free shit or to enact laws that benefit certain factions. But I'm not entirely clear how this would work in this particular system (other to maintain power, which is a thread we can go down).

Also, in your statement "Good ideas will spread and bad ideas will fall based on their capacity to improve the finances of the state" you have yourself conflated the merit of all ideas with the judgement of the hypothetical state. Surely there are ideas which are good despite their neutrality or negativity to the state, and ideas that are bad despite being good in the opinion of the state.
Neutral ideas are just that: neutral. Bad ideas will have a negative impact on the state's bottom line.
To further refine this system of government, Yarvin advocates for "Neocameralism" which basically amounts to a corporate autocracy. There would be a board of shareholders who receive dividends from the state's profits. Much like a typical corporation: a neocameralist system would give autocratic authority to the CEO while the shareholders have the capacity to fire the CEO and replace him with a more competent one.
 
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Neutral ideas are just that: neutral. Bad ideas will have a negative impact on the state's bottom line.
To further refine this system of government, Yarvin advocates for "Neocameralism" which basically amounts to a corporate autocracy. There would be a board of shareholders who receive dividends from the state's profits. Much like a typical corporation: a neocameralist system would give autocratic authority to the CEO while the shareholders have the capacity to fire the CEO and replace him with a more competent one.
How does this not sound like a disaster waiting to happen to you? Have you seen the dumb things shareholders encourage companies to do?
 

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"REAL AUTHORITARIANISM HASN'T BEEN TRIED HERE YET"
This isn't a "REAL X hasn't been tried" problem. For most of history, authoritarianism has worked just fine, actually. No government system around today wasn't known to Aristotle. Yet it's monarchy which has dominated the majority of the world for the majority of human civilization. That's not to say this automatically means monarchy is better. But it certainly was a very competitive idea.

How does this not sound like a disaster waiting to happen to you? Have you seen the dumb things shareholders encourage companies to do?
On the face of it, it does sound very dystopian. But let me share a bit about how these shareholders are to be selected:
The government absolutely would not be a public enterprise; investors in public stock do tend to be the risk-taking type after all. The shareholders in this system would consist of groups of people in a profession where responsibility matters and they have lives on their hands on a daily basis. Yarvin first and foremost mentioned non-student pilots, but then went on to include high ranking military officers, doctors, and police as potential additions. The door would be shut the moment this government is established as well, so someone couldn't just obtain a pilot license and then go on to obtain stock in the government. Some bad ones would absolutely get in through this selection process, but the majority would be relatively responsible, intelligent, or both.
 
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alreadyhome

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Care to elaborate how that would work in this context? I get how a democratic society would leverage the government for free shit or to enact laws that benefit certain factions. But I'm not entirely clear how this would work in this particular system (other to maintain power, which is a thread we can go down).
You had argued that being materially motivated rather than ideologically, the autocrat and the autocratic state would be less likely to "stamp out dissenting opinion or to regulate non-destructive behavior" so long as subjects were "being productive, paying taxes, and not fucking with anyone else's ability to do so." I just wanted to point out that the distinction is not a useful one, as ideological movements are almost entirely based in economic concerns, and thus would be completely relevant to the state whether or not it was constituted of compliant subjects or not.

Neutral ideas are just that: neutral. Bad ideas will have a negative impact on the state's bottom line.
To further refine this system of government, Yarvin advocates for "Neocameralism" which basically amounts to a corporate autocracy. There would be a board of shareholders who receive dividends from the state's profits. Much like a typical corporation: a neocameralist system would give autocratic authority to the CEO while the shareholders have the capacity to fire the CEO and replace him with a more competent one.
I understand that you are defining bad ideas as those which will negatively impact the state's bottom line - I'm saying there have been many ideas, inventions, etc. that were bad for a state but were nevertheless important and valuable for humanity, and some ideas which were horrible for humanity and the world that were wonderful for the state in which their authors lived. Some of the most notable examples in both cases have been in scientific fields; an example of the former situation being Galileo's belief in heliocentrism, heretical for the Catholic state, and for which he was punished and imprisoned in his house for the entirety of his life.
 
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You had argued that being materially motivated rather than ideologically, the autocrat and the autocratic state would be less likely to "stamp out dissenting opinion or to regulate non-destructive behavior so long as subjects were "being productive, paying taxes, and not fucking with anyone else's ability to do so." I just wanted to point out that the distinction is not a useful one, as ideological movements are almost entirely based in economic concerns, and thus would be completely relevant to the state whether or not it was constituted of compliant subjects or not.



I understand that you are defining bad ideas as those which will negatively impact the state's bottom line - I'm saying there have been many ideas, inventions, etc. that were bad for a state but were nevertheless important and valuable for humanity, and some ideas which were horrible for humanity and the world that were wonderful for the state in which their authors lived. Some of the most notable examples in both cases have been in scientific fields; an example of the former situation being Galileo's heliocentrism, heretical for the Catholic state, and for which he was punished and imprisoned in his house for the entirety of his life.
Your concerns certainly aren't unfounded. But an ideological ruler would not satisfy the stockholders. As Yarvin puts it:
Which is worth more? California, or California infested by Jew-eating crocodiles? Which can be made to produce more revenue? The former, clearly. Jews pay taxes. Crocodile dung doesn’t. And from the perspective of either Steve or the Jews, what is the difference between crocodiles and stormtroopers? At least the former will work for free.
In other words: oppression does not make for a profitable society*.

As for the Catholic church:
*a society which was founded on an oppressive ideology must maintain its power and revenue through oppression.
A society founded, first and foremost, on profit will see only profit as its end goal.
 

alreadyhome

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Your concerns certainly aren't unfounded. But an ideological ruler would not satisfy the stockholders. As Yarvin puts it:

In other words: oppression does not make for a profitable society*.

As for the Catholic church:
*a society which was founded on an oppressive ideology must maintain its power and revenue through oppression.
A society founded, first and foremost, on profit will see only profit as its end goal.
I'm not quite sure what your point is. I believe you are imbuing the hypothetical autocrat with the virtues of being too economically wise to oppress its subjects unnecessarily. I doubt that is true.
 
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I'm not quite sure what your point is. I believe you are imbuing the hypothetical autocrat with the virtues of being too economically wise to oppress its subjects unnecessarily. I doubt that is true.
The last two sentences pretty much are the crux of my argument here:
suppression of useful ideas isn't profitable unless the society was founded on a suppressive ideology to begin with. If profit was the goal right from the start, only things which profit the government would succeed so long as the CEO of "govcorp" is competent. If he's not, the shareholders will remove him. A transition to a suppressive ideology would piss off plenty of shareholders so it's unlikely to happen. See a previous post ITT for how these shareholders are selected. Your example was in reference to the Catholic church which, in that period, was quite suppressive. Imagine a body which could fire the pope and elect a new one purely on the grounds of profit.

edit: The best part is nobody has to be omnipotent or a saint. They just need to be relatively competent. Take the CEO of any large company and put him in charge of the nation; things will likely improve.
 

alreadyhome

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The last two sentences pretty much are the crux of my argument here:
suppression of useful ideas isn't profitable unless the society was founded on a suppressive ideology to begin with. If profit was the goal right from the start, only things which profit the government would succeed so long as the CEO of "govcorp" is competent. If he's not, the shareholders will remove him. A transition to a suppressive ideology would piss off plenty of shareholders so it's unlikely to happen. See a previous post ITT for how these shareholders are selected. Your example was in reference to the Catholic church which, in that period, was quite suppressive. Imagine a body which could fire the pope and elect a new one purely on the grounds of profit.
Why would a suppressive ideology displease the shareholders so long as it's also materially beneficial?

Edit: Oh, I see what you're saying - that suppressive ideologies are NOT materially beneficial for the state and would therefore not be employed. I disagree with that conclusion.

Historically, when states have fallen upon bad times, they do not ease off to allow their subjects to recover wealth and therefore contribute to the country's economic health. They bleed their subjects dry - incrementally, until there is nothing left.
 

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Historically, when states have fallen upon bad times, they do not ease off to allow their subjects to recover wealth and therefore contribute to the country's economic health. They bleed their subjects dry - incrementally, until there is nothing left.
Quite the opposite, actually. The founding fathers were largely LARPing as the Roman republic when they set up our (the US) system of government. The one thing they left out was Rome's temporary dictatorship that would be formed in times of hardship. Throughout the Roman republic's existence, this happened 11 times. Some may have been unnecessary as the squabbles of the senate may very well have been sufficient. But the Roman republic did last twice as long as the US republic and the US is already on the path to decay.
I'd actually call a [citation needed] on any time where the government would benefit from softening up in times of crisis.

edit: I noticed halfway through that I misread your post. the point still stands and I don't feel the need to edit to reflect the proper interpretation. You probably get the point either way.
 

Hellbound Hellhound

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The idea that an autocratic state would lack an incentive to oppress it's people is thoroughly laughable, and totally at odds with what we observe throughout the world and throughout human history.

If you want a state that only cares about economic growth, attracting investors, ensuring stability, and maintaining law and order, all while significantly raising the living standards of it's citizens in the process, then I can point you to one which already exists: The People's Republic of China. Could you credibly claim that the Chinese people are freer than the citizens in democratic societies? Would you honestly rather live under the jurisdiction of the CCP than that of a democratic government?

I've been aware of Yarvin for some years, and just about all of his ideas are ridiculous. His ever-changing philosophy is a hodgepodge of fringe-quackery, but if you boil it down to the fundamentals, then it's basically just a nerd revenge fantasy, where pasty tech geeks (like Yarvin) are granted the ultimate authority to decide how society ought to be governed. How convenient.
 

alreadyhome

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Quite the opposite, actually. The founding fathers were largely LARPing as the Roman republic when they set up our (the US) system of government. The one thing they left out was Rome's temporary dictatorship that would be formed in times of hardship. Throughout the Roman republic's existence, this happened 11 times. Some may have been unnecessary as the squabbles of the senate may very well have been sufficient. But the Roman republic did last twice as long as the US republic and the US is already on the path to decay.
I'd actually call a [citation needed] on any time where the government would benefit from softening up in times of crisis.
How would you define softening up? I simply meant not extracting more wealth in the short term from subjects when the state doesn't meet a financial quota, which would inevitably happen, as opposed to engendering conditions which would result in greater long-term "profit" to the state. Presumably this hypothetical state would be interested in the long term - if it was being "done right," to put it in your words. Do you truly think the "board of directors" equivalent, or the chosen "CEO" autocrat, would have enough wisdom to refrain from short term profit to produce greater long term? If the state philosophy was purely profit-driven, to what extent would temporality accord?
 

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The idea that an autocratic state would lack an incentive to oppress it's people is thoroughly laughable, and totally at odds with what we observe throughout the world and throughout human history.

If you want a state that only cares about economic growth, attracting investors, ensuring stability, and maintaining law and order, all while significantly raising the living standards of it's citizens in the process, then I can point you to one which already exists: The People's Republic of China. Could you credibly claim that the Chinese people are freer than the citizens in democratic societies? Would you honestly rather live under the jurisdiction of the CCP than that of a democratic government?

I've been aware of Yarvin for some years, and just about all of his ideas are ridiculous. His ever-changing philosophy is a hodgepodge of fringe-quackery, but if you boil it down to the fundamentals, then it's basically just a nerd revenge fantasy, where pasty tech geeks (like Yarvin) are granted the ultimate authority to decide how society ought to be governed. How convenient.
The problem with China is its communist element. It is thoroughly in "dictatorship of the proletariat" mode. While it is FAR from communist in practice, the end goal of communism is there. I would like some justification on the idea that "The idea that an autocratic state would lack an incentive to oppress it's people is thoroughly laughable, and totally at odds with what we observe throughout the world and throughout human history." As I said previously: most monarchies have operated themselves just fine. If you don't like Yarvin, maybe you'll listen to Hobbes.
It's also funny that you think it's "convenient" that Yarvin wants "pasty tech geeks [like him]" to govern society when all of his ideas exclude him and his ilk from ruling. Kinda odd if the guy who wants to "decide how society ought to be governed" is advocating for himself to be excluded from the opportunity. Must be reverse psychology... or something.

refrain from short term profit to produce greater long term? If the state philosophy was purely profit-driven, to what extent would temporality accord?
Again: not an unfounded complaint. But I'd respond with this quote from Nick Land about democracy:
Tomorrow might belong to the other team, so it’s best to eat it all now.
Basically, that time preference issue you were just complaining about is made even worse by the existence of a partisan system of politics.
 

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Again: not an unfounded complaint. But I'd respond with this quote from Nick Land about democracy:

Basically, that time preference issue you were just complaining about is made even worse by the existence of a partisan system of politics.
That's an interesting observation; I don't disagree with it. But you did not answer about the relationship between short vs long term profitability in the hypothetical autocracy.
 

Emperor Julian

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Pretty must most corporations are horrible on some level because they're primarily driven by profit to expense of employee/customer wellfare or product quality. Since the ultimate objective of the system proposed is to profit it is likely such an autocracy would rapidly generate as the ultimate objective is profit rather than product.

Thinking on it the situation would probably get worse quicker than a regular business as the 'company' in this case cannot fire problematic employee's and they can't 'quit' the company, meaning the state would eventually have to tolerate people advocating it's destruction through violence as this is the only outlet left. Modern corporations are genrally a necisary evil at best and more genrally social liability so I really don't see how this would work.
 

JP's_Canadian_Cider

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This isn't a "REAL X hasn't been tried" problem. For most of history, authoritarianism has worked just fine, actually. No government system around today wasn't known to Aristotle. Yet it's monarchy which has dominated the majority of the world for the majority of human civilization. That's not to say this automatically means monarchy is better. But it certainly was a very competitive idea.
Have you read Aristotle?

Also, the world wasn't "fine". It was horrible. Europa was in constant warfare basically since Pax Romanum (and arguably since the start of civilization). Nomadic tribes wrecked havoc on the world.

There has never been more peace and prosperity than in modern, democratic nations. It doesn't mean that every democratic nation will be better off than every authoritarian nation, there are more factors to it than that. But arguing otherwise is just ignorant.
 
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That's an interesting observation; I don't disagree with it. But you did not answer about the relationship between short vs long term profitability in the hypothetical autocracy.
Fair enough. The answer is that the CEO is likely to want to stay in power for as long as possible (why would he take the job otherwise unless to be intentionally subversive?). Since he is beholden to stockholders who want to maintain long-term profits (again: these are people from professions of high responsibility), he would do best (or at least better than in a democratic system) to ensure those profits are stable and aren't going to collapse at a moment's notice.

Pretty must most corporations are horrible on some level because they're primarily driven by profit to expense of employee/customer wellfare or product quality. Since the ultimate objective of the system proposed is to profit it is likely such an autocracy would rapidly generate as the ultimate objective is profit rather than product.

Thinking on it the situation would probably get worse quicker than a regular business as the 'company' in this case cannot fire problematic employee's and they can't 'quit' the company, meaning the state would eventually have to tolerate people advocating it's destruction through violence as this is the only outlet left. Modern corporations are genrally a necisary evil at best and more genrally social liability so I really don't see how this would work.
Well one should understand that there are many corporations that pride themselves on quality. Many gladly pay more for a high quality tool that they enjoy using as opposed to a shitty one that's a quarter the price. These companies that produce high quality product are doing just fine. And when you get to vote with your feet (ie. leave or enter a country based on your desire for cheaper living or better living), you impact their profits. Apple is probably a decent counter example, mind you, and actually a decent failure mode. People love Apple because it's Apple (ie. nationalism) and they stick with it despite the company fucking them time and time again. That's what I could see go wrong here.
But as far as your complaint about "modern corporations" goes: Well "govcorp" could fire problematic individuals and people can quit by leaving the country. That's literally the point. But aside from that, companies are generally more effectively run than most governments. That's the stake in the heart right there.

Have you read Aristotle?

Also, the world wasn't "fine". It was horrible. Europa was in constant warfare basically since Pax Romanum (and arguably since the start of civilization). Nomadic tribes wrecked havoc on the world.

There has never been more peace and prosperity than in modern, democratic nations. It doesn't mean that every democratic nation will be better off than every authoritarian nation, there are more factors to it than that. But arguing otherwise is just ignorant.
I have not read Aristotle, he's on my list. The point, though, was that all of these systems of government were known in antiquity. Our shift towards democracy wasn't because we suddenly discovered by some guy who said "hey, let's ask people how they'd prefer the government run" but because of an ideological shift.
And, btw, warefare has increased, not decreased, since the near-universal adoption of democracy. Learn your history. It was more wars, yet much smaller scope, back then.
 
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