Thursday, August 19, 2021

Quick Version of Solution and its Impossibility

There's nothing physically impossible about permanently going [Benedict option]. Carve out a culture directly opposed to government, while assuming the government will continue to exist. Start with stealth. Governments are functionally blind; almost trivial to bamboozle if you don't trip their big obvious opposition-detectors.* Elaborate on anti-government security, so even if they detect something's weird you're too much trouble to be worth the effort. Do this under the assumption that the wider culture will always be pwned and therefore hostile. 

Government will always be diametrically opposed to eudaimonia. The peasants will never not be too stupid to reject coercive government. If you want to live well you must first insulate yourself against government. Treat all government and government-pwned peasants as ritual contamination. Occasional desecreation is just a fact of life, but re-consecration procedures are hardly made of phlebotinum.

However, clearly this sort of thing is psychologically impossible. 


I know for sure it's not impossible because the Amish have already done it. However, they are drastic, giving up all modernist technology. While certainly a net win, it shouldn't be necessary. Going Benedict is drastic enough without tripling down. 

The impossibility comes from strategically designing and choosing your own culture. This amount of agency is vanishingly rare, and comes associated with plenty of competence, meaning a man with this much agency can succeed regardless of his political surroundings, and doesn't need to go Benedict. Note the Amish arose organically, which is why their solution is somewhat inefficient. They do not and never had the ability to tune it.

*E.g. say ninja instead of jogger. Even in the unlikely event that the ignorant peasants start adopting this sort of thing, you'll have plenty of warning and be able to change before it becomes a problem. However, your Benedict sect should never seem "cool," primarily because it means you're doing it wrong, but also to prevent exactly this sort of inconvenience. 

Strategically being anti-cool is one of the things which destructively blows the minds of even the staunchest anti-conformist.


Alrenous said...

Imagine in detail how it would play out. Realize it can't possibly play out.

Each Benedict sect needs a bishop exactly the way Amish towns have bishops. The sect will try to have a bishop, but it won't work. The members won't follow the bishop. The sect will have to try a few ways of having a bishop until it finds a good one. Except when it tries a second way, the sect will collapse because it will be 'discredited' or whatever we call the rhetorical mistake that just occurred. The sect members need rhetoric resistance, and again we're talking a skill so vanishingly rare that two have never been in one room at one time.

Anonymous said...

Towns are full of atomized individuals and that doesn't really describe well what the Amish do. Think more like a clan where the family's elder serves as bishop. But, many Americans are forgetting how to form nuclear families let alone a network of nuclear families....

Also, Americans are forgetting how Christianity works, so they won't have the right expectations for a bishop. A coach might be a more familiar model.

Dave said...

The Amish are grandfathered in, but any sect you create these days is going to get Waco'd. You could try starting it in another country, but most other national governments are not keen on the idea either.

Alrenous said...

Yes, there's always some excuse for sitting so sedentarily and doing nothing.