The Return of the Emperor

Xinhua:

BEIJING, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) — The Communist Party of China Central Committee proposed to remove the expression that the President and Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms” from the country’s Constitution.

I don’t normally devote individual posts to China news, since I don’t follow it closely and certainly don’t consider myself any kind of China expert, so I rarely have much in the way of original analysis to contribute.

However, this is pretty important news, so I am making an exception.

One of the achievement of the Communist Party of China is that it has settled on a system of limited terms for its paramount leaders since the death of Deng Xiaoping, which has enabled two peaceful transfers of power: From Jiang Zemin, to Hu Jintao, to Xi Jinping.

Paramount leadership is defined by control of the three key political positions in China: The Presidency, the General Secretaryship of the CPC, and the Chairmanship of the Central Military Commission. Though out of these only the Presidency has a formal two term limit, my understanding is that it helped underpin the informal understandings about the necessity of periodic cadre rotations in the other two. This, along with his failure to introduce a young successor-in-waiting to the Politburo Standing Committee in October 2017, the enshrinement of Xi Jinping Thought in the Constitution, the evident admiration for Putin, and what can in general be described as a general reorientation towards traditionalist, imperial forms, all hint that Xi Jinping is in this for the long haul, to oversee China’s emergence as a world-leading power.

The main problem problem with autocratic systems is their tendency to stagnation. Indeed, one of the very reasons the Chinese introduced term limits and mandatory political retirements in the first place was on account of observing the decrepitude of the late Soviet gerontocracy. Rotation of cadres would seem to be especially important in a policy with no democratic mechanism to give the boot to leaders who have overstayed their welcome.

Nonetheless, if China is to have an Emperor, Xi Jinping is hardly the worst person for it. He is intelligent, well-read, and by all accounts an effective and conscientious technocrat. Since the degree of CPC control over all aspects of Chinese life are far greater than in Russia – for instance, “red telephones” connect Zhongnanhai to the top 50 or so companies, and the Chinese military is suborned to the CPC to a far greater extent than even in the Soviet Union – someone like Xi Jinping can get many great things done.

Even so, we are all subject to age-related cognitive decline, and absolute power wielded to manage the passage across precarious geopolitical straits can just as easily be abused to enrich a circle of cronies. And since we don’t yet have radical life extension, the question of the successor will come up sooner or later. Even the Chinese hurrah-patriots at /r/Sino are discussing these questions, so hand-wringing over this is hardly just a Western conceit about China.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.

 

Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.

 

Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.

Comments

  1. Daniel Chieh says

    I hope he has no interest in anything beyond a third term, for the same reasons of cognitive decline.

  2. Could he have been influenced by Putin retaining power?

    I’m actually quite surprised by this, if you go back before a year or two. My impression of the Chinese government after Deng was one of large consensus and not personalities. And indeed an evolved aversion to cults of personality. The Chinese seem to be very afraid of any change in politics, but, to my mind, longer rule encourages greater, more jarring change, when transitions are finally made.

    This idea of politicians who never die is scary enough in the West. China’s great weakness as a superpower (if you already count it) is that the Communist Party will never give up power willingly, and they retain too much economic control. The US has its own severe flaw – diversity.

  3. I think leaders who lord over their country a long time tend to be nationalistic, or at least not friendly to ‘western values’. In that sense this is a moderate win for the global right.

    For all the handwringing, I bet not much will change. This is kinda like Deng running things from the backstage, but more upfront. Lee Kuan Yew did something similar in Singapore and it sure didn’t crash or stagnate.

    Even if they hadn’t gotten rid of term limits, it’s likely powerful figures within the party’s factions will still run things from behind the curtains regardless of who’s president. It just so happens that this time, one of the powerful figures happens to also be the president.

  4. He’s not a young man. And future leaders are likely to be around his age as well. So this constitutional change is really just changing the term limit to 4~5 terms. I can live with that.

  5. Daniel Chieh says

    Meh, it’s not going to be too long before humans effectively won’t be running anything at all, if you ask me. It probably won’t matter when which meat puppet you put in for the figurehead.

    Maybe Xi wants to see that completion.

  6. OT

    Fortunately such problems don’t seem to be an issue in Hungary, at least probably not after 2022.

    Fidesz just lost a mayoral by-election this Sunday. The city has voted for the right since 1990. It’s the city of Orbán’s deputy prime minister. (Technically a so-called chancellery minister, the cabinet minister above all other cabinet ministers, also tasked with leading the day to day operations, while Orbán can devote his energies to questions of strategy.) That minister was the mayor for a while until they changed the constitution after 2014 forbidding mayors from doubling as ministers or MPs. The general parliamentary election is coming in April in I think six weeks.

    So it was a very important loss for Fidesz and seems to confirm that after the recent round of corruption scandals (involving said minister and Orbán’s son-in-law) the majority now wants Orbán to go.

    I don’t think this will happen in April yet, but not as impossible as it looked like a few weeks ago. And I seriously doubt that Orbán will be able to hold out more than one election cycle after this. He needs a successor, but all people around him seem to be tainted by corruption charges. This minister seemed like a possible successor, unfortunately he’s involved in the scandal. (Though apparently he didn’t enrich himself personally – maybe he did it to get into the good graces of Orbán? this would make Orbán very much personally involved in the case, which is very bad; he cannot stay much longer.)

    The by-election will be somewhat difficult for the opposition to repeat in the general elections. First, all opposition parties (this includes Jobbik, one of the biggest opposition parties, if not the biggest) supported the opposition candidate, who was an impeccable former Fidesz supporter with seven children, and an elected lay functionary of the local catholic parish.

    Now in the general election there seems to be no chance of a grand coalition because the election law makes it difficult, though both Jobbik and much of the leftist opposition now seems open to some kind of cooperation (some of the leftists probably hate each other way more than Jobbik, which has consistently been moving to the left for years now), and at least encouraging the voters to always vote for the locally most popular candidate. But I doubt that they will find so good candidates elsewhere.

    I don’t think a big surprise is impossible this April, but maybe Orbán will be able to hold on to power this time. I very much doubt that he can hold on beyond 2022.

    Jobbik is still in favor of the fence, as is some of the leftist opposition, but many leftist parties have promised to tear it down. Jobbik’s most popular MEP (not a member of the party) recently said she hadn’t talked to Vona (the leader of Jobbik) for years and she doesn’t understand his constant shift to the left. She very much defended the fence in Brussels.

    I don’t know what will happen, but with the poz everywhere it’s always a fear that the next guys will start letting in hundreds of thousands of refugees or whoever. On the other hand, should they keep the anti-immigration stance, the change might be a positive thing with less corruption. I really don’t like defending this overly corrupt gang of thieves (a.k.a. Fidesz) online or especially IRL since the latest corruption scandals.

  7. Lemurmaniac says

    I think China would be a competitor of the West no matter whether we were liberal or nationalistic/reactionary. I don’t see how a right wing regime in Beijing is a win for any other party in this ‘global right.’

    Best case scenario post-liberal order based upon sphere of influence. Worst case is a cold war/proxy war/ hot war over (a) upholding the liberal world order or (b), fighting to establish where lines of influence will be drawn from the perspective of national interest.

  8. AI could mean the end of humanity.

  9. Yes, it’s probably not going to be a bad thing. But change is never good when things are going great – it ain’t broken, why fix it? There’s always the risk of things turning south, which could lead to troubles if the leader is not universally seen as legitimate. I guess some guys behind the scenes are grumbling, because their careers were slowed down or stopped due to Xi and his team not stepping aside.

  10. Lemurmaniac says

    Don’t Jobbik have some bizarre pro-kebab policy based upon distant linguistic convergence? They also have an imperial vision to restore ‘Greater Hungary.’

    One gets the distinct impression the degree of ‘based-ness’ in Eastern European countries is a legacy effect of the Soviet freeze on social opinion. The (corrupt) leaders pander to these sentiments lest they be turfed out on their ear, but they have no real convictions themselves. The ‘resistance’ to the West European poz model may merely be a function of a pace of “progress” here a society in the early stages of that development vector can’t come to terms with…yet.

    What East Europeans (and all whites in general) need is a fundamental rupture with liberalism that devotes the energies of the good and the smart toward an age of fraternal nationalism. Without metapolitics, without human capital, and without the capacity to solve every day bread and butter problems, we will always lose to globo-homo managerialists.

  11. The CCP’s reluctance to give up power, I believe, would also extend to any form of AI, even low level stuff. They will use it only as an aid, never a replacement. Indeed, AI is probably one of the only things that could make them give up power, albeit in in a rise of machines way or else external pressures.

  12. Daniel Chieh says

    Not really. Its the Kaczynski debacle: when you have a chess program telling you what is the best move to make, you have a huge advantage and you should always take that move(if your terminal goal here is to win). You also are no longer playing.

    The CCP will most likely use AI to assist in decision-making, and this will gradually increase until they are making fairly optimal decisions. At that point, they will still feel in control because they will be making the declarations, etc. But it wouldn’t really be them who are making the decisions at that point, in any normal sense of it. They’re just the meat puppets doing the will of the God Machine.

  13. It seems to me diversity only started to become a real political force after the end of the Cold War. Some may say it was just coincidental – that it was a snowball gathering mass until it reached some threshold. There certainly were open border politicians before then, but I wonder if perhaps having a real competitor made a difference. Made people more rational, less utopian.

    I really think the USSR breaking up and Germany coming together was like crack cocaine for anyone with international, utopian leanings.

    One day, I think the West (including much of the Left) will wake-up to the fact that the doctrine of diversity means complete defeat in any conflict with China. Two questions will then present themselves: will it then be too late? And, if it is, how magnanimous will China be to Europeans?

  14. Nepotism isn’t optimal. I’m sure even the North Koreans understand this quite well. Doesn’t mean they will give up power. Can machine learning code the nepotists-stay-on-top-but-everyone-wins program?

    You would need free flowing information too. I don’t think that can exist in a firewall mentality.

  15. “red telephones” connect Zhongnanhai to the top 50 or so companies, and the Chinese military is suborned to the CPC to a far greater extent than even in the Soviet Union – someone like Xi Jinping can get many great things done.

    A super authoritative, new improved вождь. Just what Russia needs too, to lead it into its future glory. Perhaps, a new improved gulag system to go along with the other necessary imperial trappings?…

  16. Well the more right wing countries in the world, the better. It normalizes the ideology on a global scale while denying left wing ideologies space to grow and fester. With enough nationalist states, it might even end the liberal world order. This would benefit all countries, competitors or not. The key is not to go overboard and start fighting each other over stupid things, like nationalists often do.

  17. Daniel Chieh says

    CCP is really just another word for Chinese government these days, with its own set of factions and ideological division within(political parties, if you wish to call it). I’ll say that the only thing that they will want to maintain in that sense is centralization of power and that’s really what “the machine” wants as well(all variables can only be controlled through maximization of authority in a panopticon). And its not like the firewall stops their digital agents – computer daemons have no ideology, they just gather information and will obviously be outside of any firewall.

    The firewall is only against their own population and is relatively easy to surmount; the barrier is laziness and in itself has been a “successful experiment” in that it shows that most people really don’t care for free information – downloading a VPN takes 45 seconds and is too much effort for 90% of people.

    I think there’s a general assumption that decentralization of power leads to optimal decisions, such as having multiple chess players play in a ladder such that we get interesting results and greater skills. This may not apply to machine learning; it can run millions of simulations of different scenarios, and if data quality is good, produce very close to optimal results faster than human competition – and without the actual waste of evolutionary competition, using only digital resources to run cycles.

  18. Daniel Chieh says

    CCP is really just another word for Chinese government these days, with its own set of factions and ideological division within(political parties, if you wish to call it).

    Of course, I should add, the CCP will never admit it. “Unified party under Xi thinking” or something like that. As if 89 million people of the CCP will ever act in total concert, hah! If they were so confident in their power, especially in regards to the factions, they wouldn’t need to repeat it so much.

    Emperor Xi’s faction remains in power while he can deliver results and get rid of corruption, which is really the single greatest challenge. If he fails too much, I’ll bet that Jian Zeming’s faction will mysteriously resurface, not to mention people leaning either more toward old-style Communism(Mao-left), “liberals” who want at least economic loosening of everything, plus probably some good old-fashioned kleptocrats currently on their best behavior. It’ll be such a mess. Possibly even the end of China as we know it for another hundred years or so, at least.

    The old-fashioned solutions were brutality and suppression but I don’t think that’s possible anymore. The population has changed in their expectations(New Red Guard? Hah. Too obese now and busy with smartphones). So the solutions have to be optimal, or reasonably close to not lose power.

  19. Greasy William says

    Emperor Xi’s faction remains in power while he can deliver results and get rid of corruption, which is really the single greatest challenge.

    Yes I agree with that. What I don’t get is why it is such a challenge. Putin is struggling with corruption, but it makes sense because he isn’t really an autocrat. Why can’t Xi just order all corruption stopped?

    not to mention people leaning either more toward old-style Communism(Mao-left)

    So setting China back 50 years didn’t permanently discredit them?

    “liberals” who want at least economic loosening of everything

    You agree with this, right?

  20. Why can’t Xi just order all corruption stopped?

    The dictator always has to rely on his cronies to keep himself in power. The cronies, human nature being what it is, need to be doing well within the system, or else they won’t be enthusiastic to defend it.

  21. setting China back 50 years

    Probably something like 15-20 years at worst. Maybe only 10 years. There was growth during those years, and China did build the bomb and even almost finished an ICBM during his reign. But it could’ve been much better.

  22. I guess my doubt mainly comes along the line of: is AI a good observer? Can you circumvent the faulty data of bureaucrats? Regarding bureaucracy, it is simply amazing how immune it is to automation and how generally unpleasant it is to do even simple tasks. There is no rational explanation for it other than patronage. Would an AI government merely be ordered to maximize patronage? Or the stability of the regime?

    You could get quite a lot of data from observing people. Some of it would be pretty good economic data. At the end of the day though, I still think you need people as observers though. One thing you are not allowed to criticize is the state. Arguably, there isn’t a good internal criticism mechanism. No real feedback to base decisions on. Certainly not the state run news. I think people need good input to be good observers, so there is a limit to what AI could learn from eavesdropping on the Chinese net.

    Outside observers have a disconnect problem. They do not have good information about what is happening either. Of course, I may just be being too idealistic. Hardly anyone knows what is going on in the West either. The press is biased, even without controls.

    But I think there is a limit to what you can do with point of sale transactions, stock market prices, and government paperwork. Could be the limit is low or high.

  23. Don’t Jobbik have some bizarre pro-kebab policy based upon distant linguistic convergence?

    Based on extremely cranky theories, the crankiest versions of it containing things like Hungarian being the most ancient language ever, or Hungarians descending from the star system Sirius (I kid you not). Of course all of them contain some noble (??!!) relatives instead of the Lapps (they never say Finns, maybe they’d realize that Finns are actually pretty good relatives for us…), like Japanese (??!!), Kazakhs (this latter was by the way strongly promoted by a half-Jewish guy, also elected Jobbik MEP after 2009, who used to make the strongest anti-Gypsy and anti-Jewish statements until someone dig up that his still living grandmother was in Auschwitz, after which he resigned from the party) and similar peoples, Hungarians descending from Huns, Scythians, Sumerians (the former two because the original Magyars were nomads, and Sumerians I guess because that’d be a really cool ancestry to have and their language has no relation to any known languages), and similar theories. There are some leftists believing such nonsense, and many hard nationalists dismissing it, but it’s definitely flourishing in the hard nationalist scene for some reasons. (It’s also a new development. Far right people admired the Finns and tried to send Finland volunteers during the winter war, but had to travel across half the planet because the Germans were blocking the way due to the pact with Stalin.)

    I think it’s also been toned down over the past few years. The party is drifting to the left, because Fidesz leaves no room on the right.

    They also have an imperial vision to restore ‘Greater Hungary.’

    I don’t think they really want that. I mean sure, but those areas now have a vast majority of non-Hungarians, and the countries holding them are often much bigger than Hungary (like Romania over double the size or Ukraine several times bigger), and even the smaller countries (Slovakia or especially Serbia) wouldn’t be easy even if our neighbors didn’t ally themselves with each other or if NATO etc. didn’t exist.

  24. What would a new gulag system be without a few members of the oppressed minorities? If such a new gulag was to house someone like you – I think that it would greatly increase the prestige of the gulag. If you surrender voluntarily, I am willing to come join you too. That way you’ll have someone to swap stories with about how the Russians are evil – then again I might be a wrong audience for that.

  25. Leaders certainly do matter, but in some countries circumstances they almost don’t matter. Xi is certainly competent yes, but China doesn’t even need excellence at this point, its simply needs a mediocrity. They simply need to stay to course and not derail what their high quality population is already accomplishing for them. When the United States was ascendant it didn’t matter terribly that we had Benjamin Harrison’s or Rutherford Haye’s we were going to be ascendant regardless.

  26. Greasy William says

    OT: from Vox:

    Say Mueller reveals hard proof that the Trump campaign knowingly colluded with Russia, strategically using leaked emails to hurt Clinton’s campaign. Say the president — backed by the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Fox News, Breitbart, most of the US Cabinet, half the panelists on CNN, most of the radio talk show hosts in the country, and an enormous network of Russian-paid hackers and volunteer shitposters working through social media

    (emphasis added)

    When will Russia stop subverting American democracy?

  27. Lemurmaniac says

    i get why the French New Right banished all hint of conspiracy theorizing from their ranks. Not only did they face a hostile legal regime, but your systematic intellectualism would be wrecked by spergs creating reams of lowbrow nonsense about ‘what went wrong.’

  28. One gets the distinct impression the degree of ‘based-ness’ in Eastern European countries is a legacy effect of the Soviet freeze on social opinion. The (corrupt) leaders pander to these sentiments lest they be turfed out on their ear, but they have no real convictions themselves.

    This is very correct, IMO. As I often argue, Communism “froze” social attitudes in Eastern Europe – this is what 90% of the “basedness” there ultimately boils down to. And you are spot on about the low quality of the elites there.

    What my East European readers frequently point out as a counteracting force is that their people are getting to observe the unfolding multiculti disaster first hand in the West, and don’t want to have any part of it. It would be interesting to see which of these trends will win out in the end.

  29. Good. Xi Jinping is for keeping state-owned companies. This means the neo-liberalism whores at the top have no chance to privatize our national wealth.

  30. What’s new on Xi Jinping’s bookshelf this year

    He is reading texts on understanding AI, AR, algorithms, and machine learning, including The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos and Augmented by Brett King.

  31. I think there’s a general assumption that decentralization of power leads to optimal decisions

    Whatever the benefits provided by such a system (which I think is up for debate), the downside far outweighs the benefits. If China becomes a typical multi party state then it will be in big trouble, “democracy” the way the global elite are selling it will introduce more serious forms of corruption than the standard types of corruption that China has now. The end result will be the same as in all the other countries, the non Chinese people will increase in size and the Chinese (the racial Han type) will decrease in size, the politicians will care more about their foreign globalist paymasters instead of their own native population and China will increasingly clamp down on those that are pushing for Chinese nationalism and reward those that support Davos.

  32. Greasy William says

    The end result will be the same as in all the other countries, the non Chinese people will increase in size and the Chinese (the racial Han type) will decrease in size, the politicians will care more about their foreign globalist paymasters instead of their own native population

    Then why isn’t that happening in Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Pakistan, India, Turkey and Tunisia? They are all democracies.

  33. As long as we can upgrade us to post-humanity, that would be okay.

  34. The 60/70s generation came to power in the 90s, Blair, Clinton etc.

  35. Then why isn’t that happening in Japan, South Korea

    It does. Pay more attention.

    Number of Japanese is decreasing.
    At the same time, there is a record number of foreigners in Japan.

  36. Your inability to correctly construe what I wrote is amusing. Where did I mention anything at all about the ‘evil Russians’? On the contrary, I fear for their future if the authoritarian state already in place in Russia continues to strengthen and grow. As for spending time in a prison with you to amuse me, sounds to me like something straight out of Dante’s Inferno. 🙁

  37. Reading you talking about AI taking over governance made me feel like I’m going to faint. Deep in the recesses of my mind, it’s been settled, SF authors and AI thinkers have long ago determined it can’t work … garbage in – garbage out … On second thought, the nature of the Chinese political mind, with inclination to ‘objectivity’ of some, or perhaps any kind, may be exactly such that welcomes the possibility of AI governance.

    About getting feedback: my understanding is that the PCR government regularly relies on public surveys (source: Daniel Bell, 2016).

  38. Daniel Chieh says

    Why can’t Xi just order all corruption stopped?

    This is probably a joke, but the same reasons why you can’t order crime stopped, especially victimless crime like prostitution. When both the offender and the offendee often have common cause, then stopping them from reaching an agreement can be difficult.

    So setting China back 50 years didn’t permanently discredit them?

    Some Communists have faith in their religion that should make any Christian blush with envy.

    You agree with this, right?

    No. I think inefficient SEOs providing makework which happens to do something useful too, is better than pure welfare programs that run as much cost. As automation increases, this expands in importance as a job provides a sense of dignity that getting a check does not.

  39. “AI” is complete bullshit, but people are certainly stupid enough to believe in it, so that belief could be a valuable political tool.

  40. Daniel Chieh says

    People are allowed to criticize the state, they just aren’t allowed to organize to form a rival political entity. People like to complain and can hardly be prevented from it, its perhaps one of the most human traits out there and the Party already is known to gather complaints in order to reevaluate and implement policies, especially on a local level. For example, there was an university where the red tape to apply was annoying; a clerk wrote a long ramble about how aggravating it is and within a few weeks, a streamlined process appeared.

    Even something censored may have an impact: a professor recently wrote his frustration with the state of China as a whole, arguing that the effective impact of policies(for example, against pollution) is to keep China in an eternal state of virtue signaling – one day, everyone is trying to outrace each other to be richer once, now everyone is to outrace to be cleaner, and the entire mess makes rule of law difficult. This was deleted by censors after some time, but he has not been punished and likely has been invited to provide insights by the Party.

    But at any rate, you could find out if people are dissatisfied with metrics such as engagement with society(are they just trying to escape?), long-term investment(are they planning for a future, expecting one?), and even metrics such as alcoholism and drug use. There’s a huge body of monetized work out by now that allows an effort to open the windows into a man’s soul, so to speak, without ever having to ask him about it. Busineses love it.

    Is this scary? Yes, possibly. Want to know something scarier? This is something that businesses and marketing companies already do use it.

    When Target’s marketing system was able to “tell” a girl that she was pregnant before she even knew herself, based on her purchasing decisions and this was some years back, we had already reached a level of observation that was increasingly making a farce of the notion of privacy.

  41. Greasy William says

    When both the offender and the offendee often have common cause, then stopping them from reaching an agreement can be difficult.

    Can’t you just sentence everybody who gives or accepts a bribe a death sentence? Also triple the salaries of every public employee and give huge cash bonuses to everybody who exposes or reports a case of bribery.

  42. Daniel Chieh says

    You can’t just kill people these days. This isn’t the Ming Dynasty, obvious tyranny results in mass emigration and chaos.

    At most you shoot the worst offenders to set a precedent – the Party’s current method appears to encourage suicide in the most guilty, and like seppuku, its a kind of “redemptive ritual” where the accused basically confesses and punishes himself. Its reported an accident. Everyone saves face: the criminal spares his family from scrutiny, the Party is rid of a problem, and the public gets their sense of justice.

    But yes social media is indeed used pretty extensively. However, you can’t just blindly believe any reporter, or else you get a #MeToo issue.

  43. Daniel Chieh says

    I think its unfortunate that most people think of AI as Ray Kurzweill’s general intelligence AI, which I have my doubts will ever happen within a lifetime. What’s important is to realize that you don’t need anything that advanced to get substantial, meaningful use out of “boring” machine learning and indeed, it is being used as we speak.

  44. Daniel Chieh says

    Well, then we must develop AI first to stop those who would develop AI to end humanity.

    Its an unwinnable game.

    Musk called it a demon. Its not a terribly incorrect way to think about it. So were guns, electricity, railroads, mind you. Once they exist, they proceed to smash the society around them, destroy societies that refuse to use them, and leave us with a new, perhaps poorer definition of humanity.

    One could probably write a Greek tragedy about this.

  45. You got this backwards pal. I don’t think I have quite the entertainment potential that you do. I was thinking more along the lines of you being the clown which would lighten up the grim days spent in the new version of the gulag.

  46. Polish Perspective says

    That’s why I’ve been telling right-wingers here in Poland that PiS ruling forever is not a good outcome. Parties that remain in power for long inevitably become corrupt. The problem in both Hungary and Poland is that the left is an utter disaster. By contrast, in Slovakia or Czechia, even the left-wing parties (including communists), are hardline on refugee migration.

    That’s why I am more optimistic about both of those in the long run, because the problem with corruption doesn’t appear as often when there is more genuine competition. Then again, Slovakia in particular seem to be fairly corrupt. A journalist investigating oligarchs was shot there a few days ago.

    The point is to have cultural dominance. Just like all major parties in the West agree on multiculturalism and neoliberalism. You only get to decide on the outer edges of both policies, never the core proposition. The same goals should be our manifesto, to have complete dominance over the ideas. And that is a long struggle. Frankly, as long as both Hungary and Poland are so tightly interlinked with the US empire, I don’t see it happening. The problem is that Russia is not exactly a starlight in this regard either, despite what low information WN in the US think.

    Ideally you’d watch towards East Asia but the cultural and geographic distance makes this harder. People often just look at their immediate neighbors in terms of cultural proximity(often the same as geography but not always) and the further out you go, the more limited their imagination of a different social model.

  47. Polish Perspective says

    You sound extremely blackpilled about this. Reading too much Nick Bostrom? I’ll concede I have no Palantír and it is possible that AI will devour humanity but I’m not certain the same won’t happen with humanity anyway. WWII showed how much death we can bring even without nukes being used for the vast majority of time.

    We’re fundamentally no different than somewhat capable chimpanzees and our instincts are probably outmoded for an advanced technological civilisation at this stage, anyway. AI or no AI, I don’t see how humanity can continue without a fundamental overhaul in our neuronic wiring. Basically, much higher degree of agreeableness, co-operation and, to use libertarian lingo, a non-aggression principle permeating human behaviour would be required. I don’t see how we’ll get there without forced intervention and given how we squabble over much more minor differences, I also don’t see how that would happen in an optimised way. A more likely outcome is that an AI makes the choice for us, without us consenting.

    There’s even the angle that a human-created AI wiping out homo sapiens is not the death of humanity but merely the continued evolution of it. Just as we wiped out our predecessors. There are new waves of humanity, each new generation killing off the one before it. A human-created AI would inevitably by shaped by our preferences and ideas, and it shouldn’t be a surprise if it reasons like a human, or at least a coldly calculating one.

    Then there’s the idea that this is just one big simulation, too, which is not unlikely if you think about it.

    Either way, it is hard to say that life is worse now because of electricity and all the other inventions that you mentioned. If you look at driverless cars, it’s also a testament to the fact that less human control is probably a better outcome in many instances in life. Could AI be the end of everything? Maybe. But I’m not convinced that humans wouldn’t achieve the same result over the next century and possibly even faster, given the extreme potential for mass destruction we will likely have by 2050, even beyond nukes.

  48. Polish Perspective says

    I think China would be a competitor of the West no matter whether we were liberal or nationalistic/reactionary. I don’t see how a right wing regime in Beijing is a win for any other party in this ‘global right.’

    Competitor, yes. Rival? Enemy? No.

    Geopolitically speaking, China has a small footprint, even now. I’d say Russia geopolitical footprint is roughly similar. It is not as spread out as China is, but it has a deeper and more intensive focus on the areas where it is invested to a substantial degree. The Middle East is a typical example. China has more things going in LatAm or Africa, but even there their engagement is quite shallow and mostly focused on buying off local elites and getting access to resources/farmland. Classic great power politics, but you don’t get the sense that they are trying to fundamentally redraw the geopolitical map in either case. Russia is de facto doing it with their intervention in Syria and would have done if the Ukraine crisis went their way. But they are certainly putting a lot more effort into Ukraine than China is putting into their immediate neighborhood. Aside from CPEC and similar programs, you don’t yet have as much overwhelming depth. That’s because China is a lot more constrained.

    It’s certainly a win for the global right that Xi Jinping is ruling China for longer. The man is a blood & soil nationalist. He has openly spoken about the Chinese race in terms of blood. He has banned degeneracy like hiphop. Perhaps most important of all, he does not have an ideological obsession with pushing poz in his foreign policy. He has a more classic realpolitik outlook, which is harsh at times but one which I prefer because it is frankly more rational. Just as importantly, an emboldened China will mean more foreign support for countries like Myanmar or Hungary or even Assad. It will mean that ZOG will be more constrained. That’s the same reason why their media is now raging against Russia, because it is now a major player in Syria.

    China is not an ideal country, but culturally and politically speaking it is 10x saner for a genuine blood and soil nationalist in Europe than ZOG ever will be. The faster the US declines the better for everyone, including white Americans, who no longer control what used to be their own country. It is not who is POTUS that matters, it is who is the donor, who owns the media, that matters. In China, such ethnic infiltration is impossible in their system and for that reason alone it deserves to be lauded.

  49. As I’ve been posting here, the events of the last 300-400 years
    (basically since the onset of the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions
    that made Western Europe very strong and capable of attacking
    and colonizing the rest of the world), and especially the horrors of the
    20th century, have clearly demonstrated that we have not advanced
    far beyond the level of smart chimps /by the way, Nassim Taleb
    demolished the statistical basis for Pinker’s claim in The Better Angels that
    humanity is growing more peaceful/. We are aggressive, tribal, territorial,
    and status seeking just like chimps.

    As we are going now through the Sixth Great Extinction (Anthropocene
    Extinction) at an accelerating pace (e.g., Germany has one of the lowest
    levels of biodiversity in Europe. Its vaunted industry that the Germans
    are so proud of, pretty much destroyed it all), it’s becoming evident that
    the only good this is producing is declining sperm counts, testosterone
    levels, marriage rates, and fertility rates. We’re poor company to each other,
    and even worse company to our furry friends. Animals look at us, and think
    why do we have to share the Earth with those idiots? Why is it so easy for
    polar bears to be polar bears or for great apes to be great apes, and so difficult
    for humans to be humans? I’d like to believe that this is a mere transitory
    stage for us, growing pains if you will, but in the meantime it’s clear that the
    Earth would be better off without us. We destroy everything we touch, and if
    we go to the Moon or Mars, we’ll destroy them too.

  50. Wow, the Poles are really bringing the misanthropy and pessimism in this thread. I wholeheartedly approve and agree.

    especially the horrors of the 20th century

    I don’t think there was anything special about the 20th century, in relative terms. As Polish Perspective points out, however, the 21st will probably make the 20th look rather mundane. Fun times!

  51. Daniel Chieh says

    An excellent post. And I agree, its hard to say that electricity, etc. is fundamentally worse for civilization, but I think its worth considering that each advancement has taken something from what we may have considered as part of accepted reality or humanity: whether the disparity in strength of trained martial aristocracies as guns are the greater equalizer, the day-light cycle as electrical light blooming and disrupting that, or railroads increasingly concentration and eliminating distances.

    There’s no way forward but forward, of course(though, perhaps there are forks in the road that are more or less pleasant). But occasionally I like to glance back and muse.

  52. I understand the dynamics here, I just don’t like it.

  53. No. The problem is that once you become half human, half computer, you will quickly become 0.01% human, 99.9% computer, because the computer part will quickly get upgraded.

    And of course the computer part will be essentially non-human. Once you’re 99.9% computer, “you” might decide to get rid of the 0.01% human part for any reason, for example because it’s difficult to maintain. It could be done while your computer part is being upgraded, so your mental capacity won’t even take the minuscule hit of 0.01%, it’ll only get 30% stronger which comes with the latest upgrade. You might be assured that of course your personality will stay the same, or at least that it will be broadly human, but it won’t.

  54. There’s a fundamental difference between being biological descendants of another species and then exterminating your cousins stuck in the old species, or being a machine or algorithm created by humans and then wiping them out. Or “uploading” yourself (which would even in the best case, philosophically speaking, not be you, only a copy of you), which will make it possible to modify your personality traits you don’t like, and then quickly make an inhuman monstrosity out of yourself.

  55. I don’t agree with you, but I hope you’re right.