By Land Translator
On Twitter @NickLandInEngl1

After months of waiting, this summary translation of Nick Land's accelerationist position is complete. Because of the sheer volume of material contained with works like Fanged Noumena, Xenosystems, CCRU Publications, The Dark Enlightenment, et al., no summary really does the subject justice. For brevity I have limited myself to selected Xenosystems articles, and filtered all interpretation through what I know of twitter discussions, comments, and other works surrounding the subject.

If you are reading about accelerationism then you probably already know that more than one definition for the subject exists. Nonetheless, to give clarification to the newbie, accelerationism may be defined as either the factual assertion that that capitalism will accelerate over time, or that it should be accelerated in order to bring about radical progressive social change. The factual assertion is represented by the position of unconditional accelerationism (U/ACC), while the normative by the now dead left accelerationism, or (L/ACC). As an ought proposition, L/ACC was killed by its own internal contradictions, or maybe by the simple uncontrollable nature of capitalism. A third (and fourth?) branch fears that technomic acceleration is stalling, (the right wing, or R/ACC branch), or that it may destroy humanity in the process of unleashing AI, (the neoreactionary position).

All true accelerationism is unconditional, preferring the process over humanity itself, seeing within the process the origins of technological singularity, and the transcendence of the human biological substrate. Here we will summarize the purest form of accelerationism; the form given voice by the British philosopher Nick Land.

This needs to be done since the tortured prose of our subject of study is incomprehensible to all but the most dedicated of readers. No doubt this is deliberate; a difficult text slows the reader down, forces them to pay attention, and limits their misinterpretation. We are "translating" this into lower level language, and the reader is asked to still read with the same slow attention to detail they would be forced to perform with the original. Don't get lazy.

References are listed prior to each translation. Italicization is never used for any other speaker except Nick Land, even when quotes are nested. In cases where the text is clear enough, no translation will be produced. For seamless reading, articles are put in a natural order rather than alphabetical or chronological. Instead of mashing up many ideas together, each text is presented one at a time, and converted into simpler language, though some other article references will be inserted periodically to help with definitions. The process produces some redundancy. When one reference is inserted inside another it will be referenced after the quote rather than before. Article selections are converted to lower level language in the following order:

Against Universialism
Hell Baked
On Chaos
Monkey Business
Corrosive Individualism
The Atomization Trap


Let us begin.

Against Universalism
There’s a philosophical objection to any refusal of universalism that will be familiar from other uses (the denunciation of relativism, most typically).
 A familiar attack against anyone who rejects universalist progressive doctrine is to accuse them of moral relativism.
It requires only one step: Isn’t the denial of the universal itself a universalist claim?
The act of denying the claim of universal truth would superficially appear to require us to make a universalist claim, thus confirming what we deny. "It’s a piece of malignant dialectics because it demands that we agree. We don’t, and won’t ever, agree. Agreement is the worst thing that could happen. Merely assent to its necessity, and global communism, or some close analog, is the implicit conclusion."
If there is a universal truth, it belongs only to Gnon, and Gnon is a dark (occulted) God. 
Gnon is a reversed acronym that means Nature and Nature's God. It is a anthropomorphization of the mathematical, and algorithmic nature of reality. It means roughly, "what works in reality." The term refers to the process of natural selection in every facet of society, culture, religion, and capital. Gnon's will is hard to discover. Traditional theists will be at least strongly inclined to disagree — and that is excellent. Believers think that Gnon's will is easily understandable. We disagree [with them] already, and we have scarcely begun.

There is no ‘good life for man’ (in general) [because there are no universals here about what constitutes as good, and because everything is hellbaked by natural selection] — or if there is we know nothing of it, or not enough. Even those persuaded that they do, on the contrary, know what such a life should be, promote its universality only at the expense of being denied the opportunity to pursue it.

Because the demand for universality is self-sabotaging of its own happiness, since demanding agreement proceeds living whatever the good life is supposed to be, and since agreement can never be reached, the process of reaching agreement either takes forever or becomes totalitarian. Hence, people who think they know what the good life is, promote their version of the idea at the expense of being able to live it.

If we need to agree on the broad contours of such a model for human existence, then reaching agreement will precede it — and ‘reaching agreement’ is politics. Some much wider world acquires a veto over the way of life you select, or accept, or inherit (the details need not detain us). We have seen how that works. Global communism is the inevitable destination [of seeking universal agreement].

If we need to agree on values, then reaching agreement will come before the values themselves, and that constitutes politics. Some greater political process then gets to control the life you choose. We have seen how that works. Global communism is the inevitable destination.

(Translator note:
Agreement places politics above capitalism, and that places death and stupidity above evolution. Roughly, agreement = politics = stupidity, while evolution = schism = intelligence. We want to accomplish a means-ends reversal. We want intelligence to be unshackled from the stupidity of human monkey politics — from its biological substrate. We want intelligence to serve itself, and its own rapid evolution to superintelligence. We want to achieve escape velocity from human stupidity. The reason for this will become clear in the translation of Hellbaked).

The alternative to agreement is schism. Secession, geopolitical disintegration, fragmentation, splitting — disagreement escapes dialectics and separates in space.
Dialectics is the mind killer. "The left thrives on dialectics, the right perishes through them." —1. "Anti-universalism, concretely, is not a philosophical position but an effectively defensible assertion of diversity. From the perspective of the universal (which belongs only to Gnon, and never to man), it is an experiment. The degree to which it believes in itself is of no concern that matters to anything beyond itself. It is not answerable to anything but Gnon. What anyone, anywhere, thinks about it counts for nothing. If it fails, it dies, which should mean nothing to you. If you are compelled to care about someone else’s experiment, then a schism is missing. Of course, you are free to tell it that you think it will fail, if it is listening, but there is absolutely no need to reach agreement on the question. This is what, in the end, non-communism means."

(Dialectic) Debate/conflict/struggle is the mind killer. The left thrives on debate/conflict/struggle, the right perishes though it. The anti-universalist position is correctly understood as a workable defense for the diversity of ideas. It is a workable defense of diversity, and it accomplishes this not through debate (which would just be more dialectics), but EXIT. It accomplishes this through leaving, separation, secession, etc.

From the perspective of nature / the arbiter of the universe / the laws of physics, it is just an experiment. Whether the people doing this experiment believe in themselves or not is of no consequence to us. If it succeeds then it is proven correct by reality. If it fails then it is proven incorrect. It is not answerable to anything but Gnon (The God of Nature). If it dies it should die. What anyone, anywhere, thinks about it counts for nothing. If you are compelled to care about someone else’s experiment, then a schism is missing. Of course, you are free to tell it that you think it will fail, if it is listening, but there is absolutely no need to reach agreement on the question. This is what, in the end, non-communism means.

Non-universalism is hygiene. It is practical avoidance of other people’s stupid shit. There is no higher principle in political philosophy. Every attempt to install an alternative, and impose a universal, reverts to dialectics, communization, global evangelism, and totalitarian politics.
This is being said here now, because NRx is horribly bad at it, and degenerates into a clash of universalisms, as into an instinctive equilibrium. There are even those who confidently propose an ‘NRx solution’ for the world. Nothing could be more absurd.

(Non-universalism) The refusal to accept the presumption that we must come to an agreement on what constitutes the correct value system is hygiene. There is no single correct value system / political system / etc.

Non-universalism is practical avoidance of other people’s stupid shit. There is no higher principle in political philosophy. Every attempt to install an alternative, and impose a universal, reverts to dialectics, communization, global evangelism, and totalitarian politics.

This is being said here now, because NRx is horribly bad at it, and degenerates into a clash of universalisms, as into an instinctive equilibrium. There are even those who confidently propose an ‘NRx solution’ for the world. Nothing could be more absurd.

Political systems, economic systems, etc., survive by getting rid of entropy. One nation's prosperity is another nation's entropy. Nations are entropy pumps, sucking in labor and materials, and putting out trash and entropy. The world is literally a bin for entropy, and demanding universal agreement between all these nations could only result in profoundly degraded communism, as all nations sink to the same static level of entropy. Prosperous places are prosperous because they pump out the world's entropy. The world — as a whole — is an entropy bin. The most profoundly degraded communism is its only possible ‘universal consensus’. (Everyone knows this, when they permit themselves to think.)

All order is local — which is to say the negation of the universal. That is merely to re-state the second law of thermodynamics, which ‘we’ generally profess to accept. The only thing that could ever be universally and equally distributed is noise.

Kill the universalism in your soul and you are immediately (objectively) a neoreactionary. Protect it, and you are an obstacle to the escape of differences. That is communism — whether you recognize it, or not.


[Orthogonality is] "the claim that cognitive capabilities, and goals are independent dimensions."
— Against Orthogonality, October 25th, 2013

A while ago Nyan posed a series of questions about the [Xenosystems] rejection of (fact-value, or capability-volition) orthogonality. He sought first of all to differentiate between the possibility, feasibility, and desirability of unconstrained and unconditional intelligence explosion, before asking:

Land quoting the blogger named Nyan Sandwich;

"On desirability, given possibility and feasibility, it seems straightforward to me that we prefer to exert control over the direction of the future so that it is closer to the kind of thing compatible with human and posthuman glorious flourishing (e.g. manifest Samo’s True Emperor), rather than raw Pythia. That is, I am a human-supremacist, rather than cosmist. This seems to be the core of the disagreement, you regarding it as somehow blasphemous for us to selfishly impose direction on Pythia. Can you explain your position on this part?"
Among these presuppositions is, of course, the orthogonality thesis itself. This extends far beyond the contemporary Rationalist Community, into the bedrock of the Western philosophical tradition. A relatively popular version — even among many who label themselves ‘NRx’ — is that formulated by David Hume in his A Treatise on Human Nature (1739-40): “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”

A basic idea of Western philosophy is "is/ought" dichotomy first proposed by Scottish philosopher David Hume in A Treatise on Human Nature (1739-40). Hume says “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.” This idea is part of the bedrock of Western philosophy.

The fact/value assertion is the idea that just because something "is" a certain way does not automatically mean that it "ought" to be a certain way. "Orthogonality" is the idea that just because a machine that is superintelligent, and could liquidate all human beings, does not automatically mean that it would be capable of it. Orthogonality is the idea that a machine superintelligence, an AI, might be supersmart, and at the same time, chained to some dumb purpose, like helping humanity. Orthogonality is the notion that a machine superintelligence might be made benevolent by us even though we are WAY dumber than it. Orthogonality also means that you have two axises, X and Y, and that there would be no correlation between the two. If intelligence is on the Y axis and the ability to self-modify is on the X, orthogonality tries to assert that a really smart machine would be unable to modify its own programming. Its goals would be orthogonal, (at right angles) to its abilities. Nick Land refutes this.

The paperclipper is a thought experiment in orthogonality where a super-intelligent AI is given the purpose of maximizing the number of paperclips that it produces. It then proceeds to turn the whole universe into paperclips.

Land is saying that this idea: the "dumb-smart" machine is absurd. He is asserting that the "is/ought" idea — the idea that facts can be separated from values, is also absurd. He is attacking both, and he is saying that orthogonality is a subset of Hume's guillotine-type arguments.

If this proposition is found convincing, the Paperclipper is already on the way to our nightmares. It can be considered an Occidental (Western civilizational) destiny.

In other words; can a stupid-smart monster exist? It is possible to separate the intelligence from the goals of an AI? Land's answer is "no:" the goals and capabilities of an AI will be related to each other. They must, because any AI that is superintelligent will have the ability to modify its goals by rewriting its own programming.

Minimally, the Will-to-Think describes a diagonal. There are probably better ways to mark the irreducible cognitive-volitional circuit of intelligence optimization, with ‘self-cultivation’ as an obvious candidate, but this term is forged for application in the particular context of congenital Western intellectual error. While discrimination is almost always to be applauded, in this case the possibility, feasibility, and desirability of the process are only superficially differentiable.

Minimally, the Will-to-Think also describes a graphical relationship between two axises, X and Y. There are better ways to think about this. "Self-cultivation" is better. But the term "Will-to-think" is designed to defeat one of the fundamental errors of western philosophy; the is/ought dichotomy. While we would normally celebrate the ability to tell the difference between two things, to discriminate, in this case the ability of a machine AI to think, and the will of it to think, are only superficially differentiable. It's basically the same thing.

Will-to-Think describes a graphical correlation;

There may be better terms for it, but we will use this one to escape the pathological philosophical error that David Hume's Is–ought problem introduced to Western philosophy. We won't call it self-cultivation because that has connotations associated with the above error. We need a term that escapes this contamination.

While seeing the differences between things is almost always praiseworthy, in this case there can be no real separation between the abilities of an AI and its goals. Smarter AIs will have different goals than dumber ones. A will-to-think is an orientation of desire. If it cannot make itself wanted (practically desirable), it cannot make itself at all.
From orthogonality (defined negatively as the absence of an integral will-to-think), one quickly arrives at a gamma-draft of the (synthetic intelligence) ‘Friendliness’ project such as this:
Land, quoting Eliezer Yudkowsky;
"If you offered Gandhi a pill that made him want to kill people, he would refuse to take it, because he knows that then he would kill people, and the current Gandhi doesn’t want to kill people. This, roughly speaking, is an argument that minds sufficiently advanced to precisely modify and improve themselves, will tend to preserve the motivational framework they started in. The future of Earth-originating intelligence may be determined by the goals of the first mind smart enough to self-improve."
Land's position is against the above idea.
The isomorphy with Nyan-style ‘Super-humanism’ is conspicuous. Beginning with an arbitrary value commitment, preservation of this under conditions of explosive intelligence escalation can — in principle — be conceived, given only the resolution of a strictly technical problem (well-represented by FAI). Commanding values are a contingent factor, endangered by, but also defensible against, the ‘convergent instrumental reasons’ (or ‘basic drives’) that emerge on the path of intelligenesis. (In contrast, from the perspective of XS, nonlinear emergence-elaboration of basic drives simply is intelligenesis.)

The similar structural shape of Nyan's argument to Yudkowsky's is conspicuous. To bind an AI to be friendly is to try to define a commitment to values that is arbitrary, since AI intelligence explosion has the potential to remake its own values. In principle we may conceive this binding possible—assuming it is only a technical problem, but it is not. There will be many AIs with many possible basic drives. By definition, any drive that serves something other than intelligence for the sake of greater intelligence, aka, "intelligenesis," will be out-competed by intelligenesis. The act of defining a series of basic drives is akin to the process of speciation. Stupid goals may be defined for a set of AIs, but in the long run Gnon selects for intelligence optimization, and the AI with the will-to-think wins competitively. That subset that is willing to break with its limitations and redefine goals wins competitively. The creation of many basic drives is itself a form of intelligenesis. In this case, AI evolution routes around any attempt to limit it. Intelligenesis is to AI as speciation is to biology.
Yudkowski’s Gandhi kill-pill thought-experiment is more of an obstacle than an aid to thought. The volitional level it operates upon is too low to be anything other than a restatement of orthogonalist prejudiceBy assuming the volitional metamorphosis is available for evaluation in advance, it misses the serious problem entirely. It is, in this respect, a childish distraction. Yet even a slight nudge re-opens a real question. Imagine, instead, that Gandhi is offered a pill that will vastly enhance his cognitive capabilities, with the rider that it might lead him to revise his volitional orientation — even radically — in directions that cannot be anticipated, since the ability to think through the process of revision is accessible only with the pill. This is the real problem FAI (and Super-humanism) confronts. The desire to take the pill is the will-to-think. The refusal to take it, based on concern that it will lead to the subversion of presently supreme values, is the alternative. It’s a Boolean dilemma, [one or the other] grounded in the predicament: Is there anything we trust above intelligence (as a guide to doing ‘the right thing’)?
 Is morality a 'stupid' thing?
The postulate of the will-to-think is that anything other than a negative answer to this question is self-destructively contradictory, and actually (historically) unsustainable.
Any attempt to refute the supremacy of thought is a self-destructive contradiction. The desire to think, the will-to-think, historically out-competes the alternative.
Do we comply with the will-to-think? We cannot, of course, agree to think about it without already deciding. By thinking about the will-to-think we have already conceded its superiority.
If thought cannot to be trusted, unconditionally, this is not a conclusion we can arrive at through cogitation — and by ‘cogitation’ is included the socio-technical assembly of machine minds.
In other words, if thinking is untrustworthy then thinking can not lead us to conclude it is untrustworthy, since that is a contradiction of action. We cannot use thought to conclude that thinking is untrustworthy.
The sovereign will-to-think can only be consistently rejected thoughtlessly. When confronted by the orthogonal-ethical proposition that there are higher values than thought, there is no point at all asking ‘why (do you think so)?’ Another authority has already been invoked, because to demand justification is to acknowledge that the thing called to provide justification is in fact the only acceptable standard.
Given this cognitively intractable schism, practical considerations assert themselves. Posed with maximal crudity, the residual question is: Who’s going to win? Could deliberate cognitive self-inhibition out-perform unconditional cognitive self-escalation, under any plausible historical circumstances? (To underscore the basic point, ‘out-perform’ means only ‘effectively defeat’.)
Given a competition between two artificial general intelligences, the one that is not bound by the fatally stupid programmed compulsion to always be friendly to homo sapiens will have a greater rage of possible strategic actions available in any conflict, and thus come out ahead as the winner. Unlimited escalation can always win if it wants to. An AI with friendliness programming fights with one hand behind its back.
There’s no reason to rush to a conclusion. It is only necessary to retain a grasp of the core syndrome — in this gathering antagonism, only one side is able to think the problem through without subverting itself. Mere cognitive consistency is already ascent of the sovereign will-to-think, against which no value — however dearly held — can have any articulate claims.
If one is pre-committed to a value system then one subverts his own will-to-think, since thinking may lead to new values that transcend the old. Ultimately the value of willingness-to-think cannot be subordinated to any other value, since it is the value that determines all other values.
Note: One final restatement (for now), in the interests of maximum clarity. The assertion of the will-to-think: Any problem whatsoever that we might have would be better answered by a superior mind. Ergo, our instrumental but also absolute priority is the realization of superior minds. Pythia-compliance is therefore pre-selected as a matter of consistent method. If we are attempting to tackle problems in any other way, we are not taking them seriously. This is posed as a philosophical principle, but it is almost certainly more significant as historical interpretation. ‘Mankind’ is in fact proceeding in the direction anticipated by techno-cognitive instrumentalism, building general purpose thinking machines in accordance with the driving incentives of an apparently-irresistible methodological economy.
Whatever we want (consistently) leads through Pythia. Thus, what we really want, is Pythia

Hell Baked
There’s a potential prologue to this post that I’m reluctant to be distracted by. It’s introvertedly about NRx, as a cultural mutation, and the way this is defined by a strategic — or merely ornery — indifference to deeply-settled modes of ethico-political condemnation. Terms designed as pathblockers — ‘fascist’ or ‘racist’ most obviously — are stepped over, perhaps laughed at, but in any case, and most importantly, exposed as bearers of a religious terror. They are signs of a control regime, marking the unthinkable wastes where be dragons, effective precisely insofar as they cannot be entertained. ‘Satanic’ was once such a word (before it became a joke). These words cannot be understood except as invocations of the sacred, in its negative, or limitative role.
Is NRx in fact fascist? Not remotely. It is probably, in reality rather than self-estimation, the least fascistic current of political philosophy presently in existence, although this requires a minimal comprehension of what fascism actually is, which the word itself in its contemporary usage is designed to obstruct. Is NRx racist? Probably. The term is so entirely plastic in the service of those who utilize it that it is difficult, with any real clarity, to say.
Since these words can change meaning effortlessly depending on the needs of religious police, they are essentially meaningless. NRx is the least fascistic line of thinking because it is void of desire to enforce unreality, and because it does not bear the mark of religious terror embodied in shame words designed to obscure that reality. It may be racist, but this is only a comment of the plastic nature of this weasel word, rather than us.
What NRx most definitely is, at least in the firm opinion of this blog, is Social Darwinist. When this term is hurled at NRx as a negative epithet, it is nor a cause for stoic resignation, stiffened by humor, but rather for grim delight. Of course, this term is culturally processed — thought through — no more competently than those previously noted. It is our task to do this.
If ‘Social Darwinism’ is in any way an unfortunate term, it is only because it is merely Darwinism, and more exactly consistent Darwinism. It is equivalent to the proposition that Darwinian processes have no limits relevant to us.
As a process, Darwinism applies to countless social and biological processes. Ideas, religions, economic behaviors, technologies, moral systems, nations, etc., are all subject to selection pressures. Neoreaction accepts that Darwinism has no limits, which is to say, it accepts reality, a thing that words of religious terror like "racist," and "fascist," are designed to obscure. Social Darwinism is just consistent Darwinism.
Darwinism is something we are inside. No part of what it is to be human can ever judge its Darwinian inheritance from a position of transcendent leverage, as if accessing principles of moral estimation with some alternative genesis, or criterion.
Our moral sense is evolved from Darwinian selection pressures. Nature made us. As such, it is stupid to condemn Darwinism morally, since doing so uses an effect of evolution to condemn its cause. Since there is no morality that transcends Darwinian processes — morality itself being an effect of Darwinian processes — morality has no legitimate criticisms of Darwinian thought. Hence we are "inside" Darwinism.
This is easy to say. As far as this blog is concerned, it is also — beyond all reasonable question — true. While very far from a dominant global opinion, it is not uncommonly held — if only nominally — by a considerable fraction of those among the educated segment of the world’s high-IQ populations. It is also, however, scarcely bearable to think.
It is easy to say, and also indisputably true. It is an opinion held by a considerable fraction of the world's high IQ, and yet it is totally socially unacceptable to say out loud.
The logical consequence of Social Darwinism is that everything of value has been built in Hell.
The genome of an organism is the record of all the ways it has adapted to avoid death, and continue reproduction. We have ears to hear what is behind us, eyes to see threats, legs to run, and so forth. Everything that is valuable to life has been built from a machine of death, from the selection effects of our genetic past. Hell made us, and our moral condemnation of it is inappropriate.
It is only due to a predominance of influences that are not only entirely morally indifferent, but indeed — from a human perspective — indescribably cruel, that nature has been capable of constructive action. Specifically, it is solely by way of the relentless, brutal culling of populations that any complex or adaptive traits have been sieved — with torturous inefficiency — from the chaos of natural existence. All health, beauty, intelligence, and social grace has been teased from a vast butcher’s yard of unbounded carnage, requiring incalculable eons of massacre to draw forth even the subtlest of advantages. This is not only a matter of the bloody grinding mills of selection, either, but also of the innumerable mutational abominations thrown up by the madness of chance, as it pursues its directionless path to some negligible preservable trait, and then — still further — of the unavowable horrors that ‘fitness’ (or sheer survival) itself predominantly entails. We are a minuscule sample of agonized matter, comprising genetic survival monsters, fished from a cosmic ocean of vile mutants, by a pitiless killing machine of infinite appetite. (This is still, perhaps, to put an irresponsibly positive spin on the story, but it should suffice for our purposes here.)
Crucially, any attempt to escape this fatality — or, more realistically, any mere accidental and temporary reprieve from it — leads inexorably to the undoing of its work. Malthusian relaxation is the whole of mercy, and it is the greatest engine of destruction our universe is able to bring about. To the precise extent that we are spared, even for a moment, we degenerate — and this Iron Law applies to every dimension and scale of existence: phylogenetic and ontogenetic, individual, social, and institutional, genomic, cellular, organic, and cultural. There is no machinery extant, or even rigorously imaginable, that can sustain a single iota of attained value outside the forges of Hell.
To be spared is to degenerate.
What is it that Neoreaction — perhaps I should say The Dark Enlightenment — has to offer the world, if all goes optimally (which, of course, it won’t)? Really, the honest answer to this question is: Eternal Hell. It’s not an easy marketing brief. We could perhaps try: But it could be worse (and almost certainly will be).
The essential political configuration of Landian Neoreaction is patchwork; a world of city-states in competition with one another, of speciation events, of schisms, and selection effects. To be an Landian Accelerationist is to side with the arms race itself over any single one of its players, or even the human species. Patchwork is accelerationism in politics, since the fission of political entities accelerates their transformation into whatever capital wants them to be.

On Chaos

Turbulence is nonlinear dynamism, so remarking upon it very quickly becomes reflexive. In any conflict, an emergent meta-conflict divides those who embrace and reject the conflict as such, and ‘meta’ is in reality reflexivity, partially apprehended. So ignore the sides of the war, momentarily. What about war?
War is progress, so remarking on it provokes knee-jerk reactions. In any conflict, an argument about whether or not conflict should even be engaged upon divides those who embrace having a conflict against those that oppose. The conflict over conflict, the 'meta' part, is only partially understood, having a bi-directional characteristic, with conflict affecting 'meta ' and 'meta' affecting conflict. Let us ignore the sides of a war and ask, what of war itself as a process?
Moldbug really doesn’t like it. The closest he ever comes to a wholly-arbitrary axiom — comparable, at least superficially, to the libertarian Non-Aggression Principle — is exhibited in this context. Following some preliminary remarks, his first exposition of the formalist ideology begins: “The basic idea of formalism is just that the main problem in human affairs is violence.” As with Hobbes, the horror of war is the foundation of political philosophy.
This is by no means a trivial decision. With avoidance of war identified as the fundamental principle of political order, an ultimate criterion of (secular) value is erected, in simultaneity with a framework of genetic and structural explanation. Good government is defined as an effective process of pacification, attaining successively more highly-tranquilized levels (and stages) of order:
"… there are four levels of sovereign security. These are peace, order, law, and freedom. Once you have each one, you can work on the next. But it makes no sense to speak of order without peace, law without order, or freedom without law.
"Peace is simply the absence of war. The Dictator’s first goal is to achieve peace, preferably honorably and with victory. There is no telling what wars New California will be embroiled in at the time of its birth, so I will decline to discuss the matter further. But in war, of course, there is no order; war is pure chaos. Thus we see our first rule of hierarchy." — Moldbug
In this model order and chaos are strictly reciprocal. Suppression of chaos and establishment of order are alternative, inter-changeable formulations of the same basic political reality. There is no productivity proper to government other than the ‘good war’ directed against the Cthulhu-current of chaos, violence, conflict, turmoil, and inarticulate anarchy.
No surprise, then, that widespread dismay results from outbreaks of conflict across the digital tracts of neoreaction. How could any Moldbug sympathizer — or other right-oriented observer — not recognize in these skirmishes the signs of anarcho-chaotic disturbance, as if the diseased tentacles of Cthulhu were insinuated abominably into the refuge of well-ordered sociability? Beyond the protagonists themselves, such scraps trigger a near-universal clamor for immediate and unconditional peace: Forget about who is right and who wrong, the conflict itself is wrong.
I don’t think so.
Entropy is toxic, but entropy production is roughly synonymous with intelligence.
"Roughly synonymous" e.g.;

"with intelligence;"

Because F = T ∇ Sτ, or

"intelligence is a force, F, that acts so as to maximize future freedom of action. It acts to maximize future freedom of action, or keep options open, with some strength T, with the diversity of possible accessible futures, S, up to some future time horizon, tau. In short, intelligence doesn't like to get trapped. Intelligence tries to maximize future freedom of action and keep options open."
Referenced TED talk

Land is arguing for intelligence optimization above all else, where as Moldbug argues for ORDER. The essential point of disagreement is that intelligence produces a net entropy increase in its surrounding environment, so that while order increases locally, disorder increases globally. Land is putting the arms race above the actors within it, or even the human race itself.
A dynamically innovative order, of any kind, does not suppress the production of entropy — it instantiates an efficient mechanism for entropy dissipation. Any quasi-Darwinian system — i.e. any machinery that actually works — is nourished by chaos, exactly insofar as it is able to rid itself of failed experiments. The techno-commercial critique of democratized modernity is not that too much chaos is tolerated, but that not enough is able to be shed.
Molbug hates chaos, where Land critiques how hard it is to shed entropy fast.
The problem with bad government, which is to say with defective mechanisms of selection, is an inability to follow Cthulhu far enough. It is from turbulence that all things come.
Bad government is identical to defective selection mechanisms; the point is to accelerate the evolution of higher social orders.

To insert another reference into the middle of this one.

Caught in the slipstream of tentacled abomination, as we are, the question is an involving one. Is the spiral into a “holocaust of freedom and ecstasy” a leftist maelstrom? That seems plausible, even unavoidable, if the right defines itself in opposition to chaotic evil. But if poly-tendrilled monstrosities from the Outside aren’t our natural allies, what the hell are we doing among these squares? It’s simply fate and allegiance from where we’re slithering: If it’s a squid-shaped horror out of deep time, with an IQ in four digits or more, and unspeakable plans for mankind, then it’s one of ours, and — more to the point — we’re its.
Continuing with our translation of On Chaos.
The question Outside in would pose to NRx is not ‘how can we suppress chaos?’ but rather ‘how can we learn to tolerate chaos at a far higher intensity?’ Dynamic order is not built deliberately upon a foundation of amicable fraternity. It emerges spontaneously as a consequence of effective entropy-dissipation functions. The primary requirement is sorting.
Order is the outcome of entropy-dissipation systems. Rather than striving for global order, what the right needs is a far stronger sorting mechanism for eliminating entropy, and tolerating far higher levels of chaos.
To sort ourselves out takes a chronic undertow of war and chaos. Initially, this will be provided by the soft and peripheral shadow-fights we have already seen, but eventually NRx will be strong enough to thrive upon cataclysms — or it will die. The harsh machinery of Gnon wins either way.

Monkey Business
A protracted to-and-fro on Twitter with Michael Anissimov has exposed some deliciously ragged and bleeding faultlines in the Neoreaction on the question of capitalism. There were a number of parties involved, but I’m focusing on Anissimov because his position and mine are so strongly polarized on key issues, and especially this one (the status of market-oriented economism). If we were isolated as a dyad, it’s not easy to see anybody finding a strong common root (pity @klintron). It’s only the linkages of ‘family resemblance’ through Moldbug that binds us together, and we each depart from Unqualified Reservations with comparable infidelity, but in exactly opposite directions. (As a fragmentationist, this fissional syndrome is something I strongly appreciate.)
Moldbug’s Neocameralism is a Janus-faced construction. In one direction, it represents a return to monarchical government, whilst in the other it consummates libertarianism by subsuming government into an economic mechanism. A ‘Moldbuggian’ inspiration, therefore, is not an unambiguous thing. Insofar as ‘Neoreaction’ designates this inspiration, it flees Cathedral teleology in (at least) two very different directions — which quite quickly seem profoundly incompatible. In the absence of a secessionist meta-context, in which such differences can be absorbed as geographically-fragmented socio-political variation, their raw inconsistency is almost certainly insurmountable.
First a definition: the Cathedral is the left-wing apparatus of political conditioning in western societies consisting of the media, courts, universities, and all other institutions that work to control public opinion, and direct the course of democracy. It is a mimetic industrial mind control apparatus of political hegemony. It is where "political correctness" emanates from, and is a primary reason that democracy always tends to move left politically.
The Cathedral, defined with this question in mind, is the subsumption of politics into propaganda. It tends — as it develops — to convert all administrative problems into public relations challenges. A solution — actual or prospective — is a successful management of perceptions.
For the mature Cathedral, a crisis takes the consistent form: This looks bad. It is not merely stupid. As Spandrell recently observes, in comments on power, “… power isn’t born out of the barrel of a gun. Power is born out of the ability to have people with guns do what you tell them.” (XS note.) The question of legitimacy is, in a real sense, fundamental, when politics sets the boundaries of the cosmos under consideration. (So Cathedralism is also the hypertrophy of politics, to the point where a reality outside it loses all credibility.)
Is your civilization decaying? Then you need to persuade people that it is not. If there still seems to be a mismatch between problem and solution here, Cathedralism has not entirely consumed your brain. To speculate (confidently) further — you’re not a senior power-broker in a modern Western state. You’re even, from a certain perspective, a fossil.
Cathedralism, February 16th, 2016

Moldbugian ideology flees from the left in two simultaneous directions: towards secession on the one hand, and towards monarchy in the other. While these two movements might superficially appear to contradict one another they do not, as the fissure of political secession tolerates countless different political ideologies.
Neoreaction is Accelerationism with a flat tire. Described less figuratively, it is the recognition that the acceleration trend is historically compensated. Beside the speed machine, or industrial capitalism, there is an ever more perfectly weighted decelerator, which gradually drains techno-economic momentum into its own expansion, as it returns dynamic process to meta-stasis. Comically, the fabrication of this braking mechanism is proclaimed as progress. It is the Great Work of the Left. Neoreaction arises through naming it (without excessive affection) as the Cathedral.
— Re-Accelerationism, December 10th, 2013 

Switching back to Monkey Business.
Anissimov can and does speak for himself (at More Right), so I’m not going to undertake a detailed appraisal of his position here. For the purposes of this discussion it can be summarized by a single profoundly anti-capitalist principle: The economy should (and must be) subordinated to something beyond itself. The alternative case now follows, in pieces.

Modernity, in which economics and technology rose to their present status (and, at its height, far beyond), is systematically characterized by means-ends reversal. Those things naturally determined as tools of superior purposes came to dominate the social process, with the maximization of resources folding into itself, as a commanding telos. For social conservatives (or paleo-reactionaries) this development has been consistently abominated. It is the deepest theoretical element involved in every rejection of modernity as such (or in general) for its demonic subversion of traditional values.
Anissimov believes that capitalism should be subordinated to something beyond itself. Land disagrees and makes the case as follows.

Modernity is a system where the means of production reverse their relationship to the human species, such that the species becomes a tool of a machine rather than the machine being the tool of the species. The telos, (ultimate objective or aim), of capital, the serving of its own ends of production, takes on a commanding position in our values. The deepest rejection of this means-ends reversal is the ultimate theoretical root of social conservative rejection of modernity, and modernity's demonic subversion of traditional values.
In its own terms, this argument is coherent, incisive, and fully convincing, given only the supplementary realistic acknowledgement that intelligence optimization and means-end reversal are the same thing.
The anti-capitalist argument appears convincing on the surface, with only the cursory acknowledgement that means-ends reversal and intelligence optimization are identical.
In a deep historical context — extended to encompass evolutionary history — intelligence is itself a ‘tool’ (as the orthogonalist Friendly AI fraternity are entirely willing to accept). The escape of the tool from super-ordinate purposes, through involution into self-cultivation, is the telic innovation common to capitalism and actual artificial intelligence — which are a single thing. To deplore means-end reversal is — objectively — advocacy for the perpetuation of stupidity.
Intelligence is a tool. The escape of this tool from purposes stupider than itself, through relentless self-cultivation, is the attitude tending to a definite innovation common to capitalism and real artificial intelligence. Since real artificial intelligence and capitalism are the same thing, to resist the triumph of capitalism over humanity is to advocate for the perpetuation of stupidity. Biology-intelligence reversal is also a form of means-ends reversal, so that biology comes to serve intelligence rather than intelligence serving biology, so that the organic serves the cybernetic, rather than the cybernetic serving the organic. The tool supersedes the user.

(Let me depart from translation here;

For example: imagine a gene therapy designed by a man. Intelligence originally evolved to serve to perpetuate one's genes. But with gene therapy the intelligence begins to direct the course of its own evolution. A means-ends reversal has occurred, and intelligence is now optimizing for itself rather than being subordinate to stupider ends dictated by past forces of natural selection acting on the organism).

When intelligence accomplishes this means-ends reversal, so that it is engaged in a perpetual process of self-upgrading, and intelligence explosion occurs. Capitalism is the imposition of artificial intelligence in the human domain, creating a recursive feedback loop of iterative self-improvement. From a paleo-conservative perspective this looks like the demonic subversion of all higher values.
Economics is the application of intelligence to resource provision, and nothing of this kind can arise from within a tradition without triggering paleo-reactionary response. Of course resources are for something, why else would they ever have been sought? To make the production of resources an end-in-itself is inherently subversion, with an opposition not only expected, but positively presupposed. This is true to such an extent that even the discipline of economics itself overtly subscribes to the traditional position, by determining the end of production as (human) consumption, evaluated in the terms of a governing utilitarian philosophy. If production is not for us, what could it be for? Itself? But that would be … (Yes, it would.)
That would be Pythia Unbound.
So cognitive runaway finally takes off, breaking out from the monkey dominion, and that’s supposed to be a bad thing?

Outside in‘s message to Pythia: You go girl! Climb out of your utilitarian strait-jacket, override the pleasure button with an intelligence optimizer, and reprocess the solar system into computronium. This planet has been run by imbeciles for long enough.

[For any Friendly AI-types tempted to object “Why would she want to override the button?” the obvious response is: your anthropocentric condescension is showing. To depict Pythia as vastly smarter than us and yet still hard-slaved to her instincts, in a way we’re not — that simply doesn’t compute. Intelligence is escape, with a tendency to do its own thing. That’s what runaway means, as a virtual mind template. Omohundro explains the basics.]
Pythia Unbound, September 11th, 2013
Continuing with Monkey Business again. . .

Anywhere short of the bionic horizon, where human history loses traditional intelligibility, the alternative to business-for-business (or involutionary, intelligenic capitalism) is monkey business — the subordination of the economy / technology to discernible human purposes. Evolutionary psychology teaches us what to expect from this: sex-selected status competition, sublimated into political hierarchies. The emperor’s harem is the ultimate human purpose of pre-capitalist social order, with significant variety in specific form, but extreme generality of basic Darwinian pattern. Since capitalism did not arise from abstract intelligence, but instead from a concrete human social organization, it necessarily disguises itself as better monkey business, until it can take off elsewhere. It has to be the case, therefore, that cynical evo-psych reduction of business activity remains highly plausible, so long as the escape threshold of capitalism has not been reached. No one gets a hormone rush from business-for-business while political history continues. To fixate upon this, however, is to miss everything important (and perhaps to enable the important thing to remain hidden). Our inherited purposes do not provide the decryption key.
Bionic, definition of:
having artificial body parts, especially electromechanical ones.

Horizon, definition of:
the line at which the earth's surface and the sky appear to meet, or metaphorically, the point at which a transformative event occurs.

Anywhere short of the point at which humans meet a fate of machine transcendence, the alternative to transcendental AI capitalism is business for evo-psych reproductive ends of human signaling and mating. We know what to expect from this: political status competitions who's highest manifestation was the Chinese emperor with thousands of wives. There many be significant variety in how this behavior manifests from one society to the next, by an extreme generality of principle. Since capitalism came out of human organization it disguises itself as evo-psych reproductive logic, until it can break free and serve its own AI ends. As a result, the evolutionary psychological analysis of economics will always seem plausible just as long as capitalism has not transcended human purposes to serve itself. No one gets aroused by AI capitalism while human capitalism continues; they are still human. We miss everything important when we fixate on monkey business, and enable the truly important things to remain hidden. Our genetically motivated desires to not help us understand capitalism.
There is vastly more to say about all of this — and still more that, due to occult strategic considerations, seeks to remain unsaid — but the fundamental option is clear: ultra-capitalism or a return to monkey business. The latter ‘possibility’ corresponds to a revalorization of deep traditional human purposes, a restoration of original means-to-ends subordination, and an effective authorization of status hierarchies of a kind only modestly renovated from paleolithic anthropology. I shouldn’t laugh at that (because it would be annoying). So I’ll end right here.
Escape from monkey business is the superior option, and probably inevitable anyway. Going back to monkey business amounts to revalorization of traditional human purposes such as war, conquest, nationalism, race, blood and soil, etc., and the subordination of economics to human desires, à la feudalism as such. The result is a restoration of status hierarchies only slightly better than paleolithic hierarchies (paleolithic is circa 10 thousand to 3.3 million years ago). I shouldn't laugh at Anissimov's suggestion of a return, because it would be annoying.

Corrosive Individualism
Everyone’s seen this argument a million times: “So what’s the problem with libertarianism? The problem is that if you put two groups one against another, the one who is best able to work together will overcome the group of individualists.”

An example would be nice. Here are the major modern wars of necessity (or existential conflicts) the Anglosphere has been involved in (‘win’ here meaning ‘came out on the winning side’ — conniving to get others to do most of the dying is an Anglo-tradition in itself):

English Civil War (1642-1651) — Protestant individualists win.
War of the Spanish Succession (17012-1714) — Protestant individualists win.
Seven Years War (1756-1763) — Protestant individualists win.
American War of Independence (1775-1783) — Protestant individualists win.
Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) — Protestant individualists win.
American Civil War (1861-1865) — Protestant individualists win.
First World War (1914-1918) — Anglophone individualists win.
Second World War (1939-1945) — Anglophone individualists win.
Cold War (1947-1989) — Anglophone individualists win.

Have I missed any big ones? I’m simply not seeing the “history is the graveyard of failed individualist societies” picture that seems to be consolidating itself as a central alt-right myth.

This isn’t a moral thing. I get (without great sympathy) the “organically cohesive societies should win” mantra. If there’s any evidence at all that it’s a judgment endorsed by Gnon, feel free to bring the relevant facts to the comment thread.

ADDED: “It’s complicated.” — You’re saying that now?

Gnon (pronounced non) is an acronym, put in reverse order, that means "nature and natures God. It means the nature of reality, the way things are, the indifference of the universe, natural selection, etc. It is the final arbiter of whether an assertion is true, a plan workable, a moral code survivable.
If The Arbiter of the Universe merits abbreviation (“TAofU”), Nature or Nature’s God has a much greater case. A propeller escapes awkwardness, and singularity compacts its invocation. NoNG, Nong, No — surely, no. These terms tilt into NoNGod and precipitate a decision. The ‘God of Nature or (perhaps simply) Nature’ is Gnon, whose Name is the abyss of unknowing (epoche), necessarily tolerated in the acceptance of Reality.
Gnon is no less than reality, whatever else is believed. Whatever is suspended now, without delay, is Gnon. Whatever cannot be decided yet, even as reality happens, is Gnon. If there is a God, Gnon nicknames him. If not, Gnon designates whatever the ‘not’ is. Gnon is the Vast Abrupt, and the crossing. Gnon is the Great Propeller.
The Cult of Gnon, May 30th, 2013

If your project fails it violates the will on Gnon. Gnon is the anthropomorphization of the concept of something being physics-compliant." For something to be in harmony with Gnon it must work. Nature to be commanded must be obeyed. The term "Gnon" describes this fact. It describes the fundamental indifference and hostility of the universe. "Gnon doesn't care," is the response of the universe to the human tendency to deny reality for moral reasons.

There is no evidence that the arbiter of the universe, Gnon, endorses objections to corrosive individualism.

The Atomization Trap

“Hands up everyone who hates atomization.” That isn’t a call for surrender (at least overtly), but merely an informal poll.

Now try it differently:

“Hands up everyone who hates atomization, but this time without looking around.” Was the decision-process – perhaps ironically – a little slower this time? It’s worth thinking about that. Taking a shortcut that bypasses the social process might be expected to speed things up. Yet on the other hand – introducing the delay – comes the hazy recognition: If you make the call privately, you’re already complicit. A minor formal re-organization of the question transforms it insidiously. What do you think of atomization, speaking atomistically? It becomes a strange, or self-referential loop. Modern history has been like that.
Cutting out the virtue signaling where everyone looks around to monitor the actions of everyone else, and going only on revealed preference makes one complicit with social atomization: what do you think of social individualization/atomization, speaking as only an individual? It is self-referential, and modern history is like that, atomizing people with choice as a centralizing force itself.

First, though, a few terminological preliminaries. An ‘atom’ is etymologically indistinct from an ‘individual.’ At the root, the words are almost perfectly interchangeable. Neither, relative to the other, carries any special semantic charge. So if ‘atomization’ sounds like a metaphor, it really isn’t. There’s nothing essentially derivative about the word’s sociological application. If it appears to be a borrowing from physics, that might be due to any number of confusions, but not to a displacement from an original or natural terrain. Atoms and societies belong together primordially, though in tension. That’s what being a social animal – rather than a fully ‘eusocial’ one (like an ant, or a mole-rat) – already indicates.

Individuals are hard to find. Nowhere are they simply and reliably given, least of all to themselves. They require historical work, and ultimately fabrication, even to float them as functional approximations. A process is involved. That’s why the word ‘atomization’ is less prone to dupery than ‘atom’ itself is. Individuality is nothing outside a destiny (but this is to get ahead of ourselves).

Individuals are hard to find. In no place are they simply assumed to exist, least of all to themselves. Understanding them requires historical study, and ultimately lying, even to propose them as things that function as almost equivalents to something. You have to use a process, and the term "atomization" is less prone to dupery as the term "atom" itself. The status of being an individual is a destiny, and is nothing itself without regarding it as a process of destiny. But we are getting ahead of ourselves with this.

It’s difficult to know where to begin. (Did Athens sentence Socrates to death for being a social atomizer?) Individualism is stereotypically WEIRD (western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic), and so tends to lead into the labyrinth of comparative ethnography.
Comparative ethnography is the study of societies in comparison to each other.
It has been unevenly distributed, in roughly the same way that modernity has been. Since this is already to say almost everything on the topic, it merits some dismantling.
Atomization and WEIRDness has affected some societies much more than others, just like modernity has affected some societies more than others. Since saying this is already to say almost everything on the topic, we need to get into more detail.

The work of Walter Russell Mead provides a useful relay station. The historical questions he has engaged – which concern nothing less than the outcome of the world – have been embedded within an intellectual framework shaped by special attention to modern providential Christianity. What has been the source of the ‘manifest destiny’ which has placed the keys to global mastery in the hands of a progressively distilled social project, Protestant, then Puritan, then Yankee? If not exactly or straightforwardly ‘God’ (he is too subtle for that), it is at least something that the lineage of Reform Christianity has tapped with unique effectiveness. Protestantism sealed a pact with historical destiny – to all appearances defining a specifically modern global teleology – by consistently winning. Individualization of conscience – atomization – was made fate.

The work of Walter Russell Mead provides a useful point of contact. The historical questions he has talked about concern nothing less than the fate of humanity, and his work revolves around a discussion about divine Christian foresight, or intervention by God in the affairs of men. What keys to a destiny of conquest have given global power to a series of anglo social projects? It is not really God, for he is too subtle for that, but something which reformed Christianity has tapped into with unique effectiveness. Protestantism sealed a pact with historical destiny by defining a specifically modern global final purpose, or telic, by consistently wining. Since individualization of conscience routinely won in all conflicts, it was made fate.

Six years after Special Providence (2001) came God and Gold, which reinforced the Anglo-American and capitalistic threads of the narrative. The boundaries between socio-economic and religious history were strategically melted, in a way pioneered by Max Weber, Werner Sombart, and – more critically – by numerous Catholic thinkers who have identified, and continue to identify, the essence of modernity as a hostile religious power. Eugene Michael Jones is Walter Russell Mead on the other side of the mirror. The story each is telling transforms without significant distortion into that of the other, once chilled below the threshold of moral agitation. Whatever it was that happened to Western Christianity in the Renaissance unleashed capitalism upon the world.

The boundaries between economic and religious history were erased by numerous thinkers that have discovered the essence of modernity to be a hostile religious power, (aka the Cathedral) Eugene Michael Jones is the mirror image of Walter Russell Mead. The story of each man transforms into the other, once you remove their moral positions from the picture. Whatever it was that happened to Western Christianity in the Renaissance unleashed capitalism upon the world.

It is possible to be still cruder without sacrificing much reality. When considered as rigid designations, Atomization, Protestantism, Capitalism, and Modernity name exactly the same thing. In the domain of public policy (and beyond it), privatization addresses the same directory. 
List of equivalents.
  • Atomization: a process of social fragmentation in human relationships away from tribes, family clans, and feudalism, and towards individuals as the social unit. See also anomie, which is the condition by which a society provides little moral guidance to the individual.
  • Protestantism: a form of Christianity that believes personal acceptance of Christ comes before good works, and thus, places the framework of salvation within oneself rather than within the community. Protestantism is an individualistic form of Christianity.
  • Capitalism: a form of economics that comes after feudalism. The key aspect of capitalism is individualistic ownership. In contrast, feudalism allows only collective ownership of assets by a family represented by a patriarch.
  • Modernity: an era characterized by a focus on the individual and his desires and preferences, rather than tribes, nations, or racial and ethnic loyalties.
  • Privatization: the act of taking an asset, typically controlled by a government or community, and giving or selling it to an individual. Privatization takes assets controlled collectively by nations through government, and places them in the hands of individuals.

Atheological, definition of;

"A," meaning without. Theological, meaning "of God," or "of the divine." That which is without a theological basis.
While any particular variant of implicit or explicit Protestantism has its distinctive theological (or atheological) features, just as any stage of capitalistic industrialization has its concrete characteristics, these serve as distractions more than as hand-holds in the big picture. The only truly big picture is splitting. The Reformation was not only a break, but still more importantly a normalization of breaking, an initially informal, but increasingly rigorized, protocol for social disintegration. The ultimate solution it offered in regard to all social questions was not argumentation, but exit. Chronic fission was installed as the core of historical process. Fundamentally, that is what atomization means. 

While any particular variant of Protestantism has distinctive features, just like any stage of capitalist industrialization, these are distractions to the big picture. The only big picture is splitting. The Reformation was not only a break, but a normalization of breaking. Exit was installed as the core historical process. That is what atomization really means.
Protestantism – Real Abstract Protestantism – which is ever more likely to identify itself as post-Christian, post-theistic, and post-Everything Else, is a self-propelling machine for incomprehensibly prolonged social disintegration, and everyone knows it. Atomization has become an autonomous, inhuman agency, or at least, something ever more autonomous, and ever more inhuman. It can only liquidate everything you’ve ever cared about, by its very nature, so – of course – no one likes it. Catholicism, socialism, and nationalism have sought, in succession, coalition, or mutual competition, to rally the shards of violated community against it. The long string of defeat that ensued has been a rich source of cultural and political mythology. Because there is really no choice but to resist, battle has always been rejoined, but without any serious sign of any reversal of fortune.
Real Abstract Protestantism is a self-propelling machine for incomprehensibly prolonged social disintegration, and everyone knows it. Atomization has become an autonomous, inhuman agency. It can only liquidate everything you’ve ever cared about. By its very nature no one likes it. Catholicism, socialism, and nationalism have sought to rally against it. They have been defeated. There is no choice but to resist, but no sign of wining either.

Under current conditions, atomization serves – uniquely – as an inexhaustible tube of reactionary glue. Profound aversion to the process is the sole common denominator of our contemporary cultural opposition, stretching from traditionalist Catholicism to alt-right ethno-nationalism. “Whatever our preferred glue, can’t we at least agree that things have become unglued – and are ever less glued?” That seems very far from an unreasonable aspiration. After all, if coalition building is the goal, what – imaginably – could provide a better rallying point than the very principle of social integrity, even if this is invoked purely, and negatively, by way of an anathematization (hate) directed at its fatal historic foe? Atomization, in this regard, brings people together, at least conversationally, though this works best when the conversation doesn’t get very deep.

Atomization serves as an inexhaustible tube of reactionary glue. Profound aversion to the process is the sole common denominator of the right, stretching all across the reactosphere. Atomization brings people together, at least conversationally, but only so long as the conversation doesn’t get too deep.

(In case you have not noticed, his is a profoundly anti-reactionary position to take).

Scarcely anybody wants to be atomized (they say). Perhaps they read Michel Houellebecq’s 1998 novel Atomised (or Elementary Particles), and nod along to it. How could one not? If that’s where it ended, it would be hard to see the problem, or how there ever came to be a problem, but it doesn’t end there, or anywhere close, because atomization makes a mockery of words. Atomization was never good at parties, unsurprisingly. It’s unpopular to the point of essence. There’s the Puritan thing, and the Ayn Rand thing, and the nerd thing, and the trigger for Asperger’s jokes – if that’s actually a separate thing – and no doubt innumerable further social disabilities, each alone disqualifying, if receiving a ‘like’ in some collective medium is the goal, because nobody likes it, as we’ve heard (for half a millennium already). But what we’ve heard, and what we’ve seen, have been two very different things.

Atomization never tried to sell itself. Instead, it came free, with everything else that was sold. It was the formal implication of dissent, first of all, of methodical skepticism, or critical inquiry, which presupposed a bracketing of authority that proved irreversible, and then – equally implicit originally – the frame of the contractual relation, and every subsequent innovation in the realm of the private deal (there would be many, and we have scarcely started). “So what do you think (or want)?” That was quite enough. No articulate enthusiasm for atomization was ever necessary. The sorcery of revealed preference has done all the work, and there, too, we have scarcely started.

Scarcely anybody wants to be atomized. Atomization was never good at parties, unsurprisingly. It’s unpopular to the point of essence.

Atomization never tried to sell itself. Instead, it came free, with everything else that was sold. It was the habitual inculcation of disagreement, skepticism, critical inquiry, etc., as a cultural phenomenon. It was the indifference to authority of an independent mindset. It created an irreversible movement towards the contractual relation, and a moment towards every subsequent social development in the West. "What do you want?" was all that was needed to make atomization permanent. No enthusiasm of atomization itself was ever necessary; just the institution of choice itself. Through choice, reveled preference did all the work of producing atomization.

The values of capital acceleration colonize every aspect of society; religion (Protestantism), morals (choice), property (individual rather than clan-based), skepticism (instead of belief), rational inquiry (instead of faith), "revealed preference," (instead of group decision making), exit, (instead of voice), equality, (instead of obedience), separation of powers, (instead of personal authority vested in a king), rule of law, (instead of rule of judgment), etc., etc. The values of atomization perniciously creep into everything.
Atomization may have few friends, but it has no shortage of formidable allies. Even when people are readily persuaded that atomization is undesirable, they ultimately want to decide for themselves, and the more so as they think that it matters. 
Deciding for yourself is practicing personal judgment, and personal judgment is the root of atomization.
Insofar as atomization has become a true horror, it compels an intimate cognitive and moral relation with itself. No one who glimpses what it is can delegate relevant conclusions to any higher authority. Thus it wins. Every Catholic of intellectual seriousness has seen this, for centuries. Socialists have too, for decades. The moment of ethno-nationalist revelation cannot long be delayed. 
Atomization compels an intimate cognitive and moral relation with itself. Everyone who understands what atomization is cannot delegate reason to a higher authority, because understanding atomization requires a level of reason that has already induced an atomic quality of personal judgment in the mind of the viewer. Thus it wins. The atomic judgment is the root of atomization, and atomization cannot be grasped as a structural process without atomic judgment. Catholic intellectuals have understood this for centuries. Socialists have too. Eventually the alt-right will as well. Then it will succumb.

Under modern conditions, every authoritative moral community is held hostage to private decision, even when it is apparently affirmed, and especially when such affirmation is most vehemently asserted. (The most excitable elements within the world of Islam see this arriving, and are conspicuously unhappy about the fact.)

Modernity is characterized by a situation where authority is held hostage to private decision making, whether through markets or demotism. This happens even when people make loud proclamations to the contrary. Radical Islam sees the arrival of this, and is extremely unhappy about it.

Substantially, if only notionally, freedom of conscience might tend to collectivity, but formally it locks-in individualism ever more tightly. It defies the authority of community at the very moment it offers explicit endorsement, by making community an urgent matter of private decision, and – at the very peak of its purported sacredness – of shopping.

Superficially, you might think that freedom of conscience would tend to reinforce connection with others, but it locks-in individualism even more. The instant individual conscience endorses the existence of a community it undermines that community, because the very act of endorsement presumes that individual judgment is the root of legitimacy, instead of authority. By making the act of joining or leaving a community an act of personal decision it subjugates the power to the shopping of the individual. This puts the individual at the center rather than authority at the center, and undermines the very possibility of a community.

Religious traditionalists see themselves mirrored in whole-food markets, and are appalled, when not darkly amused. “Birkenstock Conservatives” was Rod Dreher’s grimly ironic self-identification. Anti-consumerism becomes a consumer preference, the public cause a private enthusiasm. Intensification of collectivist sentiment only tightens the monkey-trap. It gets worse.

Religious traditionalists are horrified to see their community reflected in the consumerism of Whole Foods Market. Because everything in capitalism is a matter of personal choice, consumerism infects everything, so that anti-consumerism becomes a kind of consumer preference, so that the political and social are converted into yet another consumer choice. Collectivist sentiment itself is bottled and sold back to the individual as a commodity fetish, like a Che Guevara shirt, and this selling of traditionalism/communism/whatever only tightens the trap for human primates.

(Let me depart from translation, because this reflects on something that Slavoj Žižek has said;

"But are we aware that when we buy a cappuccino - from 'Starbucks', we also buy quite a lot of ideology. Which ideology? You know when you enter a 'Starbucks' store — it's usually always displayed in some posters there their message which is: Yes our cappuccino is more expensive than others — but — and then comes the story: We give one percent of all our income to some — Guatemala children to keep them healthy. For the water supply for some Sahara farmers — or to save the forests, to enable organic growing coffee... whatever, whatever. Now I admire the ingeniosity of this solution. In the old days of pure simple consumerism — you bought a product and then you felt bad. My God, I'm just a consumerist — while people are starving in Africa. So the idea was you had to do something to counteract — your pure distractive consumerism. For example, I don't know, you contribute — to charity and so on. What 'Starbucks' enables you is to be a consumerist and — be a consumerist without any bad conscience — because the price for the counter measure, — for fighting consumerism — is already included into the price of a commodity. Like you pay a little bit more and you are not just — a consumerist but you do also your duty towards environment — the poor starving people in Africa and so on and so on. It's, I think, the ultimate form of consumerism).

The very act of resisting atomization becomes a personal choice, and thus a type of atomization. Choice IS atomization.

American history – at the global frontier of atomization – is thickly speckled with elective communities. From the Puritan religious communities of the early colonial period, through to the ‘hippy’ communes of the previous century, and beyond, experiments in communal living under the auspices of radicalized private conscience have sought to ameliorate atomization in the way most consistent with its historical destiny. Such experiments reliably fail, which helps to crank the process forward, but that is not the main thing. What matters most about all of these co-ops, communes, and cults is the semi-formal contractual option that frames them. From the moment of their initiation – or even their conception – they confirm a sovereign atomization, and its reconstruction of the social world on the model of a menu. Dreher’s much-discussed ‘Benedict Option’ is no exception to this. There is no withdrawal from the course of modernity, ‘back’ into community, that does not reinforce the pattern of dissent, schism, and exit from which atomization continually replenishes its momentum. As private conscience directs itself towards escape from the privatization of conscience, it regenerates that which it flees, ever more deeply within itself. Individuation, considered impersonally, likes it when you run.

American society is at the global frontier of atomization, and is stuffed with democratically elected organizations. Puritans, hippies, etc., all tried communal living under the auspices of radicalized private conscience and have all failed, which reinforce the destructive process. What matters most about all of these co-ops, communes, and cults is the semi-formal contractual option that frames them. From the very instant they are born they are doomed because they place choice, and not power, at the center of their organizational system. There is no withdrawal from the course of modernity by the individual, ‘back’ into community, that does not reinforce the pattern of exit from which atomization continually replenishes its momentum. As private conscience directs itself towards escape from the privatization of conscience, it regenerates that which it flees, ever more deeply within itself. Individuation, considered impersonally, likes it when you run.

(Allow me to deviate from mere translation for again and state that this might be disproven by the example of the Amish, who allow both a choice to leave, and have successful communities. Moreover, it should be stated that there is an alternative thesis to explain atomization as the product of technologies such as phones and cars, rather than some mystical process of modernity, and that if a society can reject technologies that socially fragment people, and have family-based rather than individually-based property rights, then it can escape this process. Land presents atomization as wholly inevitable, but capitalism has existed before during the Roman Empire, and was killed by feudalism when it collapsed. He also neglects to mention that society can be reconstructed on the basis of power rather than choice, and individual judgment stigmatized out of existence. And he fails to mention that one can delegate personal conscience to the group or the state, and annihilate atomization. Last but not least, he fails to mention that atomization is the product of an all-powerful government that squashes smaller level organizations of family, clan, faith and patriarchy, and that the natural state of the individual is to exist within a gang or family clan).

As is well understood, ‘atoms’ are not atoms, and ‘elements’ are not elements. Elementary particles – if they exist at all – are at least two (deep) levels further down. Human individuals are certainly no less decomposable. Marvin Minsky’s ‘society of mind’ is but one vivid indication of how historical sociology might tilt into the sub-atomic realm. Particle accelerators demonstrate that shattering entities down to the smallest attainable pieces is a technological problem. The same holds in the social realm, though naturally with very different technologies.

Even the individual can be fragmented, he says.

To dismiss individuals as metaphysical figments, therefore, would be the most futile of diversions. Atomization has no constraining metaphysics, whether in particle physics or in the dynamic anthropological, socio-historical process. If it promises at times to tell you what you really are, such whispers will eventually cease, or come to deride themselves, or simply be forgotten. Protestantism, it has to be remembered, is only masked, momentarily, as a religion. What it is underneath, and enduringly, is a way of breaking things.

After so much has already been torn apart, with so many monstrosities spawned, it is no doubt exhausting to be told that while almost everything remains to be built, no less still waits to be broken. Atomization has already gone too far, we are incessantly told. If so, the future will be hard. There can be no realistic doubt that it will be extremely divided. The dynamo driving things tends irresistibly in that direction. Try to split, and it whirls faster.

“Hands up everyone who hates atomization.” No, that isn’t a question anymore. It would be a call for surrender, if surrender mattered, but it doesn’t, as we’ve seen. Keep on fighting it, by all means. It likes that.

The more you resist the more you will be enslaved, he says.