Selections from The Dark Enlightenment

Here are some quotes from The Dark Enlightenment series.


Behavioral reality knows only one iron law: Whatever is subsidized is promoted


The unmasking of the modern ‘liberal’ intellectual or ‘open-minded’ media ‘truth-teller’ as a pale, fervent, narrowly doctrinaire puritan, recognizably descended from the species of witch-burning zealots, is reliably – and irresistibly – entertaining


In much of the Western world, in stark contrast [to first world Asian cities], barbarism has been normalized. It is considered simply obvious that cities have ‘bad areas’ that are not merely impoverished, but lethally menacing to outsiders and residents alike. Visitors are warned to stay away, whilst locals do their best to transform their homes into fortresses, avoid venturing onto the streets after dark, and – especially if young and male — turn to criminal gangs for protection, which further degrades the security of everybody else. Predators control public space, parks are death traps, aggressive menace is celebrated as ‘attitude’, property acquisition is for mugs (or muggers), educational aspiration is ridiculed, and non-criminal business activity is despised as a violation of cultural norms. Every significant mechanism of socio-cultural pressure, from interpreted heritage and peer influences to political rhetoric and economic incentives, is aligned to the deepening of complacent depravity and the ruthless extirpation of every impulse to self-improvement. Quite clearly, these are places where civilization has fundamentally collapsed, and a society that includes them has to some substantial extent failed.


To call the belief in substantial human equality a superstition is to insult superstition. It might be unwarranted to believe in leprechauns, but at least the person who holds to such a belief isn’t watching them not exist, for every waking hour of the day. Human inequality, in contrast, and in all of its abundant multiplicity, is constantly on display, as people exhibit their variations in gender, ethnicity, physical attractiveness, size and shape, strength, health, agility, charm, humor, wit, industriousness, and sociability, among countless other features, traits, abilities, and aspects of their personality, some immediately and conspicuously, some only slowly, over time. To absorb even the slightest fraction of all this and to conclude, in the only way possible, that it is either nothing at all, or a ‘social construct’ and index of oppression, is sheer Gnostic delirium: a commitment beyond all evidence to the existence of a true and good world veiled by appearances. People are not equal, they do not develop equally, their goals and achievements are not equal, and nothing can make them equal. Substantial equality has no relation to reality, except as its systematic negation. Violence on a genocidal scale is required to even approximate to a practical egalitarian program, and if anything less ambitious is attempted, people get around it (some more competently than others).


‘The right’ has no unity, actual or prospective, and thus has no definition symmetrical to that of the left. It is for this reason that political dialectics (a tautology) ratchets only in one direction, predictably, towards state expansion and an increasingly coercive substantial-egalitarian ideal. The right moves to the center, and the center moves to the left.

Regardless of mainstream conservative fantasies, liberal-progressive mastery of American providence has become uncontestable, dominated by a racial dialectic that absorbs unlimited contradiction, whilst positioning the Afro-American underclass as the incarnate critique of the existing social order, the criterion of emancipation, and the sole path to collective salvation. No alternative structure of historical intelligibility is politically tolerable, or even – strictly speaking – imaginable, since resistance to the narrative is un-American, anti-social, and (of course) racist, serving only to confirm the existence of systematic racial oppression through the symbolic violence manifested in its negation. To argue against it is already to prove it correct, by concretely demonstrating the same benighted forces of social retardation that are being verbally denied. By resisting the demand for orchestrated social re-education, knuckle-dragging ‘bitter clingers’ only show how much there still is to do.


liberty has no future in the Anglophone world outside the prospect of secession


Democracy might begin as a defensible procedural mechanism for limiting government power, but it quickly and inexorably develops into something quite different: a culture of systematic thievery. As soon as politicians have learnt to buy political support from the ‘public purse’, and conditioned electorates to embrace looting and bribery, the democratic process reduces itself to the formation of (Mancur Olson’s) ‘distributional coalitions’ – electoral majorities mortared together by common interest in a collectively advantageous pattern of theft. Worse still, since people are, on average, not very bright, the scale of depredation available to the political establishment far exceeds even the demented sacking that is open to public scrutiny. Looting the future, through currency debauchment, debt accumulation, growth destruction, and techno-industrial retardation is especially easy to conceal, and thus reliably popular. Democracy is essentially tragic because it provides the populace with a weapon to destroy itself, one that is always eagerly seized, and used. Nobody ever says ‘no’ to free stuff. Scarcely anybody even sees that there is no free stuff. Utter cultural ruination is the necessary conclusion.


23 Responses to Selections from The Dark Enlightenment

  1. says:

    The series is excellent. Do we know anything about the individual who wrote it?

    • James_G says:

      Nick Land is a 50-year-old former lecturer in continental philosophy.

      From a review of his recently-published collected writings:

      “Fanged Noumena brings together the writings of Nick Land for the first time. During the 1990s Land’s unique philosophical work, variously described as ‘rabid nihilism’, ‘mad black deleuzianism’ and ‘cybergothic’, developed perhaps the only rigorous and culturally-engaged escape route out of the malaise of ‘continental philosophy’ – a route which was implacably blocked by the academy. However, Land’s work has continued to exert an influence, both through the British ‘speculative realist’ philosophers who studied with him, and through the many cultural producers – artists, musicians, filmmakers, bloggers – who have been invigorated by his uncompromising and abrasive philosophical vision.

      Beginning with Land’s early radical rereadings of Heidegger, Nietzsche, Kant and Bataille, the volume then collects together the papers, talks and articles of the mid-90s – long the subject of rumour and vague legend (including some work which has never previously appeared in print) – in which Land developed his futuristic theory-fiction of cybercapitalism gone amok; and ends with his enigmatic later writings in which Ballardian fictions, poetics, cryptography, anthropology, grammatology and the occult are smeared into unrecognisable hybrids.

      Fanged Noumena allows a dizzying perspective on the entire trajectory of this provocative and influential thinker’s work, and will introduce his unique voice to a new generation of readers.”

      He’s certainly an entertaining writer who means well, but I’m not convinced of his scholarly credentials. It’s important not to sacrifice truth and perspicacity for the sake of catharthis and mere entertainment.

      “Theory-fiction” should be a warning sign.

      • James_G says:

        Or indeed catharsis.

      • spandrell says:

        It surely is a penname, or is the 50 year old philosopher in Shanghai writing for an obscure expat site?

      • nydwracu says:

        It’s entirely possible that the philosopher could be writing for an obscure expat site. From what I can gather, he got sick of academia and left to become a freelance writer. Besides, he writes like a Continental.

    • James_G says:

      It is him, there’s a link to his blog “Urban Future” on the WP page.

  2. Ariston says:

    Secession is highly unlikely; the Anglophone world is a fairly coherent empire— the exceptions being India and the African Anglophone nations. Roman provinces did not secede from Rome; they fell into other hands.

    The trick would be to have those “other hands” be from within; people forget that the German tribes which overran the Empire mostly came from within or on the near–borders; they were civilized and even phil–Roman; they saw the Empire’s collapse as an issue that could only be solved through their conquests.

    In any case: Secession is just democracy on steroids; it exists in the context of that questionable force called “self–determination”. We do not speak of the American Revolution as “secession” from the Kingdom of Great Britain; it was accomplished by force majeure— not appeal to the democratic instincts of its governors. (I sometimes wonder if the Confederacy’s standing with the European powers would have been different if it hadn’t robed itself with “secession”— a word which screams “internal conflict”).

    • Ariston says:

      Oh, and we’re long from collapse. While history always “speeds up”, the nature of American force will not go away for a long time.

      But it will begin to have to assert itself more overtly, which is exactly why I do not expect to live in an America that is not involved in at least one major conflict/occupation for the rest of my life. Additionally: Caesar may yet come.

      You just better pray he’s Augustus.

    • Foseti says:

      I agree with these points. I do however think there is a very good case to be made that we need much much smaller political units. I’m not sure how we get there without something like secession.

      • Ariston says:

        You don’t “secede”; you either force someone out, or you make yourself not worth keeping. It’s not that I think some measure of devolution wouldn’t be good, but it won’t happen in the current state; we’re still moving towards greater integration. The weird thing is that the whole thing’s on auto–pilot; if there’s any real trend in the post–war world, it’s the total lack of willpower— and that isn’t just limited to the West. It’s why someone who’s even trying stands out so much.

        I think there’s a hangover going on still among the technically–inclined, libertarians, and the new right/reactionary right/alt–right/whatever you want to call it (who—let’s face it—are mostly ex–libertarians) from the 90s: The serious geopolitical projections about devolution (Kaplan’s Coming Anarchy, for one); WIRED’s “omg the internet is magic and will result in tiny communes seceding from newly impotent governments” (I remember rolling my eyes at pieces like that in middle school), and so on. I mean, you’ve got Moldbug out there who has the books—and knows the score—and he still hangs out with the seasteading folks and holds onto a CEO–model. Another form of this is that people are taking seriously the idea of corporate neo–colonialism; the only way that happens is if the corp’s home state is using it for some reason (and then it won’t be too different from home); you aren’t going to create some CEO–run island of liberty in Tanzania. You may get the UAE; Singapore would be far too much to hope for. Maybe you’ll get some clever dictator out there who will figure out that he could be the next UAE… but I wouldn’t hold my breath. And for companies, well… it’s not worth any company’s time to try to do it without a believable guarantee from the local government and the US Navy covering their ass.

        Do you see the US defending the interests of City of Business™ when the new dictator decides to change the agreement or when some warlord comes with his cannibal army? Or do you see the “international community” stepping in when CoB™ decides to hire itself a mercenary army and buy some helicopters from Russia? You don’t have pre–apartheid South Africa providing the political interference so companies in Africa could have modern–equipped mercenary forces. The Russians might do it, but for the Caucasus, East Europe, or even Iraq (or a collapsed Iran), not Africa.

        Actually, if you wanted to make nice with a local government and create a corporate fief with relative security, I’d probably look to one of the Eastern European nations not being integrated into the EU. The other (even less plausible) route could be bargaining with the Chinese for a new Special Administrative Region; but you’d have to have a lot of cash in the bank for that deal (maybe that’s what Steve Jobs was doing with the hoard).

  3. Bill says:

    This selection makes him sound like some douchey libertarian. Is that what he is? He sounds awfully concerned with “liberty” and “limiting government power.” Is he one of Rush Limbaugh’s call screeners? A Sean Hannity fan, perhaps? Oh wait, they’re not libertarian enough, right?

  4. spandrell says:

    Countries don’t break up, armies do. You need to have the Army and Navy break up, then you can set up new governments. And first you need to break up the military industry. I think we are getting there but not quite yet.

  5. dearieme says:

    4a is particularly good. Anyway, don’t forget that the Roman Empire was partially split in two before the Western half fell.

  6. Nick B Steves says:

    To call the belief in substantial human equality a superstition is to insult superstition. It might be unwarranted to believe in leprechauns, but at least the person who holds to such a belief isn’t watching them not exist, for every waking hour of the day.

    My God, that’s a great quote. It’s goin’ in the scrapbook…

  7. Nick B Steves says:

    Worse still, since people are, on average, not very bright, the scale of depredation available to the political establishment far exceeds even the demented sacking that is open to public scrutiny. Looting the future, through currency debauchment, debt accumulation, growth destruction, and techno-industrial retardation is especially easy to conceal, and thus reliably popular.

    It really is quite regrettable that the stupid crackers in the south didn’t apply literacy tests equally–it probably would have made for some pretty fine governance.

    • fnn says:

      But those dumb crackers elected the great James K. Vardaman:

      It thus begs to question why Vardaman, in the face of overwhelming public support of the war, would so ademately defy it and seal his political fate. The answer to a complex question is equally complex. Vardaman was anti-business from the time he began his political career. To him, the most active pro-war agitators were businessmen whose only “object in having war and in preparing for war is to make money.” Vardaman further stated that he “was not going to be a party to a measure which I believe may possibly bring on war . . . in order that a few men may grow rich and richer still in carrying on commerce between New York and London.” To Vardaman, and like-minded individuals like La Follette, their opposition to the war was a manifestation of their anti-business, populist/progressive stance.

      Political ideology alone does not serve to explain Vardaman’s actions. Vardaman, by all accounts, genuinely felt the entry into the war was wrong. Despite his friends’ insistence that he vote for war, Vardaman was resolute. “I cannot compromise,” he siad, “with that which I am convinced is wrong.” Another possible insight into Vardaman’s psyche may be seen in his own personal history. Vardaman, a veteran of the Spanish-American War, was familiar with the experience of war. Thus, the Senator may have been reluctant to rush to send American boys into battle, knowing what awaited them.

      • fnn says:

        James Kimble Vardaman, however, not only voted against the declaration of war, but he resisted the administration’s call for selective conscription and went on to oppose other measures that the Wilson administration deemed essential for the war effort.

        Meanwhile, Williams’s junior colleague and bitter political rival cast one of only six Senate votes against the declaration of war. Rather than glorifying the Lost Cause, Vardaman and his predominantly rural constituents recalled the horrors of the Civil War, characterizing it as a “rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight” in which the latter had suffered the heaviest losses. Vardaman suggested that, once again, the United States was being drawn into war by privileged economic interests, such as bankers and munitions makers. He argued that most ordinary Americans had no desire to join the European conflagration, and suggested that “the great toiling masses of America” who would pay the heaviest price in lives and treasure ought to have a voice in any decision for war. While recognizing that he held a minority view, he argued that his conscience required him to oppose the declaration of war. His words were of no avail. The Senate voted for war on April 4, 1917.

        Again, Vardaman saw things differently. Anticipating that military service would fall most heavily on the backs of the rural and urban poor, he threw his support behind efforts to amend the administration’s bill to require that the War Department seek an all-volunteer army first, and only resort to conscription if enlistments proved to be inadequate.

    • Sam says:

      “stupid crackers”? Yankees voted for Obama.

  8. […] – Selections from The Dark Enlightenment, Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, Open Borders, Be More Like Berlin, Defining […]

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    Selections from The Dark Enlightenment | Foseti

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