The present state of affairs is unsatisfactory

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Antinomians — those seeking Change, in Moldbug’s parlance — believe that the present state of affairs is unsatisfactory:

So, of course, do I. The nomos is horribly corroded and encrusted with all sorts of gunk. However, the pronomian’s goal is to discern the real structure of order under this heap of garbage, scrape it down to the bare skeleton, replace any missing bones, and let the healthy tissue of reality grow around it.

To the pronomian, this structure is arbitrary. Weirdly-shaped borders? Leave them as they are. High taxes? All that tax revenue is paid to someone, who probably thinks of it as his property. Who am I to say it isn’t? There are some property structures, notably patent rights, which I (like most libertarians) find very unproductive. If so, the government needs to print money and buy them back. Fortunately, it has a large, high-speed intaglio press.

The pronomian seeks to restore the nomos, whose outlines are clear under the mountain of byzantine procedure, wholesale makework and vote-buying, criminal miseducation, and other horrors of the liberal-democratic state. The antinomian sees many of the same horrors. But he does not share the pronomian’s goal: minimizing the reallocation of property and authority. Where the pronomian simply wants to replace the management, reorganize the staff, and discard the inscrutable volumes of precedent that have absconded with the name of law, the antinomian wants to destroy power structures that he conceives as illegitimate.

And, of course, he wants to rebuild them according to his ideals. Unless he is a complete nihilist, which of course some are. But it is the destructive tendency that makes antinomianism so successful. The utopia is never constructed, or if it is it is not a utopia. Success is a precondition to utopia, and success involves achieving the power to destroy.

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