October 29, 2018

Castes: Intellectuals, Warriors, and Productives

We have described previously the three estates of society: truth, power, and production. We also give names to people of these these estates, the castes: Intellectuals, Warriors, and Productives. Castes exist because different fundamental functions exist, and specialization is usually a good idea. In principle, anyone or any institution can be a mix of all three castes. But it is useful to analyze them separately in order to clarify our concepts. Read more

October 29, 2018

Should-Statements

“Should” statements are tricky. Truth statements not having to do with ends are easier to make true and uncontroversial for any observer. Hypothetical imperatives, where we say “if you want to accomplish X, you should do Y”, are a little bit more difficult, because there may be multiple ways to accomplish X, with other important properties, such that the “should” becomes controversial. Hypothetical imperatives can be weakened to technological truth statements: “Y will work to accomplish X, and will also achieve a, b, and c”. Read more

October 29, 2018

The Concept and Theory of Power

Power is the ability to accomplish useful goals at affordable cost, especially against the determined will of others. More power can accomplish larger goals against more opposition. We have to holistically account for ends: We generally have the power to commit crimes, but not the power to get away with it. Must look at entire goal state and all relevant effects of reachable outcomes. Must look at cost the same way. Read more

October 29, 2018

Truth, Power, Authority, and Corruption

Warriors think knowledge is a sort of power: You can use it to control the world. Intellectuals think power is a sort of knowledge: You are able to know the future, because you control it. Corrupted warriors, who forget their philosophy, think that truth answers to power. They try to dictate what others believe by force. This doesn’t work out well for them. Our society is well educated in the corruption of warriors, because we are ruled by intellectuals who are sure to cast shade on them. Read more

July 14, 2018

Three Estates of Society

Let’s boil society down to its most basic necessary elements: Productivity. Wealth and resources need to be produced, captured, or otherwise acquired. Social Order, Authority. People need to agree on a socially harmonious social order that dictates who gets what resources, who is allowed/obliged to do what, and so on. Without this agreement, “society” would devolve into all-against-all. Sacred authority is ascribed to the consensus order. Sometimes a particular person, like a priest, or ritual, like voting, has the power to define the order. Read more

June 29, 2018

Three Skills of Social Technologists

There are three key skills needed by social technologists. That is, people who are actually going to go out and build and operate social technology: Power, Leadership, and Social Technology. We previously discussed how social technologists have to be powerful leaders, and how we will eventually need to be able to train social technologists with all the requisite skills to build social technology. Since then, we’ve refined how we think, and crystalized this trio of key skills: Read more

June 28, 2018

Honor and Loyalty

Let’s do a detailed analysis of a simple social concept. The concept of loyalty is dear to us, as lack of loyalty, or our inability to see it, is the source of many bumps and scares in our more practical projects. So what do we mean by it, and how does it work? Loyalty can mean a lot of things: It can mean loyalty to your friends despite some temptation, like when you’re hanging out with another group that wants you to gossip, but you don’t. Read more

June 26, 2018

Open Threads

This is a brief overview of our current open threads in research. These are articles we would like to write, thoughts we would like to expand, and things we would like to do, to drive this project forward. While we’d like to do all of this, we don’t think we will get to all of it, and we expect much of it to be obsolete by the time we do get to it. Read more

June 13, 2018

Some Social Technologies of Interest

So we want to tinker with some basic social technologies to develop the craft, which can then be made scientific. As it happens, we have a few which we think work well, are important, we already have experience with either practically or theoretically, are within range for tinkering, and do not really have any mysterious elements. We will list these and give a basic overview of them: Marriage. An exclusive permanent union between a man and a woman, often for the purpose of raising children. Read more

May 11, 2018

Planning for Social Technology Capability

We are trying to take the craft of social technology from being and undeveloped prescientific art, to being a well understood engineering discipline, ideally scientific. This is the development of a superior capability, the capability to construct social technology, with particular characteristics, those of scientific engineering. One way to develop a capability is to pick a task in its domain, try to do it or plan how you would do it, and patch the missing sub-capabilities as you find them. Read more

May 10, 2018

The Problem of Psychological Refinement

We’ve said previously that our overall direction right now is to focus on two things: Building the engineering-grade science of social technology, and its methodology. Building background understanding of the state within this paradigm. We have much to say on the topic of the state, but the first thing seems best to focus on for now. It’s a big topic with many of subtopics and much work to do, and really is prior to subsequent stuff like theory of state. Read more

April 12, 2018

Social Technologists Must Be Powerful Leaders

Sociology the way we think of it here is the study of social technology for the purposes of engineering. Engineering is about practical effects. The domain of the effects is the organization of society. The ability to affect the organization of society is social power. People tend to be very uncomfortable with social power as a concept, and those who talk about it much are regarded with suspicion. To some degree, this is understandable; many of our most salient experiences with power are of power being abused or applied badly. Read more

April 12, 2018

Sovereignty, Social Order, and Coherence

Early in the book “On Power”, Bertrand de Jouvenel defines “Theories of Sovereignty” as a key component of a political order. A theory of sovereignty is part of the narrative order of the society overall. It’s the part that says that there is some sovereign will to which other rights have to be subordinated or defined with respect to. Examples given in the book are Popular Sovereignty, and Divine Sovereignty. That is, “the will of the people” holds sovereignty, or God holds sovereignty. Read more

April 11, 2018

Founders vs Scientists

We want to produce a new or better social science, one which is capable of doing engineering of social technology. In a short phrase, an “engineering grade science of social technology”. We have targeted being able to train social technology engineers as one of our goals. We have been alternately calling these “social technology engineers” and more directly “founders”. We’ll use the latter terminology here. The founders have to be able to study, come to understand the workings of, design, and build social technology. Read more

April 11, 2018

What's The Plan?

All costly actions are taken with a mind to some purpose. The New Statecraft Project is itself an expensive but purposeful action. Purpose descends from ultimate goals through plans. If we work out our plan explicitly, we can better improve it, and better accomplish it. Publishing our plan helps our readers to understand our work, signals honest intent, makes it easier to train and orient our collaborators, and makes it easier for others to coordinate with us. Read more

March 31, 2018

Why America?

Our research takes us everywhere. Past, present, and as much as we can, future. But our actual plans and eventual prescriptions are focused on the United States. Why? Our goal is a vast improvement of our society by vastly improved social technology, especially statecraft. By “our society” we generally mean human society, and the parts of that which we and our descendents will have to actually rely on. So more specifically we mean “the West”. Read more

March 29, 2018

The Institution Building Institution

Something one of our collaborators remarked on long ago was that we need an institution-building institution. That is, a social institution that itself is able to reliably train the skill of building social institutions. Since being able to build institutions contains within it the skill of being able to run and reengineer institutions, this is a great help with the succession problem and the lieutenant problem. The succession/lieutenant problem in this context is this: we have a great many institutional projects we think would be highly valuable, that we think we have the skill and resources to execute. Read more

March 27, 2018

The Squad Tree

Let’s look at Organic Deep Hierarchy again. This time we’ll try to reduce it to its essential core, disassemble it into parts needing separate justification, and then critique and reengineer as necessary. Let’s look specifically at the “Squad Tree” idea: One core idea of the Organic Deep Hierarchy model is the “Squad Tree”. That is, a hierarchical tree of “squad”-sized groups of men. Every squad has a squad leader. The squad leader is in turn a member of some higher squad. Read more

March 26, 2018

Organic Deep Hierarchy

This is a snapshot of a model we played with as an alternative to parliamentary organizing structures like Robert’s Rules of Order. We intended it to patch the vulnerabilities of such systems, and be the kind of thing that a strong state or community organization might want to implement internally as its rules of order. These rules are not intended to be used for wage-paying economic projects, which have much more direct power over members through wages, and thus don’t need to manage personal and political loyalty as much, and don’t need to be as voluntary. Read more

March 14, 2018

A Skeleton Argument for a New Statecraft

We are operating on the notion that we might be able to produce a scientific political discipline of vastly higher quality than the current mixture of pre-scientific knowledge and mystical belief. This does not automatically imply that it would be a good thing to do so. Even so, we are making that assumption. So we ought to justify or at least investigate the reasons that producing a new statecraft will do good things. Read more

March 14, 2018

Defining The Seed Package

How far do we have to develop our new statecraft? Do we have to develop an entire mature science? We don’t think so. There will be some subset of the full mature science that is in itself strong enough to grow into the full thing without intervention from us. We call this the “new statecraft seed package”. There will be another subset that is sufficient to accomplish our statecraft goals. We can call this the “minimum viable statecraft”. Read more

March 8, 2018

More Thoughts on Church and State

[This post consists of lightly edited notes from internal debates on the topic. It is thus written in a slightly different tone, and with more jarring assumptions, from our usual publication tone.] We need a well structured state. The state needs someone in charge. The guy in charge has to actually be in charge, and there needs to be a unified chain of command. This neatly solves so many problems, we should be very averse to discarding these axioms. Read more

March 8, 2018

Notes Towards Axioms of Church and State

[This post consists of lightly edited notes from internal debates on the topic. It is thus written in a slightly different tone from our usual publication tone.] There is somehow a very tight relationship between the Church and the Empire, but these terms are wishy-washy, and make it hard to precisely define what it is. Part of the problem is thinking of it in terms of a Church as an organization. Read more

March 8, 2018

Tractable Directions for Statecraft Research

We attempted to lay out an overall scope of the project. More thought on overall scope would probably tighten it up considerably, but the preliminary version produced was disorganized and didn’t shed much light. There are two big conclusions from the scope-explicating experiment: Theory of state is of central importance. The other parts of society (Industry, Culture, Military) are mainly important for their interdependency on the state. Theory of knowledge generation, which is how we get and maintain knowledge of state etc, is also centrally important, but even more underdeveloped. Read more

March 5, 2018

Scope of the Project. Version 1

Let’s explore the scope of the New Statecraft Project. What questions do we need to answer in what areas? At top level, our intuition is to go with the following scope: State. That is, the organization and operation of the state. Culture. The social technology of how people organize and think and get along in general. Industry. The social technologies of how industrial production is organized, and how this relates to the other parts. Read more

February 26, 2018

Clarifying The Scientific Type of Knowledge

To target the right things in our theorizing, we have to know what the New Statecraft will look like. What kind of knowledge are we going for? We have a hypothesis. The hypothesis has three major claims: That true sociology, and statecraft based on it, can be properly scientific in the structure and type of the knowledge. That any actualized discipline of statecraft will by necessity postively promote some complete and coherent Social Order, a sort of Pattern Language of civilization. Read more

February 16, 2018

Important Technologies in Christian Anthropology

This is not a Christian project, but it is worth understanding some of the key technologies of Christianity. The following is a list of metaphysical and anthropological facts which are (as far as we can tell) true, necessary, and generally unrecognized outside Christianity. This list is not exhaustive. It consists of those which we have checked out and understood so far: Humans are sinful creatures, but fundamentally good. In that we often do things which are against our higher intentions and against our sense of right and wrong, but we do have a fundamental desire to do what is right. Read more

January 31, 2018

The Nature of Engineering-Grade Science, and Scientific Sociology

We wish to create a true engineering-grade Social Science or Sociology, specifically, Statecraft. Therefore we should understand what an engineering-grade Science is, the better to guide our efforts, and whether the notion of Science properly applies to Sociology. Based on the example of the sciences used in engineering, any true engineering-grade body of Scientific knowledge consists of the following: Language of deduction based on logic and mathematics, but specialized and abbreviated to make the kind of computations needed in the field faster and easier. Read more

January 30, 2018

No Profit from Good Sociology

Historically, Engineering flourished during the Industrial Revolution, when many companies and inventors set out to make a buck by engineering things better than everyone else. If they had better models and methods, they did better, and as better results were achieved, the embodied insights and theoretical challenges of the technologies drove the theory forward. For example, James Watt did better than the competition by using Pressure-Volume diagrams, which later became a central tool in thermodynamics. Read more

January 28, 2018

META: General Plan for the NSP Blog

So we want to develop a new statecraft. How does this blog fit in? We find it is good to make plans for projects like this: First, our reasons for the blog: A “Physical” Home for the Project. Projects are more real if they have some real manifestation. If it’s all in your head, it’s easier to lose it. Stimulation of thought. Writing ideas down as blog posts, even at minimal levels of imposed polish, forces them to be a bit better developed than if they remained as random musings or disjointed comments in private communications. Read more

January 27, 2018

Why New Statecraft?

One can make a decent living building a better mousetrap, but our society isn’t lacking in better mousetraps. We have more technology than ever before, and this shows no sign of stopping. Where technology falters, the root cause seems to be more social and political than technical. Some problems are the domain of the state, some aren’t. It’s not the state’s responsibility to fix your life. But if it’s everybody’s life that’s broken in similar ways, then it’s the state’s problem. Read more