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.

  • Documentation. A journal makes the process of development more traceable, and makes the resulting body of knowledge better documented. This makes it easier for collaborators to catch up with the current state, pick up on some open thread of reasoning, and jump in and start helping.

  • Convenient reference. We often find that once an idea has been had, one wants to present the idea again and again in discussion, and reference the idea when writing. A short blog post forms a convenient reference.

  • Feedback. Blog posts are ideal for getting feedback. We can throw an idea up quickly, send it to collaborators, and get back casual but insightful comments quickly. Having it on the open internet means we can get the insights of folks who stumble in and like what they see.

  • Finding Collaborators. Hopefully, a few good people we wouldn’t otherwise have met will find the blog, and get in touch to help out. (comments@newstatecraft.org)

A blog is convenient for these requirements. A wiki could also work, and we may in practice treat the content like a wiki, going back and hyperlinking forward for example, and writing new versions of pages. But the time ordering aspect of a blog makes it a better research journal.

Why a Hugo static blog? Because static is the right way to do it, and we don’t like manually fiddling with HTML or writing our own software.

We have chosen a short and informal posting format. This minimizes the “polish pressure” which often kills an idea before it is documented, and lets us throw things up in whatever state they are. This is not a polished academic journal where everything is good and done. Much of it will be junky and unfinished. Polish can come later if necessary.

As this is an active research project, we will be posting ideas as they develop. We will often have to revisit some idea and publish a better version, or even disavow some previous nonsense.

We will be posting ideas out of order. We’re not going to work up from first principles to every idea we currently hold. We don’t necessarily know the first principles yet, and this would hold us back from the frontier of knowledge. We’ll document the full reasoning (which mostly does exist) as is convenient or necessary, and we do aspire to a complete and fully justified system of ideas.

This blog is intended to document a single body of ideas, which is our “New Statecraft”. This encompasses quite a bit of history, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, sociology, epistemology, economics, geopolitics, military stuff, some current events, etc. As well as whatever scaffolding is needed (notes on particular books, response to comments, etc).

Comments? Comments. We have no desire to run a comments section right now. That may change; looks like Hugo makes it easy enough to attach disqus if we want to. Comments sections don’t seem to have much payoff beyond what our existing networks already get us these days. However, we do want to engage with the public a bit. We’ll start with a compromise: each post will invite readers to send an email to “comments@newstatecraft.org”.

Sociology and statecraft are inherently political. Everyone’s going to get mad. Especially those who’s job or class interest it is to believe in the system we’re trying to study with the harsh light of truth. We’re going to be called many nasty names. We’ll do our best to earn them honorably. The success of a project like this has much more to do with the quality of the work and of the writing than it has to do with how politely we dance around fashionable lies. That said, we’ll try to explain ourselves calmly and logically for the most part, and we’ll avoid any conduct unbecoming of gentlemen.

On truly “hot” subjects, we will avoid directly quotable public comment. But the beauty of a consistent body of knowledge, of the type we aim to produce, is that we don’t have to say a thing for it to be logically consequent to the rest of our framework, so this is not too much of a burden.

We’ll try to post as often as possible. Ideally every day, but we know how quickly that kind of thing collapses. You’ll be lucky to get one note a month out of us, but the project really demands more than that. As we wrap up previous projects and are able to allocate more time to this, this should improve.

For now, this project is not a movement or even an organization. Perhaps it will be, but for now it is in the research stage. This means everything is bottlenecked on our small core team building up the relevant knowledge in our heads.

Posting will reflect this. All posts are anonymous on behalf of the project, and either written or rewrittern by the editors. We welcome submissions of ideas, but the core purpose is to build the new system of knowledge in our own heads, and take the reader along with us. Not to provide a platform for name-building and insight porn.

We hope you enjoy our work, and look forward to hearing your comments.


Edited and curated by Wolf Tivy

Comments? Email comments@newstatecraft.org