Friday, 1 March 2019

Military government

Military government solves the problem of how a sovcorp controls the military, by making them the same thing. Cryptographic weapons locks are unlikely to work.

Instead of shares being tradable, they are acquired by serving. Equivalently, one acquires citizenship and the vote, by serving in the military. 

However, low-ranking soldiers should not be able to out-vote their superior officers, otherwise the military could not function. You could acquire more shares with rank and length of service, or perhaps a system could function where low-ranking soldiers appointed their officers, for a limited time with the threat of non-renewal, but then had to obey their orders.

Is there any reason why military government must lead to a non-liberal, sclerotic society like PerĂ³nist Argentina or Francoist Spain? Or a corrupt society where the military runs large companies, like China? These are certainly error modes. Military personnel do not typically understand liberal economics, so without tradable shares there is no guarantee that sovcorp managers will implement sensible policies. Perhaps 49% of the shares could be tradable.

With a literal military government, where the civil service and ministries are staffed solely by uniformed military, it will be more difficult to attract capable managers who are put off by military life. Or you could get a situation where managers enter the "military" and wear the uniform, but never serve in an actually military capacity.


  1. Why reinvent the wheel? The type of government you’re looking for is an aristocracy.

  2. What is the difference between military government and aristocracy?

    In the long run, any entity must defend its property itself. If you outsource protection to someone else, they will not defend your interests exactly. Whether you call it military government or aristocracy, I am talking about a government which does not outsource its protection to a separate military.

    Surely the current British situation, where the military props up a state filled with people utterly different to it and opposed to its values (I am talking both of state employees of all kinds, and the general populace), cannot last forever.

  3. Specialisation and professionalisation differentiates military from aristocratic government.

    An aristocracy, as I take it, is characterised by men of virtue. Virtue does not simply mean “manliness”, though that is part of it. Virtue represents the “best life” for a community; it is an ineffable concept that cannot be expressed in laws or words but amounts to the sum of traditions and agreements within a particular community. Aristocrats are those who perpetuate virtue (the essence of the community) and are, therefore, men who are extremely responsible. By taking responsibility for themselves (curtailing base emotions and instincts), they gain authority in the community and, naturally, take responsibility for people who are less capable of exercising self-control. They seek to perpetuate and continue the essence of that community—its particular virtue (e.g. the Royal family perpetuates British virtue by instantiating it as absolutely as possible—stiff upper lip, duty etc.).

    An aristocrat is not a specialist; he is, therefore, not modern. He lives a life of leisure and amateur pursuits—merely taking in part in activities as a source of joy, not obligation (he imposes obligations upon himself, the obligations are not imposed externally). This is otium ut bellum.

    The professional soldier is tied to the requirement to labour, he is not a truly free man in the aristocratic sense: being a soldier is his profession, and aristocrats are always gentlemen amateurs. Most good art and science comes from amateurs who do it for the joy of the thing—aristocrats.

    The contemporary military—along with a few other pursuits like mountain climbing—is probably the closest to aristocratic life in existence (traditions [virtue]—many uncodified—keep it running), but it is subject to specialisation and rationalisation and so it is not truly aristocratic; it is a career. The rot set in with professionalisation—it was better when people could buy commissions.

    As a professional body, the military will defend its corproate interests which—as in the case of China—are not the same as the people at large. It has been politicised by being professionalised.

    The aristocrat owns his land and has a duty to his people who he almost owns (perhaps literally owns if slavery is legalised). This line of concrete responsibility is superior to the modern bureaucratised military, which is subject to the same perverse incentives as any government bureaucracy.

    The military is effectively a separate nation or parallel society in Britain, and that is true in many Western countries. Some say the people who are prepared to die for the nation are the nation, regardless of demographics.

    The divide has grown because liberalism essentially attacks the principles of military life (e.g. tradition, duty, and service). To have a functional military, the organisation must be separated, to a degree, from mainstream liberal society.

    I don’t know anything about the contemporary military, but if the videos of paratroopers shooting at targets of Corbyn are anything to go by then it seems to me that the faith of the contemporary British military in the current political system must be rock bottom. Could there be a coup if, for example, Corbyn took power or close to power? Yes, I think perhaps so. It would be institutionally unprecedented, but the country’s general political life seems to be characterised by chronic crisis at the moment.