FORWARD BASE B

"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

Political Democracy is Just One Type of Democracy

We’ve concluded that the state cannot be changed just by shuffling around governments, since the quality of rulership is decided by the nature of the population.
Russians, for instance have always had autocratic, brutal, corrupt governments no matter if it’s a monarchy, communist dictatorship, or a democracy.  The English on the other hand had strong councils of representatives whether there was a monarch, a theocratic dictator, constitutional monarch, or a democracy.  The French defaulted to an order of centralized semi-autocracy, never quite leaving behind the authoritarian ways of their old monarchy, whether under Robespierre, Napoleon, Napoleon III, or DeGaulle.  How important then is the label?

Since government merely reflects the nature of its people, it becomes clear if we want to change a state, first we have to produce a change in its people.
But it’s impossible to produce any rapid change in the nature of a population.  We should sooner try to cool down the ocean by throwing in ice cubes.  This is the hard truth that every victorious revolutionary, political reformer, or activist soon discovers.

The most obvious way we might control the expression of a population is not to change it, but to distort its expression.  To accomplish this, we decide who to enfranchise the most to bring about the best results a people is capable of supplying.  In the process of politics then, we make sure those most inimical to an effective state have no vote at all, those of middling character get one vote, and the best of the race, a single vote that outweighs many lesser votes.
This after all, is the proposition made by a classical republic.  In the Roman Republic, the groups of people voted in “tribes” not at all equal in representation.  Plebeians despite their greater number were outweighed by the clout of the patrician classes in a vote.
In the early American republic, only those who owned sufficient property, giving them a real stake in the system of governance, were allowed to cast votes concerning the government.
Only by the 1820s was America well along the path to its transformation into a popular democracy.
However, no truly pure democracy has ever existed.
In Ancient Athens only an elite class granted the title of ‘citizen’ had the vote.
In America, several methods of strategic distortion of the popular will persist to this day.  The bicameral system that distorts the clout of representatives numbered according to population by the addition of senators who are equal in number and power, even if they are sent to the capital from sparsely populated mountains, desert, or tundra.  And of course, the electoral college that simplifies the popular vote into a winner-takes-all system.  Not to mention a great many who are only appointed by elected officials, elected by proxy, such as the entire judicial branch.
Even the American popular democracy is imbued with an inherent distrust of the unalloyed popular will built into it by its founders and reinforced by three centuries of their successors.
So the question is not whether to distort the popular will, but how it should best be done.

But…I began this entry commenting that governments alone cannot achieve the greater purpose.

Our first step is to observe that government is just one sort of democracy decided by the people in aggregate.  We can think of several great democracies, of which government is by far the least significant.

Political democracy – Every vote elects a representative.

Economic democracy – Every purchase is a vote that elects a product.

Social democracy – Every value someone holds is a vote that elects a society.

Biological democracy – Every child conceived is a vote that elects a people.

I will hope to discuss each in turn.

The Ruling Class: Why Changing Rulers Doesn’t Change Society

The first job of the ruler isn’t to rule well or make anybody happy.
First they have to keep themselves in power.
Next is to keep some kind of society going from day to day even if it’s a shithole, so they have something to rule over.
Finally, they have to worry about competition from other rulers.
The other stuff is mostly optional extras.

From this point of view, most rulers are actually pretty good at what they do and are on top of the pyramid for a reason.
When discontented members of the upper middle class have a successful revolution, they always try to focus on the optional extras first but find that the three fundamentals of being a ruler are deceptively difficult to achieve.
They get way ahead of themselves trying to bring about their ideal world of peace and equality but are smacked in the face with reality when they can’t keep a currency solvent, can’t settle on a stable form of government, counter-revolutionary movements start springing up within the country, and the state’s neighbors eagerly mass armies on the border to take advantage of the chaos.

The American Revolution is a remarkable exception, because it wasn’t started by jealous skilled professionals.  It was begun by a ruling class.
Because of the distance between the American colonies and Britain, a de facto ruling class rose up in the colonies.  Of course, no place can have two bodies of rulers.  The American Revolution was the conflict that resolved this contradiction.
Guys like Washington and Jefferson weren’t well-paid slaves, they were aristocrats.  They already had the experience, broad education, and mentality of mastery required to actually run a place.
We see a lot of crossroads in the early American state where unsuitable rulers would have careened from one excess to another.
Fractured into 13 weak governments, surrounded by hostile Indian nations, all the European nations circling like sharks, faced with internal revolts such as the Whiskey Rebellion and Shays’ Rebellion, with no clear center of government or finance…
They faced all the classic problems that confront yuppie revolutionaries but with their wider wisdom avoided, or at least managed to mitigate the damage of making the same mistakes.
Already aristocrats of their local regions, they were within a couple decades able to figure out what needed to be done to establish a viable state.
They even went further once they had most of the basics under control and made an attempt at fulfilling their ideological goals.
A glimpse at the dismal history of states tells us they didn’t do so bad.  They sailed through reefs riddled with wrecks and survived.

Rulers cannot wield power wantonly.  They’re forced to tread carefully and react to the realities of the world around them appropriately or they don’t stay in charge for long.
Their struggle is not to chafe under a boss, but to work against the limitations of nature.  It’s them against the world.  They can’t call the police if they have a problem, the police call them with their problems.
Ironically, the unsheltered life of the ruling class shares much in common with underclass gangsters.
While wage earners can’t comprehend the life of rulers and idolize the upper middle class, gangsters dream instead of ruling. Indeed, gangsters are opportunists always trying to set up their own shadow state right underneath the ruler’s nose.

Because rulers just do a few simple things and react to their environment to achieve those goals.  It’s up to the people to achieve those goals.
If a population is ignorant, unorganized, and easily ruled by violence, a violent state results.
If you or I rose to power in such a state, we’d do no differently out of necessity.
The USA discovered the hard way that Saddam actually governed Iraq pretty much as it ought to be governed to hold it together as one state.
If we tried to govern through softer methods when violence is more effective, someone would soon come along with no compunctions and quickly depose us.
If a population is smart, conscientious, and organized, the ruler has to drastically change his strategy to stay in power.  He encourages a relatively affluent society instead of a brutal kleptocracy not out the goodness of his heart—sentimental rulers don’t stay alive very long—but because it is more beneficial to him to have a stable, wealthy society that keeps most people content.
If we imagine the ruler as a man in the wilderness, we can suppose the weather represents the people.  The ruler merely reacts to the climate, staying in when there’s a storm or traveling when it’s sunny.  In the largest sense, every government is representative.
Peoples truly do get the government they deserve.

The problem with mass governments, is each of us is just a drop in the ocean, unable to exert any sizable influence.  But for the fear of bigger organizations, it makes a lot more sense for people to organize on a much smaller scale so the nature of their society better moves rulers to act in their interests.

The problem with revolutionaries is they try to change a people by changing the government.  The key to any real change is not the rulers, but the composition of a population.

The Upper Middle Class: The Usurpers

The wealthiest, highest status people who still work jobs and get paychecks we may call the upper middle class, urban professionals, yuppies.

As far as the subordinate masses of lesser wage earners are concerned, they are the angels in heaven making 6 figures in their “self-actualizing” careers.  A huge proportion of TV, movies, and fiction idolizes the exploits of doctors, surgeons, lawyers, FBI investigators, special agents, police chiefs, jet pilots, and professors.
These heroes are the most talented workers at the top of their craft.

The upper middle class is the glowing source of the culture upper proles and the middle class try to imitate.  If they decide quinoa or yoga is in, it filters down over the next few years.  When the middle classers embrace the new trend the upper middle class dumps it out of disgust and finds a new fad.  Or they escalate, and put expensive twists on their version that sets it safely apart from the riff raff.  Mid to low proles of course are impermeable to these fads and stick with their light beer and doritos come hell or high water.

Those in the upper middle class bask in their position of leadership and indulge in snobbery, but there’s one big problem that’s the bane of their existence:

They’re still hirelings.

Most of them have bosses just like the lowest prole day laborer.  Because they have high demand skills that are hard to replace, they’re treated as esteemed humans, not like animals as proles are.  However, they’re not the ones pulling the strings and they still have a “career” to grind at for decades before they get old and die in an upscale “retirement community”.  They may go to Iceland and Costa Rica on their vacations, but most of the time they’re tied to a “position” that demands intense dedication.  Because they live in a high value market, they must constantly prove themselves against the best competition in the world.
All their SWPL trappings such as hiking gear in the big city, cars with bike racks on top, vibram running shoes, new age crystals, and organic trail mix are trappings of the freedom they wish they had.
All their favorite brands promise meditative bliss, open skies, and airy mountain forests because they’re still slaves that crave freedom, just like any other worker.  In some ways it’s worse for them because their intellects are just sharp enough to perceive the trap they live in and resent it.  This makes them potentially dangerous.

If the middle class is the castle moat, getting constantly assailed from without, getting the castle’s sewage dumped into it from within, the upper middle class enjoys a truly privileged place within the castle walls, dwelling in the royal court.
They may actually have substantial contact with rulers.  To everyone else, the Elites are like Gods living atop an incomprehensible height.
The upper middle class on the other hand gets some access to those at the very top.  Unlike the rest, they get to observe how the rulers are not Gods, but flesh and blood people who often make mistakes.  They might even start thinking that they could do a better job…

So, under the right circumstances, the upper middle class becomes like Lucifer among God’s angels.  Already possessed of enough ambition and talent to get to the very top of the labor force, they begin to have seditious thoughts if the ruling order appears weak or incompetent.
If those with upper middle class qualities get disenfranchised and cut out of the game, they simmer with resentment and use their intelligence and leadership ability to start movements against the establishment.  If the rulers cut too many of the best and brightest out of their racket, the best and brightest turn all their energy against the rulers.
When a wave of discontent from the larger population puts the rulers off balance the ambitious upper middle class may decide the time is right.
A desperate ruler does the one thing he should never do and makes a concession.
Parliament gets called into an emergency session, the estates general is convened…the rest is history.

People of the upper middle class are smart, educated, and organized enough that they often succeed at having a revolution.  The problems begin when they discover that running a government isn’t the same as having a job.  It requires a world view alien to the worker slave mentality.  There’s no boss, no instructions to follow.  They finally must truly think for themselves.
For all their skill, an upper middle class person mostly just does one thing in one sphere of influence.  Though that role may be important, it cannot prepare them for the challenge of controlling many spheres and understanding the larger patterns that govern them all.

Because they still just work a job for their masters, they’re free to indulge in feel-good philosophies about how humanity could be made better.  Upper middle class revolutions usually have catchy slogans with high flung promises of ‘liberty’ and ‘equality.’  When the top slaves win their revolution, though, they very quickly discover that feel-good talk doesn’t make a state run.
They come from a class that spends its entire youth sheltered in prep schools and universities, spending most of their time learning highly specialized skills in the company of others who share their priorities and values.
The problem with Upper Middles trying to rule is they have no idea what motivates most people, no clue how most people live and behave.
Their moral ideologies are possibly suited to other people like them, but they are oblivious that they represent well under 10% of the population and the vast majority of humanity is nothing like them.
To put it simply, they have no street smarts.  Any lower prole teenager would be a good starting teacher to introduce them to the ways of the real world.

Unsurprisingly, upper middles find themselves in way over their heads when they actually take over.  They soon find themselves solving problems just like their bosses used to, but more heavy-handedly.  If the rulers used to hang trouble makers, in no time at all the victorious revolutionaries will have great terrors and great purges.
The revolution that begins with hope and optimism, then devolves into disaster and tyranny.  Tragically, time and again the upper middle class discovers, as Lucifer did, that to rule is above their proper place in the heavens.

The Purpose of All Social Relations

The motto of all social relations can be encapsulated in one short sentence:

“Don’t be that guy.”

Don’t be that guy who’s the first to step off the transports on D-day.
Don’t be that guy who gets laid off when they have to cut some jobs.
Don’t be that guy who has no connections in the food ministry when there’s a famine.
Don’t be that guy who gets caught when everyone is breaking the rules.
Don’t be that guy who never finds out he’s been cuckolded and raises another man’s seed.
Just don’t be that guy.  It doesn’t matter how we make it happen.  We must.  Those who can’t are exploited and weeded out.

This is the reason why humans developed big brains to begin with — an arms race against each other.
The rewards of having someone else take the big risks and misfortunes for you are enormous.
The consequences of being taken advantage of are disastrous and often fatal.

Even monkeys have hierarchies where those low in rank are forced to do the most dangerous jobs with greatest vulnerability to predators while those on top get all the best mates.  Humans are just slightly more clever monkeys.  Throughout life, other people work hard to give us the short end of the stick while trying to get better for themselves and their own.  So it goes from small time jobs to the highest levels of the state.

Proles are oblivious to this reality of life, believing instead in things like “hard work” and taking pride in sweat and drudgery.  They choose to believe in religions that explain away the obvious injustice in the world around them with promises of an afterlife.

A different world view sets the middle class utterly apart from the worker masses.  They understand the goal of social relations and spend their whole lives striving not to be that guy as they “network” and exchange business cards over “continental breakfast” at their hotel.  They’re ahead because they know the right game to play.  But they’re still mediocre.  Of those playing the right game, they’re the worst at it.
Deep down they know this and they spend decades trying to compensate for their insecurity and “get ahead” by reading self help books, listening to motivational speakers, obsessing about the latest trendy “management strategies”, buying leather bound day planners, and making sure their windsor knot is flawless in the mirror before attempting to comb over that bald spot.

The Middle Class: Caught In Between

No one likes the middle class.
They’re like a teacher’s pet trying too hard to please the teacher.
Their masters look down on them with amused contempt.  Servile creatures who sell their souls for larger crumbs.
The working class despises their eagerness to sell out everyone else and envies their standard of living.
Confounded, the middle class tries harder to please yet still finds itself caught in the middle surrounded by enemies.
When things start going bad, they make excellent scapegoats while their masters stay in comfort.
The middle class is a buffer state, the first line of defense for people who matter.

Other than being in the middle of the hierarchy, there’s nothing middle about the middle class.  They’ve always been a minority, perhaps less than 20% of the population even in the best of times.  These are the people who’ve left behind the working class lifestyle, but are far as ever from any real power.  The middle class are the low level functionaries who typically rely on the good graces of the rich for their relatively privileged lifestyle. They are owned people like the workers but live under greater supervision with more responsibilities and expectations.
While a prole wanders from one job to the next knowing it will be the same as the last, losing a job for the middle class person can be a major life crisis that threatens to cast him back down into the seething mass of the working class.

The mentality of the middle class is one of anxiety, like that of a rodent or a deer.  They know they’re among the few who’ve managed to get ahead and are terrified of falling from grace.  If they fall, their family falls with them.  They’ve lost the ability to function in the rougher prole society.  Their sheltered helicopter-parented kids are easy targets in a prole school district.  They’re like cops getting sent to prison if they fail.  For them, there’s no going back.
Paul Fussell in his book, Class, had the insight to notice that they like everything to be bland and inoffensive from their food to entertainment.  So complete is their subservience and desire to avoid offense that it controls their lives even when they’re not working.  They try to imitate their superiors by being verbose and using lots of long words that disguise their real meaning, especially if it’s something possibly disagreeable.  Just think of the grey and boring names we associate with corporate jargon.  If a middle class person tells you their job title, it’s not clear what they actually do.

Peasants have revolts, the upper middle class, revolutions. The middle class has no rebellion.  Their fortunes are tied to the ruling order and they fear losing what they have too much to participate in upheaval.  They’ll usually still be fed when most proles are starving so will have even less incentive to betray their masters and join the destitute multitudes.

Like proles, middle classers are devoid of imagination and ideas.  Curiosity is alien to them.  The ideal middle class person needs to have enough brains to acquire skills and be likable to the right people, but any more than that is dangerous to the blind loyalty required of them.
They’re perfectly plain in looks possessing neither intellect or stupidity.  They’re the insipid gruel of humanity lacking in flavor or personality content to work at the same desk for a lifetime.
Proles are passive and impotent but at least they are passionate.
Proles are collectivist, they stick to the ways of their own kind.
The middle classers are conformist, their culture is their failure to imitate their betters.  They have no love for themselves, they care only for fashions handed down from above.

The lack of of identity and stuffiness of middle class culture makes it the first zone of society with potential for unsocialized malcontents to break off in search of meaning and belonging in life.  At present the middle class is shrinking from an all-time high to return to more normal historic levels.  Plenty of middle class children have failed to get the same status as their parents and find themselves alienated.
Middle class people are harmless to rulers as long as they stay that way.  But if too many of them slip towards proledom their better brains and higher initiative can cause some problems as they bring their resentments down with them and begin to inspire popular anger.

All Mass Societies Are Built on Coercion

To suppose coercion would go away without governments is foolish.  Those who rail against tax collection forget that if there were no large government, small governments would quickly take over.  Instead of paying taxes, we’d pay protection money to the local gangsters.  Then, over time, one gang would centralize power and eventually grow into a state that collects taxes. We’d be right back where we started.

One of the hard facts of being human is all our societies are founded on parasitism.  Since the foundation of agricultural settlements most people have lived in poverty while a small, dominant group extracted tribute from everyone else.
Before farming, there may not have been parasitism on the same scale, but those who got in the way of the strong were simply killed instead.
There’s never been a paradise because a tough grind with high attrition has always been the normal state of the natural world.  Humans are just another animal in the wild.

To change this state of affairs we’d have to transcend the trap of natural selection which thrives on scarcity and suffering to select ourselves instead.
Since transhumanism will remain science fiction for some time to come, it remains incumbent on anyone who wants to change anything to find ways to identify and enfranchise the best people and mitigate the damage done by the worst.
For the individual human, it is impossible to change the nature of billions of people, it is reasonable perhaps to form tribes of those with similar temperament and create within that sphere the world they wish to see, and that sphere finally formed, devise a means of its further transmission.

Civilization is Natural

Why do we suppose a beehive is natural and a city unnatural?  The enlightenment idea that humans have somehow transcended nature by building “civilization” is absurd.

We are taught that civilization is a safe place with modern medicine and “progress” where everyone cares about each other.  Perhaps we believe in these myths for comfort and the illusion of power over the universe.

I have to try not to stare in disbelief when people spout these kinds of sentiments.  These are the same people who would be forced to sleep on the street if they couldn’t outcompete others to seize and keep a job!  Human societies are based on survival of the fittest, the city is no kinder than the jungle.
Civilization is a snow-capped wilderness, the precious wealth needed to live wrung from jagged stones. I never forget I traverse an icy landscape, one sub-zero night away from dying.  All my grievances in life are but whistling winds pleading against a granite face.

So-called civilization is run with no plan.  Every generation, some people show up and struggle to deal with the mess after the fact.  No one assesses how many mouths can be fed or what kinds of people will be needed most.  Civilization just throws shit against the wall to see what sticks, exactly the same as nature.  Why should we not say deer in the forest also have civilization or even dandelions that also throw all their seeds to the wind and hope for the best?
Are not ants or termites then far more civilized than humans?  The queen only has as many workers as she needs.  Each worker puts every ounce of its productive ability into sustaining its civilization.  Humans are an incompetent waste by comparison yet we suppose technology separates us from the natural world.
Is it not pathetic that the same creatures that can create spacecraft must labor most of their waking hours to pay rent—if they are lucky?

Though we know nature is harsh do we not perceive great beauty in it?  I suppose that is why I see the world as I do but am more or less happy.  As a little kid, I loved to watch nature documentaries.  I remember seeing one episode where tadpoles were racing to mature in temporary pools created by seasonal rains.  In their struggle to make it against the deadline, they seemed every bit as busy and purposeful as city dwellers.  When time ran out, the stragglers were unapologetically left flopping in the mud, getting cooked by the sun.
That we perceive such beauty in a process defined by the harshest sort of attrition tells us nature is as it should be.  There’s no problem of evil to be explained any more than we must explain evil things in the stars or planets.
I’ve been called an optimistic pessimist.  I think it’s because someone who believes in the myth of a protective, safe civilization is doomed to be disappointed.
I am not disappointed, the universe is exactly as I expect it to be and there is peace in that.

Perhaps a story will serve to illustrate:

I was recently in the Caribbean.  Swimming away from the beach to a rocky area, I found a bunch of black urchins that reminded of shadow vessels from Babylon 5.  The bigger ones had spikes nearly a foot long.  To my astonishment, they shook their spines at me vigorously when I got near.  I’d only ever seen tiny sluggish urchins barely capable of perceptible motion.  I singled out a big one that wasn’t embedded in a rocky crevice and by nudging it with a rock found it wasn’t attached to anything.  I could easily tilt it up with the rock and slip my hand underneath.  Hah!  I thought, I had outsmarted its defense systems.  I marveled at the writhing black spike ball sitting safely in my hand and began to move back towards shore where I intended to look at it out of the water and take pictures.
But suddenly I felt sharp pains in my hand and had to drop the creature.  I was going to go try to pick it up again, I like a challenge, but then I realized the tips of its spines had broken off and were actually embedded in my fingers and had an “Oh, shit” moment.  At the same time, I was amused and amazed.  The urchin had a truly perfect design.  Ages of trial and error easily anticipated anything a fool like me might try.  I recognized great beauty in that.  All that movement hadn’t been idle, it had actually been shifting its spines underneath itself.  Because of the black color, I could see the broken off tips under my skin.  I suppose they were a souvenir there to remind me for about a month after my return to the US.

The struggle between predator and prey, parasite and host are everywhere to be found among humans.  Societies are teeming reefs with many niches and ecosystems.  I take it to be self evident that my role is to be an effective organism—that urchin offered an inspiring example to follow.

The Fundamental Problem With Labor Movements

Beggars can’t be choosers.

Think of a homeless guy who washes car windows in traffic in hopes of getting paid.  That’s the position of the wage slave.

The tragedy of the modern labor force is that people are completely dependent on jobs.
Unless a laborer gets a better offer from another employer, he’s impotent at the bargaining table.  Because he eats by selling his labor, he can’t withhold his labor.  Because he can’t withhold, he is powerless, a slave in all but name—a slave to the necessity of survival as a subsistence farmer is slave to his fields.  Even if he chooses to go on strike and be hungry for awhile, it’s all too easy to replace him with someone else who does the same thing.  And when his strike doesn’t work, there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to eat again, he may even be blacklisted, all but sentenced to death by exile into the wilderness.

As soon as we go looking for jobs, we’re limited in what we can demand.  A man who opens a business may need employees, but he didn’t ask our parents to give birth to us, nor does he naturally bear any duty to care for us.  He can’t be held responsible for the entire human race—keeping a business alive is hard enough.   He has his shop and maybe he hires a few guys if he needs them, and dismisses them when they’ve served their purpose.  Someone who lives only selling his labor must be one of those guys that gets hired and finds ways to stay employed or he’s faced with starvation.

Earning bare subsistence wages for backbreaking labor that makes some other guy rich sucks; I’ve had to do a decent amount of it to get by.
I’ve also played around with small operations to make some money on the side.  I found out it’s astonishingly difficult to pay yourself even $7.50 an hour.  I’ve tried selling sourdough bread, I’ve sold asian herbs over the internet.  Until you have an operation at critical mass.  You’re actually a lot better off working at McDonalds.  When you clock out at McDonald’s you can check out and not worry.  If you have your own thing, there’s not truly any such thing as a day off.  Until you’ve risked substantial capital to build up infrastructure of some kind, simply panhandling yields a competitive wage compared to most things you could do on your own.

The only way anyone gets a better deal in this life is by having leverage at the bargaining table.  Until hamburger flippers have better options, they won’t get 15 dollars an hour.  If they can’t work for 7.50, 5 dollars an hour, or even .50 cents an hour they’re even worse off!  So how do they expect to get a better deal?
I remember traveling around the UK learning how Welshmen went hungry when slate mining declined and the Cornish when the tin market crashed. When the one job in town went away, grinding poverty gave way to the threat of outright starvation. “Grinding” at least suggests a process that can be carried on from day to day, even if it’s unrelentingly miserable.

We live in a post-industrial world where only a few percent of the population is needed to do the truly essential work of providing food and infrastructure.  The rest is a desperate attempt to make human lives worthwhile.  Once the goods are produced, it’s absurd to suppose that the rest can all try to provide value by serving each other the goods.
People have always had to earn their keep.  Those who have been unwilling or unable to provide value to others have starved.  One brief thought experiment suffices: Do you want to buy food and housing for a mob of strangers?  Can you?

A few years ago I wrote about the Highland Clearances because it’s a definitive example of how the real world really works:  When sheep became more profitable than peasant tenants, the people were promptly evicted en masse to make way for sheep.  We can also observe countless other examples in the British Empire alone.  They exported food from Ireland during the Irish potato famine and from India during Indian famines.  Human life is cheap and wealth is dear.

If we consider that money is just a stand-in for wealth, and wealth itself is food, shelter, mates, luxuries for the human and the products of photosynthesis for the plant—every living thing in a sense is a business.
And in the course of nature, failed businesses perish from the earth.

I’ve wondered before if we can defy the experience of generations and truly assign human life an intrinsic value in practice.  New things happen after 10s of thousands or even millions of years all the time.  But by the pattern we know—that of an agricultural oligarchy, useful specimens are retained by those who control wealth—the rest discarded into the trash pile.

That said, even if no useful work is to be done, billions of unneeded specimens still have a very useful product to offer—they can be hired for the indispensable service of not looting, plundering, and causing mayhem—or at least you won’t have to pay the greater expense of hiring armies to slaughter them all.  Such has been the basis of social programs and welfare since ancient Egypt and Rome.
No man would be willing to earn 50,000, live on 10,000 himself and support 4 other strangers on 10k each.  But many a man might sacrifice 10,000 of his 50,000 a year to be left in peace.  On exactly this premise our current order continues to coast along on borrowed inertia from better times.

The Masses Crave Discipline

I was briefly doing some reading on dog training once because I was visiting my parents and they had a young puppy full of energy with little discipline.  It was difficult to even take the young animal for a walk because he would zip every which way with no sense of direction and constantly fight against the tugging of the leash.
I soon discovered the ideas of a guy called Cesar Milan on the web, a fellow who I understand had a TV show.
It soon struck me that his kind of ideas didn’t just seem dog-like to me.  I’d never found a finer manual in the art of herding people.

We have only to see Britain’s adulation for its royal family or Americans’ worship of the Kennedys to understand that the typical human psychologically requires a master as surely as any dog.  People feel happy and safe when there is a dominating presence at the head of their tribe.  They become miserable and anxious in the absence of discipline and leadership.

One has only to observe groups of kids.  A classroom with a strong and competent teacher is well behaved and happy.  A class with a weak teacher is obnoxious and miserable.
One would think that the kids with greater freedom would be happier, but the opposite is true.
Over the years I’ve had stints as a substitute teacher and an English teacher.  I’ve worked in tourist venues where groups of kids pass through constantly.  Everywhere I’ve gone, the kids without leadership have bratty sneers on their faces and while they may smile, it’s always a snide expression of mockery and contempt.  They’re unhappy, insecure, and bored.
Investigating dog psychology on the internet, I read how canine misbehavior is an attempt to get attention and test the leadership of the master.  The dog is begging to be shown rules and leadership just as it begs for food.  After all, social creatures require rules and structure as they do food or water.
It struck me that all those kids are exactly the same way.  Their misbehavior when not disciplined is just an escalating plea for leadership.  They immediately become happy and compliant again when their misbehavior is punished and they are decisively cast down into their proper place.

Dogs, according to the likes of Cesar Milan, experience a great deal of stress when despite their pleas, no leadership is forthcoming.  The dog starts to see itself as the incipient alpha bearing full responsibility for the wellbeing of the pack.  This crushing stress, combined with perceiving the need to assert itself as leader, mere misbehavior can escalate into outright aggression.  This is the point where the master loses control of the situation irrevocably.

Here,  I reflected, rulers of people do not fall from internal disputes as long as they show strength and leadership.  However, the moment a ruler makes concessions, the end is near.  We can reflect on Gorbachev and the end of the Soviet Union, or Mubarak in Egypt.  We can compare the outcome of President Jackson’s quick and decisive suppression of secession movements in South Carolina, with the concessions and indecisiveness of Buchanan.
It is an eternal law of dealing with the masses: the strongman is rewarded with obedience, the kind man with rebellion and overthrow.

American foreign policy would have been greatly improved had its formulators understood the human craving for discipline.  They would have immediately had an astute and accurate understanding of what an Iraq without Saddam would be like.  Now, faced with all the problems that the strongman kept in check, they’re forced to unhappily enter an alliance with the Iranians just to feebly attempt to restore what they already had—and willfully undid—because they chose to make real world policy while living in a fantasy land.

If anything, the colonialists of the British Empire had no illusions about the subservient and base nature of humanity.  With incomparably less wealth, technology, and personnel they managed to govern most of the planet.  A few jungle and desert zones capable of resisting the entire might of the United States caused no unusual problems for the British whose only advantage over the American superpower was a shrewd understanding of people.

Enlightenment thought teaches us humans are perfect rational agents, who need only be set free.  But even the most casual glance at the psychology of real, ordinary people quickly informs us:  One of the cruelest things that can be done to a man is to set him free.  At heart, man wants to be ruled.

Proles Are Inert

We have established that human societies everywhere settle into a stratified equilibrium.  Many other social species have hierarchy.  Amongst humans, there is the hierarchy of natural castes.

Societies thrive or collapse  in proportion that its class system reflects the reality on the ground.  A society fails when mediocre men become rulers and great men are made into poor peasants.
A society stagnates when the best outliers are made to live as exiles and the halls of
power belong to ordinary men.

In the modern west, we think of justice merely as fairness in meting out punishments, but it’s much more than that.  Justice is a person attaining whatever station and reward is justly theirs.
It is sad we mostly understand this in terms of petty criminals being punished.
Rarely, do we reflect that it is just those with prolish values and temperaments are proles, or that those of noble bearing and character ascend the heights.

All across the internet, one finds idealogues who expect enraged masses to rise up and have a revolution any day now to stop “big government.”  Their outrage always turns out to be nonsense of course.
The peasants have always had their champions—champions who nearly always fail and end up dead themselves.  The brothers Gracchi in the days of the Roman Republic are a classic example.  After the two brothers were murdered in succession trying to pass monopoly-busting land laws, further attempts at reform dwindled for some reason.  Despite their far greater numbers, the proles were unable to protect their champions or carry out an agenda themselves.  As usual, they missed opportunities their betters would have seized upon.  The proles have always been inert.

Like most Americans, I was taught the idea of a “common man” enshrined as some kind of God.  But within a few years of going out into the world to fend for myself, I had discovered that the common people are no God, they’re just the mob.

The first universal trait I noticed in their character was passivity.  Everywhere I’ve been, prolish folks endlessly complain about their lot and resent their superiors in life.  But it dawned on me one day—they never do anything about it, nor are they capable of action.
I looked back through history, since my own life is a narrow anecdotal slice, but the pattern of proles is timeless as the tides.
So long as their stomachs are full most of the time, even if they’re subsisting on junk, they grumble amongst themselves, mostly for stress relief, but utterly lack motivation for change until they are truly desperate.  They are constitutionally incapable of framing dissident thoughts of their own volition.  Actually, their defining quality is they lack volition and agency.  If they were not docile and gullible, societies of millions where just a few have all the wealth would  not be possible.  In a way, it is just.  Unable to defend themselves, they assume their proper place as preybeasts.
Across history and location poor peasants have always been proud supporters of the established order while the truly rebellious have always been educated young men who couldn’t quite make it into, or beyond the upper middle class.
Peasants have always had revolts,
Frustrated petit bourgeois, revolutions.

Proles are by nature obedient creatures that define themselves by working most of the time.  They love to brag about how busy they are, all the sacrifices they’ve made while working, the injuries they’ve gotten doing the dirty work of the affluent.  They are masochists eternally dying in mines and on battlefields for their masters.  They take comfort in repetition.  Proles always buy the same brands, drive the same route every day, work the same tedious work, and listen to the same 25 songs everyone else is listening to over and over again.
Proles take pride in collectivism and trust the herd.  In a prole bar one doesn’t try to to order craft beers or wine when everyone else has pitchers of coors light.  In Proleville, no man can be talked to if he can’t talk about sports—the fine art of watching the accomplishments of others rather than doing for oneself.  Eating different foods, learning another language, staying fit with exercise, anything everyone else isn’t doing is a quick ticket to being cast out.  Just as they would not let a dog or pig sit with them at the dinner table, they allow no one in their midst who they cannot identify as a fellow human.

Maoist China, Stalinist Russia, or Khmer Rouge Cambodia are fine examples of what happens when the common man becomes ruler.  Given far more power than befits his station, his natural loathing and envy of anyone different than himself manifests in hysterical witch hunts.  Men like Mao and Stalin understood the vastness of this ocean of envy for The Man and kept their populations appeased by allowing the peasants to terrorize the hated middle management—rich peasants, the landlords, the educated.  Given permission by the rulers themselves, their normally impotent rage at life poured forth to create some of history’s greatest disasters.

The majority of human beings are proles.  The family I come from were classic anxious upper proles desperately groveling for middle class acceptance.
Their neurotic habits led to the isolation that allowed me to grow up in a vacuum of sorts and eventually develop customs of my own.
I learned to understand the futility of their struggle and regard their subservient attitudes with contempt.
I am genetically a prole, more predisposed to an honest day’s labor than white collar “networking.”
But I have striven to become an active rather than passive individual, attempting to shape my own destiny rather than spending the rest of my life complaining during lunch break.  If I accept the universe is fundamentally just rather than unjust, then I must face the fact that I must be the change I wish to see.
I may have unfair obstacles in my path.  I can choose to suppose I got a bad lot in life.  It does not change my mission.

Some might call my sentiment here “elitist” but that is why proles stay proles.  They always stay steadfast that they are undeserving of the lot they’ve been given yet remain ignorant in an age of information and continue to squander their wealth on big trucks and houses they can’t afford, lotto tickets, slot machines, smokes, and red bull by the case.  Most importantly, though, they are eternally bereft of imagination and ideas—and that is why things are the way they are.

Strategic Chokepoints in Life: or Marcus Aurelius’ Error

If Marcus Aurelius’ only accomplishment in life were to choose a capable heir, it would have outweighed the almost 20 years he spent administering a massive Roman empire.
Rome never recovered from his choice of Commodus as his heir.  He wrote philosophy and went on campaigns but his legacy truly hinged on one thing: the succession.  In neglecting the succession all his virtues were in vain.  He could have spent 20 years lying around smoking pot and come out ahead if only he had chosen the right heir.  This is Marcus Aurelius’ error.
There are chokepoints in life.  All the stuff that happens in between is just filler while just a few things decide everything—whether we are successes or failures for all time.
I notice in most people I meet in America an utter disregard for the greater game of life.  They mindlessly attend parties and have legions of facebook friends but not one person they could call upon in a time of dire need.  Nor do they have a plan for family or progeny.  They just serve out their days like assembly line robots.  Yet the robots serve a pure purpose for which they were made.  The torment of modern Americans is the torment of constant busyness without purpose.
They grind away obediently at relentless jobs never seeming to care about the things that will actually matter.  On their death beds they invariably realize that maybe a fraction of 1% of their time alive went into anything meaningful.
Like Marcus Aurelius they were seduced away from the meaningful life by colorful distractions.

If we distance ourselves for a moment from the noise of our lives, we will see that only a few things will ever really matter.  If we can just get those few things right, the rest takes care of itself.

Lack of a Long Term is the Problem With Capitalism

Unregulated capitalism knows no past or future, it concerns only the desires of the present.
The state must serve the role of investor to guide the self-destructive child that is the free market.
This means watching out for the long term interests of the society.
Even before American independence, free market greed set up a disaster as business owners chose to import slaves rather than pay to import labor.
They saved themselves money and time for awhile, but by so doing they sank to the degradation of keeping slaves and doomed their children and grandchildren to all the problems that came with having a captive population of millions, doomed hundreds of thousands of grandkids to perish in battle, and saddled an entire people with problems that still must be dealt with hundreds of years later.

Clearly those old planter aristocrats cared nothing for the future, had no use to care for anything beyond the day they died.
But why should a society have any regard for the needs of the reckless and greedy who plan to leave their mess for others to clean up?
Surely such fools surrender implicitly their freedoms in the same way as a murderer, who threatens his victims more immediately and more directly.
Surely they harm society in the long term as surely as a high IQ welfare mother helps society’s future.
A highly intelligent woman raising a large brood of kids makes her less able to work a job, but she more than makes up for her individual output of one lifetime by contributing several valuable lives who will bear quality offspring in turn.
A society that consumes her entire potential in the workforce, devouring the leisure time she needs for family and children cheerfully eats its seed corn, dooming future generations to poverty and suffering.
So too did an 18th century planter consume the seed corn of the crop that rightly belonged to his children by importing slaves.
So too does a modern business owner import temporary talent from every corner of the earth to avoid the temporary expense of training local people who will always be there and teach their craft to their children.

The murderer may kill a few people before he is caught, but the long-term evil doer may well leave behind problems that affect everyone after him forever.
Let’s imagine some finite resource is utterly consumed according to the supposedly holy and infallible forces of demand.  We may suppose that when the resource is still abundant, demand dictates it be used for the most mundane and frivolous purposes without a second thought even though it may run out forever by noon tomorrow.  The free market is by nature a stampede of lemmings.
Without firm guidance, the free market enshrined as God in America becomes a rampant cancer.
And many forget, that without the intervention of government, there are no markets, only loot and plunder.

So a great state must protect its future investments from predation and in righteous ruthlessness crush those low souls who are willing to benefit now while incurring a net expense for everyone else later.

There are those who do not care what happens later — fine.  But by the principle of justice they cannot expect anyone to care about their problems, their property, or their freedoms, now or ever.

The problem of course is in the absence of philosopher kings, we fear the abuses of such a government more than we expect competence in its administrators.

Smart Socialism

In the USA, the word ‘socialism’ has become a curse word, associated with handing the fruits of the productive over to the least productive, from grateful laborers to contemptuous malingerers.

The word might take on a new meaning though if we re-examine the role of a re-distributive government.
A quick look at the present and at history tells us at once that there are societies out there that compete for dominance.
So the main duty of a society’s rulers is to set up their society to win over its competitors.
Since rulership itself derives from control of resources, distribution of resources has always been one of the roles of the ruler.
Socialism however, has become known as a program where the rulers distribute resources to the least productive members of society.
These measures do serve a practical function.  Some form of welfare has existed since ancient Rome for good reason.  It’s simply cheaper to distribute free bread than it is to deal with the crimes of truly desperate men and to repair the damage done by chronic bread riots.  More than one regime has been toppled when there were simply too many empty stomachs.
So some form of redistribution to the poor is typical for rulers, whatever the form of government.

Obviously, any system that gives out free bread will be flooded with claims of hunger and privation from every quarter, every idle person trying to snatch the greatest share.  The most important part of a welfare system is the protection against abuse.
In America the word ‘socialism’ has become synonymous with a system that not only allows the most typical abuses but allows many unearned benefits to accrue for those who do not produce.  This system loses sight of the main purpose of redistribution to unproductive people: to do the minimum required to prevent the more costly problems caused by many empty stomachs.

Any investment in the poor beyond the bare minimum required to prevent unrest must be justified.  An ideal ruler spends every penny with the object of getting his state ahead of other states.  Every penny he spends on his own people is an investment in the society over which he rules.
Whenever the ruler spends money at a loss on the least productive people, it is a waste of wealth.
And wealth to the human or the human society is little different than sun to a plant.  The plant that can absorb sun more effectively than another will outproduce and outgrow its neighbor.

We can easily reason from these premises that society should invest in its most promising and intelligent people, not in the slowest, least capable, and lowest in character.  Thus, if we re-think socialism we might realize a welfare queen with 8 kids, a high iq, and demonstrable talent isn’t such a bad idea.
The real reason why redistribution programs meet with such opposition isn’t because of the principle of redistribution itself, but because of who the wealth is redistributed to.

If we look at European countries, socialism seems to work best in countries with highly homogeneous populations.  In such nations, the people find redistributive policies far more tolerable because their wealth is providing for those who share a common ethnicity, culture, and language.
In a heterogenous nation like the USA, however, redistribution ends up financing the spread of a thousand penniless ethnicities, with alien cultures, and foreign languages.  Naturally, no one tribe wants to pay for the expenses of another.  Asians don’t want to pay the hospital bills of blacks, blacks don’t want to buy free housing for Asians, Whites don’t want to send Mestizos to college…
In a vast, heterogenous nation, socialist policies that are easy to implement in smaller, more homogenous states are quickly found to be impossible.

The ruler is best off simply calculating what peoples and which people will most likely yield positive returns on investment.  What if all the money that is funneled into hopeless ghettos was instead used to give those on the cusp of making it an extra push?  Startup loans for small businesses?  Scholarships for those who want to study profitable disciplines?

What if instead of disability checks, the system was more concerned in dealing out ability checks.  If someone has a talent for drawing, music, or even for poetry, why not send them a monthly check simply for being what they are?  A disabled person collects checks on the same premise after all.  Why then do we not also recognize the abled, whose prosperity benefits everyone and rewards the best in us rather than the very worst?
If someone has good genes and superior intelligence why not send them a monthly check?  The extra wealth renders them better able to support children and to influence our world.
If someone has sound spending habits why not send them a check, just because it’s known they’ll save it up for something important?

Why shouldn’t society clamor to pay for multitudes of children from smart, educated women?  What sane ruler would finance the child-bearing of the most hopeless and despondent women?
Shouldn’t geniuses rather than gangsters be given free housing and endowed with food stamps?
If socialism was done the smart way, perhaps ‘the projects’ would be identified with shining beacons of humanity rather than cesspools of violence, stupidity, and despair.

Great Men Are Not Specialists

The Ancient Athenians who did about 2500 years worth of thinking for us, were a handful of people who lived over just a few generations.  They accomplished infinitely more than men across centuries who had far more resources and specialized learning.
In their own time: why was it war-like ancient Greeks who came up with these great ideas and not more civilized Egyptians and Babylonians who already had 1000 year old academic traditions?
The Greeks borrowed lots of knowledge from further east, but they did extraordinary things with what they learned.

There is a key difference I notice between Greek philosophers and Egyptian scribes.

The trained scribe or academic has always been an extreme specialist confined to a few tasks and isolated from the rest of society, a hothouse plant who’s never had to make his own way and face adversity.  In fact he prides himself on not having to fight battles or perform back-breaking labor.  The scribe and the academic are features of a mature civilization that’s settled into a rigid caste system where everyone performs one role as a replaceable part in a great machine.

The comparatively savage Greeks behind the most important thoughts in human history weren’t as sheltered from the travails of life, nor did they have the luxury of living in just one specialty their whole lives.
Socrates was a soldier and Plato a wrestler.  They were men of the mind, but unlike Egyptian or Babylonian scribes, they were not rote specialists.  They had to live in the physical world and test themselves against other men in the crudest way.  They were forced to understand the problems that ordinary people must face.  Their practical experience taught them what is empty sentiment and what works in real life.  They couldn’t hide; they had to face and conquer their fears first.  Then having experienced how the world works, they formulated their ideas about reality into philosophy.

The Ancient Greeks are one of the few peoples in history who believed that an excellent man is master of both mind and body.  They saw a perfect physique as the natural counterpart of a perfect mind.
Throughout history, their view has been unusual.  Almost every settled people has had a class of scribes rather than warrior poets and philosopher kings.

If we take one quick glance at the course of ages, we see that one warrior poet is worth legions of scribes and one lone renaissance man can produce a century worth of technology and culture.

A man who lives only in the physical is a brute and a thug.
A man who lives only in the mind is a vaporous weakling.
A man who can master and unite both has the potential to become a great man

Abraham Lincoln is a historically recent great man who the Ancient Greeks would have admired.
He was an able laborer and if need be, a warrior capable of defending himself with his own gnarled fists.  He grew up on a frontier where survival was on the line and sentimental bullshit quickly slapped down by harsh reality.
His deep understanding of the “short and simple annals of the poor”  combined with philosophy, poetry, literature, rhetoric, and logic made him one of those rare great men across thousands of years who avoids the trap of specialization and masters the entire human experience.
Lincoln coming out of a rural backwater managed to best Seward for the Republican nomination.  Seward was an extremely capable man who’d been both a governor and senator of New York state and lived his entire life at the highest levels of society, groomed by political bosses for the highest office in the land.  Yet despite his endless advantages, a powerful and brilliant man like Seward lost to one backwoods lawyer who was a Great Master in the style of the Ancient Greeks.

What’s even more extraordinary is these Ancient Greek philosophers understood what made them uniquely Great.  Plato’s ideal philosopher king was no rote specialist but a man of the world trained in every art.  Perhaps most telling is one of the final tests for philosopher king trainees: to go out in the world as a common man and make a living; and in so doing to become master of the entire human experience, finally fit to rule.

Only Young Societies Are Egalitarian

A quick glance at the USA tells me it takes about 3-400 years for a brand new society of frontiersmen and settlers to settle down into a civilization at equilibrium.

Every mass society that’s been around for any length of time has set traditions and customs, stratified social classes, and the vast majority living close to subsistence with a ruling class and its functionaries controlling most wealth.

This truth began to dawn on me when I first moved from the American West where “everyone is middle class” to the East Coast.
To my amazement I soon encountered a highly structured caste system.  Each stratum of society lived entirely separate from the others even if they existed in close proximity.  For each caste there were clear codes of dress, of speech, of behavior.
Working low status jobs that required uniforms or heavy duty work clothes, I quickly came to understand that white collar types, the perpetually harried and anxious middle classers, would refuse to acknowledge my existence, even trying to walk right through me as if I weren’t there.  Talking to them was out of the question.
Sure enough, when I went out in nicer clothing, I had no trouble getting their attention and talking to them.  I was amazed.

Lower proles often wore black shoes and gray baggy clothes that allowed them to blend into walls and not be seen as they hauled dollies loaded with goods in and out of shops or cleaned up the streets.   These people I saw were the local class of untouchables, ashamed even to be noticed.

There were aristocrats who walked about in elegant earth tones with a satisfied smug expression on their faces.  Just beneath them were their upper middle class followers, whose attempt to imitate their masters’ smile looked more like a petulant sneer.

In the West where I had been raised, athleticism, fitness, and outdoor activity had been counted as virtues.
In the East, the physical was clearly seen as a vice, fit only for proles.
Men prided themselves on being stick thin, emphasizing their gaunt figures with tight clothes.  For women, gentle Yoga in indoor studios, well away from the sun, was the most vigorous activity they permitted themselves.  They seemed to me very like Chinese mandarins who grew their nails long to show beyond all doubt that they never had to perform lowly physical labor.

It was not just the social systems of the East that made me think at once of China and India, but also the sheer density of people.
For the first time in my life, there were endless crowds everywhere I went.  Public restrooms were scarce, the few available, mobbed by hundreds of people and filthy.  Any public resource at all in such an environment was sure to be quickly exhausted in a true tragedy of the commons.  There were few places to sit, even fountains were designed to make it difficult for people to snatch up the coins dropped in them.    The spaces shown as “parks” on the maps were just islands in the middle of intersections, a ring of benches around a statue, most of them occupied by sleeping homeless people.

On reflection, I understood the East coast of the US, unlike the West, had existed for awhile under the rule of England and inherited its customs and institutions.  But mainly, it has simply been there longer.
All available resources and social positions are taken, everyone is caught in competition for an unchanging quantity of scarce resources.

I realized that the Western USA with its relatively informal egalitarian culture is an aberration.  It’s simply too new to have settled into a more normal system.  The West is still a frontier.
Once there’s no more frontier, people have to live together in the same society.
Within a few generations, people assort roughly into classes based on their ability to control wealth and exert power.  Then each class largely breeds with its own until each caste is practically a distinct genetic breed.
Once the process is complete, you have the classic mature social structure that’s indistinguishable from Ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia.

It is important to make this observation because many of humanity’s best accomplishments come from exuberant new cultures over short periods of time, while ancient empires more often plod on for milennia in a senile daze, living on borrowed inertia, unable to adapt or change, with millions of striving laborers, not one of them producing a new idea.

Political Diversity Drives Innovation

Humans are most ingenious when challenged.  China’s best innovations and culture came from the period of warring states.  Greece’s best advances came during an age of competing city states.  So too with renaissance Italy and later, from Germany.  The rise of Europe was itself a phenomenon of political diversity with no one empire ever able to dominate for long.
The rulers of societies normally have every reason to oppose change — it’s good to be king.
But the threat of competitors forces rulers to challenge their natural conservatism in the quest to grasp for any possible advantage over their rivals.  Only a Pope desperate to show off legitimacy commissions the most skilled — a disagreeable autistic like Michelangelo — instead of someone from a better family, better versed in sycophancy.  Art, culture, science, philosophy, mathematics all surge forward when the rulers must struggle.

Political monopolies, on the other hand, suffocate innovation as surely as a commercial monopoly.  The US is a state with no serious external threats.  Its GDP is 60% larger than that of a distant second place China, 3 times as large as Japan in 3rd place.  No power on earth poses an existential military threat nor has any compelling reason to fight an all out war.  What’s more, the US is geographically isolated from what few possible rivals it could possibly have.  Never has a great power enjoyed such incredible security.

In the total absence of serious competitors, the US is sinking into an age of stagnation and darkness.
Despite the largest, best educated population any nation has ever had with the most wealth to make productive activity possible, with the best access to information anyone has ever had, innovation is slowing and more labor is sunk into activities that produce nothing or are even harmful.  Many of the institutions that run American society have ossified so that the adoption of new ideas becomes impossible.
The trouble perhaps isn’t the threat of collapse but that a mediocre, destructive society and way of life can linger indefinitely if by virtue of its critical mass, its errors are never fully punished and corrected by the harsh forces of reality.  The self destructive Soviet Union lasted as a major power for half a century even with powerful enemies.  Perhaps the greatest horror is that a USA with no opposition could spend a couple hundred years degenerating before finally ceasing to exist, much like the Western Roman empire.

Comparisons with Rome are perhaps cliche by now, though, so China provides another comparison with the state America is becoming.
China like America has long been isolated from most external threats by geographical boundaries and has tended to be politically centralized.
Chinese dynasties would often have a high period of art and achievement but then sink into complacency until they were sufficiently vulnerable to outside invaders and internal dissent.
Once rulers realize they can simply plunder their own people without competitors taking advantage of the weakened structures they leave behind, they happily do so until finally, often a few generations later, the racket is up.

The printing press proved to be a major disruption of old patterns as too many people came to know too much.  The internet is the new printing press that will for the first time make internal forces more of a challenge to the state than the rivalry of other states.  Simply speeding up the spread of ideas will make it harder for rulers of states to sink into satisfied complacency, dabbling in disastrous policies and fostering the mediocre until their rotted house finally falls down.  For now, though, the most powerful state in history ambles onward, seemingly oblivious of the forces of change.
No other state is a threat but a US superpower finds itself struggling for the recognition of its existence from within rather than the preservation of its sovereignty from without.

Why Philosopher Kings Are Rare

From control of wealth comes the power to govern.
Therefore the rulers will always be either a warrior elite or a merchant elite.
How then do you have a system that consistently puts a philosopher king in power?
A system that puts governing into the hands of the most capable.
There never has been a meritocracy of governance only the rule of the strong.
The life of the warrior or the merchant demands intense specialization and requires an incurious personality.  The rulers most societies have had most of the time reflects these realities.

Plato identified the main problem of politics 2300 years ago, but no one has ever figured out how to reliably implement that basic idea of giving that job to the best qualified.

Smart People are a Social Luxury

The basic human existence consists of food production and reproduction.  No one has time for science or literacy.

People who focus on skills that don’t directly contribute to their own breeding success are a social luxury.

Humans have a very limited number of cubic centimeters in their heads.  A woman’s birth canal can only be so wide and allow for efficient upright movement.  We have only to observe how difficult childbirth is for our species to see that we’re already pushing that limit.

With limited real estate to build on, a person who’s especially good at one thing must sacrifice in other ways.  It’s all too common for a great scientist to be socially awkward, because of the temperament required to excel and the time spent away from others pursuing his craft.

So a society that would have scientists must make cultural and biological provisions to allow a scientific breed of human to develop and persist.

Pretty much every culture today that produces lots of good scientists is at least traditionally a highly competitive culture of arranged marriages.
With the first priority of marriage to secure resources to support children, having sought after abilities became more important than having a natural instinct for dance.

In a free sexual market, the scientist who fails to devote all his resources to reproductive and social competition and who has the wrong temperament is crushed out of existence.
Without exception, instinct dominated societies have no science and most certainly no scientists.  The arrangement of evolutionary pressures ensures no such thing comes to pass.  Truth itself has no meaning if it does not further your aims. It does not matter for your purposes if the sun is some mythical god or a gaseous celestial body.  It does not affect the outcome of your own struggles in the grand scheme of nature and you haven’t the luxury to waste energy worrying about it anyway.

So if a technologically advanced society allows a sexual free market, we can predict it will swiftly, within a few generations, revert to the ancestral equilibrium that allows no place for specialists who fail to maximize their immediate individual payoff within the story of their species.
Ability for science, highly skilled arts, advanced craftsmanship, curiosity, self-reflection become handicaps to a human animal that must first be concerned with food production and reproduction.

Pop Music is Folk Music Elevated Beyond Its Proper Place

There has always been folk music, the everyday music of ordinary people.  This is lower music.  Folk music is spontaneous; its structure is informal but often guided by pre-existing traditions that can be quite rigid.  In implementation, it often relies on lyrics as much as melody.  Its purpose is to communicate sentiment and emotion.  Folk music is universally and eternally fixated on the fickle, youthful passions of falling in love, heartbreak, celebration, motivation, and protest.  In a previous age, it was just as much about coordinating while laboring or passing an evening before electricity and the distractions of modern “entertainment.”  It marks the passage of holidays, wedding days, and funerals.
Its players are typically musicians wedded to one instrument and they tend to play alone or in small bands of no more than 3-4 people with rigidly assigned roles.

For thousands of years there have been those who create higher music.  Today, we call them “composers” in the West.  These are the people who very deliberately craft works of music just as a skilled painter carefully applies multiple elements with a plan in mind.
There is a science to their art, it is not done on a whim drawing mostly on pre-established conventions.  Thus, while the composer’s work has more formal structure, it has far more potential for variation and originality.
Composers might dedicate some works to young love, but it is one small area of experience to which they can apply their talent.
The composer engineers the sound in advance, but is not necessarily one of the musicians nor is he associated with any single instrument.  He will write the parts of 100 different instruments if need be, they are artists’ tools, not an attribute of the artist.  He transcends the role of a single musician or small band of musicians and looks down on their movements from above, outside of time itself.
Composers are often inspired by folk music traditions.  Folk music serves as a deep wellspring of inspiration, it provides vision into the vastness of the cultural subconscious.  The composer is the rational neocortex who takes the raw passions of folk culture and uses the science of his craft to make something greater and higher than before.

Since the 1960s or so, there’s been a term thrown around to describe most music: Pop music.
What does this mean?
Pop music seems to be defined by bands and is focused on youthful passions, so it’s clearly folk music, but we have a sense that it’s different from folk music of the past.
What changed?

A big clue is how successful “pop” musicians are called “stars” or even “idols.”
This word choice shows that people understand on a gut level what the big change is.

Pop music is folk music that has risen above its proper place.

Pop music ceases to be the wellspring and usurps the social role that rightly belongs to higher music.  The result is the dilution and degradation of the culture we live in.
Pop music can’t inspire humanity to its heights, it speaks to our base instincts.    By its nature, its most successful forms never wander far beyond animal impulses such as “party all night long” and “everybody dance.”  It’s confined to the now just as higher music lives in the eternal.
Without the guidance and example of higher music, folk music runs rampant, becoming pop as it breaks down to its most basic elements.  The higher folk music rises above its proper place, the lower in form it becomes.

If Pop is Folk that has risen above its station, what happened then to higher music?

The briefest glance at art tells us that the world wars broke the spirit of the West.  Some of the high music of the late 19th and early 20th century was among the most sublime ever known.  In painting, this impressionism combined the best of abstract and literal representation.  You could clearly see a sunny meadow, but could also see the blurring of motion as grasses swayed in the wind.  In the shades of golden sun, you could feel the artist’s pleasure in simply being alive.
High music of that period created creeping and colorful impressions, the composers experimented with rhythms and scales taken from other cultures.
This culture reflected eager anticipation of the progress of humanity to greater and more beautiful forms.

The Great War and then World War II brutally crushed this old culture with its worship of beauty.
Art in all its forms was stripped down to its most basic elements robbed of purpose and meaning, and degraded into an obsession with harsh lines, stark contrasts, and jarring primary colors.
The 20th century was the high tide of centralization as the world was reduced to just a few major nation-states, each with just a handful of people who controlled mass media, systems of education, all access to information.  Uniform mass culture proliferated, until the greatest cultural success was defined by appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Defeated by the 20th century, high music abdicated its place.  Composers toyed with atonal, degraded, nonsensical music and monstrously, inhumanly chose to distance themselves from beauty and meaning.  By neglecting their sacred duty to culture, the sages of higher music left a yawning vacuum.  With the advent of mass media, this vacuum was rapidly filled by folk music—folk music that was hot-blooded as the new high music was dead and wan.  It picked up where the high music left off like it should, adopting the experimentation with new scales and rhythms and trying out new kinds of instruments in new combinations.  Without a firm guiding hand from the sages, though, the new folk music degenerated into pop music, joining the now defunct high music in its worship of ugliness and the lowest of instinct.

In the present day, the high music certainly remains underground, or rather in the background.  Composers continue to thrive in mediums such as movies and video games  but after a time, one begins to realize:
Dramatic movie music is  all descended from Wagner’s operas.
Sci-fi music comes straight from Holst’s the Planets.
It innovates and does wonderful and beautiful things, but in its very limited scope.  The high tradition lives on here, but like a goldfish, is stunted in growth by its small bowl.

If we are to look for composers who don’t just do music that’s considered “classical” or “orchestral” certain schools of electronic music stand out as possible heirs.
I notice that these kinds of music are composed, not played.  Using computers, hundreds of instruments can be used at once if need be, in any combination desired.  The science and philosophy of composition that leads to high music lives on here, but exists marginally.
High music won’t displace pop music in a culture that’s become mob rule in every sense.
Re-organizing culture will require re-organizing society itself.  To have a correctly aligned culture that effortlessly produces the highest of innovation and beauty at the top, the inherent breeds and strata of humanity must be restored to their rightful places.  First, mob rule of culture must end.
Until then, high music will remain mainly as a 18th-19th century style orchestra, a formidable ghost.  If folk music were the same way we’d never have seen banjoes replaced by electric guitars.

On Herdbeasts

No human can survive on its own, so every one of us has to pander to the group to stay alive, let alone to thrive and have the surplus necessary for reproduction.  Independence is a myth, individual freedom is a thing we must steal in the dark.

So selection for group compliance is heavy amongst human beings.
People often know in their hearts that an absurd popular belief is false or at best uncertain, but they have a strange ability to refuse to admit even to themselves except in the dark of night as they try to sleep.  Their herd instincts overwhelm their reason.  This is the dissonance you see in every washed up careerist schlub you meet.  That middle class guy who lives a secure life with a wife and two kids, yet no one envies him.

This is what drives the evangelist to say “but how do you live without Jesus in your heart?”  They’re speaking to their own deeply embedded fears, not to you.  These fears are all the worse because they can never confront them, like ghosts hiding under a child’s bed.

Group existence is likely the cause of human intelligence.  In a group with just 5 other people, you have 25 possible combinations with them to account for.  Chimpanzees live in bands of perhaps 12-16 they deal with perhaps 144 to 256 different combinations.  Humans are equipped to handle groups up to 150 different people, or 22,500 possible combinations of interactions.
The man with even a slight edge in such a large group ends up with the best women and most of the wealth.
A society where millions interact has innumerable combinations and impossibly complex patterns.  Such a situation is bound to create pressures that produce herd predators that have an edge in exploiting mass trends.

Treated as an aberration in youth, I barely survived, but now I find I have great survival advantages.  I see people following trends and reading the news, while I ask how the trend creators gain and what’s in it for the journalists.  I would hope that I am the future and will do everything in my power to make it so.

I don’t fault them as much as I used to.  I’ve come to understand that every group has rules that serve to weed out specimens that are poorly adapted.
On reflection, I’ve come to realize I’d do the exact same thing if I had power.
I would wield it unapologetically, remembering well what life was like when they were in charge.
I’d naturally make life hard for those who displease me and grease all the wheels in life for the right kind of people.

Police Are Powerless Without Consent

90% of police work is accomplished simply by being legitimate in the eyes of most people.  This legitimacy is the most important resource cops possess.  If they were more aware, they would guard this easily squandered wealth most jealously of all.

Police are relevant only when most people in a neighborhood will turn in criminals.  If people don’t call the police, the police are blind.

When the police no longer have the consent of a neighborhood, they have failed.  The next step is military occupation and a system of paid spies and informants.  This sort of escalation makes an area vastly more expensive to govern until it becomes a net loss for the state.

Smart Racial Realism

It seems in the modern day that European Americans are the only group that doesn’t stick together while every other ethnicity seems to help each other out.
In my experience as a wanderer, I discovered the harsh reality that ethnicity is one of my fundamental traits, one I carry with me everywhere whether I like it or not.
I’ve been denied a job before when they learned I wasn’t Mexican.  I’ve been all but forced out of a job by black co-workers.  I curse my ancestors for allowing these outsiders to take over.

Rather than feeling guilt, “whites” should thank their lucky stars that they were the ones with the power.  I’ve seen the solidarity among just about any other group in the real world.  Long-nosed Europeans would have been wiped off the map if they hadn’t been able to defend themselves.  Most East Asian cultures, for example, are very frank about regarding other peoples as monkeys.

But experience also taught me working among European American proles is no better.  Just like the blacks and Mexicans, they sense I’m not of their kind.  Proles are everywhere the same.  Only the proportion of prolishness of a race differs.

Over years I experienced the difficulties of race, but also was forced to accept that class is more important.

This is where retarded white nationalists go wrong.  They blame all their problems in life on race.

I see the American Civil War as a grand monument to this sort of idiocy.

I’ll never understand why a single non-rich white in the South cared to fight for slavery, a system that hurt them and only benefited the very rich.

Most people who opposed the spread of slavery didn’t care about the slaves.  It wasn’t their problem.  What concerned them was the disastrous effect on the job market when abundant free labor arrives!

To your average white guy, the spread of slavery back then was like the mass illegal immigration and automation we face now.
One of the reasons young Abraham Lincoln’s family was forced to leave Kentucky for Illinois—slavery moved in and the prospects for ordinary people plummeted.
This early experience undoubtedly played a role in shaping the future president’s views.  He was first a believer in the whiggish program of spreading wealth through developing infrastructure and commerce.  Slavery, a system that concentrated wealth on a few plantations and strangled commerce was inimical to his aims.

The vast majority of white southerners would have done better to forge an alliance with black slaves to overthrow the parasitic plantation owners without anyone in the North ever having to say anything.

That hundreds of thousands of them lined up to get shot for a system that only benefited the rich shows what dupes they were.  Faithful dogs, mere tools in the hands of their rulers.

To everything there’s a golden mean.  On one hand failing to embrace race realism is willful self delusion.  On the other hand, being obsessed with race makes one an easily manipulated pawn in the plans of the powerful.
If proles are everywhere the same, so are elites.
A millionaire in Massachusetts has far more in common with his counterparts in China or Nigeria than he has with a powerless US prole with his light beer, smokes, and football games.

When you bring up race with people in America only two possibilities can be imagined.
-Outright race war.
-Deluded ideas of sameness and equality.

It’s such a charged subject that no one can actually seem to think about it.  Being treated as a taboo subject prevents the issue being genuinely discussed.

I care about race because I know that when other peoples take over, I’m an outsider to them who will always be last in line to receive the fruits of society.  When you’re obviously different from everyone else, you become an easy target.  Cherokee Indians who tried to integrate into white culture discovered this the hard way.  If you live in another people’s culture, you’re at their mercy.  If one day they decide to exterminate you or take your stuff, too bad.

There’s no mystical magic in a race, though.  If I determine my clan’s interests can be better served by working with other peoples, I will do so.  I would gladly ally with blacks who share my interests against some plutocratic parasite with my skin color.  If I went out and took a bullet in some billionaire’s war because x people are bad, I would deserve what I got.

Race reality in modern America isn’t about racial solidarity to the point of stupidity.  It’s about recognizing opportunities for arbitrage across racial lines.  If I can get a hotter black or latina woman than I can a white woman, then I will not hesitate.
I’ve found that jobs with lots of blacks tend to have lower expectations.  Most Blacks don’t work hard if they don’t have to, a virtue as far as I’m concerned.  So  when I can get along with my co-workers, it’s great, because I can get paid for standing around half the time.  Whites and Asians who aspergically slave away spoil things for everyone.

Smart race realism means:
-A people must guard its territory; there must be a place that is unequivocally its own, even if it’s just a few city blocks.  It must protect its own and not give stupid concessions.  A people that shows signs of weakness gets quickly wiped out by its neighbors.
-A people must also maintain relations with its neighbors, being always ready to make a good deal.
-A people’s internal parasites are as much a threat as any outside people and must be dealt with.

Rolling Stone & UVA Rape Hoax: Why The Media Keeps Bullshitting You – It’s For Your Own Good

The internet is in an uproar over a rape hoax story. The gist of it is that Rolling Stone author published an article about a UVA Fraternity that had an initiation ritual involving gangrape and broken beer bottles. The story was ran with a minimum of fact checking, despite the fact that the author went through a great deal of searching to find a victim who would tell the right kind of rape story:

 

Magazine writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely knew she wanted to write about sexual assaults at an elite university. What she didn’t know was which university.

So, for six weeks starting in June, Erdely interviewed students from across the country. She talked to people at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. None of those schools felt quite right. But one did: the University of Virginia, a public school, Southern and genteel, brimming with what Erdely calls “super-smart kids” and steeped in the legacy of its founder, Thomas Jefferson.

 

There was no doubt that she could find rapes that happen on campus, they just weren’t the right kind of rapes. She needed something that hit all of the cognitive biases of her audience in order to tell the right kind of story. Journalists like Sabrina Erdely are working around the clock to destroy what little credibility their left-wing publishers had left by valuing sensemaking over investigation.

 

Journalists now exist to serve as advocates for causes, not as eyewitnesses to report events to the public. And like any good advocate, they will not willingly surrender any ground that would threaten the advancement of their cause. The difference between this type of journalism and actual advocacy journalism is that they are not transparent in their advocacy, they hide behind objectivity to cloak their propaganda. These advocates rarely concern themselves with taking on actual rape cultures that create things like the Rotherham abuse scandal. That would be dangerous and actually disrupt the status quo. Instead they are concerned with furthering the status quo from positions of power in the established media while wearing the guise of rebels.

 

To quote the assistant editor of the Rolling Stone hoax story:

Ultimately, though, from where I sit in Charlottesville, to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake.

 

In other words, hastily put together propaganda without a sliver of evidence of fact checking. More time was spent looking for someone to tell the right kind of story than was spent fact checking the story. Media outlets initially avoided publishing any op-eds that would contradict the Rolling Stone story, it wasn’t until a blog post went viral that retractions were made. Rolling Stone has since put out up an apology, then redacted and put up an edited apology. It’s worth noting that Sabrina has been writing for Rolling Stone for years and this is not the first time discrepancies have been noted in her articles.

 

Fun fact of the day, trust in media is at an all time low in America:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After registering slightly higher trust last year, Americans’ confidence in the media’s ability to report “the news fully, accurately, and fairly” has returned to its previous all-time low of 40%. Americans’ trust in mass media has generally been edging downward from higher levels in the late 1990s and the early 2000s.

Why Do People Think Human Evolution Has Stopped?

I can’t count how many times someone has remarked glibly and smugly with glazed eyes and a vacant smile “But we have modern medicine/modern society now.  Human evolution has stopped.”  I’m stunned every time.  I’m used to stupidity, but even otherwise intelligent people will say this to me.  Do they choose not to think?
Do they choose to refuse to understand that nature never takes a holiday and that our genes are locked in eternal competition for survival?  Do they not understand that no one will care about their ‘careers’ past the day they retire?  That our ‘accomplishments’ will be forgotten as soon as we are dead?

Changes in stressors merely change the selectors!  Heavy rains are good for some plants, bad for others.  Socially awkward growing up, I keenly felt the cold steel of Darwin’s axe on my neck every day of my entire youth.  I was trapped in a prison of society’s blazing hostility for over a decade.  I was never allowed to delude myself that everyone succeeds.  Before I was a teenager it seemed I stood on the edge of that ignominious trash pit failed specimens are dumped into by nature’s callous hand.  I’ve never, ever forgot it.

This is, in itself, selection at its best.  Those capable of further reflection will have a major advantage over those that buy into the popular platitudes.

The selective barrier I see in modern affluent societies is for an abstract appreciation of the essentials.

For instance, the type A go-getter that always goes for that promotion but never has any kids, dying out as completely as the dinosaurs, no better than the wino on the street corner, no different than a young man brutally mowed down in battle.
In past generations, the type A’s instincts would have been optimally suited towards breeding with the best mates.

Now, however, a more abstract way of thinking about one’s genetic destiny is required for success…or the total absence of thinking, allowing one to rut without care on the animal level.  These are the two present viable formulae for genetic success in the Modern West.

With humans, we give primacy to ‘environment’ and insist on a ‘blank slate.’
We can breed dogs specifically to herd sheep yet do not believe in breeds of people that have come about from the demands of specialization over the last millennia of civilization?

Childish, williful ignorance at its best.

Those who determine the future of the genes, determine the future of the species.

 

 

What The Media Isn’t Telling You About Eric Garner’s Death

The autopsy results have shown that there was no damage to his neck bones or windpipe from the hold and he did not die of asphyxia. The media has rightfully pointed out that chokeholds that strangle the windpipe and asphyxiate suspects are banned by the NYPD (but not by law). It appears the officer had Garner in a headlock and was using the headlock as leverage to take him down. Once Garner is on the ground the officer executes a vascular choke that prevents arteries in the neck from supplying the brain with blood. This is different from an air choke that targets the windpipe. You’ll note in the video that Garner is saying that he cannot breathe repeatedly, which should clue in the observant viewer that his windpipe is not being obstructed. Garner’s preexisting medical conditions combined with the chest, neck (but not throat) compression and laying in the prone position caused his death.

diabetes, sleep apnea, and asthma so severe that he had to quit his job as a horticulturist for the city’s parks department. He wheezed when he talked and could not walk a block without resting, they said.

The Gracie brothers put together a video a while back where they explain it:

 

The details will be paved over in favor of pushing a larger agenda.

 

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” – Rahm Emanuel

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