FORWARD BASE B

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

The Scarcity of Social Capital in Western Societies

In most of the world and through most of history, social capital has been far more important for most people than money won by participation in the market.  The 1st world has become a dramatic reversal in how human society works with jobs rendering people’s wellbeing far more than friends, family, or community.  The beginning of our lives we spend with parents or caretakers is now a passing larval stage, our adulthood spent fluttering aloft on market forces.

The strange inversion of commerce and social life means there are millions of strangers paying monthly bills with few connections between them all.  The irony of a mass commercial society is its scarcity of social capital on all levels of human relations.
After we leave school, we spend most our time at work and that’s where we tend to form our social circles.  But these are circles of convenience, the tacit understanding that these associations are temporary and subordinate to paycheck or promotion.  We watch what we say with friends at work, never knowing if we could be talking to our future supervisor or if we could be turned in by informants for our irreverent gossip.

In the hours of the day we have left, we go to bars and meetup events but there everyone has their guard up because the baseline of social trust and commonality is far too low in a milling stew of millions.
Even mating is stymied by a multitude of social and sexual harassment tripwires.  Meeting the future wife at the company christmas party becomes a quaint artifact of 80s romantic comedies.  So now, when someone finds a rare non-adversarial scene to interact with the opposite sex, it’s a secret to be closely held like that sweet spot for fishing or mushroom hunting.

In this anonymous mass, filters of pre-selection are essential.  This is in fact how humans have always been, but modernity forces us to struggle to create from scratch the kind of communal structures that were already well-established for our ancestors.

Any kind of social filter is useful as long as it is hard to fake or at least sufficiently uncomfortable.  There must be sacrifice.  In Islam, we have to give up alcohol, fast for a whole month, kneel like fools on prayer rugs.  In Mormonism we have to say we believe in disappearing golden tablets, give up all drugs, and pay up 10% of our income.  The humiliation and monotony if kept up is rewarded with a social network and a family.

Even these traditional networks are not as useful as they used to be in an open society.  It is far more difficult to insure against defection when one can periodically disappear into the the crowd and do whatever they want.  The modern 1st world society naturally sees the decline of traditional doctrines wherever it is not held together by other factors such as ethnicity or relative isolation in the countryside.  For most, different sorts of networks are required.

The most basic and common social filter in a commercial society is money.  Have an auction whether for houses or groceries to price out as many people as possible and when you get down to a manageable number, try to interact sincerely with whoever is left standing.  The result is a society of snobbery where the worthiness of others is synonymous with the accumulation of capital.  This influence shapes the entire world view of those who can afford their McMansion and 2 new cars in a nice neighborhood.  It allows them to cocoon there in willful ignorance and contempt even as the society as a whole starts to fall apart and revolt against them.

We are all infused with the habits and attitudes of the class we were born into.  People assort based on these affinities even though many cannot even understand what they do.  We simply associate with those who we simply like on a gut level.  If we doubt the strength of these subtle signs, we need only look at the visceral revulsion the polite middle classes feel towards Trump with his crass working class mannerisms made infinitely more egregious in their eyes by his high station.

Finally, as 1st world affluence becomes concentrated into a smaller number of hands and the youth culture becomes ever more relatively impoverished we see the emergence of more primitive types of sacrifice signalling.  Many dissidents have commented on the enormous popularity of tattoos and stretched ear-lobe holes from mid-millennials onward.  Without money, status, or meaning, people revert to ritual disfigurement, a signal of group allegiance that comes naturally to hunter-gatherers.

An easy tribal initiation is to ask someone to have their face scarred up with a knife.  It’s a simple, effective ritual popular from the Amazon to Papua New Guinea.  It has a universal appeal because it’s an all-in-one package that requires someone to voluntarily undergo significant pain, adopt a signal of allegiance that can’t be taken back, and is impossible to fake. A tattoo on a hipster or bro-ey pothead comes from that same impulse.  When allegiance and affinity are scarce, its most ostentatious advertisements proliferate.

But what if one has no affinity for religious abasement, has little money or care for wealth signals, and has no connection with the outgoing people with tattoos?  There are plenty that fall between these cracks who struggle to find a place in the milling horde of humanity.  This is especially true of outliers of any kind.

Under these pressures we can easily understand the appeal of the dissident right, antifas, or hard-core SJWs.  People who are unusual in some way in the general population try to find ways congregate where their essential nature is distilled.  This is the impetus behind the formation of the first neo-tribes.

Like someone covered in tattoos, the multi-colored hair, pasty acne speckled skin inflicted by vegan diets, and ugly attire of SJWs penalizes them in the normal society while simultaneously giving them a status boost in their community.  Likewise young men who wear crisp white polo shirts to openly protest against Jews are risking everything in the normal society for a spot in a new society where membership actually means something.

The more we are expected to exist as atomized individuals the more powerfully we grasp for compatible chemical bonds that by their sealing, release enormous energy.  The group that best masters these forces becomes the new dominant tribe.

See Also: How the Middle Class Used to Be Affordable

21 responses to “The Scarcity of Social Capital in Western Societies

  1. Pingback: The Scarcity of Social Capital in Western Societies | Reaction Times

  2. greenmantlehoyos October 19, 2017 at 12:46 am

    Oddly enough this reminds me of a Bill Burr bit where he says every white guy is a complete individual. There’s no “brotherhood” or network or loyalty just you on your own; and your buddies will watch you go down if you get hit.

    Its one if the reasons why people are nervous so frequently. We’re all vulnerable no matter who you are. If you can’t get help from your network, you know you’re hosed. The more fragile your network is, the more vulnerable you feel.

    Wise societies try to set up an accessible path up what Jordan Peterson calls the dominance hierarchy. Telling someone to go fuck themselves in perpetuity eventually means, “Fuck me? No, fuck YOU.”

    People aren’t really lazy, not properly lazy, they just need to see a connection between what they do and something they actually want. Tell a man to go through misery for one year or five BUT credibly promise what motivates him at the end and you’ll find many takers. And he wants what he wants, not what you think he should want.

    This is why the old conservative movement is dying. Support them for years, follow their strategy and…they just lose. A few guys at the top sit in congress or have successful talk shows; the foot soldiers haven’t gotten paid though. We’ve lost on everything but gun control (gotta have that ultimate option). Our tribe is strong on the surface, but our leaders basically got theirs and failed to deliver. Hispanics eat the working class, H1Bs eat the middle class, and outsourcing eats everybody. You’ll be rendered untouchable if you verbally fuck up and be told to bake the damn cake if asked to violate your religion.

    Trumps election was a last ditch fuck you to the old “conservative” movement. The democrats were just there, the election was really about a civil war amongst American conservatives.

    Sorry for the rant, just realized it’s kind of long.

    • Giovanni Dannato October 19, 2017 at 12:48 am

      Impassioned and on-point. I like it.

    • fakeemail October 20, 2017 at 1:41 am

      “People aren’t really lazy, not properly lazy, they just need to see a connection between what they do and something they actually want.”

      Very True. It’s why *many* smart people don’t get very far with school. It goes on too long, too many hoops, too much boredom and butt-kissing, and a very uncertain and distant reward.

      “And he wants what he wants. . .”

      Ah, but what does he want? Most likely a sexy young woman; preferably white. NOT ENOUGH TO GO ‘ROUND!

    • Eduardo the Magnificent October 21, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      ” We’re all vulnerable no matter who you are. If you can’t get help from your network, you know you’re hosed.”

      This is where I absolutely despise Baby Boomers. All they had to do was leave the networks already in place intact, and society would have largely chugged right along. But no, once they ascended the ladder, they tipped it over and then set it on fire for good measure. Most of these fuckers are going to draw Social Security, continue to work, and import labor to displace those below them to boot. So they’re going to triple-dip and stick everyone with the bill. That’s how you kill a society. How are you supposed to pull yourself up from THAT? They fucked their kids out of jobs through immigration, now they’re fucking their grandkids through student debt.

      You aren’t supposed to do this to your own people. These fuckers did it to their own FAMILIES.

    • Sam J. October 22, 2017 at 12:53 am

      “…This is why the old conservative movement is dying. Support them for years, follow their strategy and…they just lose…”

      You said a mouth full there.

  3. Garr October 19, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    I inevitably connect with neurofreaks of all types (including psychopaths), and neurofreaks in general seem to recognize each other pretty quickly; the ritual-scar-like social cost and stigma of being a neurofreak is obvious to those who are, although neurotypicals aren’t as quick to pick up on who’s an alien seeing them for the most part as innocuous bug-people.

    Philip K Dick’s book CLANS OF THE ALPHANE MOON is an interesting exploration of this theme — his “hebephrenics” are what we’d call “autistics” today. The Third Reich is an obvious example of the natural symbiosis between autistics (Hitler) and psychopaths (Goering). A complete political theory would encompass these categories along with the tedious “alpha”, “beta”, “gamma”, etc. classifications.

    (Recently I posted a comment on Lion’s blog pouring contempt on the labels “autistic” and “psychopath” — as opposed to more fine-tuned descriptions such as “in his own little world” and “callous” — so I guess I’m just being lazy. You know what I mean.)

    • Giovanni Dannato October 21, 2017 at 1:51 am

      I have come to think a certain physiognomy and especially mannerisms, tics are tells. Can be kind of like immortals from highlander getting a tingling when in the same room. Those scars are very costly, and come with who we are, so not fakeable. Potentially very useful as a mark.

  4. Garr October 20, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    I’m thinking that NYC rightists ought to push for NYC secession as a Catholic feudal monarchy ruled by an Italian-American family, with hereditary serfdom as a condition for receiving “welfare.” This is the only thing that makes sense in a social environment as screwed up as the one here. Alt-right Whitism is pretty irrelevant in NYC, unless you want to try to convert the Park Slope and Upper West Side SWPLs to some kind of urban Junker-scheme featuring them as an overlord-class, which seems unlikely. So Throne and Altar’s the way to go. I need to start talking to some autistic priests and Staten Island politicians …

  5. Lalit October 21, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Why are you maintaining two blogs?

    • Giovanni Dannato October 21, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      Haha look at the dates, I switched to this one years ago.

      • lalit October 23, 2017 at 11:00 am

        Yes, that is my question. Why not continue the old one? That one deals with very interesting ideas as well. Similar ideas. Ideas which not many are discussing

      • Giovanni Dannato October 23, 2017 at 4:05 pm

        I stopped writing that blog(6 Heretic’s Way) because there was literally no audience for it. I was writing out stuff on an axiomatic level trusting readers to understand the implications. I’ve since learned I had it backward. I have to catch someone’s interest with something relevant and maybe then they’ll be interested in the principles I’m reasoning from.
        I quote and link to the old blog from here quite a bit because a lot of my posts here just expand on axioms I laid out almost a decade ago now back when I was in my mid-20s.
        If there’s some older idea(s) you would be interested in me expanding on here, I would consider it.

      • lalit October 23, 2017 at 12:35 pm

        There is one idea thinking about which may be worth your while. The power structure keeps eulogizing those that counsel turning the other cheek. 2000 years back there was Jesus. In recent times there was Gandhi. Even today we have leaders of many organizations who keep piously declaring, “Violence is not the answer” or “we do now advocate violence of any kind” while it is obvious to anyone with any sense (not so common), that the treat of violence is the only thing that causes a change in the status quo. We will refer to such people as “Gandhis” from now on.

        So here is my question to you about these Gandhis,

        1. Do these Gandhis really naively believe their shit and the power structure is using them to keep suck away the energy from any real revolutionary?

        2. Or are the Gandhis merely using non-violence as a tool to grow their numbers without an overt crackdown and once they reach certain numbers, they will regrettably use violence to achieve their goals (power) while saying that allowing the status quo was an even greater evil than violence

        What is your take on this?

      • Giovanni Dannato October 23, 2017 at 4:43 pm

        Both 1 and 2.
        1. The establishment can choose a Gandhi/MLK figure as compromise figure. Movements only get more radical over time, though, so if they don’t cut a cut a deal quickly they get Malcolm X, the Black Panthers instead.
        2. A radical movement of any kind has to be non-violent when it is small and weak. It can change that later if it wants. A savvy establishment wants to shut them down before it becomes politically impossible to do so and then at best they get the Gandhi/MLK plea deal.
        The way I’m seeing politics develop now that may be more 20th century than anything we see happening now because the conflicts we see developing are over axiomatic-level disagreements.
        Gandhi wanted to change who ran an Indian state. MLK wanted to alter the role of Blacks in a pre-existing society everyone agreed on. There was at least some agreement on premises which made more moderate resolutions feasible.

      • lalit October 24, 2017 at 11:24 am

        I think I can agree. Here is another idea to work with

        Given that marriage will certainly lead to divorce rape, it seems only criminals have secure marriages for the threat of bumping off the bitch will keep her in line in more ways than one. It seems you need to be part of a tribe where the males will back you up. We see this in gangs like MS13 and Cripps/Bloods where loyalty to the gang is a virtue. It seems that the state will then not back your bitch up as there are several pro-social suckers they can shake down with lower risk instead. When does it become practical for an average man to start exploring this option of ties with the underworld? For the question of avoiding genetic death is not to be sneezed at. Indeed, it must occupy the highest energies of a man.

  6. Sam J. October 22, 2017 at 1:15 am

    “…In most of the world and through most of history, social capital has been far more important for most people than money won by participation in the market…
    …The strange inversion of commerce and social life means there are millions of strangers paying monthly bills with few connections between them all…”

    Even worse, as you touched on, you can’t depend on your Wives. You’re completely atomized. The high rate of divorce means it’s no longer your wife and you against the world it’s you and only you. You can’t even let down your guard in the privacy of your home lest it be brought up in your divorce as “bad think”. It’s amazing any Men survive the stress at all past the age of 60.

    I saw a show once about the difference between Germans and the English. The moved an English family into a German city, gave them German jobs, the whole switch. The Germans had some amazingly decent ways of coping with atomization. Most Germans it seems have a almost formal hobby with meetings every week where they sing, or work on model planes or whatever. I don’t know if they still have this.

    The kids went to a preschool that was out in the forest. WOW it was so cool. They made a little fire and the kids ran around in the woods. When I was a kid during summer I went to the same kind of, sorta, program. I don’t think it was formally a nature type program they just didn’t watch us too close so we could do what we wanted if we didn’t cause trouble and I stayed in the woods. It was by a school in the city but there was decent patch of woods there. It was great fun. I mostly, being a naturally solitary by nature, would go off and explore the woods alone. Find a briar patch and slowly make my way to the center. I loved it. It would be difficult to do this today because of all the nuts, the problem of kids not being watched and the possibility of them being dragged off by some alienated nut. A example of this cocooning is one lady who let her kids play unsupervised in the back yard had the police called on her for not watching them every minute. Yikes what a oppressive country we’ve become.

    • Giovanni Dannato October 23, 2017 at 11:18 am

      I saw a decent chunk of Europe about a decade ago and despite high taxes, high prices, high population pressure, and a lower overall standard of living it still reinforced for me how much the USA is the 3rd world of the 1st world.
      Can’t just blame it on minorities either. Americans have always been relatively more crass, sloppy, and violent. We are the descendants of the rootless rejects, ambitious users, hucksters, debtors, criminals, and ostracized fanatics who were willing(or had) to go to the other side of the planet when most people never went more than 20 miles from home their whole lives.

      I think enjoying solitary time is almost a pre-requisite for being an unfashionable dissident of any kind. Otherwise the social costs are simply too great to bear.
      Before I was 10 years old, I would spend whole days out wandering in the desert and loved it. I get the impression just having the experience of wandering open land makes one think fundamentally differently from someone who has always been surrounded by fenced-off lots, especially at a young age.

  7. Sam J. October 22, 2017 at 1:40 am

    “…Many dissidents have commented on the enormous popularity of tattoos and stretched ear-lobe holes from mid-millennials onward. Without money, status, or meaning, people revert to ritual disfigurement, a signal of group allegiance that comes naturally to hunter-gatherers…”

    I have a friend whose kid is like this. Great kid.Respectful. All American. Not in any way some criminal radical. Served in the Marine corp as has the long line of his family and in no way lower class but he is covered in tattoos.

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