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

An Aesthetic Declaration of Independence?

Rebel against an established order all you like, but it’s all for naught if you have wallpaper, music, and food characteristic of your people.
Archaeologists characterize ancient peoples by their dwellings, pottery, decorations, and trash piles.  Why doesn’t anyone think to analyze modern peoples in a similar way?  Perhaps the absence of contemperologists is just another blind spot in our established world view.
If we were to make stone spearheads in a particular way, we would be Clovis people, regardless of what we thought about the local chief.
If you like the same top 25 songs everyone else likes, you declare allegiance to your people, no matter if you dislike some politicians.
We’ve established that governments are just outgrowths of the people, therefore it is futile to change a government unless the people change first.  Or rather, if we changed the people, government changes naturally.

There never was a very rebellious soul who had Jif or Skippy peanut butter and Campbell’s soup in their pantry. Brand-name comfort foods connect people to childhood memories of nurture and care, allowing people to feel like warm fuzzy parts of a meaningful tribe even as mass society parasitizes them.
By the same token it is extremely powerful to dismantle these visceral attachments and replace them. To do this is to truly rebel and turn one’s back on a corrupt culture that feeds on its own.
To follow a culture’s aesthetic is an act of powerful ritual significance that ties one to it on a subconscious level. No matter how people might hate their lives within a society, they are trapped so long as peform the rituals of obeisance.
Confucius got it right. He understood the importance of ritual in everything we do—its connection to the movement of societies as gravity shapes the course of celestial bodies.
So by deliberately engineering the rituals on which we base our lives, we shape ourselves.
From the carpets in your dwelling, the architecture of all the buildings around you, the flavorings in your food, the most frequently occurring colors, the shows on tv, the advertisements, the holidays. All these together create an attitude and way of perceiving the world. It’s all around us and influences every thought we think. For example, how does the architecture of a big box strip mall identical to dozens of others make us feel? What more powerful ritual could there be to bolster a philosophy of every place being identical with people plugged into one mass culture and people themselves interchangeable economic units?

So when someone begins to change the cultural environment and how it influences them, they move towards an aesthetic declaration of independence, a sort of hellish, Luciferian defiance magnitudes greater than defying mere governments.

A Documentary: Diving Under the Antarctic Ice Sheet

I sometimes watch documentaries about far off things and by following my curiosity feel struck by a spiritual sense of wonder.  It’s the total opposite of the heavy ashen feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when someone is watching one of those “reality” shows or a sitcom with a laugh track.  One feels divine, the other feels banal and dreary as snack cake wrappers on the sidewalk.

I recently found this documentary about diving under the Antarctic Ice.

There’s a smoldering black volcano, frosted in white, Mount Erebus, looming over their wind-savaged ice sheet.
There’s the cozy McMurdo base that feels like a colony on another planet.

The film shows what the crew has to deal with trying to film there, it’s not just nature footage disconnected from their struggle.
There’s logistics we’d normally never think about.  Because the ice changes constantly, a route that was safe for vehicles at the last survey might not be anymore.  Even getting to the locations they want to shoot at comes with substantial dangers.
Their leader seems extremely patient and after decades of experience pretty much unflappable.  Even when being told bad news he just respectfully listens.  They have a task to accomplish, not make-work, so whining doesn’t help.

Once they start diving, it’s amazing how there’s plenty of life below thriving in an eerie glow of light filtered through tons of ice.  I’ve been fascinated by these creatures ever since I read as a kid that they actually have anti-freeze in their blood.   Growing like coral on the ocean floor are these formations of ice crystals, the points where freeze battles thaw.  They find actual tubes of ice formed by sea water passing through currents of melting fresh water. The divers can only spend about 20 minutes even with heavy duty suits.  And again there’s details we’d never think about—even with all their gear, their lips are still directly exposed to the sub-freezing water.
There’s just a short time they can do their work in the spring when they have enough sunlight and the waters are still among the clearest in the world, they can see a quarter mile in the dim light!  They don’t have long before plankton and algae blooms cloud up the water for the summer.

I looked up some things on life in Antarctica and discovered that McMurdo base always has at least one bar open and signs in each building telling people the conditions outside, whether it’s even permissible to go out.  Mount Erebus actually has a volcanology lab on top.

The skyline of McMurdo base at night, lit up it seems like a real town.

The skyline of McMurdo base at night, lit up it seems like a real town.


Apparently something like 5000 people live in Antarctica in the summer, closer to 1000 in the winter.  There is still no such thing as an Antarctican, there have been 10 people born there since 1978, as close as we get for now.

It’s obvious watching this film that these people are operating in environments almost completely hostile to human life.  Suddenly all the talk of moonbases and mars colonies seems quite silly.
Even life in Antarctica right here on earth is impractical.  Or look at all the uninhabited deserts and mountains in pretty much every country on Earth.  Not that many people are willing to live in Montana let alone on Mars.
I suppose the next frontier might simply be to develop technologies that open up marginal lands and make people less dependent on centralized grids.
At present all the trends point to urbanization and the more people are forced to live in the center to find jobs and mates, the more control the rulers will have, just as Pharaohs had over peasants stuck on a narrow fertile strip by the Nile surrounded by desert.

Abstract Reasoning is What Makes Us Human

In movies, the good guys are always emotional acting “from their hearts” while the bad guy lives in his mind creating elaborate plans usually losing in the end because of some variation of “he doesn’t understand the power of love.” In the philosophy of movies, emotion and love is what makes us human.
In real life, the capability of abstract reasoning is what sets apart higher from lower humans and humans from other animals. The person who can ponder the root causes of poverty is more effective than someone who from blind compassion for a picture of a starving kid in a magazine donates to charity and helps pay the “non-profit” CEO’s salary.  The price of not having abstract understanding is to be parasitized and preyed upon.

Humans have moved towards abstract concepts for a long time and some breeds are more advanced than others.
Language itself is a system of symbolic abstractions and is part of the human species as swimming is to fish or burrowing to a mole.
But since civilization, levels of abstraction have gone far beyond what most humans are able to handle.
Consider the concept of interest on a loan, for instance.  A considerable percentage of humans max out their credit cards or mortgages and are then taken by surprise when the compound interest spins out of control.  Or let’s look at estimating probability, something people are really bad at.  In a society of rational humans the only gambling would be against other players, never with unfavorable odds against the house.
The difference is who can understand abstractions and who cannot.
In general, peoples who have lived in complex civilizations longer are better at it.  It comes as little surprise that Jews, Syrian Alawis and Christians, Lebanese Maronites, and Armenians do well wherever in the world they go.  They are all mercantile peoples who spent thousands of years living on top of some of the world’s major trade routes.
Meanwhile, peoples new to the abstractions of civilization struggle to deal with laws, commerce, and the concept of the state.  Unable to formulate long term plans and heavily selected for binging in times of plenty, they become impoverished and hopelessly addicted to drugs and junk food.  Whether we’re talking about the Pima, the Pygmies, the Samoans, the Sioux, or the Aborigines, the problems are always the same, the only variation is degree.

Plato grouped humans into three categories.

Bronze – Ordinary workers and merchants engaged in their work with little awareness beyond their own wants. In Enlightenment philosophy, whether by communism, capitalism, or even libertarianism and anarchism, these people are supposed to be the rulers. That’s why these ideas when unalloyed by common sense never work. Mob rule, tragedies of the commons predictably result.

Silver – Those with enough awareness to be granted some measure of power without selfishly abusing it.  They have enough foresight to understand at least part of the big picture and some ability to think of the longer term within the context of their role. They are the middle management of society, the officers of humanity. They don’t take bribes(they can understand how it damages the credibility of the entire system), they keep utilities cheap and reliable, the trains arrive on time.  They make sure things work.

Gold- Those with enough awareness to understand the complexities of the macroscale and reason beyond oneself.  Those who can best do this are those who should be managing societies.

To care about anything that occurs after one’s death, for example, is irrational in the most literal sense. A bronze-soul squeezes the world for all it’s worth as long as they’re alive. What should it matter if the nation were to fall after they’re buried, or the entire human race to meet its demise?
The difference between a higher man and the stampede is to grasp the highly abstract idea of a future beyond oneself in the endurance of one’s work, deeds, ideas, and seed—to perceive beauty in what we will never see, touch, or taste for it’s own sake.
There’s a Greek proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
Taking delight in what has not yet happened is pure abstraction, but for those capable of it, it is as real as any present and tangible pleasure. As real as are imaginary numbers and infinity to a mathematician.

People are only equipped so far by nature to deal with groups of up to 150.  Abstraction is the only way for limited human beings to work around the limit set by the Dunbar number and be able to reason out the workings of a mass society of millions of people.
A lower human given charge of a nation handles millions of people with the package of instincts appropriate to a small tribe.
What is a great famine that kills millions so long as you, your family, friends, and closest followers are safe?
It makes no sense to care about people we don’t know so long as it doesn’t affect us. It very much makes sense to sacrifice a million strangers we don’t care about in a war to get what we want. Why not abuse and neglect as it pleases us? They’re all just a statistic. To perceive beyond this, a human must use abstraction and imagination.

Ironically, the lower human ruler also projects his warm instinctual feelings for a small group onto many and preserves a million who are destroying everyone else out of crass sentimentality.
The higher being sees a rook is not worth a pawn and does what must be done.
Where the lower man is ruthless, the higher is merciful
And where the lower is generous, the higher crushes.

The gold soul has the same animal instincts as the bronze but it has the quality of consciousness that allows it to reflect on its nature while the bronze just follows its program like any other animal.
The high human can reflect on its own instinctual drives, figure out the purpose of each, and reason the best course to realize the “intended” goal.
The drive to socialize and observe social norms is there to further our survival in a group and to aid the survival of the group itself against other groups.
So if in charge of millions, we ought to use intellect to further the group as an appropriate instinct would, if it existed.
The drive to breed is there to spread our genes.
So we ought to understand that instinctual gratification with contraceptives is an illusion.
Where instinct is not enough, the greater human formulates strategies.
Faced with relentless change, human animals flounder in aimless despair like pandas with their bamboo forests burnt down.
High Humans change their survival strategy with the times.

Overrated Rationality is the Enlightenment Mistake

If we look at animals, we notice 3 levels of awareness.

-First there is the realm of the “reptile brain” concerning itself the basic impulses, sensations, and instinct.  Hunger, lust, cold, warm, thirst. Most animals go no further than this.  They have no need to.

-We notice another tier in some higher animals with more complex instinctive behaviors, memory and learning, emotions  and social skills.

-Lastly, we see in some humans a limited form of what we call consciousness or self-awareness.

The philosophers of the enlightenment who created the ideas of modernity predicated their ideas on human society on the assumption that most humans are rational and self-aware.
This is of course not the case.

The vast majority of humans adhere to whatever ideas they are taught early in life without ever a thought.  For the most part, humans thrive by banding into tight collectives and living their lives railroaded by instinctual protocols of social interaction, courtship, and rearing offspring just like pretty much any other high level social mammal.  They can hardly be distinguished from wolves, baboons, dolphins, or chimpanzees.

The individual as enlightenment thinkers conceive of one, is a being who hardly exists amongst humans at all.  And only a significant minority come somewhat close to the ideal of being able to think objectively and then only some of the time about certain things.  We have only to read for 15 minutes about the inbuilt cognitive biases in humans and immediately begin to recall some of the stupid decisions we’ve all made.

From the erroneous underlying assumptions of human rationality and consciousness come the catastrophic ideologies spawned from the Enlightenment.
Capitalism and Marxism in their various forms are portrayed often as opposites, yet both come from the same source, Enlightenment thinkers who believed societies were composed of free rational individuals.

Marxism believes the masses of workers ought to rule and Capitalists believe a market formed by the purchases of the masses ought to rule.
Both try to solve the problems of a society of rational individuals, a fantasy society that doesn’t exist.  This is why both systems, despite their good intentions end up wrecking entire peoples.
The empowered workers end up creating a despotism that impoverishes them and even causes famines.
Market demand enshrined as God destroys everything in its path like an amnesiac beast enslaved to its present whims.  And in the end, what good is all the wealth in the world if the people meant to benefit are destroyed and the sterile units of money still counted dutifully by whirring machines, oblivious to the piles of dusty bones nearby?
Ultimately, humans are group selected, like other social and eusocial animals.  The ideas that stand the test of time and spread are those that help one group of humans outcompete another.
If we would have a successful way of improving life for most people, an idea must first provide for the spread and defense of its adopters.  Enlightenment thinkers provided no defense.  Their ideology is like a nation without a military.  They had no concept of the harsh realities of survival, preferring to live in their dream world.
Every surviving major religion has some directive that its followers go forth and multiply, to defend against outsiders, and in some strains to proselytize.
For nature doesn’t care if the most competitive system makes people happy or not so long as it proliferates.

No ideology will have its intended results unless it is grounded in a firm understanding of how people actually are in the real world.
Yet I can’t see how an ideology that shows people the unpleasant truth of how we really are could ever become very popular.
Its adoption would depend on those more capable of consciousness subjugating those less aware and the humans most Human in the Enlightenment sense adopting rule over human animals as man establishes rule over beast.
Perhaps a banker who rules over a million humans by extracting a penny from each every day through sleight of hand is the natural ruler, parasite, and predator of their herd.
Or the politician who outwits them all through sophisticated talk?
Perhaps their easy dominance over the many shows us how a well-intentioned philosopher could come along and use an engineer’s knowledge of societies to realize their vision.

Cultural Secession: Reaching Towards A New Religion

I recently discovered the blog of a college aged young man who disenchanted with a society that has utterly lost direction seems to be moving towards cultural secession, though by no conscious impulse as far as I can tell.  That is probably how it is best done.

This young man, calling himself Aleph, peruses through the annals of old gods and demons from worldwide religions and myth, then selects those which he deems suit him best adding his favorites to his own personal shrine.  He invents his own rituals to these deities as he decides suits his purpose.
He sees the great gods of the masses as bastions of cold order and Lucifer, not as the devil, but the chaotic patron deity of the individual transcending collective whims.The internet has truly set free those free thinkers the Many would once have ground to dust for the sin of an aberrant thought.  Some of his sentiments echo mine, when I was not so far from his age.

As of now, I have added Aleph’s House of Chaos to my blogroll.

Lucifer, lord of chaos, curiosity, the individual, or defiance against the masses.

Lucifer, lord of chaos, curiosity, the individual, or defiance against the masses.

The Obsolescence of the Nation State and ISIS

I found an insightful essay by an Israeli writer, Uri Avnery.  The trends of centralization until the World Wars and decentralization ever since has been a favorite topic of mine.

“By the end of the 17th century, existing states could no longer cope with new demands. Small states were doomed. The economy demanded a safe domestic market large enough for the development of modern industries. New mass armies needed a base strong enough to provide soldiers and pay for modern arms.”

As I like to say: The main source of national cohesion is the fear of other nations.

“If I am not mistaken, it was Gustave Le Bon, the French psychologist, who asserted a hundred years ago that every new idea is already obsolete by the time it is adopted by the masses.

The process works like this: somebody conceives the idea. It takes a generation for it to become accepted by the intellectuals. It takes another generation for the intellectuals to teach the masses. By the time it attains power, the circumstances that gave it birth have already changed, and a new idea is required.”

“THE OBSOLESCENCE of the nation-state has given birth to a paradoxical by-product: the breakup of the state into smaller and smaller units.
While the world trend towards larger and larger political and economic units gathers strength, nation-states fall apart. All over the world, small peoples are demanding independence.”

“NATIONALISM WAS a European idea.
It never struck deep roots in the arid fields of the Arab world. Even in the heyday of Arab nationalism, it was never quite clear whether a Damascene, for example, considered himself first a Syrian or a Muslim, whether a Beiruti considered himself first a Maronite-Christian or a Lebanese, or whether a Cairene was first an Egyptian, an Arab or a Muslim.”

“The modern Arab nations were invented by European colonialists…THESE imperialist manipulations ran counter to Muslim history and tradition…THE HUGE attraction of the movement now called “Islamic State” is that it proposes a simple idea: do away with all these crazy borders drawn up by Western imperialists for their own purposes…With one swipe it clears the table of the nation-state and its derivatives. It carries a clear, simple idea, easily understood by Muslims everywhere.”

“THE WESTERN response is almost comically inadequate.  People like Barack Obama and John Kerry, and their equivalents all over Europe, are quite unable to understand what it is all about…They are facing a new phenomenon.”

The Obsolescence of the Nation State, Uri Avnery

Ottoman Empire before its non-Anatolian provinces were split up after WW1 into modern nations.

Ottoman Empire before its non-Anatolian provinces were split up after WW1 into modern nations.

Crowdsourcing, A Modern Patronage System?

Last post, I discussed the difference in creative output between an older system of patronage and a modern system governed by the mass market.  Older societies could turn out brilliant creative work with far fewer resources and people because a limited number of people called the shots. What’s for everyone is for no one.

A creative work that’s commissioned serves the vision of a patron, a work exposed to the forces of the mass market merely tries to please the most and offend the fewest becoming a grotesque Tower of Babel.
The internet has enabled a phenomenon known as crowdsourcing, a process by which an idea gets funding from just the people who want it.
This process has the potential to create a modern sort of patronage.  The idea that gets created exists to serve a limited group rather than the entire aggregate mass of humanity.

I have found an inspiring example in a youtube channel called The Great War.  The founder, Indie Neidell covers each week of WW1 as it was happening 100 years ago with lots of special episodes in between.
The show is filmed in a studio with a production crew and gets its funding from a crowdsourcing site called Patreon.
With a fraction the funding of a third rate History Channel special, they have done more than the History Channel could ever have aspired to.  The Great War now has many hours of runtime, hosts active discussion on its videos and reddit, and caters only to those who pay for it.  So if enough viewers want an episode about Bulgaria in WW1 or French WW1 Uniforms the episode appears.
Even as a kid, I referred to the History Channel as “The Lost Secrets of WWII Channel”  or the “The Lost Secrets of Nazi Superweapons Channel.”  And this was years before they descended into airing little more than reality shows.
Shackled by the tyrannical mass market, the History Channel was slave to the few events and passions that register on the popular consciousness.  They can cover a comic book WW2 endlessly, maybe get away with the American Civil War every once in awhile.  Other than that, conspiracy theories about Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle, the Knights Templar, and lost tribes of Israel sell far better.  They no doubt have millions of dollars to spend, but by comparison to The Great War, they’re a joke.  We can see how commissioned creative work can be orders of magnitude more efficient with results that can be exponentially better.  This gives us a glimpse into how relatively impoverished societies of the past did as well as they did.

While big individual patrons like the Medicis or Carnegie remain in the past, the internet is enabling people who want the same things to get together and create sheltered markets protected from the insipid Many.
Without this protection, people who want a show about Lettow-Vorbeck’s brilliant campaign in German East Africa in WW1 have nowhere to turn, for they are a drop in a great ocean, swallowed up unless they find a way to escape.
Furthermore, The Great War shows us how crowdsource patrons can form a community around the work they sponsor.  Those who watch enough episodes see how repeat commenters gain a reputation and begin to notice the recurring in-jokes.  It’s an environment where participants feel a sense of ownership and belonging, at least far more than most of us can feel towards impersonal modern institutions.  I could see these sorts of affiliations among the possible catalysts for cultural secession and the creation of new tribes within obsolete nation-states.

A Creative Culture Requires A Leisured Elite

Trying new things is a luxury.  A wild animal that tries to play with its default script probably ends up dead.  Human societies, though, are actually required to try new things or else a more inventive society outcompetes them.  How a society manages its creative output is a matter of existential importance.

The greatest breakthroughs and masterpieces have always come from those who can labor at their work without distraction and who have significant creative freedom.
The ancient world produced works of genius that still stand out today.
This is completely astonishing when we consider that population size, wealth, and the distribution and storage of information were pathetic compared to now.
Surely the works of Ancient Greece ought to compare to our own as petroglyphs compare to Renaissance painting.  This may hold true if we consider technology, but not in the realm of culture and creativity.  Even when we consider technology, it’s amazing what they could accomplish with limited knowledge and resources.  Amazingly, much of what we have now is merely derivative of what the Greeks had 2500 years ago.

If we look at the creativity of societies in the past, one thing we must notice is that the creators weren’t ordinary people who worked on philosophy or poetry after a day in the fields.
Without exception, the people who produced the best and highest culture came from a small but leisured and insulated class of individuals.
For most of history, 90%+ of people were subsistence farmer peasants, yet so long as even a tiny fraction of 1% had the freedom to be professional creators, it was enough to create enduring culture.

Modern American culture idolizes the myth of someone who can work full time, take night classes, raise a family, and write the next great novel all at once. Thousands of years of human experience, however, tells us that the highest quality creative work requires complete devotion just like any other discipline.

There are of course professional creative people today—far more by numbers and proportion than there ever were in previous societies. There’s a big difference though. Modern creators are still paid workers.

The most creative people in older societies were invariably allowed to live free from the concerns of the market economy. They belonged to a leisured, aristocratic class that would have seen such affiliations as vulgar, even if they lived an ascetic lifestyle. They understood that if you depend on the next paycheck you can’t say what you really think. You have to give your audience what it wants right now or else you’re broke.
When it comes to modern creative talents people throw around the words “authentic” and “sellout.” These distinctions are an illusion when everyone lives in the market economy. Everyone is a sellout when everyone has to sell themselves.
This conflict of interest ensures that great creative work is scarce when everyone is busy earning a living. The market will produce plenty of what sells right now, but precious little anyone cares about 100 or 1000 years from now.
The market knows only the present, so a high quality creative class requires some degree of insulation from its caprices.
In the past, most advancement came from the few people who didn’t have to worry about wealth. Even where they did not have talent themselves, they might become patrons. Patrons were not really the same as employers because they were not directly trying to turn a profit. Moreover, patrons were a single person whom an artist could reason with. Artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo both negotiated with their patrons in the middle of the creative process and had some measure of control.
There is no arguing with market demand. The many wants what it wants right now. So when the market prevails we will never see epic works that take half a lifetime to produce, nor works that don’t ape today’s popular taste. Worst of all, the market forces creative people to answer to the masses.

In the past, the few professional creative people were protected by forming tight knit peer groups.
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle represented three generations of master and apprentice, each of them supported in leisure by their society within a school of their making.  We might also consider that Pythagoras or Epicurus thrived as well within their own tribe of students.
In the past, ascetics and mystics formed another sort of leisured aristocracy.  Consider Diogenes who lived on public charity, or that the very name ‘dervish’ originally means a beggar,  or the experiences of John the Baptist, Jesus, any number of saints in the wilderness.   Across the planet, societies that nurtured their mystics have developed lasting spiritual traditions.
Even consider how modern science and education was largely pioneered by monks who had the rare leisure to study and question within the protected environment provided by the clergy.
A universal market economy, though, by its nature has no place for such “low productivity” slow growing endeavors.

Consider how the Romanticist poets all knew each other, most all of them from leisured aristocratic backgrounds.
Tolkien and C.S. Lewis knew each other, both academics with tenure at a university that still had a strong aristocratic tradition.
Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft profited richly from corresponding though both suffered terribly from being trapped in the market economy.  It speaks volumes that like their spiritual predecessor, Edgar Allen Poe, they had to sacrifice themselves to create enduring work.   Imagine what they could have accomplished had they been leisured aristocrats.
One small group of creative peers who needn’t fear for money are a more powerful force than an entire modern hive cluster of hundreds of millions where everyone is slave to money.
Constant busyness at pointless jobs is one of the biggest drains of productivity, the slayer of creativity in a population. The overworked do not tolerate idle creativity in others. Like-minded people are the substrate on which the individual grows. Just as guerilla insurgents cannot survive without a sympathetic population to harbor them.

Not long ago, societies could only afford to have a tiny number of people trying new things. But like efficient bodies honed by evolution, they made the small amounts of energy they spent on their R and D departments count so they were not subsumed by their competitors.
Now with greater modern wealth, we may do well to observe the successful practices of leaner times and apply them on a larger scale.

See also: Smart Socialism,
How the Middle Class Used to Be Affordable

Mass Popularity Dilutes Quality

Let’s go back and read a novel from the 19th to early 20th century, or even a newspaper.  Then compare the writing style back then compared to now.
We quickly notice
-The use of vocabulary is far more varied and more sophisticated than we see today.
-Language use is more creative, less literal.  Figurative expression bordering on the poetic is common.
-Writers assume a much greater attention span in their readers, pacing much more slowly than we see today.
-Writers assume their typical reader has a classical education and is not afraid to quote in Latin and Greek or to make abundant references to Greek mythology and Roman literature.

What’s astonishing is the baseline of quality was higher when the world was far poorer, less educated, with a fraction of today’s population.
What happened?
My guess is the higher standard of quality existed because the audience was a more narrow, educated slice of the population.  The quality was high because unsophisticated people were not yet able to participate.  So the market actually catered to the best of the race rather than the most puerile.
At length, a universally educated public gradually exerted its overwhelming force on the market, enshrining the insipid and mediocre as Gods of the collective.
In a universal market, that which entertains the most and offends the fewest reigns supreme—that which inspires no deep passion but is merely neither too hot or cold.  But that which belongs to everyone, does not truly belong to anyone.  This is the fundamental problem of mass culture.

We can look at issues of Time magazine from just a couple decades ago and see a dramatic difference in the tone of articles and amazingly, even in the advertisements.  It was not unusual for advertisements have a whole paragraph in relatively small print.  It’s strange anymore to see much copywriting beyond the tagline.  Got Milk? or Absolut x.  That usually does the trick.  If they write several sentences, now, no one will ever read them.

80s advertisement with more copy writing

I randomly found this going through some pages of a 1984 issue of Time magazine. No one would actually read small print copy like this anymore.

For another example, we might observe computer gaming.  With limited graphics, what we now call the Adventure genre was a staple from text games like Zork and culminating in franchises like SpaceQuest or Quest for Glory.  Since owning personal computers was still restricted mostly to affluent geeky households, the content of these games was a lot more witty and cerebral, with more in-universe detail, demanding considerable patience and brains to solve puzzles.
Of course, having much less graphics to work with may have forced to developers to focus more on gameplay and content, but it can’t by itself explain why games increasingly came to rely first on flashy graphics, content later.
A good example might be to compare, Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind to ES IV: Oblivion.  Morrowind had a few orders of magnitude more content than Oblivion had to offer.  Anyone who’s enjoyed Morrowind will remember the incredible attention to detail with a whole world full of exotic native plants and animals that feature in the diets, clothing, and even the architecture of the local peoples.  Throughout the game world there’s seemingly endless books—popular literature, histories, and religious texts of a fictional people.  The game can be played by following quests only, but some of the game’s most rewarding experiences are stumbling on places you’d never find if you didn’t leave the beaten path.  Many quests involve finding a person or place based only on a crude description.
By the time Oblivion was developed, Elder Scrolls was no longer a niche franchise.  The sequel was naturally tailored to be more popularly received.
The setting was made as familiar as possible, pretty much a rip off of the Lord of the Rings movies that were at a zenith of popularity at the time, easily lumped in with similar clones like Dragon Age that even began the game with a Grima Wormtongue clone traitor and a battle at Helm’s Deep against Orcs ahem…uh “Hurlocks.”
Any setting of course can shine with good direction.  Starcraft borrows heavily from Warhammer 40k, which they originally wanted a license for anyway, but the derivative game universe succeeded in taking on a vivid life of its own.
Oblivion, though, had a scant fraction of the content that was in Morrowind, even mostly borrowing books from the previous game.  Quests were made as simple as possible by always having a marker on your map telling you exactly where to go with no navigation or puzzle solving required.  They made it impossible to kill people necessary to the main quest as one might make a toy impossible for wanton toddlers to break.
The emergence of Oblivion on the popular scene was a excellent case of what happens when one tries to adapt a niche element to everyone.  The result is watered down.

Observe political rhetoric.  Simply compare the original televised debate between Kennedy and Nixon, or the oratory of 18th-19th century politicians, to modern rhetoric.  Hell, compare a George W. Bush speech to those of Ancient Roman senators.  The comparison is truly pathetic.  Again, unregulated mass participation waters down an institution until it becomes a farce.

Finally, let’s look at the movies.  Hollywood is a great example how that which belongs to everyone belongs to no one.
For instance, they chose to have a Nazi fighter, Captain America, not fight Nazis because of their desire to please every country and every demographic.  What if Indiana Jones had fought random Nazi proxies?  Would that have been the same?
Hollywood avoids risks with most big movies now remakes or reboots of old franchises.
The result is tepid and predictable, but totally devoid of the potential to inspire great culture.

Not long ago, the scarcity of wealth and education acted as a crude form of quality control.  Since this basic quality control always came naturally in a world that was mostly impoverished with most people illiterate, it’s not a problem societies have yet learned to deal with.
If we actually stop to think about it though, it seems obvious that for high culture and innovation to exist, there has to be a way to insulate the high forms from the low.
Culture now exists as an open system, all currents mixing together into lukewarm nonsense.  Clearly, we need to separate culture into its proper organs so each may perform its rightful function.

See Also: Pop Music Is Folk Music Elevated Beyond Its Proper Place

Every Purchase Is A Vote

Whenever we walk into a store we can measure how much we’re like everyone else.  Imagine a planet where everyone was you.  What then would the inside of the store look like?  All the things you like would be available in abundance, their prices driven down by economy of scale.  How close then is the existing store to the theoretical ideal that serves you best?  We can’t expect everyone to be the same in real life; without the purchases of many different people, there could be no store.  So we must be willing to sacrifice some of our individual preferences to have a market.
The influence of our own vote though is tiny so we must have some significant overlap with other people for the offerings of the store to yield us benefits.  If most customers don’t want some of the same things we want, the store is useless to us.  A man, for instance, will likely never have any need for women’s clothing stores because he lacks overlap with the targeted electorate.
Imagine for a moment the store we’ve walked into is a grocery store.  The initial overlap in needs is very high.  Everyone gets hungry, so we have a great test case.  When we look at the store shelves, we see a purer sort of democracy than has ever existed in politics.  What’s for sale is what everybody wants.
What if most people want junk food though?  The grocery store will have lots of cheap junk food and the substantial food will be scarcer and higher in price.  Perhaps it just points to the reason why there never has been a true political democracy.  The masses might well make terrible decisions.  A people cannot survive leadership without some semblance of order and quality control.  But they can survive the consequences of eating too much cookie dough ice cream, at least in the short term.

We can draw a similar analogy with book stores.  We want to read, but the store is of no value to us if the only books available are sensational slush.  In this case, the mass of other people out there has proven to be a liability to our interests because of their lack of overlap concerning the details of an item we want.  And our paltry votes don’t even make a dent.

Let us look at the bestseller lists for books too, and the top 25 in music.  Or how about the most popular television shows and movies?  In a decently ok world, most items on these lists should be among the best, right?  But what if to our horror, we consistently see works of low quality, or insipid mediocrity exalted by the collective?
If you don’t like what most people like, you are in a way living in a zombie apocalypse, surrounded by shambling throngs of people whose tastes and interests run contrary to your own in every way imaginable.  Your voice is drowned out while everyone rushes to the theaters to see the next remake of a remake.

If you or I were to conclude our nature and preferences have remarkably little overlap with most other people out there, it does not make sense to make the sacrifices required to participate in their collective pools.  Banding with the masses proves more a liability than a benefit.  It makes far more sense to find those with a higher degree of overlap even if they’re just a few and pooling one’s demand with them instead, while isolating oneself from the slavering zombie hordes.

It is on this basis of collective compatibility that would underlie a modern caste system.  In the case of economics, each cluster of preferences would occupy separate markets from food, to clothing, and entertainment.  Perhaps such distinctions already exist informally, but it takes considerable knowledge, deep affiliations, and especially sheer wealth to sort out what belongs to one’s proper sphere.
In a more formalized order, each strata has no need to waste energy on self discovery, they naturally gravitate towards their proper places and live their whole lives therein, their votes compatible with the other voters of their breed.  With a more stable hierarchy, less struggle takes place and far more gets done.

If we consider grocery stores again.  There already are grocers that cater to different tastes, but they do so mostly through being more expensive.  They decisively segregate their clientele using high prices but in so doing produce a form of value signalling rather than pure optimization.
In a correctly stratified caste system, a store ought not to rely first on higher prices as an isolating mechanism but instead be able to focus on being able to provide the best possible value given the votes of the consumers of the higher castes.
We may consider pure status signalling such as paying extra for ‘organic’ produce a penalty that certain voters agree to pay in order to form a barrier.  But if such a barrier is already formalized by the agreement of voters, then there is no need to pay such penalties and all effort can be put into providing the best value possible for the voting coalition.
We can imagine similar principles applied to real estate.  Those who pay high prices to keep undesirables out of their supermarkets apply the same tactics to property ownership and school districts.  Again, the cadre of voters in an unstable hierarchy is forced to pay penalties to segregate themselves into a mutually beneficial electorate.  In a stable caste hierarchy, their neighborhoods and schools are delineated by force of their votes, leaving them free to build value rather than spend most of their wealth insulating themselves against incompatible demographics.
As it is, many people try to isolate themselves from the gales of popular mediocrity by working long hours for decades.  So hard is their task that they barely manage to reproduce, managing only to replace themselves in the best of times.  The most productive creatures effectively barely scrape by at subsistence.
Because their natural habitat is saturated by hostile tribes unless they build cost-prohibitive barriers, they are forced to spend most of their effort just trying to chisel out their desired place, which in a Correct order should be theirs by natural right.

As a final thought experiment, consider how idiotic most advertisements are on television, youtube, and in print.  This is what most people find persuasive or these ads would not exist.  Every advertisement is a glimpse into the heart of the average person.  Don’t like what you see?  Then you are participating in the wrong commercial electorate.
How would advertising change then if we dominated the commercial electorate?  Would it even exist in the same form?

See Also:  Shelters From Planned Obsolescence,
Friction of Association and Social Selectivity

Cultural Secession

There are many who rebel against governments and institutions.
But the edifices they seek to bring down are but natural outgrowths of the people and culture they were born into, like stalactites trickling down over eons from subterranean ceilings.

You know a person not by their rhetoric, but by what they choose at the grocery store.  Yet, seldom does the person who rebels against a government think of seceding from the birth culture that brought about the system they hate.  Governments and tyrants may come and go, yet the foundational customs of a people endure.

We fear the monopolistic aims of businesses and governments, yet not of culture and custom. We are simply born into a place and adopt its arbitrary trappings for the sake of unthinking expediency. If we think, though, who do we find more strange, the man who dislikes a mere government or the man who proclaims pizza an unclean food to your face and refuses to celebrate christmas? Which man’s beliefs register just in your mind and which triggers a primal instinct deep in your gut?
Which is just another activist and which has thrown a bloody gauntlet of challenge at your feet?
Imagine asking for a neon pink plastic tombstone at a local graveyard or forget to mow the lawn for a few months. What begets harsher prohibition and reprisals? Mundane infractions of custom or the criticism of remote political assemblies?
If one is displeased with their birth culture, what is the point of deriding an abstraction of government when they still adhere religiously to the ways of those who cheated and oppressed them?

In this post-nuclear age with a world-wide economy, conventional wars have become cost prohibitive, but great wars rage on under a placid surface.
Where it has become impractical to wage war over lines on a map, the new conquerors will struggle to hoard wealth rather than land, to occupy wombs rather than cities, and to carve out empires of belief from the ailing bulk of mass consensus.

I, for one, was never really socialized into my society, living on the fringes through my youth.  I endured the last years before internet became widespread, feeling alone against the crushing weight of the world, a formative experience that has shaped me ever after.  I often wonder that without the dawn of such electronic expression, I would have spent the rest of my life feeling I’d been buried alive thumping in the pitch black against a coffin lid weighed down by a ton of earth.
As soon as I was on my own in the adult world, I found myself rapidly drifting from the customs of my youth rather than transmitting them into my daily life.  What for others were symbols of comfort were for me reminders of torment.
I found myself letting holidays pass unnoticed, sought out new foods and new recipes so I might eat differently.  I often observed fasts early in the day to distance myself from the indulgent and mechanical “3 squares” of the peoples among whom I lived.

I played with nonsense syllables, a practice if done enough begins to yield coherent meanings, and which inflected my speech at times with the hint of an unplaceable accent.  Having learned more of the English language from books than from people, I had already always spoken in a foreign dialect.  I had been strangely impervious to the understandings that passed easily between people without a spoken word.
As years went by I became apathetic towards politics and civic institutions; that was a game that did not concern me.
As a child I had seen myself as an outcast, as an adult as an outsider.
I floated through cities as a foreigner viewing people’s behavior from a distance.  I had long since ceased to think of them as “my” people.  I was merely a savage benefiting from their society as best I could so long as I must.  Over time I’ve learned their ways well enough to function normally and begin to understand how they think, but at heart I remain alien.  In due time another order will replace the present one and I will adapt to that one too like a ship that rides successive swells.

It seemed obvious watching from afar that besides ethnicity, peoples are defined by the aesthetics of their language, food, costume, architecture, traditions, and ceremonies.  These aesthetics of culture surround members of a people all their lives gaining emotional purchase on their hearts from infancy.   Aesthetic unity in a society is an everyday symbol of cooperation, a ritual dance with practical function.  To cause discords in the aesthetics of culture is much more powerful than to harry a few patricians running governments.
People understand this on a deep instinctual level.  Until I learned how to properly defuse people, I was regarded with something close to hostility wherever I went, no matter if I tried to be polite as I could or to remain beneath notice.  I could not hide for long that I was discordant with their master aesthetic.  It drilled into my head again and again the importance of culture.  It dawned on me that nearly every traditional culture has some version of the crime of witchcraft, a convenient mechanism which allows discords to be eliminated from the collective music.  If someone becomes unpopular enough, they are  fair game to be hunted down.  Such is the intense pressure for group selection under which humans have always lived which makes us as we are today.  We have a visceral fear of social deviance as we have of snakes and spiders.  Thus the powers that flout custom are the powers of Hell.

For one who is displeased with their society, becoming an activist or turning to violence rarely accomplishes much.  Simply seceding from the culture and beginning to build a new one is the most dangerous and damaging thing one can do.  Merely by doing so one sets a disastrous precedent for others to do the same.
If we consider culture as a market, we see people all over the world tend to live under monopolies.  Monopolies deliver poor service because they have no fear of competitors.  Merely creating a competitor, however tiny, is a force that opposes the enemy directly and proposes to solve the problem one perceives rather than merely reacting with incoherent discontent.  Unlike a self-destructive rebel, the cultural dissenter becomes an entrepreneur.

Rational People Are Inimical To Social Cohesion

Functional societies so far require people to have weak powers of reason and to adopt starkly irrational beliefs.  Groups that can trick their members into acting against their individual best interests are those that thrive.

A typical man’s biological interests are best served by impregnating as many women as possible and providing as few resources as he can to each so long as the offspring survive, so he can continue to search for more.
The tradition of marriage harnesses his sexual energies into productive tasks that harm his own immediate interests but help the society.
Going to war is completely inimical to his interests.  As far as he’s concerned he loses all if he dies.  His death may preserve his society, but that serves him little solace if he is no longer alive.
Or take voting in elections, walking into stores without stealing, or any other activity inspired by moral imperatives.  If he thinks completely rationally, he understands that his life does infinitesimally little to win a war or his vote to win an election.  It is irrational for him to participate in these affairs.
His fear comes from moral imperatives—that if he doesn’t fight the invaders millions of other men will also stay home and everyone loses.  However, if he sees millions of other men willingly go to war it pays handsomely to defect and dodge the draft, ready to snatch up all the widows when the war is over.  The motto of all social relations is “Don’t be that guy.”
In the American Civil War, there were professional draft dodgers who made a living by snatching up money incentives to join then disappearing and doing the same thing again under another assumed identity.
In a strictly rational sense these guys were the winners.  The guys who cooperated and went to die or become cripples were losers.
Of course, war is a gentleman’s gamble, the survivors return bedecked with honors to a land less competitive than before.
But no one who takes those odds seems at first to think they’ll be the ones to lose the bet.
At the end of every war there’s cities erected for honorable men built grandly with marble whiter than bone and the door of every abode adorned with plaques emblazoned with soothing platitudes in all caps.  All to disguise the ugly fact that within lies a teenager who was torn to shreds by a landmine, sent to take the risks pulling chestnuts out of the fire for the dominant older men.  It speaks loudly that across the ages, we have to try so hard to make ourselves believe.  But if social norms are strong enough and everyone imbued with dogma from birth, most people gladly subsume their inner dissonance to fit in.

The trouble is that this trickery becomes much harder in a world where most people are literate and access to the internet is widespread.  People are pretty well bred for obedience to social norms, but given enough sources, a vocal minority begins to question and deviate, undermining the unity of the rest.
I have encountered inquisitive minds on the internet that perceive many of the same problems I do in modern societies.  But the proposed solution I most often hear is to bring back old religions or at least adapt them somehow to modern conditions.  I do not see how this can be so except by fundamentalist peoples demographically displacing technocrats over time.  And then the problem is not solved.  Either their society stays in the safety of stagnation or at length the new theocratic rulers are likewise corrupted as they advance and the cycle repeats as their creed too is unable to cope with the needs of an inquisitive and informed populace.  I see many merits in the arguments to bring back old creeds as a deliberate social strategy, but the need for people to be ignorant of their best interests for these systems to work suggests to me we must formulate an altogether new sort of system that makes use of game theory and takes informed, discerning people into account.

The Fundamental Problem with The American Cult of Individual Success

Someone who makes it without your help doesn’t owe you anything.

From infancy Americans are told they have to be “self-made” and “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” but why should a man who is self made care about anyone else?  They all told him success was entirely up to him, so when he succeeds he has no reason to feel any allegiance to others.
Society does not help young men find a trade, a woman, to found a family, or find a purpose.  In fact it hinders and obstructs at every turn feeding him misinformation.  Then when he succeeds in spite of these obstacles, the social order expects allegiance.  It asks him to care about a nation, to pass down a culture, to support a people that has been more enemy than friend.  Why should he care?  Actually, why shouldn’t he actively oppose those who tried to stop him and cheat him whenever they could—to join friendlier factions or begin a faction of his own?

Societies are all about shared burdens, even the strongest man is easily overwhelmed by 2 or 3 men working together let alone a thousand or a million.  Interdependence is the foundation of successful societies.  Even dickheads and narcissists will help to defend a system that benefits them.  Even the apathetic and lazy will rise up when their lives of easy repose are endangered.
The success of peoples requires cohesion, especially when things are at their worst.
At the battle of Cannae the Romans lost an entire army of 40,000 men nearly to the last man but they went on fighting anyway until they won the war and eventually razed the enemy’s capital city into the ground and salted their fields.  Proportionally speaking, I’m sure the United States would have to lose millions in a single battle to equal the disaster of Cannae.  Can we imagine America holding together after a similar defeat and not succumbing to panic and bitter internal rivalries?
It’s easy to have a minimum level of cohesion in the good times, diversity is easy in times of plenty.  But when the bad times come, a system is tested.  And how a people handles the terrible shocks and earthquakes decides if they will still be there in a hundred years’ time.

Civilization is Human Domestication

Human civilization is a fancy word for a survival strategy in which people get to together in hives and crush peoples living in smaller hives.
In the course of adopting such a strategy, we are no longer heavily selected for our abilities to survive as individuals but for those traits that allow us to thrive in groups.  We become more dependent on the communal barn for feed, ever less able to think or act on our own.
When I look at definitions of what fundamentally sets humans apart from animals, the ability to talk is always near the top of the list.  Talking, at its most basic level, though is just an ability that allows groups to coordinate better.  It is a highly sophisticated behavior.  But sophisticated behaviors are commonplace in nature.  How about eels, salmon, and numerous birds that can migrate with extreme precision, or parasitoid jewel wasps that can disable one precise part of a cockroach’s brain with its stinger, or any number of creatures that can make precise, powerful strikes in fractions of a second?  To name a very few…

A perfectly civilized state does not mean a race of enlightened of beings, it means a colony of eusocial insects, highly efficient but without consciousness or agency.
On another extreme we have impotent individuals never associating, easy prey to even the most dissolute enemy groups.

The accomplishments and qualities we associate with the best qualities of humanity, though, are not completely civilized but represent the Aristotelian golden mean between the virtues of individualism and the collective.
Individualists are easy meat for more organized foes.
Eusocial Zerg and Borg are vulnerable to reasonably cohesive groups that retain qualities of creativity and conscious will.

Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan understood something basic about humanity.  Our modern day barbarian trope is of a grunting musclehead, but a Howard-style barbarian while sparing with words is smart and quick.  Conan is a simple man compared to a merchant but he readily perceives that civilization promotes corruption and complacency of the spirit rather than greatness.
In real life, is it any surprise that the things we call the greatest accomplishments of civilization can be only a limited number of generations away from barbarism?

Barbarians in their natural state accomplish nothing.  Perfectly civilized people live in sophisticated stagnation.  But when history chances on a certain Aristotelian golden mean between the two states, we see great accomplishments and conquests.
But on its path to civilized domestication, a people always passes up the golden mean and sinks into a stable state where much remains the same for centuries and the few new ideas are crushed.

The early Mesopotamian peoples, the first to be civilized, lived in a system of highly dynamic city states making innovations for the first 1000 years or so.  They became relatively stagnant in their progress by 1000 BC
The Egyptians followed a similar, perhaps slightly later trajectory.
Then we see Chinese, Indians, and Greeks rise simultaneously to their heights between 400-200 BC, then stagnating ever since.  Today it amazes us that the Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Socrates, Plato were contemporaries, their world-changing ideas packed into just a couple human generations, coming from human populations that were puny compared to now, with far less wealth and technology.

If we likened innovation to a flame, we must notice it consumes its hosts and moves on to another, always to some barbarian neighbor on the fringes of the old civilization. The price of openness to change is instability.
When the Mediterranean world was thoroughly spent and domesticated, the forces of creativity moved into Northern Europe, and eventually into America, a colony of Northern Europe.  In the past there always seemed someplace new for these forces to move on to but is it so anymore?  Now there are no more new frontiers, the entire world has been explored.  Modern weapons prevent the easy rise of opportunistic conventional barbarian armies.  The same system of finance has spread across the entire planet.  Most of the world speaks a few standardized languages.  Never has humanity been more civilized and centralized.
One might wonder if the world is bound to sink into thousands of years of stagnant slumber.  Perhaps the future could be more like Dune or Star Wars where technology and political systems remain unchanging for thousands of years.
Maybe in 5-600 years the world is colonized and revitalized in the great African enlightenment?
But the same question remains until we progress to some sort of singularity event — who then raises civilization to its next stage when all the races of the world have been spent?

This leads us to wonder: why do civilizations after a certain point cease to innovate?
My guess is that it has to do with the intense competition that comes with any saturated ecosystem.  A relatively new civilization has its frontier period for some generations where everyone is filling a proliferation of new niches.  But once those niches are filled the system ossifies.
Innovation is the product of leisure, not of drudgery.  No one has time to think of something new when they are lost in competition, never more than a half step ahead of a gibbering pack of rivals trying to pull them down and outcompete them. Under these pressures people are forced to increasingly specialize until they no longer have the luxury of seeing more than their immediate field — until the man who is a wrench expert knows nothing of screwdrivers.  When everyone is micro-specialized, the puzzle pieces one must assemble to arrive at an epiphany remain lying scattered about untouched.

I notice rice valley civilizations of India and China, or the wheat floodplains along the Nile were especially densely populated very early in their histories.  Thousands of years of crowded living barely subsisting off their one staple crushes liberty and creativity.  Worse, one despot can easily dominate a river valley and keep millions in thrall with his edicts.  People from these kinds of civilizations are the most domesticated of all, the world’s best specialists, more able to devote themselves tirelessly to one task than any other, but their relentless minds are also the most rigid and unimaginative.
It surprises me little that the one great flash of genius China had since its ancient period of warring states was during the Ming dynasty, after Mongol rule and then the black plague had reduced the population by about 50 million people(about 1/3rd), freeing up the space required to try new things.
Then, for once, China showed significant interest in world exploration and trade launching entire treasure fleets before turning inward again for good.  Maybe slightly more favorable conditions would have resulted in a 15th century Chinese industrial revolution and colonization?  Or perhaps Chinese by that point already civilized for a couple thousand years had already lost too much of that barbarian fire of inspiration.
We see a similar emptying out of Europe in the black plague and turmoil of the 14th century after which European nations began their rise to prominence.
But Northern Europe at that time in contrast to the Chinese was just a few centuries removed from barbarian tribes. Given a push by similar forces, they also turned outwards and began to innovate, but they didn’t stop.
It is also notable that Europe has never been dominated by just a few river flood plains with all human affairs governed by the distribution or withholding of the one staple food source.  It’s a region that has never been politically united, there have always been kingdoms forced to compete against one another, ready to adopt change that might give them an advantage.
Europeans are fairly unique in that they have lived off a variety of grains and supplemented them with dairy products and significant amounts of meat. Across much of the world, dairy is more typical of a staple for nomad pastoralists than for settled people.
It occurs to me that yogurt, butter, and cheese is used from India to the Middle East, but I would think it plays a relatively minor role in the diet outside of traditionally nomadic regions compared to Europeans. An Indian might use ghee or butter for a curry, milk or paneer cheese to make their pistachio and rose water sweets, or load up their chai with heavy cream, but rice remains their overwhelming staple. They have, to my knowledge, no equivalent to Europeans downing entire glasses of milk and eating entire cheeses straight in their civilized core regions.

Northern European nations and colonies now seem they may be going the way of civilized people before them.  Enough generations that reward rule-following, shop-keeping, credential-accumulating, and school-attending more than risk and invention.  Soon enough, the fiery free spirits have been culled whether from the battlefields or the laboratory.  After all, civilization is a system that selects for those sheep who benefit the king, who sit still in one place to be sheared year after year.
The stability that comes with complete domestication is inimical to the qualities we value most, which we suppose are uniquely civilized — when in fact, they result from an ideal balance of qualities.

Historical trends of Chinese population

A Genetic Counter-Offensive?

There are those on the internet who are concerned about the low fertility rates and loss of territory of peoples of European descent, often called “white” people.
What mystifies me though is how they see their precious whites as some Elven race of Middle Earth, doomed to die out. They see themselves as delicate and weak and their rivals as strong and resilient.
We are taught to love nature by valuing endangered species but nature cares little for such creatures. Nature loves best mosquitoes, cockroaches, and mice that thrive in spite of the best efforts to eradicate them.  Cold reality has no sympathy for a people that still gets outcompeted despite having the most resources, with the best weapons, with every possible advantage. In the course of nature is it not right and just that temperamental hothouse plants be weeded out and cast aside onto the trash pile? Why are a people who see themselves as flightless dodo birds deserving of preservation?

Very telling is if a brown person mixes with a white they see it as a tragedy. The white blood in their mind is drowned out by the brown and genetic territory is lost.
But in reality a mixed person is 50/50 and if raised in a “brown” community, they end up spreading their European genes into another gene pool. Surely that could be seen as a success of sorts, the infiltration of spies, if we will.
For example, look at New World mulattoes and mestizos who no doubt carry the equivalent of millions of white people in their veins.
Latin Americans have never seen full blooded Indians and mestizos as the same thing, or thought a mulatto to be the same as an African.  Inexplicably, New World Anglo-founded nations embrace a bizarre notion of all one thing or the other sometimes known colloquially as “the one drop rule.”
I suppose it’s possible that Anglo views on Mestizos are distorted by the fact that the immigrant “Hispanics” they encounter are disproportionately not Hispanic, but Indian.

Because of defensive, defeatist thinking pro-whites do not consider ways to expand rather than shrink.
If Mexico is sending over lots of illegal immigrants that take over territory. Why not simply retaliate by genetically bombarding Mexico by buying up surrogate wombs by the hundreds of thousands? Or bombard the immigrant communities in America by simply buying off their women to accept anonymous white sperm.
Black Americans are already on average 20% white, nearly quadroons and one can’t help but notice that the biggest trouble makers, the poorest are usually the darkest ones with the most African features.  I live in a town with a huge black population and have seen with my own eyes how blacks unapologetically discriminate by skin color amongst themselves.  It is rare to see a truly black black person in any position of power or prestige and their standard of beauty idolizes a decidedly mixed look.  Beyonce, Rihanna, Halle Berry, all their models are obviously half black at best. If pro-white groups feel that limiting African influence in North America is an important objective, why not simply begin genetic bombardment until American blacks are barely half African anymore?
It could be one part of a complete strategy that includes discouraging a rival group from breeding while subsidizing one’s own.

Most groups of people have low capabilities of abstraction. The same man who would fight you over a tangible 20 dollar bill will let you take thousands of dollars in fees and interest laid out in the fine print, especially if insidiously drawn out over a long period of time.
Mass reproduction following a grand strategy is a few levels of abstraction beyond what most people are capable of understanding. A genetic counter-offensive might well go mostly unopposed.

How much though does the white ideal really mean to these pro-whites, does it even exist? For the most part their complaining lets off some steam and then they go back to their day jobs. Considering I can’t think of once in my life anyone helped me just because I had white genes while I watch pretty much every other ethnic group help each other out, such an initiative seems too abstract-minded for them as well.
It is unlikely to see on a large scale what does not already exist on a smaller scale.
Yet I wonder as we become better able to understand nature, nurture, and epigenetics if we might one day see one group launch a coordinated sanguinary invasion on another.
Nukes and a worldwide economy make it so we can’t easily have profitable major wars—perhaps the conquerors of the future rely on demographics as their main weapon.  Perhaps the success of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo is a powerful example of how modern conflict is to be decisively won.
To date the spread of genes seems mostly an unintentional result.
As far as Irish genes are concerned, the potato famine was the best thing to ever happen.  The Armenian genocide and diaspora has probably been a net benefit to Armenian genes.
What if group spread of genes became applied as a deliberate strategy rather than mistakes of brutal happenstance?

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.


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