FORWARD BASE B

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Category Archives: society

Scarcity of Social Capital Sustains Institutions

For almost twenty years it has been pointed out countless times how all the knowledge we get from universities is online for free.  Time after time people have predicted the collapse of universities or that for-profit colleges will take over.  Not only has the institution of the University not collapsed, tuitions are higher than ever and the for-profit colleges are the ones that have seen their business model collapse. At first, this seems counter-intuitive as the corrosion of the establishment’s credibility accelerates.

Though colleges are no longer sacrosanct as they once were they can keep hiking tuition to the pace of loans because there are no viable alternatives.  Red-pill dissidents have spent years bashing the college degree as a “piece of paper” while missing the point.

College offers access to reliable high-status social capital in a modern society where any sort of non-adversarial, high-trust social interaction is extremely scarce.  For most people entering adult life with even slightly above average IQ, campus is the funnel they must squeeze through to avoid the wasteland of service jobs where they’ll live without prospects surrounded for the rest of their lives by people they cannot really connect with. 

Also, there are far more people scrambling to take respectable white collar “real jobs” that require degrees than there are slots available.  This pressure means those who make it have to know someone on the inside.  To establish rapport with someone on the inside they need to have experienced the unique culture of life on campus.  People reach out and help those they feel are like them and with whom they have shared culture and experiences.  To get that gen X manager to reminisce about college days over lunch while you’re there as an unpaid intern can easily be the difference between having a career and being a barista. 

For those who do not go to university the military is one of the last sure reservoirs of reliable social capital.  The most cynical blue collar people you’ll ever meet will curse about the polticians, the government, the country but still glow with almost religious reverence if you mention the military and thank you profusely “for your service” if you were ever in it.  For average people who did not grow up with deep, high quality roots to see them through life, that’s pretty much the last social ladder available to them.

Then there is of course the public education system.   The crowning genius of the 19th century-style nation-state may well be the ability of compulsory mass education to standardize culture.  People instinctively understand that even if someone learns better through home-schooling, they are at a disadvantage by not having the standard life experiences in the standard environment installed in their meatware.  Someone who strays away from the insitutional status ladder finds themselves standing just outside the tribal circle as they interview for jobs, vie for promotions, try to make friends, and go out on dates.

The backbone of a society is not jobs, an economy, or even armed men.  The central structures of society are ladders and funnels leading to high quality social capital like lifelong friends, stable social roles, family, marriage, or even just the bare minimum status to be seen as eligible in one’s dating pool.  In a hunter gatherer band or a traditional agrarian village there are rites of initiation to test for eligibility and connect cooperators with the social capital they need to flourish.
The nation-state institutionalized these networks on a mass scale of millions.  The industrial revolution did not just lead to the mass production of goods, but also of culture and social status.

This assembly line of souls is still very crude compared to the simple organization of a village.  With such a large system, a glitch can send 10 million souls tumbling into the abyss where they have no role and no one cares if they live or die.  Overwhelming numbers made these casualties sustainable.

When everyone has been to the same sort of schools since they could walk, then go to the same boot camps, you can crank out 100 divisions of soldiers who can all understand each other and work together.  The 21st century however has heralded the shift away from mass culture and the return to inequality, caste, tribe, and natural aristocracy.

Neo-tribal groups are sprouting through the drab concrete slabs of the establishment but they will only be able to displace institutions when they can bust the monopoly of social capital and offer better prospects of meaningful belonging.

The Scarcity of Social Capital in Western Societies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See Also: How the Middle Class Used to Be Affordable

Defining the Alt-Center: Neo-Tribalism

An alt-center is not moderate—it is alternate—that is, opposed to the discredited establishment.  It doesn’t try to be exactly in between, grey, or neutral.  It is a synthesis taking the best of different mindsets and ideas to put together the pieces in a way that makes sense.  

The alt-right understands that people are not equal and can be categorized quite accurately by race, ethnicity, sex, status, and intelligence.  It is hamstrung though by favoring the continuation of a Hobbesian nightmare and tragedy of the commons.  Many vanilla republican politicians would readily agree with this stance when it comes to economics and social policy.  In this respect, the alt-right is not alternate.

The alt-left understands that you can’t have a real society unless people have a sense of belonging and investment.  People cooperate much better if they know there are safety nets if they stumble.  It is hamstrung though by failing to understand people vary widely in character and capability.  An indiscriminate system of aid quickly degenerates into a tragedy of the commons.  The alt left is not alternate in this sense because plenty of the the entrenched technocratic elite share their egalitarian views.

Both alt-right and alt-left retain ideological ties to the conventional platforms they’ve departed from, so in a way of thinking, alt-center, can be thought of as a true-alternate point of view that reaches on both sides and snips the last ties to prevailing political traditions.

On the right, the propaganda of rugged individualism and not taking “handouts” is used to manipulate atomized consumers into letting corporations and wall-street run rampant.  The left shrewdly critiqued this view by coining the term “corporate welfare.”
On the left, the shrill politics of victimhood combined with socialist attitudes is a cynical ploy to drain resources from the republican middle and working classes to buy the votes of a teeming underclass that depends on their largesse.  The right astutely points out that the leftist elites are trying to “elect a new people” through mass immigration and welfare babies to keep them in power forever.

An alt-center rejects poisonous propaganda positions from both fake sides.  It is a complete rejection of the authority of rulers who have long since lost the mandate of heaven through their incompetence and greed, whatever irrelevant side of a made-up spectrum they claim they’re on.
The alt-center recognizes these ideas are just deception used to herd political opinion by parasite-kings and prevent any dangerous(to them) mixtures of ideas from taking place.  

Is free healthcare a “left-wing” position when we’re just giving it to members of the tribe we identify with and jealously witholding our wealth from openly-declared blood enemies?  What made this stance left-wing is that it was charity without judgment.
Is it “right-wing” to adopt protectionist trade policies when doing away with “free competition” to make sure the newly created jobs go first to people in good standing with the tribe?  What made this stance right wing was competition without context. 
When we no longer assume an atomized society, to even ask these questions is meaningless.  We find ourselves with something different.

Alt-centrism then might be called neo-tribalism, an authoritarian system that maximizes liberties and benefits for cooperators with basic safety nets for all members, generous formal privileges for the best, but treats outgroups as other countries, or within the context of empire as auxiliary associates who are explicitly 2nd class.  More important than individuals becoming billionaires would be the ability of society itself to preserve wealth and build assets.

The neo-tribal alt-center understands there is no more nation-state in an age of instant mass communication where hardly anyone farms the land and where we live as semi-nomads drifting from job to job.  People, not lines on a map are the territorial borders.  Wherever the people set up camp their nation resides in them.

Reviving Hammurabi’s Code: Different Laws For Different Castes

There was once a king of Ancient Babylon who made a law code and had it written down for perhaps the first time in history.  Fundamental to this code was the assumption that the ranks of humanity are not equal and therefore given different treatment under the law.
In Hammurabi’s time, this meant lighter punishments if the victim of a crime was lower in rank.

It sounds unjust to us now, but if we think about it, one of the great perversities of our present system is that there are still protected castes in our society, it just can’t be written or spoken.
The human experience shows us if we do not explicitly codify rank, parasites implicitly become the most-protected.  Equality is hypocrisy because to espouse it is to defy the timeless lessons of human nature.

Every human society organizes into hierarchies and in a healthy society, people are ranked as they contribute to the society’s survival.  Higher status people, being more valuable, are given greater powers and protections.
The ranks of humanity tend to stratify into breeds based on temperament and ability for abstract thinking.
Therefore, the incentives and deterrants that work for one caste do not work for another.

An underlying problem of our present system is that everyone from professionals to the underclass are subjected to the same laws.
In practice, this means the underclasses are threatened with punishments that deter people with families and careers reasonably well, but give hardened gangsters little pause.

Unable to admit that society can’t deal with its underclass, over 2 million people are locked up in America with millions more on probation or parole.  Rather than being truly punished, society prefers to neutralize them.  Then feeding, clothing, housing these captive consumers, like students or soldiers, becomes an industry of Keynesian broken windows.

Underclass troublemakers tend to have high testosterone, low IQ,  and short life histories. The strategy for their niche is to take big risks with drugs and violence that get them killed young, but also get a few women pregnant.  They don’t really think far ahead.
They’d very much like to stay out of a jail cell, but it doesn’t come with the same stigma it does in polite society.  It might even increase their status and get them more women when they get out again.

For thousands of years the solution for dealing with underclass aggression across the world has been pretty similar.  Either beat the crap out of them with nightsticks or, if they can’t be trusted to contribute to society again, just have them shot.
An egalitarian system is forced to try to harden the laws against its underclass, but as it does so it ends up dumping a steaming load of feces on normal people going about their business.

We end up with nice professionals bewildered by “militarized” police who treat them like dangerous animals at a routine traffic stop and it ends up making even ordinary workers suspicious and frightened of the police.  The quality of life falls dramatically for everyone and the morale of the tribe is damaged.

The irony of making a law for everyone is no one gets dealt with properly or proportionally.  
Unable to simply beat down underclass thugs and unable to admit they require more attention from the law, a phony “war on drugs” gets invented.

At the same time, the cooperative classes do not get the friendly benefit of the doubt their lower risk profile would merit, causing fear and resentment.
Inevitably some get caught and ruined by the indirect dragnets meant to catch the underclass.  To cap it off, those who have jobs and earn a wage by the rules have to feed and house a small country worth of prisoners.  What is a struggling worker to think when they cannot afford to see a doctor and the prisoner gets to see one for free?

A legal system that cannot properly punish low-level dysfunction ends up punishing cooperators instead.  In the long term, this dangerously undermines trust in the legitimacy of the rulers and makes people question the good and worthiness of the society itself.

A society correctly aligned with the Divine Justice punishes low-consciousness defectors with the negative reinforcement of raw force that even animals can understand.

Those who work jobs, and can behave so long as they are given structure can be threatened with humiliation and damage to their reputations.  Just a few hours of being pilloried in the public square being posted to social media would make most hesitate before breaking the law.  
Those who become repeat offenders and no longer care about their public image can be demoted to underclass and treated accordingly when they commit their next transgression.

Those of high agency have greater understanding of their actions in the context of society as a whole so they are mainly punished for crimes they know full well can puncture the lifeboat everyone relies on.
Demotion to the job classes, temporary or permanent, would be one of the simplest penalties.  For people of active awareness, a 9-5 job scraping for money is little different than a prison sentence.

Those who betray high responsibility over wealth and culture must bear the greatest punishments.  An underclass murderer might be quickly dispatched with a bullet.  Reckless speculators and embezzlers who crash the economy are destroyed in every respect with elaborate ceremony as befits fallen angels.

For all classes incarceration ought to be a last resort, where it would potentially do actual good, not indulged in as a net-negative industry.  Already, most other countries imprison a tiny fraction of their people compared to the USA.

Above all, societies are not charities.  Every tribe exists in tough competition with its neighbors.  If it does not run a tight ship, it is conquered and subsumed.  Life is already hard enough for people who faithfully spend their lives helping the group.  It must be relentlessly reinforced: the fruits of society are always for cooperators first. 

There must be severe limits on patience with takers.  A criminal, whatever their class, is put to death or exiled when society can no longer trust them to participate in the mission of the tribe.
Come to think of it, the United States could send thousands of its criminals to Cuba as they once did to the US.  If a tribe finds a neighbor weak and stupid enough to take in their unwanted exiles, why not use it against them?  Then, even the worst become useful as shock troops.
Or just have an actual island or an entire walled-off province where the exiles get a real second chance to build something.

The unprecedented abundance of the industrial revolution has led to such splendid rot that we house and feed people when they go on killing sprees and pat down our worker bees.  
The quick gains of the last two centuries are taken now and societies everywhere are reaching the point of saturation.  Where there is less insulation against reality provided by accumulated wealth, criminals and drug dealers are again being put to death rather than nicely hidden away from the common life.

The SWPL Paradox: Why Rule By High IQ Fails Miserably

All around the world, the development of nations correlates pretty well with a population’s average IQ.   Therefore, we could designate a ruling caste based on IQ, right, and be better off?  Easy enough.

In real life, though, the high IQ upper middle class and above already has great power just by being high status trend-setters congregating in the center of big cities where all the machinery of influence lies.

Yet rather than bringing in an age of enlightened rule, the SWPLs have consistently collaborated against their own people and tried to destroy their nation, from misguided feel-good idealism and putting their short-term gains first.

We need only imagine for a moment what the USA would look like if the yuppie intelligentsia seized total control and enacted their agenda in full.

The USA would become a temperate zone version of Brazil with no borders, no concept of unity, and crushingly low wages.  Poverty, strife, and tribal warfare would run rampant.  Just like the rest of the third world the SWPL elite would live in walled-off compounds where they would shop at Whole Foods and sip frappuccinos in peace, forgetting the rest of society exists while donating money to Somalia with crocodile tears of signalled virtue streaming down their faces—just like they do already.

Actually, I’m sure they’d ruthlessly “gentrify” any areas they moved into, relying on their armed enforcers to force out anyone who couldn’t be removed by skyrocketing rents so they could have another cute shopping district where they could buy organic dog biscuits for their toy pets.

Total rule by educated urban professionals would have been more violent, unjust, impoverished, and oppressive than Central American dictatorships.  Already, they have long since lost the mandate of heaven through their gross negligence and incompetence, a fact even they are becoming dimly aware of as national politics steadily slips out of their control.

Why were they as a group worse at ruling than any Joe Sixpack taken off the street would have been?  At least average Joe might not have been actively malicious and contemptuous towards the people he’s ruling.

The first, most obvious flaw, is lack of skin in the game.  Rule from provincial capitals encourages disconnection.  However smart someone may be, you have to have experience.  You can’t become a doctor or a pilot by reading books. Having a culture that spreads equalist propaganda to people who don’t have the experience to know otherwise just makes it even worse and assures terrible leadership and government.  Yet, they chose to accept what they were taught without critical thinking and swallowed the scam hook, line, and sinker.  This fact is perhaps more significant.

While IQ predicts the performance of population as a whole, it’s clear we need further criteria to determine who should rule.  Clearly, personality traits, neurotype, thinking style matter just as much.

A good example is the massive under-performance of East Asian people relative to their IQ and huge populations for many centuries even though they are objectively smarter than Europeans.

Elite US universities have to include special subjective rules to ensure model minority students don’t become a majority.  Chinese and upper-caste Indians outcompete whites without too much difficulty.  Yet in spite of this, their homelands have been stagnant fiefdoms of foreign powers until recently.

From what I’ve observed, they have the same problem as the SWPL lesser aristocracy.  Their high levels of organization and extreme conscientiousness and work ethic makes them the perfect cubicle workers.  But they are incapable of independent thought and action.

Every friend I’ve had who’s been in academia says the same things about students from Asia: They cram and memorize stuff for when they need it, but don’t really understand the material. What’s more, many of them had to be in good favor with their government’s brainless indoctrination to get selected for foreign study in the first place.

As far as I can tell, upper middle class whites are those most compatible with the Asian mindset and probably originate from similar selective pressures.  Their neurotype and phenotype is just not as widespread.
I recall watching League of Legends championships and noticed the few whites were as weedy, gracile, and diminutive as their Asian counterparts.  Both the white and Asian players exhibited these traits to a greater extreme than an average Asian would.  What we call “nerds” in the West simply became more normal in densely populated rice civilizations.

Another test is necessary, then, besides IQ to determine a ruling caste.  While autistic bean-counters are put to good use within the low to middle ranks of bureaucracy, they are incapable of rule.  It is not even in their temperament to rule themselves, let alone others.

There has to be a way to test for genuine curiosity and understanding as opposed to just manipulating symbols.  Even more so, a barbaric penchant for internal locus of control rather than civilized unquestioning conformity.

From my own experience and reading history, it seems humans come up with new ideas and conquer when they have good IQ and teamwork combined with just the right amount of barbarian wildness and individualism.

It seems otherwise hard to explain how the rocky tip of the Balkan peninsula or a small and rainy island might have created the most enduring ideas and inventions while having the greatest military might and empires of their times.

When I was in Korea sometime back, I thought their society very much superior in many ways.  High IQ made itself obvious in everything from monumentally more effective city planning to more subtle signs like having a whole TV channel devoted to the game of go.
But watching crowds stand patiently at crosswalks, almost in rank and file, even when no cars were nearby told me in one instant why they’ve never conquered the world and why their cousins in the North consent to be ruled by one of the world’s worst governments.
A nation of Africans with 100 average IQ would have potential to become far more dangerous than they are.  Neurotype and temperament matters in people just like it does in breeds of dogs—it’s just considered very impolite to notice.

The Problem of Rent-Seeking

Money is in theory just a liquid means of exchange so every bit of it should represent real world wealth.
The core problem of a society based on financialization is everyone starts to believe money itself is wealth.  Then society rewards the manipulation of money more than it does the creation of real wealth that actually helps people.

Why would anyone of means do anything productive if they can just collect interest and rent?
Rent-seekers use property to extract wealth indefinitely, making their living from a distortion of reality.
In the world of material things, there is no such thing as a gold mine that never runs out.  There is a limit in value to all things.  Yet those who control property can extract rents in perpetuity.

Patent law recognizes a limit in the claim to the rights of an idea or invention.  In time, the patented material becomes the natural inheritance of those who benefit from it.  So by what principle then does rented property stay forever in the hands of an owner who never uses it for themselves and never produces anything?

In Cincinnati, where I currently live, I noticed there are small patches of land used as paid parking in downtown.  Someone bought a small lot, threw down some asphalt on it, installed a ticket machine and voila, they can rake in cash every day.
The person who provides the parking lot, I thought, provides a useful service.  Not to mention most of these lots are cheaper than the parking garages, so they can save people money too.
On the other hand, I noticed these lots were minimally maintained. The asphalt was worn down, cracked, with weeds growing through it.  I supposed other than checking for freeloaders every once in awhile, there was no incentive for the property owner to do anything else while they reaped their dividends forever.

So the problem here is we need people to develop property and provide services but the value they bring to the table must also be recognized as finite.
The property owner must make a reasonable profit if we want them to bother but it is unnatural and improper for them to bring in an indefinite and infinite harvest once they have long since ceased to contribute new value.

So would it not make sense if there were limits to ownership of property that collects rents?  Like patents, you profit for awhile, but eventually it passes on into the public domain.
This could be especially relevant where there is opportunity cost.
Those little flat, run-down parking lots in Cincinnati are surrounded by 10 story buildings.
So while the land is put to a use that creates some value, surely it would create far more value if it re-entered the market and was used for a multiple story building owned and used by a business that actively creates new value every day.

The total gain appropriate to a renter could be determined by a number of factors.

-Absolute quantity of wealth invested in the property.(Did someone spend millions or billions of dollars on it?)
-Percentage of personal wealth invested.(Did someone put a lot of their money into the property?)
-Riskiness of the investment.
-Amount of effort to develop and maintain.
-Value the property gives back to society.(Penalize houses that sit empty just to get flipped later and/or keep rents artifically high.)
-Opportunity cost to society based on the property’s location.
-Is the property a strategic chokepoint that people have to pay for and therefore easy to command unreasonably high prices for?

The point would be to impose especially harsh penalties against large, lazy property holders who try to be dogs in the manger using the state’s monopoly on force— without which they own nothing—to parasitize others.  Without the threat of armed enforcers, they would probably be shot in the head trying to impose their will.  Why do they deserve state backing that not only hurts society, but delegitimizes the state by association?

Money acquired through parasitism is heresy.  Not only is the sacred relationship of money and wealth desecrated and distorted, every penny of false money-as-wealth is real wealth stolen from those who are trying to help the social order.  Once a society rewards clever defectors, while punishing honest cooperators, it is doomed.  Society cannot exist without maintaining the integrity of its wealth.

A worthwhile society understands that money used as counterfeit real-world wealth is nothing but theft and fraud—not just against one person but against the entire social order.  There could be a generous grace period after implementing such rules after which, perpetrators would be regarded as far worse than mere murderers.

See Also: White Collar Criminals Are Worse Than Street Criminals

Toward A Post-Western Aesthetic

At heart, the problem with Western Civilization is that it falls into the trap of the peacock’s tail striving for constant growth with flashy results but little thought of basic utility, sustainability, or resilience in the face of sudden shocks.

So great is the focus on competing for dominance now that no one has the time to think centuries ahead.

The truth is Western civilization and its philosophy was utterly discredited by the 20th century with its World Wars, Communist mega-states that killed off tens of millions, disasters like the Great Depression and Spanish Flu that the destruction and despair made possible.

Let’s face it, no one really believes in their hearts anymore that the future is good or meaningful and there’s no going back to the way it was.  The mood of the collective subconscious has been pre-apocalyptic since around the year 2000 and now among the most dominant symbols in the modern imagination are zombies that represent social alienation and atomization and evil clowns that represent mass sociopathy and chaos.

Symbol of a society where no one knows their neighbor and has to compete against everyone in a dehumanized rat race. Zombies originally a metaphor among Africans for how slavery took away one’s previous identity.

Symbol of a society where you have to adopt dark triad traits to survive. And our secret dissatisfaction with such a social order. Secretly many of us would just like to watch it all burn but can’t admit it even to ourselves.

The evolution of the West has produced impressive deer antlers but has created a society that is top-heavy and fragile.
The cost spiral started to get out of control with the rise of professional armies and the end of the feudal system until now it costs a trillion dollars to design a new weapon system, let alone manufacture, maintain, or deploy it and nearly a trillion every year to pay for old people and their medical care.  Soon, even all the wealth in the world can’t pay the basic bills and eventually even ever-growing loans can’t fill all the gaps.

Western civilization, with its stock markets, its winner-take-all economic systems and social status markets worships the growth pattern of short-lived weeds that choke the ground in a hurry before winter wipes them all away.  

I would rather worship the growth pattern of lichens that creep slowly, meticulously reinforcing each new growth area against hardship.
I would envision an ideal future civilization as being minimalistic, practical, and durable in its applications of technologies.
 
Extreme disparity in cost is why a single division worth of guerillas can challenge all the world’s great powers in the Middle East, why a guy with an ak-47 riding on a donkey beats a cruise missile or a drone, why a handful of men with boxcutters can shift the course of a nuclear superpower for decades, why an illegal immigrant Mexican roofer can have 3 kids while a salary striver that makes 70k a year can’t even afford 1 kid.
In future warfare, high technology will be limited to targets of appropriate value and low value forces will try to exert stategic pressure that forces cost-inefficient responses.

Much of the vanity of West is its stubborn insistence dating back to Christianity and reinforced by the Enlightenment that man inhabits a different universe than the rest of nature.  In truth the same laws that govern planets, rocks, animals, and bacteria bind humans just the same.

To set the tone for a society that works with the nature of the universe rather than try to defy it, we must begin to imagine what a Post-Western society might look and feel like.
In my next post I will begin to explore a possible aesthetic for such an order, according to my own sensibilities.  

My aesthetic will be austere, minimal, defensive, yet embrace a sort of stark beauty in contrast to a modern civilization of neon-bright advertisements that overload the eyes as high fructose corn syrup overwhelms the palate.

But it also won’t echo the old West cathedrals and row-houses with their straight lines and rigid rectangles, however pretty or pleasing they may be.
My aesthetic will try to appear more fluid, representing a lack of boundaries between man and nature, between intellect and the flesh.  For it’s precisely such dichotomies that gave rise to the West’s most debilitating neuroses.

Internet Benefits People Asymmetrically

I saw a great article at Return of Kings a little while ago about how the internet is the “great equalizer.”  This is true insofar as internet is the next printing press.  It’s true like all revolutions in communication that it raises all boats, but as always, some more than others.  Every change in a given environment favors species in some niches over others.
Let’s face it, most internet users stay obediently on the designated pasture of facebook, social media, and its attendant shared games.  Those who are able to explore further are affected very differently.
The constant flow of information can give someone a trans-human sort of consciousness or riddle their mind with irrelevant details and outright falsehoods.
In real life and on the internet, I see many people who still don’t get it.  They complain about how the online world has degraded the quality of content and has enabled short attention spans.  That speaks more to the content they choose to interact with than what is actually available.  Someone with a naturally critical mind and inquisitive nature can tear through a hundred different sources, taking note of the bias of each and arrive at a synthesis.  Those who thrive on the internet understand every piece of information has strengths, weaknesses, and biases.  There is no holy gospel or answer to everything.  Those who deal in nuance do well.  Those who can’t handle it end up indignant and frustrated waxing eloquent about the good old days when a few printing presses in New York controlled the entire flow of the written word.  Or they end up in an echo chamber where everyone tells them what they want to hear—but that’s no different than what most people already do in real life.
For anyone willing to learn the internet has made almost any field of knowledge accessible at any time.  Outliers intuitively understand this means a potential path around the usual gatekeepers who weed them out and make would-be-apprentices grovel for their secrets.  Hands on instruction guided by experienced teachers remains important for mastery, but is no longer necessary to get an introduction and crack open the realms of theory.  The more autonomous the individual the greater the benefit derived.

Those who swim in the ocean of information like a natural habitat become a new aristocracy as they wield disproportionate influence over cultural ideas and public opinion.  Anymore the next trend in politics, art, or culture begins far out at sea as a ripple until finally it hits the teeming coral reefs that hug the shoreline as a towering wave.
As time goes on, those who can’t survive outside the safe coral reefs of facebook and instagram get left further and further behind getting liked by all their “friends” while those on the outer rim create the discourse and therefore weave the very fabric of their social reality.  For herdlings, social opinion and consensus are truest reality and a fist to the face, bitter cold wind, fatigue after hard labor, or even the piercing pangs of hunger or the need to breathe are but flimsy dreams compared.

Why Wars Are Becoming More Likely

The underlying force behind most developments we now see is very simple: overpopulation.  But there’s something more to it.  In a world that has had lowered levels of violence and modern medicine for awhile, there’s simply too many men.  Normally men die off at a higher rate than women which frees up some extra space.   Under these circumstances it’s easier to have a functional social contract where men cooperate instead of compete.  Without the usual forces of attrition, we end up with a massive sausage fest.   Add to that a declining economy, rampant elite overproduction, hostile state ideologies and it’s now hard for all but apex males to make it.  As the struggle for scarce success slots grows more intense, it drives coalitions of millions of men into direct competition for women and treasure.  As such conflicts grow in intensity, they eventually flare into open violence.  And of course, part of the deal is the violence clears out some of the dead wood freeing up some breathing room for the rest.  Anyone who doubts this principle has only to learn how the black plague ushered in a golden age in Renaissance Europe and Ming China.  When there’s just too many people, even randomly killing 1 out of every 3 improves life for the rest and allows people the space and leisure they need for innovation and achievement.  An environment always saturated to carrying capacity wallows in perpetual stagnation.  When there’s no more frontiers and empty continents to fill up, humans resort to other timeless safety valves, and when all others fail, war tends to erupt sooner or later.  The justifications people make up for history books come after the fact.

War is a gentleman’s agreement.  Two men who stand little chance of securing a pretty woman or property within their clan sometimes agree to risk their lives against a neighboring tribe to take control of scarce resources by conquest.  If both succeed, they both get a payoff, but chances are in war there will be casualties.  So in effect they wager that if they succeed one man will perish in the endeavor and the other reaps all the dividends.  They may fail and both perish of course, but they agree to take the risk because if they try to play it safe at home, they pass the rest of their miserable lives struggling for mere survival, trod on by the successful as unwanted surplus population.  Since the dawn of time, when the incentives are right, groups of men have made the gentleman’s agreement with the tacit understanding they are betting the other guy gets shot while they survive to profit from his efforts.  And of course those most closely related might behave altruistically with less reservation as worker ants devote their being to the genetic code of their queen.  Nature is harsh and living things must often undergo desperate measures against overwhelming obstacles to succeed and continue the species.  So until a transhuman era, humans will be thrust into the Darwinian melee by the necessities of competition for mates and scarce resources whether they will it or no.  Until then, only intelligent stewardship of human societies and the establishment of workable balances of power both internationally and internally makes peaceful times possible.  The foolish elites of Western nations have spent decades undermining a once stable system out of devotion to blind ideology and now act surprised when finally the inertia shifts and the system begins to tip towards entropy.

Discrimination Is Just

In a just world, a group that commits more crime ends up in jail more often and everyone’s ok with that.  The group that is best at engineering and enjoys it most is the majority of the engineers.  The group that is smarter makes more inventions.  The more charismatic gets better mates, the more athletic is over-represented in professional sports.
The trouble is that everyone says they like fairness until it doesn’t benefit them. The reason that the gospel of equalism has failed is that “anti-discrimination” has nothing to do with being just.  It’s really a question of which group is able to gain advantages over another.  It’s just another form of war and conquest.
If the group that commits the most street crime can make a rule against others noticing that they commit more crime, this is not just.  The rationale of course is the “good ones” are hurt by being lumped in with those that make trouble but that doesn’t change the reality that group does in fact commit more crime.  So it’s up to that group to commit less crime and individuals to find ways of disassociating themselves convincingly from the criminal elements.  They have to market themselves, just like everybody else.  In such a fair society everyone is free to make judgments and associate as they will even if you and your own don’t like how it turns out.

From this premise, it is more or less just to have different codes, like Hammurabi did, to address different segments of a population with markedly different characteristics. The underlying problem is that modern enlightenment-derived thought denies the existence of groups and acknowledges only a doctrine of the sacred individual who must invariably be treated as a solitary atom, no matter what.  If you have a group that regularly harbors terrorist suicide bombers, you must still treat them exactly the same as those who rarely harbor terrorists.  Everyone has to watch grandmas get frisked at the airport and somehow endure the overwhelming cognitive dissonance gnawing at their souls.  When a community regularly turns out these suicide bombers, they suffer no consequence because in the delusional enlightened paradigm, groups don’t exist.
A blessedly uneducated 10 year old like the one honest child in The Emperor’s New Clothes could probably figure out common sense solutions to these problems in a few minutes.  Solutions that elude thousands of the “best and brightest” decade after decade.

Even if we studiously ignore distinctions between groups, it’s still pretty easy to tailor laws for different groups, precisely because they are distinct.
One of my favorite ideas is to have a Singaporean style law against “behaving like an animal in public.”  I spent 4 years getting around on the DC metro and encountered every imaginable sort of miscreant.  Addicts shouting at random people, homeless who smelled like weeks of sleeping on top of sewer vents, assholes playing videos or games on their phone at ear piercing volume, dipshits spontaneously busting into impromptu shitty pseudo-rap ditties, shitheads incapable of having conversations with indoor voices.  To stay sane I had to either use earphones or earplugs.  Every once in awhile I’d see someone run up to the window of a departing train and start pounding on the windows to be let in while screaming.  My vision would go red and my blood pressure go through the roof.  I would have a vision in my mind of the petulant fool turning around and seeing a squad of pristinely dressed Officers of the Discipline standing behind them led by Clancy Brown the Kurgan from Shawshank.  You could see your reflection in their boots and they’d wear leather armbands with their perfectly pressed Hugo Boss uniforms.  Clancy Brown the warden would raise the ceremonial stick of punishment, a replica of thousands of others like it across the Empire and pronounce the righteous prayer of justice.  The miscreant would get just a few seconds to scream again, this time in despair before he was set upon.  And after an astonishingly short time, he’d be left there in his own blood and before the Officers left, they’d leave him with a ticket “For Behaving Like A Monkey In Public.”  If he was lucky he’d have a few weeks painful recovery.  If not, “spend the rest of his life drinking his food through a straw.”  This would be a system of divine justice.  Once such a policy was administered, infractions would become very, very seldom and the principle of deterrence would work its magic to create a polite and orderly society.
Of course, this policy, I hardly need say, without any specification whatsoever would punish 80%+ black people.  I encountered a decent slice of white college students, drunk assholes coming from nats and caps games, and self important hipster professionals talking in loud nasal feminine uptalk that met the criteria but there were fewer of them.  It would be completely just though and “blind” to the color of anyone’s skin.  Truly only content of character would count as the activists always dreamed of.  Never does it occur to anyone educated in enlightened ideas, that blind justice might punish any group disproportionately and that true justice might in fact “discriminate” by its very true and uncompromising nature.

See Also: The Masses Crave Discipline

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Social Engineering Should Be Tested First

The best intentioned reformers often make things even worse.  But so would anyone trying to solve massive, complicated problems on the first try. It’s actually more surprising anything ever goes right.
It amazes me looking back over history to see how reformers and revolutionaries try to apply their ideologies without ever having tested them. Imagine a tech company releasing a new device without extensively testing it first or a computer programmer writing code for an entire program without ever trying to compile it. Ridiculous, yet that’s what people try to do all the time. Too often the result is disaster.
The higher castes have greater agency through which they deal with greater responsibilities. They can’t just say “oops” when there’s a big logistical screwup and a couple million people starve to death.
Any responsible sentient being in power naturally has a system to test new ways of organization before implementing them on a large scale.
Observing differences between local governments and the study of history provides lots of fertile material for hypotheses, but the devil is in the details.

There would have to be some sort of R and D department for trying out new social technologies. Perhaps there could even be reality shows of a sort where in the first round groups of maybe 150 or so live under a hypothetical social model then those groups that make it past the elimination get expanded up to 1000 and so on. There would be rules to keep it ethical. People who “die” in the experiment would just be “voted off the island” and sent home. Not being “real” would of course distort the data, but perhaps money or other incentives could make the results worthwhile. Someone who “dies” might lose all their prize money, representing a total loss.

Or to make this simpler maybe a reform simply gets tried first in a small town or a single city first and upvoted or nexted based on results. Perhaps there might be an actual experimental province set aside with discrete zones. Those who chose to live there would simply vote with their feet. In the absence of any Berlin walls, it would quickly become evident which zones people like and which they avoid and what type of people or demographics prefer different systems. Of course, the experimental province might give unrepresentative data if they attracted outliers of the population, but it could be a start. Not to mention, there would probably have to be incentives to get people to choose to live in experimental land.  Perhaps they’d sign contracts to stick around in experimentland for a year or two or else they lose all their bonuses.
As enough information was amassed from real life experiments maybe computer simulations would become more effective at projecting results and maybe programs could be written to project hypotheses for ideal social organizations taking every aspect of human nature into account that maximize both raw competitiveness and creativity/adaptability to new stressors.

Throughout history, groups have settled on something that works for the time period and then try to perpetuate it ad nauseum across milennia.  Talmudic Judaism was a brilliant way to coordinate a particular Semite tribe over 2000 years ago.  Islam turned out to be the right solution for quarreling Arab city states about 1300 years ago.  But one of the things we immediately notice is that all these systems buy a professional suite of anti-virus software to prevent change to that successful formula, even if it’s a thousand years later.
Sadly, social technologies tend to stagnate because they only ascend to apotheosis in the first place because they have serious protection against change.
The challenge before us then is how to design a society to be both resilient and highly adaptable to new stressors, so that when the next big asteroid hits, we aren’t among the dinosaurs.

A Fair Caste System

A caste system can only be just if most people perceive themselves as having a fair chance to find their rightful place in the social order.
In our current system, someone very bright and capable may simply come from a poor neighborhood and easily fall in between the cracks.  In many ways, “free” Western societies already have rigid arbitrary caste by birth but those in polite society and credulous schlubs who want to “get ahead” just make believe that it doesn’t exist and call the dividing rifts visible at once on any color-coded city map by any other name.
Westerners can play this game of make-believe simply because there are “soft” forms of enforcement rather than formalized prescriptions enshrined in law but the reality is the same.

I’ll begin with an example of one thing the present society gets right:  Public libraries in every neighborhood.  Anyone who’s curious has access to information.  Book stacks are a bit out of date, but I notice most libraries are reducing their collections and making room for computers. This is a move in the right direction. It should be obvious in the 21st century that free public access to the internet is essential to any society at all that wants to consider itself fair.
And of course lending of e-books helps untie public libraries even from physical location and the limitations of space.

There are some things that would have to change with public libraries/internet access. Disruptive people just looking for someplace warm, with no interest in knowledge do not belong there and would have to be thrown out, though someone clearly engaged might be allowed to spend the night. An upside of a lack of equalism is there would be a clear sense the venue exists in service of its proper patrons. Public computers perhaps ought to be in cozy booths so people could browse with a comfortable sense of privacy for long periods of time.
The book collections would need to be reworked. As they are now, public libraries are loaded mostly with popular fiction and light self-help books. A correct sort of public library would have a clearer mission: to provide everyone the same opportunities to access valuable information. These public libraries would not exist first to cater to the popular taste, but to give a route upward to those of potential in every neighborhood.
This would mean an emphasis on skills and disciplines, critical thinking, history, and philosophy. I remember distinctly how in my life the public library would never even have a single book on computer programming. Perhaps libraries gave up having books that were valuable and therefore got stolen!
Also these kinds of valuable books remain closely guarded by monopolies and tend to be strategically overpriced for students.

Reviving a common institution in the ancient world, public baths in every town could contribute to social fairness.
Once I was an adult taking care of myself, it was obvious rent was the expense that dwarfed all others. I immediately thought of reasons why an apartment was necessary. The first that came to mind was being able to take showers. It’s impossible to find and keep a job to get money without personal hygiene. That stood out as one of the top ways people can be forced into paying rent. It occurred to me that there are truck stops and swimming pool and healthclub memberships but this is a very limited infrastructure for something that should be available to everyone.
Public baths would make it so even people living out of their cars could stay clean and provide a place where people from all the castes to socialize in a relaxed atmosphere and establish a sense of social unity. It would be a blow to the power of rent-seekers.

Another institution would be to set aside abundant public land in key locations for tent occupancy or even makeshift houses rented at a pittance. Also important would be free/cheap long term parking spaces for cars and RVs. Only people of good character and social standing would be granted permits to use these resources. These would not be allowed to become free zones of underclass misery. The main purpose would be to create a safety valve for decent people and an indirect price control on rents. I suppose wages would adjust to rents but that would be fine if it meant more of society’s effort went into productive activity. Most important I think, would be to establish the principle that being without money isn’t effectively a crime like it is now, at least for people with a basic level of conscientousness. For it to work, those who would trash the commons have to be shown their place.

A caste system is going to be most stable if the state makes an honest effort to sustain its people. Possibly guaranteed minimum income for people who are a decent risk for society to invest in. For lower class people who probably are stable where they’re at, perhaps guaranteed minimum food at least.
This society already has EBT cards but does it all wrong. Those who come to the state for food don’t decide what they get to eat, they take what they are given. It sends all the wrong messages when people with foodstamps can load their grocery carts with freezer food and snack cakes. There would be no wasting public money on luxury junk foods. In a smarter system they might get 50 lb. bags of rice, potatoes, or flour with some rations of fresh food and meat as decided on by the system. Whatever most cheaply keeps people healthy who are only going to produce a minimal return on investment.

Then there is the problem of those who are very likely to always be a net drain on society. Our current caste system imprisons a few million, the bottom 1% or so of defectors at enormous expense.
A fair caste system would strive to invest as little as possible in disruptive people and direct that wealth into good investments. Imagine if the money to care for a prisoner for a year was instead used to pay for education for a bright and promising young cooperator. It undermines the social order when an inmate lives a lifestyle that costs 50,000 dollars a year while many hard-working people on the outside live far more meagerly. For the masses to be content with lower to mid-caste, they have to feel they are granted a certain status and level of social investment just by virtue of being cooperators. It must be clear to everyone that even the smallest contributor lives in a category far above criminal defectors who drain society’s precious wealth.

I could imagine “reservations” instead of expensive prisons. The prison population is already a small country. They could really be given their own country. This would require substantial land, perhaps islands, but it would be a zone totally free of public investment and thereby prevent destructive people from becoming a perpetual drain on everyone else. Those who would destroy the public wealth would be set free to create wealth for themselves if they can and if their regions were nasty hellholes, it would be the natual justice after a fashion. In our existing system, city areas allowed to become ghettoes already informally serve a function kind of like this.
Of course, we could keep this more simple and do what many other nations do, encourage unwanted people to simply move to someone else’s country. Hapless egalitarian Western democracies, for example, serve as a worldwide dumping ground for other countries’ criminals and underclass when they could have just sat back and benefited from brain drain while keeping poor investments out.
Finally, in a crowded world with scarce resources there’s the simple fact that there is a time for the very simple solution of executions to make a clear and unequivocal statement to the masses that some behaviors will not be tolerated.

The problem with enlightenment social philosophy is that human social life isn’t just a game of high ideas. Human lives aren’t of unlimited value, most of us have to produce more than we consume or else we die. In real life, societies are like competing organisms in nature or like businesses in the marketplace. Groups that can capture wealth and then use it wisely are those that come out on top. Those that can’t get conquered or wiped out. So an effective society must embrace these realities. A fair caste system means life is very harsh, and possibly very short for those who try to destroy but on the flip side cooperators get to enjoy many nice things they can never have in a low-trust system that treats everyone the same.

Celebrities are Folk Heroes Risen Above Their Proper Place

Celebrities are Gods to masses, mythical figures that loom large over adoring millions.
So one way to establish dominance over the multitude is to cast down their Gods. In the ancient world, it was very common to consolidate victory by publicly crushing the idols of the defeated before them to conclusively demonstrate the truth of their superior power and legitimacy.

Let us imagine, for example, a typical arrogant, loud, foul-mouthed singer who teaches millions of young men to be violent and greedy. He acts tough and powerful on camera and society heaps its best rewards on him, giving credence to his claims. Because he is successful, millions want to imitate him. Enabling such a person to become a God in the heaven of apex social status demoralizes and corrupts society.

The correct heavenly order is re-established when the rulers show themselves as the True Gods. Because our example idol is built on being tough and rebellious, he needs only to be humiliated.
Imagine this swaggering tough guy celebrity forced to wear a pink tutu on national television, forced to kneel humbly on the ground while whipped with rods by hysterically laughing clowns mocking him with boastful lyrics from his songs. Then, humbled and bloodied, he might be made to crawl to the feet of an official and have to kiss his ring and beg for forgiveness. And afterwards, pictures of the fallen God’s tear-streaked defeated face spread all across the internet.
The fallen God could never recover his aura of invincibility and prestige. Though people might understand intellectually no one person can stand against the state, their primal lizard brains couldn’t unsee their God scraping on the ground in ridiculous clothing, getting beaten down by ridiculous people.
I think back on some MMA fights I saw on youtube and recall how even the most hulking warrior could appear small and weak while on his back, scrunched up defensively against the attacks of the guy on top. Though I understand intellectually the shabbiest of these fighters could destroy 99.9% of people within a few seconds, instinctual gut perceptions of bodily positions of submission and dominance are as strong in the deep human psyche as they are in dogs.
It is not without reason that statues and stelae since ancient times depict the conquering ruler on top and the defeated crushed underneath to illustrate the outcome in the most visceral way possible.
Because human animals deal in symbolic systems like language the impact is greatest of all when the person ceremonially dominated is no mere human but a powerful symbol.

Celebrities are like traditional folk-heroes, pagan anthropomorphic Gods, or modern comic book heroes. Their larger-than-life powers and exploits are combined with an abundance of human vanities so they can provide moral examples to the common people. In their proper place they are a positive influence in a vital mid to lower caste culture.

Celebrities, stars, and idols are folk heroes that have risen beyond their proper place. When they become Gods of the entire social order, the earthly flaws that make them appopriate symbols for simple souls drags down the entire culture. Without greater values to guide them from further up, they soon promote vice as virtue and rot society from within.
When Hercules commits a murder, he has to perform labors, when Zeus cheats his wife gets revenge on his mistress, Iron Man pays for his pride and recklessness by accidentally creating Ultron, King Arthur accidentally creates his arch-nemesis, Mordred, by cheating with Morgan Le Fay.
Each hero, while powerful, is steered back on course by a greater moral universe, so when Hercules is made the supreme power, he can murder all he likes. The force that corrects him and completes the story is removed.

It becomes necessary for the wise ruler to systematically out-alpha usurper celebrities and cast them down where they belong.
The former stars respond by just going underground and that is where they should be, out of sight of the higher echelons, known only to their proper audience, never to stand in society’s limelight.

See also: Pop Music is Folk Music Elevated Beyond its Proper Place

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.

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