FORWARD BASE B

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Tag Archives: dissent

The Internet Makes Social Outliers Viable

Those who never knew the old world before high speed internet became commonplace would be hard-pressed to comprehend it.  For all of human history we had to form connections with the relative handful of people it’s possible to get to know face to face and from this tiny sample our concept of the entire society was formed.  If you couldn’t successfully form alliances within that small sample, you got weeded out, you starved, you died.
Survival has always before depended on getting along with those immediately around us.  Once we realize this it suddenly makes sense why people were willing to make suicidal charges on trenches with machine guns or actually believe in religions that tell us life is finally fair in a heaven no one has ever seen.  It was actually rational.
The chances of survival from charging a machine gun were greater than the odds of surviving social ostracism.  Humans have a primal fear of social rejection greater even than the fear of death.  For one might die and still leave behind memes and offspring, or at least a clean reputation so others sharing one’s genes might be in good standing with the pack.  So almost everyone was willing to risk their lives for stupid causes or believe in a flying spaghetti monster, if necessary, just to be able to belong.

These intense selective pressures have been there as long as there’s been people but there’s always been strange people, mutants who weren’t quite wired to think the same way as everyone else.  I figure someone just needs to have some mental quality that’s less frequent than every 1/300 or so that interferes with their ability to blend into the group.  That’s enough to make it likely, I suppose, that someone will be unable to relate to any of the people they meet.   If they were even suffered to exist in the past they were relegated to live as hermits.  In the best case, they could live in monasteries and even have the potential to contribute to their societies while being kept at a distance.  It’s surely no coincidence that these people became the sages and the first scientists.  The ability to think and act free of social pressures gave them the ability to deal with problems that more eusocial humans were constitutionally incapable of contemplating.
It’s always been dangerous to traffic in the ways of reality.  For humans, the real reality is almost always the consensus of the group.  Humans cling to their collective ideas even as Mongols gather outside the city walls.  Even where outlier people were allowed to contribute to society most social orders made sure they remained childless, ensuring their odd traits became even scarcer with each generation.
We look at those civilizations that have been around longest and sure enough, even where their average members have very high IQ, they tend to lack personal initiative and creativity.  Above all, living in big groups selects for people who feel comfortable fitting in with the group.
There’s always been plenty of people who had misgivings about the social order but enough wherewithal to blend in and sense enough to keep their mouths shut about the tribal taboos.  However even inner conflict puts one at a competitive disadvantage against those who are perfectly in their element and unable to question or think for themselves.

The internet though, has changed everything.  There was no internet until I was already well through childhood and dialup access when it arrived was something of a novelty no one my age quite knew what to do with yet.   High speed internet with modern search engines, a mature blogosphere, and social media didn’t start to become common until I was nearly out of high school.
So my case is illustrative because I was an isolated island all through my early life and about a decade behind in social skills by the time I left high school.  The internet saved my life.  I would at best have eked out a bare existence as a basement dweller forced to avoid most other human beings to get by.  It was brutally hard to catch up on years of missed early development as it was.
Being able to go to a website and read written explanations of human behavior in mechanistic terms I could understand was crucial for getting me started.  I never was able to “get” all the tacit understandings that seem to flow effortlessly between most people.  Having it all spelled out for me in logical terms was just what I needed.  After years of practice, I can play their games now.  Strangely enough, I find myself coming out on top now because I understand their underlying motivations better than they do.
Since the internet began to grow up, I’ve been able to look for people who have the most similar thought patterns and share ideas.  I’ve been able to put my own ideas out there for anyone who might be receptive.  Though I am very small as bloggers go, hundreds of thousands of pairs of eyes have seen my writings where without the world wide web, these thoughts would have been relegated to a personal notebook no one would ever read.  When even someone like me has access to several sports stadiums worth of people, it’s past time for the establishment to start worrying.

In the larger society, word of mouth, television, the news, a few publishing houses determined social reality for everyone with no real voice of dissent possible.  I can remember as a child in the 90s how journalists with newspaper columns seemed like minor gods and the voice of public opinion.  It seemed even more official when the newspaper was a physical thing that arrived on the doorstep every morning.  Now, less than two decades later, they’ve been reduced to a joke, their commenters often painfully more knowledgeable and open-minded than they are.  More telling still, their commenters aren’t bought and paid for by magnates who control their salary.
Freeing up thoughtful people who would otherwise have lived out their days as closeted outcasts has created critical weak points in the social consensus.
Outliers are by definition few in number but simply seeing anyone challenge the tribal taboos without consequence gives permission to millions of others to follow in apostasy.  Most people only believe the things they believe because they’re useful to social belonging.  Once these beliefs outlive their use, they are forgotten overnight.
We now see the rise of politicians that say what what people really think when they aren’t posing in social environments.

Most importantly, outliers are now able to thrive, gain influence, and have offspring.  For those who thrived best in the Old Consensus the present seems like the apocalypse as the world gets ever more complex and the last traditions fall apart.  For outliers who’ve always had to live in the shadows like cockroaches, there’s never been a better time to be alive.  Instead of being thankful to be allowed to live as celibates in a monastery or left unmolested as wandering sadhu ascetics, we are in the fray, able to participate and exert power for the first time ever.
Barely 6-7 years ago, heretical dissident groups like MRAs, MGTOWs, and gamers were seen by most as being in the same league with NAMBLA and the KKK.  And now, after years of aggressively growing their audience, these dissidents find they suddenly have an ideological influence over national politics.  Only the internet makes such a sudden seismic shift possible.  Along with them, many formerly covert schools of thought are finally able to make their presence felt.  Or rather, many disparate thinkers, have the opportunity now to found their school and compete directly for turf with tenured academics who punched all the right tickets.

See Also: On Herdbeasts

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.

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.

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