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Dissident Success Requires Cities

I too get a certain sense of delight seeing a map of the “Hillary archipelago” a few blue counties drowning in an immense sea of red.  Yet I still remember that LA, NYC, or Chicago areas, each easily outnumber all the population of the mountains, northern Great Plains, and the Great Basin combined.  The vast stretch in between Reno, Salt Lake City and Omaha up to the Canadian border has possibly less than 10 million in it out of a country of 330 million.  If not for provisions protecting small states built into the constitution, these outlying provinces would be politically irrelevant.

Even aside from overwhelming quantity, cities have been the natural generators of culture, art, and ideas since the beginning of civilization.  It is a common sentiment in the dissident right to be disdainful of the city, and having lived in cities, I vehemently agree with most of their points.  I only disagree with the conclusion that the city ought to be written off and surrendered.  On the contrary, the goal should be to take the city back.

When you have millions of people who can hop on a subway for a few bucks and see each other within the hour at any time, you can have groups of even highly unusual types of people that can meet up regularly.  Nobody reaches their full potential alone.  Throughout history look at any group of contemperaneous authors, artists, or thinkers and usually they all knew each other or at least corresponded.  These social circles generally had to form in cities.
The internet made the fluid real-time formation and exchange of ideas possible outside of urban areas for the first time, but this interaction remains abstract and ghostly until it is consolidated by regular interaction in person between people.  In the countryside a nascent high IQ counterculture is usually too diffusely distributed.  The city allows for the concentration of a critical mass of neo-tribalists in close proximity where they can interact and their energies can be amplified.

We will know the internet dissidents have fully transitioned into the real world not just when they have rallies, but when there are urban neighborhoods people associate with their identity that have their own public events and meeting places.  There are, however, the circumstances we have now that make cities ridiculously overpriced, unsafe, and dirty.  The dissidents might begin as a rough urban enclave bringing improvement to a small area but with long term goals in mind of how cities ought to be managed to maximize civilizational creativity.

Firstly, we should reflect on the problem of unproductive underclasses flooding into urban areas.  A properly run system wouldn’t allow this.  The poorest will always be crushingly poor no matter where you put them.  Productive people produce far more wealth if they have easy access to urban areas.  It does not make sense to even allow underclasses near the cities.  By simply occupying space, they drive up prices for scarce real estate.  This is compounded by the fact that any place they congregate becomes uninhabitable for law-abiding cooperators.  Even worse, crime spreads outward from these dead zones and further contributes to making cities into violent undesirable sinkholes people work a job in and then flee from at 4 PM.

In a righteous empire, the city should be seen as a desirable privileged place that non-rich cooperators are rewarded with access to, not a third world hellhole.  Obviously every city has many lower IQ jobs that need to be done, but that just requires an orderly, properly vetted working class preferably with higher IQ and conscientiousness than their work strictly requires.  Every person who lives in an urban area incurs a significant opportunity cost for society if they do not need to be there or are not the best choice to fill their scarce spot with.

When skilled professionals making six figures start living in their employer’s parking lot, we already know society has seriously mismanaged its resources and infrastructure.  Just think of all the wealth that gets wasted in a huge bonfire as people compete for scarce access to the economy’s machinery!  When poor planning and a dysfunctional undercaste prevent wealth producers from reaching the means of production, it’s kind of like cells getting blocked from processing oxygen by exposure to cyanide.

Of course, the main structural problem of cities in all times and places is they are “gene shredders” as Spandrell calls it.  Civilizations rise as the brightest and most capable congregate in cities and declines as they fail to breed or are massively outbred by the peasantry and underclass.  The automobile and with it the modern suburb allow people to participate in the urban economy while still reproducing at near-replacement levels.  Real light rail systems would be a lot better still.  Thus admission into the suburbs also must also be carefully controlled to have a sustainable high agency urban society.

In the longer run, I hope new technologies might even make cities less important and allow people to live outside of nodes on a narrow grid that are natural chokepoints for rent-seekers.  The obvious strategic problem with modern mega-cities is their huge vulnerability to attack.  Having all the best and brightest in one spot of course means it’s not that hard to decapitate an entire civilization with a single strike.
So long as the city remains the center of modern human power and organization, any dissidents require at least a foothold there.

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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