FORWARD BASE B

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Alt-Lite and the Weakening of the Merchant Caste

Since Charlottesville, most of the alt-lite has fallen into line and is back to to selling merchandise and maxing out their follower counts.  Nevertheless, a significant segment still seem to be flailing about in fury and confusion.  As I noted in my article about dissident factions, those making money from the spread of ideas tend to be unhappy when the fault lines shift.  The alt-lite’s business lies in being just edgy enough so whenever the edge moves they have to pick up and move their market stalls.  It’s especially annoying when they’ve written a book or a blog only to find it’s suddenly irrelevant.

I knew they would be indignant and that a great deal of this indignation comes from their self-image as the leaders.  But there has been more of a reaction than I was expecting, because like the establishment, they misunderstand their position in a changing ecosystem.  Furious that the core alt-right has asserted control over the rules of engagement there has actually been a foolhardy attempt at a takeover.  Needless to say, this attempt and its aftermath has been one of the most hilarious things I’ve seen on the internet in some time.

A faction best known for selling e-books, t-shirts, and supplement pills actually thought they had the social and political capital to co-opt a movement from those who have real organizations, go out in the streets, and take physical risks.  How is this?  This depth of childish miscalculation just doesn’t make sense until we examine on a cultural level.

Such delusional thinking is more understandable when we realize the mercantile caste of society has been ascendant since at least the French Revolution.  The obsession with equality that we take for granted is connected to the bourgeois attitude that the customer is always right and two men with the same amount of money in their outstretched palms are effectively the same, to be treated the same.  This attitude informs the obsession of the modern world with being popular and inoffensive above all else.  This attitude is so ingrained we run even our personal relationships like businesses.

Concepts like honor and loyalty seem like anachronistic ideas from old stories of knights and samurais, or even the creed of alien species like Klingons.  It has been so long since any other world view held sway, we have have forgotten any other way is possible.

We see a great example when alt-lite personalities discuss the alt-right as a “brand.”  They cannot yet understand anything other than the mass market.  Why would they?  The business of America is business.  The attitudes of the marketplace have dominated the culture of the USA and the entire West for centuries.
When we realize they are going by the rules that have worked for generations which we are all taught our whole lives, it is easier to understand why they are unable to adjust to a changing reality.

The enlightenment itself was a new value system for a rising merchant caste.  It is no coincidence that secularism’s original and eternal enemies are the aristocracy and the priesthood who stood in the way of advancement.  With widespread literacy and the dawn of an industrial revolution the old order of landed nobles backed by priests was obsolete.  Wherever the forces of modernity came into play, the merchants became the new ruling class.  Even Japan which was far away, culturally distant, and not exposed to modernity until much later went through the same developments as everywhere else.
A nobility and bureaucracy dominated by a hereditary warrior caste steadily fell from grace as wealth and influence went to the new captains of industry and commerce.

History has its longer cycles that are greater than the parochial span of a human life.  We reach a point where all the easy gains from colonies and industry have been taken.  In a mature, saturated world, the winnings go to the strongest.  In this kind of a world, warriors and barbarians bound by clans and honor re-emerge with a vengeance.

In our present transactional utopia we think money is the source of power.  The truth is money is a manifestation of power as light and heat comes from the sun.  The light is soon extinguished without its source.  The established merchant princes thought money alone could defeat an unusual challenger in the 2016 election and to their complete astonishment they failed miserably.  Likewise, a faction of the alt-lite thought wealth and popularity alone would be enough to take over an organically-formed group with ardent devotion to a clear mission.  These foolish modern magnates are not unusual in the course of history.
If you read Spandrell’s brilliant series of essays on the Song dynasty, you will learn how a mere 1,000 horse archers was enough to conquer the wealthiest nation on earth—a huge empire of millions.  We can also consider the Italian city states, which relied heavily on mercenary armies.  They were able to fight each other to a draw but when faced with real armies from real countries they never stood a chance.

The fundamental limitation of money is that all the money in the world is worthless to a dead man.  The currency of successful organizational violence is men who are willing to risk their lives.  This is a law of the universe so primal and obvious that the wealthy and the educated are bound to forget it.  As cultures of honor and prestige again take root, the cosmopolitan bourgeois will have to accept that they are no longer the natural ruling class of society just as the lords and the samurai once had to make way for them.  Like their predecessors, they can either accept their proper place in the hierarchy from where they can contribute, or they can go down fighting against the universe itself and maybe leave behind some tragic legends if they’re lucky.

The Social Cosmology

Even as a kid, I noticed that the hierarchy of heaven suspiciously resembled the social organization of humans here on earth.  As an adult it is clear that the heavenly order is a metaphor for idealized human society.  Atheists might say religion is stupid and false.  Religion is true, though, in the language of symbols.  Symbols are very powerful because they are rooted in the collective consciousness—everyone intuitively understands them, even if they don’t know it.  Literal-minded modernists think themselves logical and above-it-all but in their pride they have deafened themselves to the deeper dialogue.  From politics to policies their initiatives backfire because they engineer structures without understanding the less tangible natural forces.

If heaven is the ideal social order of the rulers, hell is the concept of the ultimate counterculture.  In between lies earth where ordinary people are subjected to the ebb and rise of the great forces fighting for their souls.  In the social cosmology, the highest status people live in heaven and their most dangerous enemies are from hell.  As the ruler represents the state itself, there can be gods of other abstractions such as love, wisdom, or war.

About a decade ago I started intuitively thinking of cultural conflicts by this model of Zoroastrian/Christian dualism.  I realized that in a society of hundreds of millions of strangers, those known to all are best thought of as gods who are not people but divine representations of concepts and ideals.

Humans can only process around 150 personal relationships, the Dunbar number.  The demands of mass society are so astronomically beyond those limits, we need to repurpose our mental constructs to process our environment.

The memetic spaces that used to be occupied by polytheistic deities and animistic spirits are now used to comprehend entities whose every word is heard by millions.  This was how I came to understand people’s reverent attitudes to celebrities, athletes, or royal families who will never personally know or care about them.

Even where the stars are selfish and dysfunctional, it is little different than reading about Zeus’ serial infidelity and Hera’s spiteful revenge or Apollo getting his sister’s best friend killed out of jealousy and then punished for it with exile to the mortal world.

The reality show dynamic has an unmistakably mythological feel to it.  People are hard-wired to be receptive to archetypal human narratives about the interaction of abstract concepts because it has been a reliable means of transmitting complex ideas to simple, illiterate people since prehistory.

Cain and Abel have sibling rivalry fueled by jealousy that any of us can understand.  Through this conflict that culminates in the first murder, we understand the depth of the ancient rivalry between farmers and herders.  Trying to explain things logically is by comparison a very feeble way to communicate, especially back before everyone had modern levels of information exposure.

In modern times people still understand the world through these primal archetypes.  If you try to talk to the average person about the strengths and weaknesses of Trump’s policies, the conversation does not typically go far.  Trump is one of the great lords of hell since he has opposed the established order and acts contrary to the supposedly genteel manners of the ruling class.  If I try to explain Trump’s reasoning to someone aligned with the status quo, I may as well be trying to persuade a Christian that Lucifer had good reasons to rebel against God.

I have found this heuristic to be a very useful way of analyzing and predicting how a group will perceive the world.  Sure enough, those who see Trump as the devil have raised great idols to him that would not seem amiss in a traditional Balinese procession of demons.

Likewise, I thought of Hillary Clinton as a high goddess of the establishment and it proved to be an excellent way to model the social reality.  When she fell, it was clear from the reactions of overwhelming despair, even from people who reluctantly voted for her, that greater forces were at work.  They had witnessed nothing less than the fall of a goddess from the top of their pantheon and the ascent of a victorious devil.  Viewed in this context, the magnitude of their hysteria and the violent methods they are now willing to employ make a lot more sense.

From watching the cultural unraveling of 2016, the hierarchy more clearly revealed itself.  As far as I could figure it looked something like this:

Olympians:  Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, MLK, Harry Potter, Gandhi, John Lennon, Lincoln, Mandela, Dalai Lama, Mickey Mouse, Coca Cola, Apple
2nd Tier Gods: A list celebrities, Nancy Pelosi, Che Guevara, Noam Chomsky, Frida Kahlo, Zuckerberg, Daenarys from GoT
Angels/Mythic Heroes/Paladins of the Light: Actors, Musicians, Athletes, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, George Washington Carver, Susan B. Anthony, Betty Friedhan, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Steven Hawking, Jackson Pollock
Saints/Martyrs:  Malala, Emmet Till, Matthew Shephard, Anne Frank, Tibetans, Trayvon, Galileo

How they perceive hell:

Greater Evils: Trump, Hitler, Voldemort, Holocaust, KKK, Nazis, Putin, Russia
Lesser Evils: Bannon, Timothy McVeigh, Saddam Hussein, Columbine shooters, Goebbels, Himmler, Goering
Greater Demons/Dark Angels: Alt-Bloggers, podcasters, youtubers, twitter accounts who get millions of visits.  Alex Jones, John Wilkes Booth, David Duke, Dylan Roof
Demonic Centurions: Less popular internet personalities with a steady following, “neo-nazis”

I hesitate to try my hand at defining a dissident cosmology yet because it is still settling into place and none of the factions would agree.  Figures like Trump, Bannon, or Spencer play prominent roles in that hierarchy, but at the moment it’s hard to know if that will be true even next year.  Nevertheless I can guess at some of the divine archetypes.

The Holy: 40k’s God Emperor of Mankind, Kek/Pepe, Gnon, Dune universe, Men of Gondor and Rohan, Starship Troopers(Heinlein book), Space Marines, The Joker, Bane, Harrison Bergeron, Marcus Aurelius, Pinochet, the red pill

The Underworld:  Sauron, Uruk-Hai/Orcs, the Zerg swarm, Nurse Ratched, Grendel’s Mother, the Borg collective, Big Brother, Diana Moon Glampers, Trotsky, Lenin, Alinsky, the blue pill, Le Happy Merchant

That’s all of that I will do for now.  I feel like I’ve gotten the idea across.  Feel free to expand on it, critique or make your own in the comments.

See Also: Election 2016: The War In Heaven

No Going Back to the 1950s – And What Lies Ahead

Some who celebrate (or mourn) Trump’s victory seem to think we will return to the 1950s status quo.
That won’t happen as never in history has any other historical period been revived despite the best efforts of thousands of years of reformers.  Erasmus always loses and even a successful Diocletian or Constantine end up creating something new rather than bringing back the old.
What we are left with is to figure out where we’re at and where the forces in play will take us.

To begin with, a majority of marriage age adults are now single and I do not foresee the trend away from matrimony will change anytime soon.  In practice a society of “free love” leaves a majority of males making free love to their hands but everyone dreams of having multiple desirable partners, the fulfillment of which always seems to be just a few clicks away.  Though most people will mathematically end up losers, the lure of being a winner is just too good to pass up.  Besides, the old system just isn’t cool.
Customs of matrimony require centuries, if not millennia of traditional reinforcement to establish and once undone require the right forces to coalesce once more.  Matrimony is reinforced by a pre-industrial world where resources are much scarcer and the long term pooling of resources between males, females, and their families is necessary for survival.  Marriage isn’t fun and it never was for fun.  It’s all about preserving resources in hard times and providing support for offspring whose survival was uncertain even with the best possible care.  So long as most people feel confident they’ll at least be able to eat and that their illegitimate kids will survive, it won’t change.  The combination of a steady basic food supply with low hopes of property acquisition, and social atomization that discourages pooling of family resources is an especially potent combination of disincentives.
Marriage will become much like it used to be, an institution that mostly serves the needs of the propertied classes.

The religion of the 1950s is not coming back either.  Even back then, it had been going steadily downhill in influence for centuries.  Christian religion requires faith in abstractions that is difficult to maintain in a world where information on every subject is abundant.  From now on, Christianity will only be useful as a value system for the prole classes, never again as the ruling ideology of a society with mass modern communications.
From now on, spiritual feeling will revolve around symbols and symbolic people that make abstract social concepts tangible.  We are seeing already a return to idolatry.  As people once imagined earthly human hierarchies in heaven and hell, they will return to a more primitive mindset of regarding earthly human hierarchies as heavenly.  Many only somewhat ironically refer to President Trump as God-Emperor.  They all know he is just a man, but they associate the idea of God-Emperor with the social and political forces he represents, just as Zeus represents lightning storms and leadership of his pantheon, or Hades stands for the land of the dead and riches mined from the earth.  
It may seem absurd at first but for human minds that cannot rightly grasp the magnitude of a million people any more than the size of a galaxy, godhood is the best concept to describe those humans whose barest whims affect the lives of millions.
The primary purpose of spirituality will not be to legitimize a moral philosophy but as in the days of cavemen to usefully describe the ethereal social sphere through concrete metaphor.

The economy of the 1950s is not coming back either.  Trump will be doing the right thing by at least removing policies that make the problem even worse and buy us some time, but no one can change the underlying forces. Human labor will be ever less in demand as world economic growth becomes static.  The seemingly endless easy gains of the industrial revolution are coming to an end and we have been entering a sort of new dark age.
I have a saying “diversity is easy in times of plenty” because once you have a pie that’s either static or actually shrinking the need to survive combined with the extreme competitive pressures in a free sexual market reduces the whole world into two categories.
-People who increase your chances of securing scarce resources and social status.
-Everybody else.

The forces in play are pushing humanity back towards tight tribal associations.  We now see widening fault lines along ethnicity and class and that will continue—but ultimately determining allegiances will be complicated.  Especially as it becomes more permissible to analyze humans by intelligence and temperament just as if they were breeds of dogs, so will humans divide up by neurotype and form the basis of the tribe-state.

The basis of sovereignty will no longer be primarily by geographical territory, but by the existence of a group, the culture it shares, the wealth it controls, the political power it wields.  In any given state or city in the West there are representatives of every type of person we can imagine.  Secession as we once would have imagined it is impossible.  What we will end up with is nation-tribes doing business, making treaties, and when that fails making war, as often by buying up real estate and businesses or setting the doctrine in schools as by outright violence.

Right now, Trump is among the first generation of leaders of the Neo-Tribal dark ages.  He rose to power on class and ethnic loyalties with a persona of stripped of pleasantries appropriate to the norms of our more barbaric times.  He gives us a template of what leaders will look like from now on.  In a dark age, people believe leaders should have the biggest winning rather than the finest principles.  So from now on the people in charge will be aggressive, generous desert sheikhs flaunting the money and harems everyone else admires.  The most honorable man will be he who has many children, has slain many men in battle, and delivered bounties of plunder to his followers.  With the old social contract shredded to pieces the people will have no more patience for staid married family men who are frightened of saying anything mean.

The tears and screaming of Hillary supporters is not irrational.  They sense in their guts, correctly, that their social universe is going through the apocalypse.  The system they have devoted their entire lives to as virtuous cooperator acolytes with all its ritual jumping through credentialist hoops and saying the right things for status is beginning to crumble all around them.  They have massive investment and sunk costs all up in flames.  They do not even know of, cannot even begin to understand anything else.  Learning in one cataclysmic event that history does not always favor “progress” is like a sheltered true believer hearing someone say “God doesn’t exist” for the first time.  It is to face a horrifying void.  Against every doctrine they were ever taught once-invincible civilization is actually regressing.

We return to primitive norms because only the extreme pressures of civilization ever made us otherwise.  This is why civilizations always change overnight the moment people have enough wealth to have any alternative whatsoever.  Civilizations persist by keeping people secure enough but at bare subsistence enough that they cannot dream too far and therein lies its fatal weakness when confronted with the slightest taste of prosperity.  The real change this time, though, is the access individuals have to information—far more agile and orders of magnitude beyond what even the printing press could offer.  Societies both primitive and civilized require most people to be ignorant so they can be indoctrinated into irrational beliefs that hurt the individual while benefiting the whole.  The result of millions empowered to advocate in their own interests is a recipe for upheaval, and so we go forward into uncertain territory.

Election 2016: The War In Heaven

Every culture has its leaders and heroes that establish the legitimacy of the social order.  In a society of millions, those at the top of the prestige pyramids are effectively Olympian or Norse Gods of myth.  The human mind is only well designed to handle about 150 relationships at a time, the Dunbar limit.  To conceptualize someone at the top of a pyramid of millions, we need to conceive of a god-like figure with super-human qualities who is the very essence of what they symbolize.  The best person of a thousand is a very unusual person.  Even the lifestyle of the richest person out of every hundred strains our imaginations to the limit.  The highest ranked among millions is as distant from us as a star is from the Earth.  Sure enough, these deities are known as “stars.”

I have pointed out that Hillary Clinton is a high Goddess in the pantheon symbolizing the values of the 60s Cultural Revolution, 3rd wave feminism, civil rights, globalism, equalism, that whole generation of royalty—the boomers.  These values are at the core of everything we are taught to believe in polite homes, at school, in college, and wherever people are paid by salary in the workplace, aka. “real jobs”.  That makes Hillary goddess of our social reality, of the water in which we swim, of the air which we breathe.  Every corporate pamphlet, ad, and webpage with the clean white background, a smug, beaming, plain white woman in her early 30s surrounded by portly brown women in the front row, the non-threatening simpering Asian man to one side.  The middle aged friendly black man with the modest paunch on the other side.  And as always, back in the back row, overlapped by everyone else is one sad looking white man with a weak chin and a watery smile—every one of these images a shrine to the Goddess.  The brochure might as well be one of those portable pocket triptychs from medieval days.

Hillary in her time of need has summoned the lesser Gods to her aid.  Athletes, TV Actors, Movie Actors, Comedians, former officials, ex-presidents, newspapers, TV channels, every person of note in our culture.  They join her in the fight as we’d expect Ares to help out Zeus against the Titans or Thor to battle alongside Odin against the trolls.  Because they are from the same pantheon, they band up without hesitation against forces that challenge the social reality from which they derive their divinity.  We can imagine that even arch-enemies Horus and Set would ally against the Greek or Norse Gods.  Their existence, world view, and vision is intertwined and if they were to be defeated they would together see their power extinguished forever.   What we are witnessing in 2016 is a great war in heaven.  God and all his angels against the usurpers and their teeming legions of demons from the rift.
Against every expectation the fight has reached the gates of the Holy Kingdom itself and laid siege to the battlements of purity.  The chanting demonic legions hold aloft torches smoldering with unholy incense as a burning battering ram, a great steel wolf’s head with flaming nostrils, crashes against the gates.  As every angel, archangel, and saint has thrown themselves into the fray, so every one of them may perish and fade from the starry heavens if they fall.  It is all at stake, tonight and tomorrow.

Some of us speak of policies, the candidates themselves, the political parties, but all of that is secondary to the war that now rages like a Boschian nightmare across the jagged dream terrain of the collective subconscious.
No matter who wins, the damage is done, they will never again rule the heavens unopposed. There has been a great schism across the entire length of the culture.
The NFL, LeBron James, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, West Wing, the Avengers, Saturday Night Live, The Colbert Report, Jay Z, all Hollywood, the pollsters, the authors, the magazines, the newspapers…everything.  For many millions already, these cultural icons are fallen from grace, now merely the chieftains of hostile tribes screaming for war, for eradication of the Other that is us.

See Also:  The Ritual of Unity

Pic Related:

grond_breaks_through_minas_tirith

The Middle Class: Caught In Between

No one likes the middle class.
They’re like a teacher’s pet trying too hard to please the teacher.
Their masters look down on them with amused contempt.  Servile creatures who sell their souls for larger crumbs.
The working class despises their eagerness to sell out everyone else and envies their standard of living.
Confounded, the middle class tries harder to please yet still finds itself caught in the middle surrounded by enemies.
When things start going bad, they make excellent scapegoats while their masters stay in comfort.
The middle class is a buffer state, the first line of defense for people who matter.

Other than being in the middle of the hierarchy, there’s nothing middle about the middle class.  They’ve always been a minority, perhaps less than 20% of the population even in the best of times.  These are the people who’ve left behind the working class lifestyle, but are far as ever from any real power.  The middle class are the low level functionaries who typically rely on the good graces of the rich for their relatively privileged lifestyle. They are owned people like the workers but live under greater supervision with more responsibilities and expectations.
While a prole wanders from one job to the next knowing it will be the same as the last, losing a job for the middle class person can be a major life crisis that threatens to cast him back down into the seething mass of the working class.

The mentality of the middle class is one of anxiety, like that of a rodent or a deer.  They know they’re among the few who’ve managed to get ahead and are terrified of falling from grace.  If they fall, their family falls with them.  They’ve lost the ability to function in the rougher prole society.  Their sheltered helicopter-parented kids are easy targets in a prole school district.  They’re like cops getting sent to prison if they fail.  For them, there’s no going back.
Paul Fussell in his book, Class, had the insight to notice that they like everything to be bland and inoffensive from their food to entertainment.  So complete is their subservience and desire to avoid offense that it controls their lives even when they’re not working.  They try to imitate their superiors by being verbose and using lots of long words that disguise their real meaning, especially if it’s something possibly disagreeable.  Just think of the grey and boring names we associate with corporate jargon.  If a middle class person tells you their job title, it’s not clear what they actually do.

Peasants have revolts, the upper middle class, revolutions. The middle class has no rebellion.  Their fortunes are tied to the ruling order and they fear losing what they have too much to participate in upheaval.  They’ll usually still be fed when most proles are starving so will have even less incentive to betray their masters and join the destitute multitudes.

Like proles, middle classers are devoid of imagination and ideas.  Curiosity is alien to them.  The ideal middle class person needs to have enough brains to acquire skills and be likable to the right people, but any more than that is dangerous to the blind loyalty required of them.
They’re perfectly plain in looks possessing neither intellect or stupidity.  They’re the insipid gruel of humanity lacking in flavor or personality content to work at the same desk for a lifetime.
Proles are passive and impotent but at least they are passionate.
Proles are collectivist, they stick to the ways of their own kind.
The middle classers are conformist, their culture is their failure to imitate their betters.  They have no love for themselves, they care only for fashions handed down from above.

The lack of of identity and stuffiness of middle class culture makes it the first zone of society with potential for unsocialized malcontents to break off in search of meaning and belonging in life.  At present the middle class is shrinking from an all-time high to return to more normal historic levels.  Plenty of middle class children have failed to get the same status as their parents and find themselves alienated.
Middle class people are harmless to rulers as long as they stay that way.  But if too many of them slip towards proledom their better brains and higher initiative can cause some problems as they bring their resentments down with them and begin to inspire popular anger.

The Life Force 8 & Technology

Even when elites are aware of technologies they tend to downplay their importance, even the experts in the field didn’t estimate the changes wrought by gunpowder, automobiles or the pc. Tons of engineers had to change their skills almost overnight when the transistor overthrew the vacuum tube. The cybernetic steam engine governor was made by a kid who just wanted to play marbles. The elite’s curiosity wasn’t stimulated enough and they had too much emotional investment in the status quo.

The life force 8 is a good way of working out predictable human desires (Drew Whitman coined it):
1. Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension
2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
3. Freedom from fear, pain and danger
4. Sexual companionship
5. Comfortable living conditions
6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the joneses
7. Care and protection of loved ones
8. Social approval

Things like curiosity, cleanliness, efficiency, are all put 2nd to these 8.

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