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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 Factions of Alt-Dissidents

There has been a sudden burst of interest in defining the quarrelsome factions of the alt-sphere, often with an emphasis on bashing rivals.
Alf of AlfaNL blog wrote one of the most level-headed pieces yet on the subject. He sticks to analyzing the groups by their size, demographics, and motivations.

I will add my own thoughts after seeing the umpteenth article about how the alt-lite is doomed because they are just selling a brand, how the alt-right is bound to become an irrelevant fringe like White Nationalism 1.0, or how the “passivism” of neo-reactionaries is an excuse to do nothing.  Doom and gloom all the time. 

From my perspective, things have been going great and it has been a delight to watch the alt-sphere begin to mature.  Now it reaches a point of self-awareness where it begins to introspect.   Even the constant squabbling serves a natural function of figuring out each faction’s jurisdiction and specialty.

The alt-lite civic nationalists are often brawling with alt-right groups on social media or even confronting them physically in meatspace.  These guys get a lot of hate from ethnic nationalist alt-rightists, but I don’t see the need.  They inhabit different niches in the dissident ecosystem.

The alt-lite are by far the largest faction since they stick to positions that can be made acceptable for millions of ordinary, disillusioned republican voters.  They are accused of just going along with what’s popular to sell a brand, but over time more will realize, that is precisely their job.  

They are the marketing and advertising department that engages in public outreach.  Because they have the largest audience, they also have the greatest influence when it comes to running psy-ops that disrupt the establishment “narrative” and to sap their morale through relentless agitation.

Their large numbers make it impossible to ban them all from social media and by saturating the filters of censorship, they make it harder to crack down on more extreme factions.  The alt-lite is also a valuable farm system for new recruits.  Of the millions who get drawn in by the advertising campaign, once nudged down that path some percentage decide to keep going of their own accord and become alt-right.  

The alt-right are gradually showing themselves to be the front-line soldiers and true believers who risk physical injury and destruction of their reputations. While the alt-lite’s strength is crowd tactics, the alt-right is forming cohesive units capable of pursuing strategic objectives such as shutting down the antifa dominion of Berkeley.
Their beliefs are still considered too extreme for them to take part in the normal political discourse.  They hungrily wait as the alt-lite helps to gradually ease the Overton window in their direction, each grudging millimeter giving them more space to operate in.

The core alt-rightists rely on many ideological shibboleths to solidify in-group cohesion and loyalty.  Counter-signal them on the Jews, white women, or Vladimir Putin and they are not likely to be patient about it.  It is not their role to be discerning about shades of gray since they are increasingly oriented towards action.  They have no shortage of discussion but within clear boundaries.  Leaders such as Richard Spencer may have intellectual interests and more nuanced views, but he does not have the luxury to focus on this in his daily activism and speeches.

For most citizens, the alt-lite are the extremists and the alt-right are simply “nazis.”  Ask the average person on the street about neo-reactionaries, the dark enlightenment, or even the alt-left and they’ll probably just stare at you wondering what the hell you’re talking about.

There’s the PR reps and the soldiers, but the dissidents also have an R and D department where participants are free to mix and match ideas and see what happens without political constraints.  These outliers are kind of like priests who try to construct an over-arching theology. Working on the level of ideas, they are mostly invisible amidst the turmoil.  They are not trying to move a crowd.  Their mission is to corrode the secular state religion and replace it with their own vision.  Rather than direct the course of schools of fish, they hope to change the water all fish swim in.

These evil acolytes recognize that much of their discussion is theoretical and intangible.  They even point and accuse among themselves that they are debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin with no plan to realize their aims in the real world.

They will come to understand they are pursuing their natural role just fine.  Their discussions are not viable in the popular discourse but their ideas gradually filter through more relatable interpreters until the populace unwittingly embraces concepts that came from black scriptural exegesis.  The end game for the apostate priests is not so much to become emperors as to establish a new academy on the ruins of the Enlightenment.

There are those who despair at the in-fighting of the rebels but I would point out that they begin to know who they are and what they need to do within a larger synergistic organism.  Even mainstream sources have begun to officially distinguish between the alt-lite and alt-right, a sure sign that an organized structure is emerging despite the decentralized nature of 4th generation politics.

What Marketing Simulations Haven’t Shown Me

Complex systems are built up by connecting diverse agents with interdependent relationships that change over time.

What all of the surveys, opinion polls, and other marketing data doesn’t tell us is the complex web of interactions that lead to a sale, or an individual forming an opinion. That’s the mistake – data from opinion polls measures current opinion when you need tomorrow’s concept. When you try to cross-correlate it, you are only looking at the output of multiple systems and mashing them together and expecting something meaningful. The key is to go back to the inputs, then move forward tracking the finite states of each agent inside of the system.

To put it another way, is a soccer mom going to buy an energy efficient car to save the environment, or a larger car that is obviously safer? Does anyone think that the majority of people, particularly women as they make the most purchase decisions now, would choose a car that obviously isn’t as safe for themselves and their family, including the children who ride along, just for the sake of an abstract concept of helping the environment? This is basic stuff from Drew Whitman’s Life Force 8. If you wish to map the future you have to move beyond the numbers into higher levels of abstraction while keeping in mind the nature of the agents and the connections between them. Add the finite effects of tools and resources on an agent’s environment and you have an idea of what could happen. And you don’t even need a computer to crunch the numbers.

The real fun begins when you can alter the simplest inputs of the agents.

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/05/21/suv-sales-continue-to-soar-despite-high-gas-prices

SUV sales have actually been growing in recent months, according to CNNMoney, from about one in five vehicles sold back in the 1990s and early 2000s, to almost a third of all vehicles sold today.

The vast majority of SUVs sold today are actually smaller, more diminutive versions of their ancestors, and have fuel economy that’s as good or better than many passenger cars on the road. For instance, the Chevrolet Equinox gets better combined city and highway mileage than some models of the Honda Accord.

http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663594/women-dominate-the-global-market-place-here-are-5-keys-to-reaching-them

Their economic power is truly revolutionary, representing the largest market opportunity in the world. Just look at the numbers: Women control 65 percent of global spending and more than 80 percent of U.S. spending. By 2014, the World Bank predicts that the global income of women will grow by more than $5 trillion. In both emerging markets and developed nations, women’s power of influence extends well beyond the traditional roles of family and education to government, business, and the environment.

Nooks/Kindles Reveal What People Read, How Quickly & How Many Pages

Governments are too inefficient and behind the curve to execute a real 1984 type society. Corporations, particularly technology/internet ones, are the kind that have the engineering know-how to create the real big brother. That’s why the government bought Palantir’s products, the best engineers don’t work in government anymore. In a real martial law situation I would expect massive privatization to cover the gaps. Even Wal-Mart is using former intelligence officers now. This of course doesn’t cover the “black projects”, but no one can exactly put their finger on where that money goes and what comes of it.

http://consumerist.com/2012/06/barnes-noble-amazon-know-which-sections-of-fifty-shades-of-grey-youre-reading-over-and-over.html

Data collected from Nooks reveals, for example, how far readers get in particular books, how quickly they read and how readers of particular genres engage with books. Jim Hilt, the company’s vice president of e-books, says the company is starting to share their insights with publishers to help them create books that better hold people’s attention.

Sabido Methodology – Background

The Sabido Method is a methodology for designing and producing serialized dramas on radio and television that can win over audiences while imparting prosocial values.

This is of course the classic literary device of character growth, but Miguel Sabido developed the process in detail for television in a way that enabled it to tackle the most sensitive of subjects — sex, abortion, family planning, AIDS — in a non-threatening and even enlightening manner. By transmitting values through the growth and development of characters, the Sabido Method manages to simultaneously attract large and faithful audiences and stimulate thoughtful discussions. PMC President Bill Ryerson and Honorary Chair David Poindexter worked with Sabido for decades learning and applying the Sabido Method to programming throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

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