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Tag Archives: neo-tribal

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.

Lebanon Predicts the Future USA

It will prove difficult for the US to Balkanize, even if it wanted to because every group is represented in every city and state.  Furthermore, the typical suburban American moves every 5 years or so to wherever their next job is.

If we want to simulate a mercantile society where many disparate groups are crammed together in the same territory some of which might be semi-nomadic, we need only look to the Levant where tribes have competed for a very long time over a narrow neck of valuable sea-side real estate with a Mediterannean climate that lies on top of a natural chokepoint of world trade routes.

In recent history, Lebanon provides us with the best example because it experienced a bloody civil war in that confined space after a multi-cultural democracy broke down over the issue of mass immigration.

We can roughly divide Lebanon into 3 major factions, Christians, Sunnis, and Shi’ites.  When Sunni Palestinian refugees flooded into the country after Israeli independence guess which faction started lobbying to make sure Palestinians stayed?  Then are any of us surprised that once the Palestinian camps were effectively permanent one of those 3 factions tried to count them towards a majority of seats in parliament?  No doubt they also wanted them on a “path to citizenship.”

Of course we are not surprised that the Sunnis conspired to upset the balance of power in their favor by “electing a new people.” A fatal flaw of mass suffrage democracy where any warm body can vote or be counted towards seats in the assembly is that the temptation for factions to bring in more warm bodies always becomes irresistible.

At the time the Christians were the ones with the most power so they were the ones to beat.  The Shi’ites and Druze were tempted to join the Sunnis and dogpile the Christians.  A fatal flaw of multi-cultural democracy is it always becomes a game of king of the hill.  In Lebanon, when one faction has an advantage the others are sure to join against them and so it repeats endlessly.

Most recently, the Christians and Shi’ites were aligned against the Sunnis because both feared the growth of ISIS in Syria.  Now that the threat of ISIS has dwindled, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was yet another re-alignment as the balance of power is re-assessed.
Right now, the Shi’ites led by Hezbollah are the most powerful, so perhaps the other two will join up to take them down a peg.  I’m sure Washington, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv would send them billions of dollars to make sure it’s worth their while.

Hezbollah gives us a model of what the neo-tribal state might look like as the power of nation-states recedes.  They are the de facto government in southern Lebanon while seemingly content to operate within the framework of a formally recognized nation-state.  They get to have their own territory while still participating in a larger economic zone.  They effectively carry out their own foreign policy as they maintain their special relationship with Iran while still participating in the national politics.  Hezbollah gets to enjoy all the privileges of being a nation without the strategic liabilities of nationhood.  They get the best of all worlds.

I noticed this same impulse for political arbitrage in the renewed flareups of European separatist movements.  The Catalonian government wanted regional autonomy under the protection of the larger EU economic zone, cutting out the annoying middleman so they could enjoy the best of all worlds.

I anticipate a similar sort of dissolution might happen in the United States.  The government in Washington might well still be there as the reality on the ground quietly changes.  De facto territories emerge but no one wants to disrupt commerce in a way that impoverishes everyone.  When Lebanon was embroiled in its civil war each militia had checkpoints at its borders to “tax” anyone passing through.  No one in present day Lebanon wants this.  I would figure even the most diehard Hezbollah member enjoys being able to drive into Beirut.

But what what about direct state coercion?  One lesson of Lebanon is multi-cultural national militaries only exist on paper once tensions are high.  I was shocked as I read there was still a national military in Lebanon amidst 20 years of civil war.  Once members of every group serve in the military, commanders know better than to order them into actions that will cause mass mutiny and infighting.
To the average soldier, the military is just a paycheck and that’s true for the United States as well where all the effusive praise and near-worship just papers over the fact that it’s a government jobs and training program for millions of Americans who would otherwise be barely employable with their high school diplomas.  The military is welfare for the working class.

Just as no one in Lebanon wants to charge territorial border tax anymore, the different ethnic groups in the military can all agree to sit on the easy paycheck even once bullets are flying and simply revolt or desert if someone tries to actually send them into battle.
Those soldiers who want to actually fight leave the military and join their group’s militia.
We can look at the Mexican military as a supporting example.  They go through the motions of following their orders for the most part but they have little appetite for challenging the power of emergent narco-states anymore than they need to.

The defensive power of neo-tribal militaries isn’t necessarily being able to defeat national militaries outright.  Like a sea urchin or a cactus pad, they need only represent a net energetic loss for large predators.

Another lesson we can take away from Lebanon is that coalitions are always shifting in the game of identity politics.  Euro-Americans are perceived as the strongest, most vulnerable faction right now, so all the other groups can agree to target them.  As this position is weakend, it will become progressively easier to peel factions away from the coalition of the fringes.  The same applies if the strongest faction seems to be winning.  Then the least loyal members of the coalition of the weaker start jumping ship.

It would do well to always watch for opportunities to re-align and ultimately divide and conquer.
In these kinds of struggles it’s smaller factions caught in the middle of the struggle that switch sides first so they will end up on the winning side.  In Lebanon this is how the Druze, a group that’s about 5% of the population, plays their hand.

If we think of Whites as Christians, Sunnis as Mestizos and Indios, Shi’ites as Blacks, and Palestinians as Illegal Immigrants, the Druze in our situation might be Asian Americans who are ambivalent about either side and shift their allegiance wherever they feel benefits them most.  Right now, they fall behind the establishment even though the other members of the coalition of the fringes envy their wealth and power.  When the American Druze begin to waver, the Christians know there has been a change in the balance of power.

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.

On A Basic Guaranteed Living

The very idea of a basic guaranteed living is regarded as heresy in a Western society that worships the market economy as Aztecs worshiped eclipses.  Both societies had ritual sacrifice, but we try to rationalize it away as “creative destruction.”

The moment we consider labor as a resource that can be stockpiled like grain, coal, or copper, it’s hard to think the same way.  If we want a wealthy, resilient society, then it makes sense to pay, feed, and train people right now so they are available when needed.  After all, we usually pay for a can of soup first and put it in the pantry before we actually get hungry.

Once we begin to toy with this mindset, we see that when the God of the Market is installed as lord of Olympus, it becomes an alzheimers-ridden invalid stuck in the eternal present, the vagaries of the stock market the tremors of a frail, arthiritic hand.

If we thought about the economy in real life like we do in computer games, we’d spend much of our resources preparing society to weather disasters and last the long term.  Militaries already behave a lot like this, obsessively drawing up plans for every contingency.  Why not build things and train people thinking about how to win the game?  Isn’t that a more engaging mission than “economic growth” for its own sake or looking for the El Dorado of “full employment?”

Why not pretend like we’re establishing a Mars colony and make it a national mission to massively back up all critical infrastructure, making it as durable as possible, in addition to pristinely maintaining what we have?
Why not train twice as many electricians, plumbers, developers, and garbagemen as we actually need and give them half the time off?  Then, in a rare emergency, abundant reserves are always ready to spring into action.
Why not prepare for the size of the economy remaining the same or even shrinking so its natural fluctuations, or planned movements are no big deal?  Surely an economy that collapses into chaos without infinite growth is stiffly unable to maneuver in changing situations.  Like a limb stuck in a brace, when forced to move, it breaks.

Instead, we force people to find the most frivolous ways imaginable to play at shuffling around economic tokens on pain of starvation, even if the activity or its externalities are a net negative to society.
Millions of people go through the motions of make-work pretending an obsolete way of life can waltz on even as it falls apart.  This prolonged denial of reality benefits the very upper and lower ends of the spectrum while everyone else is punished.

Why not reward the people who get trained in valuable skills and contribute with fewer hours?  In our present system the most productive have to do more work because a laissez faire free market only supports just enough personnel.  Why not reward the good kids who reliably get stuff done with less homework by overstaffing instead of saddling a few of the most productive people with all the work they can handle?
When the best players on the team are too busy to have families because of the competitive rat race, society is doing something wrong.

Why not do things the other way around and have low IQ people on state welfare kept busy whenever possible, even if it’s picking up trash, sweeping streets, or mowing lawns?  Always more of that to be done.  They’d have to constantly pursue those endless daily tasks to get their guaranteed food and state housing.

Of course, some might not be amenable to working at all.  It’s hard to force people to do things they don’t want to do and inhumane(and politically damaging) to let people starve.  So those who would receive state benefits but refuse to put in their fair share would be allowed to do so but have to undergo mandatory sterilization.

I imagine another condition of state guaranteed housing would be that like soldiers they must go where they are needed(though it would only be humane to keep families intact).  Perhaps the worst of those both lazy and dumb would go to camps in Alaska where they’d have enough nutrition to live and cable TV until they die.

I have considered before that the problem with the market as we know it with all its gaudy gadgets, brainless fashion, boring aesthetics, and planned obsolescence is a natural result of allowing dumb people too much participation.  Not to mention, many capable people working 60+ hour weeks don’t have the time and energy to be discerning customers.  Workers with more money than leisure are relegated to being mere consumers.  If this were remedied, everything from boots to books would be higher quality.

The low IQ population on state benefits—even those doing useful work—would mostly get basic food and housing with a very limited monetary allowance to prevent them from corrupting product quality.
This would also put up a barrier to stop people who are subsidized by the state redefining the low bar of market competition to the disadvantage of those who paid for everything they’ve got.

People with their needs met by the state spending too much money would distort prices just as we already see with the devastating impact of easy loans and insurance on housing, college education, and healthcare in the USA.

This way, we’d effectively have a labor force with deep reserves that can handle sudden shocks.  The economy would be able to grow, maintain, or shrink as best serves the needs of the whole society.
Anyone can choose to get a basic living from the state, but in exchange, access to money, freedom of mobility, and freedom over time is limited.   Those taken care of by the state only fit for menial work are kept busy.  Those both dumb and useless would be sterilized.

Higher IQ people living on state aid might be given substantial free time, extra perks, in proportion to their abilities but strategically worked and challenged so they don’t get completely lazy and become idle shutins.  If they have creative talents, perhaps they are paid by the state in time by having to do still less hours of state labor and given whatever equipment they need.
Also, instead of having an army of social workers dedicated to the most hopeless and despondent, why not have a task force of therapists that specialize in properly socializing smart omegas?  I once saw a video about people in Japan who actually do this and introduce shutins to the adult world.

There is also, of course, the problem of underclass fecundity.  Several methods could be used together to discourage breeding.  One possibility I could think of is that a child of parents on guaranteed living would get rations sufficient to perhaps 80% of its needs.  The parents would have their first kid and watch the amount of rationed rice they have left over diminish.  Even the dumbest of humankind are generally responsive to the implied threat of food scarcity.  Also, state housing might be restricted to about 500 square feet, a method that seems to work well with hipsters.  Then flood the institutions they use with relentless anti-child propaganda though this works less well with the least permeable minds.
There may be those that keep trying to pop them out no matter what and if not stopped they get selected for and like an antibiotic resistant strain, propagate quickly.  Maybe there would be a hard 2 kid limit for those who don’t get the hint and if they try to disobey get mandatory sterilization.

There would be abundant programs and “halfway houses” to get people back into the market economy again whenever they want.  Besides being relatively uncomfortable and with fewer freedoms, the greatest enforcement against abusing the system would come from human status competition.  Having money would have even more status than it does now, because not everyone would have it.  Without money, one’s social standing would be crushingly low.

This would be very intentional because the post-enlightenment neo-tribal state recognizes that status is sexual capital that allows men to get desirable mates.  Then, that access to resources allows couples to house, feed, and protect children.  There would be a tacit understanding that a dollar bill should only go into the hands of someone you want to see more of in the next generation.

As with any system, I’m sure I could spend a lifetime hammering out every loophole, dysfunction, and weakness bound to be exploited by parasites and free-riders, but these are my initial thoughts on what a post labor scarcity economy might look like.

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