FORWARD BASE B

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Tag Archives: revolution

Internet Benefits People Asymmetrically

I saw a great article at Return of Kings a little while ago about how the internet is the “great equalizer.”  This is true insofar as internet is the next printing press.  It’s true like all revolutions in communication that it raises all boats, but as always, some more than others.  Every change in a given environment favors species in some niches over others.
Let’s face it, most internet users stay obediently on the designated pasture of facebook, social media, and its attendant shared games.  Those who are able to explore further are affected very differently.
The constant flow of information can give someone a trans-human sort of consciousness or riddle their mind with irrelevant details and outright falsehoods.
In real life and on the internet, I see many people who still don’t get it.  They complain about how the online world has degraded the quality of content and has enabled short attention spans.  That speaks more to the content they choose to interact with than what is actually available.  Someone with a naturally critical mind and inquisitive nature can tear through a hundred different sources, taking note of the bias of each and arrive at a synthesis.  Those who thrive on the internet understand every piece of information has strengths, weaknesses, and biases.  There is no holy gospel or answer to everything.  Those who deal in nuance do well.  Those who can’t handle it end up indignant and frustrated waxing eloquent about the good old days when a few printing presses in New York controlled the entire flow of the written word.  Or they end up in an echo chamber where everyone tells them what they want to hear—but that’s no different than what most people already do in real life.
For anyone willing to learn the internet has made almost any field of knowledge accessible at any time.  Outliers intuitively understand this means a potential path around the usual gatekeepers who weed them out and make would-be-apprentices grovel for their secrets.  Hands on instruction guided by experienced teachers remains important for mastery, but is no longer necessary to get an introduction and crack open the realms of theory.  The more autonomous the individual the greater the benefit derived.

Those who swim in the ocean of information like a natural habitat become a new aristocracy as they wield disproportionate influence over cultural ideas and public opinion.  Anymore the next trend in politics, art, or culture begins far out at sea as a ripple until finally it hits the teeming coral reefs that hug the shoreline as a towering wave.
As time goes on, those who can’t survive outside the safe coral reefs of facebook and instagram get left further and further behind getting liked by all their “friends” while those on the outer rim create the discourse and therefore weave the very fabric of their social reality.  For herdlings, social opinion and consensus are truest reality and a fist to the face, bitter cold wind, fatigue after hard labor, or even the piercing pangs of hunger or the need to breathe are but flimsy dreams compared.

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.

Proles Are Inert

We have established that human societies everywhere settle into a stratified equilibrium.  Many other social species have hierarchy.  Amongst humans, there is the hierarchy of natural castes.

Societies thrive or collapse  in proportion that its class system reflects the reality on the ground.  A society fails when mediocre men become rulers and great men are made into poor peasants.
A society stagnates when the best outliers are made to live as exiles and the halls of
power belong to ordinary men.

In the modern west, we think of justice merely as fairness in meting out punishments, but it’s much more than that.  Justice is a person attaining whatever station and reward is justly theirs.
It is sad we mostly understand this in terms of petty criminals being punished.
Rarely, do we reflect that it is just those with prolish values and temperaments are proles, or that those of noble bearing and character ascend the heights.

All across the internet, one finds idealogues who expect enraged masses to rise up and have a revolution any day now to stop “big government.”  Their outrage always turns out to be nonsense of course.
The peasants have always had their champions—champions who nearly always fail and end up dead themselves.  The brothers Gracchi in the days of the Roman Republic are a classic example.  After the two brothers were murdered in succession trying to pass monopoly-busting land laws, further attempts at reform dwindled for some reason.  Despite their far greater numbers, the proles were unable to protect their champions or carry out an agenda themselves.  As usual, they missed opportunities their betters would have seized upon.  The proles have always been inert.

Like most Americans, I was taught the idea of a “common man” enshrined as some kind of God.  But within a few years of going out into the world to fend for myself, I had discovered that the common people are no God, they’re just the mob.

The first universal trait I noticed in their character was passivity.  Everywhere I’ve been, prolish folks endlessly complain about their lot and resent their superiors in life.  But it dawned on me one day—they never do anything about it, nor are they capable of action.
I looked back through history, since my own life is a narrow anecdotal slice, but the pattern of proles is timeless as the tides.
So long as their stomachs are full most of the time, even if they’re subsisting on junk, they grumble amongst themselves, mostly for stress relief, but utterly lack motivation for change until they are truly desperate.  They are constitutionally incapable of framing dissident thoughts of their own volition.  Actually, their defining quality is they lack volition and agency.  If they were not docile and gullible, societies of millions where just a few have all the wealth would  not be possible.  In a way, it is just.  Unable to defend themselves, they assume their proper place as preybeasts.
Across history and location poor peasants have always been proud supporters of the established order while the truly rebellious have always been educated young men who couldn’t quite make it into, or beyond the upper middle class.
Peasants have always had revolts,
Frustrated petit bourgeois, revolutions.

Proles are by nature obedient creatures that define themselves by working most of the time.  They love to brag about how busy they are, all the sacrifices they’ve made while working, the injuries they’ve gotten doing the dirty work of the affluent.  They are masochists eternally dying in mines and on battlefields for their masters.  They take comfort in repetition.  Proles always buy the same brands, drive the same route every day, work the same tedious work, and listen to the same 25 songs everyone else is listening to over and over again.
Proles take pride in collectivism and trust the herd.  In a prole bar one doesn’t try to to order craft beers or wine when everyone else has pitchers of coors light.  In Proleville, no man can be talked to if he can’t talk about sports—the fine art of watching the accomplishments of others rather than doing for oneself.  Eating different foods, learning another language, staying fit with exercise, anything everyone else isn’t doing is a quick ticket to being cast out.  Just as they would not let a dog or pig sit with them at the dinner table, they allow no one in their midst who they cannot identify as a fellow human.

Maoist China, Stalinist Russia, or Khmer Rouge Cambodia are fine examples of what happens when the common man becomes ruler.  Given far more power than befits his station, his natural loathing and envy of anyone different than himself manifests in hysterical witch hunts.  Men like Mao and Stalin understood the vastness of this ocean of envy for The Man and kept their populations appeased by allowing the peasants to terrorize the hated middle management—rich peasants, the landlords, the educated.  Given permission by the rulers themselves, their normally impotent rage at life poured forth to create some of history’s greatest disasters.

The majority of human beings are proles.  The family I come from were classic anxious upper proles desperately groveling for middle class acceptance.
Their neurotic habits led to the isolation that allowed me to grow up in a vacuum of sorts and eventually develop customs of my own.
I learned to understand the futility of their struggle and regard their subservient attitudes with contempt.
I am genetically a prole, more predisposed to an honest day’s labor than white collar “networking.”
But I have striven to become an active rather than passive individual, attempting to shape my own destiny rather than spending the rest of my life complaining during lunch break.  If I accept the universe is fundamentally just rather than unjust, then I must face the fact that I must be the change I wish to see.
I may have unfair obstacles in my path.  I can choose to suppose I got a bad lot in life.  It does not change my mission.

Some might call my sentiment here “elitist” but that is why proles stay proles.  They always stay steadfast that they are undeserving of the lot they’ve been given yet remain ignorant in an age of information and continue to squander their wealth on big trucks and houses they can’t afford, lotto tickets, slot machines, smokes, and red bull by the case.  Most importantly, though, they are eternally bereft of imagination and ideas—and that is why things are the way they are.

Thoughts On the Ukraine Crisis

I honestly don’t see the need for war.
Ukraine has been paralyzed by conflict between ethnic Ukrainians and Russians since the collapse of the USSR.
I think the government in Kiev is actually better off without them.
My guess for now is parts of Eastern Ukraine, especially Crimea, could end up going back to Russia.
The Russians get to be part of impoverished Russia.
The western part is finally freed to become part of Europe and to join the rich EU.
Russia gains a bit more territory but at the cost of becoming even more diplomatically and economically isolated.  Even more relegated to being a mere commodity provider for rich countries.
It’s not a good move for Russia.
They may actually be doing the Ukrainians a huge favor.
Perhaps the Russian leadership are savvy enough to understand that pressing this issue won’t help them beyond a certain point and are again posturing in an attempt to boost public opinion at home and boost their appearance of prestige abroad.
Yanukovych was Putin’s man in Kiev.  He was an ethnic Russian from the East who wasn’t even fully fluent in Ukrainian, a shortcoming which made him the George W. Bush of Ukraine, sticking his foot in his mouth at every opportunity.
Irrepressible protests arose after he tried to distance Ukraine from the EU in November and there was a revolution that completely ousted him from power.
I find it odd that present news reports barely even mention the Ukrainian revolution that drove Putin to invade Ukraine.
With events out of context, few seem to understand that Putin is the desperate man, trying to salvage what he can from a wreck beyond all repair.
Ukraine is lost to him forever now and it’s only a matter of time now until it becomes part of the EU and NATO.
Putin will seize what scraps he can but even those will come at a precipitous price.  He spent the last 20 years trying to keep the former Soviet Republics in his orbit, so it’s understandable he’s not acting completely rationally.
I’ve looked at an ethnic map of the Ukraine and have understood that ethnic Russians are barely 1/5 of Ukraine’s population. They’re concentrated in the East.  Crimea is the only part of the entire country that’s majority ethnic Russian.  That may well be the only part that goes back to Russia.
I can see people making comparisons to Sudetenland concessions, but I find them ridiculous.  Nazi Germany was an economic powerhouse while Putin’s Russia is a sick man of Europe.
In time, even Russia will be pulled into the economic vortex that is Europe; even their political power plays will amount to nothing, like one tiny person trying to swim against the current of a river.

 

Percent Ethnic Russians in Ukraine Provinces

Communication & Coordination In The Collective Resistance Game

This paper presents a laboratory collective resistance (CR) game to study how different forms of non-binding communication among subordinates can help coordinate their collective resistance against a leader who transgresses against their rights. Contrary to the predictions of analysis based on purely self-regarding preferences, we find that non-binding communication about intended resistance increases the incidence of no transgression even in the one-shot laboratory CR game. In particular, we find that the incidence of no transgression increases from 7 percent with no communication to 16-37 percent depending on whether communication occurs before or after the leader’s transgression decision. Subordinates messages are different when the leaders can observe them, and the leaders also appear to use the observed messages to target specific subordinates for transgression Link

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