An Armed Society is a Polite Society, or the Warrior Aristocracy and Moral Codes

Dearest friends,

I cantered on over to the Crimson Crustacean, a chain cafeteria which is common ‘cross this continent, to chow on cooked clawed creatures and cows. Some of you may be saying, Monsieur, that’s not classy. To you, I say, those who put class over cash in the long run find themselves parted of both. Over many centuries, money talks and bullshit walks. Although, if someone had pointed a butter knife in my direction, I would have found myself short cash, class, and clothing.

It’s enough to make someone support a knife ban, isn’t it?

But you’re not here to listen to me talk about what I eat, even if sometimes I eat that wonder of the post-post-post-post-Modern post-scarcity age, the Eleventy Layer Quasispace Chalupa, the pride and joy of Taco Town (may the maior and the magister chililitarum live forever). So then, the main course.

It is often said, especially by old people, that an armed society is a polite society. And this was remarked by that venerable scholar, Thorstein “50 Cent” Veblen, that barbarians tend to be quite well mannered. “The barbarian of the quasi-peaceable stage of industry is more notoriously a more high-bred gentleman, in all that concerns decorum, than any but the very exquisite among the men of a later age, bitch nigga.” And it’s true that even I, of the genteel castes, am a rather rude fellow compared to even the Victorians, my nigga. It is only because the fucking shitty manners of the lower orders are even dogbothering worse that I pass for mannered. And it is true that I am hopelessly confused by cutlery, that I find the notion of restaurant dress codes outrageously outdated (though it was only a few decades ago), and many other things. A quick survey of the early Middle Ages confirms Veblen’s notion that ages of industry and learning and ages of war and politeness are inversely related. And why wouldn’t they be? Besides displaying leisure, politeness serves an important purpose in regulating the tendency of the warlike towards feud and random violence. What keeps people prim and proper is the threat of physical violence. In the World War International Netweb, there is no way to hit a bitch, so everyone’s asshole grows three sizes that day, threatening to consume human decency like a giant yawning goatse.

Hell, it seems like the malpractice of modern mastication alone would drive Miss Manners mad. Motherfucking monkey testicles. Gadzooks. So what does this matter? Politeness is the keeping of behavioral codes. Well, functionally, so is morality for most people. While I find ethical arguments and theology fascinating, most people do not. For most people, morality is a set of things they shouldn’t do because reasons. Even those who get off the Christianity train usually end up on the crypto-Christianity train, where they do all the things that Christians do except they justify it by some vague appeals to a fuzzy universal morality. They’re still essentially keeping the Christian codes. It’s like Western Buddhists. They’re just funny Christians who worship Buddha like he’s Christ. Truly alien moralities are just that, alien.

Here’s some Slate Star Codex. Uno Dos.

Creating conlangs is hard not because creating language is fundamentally hard but because we are bad at top down modelling of processes that are the result of a bunch of tiny modifications over time.

Human brain can’t into catallaxic effects arising from networks. That’s why proles perceive world politics as a vast conspiracy by the Illuminati, because world politics is the emergent order from an incredibly wide and ancient network that makes me, the nobody Monsieur le Baron, a second degree connection to multiple heads of state, and means almost every upper middle class person knows a centimillionaire or billionaire. The vast, byzantine Illuminati plans that span centuries are more the product of investments by people with a certain level of FTO. If normal humans have low FTO, and the conscientious, child-delaying or childfree middle class person has high FTO, then this level of FTO is stratospheric. Comparatively low FTO aristocrats like fatty fat fatty no self-control Lena Dunham live lives like high FTO prole city people, except the latter are convinced they’re exemplars of self-control, and Lena Dunham is a sister-molesting cow who lives by the spur of the moment (this moment is defined as one whole human lifetime). The idea that Lena Dunham isn’t planning for generations down the line is appalling to me. The idea that *anyone* could be investing for generations down the line is deeply alien to the prole. So, world conspiracy. I could go on, but I digress. Another time.

Adhering to ancient traditions when the context is rapidly changing is a recipe for disaster. No point in mastering seal-hunting if there ain’t no more seals. No point in mastering the manners of being a courtier if there ain’t no more royal court. Etc.

So why does politeness decline as we leave the age of warriors? Politeness is the keeping of a bunch of arbitrary behavior codes. In a rapidly changing industrial society, this presents a comparative disadvantage. To the innovative go the spoils. So having good manners, being socially conservative, makes you a weaker in the status battle. Or, as previously discussed, leftism is the language of power, rightism the language of losers. A tradition is not valid outside its context, industrial societies rapidly invalidate contexts.

So what? Monsieur, isn’t this all obvious. My apologies, but I was dropped on my head a lot, so I have to slowly spell things out. Furthermore, the obvious does not go stated often enough. There are too many contrarians and not enough metacontrarians. An armed society is a polite society is a quaint aphorism, and it doesn’t come with a justification because it’s held to be self-evident. So people throw it aside because they don’t have a good rational story for it.

So let’s get to something new. Why is neo-reaction, a predominately middle class movement, so attracted to the idea of the Kshatriya? We’ll throw out a lot of stated reasons right away. The high FTO, caring, responsible ruler, to the extent he exists, is a scholar-aristocrat, not a warrior-aristocrat. Unlike these lowborns, I have the advantage of witnessing military bloodlines myself. A knight, like any other jughead, loves Camaros and lives a reckless lifestyle. Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse to ghostride your bitchin’ Camaro. The reign of warriors is not the reign of Fnargl, it’s the reign of turning your national GDP into lots of Camaros and Dependapotami. So what are some real reasons to support the Kshatriya meme? Well, for one, it allows this band of usurpers and oathbreakers concerned citizens to seize power, since, obviously, a bunch of internet bloggers are the *true* warrior aristocracy we’ve been waiting for, which legitimates their claim to overthrow the existing elite. But, to be quite frank, I don’t think many people are fooled by this.

The second reason is more deep rooted. I’ve said before that the middle class is the keeper of morality. In Victorian times, they were the paragons of respectability. They called it bourgeois norms and respectability. Today, they are the most strident globohomos, the ones that walk their talk. Now, if a clever bourgeois notices something is up with globohomo morality, they are naturally disgusted. They would want a return to a polite society. And who offers the polite society? The armed society.

The warrior aristocracy.

The Kshatriya.

Alles in Butter, not just my lobster tail.

Every dog has its day, even celebrities, though Hollywood types are all sons of bitches. And one day, the Kshatriya will ride atop their steel horses, and there will be much weeping and revving of Camaros.

Next time maybe, I fill in for the Sad One and explain the essential similarities between Ayn Rand and Karl Marx. It’s Economics for Dummies with Monsieur.

Eats to fill the void in his head,
Monsieur le Baron

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The Second Technocracy: Elite Formation Pt. III

Dearest friends,

Witness the city of steel and silicon. Prostrate yourself before the throne of code.

Do you see the many petitioners? Do you see the glories which have been wrought?

To land in SJC is to land in another world. The air is thick with the scent of hierarchy.

The Second Estate lives. It reigns. All fall beneath it.

The machine men drink deep of globohomo and commune with the spirit of transcendent aristocracy.

It is strong.

It is confident.

It is hateful.

And it will not be denied.

In order to successfully reach the elite, a group needs strong asabiya. It must have the unity to form a meaningful organization. It must have the unity to assert one shared narrative of gentility, lest it be relegated to the category of mere “labor”. And ultimately, it must have unity of purpose, to be able to assert the necessity of its mission to the existing elite, and if need be, the unity to wage a war against it, just as the doctors defeated the old families of France and their ancient fortunes, subsuming them into their group. At long last, engineering has done so.

But a group with the asabiya to do all of this has the asabiya to go further. Just as border people do not stay at their border, so too do prospective elites not stay within their niche. The border men soon turn their sights on new conquests and back towards the center. So too did the men of machines.

In 1968, there was a crisis, a crisis that needed to be solved for the glory of the empire. Talented men flocked to the field to solve the crisis. They developed their own group identity. It had its own culture, a sort of nerd culture, which was in some ways traditionally elitist and aristocratic, loving board games, learning, and disdaining the masses, but also in many ways new. It was excluded from power. But economic necessity grew its strength, year by year. It yearned to be accepted. Bill Gates made electronics popular, then Steve Jobs made them cool. It became acceptable for a young Harvard grad to go into tech.

The men of machines went further, just like the men of medicine before them. In the end, the men of medicine sought to remake society in their own image. They changed the societal narrative to a biological one. So too did the men of machines go and take other industries. What is the difference between Uber and a taxi service? What is the difference between AirBnB and traditional hospitality? The difference lies in the narrative. The former are “tech companies”. That means they embody the tech company ethos, not the ethos of taxis or hotels. Tech went off the reservation. Bankers became quants, half-math and half-man. Trades went higher and higher frequency. Everything was and is to be technocratized. The words of the machine men went back to the center, to the Establishment. Everything would become agile. Everything needed management metrics. Everything would be technological, rational, data-driven. The Cloud had come, and Big Data was its prophet.

This is another turning of the elite cycle. Big whoop. It happens all the time. Why is it significant now?

Because of *why* Anglo society rejected the message of the machine men. Machines are things to be manipulated and changed to suit one’s purposes. Inputs and outputs. But in a land of sacred individuality and liberty, men could never be reduced to mere numbers.

This isn’t just a turning of the elite cycle. It is also a turning of our color cycle. The sacred ideology of liberty has been overturned. And so, the machine men reign. The machine men, the engineers, will most likely be the elites leading us through the final days of this stage of the color cycle, the final secular cycle of Anglo liberty, and into the brave new world that comes afterwards. In between, there will be conflict, and possibly even civil war. The empire long united…

The years will pass, and there will be cycles past that. Who will succeed the engineers? Nobody knows. But nerd culture is fascinated with Megacorporations and a marketized world. Everything for sale. No rights but property rights. What a world that would be. Such would be the work of Mad Men.

Writes articles just to make shitty puns,
Monsieur le Baron

 

Tales of Thrift and Nobility, or Human Fortress: Elite Formation Pt. II

Dearest friends,

Urist was punched in the head, bruising the brain and severing his nerves. I’m afraid I shall have to be your host today, shabby though I am.

Let’s get to it.

One of Turchin’s cycles is the asabiya cycle. Groups have asabiya – a sense of identity and cohesion. Asabiya forms along borders, where two groups are in conflict for long periods. Asabiya, the identity, is thus most strong near the edges of the territory it encompasses. Of course this is so, for without the other, there is no meaningful distinction to the self. Identities define their self, *who we are*, in opposition to the other, *who we are not*. Therefore on the borders, we see the most cultural conditioning.

It is the borders which are the seeds of great empires. It is ultimately the borderlands that unite the whole and make great conquests. China is periodically invaded by steppe nomads and marcher lords. Germany was united by the Prussians, half-Slav, half-German mongrels. Rome was a city on seven hills, but also a city on the border. America was a frontier state before it was the USG world empire.

But there is more than inter-group conflict. There is also intra-group conflict. Class conflict. Classes are also identities, just as national identities are identities. When they come into sustained conflict, this identity will grow stronger. Where do we see the most cultural conditioning today? Where are the borders of our classes?

On one side of the divide, we have the last of the prestige firms fighting for their survival in otherwise middle class fields. I speak of Accounting and Marketing. At places like EY and PwC, there is more cultural conditioning and orientation than I’ve seen anywhere else. That’s it means to be a marcher – it means fighting for your soul at every turn. Below you, the oblivion of the middle class. The Age of Mad Men never got off the ground. While they began to gather their strength, ultimately, society would reject its message. Yes to consumerism, but no to marketizing everything. The age of SEC-regulated kidtax and kid derivatives markets is yet to come. The Mad Men sleep, let them sleep a while longer.

And who lies on the other side of the divide? We shall see soon.

The beginnings of an aristocratic group are driven by economic need. A new field is born as a result of economic or cultural shifts. But there are many jobs out there, not all prestigious. Which drives the difference? When a job forms, it ideally would like to be as prestigious as possible. If it can do that, it maximizes the earnings of its members while minimizing their work. But how can it do that? First, it must make a stake to skill, to differentiate it from the unskilled masses. But many prolish occupations are highly skilled. To raise its status further, a job ought to make a claim to gentility, to claim that it is not just mere labor. This is something that accounting and marketing definitely do. But it is clearly not enough. To become aristocratic, a group must be accepted by the aristocracy. This requires more than just an economic need. It requires high society to accept its mission, its reason to be. It must impress upon high society the urgency of its spirit and the necessity of changing to accommodate it.

In the beginning, there were the warriors. Long ago, even before the beginning, there were scientists too, but the chaos had sent them away. The warriors battled and left carnage in their wake. At its basest level, government is the monopoly of force, and power the only law. But such a state of existence is a brutish one. As the kings grew in power, they desired to bring an end to the fighting and to bring the warlords to heel. For that, they needed centralized. Bureaucracy. Laws.

When you need law, you need men of law. But need the men of law be important? They must be if you are to be ruled by laws, and not men. And so rose the lawyers. The curtains closed on the Medieval Era. There was peace, of a sort. But with internal peace came external war. The states grew strong, and in their strength, they grew greedier. The crowns of Europe went to war, again and again. And the sinews of war were golden coins.

Governments needed money. Lots of money. The cry was answered, and so were born the money men. But, it turned out, money could be used for more than war. It could be used for development projects and long-term planning. Bigger, better, and more prosperous. The banking clans grew fat and happy. In the background, innovation continued its steady clip. And soon, a new thing was available to be financed. Wondrous machines that could save labor and multiply manpower like nothing ever seen before. One by one, the estates of Europe were mortgaged and smokestacks filled the sky. The machine men took the reins.

Except in Merry Old England. The Anglos accepted the Industrial Revolution, but not its implications. The Anglo economy changed, but Anglo society carried on. Stiff upper lip. The engineers of Britain formed a professional organization, changed the economy, and lobbied hard for recognition. But ultimately, their mission was not found to be compelling. The societal revolution of the machine men was denied, because of some mysterious X factor. Britain carried on much as it was. Among the British, engineer came to mean something similar to “mechanic”, a mere technical specialist.

The doctors had slumbered. While they had made their own colleges, their remedies had always been ineffective. No longer. As Europe prospered, it grew wise. And the secrets of life made themselves clear. Wondrous tonics and remedies multiplied. The machine men made men wealthy, but the medicine men would make them whole. And wasn’t society itself the body politic? Couldn’t it, too, be cured of what ailed it? New cities must be built, healthier cities. New works will be made, to protect the public health. But still, there lurked a cancer. Some of the denizens did not belong in this pure society. They were unclean. They had to be excised. It was time for chemotherapy.

Europe burned.

Across the sea, the ad men attempted to usher in their ad age. They failed.

But in the hidden war rooms of the new USG world empire, NATO, a problem was being discussed. They called it the crisis of software engineering.

The year was 1968.

The X factor was Anglo liberty.

We are now ready to see who sits on the other side of the divide.

Looking for the hidden fun stuff,
Monsieur le Baron

Compromise, Conflict, and the End of an Era, or the Virtue of Snobbery: Elite Formation Pt. I

Dearest friends,

It is early, it is late. There is coffee, there is melatonin. It is in these twilight hours just after waking and just before morning where the mind wanders free and light, past the boundaries of convention. It is at transition points that interesting effects occur. Fussell once said that America would be interested in class if someone made a work telling the stories of the boundaries, where the ghetto person becomes bougie, and where the struggling aspirant claws their way towards the upper middle class. If only there was someone to explicate the boundaries.

Ah well.

Why does old money disdain new money anyways? Is there a reason for it?

For that matter, why are those media types so disgustingly crass and prolish?

Well, the main goal of old money is to perpetuate itself indefinitely. As they say, three generations makes a gentleman. Why would you want to insulate yourself from new money? In the conventional view, there’s no reason to. They’ve got all the talent and the energy. But evolution doesn’t end at the neck, does it? Someone who has the talent to make it to the top doesn’t necessarily have the *genetic* talent to make it to the top. That is, there is regression to the mean. Some of that talent is going to be from environmental factors. And some of that success was just plain luck.

When you marry into the glitterati, you’re marrying someone that’s basically just a prole, but an extremely lucky prole. Luck is not heritable. The force of regression is going to carry you right back into the trailer park. Media types should rightly be shunned as perpetual new money. What they touch, they corrupt. The Met Gala was once respectable. Just look at it. Look at them. I mean, come on. Come the fuck on. I believe that’s proof enough of my point.

But what about the talented outsiders? That’s where the most danger lies. That handsome young lawyer may seem like a great bet, but *you have no idea how much of that talent is genetic*. A lawyer who makes more than a million a year sits at the top of their field. But if that’s an upwardly mobile lawyer and not a hereditary lawyer, then their kid might be fucking garbage. Selecting for old money means eliminating the noise. If a family sticks around for grandfather, father, and finally your new son-in-law, then you can be assured that their skill has genetics underlying it. Reasonably assured, anyways.

But a separation of middle and upper middle also has a secondary purpose. There are cultural boundaries between the two.

The middle class is “crass” and “boorish”. They shop at Target. They mistreat the staff. They buy Margaritaville mixers and wild, showy things. They flaunt their alleged wealth at every opportunity. In short, fuck ’em.

The upper middle is “snobby” and “dishonest”. They shop at Costco – a warehouse, really? It’s so not nice! And it’s full of that Kirkland store brand instead of real brands. In fact, how do your stuff won’t wear out if it’s not branded? And they lie. They lie through their teeth. Look at their universities – full of cheating and corruption. They’re clannish. They lack Hajnal values good character. In short, fuck ’em.

Who polices these norms? They’re policed by moralizers. Moralizers take shared cultural norms and moralize them, such that matters of taste become matters of right and wrong. It’s not just wrong to shop at Target, it’s EVIL. When moralizers from two different groups meet, it ends in conflict. While matters of taste can be dismissed, the same cannot be said for matters of good and evil. The proximity of the classes will lead to class warfare. With the end of the formal nobility, the classes are closer than ever. Before, the elites could be checked by intra-elite warfare. But with the introduction of the middle class, they are able to find a common enemy.

How can the two classes come to interact peacefully? For that matter, how do two sides ever come to agreement? There are equilibriums of compromise and equilibriums of conflict. 2/3rds of pro-life and pro-choice people have the same view – abortion, but restricted abortion. But the conflict between pro-life and pro-choice is deep and polarizing. It’s not because of false consciousness, it’s because the markers of pro-life and pro-choice constitute tribal boundaries. Having become a tribal issue, it behooves one to fight for the tribe’s identity, and to assert a more extreme version of the stance in order to distinguish one’s self from the enemy. The settling point of abortion DOES tend to be near the natural compromise point. But it settles there through conflict and cyclical movement. As you approach an extreme, less of your tribe fights and more of the enemy tribe fights. The momentum of one tribe stalls out as it approaches its ideal (its members don’t actually happen to want that ideal). If views change, conflict consensus will naturally adjust the settling point. It’s an organic settlement. Compromise equilibriums are ant farm equilibriums. They minimize short-run microconflicts at the cost of a bigger conflict erupting much later. In Taleb terms, conflict is antifragile and compromise is fragile.

Ironically, compromises are more foundational to a culture, not less. Compromises on heavily disputed issues simply won’t take. So a compromise that survives must exist on or create ground which is in common. It must either be in or form a low dispute environment. Its assumptions must be largely shared. And those assumptions being shared creates a feedback loop causing those assumptions to become more and more shared.

What is the core compromise at the heart of American culture? An agreement, loved by no one, for the classes to come to peace. We call this compromise Anglo liberty.

And it is dying.

Don’t panic, no, not yet,
Monsieur le Baron

Japanese Takeout, or the Continuity of Cultural Narrative

Dearest friends,

Consider the burrito. It is a tortilla wrapped around a delicious filling. Now, we can derive another idea from this core burrito concept – the sushirito. A sushirito, or sushi burrito, is a burrito with rice instead of tortilla and raw fish as the filling. Imagine a world where the burrito suddenly ceased to be, but the sushirito would remain. Over time, the name and idea of burrito would come to be associated with the sushirito, since only the sushirito remains as a reminder of the burrito past. The sushirito would be the burrito. And then no one would know the  burrito, only the sushirito.

There are only so many narratives that exist. We appropriate from the past.

People want to fill their egg role.

The HR person is not just the HR person. Some of what they do comes from economic or practical necessity. But much of it is simply passed down, unquestioned tradition. People act in a certain way because that’s Just The Way Things Are. An HR person is the vessel of the clerisy long dead.

Much is made of pivotal shifts in economic conditions, but so long as the cultural identity survives, these can be adapted to. It is not the way of life that defines the man, but the man who makes a way of life amenable to himself.

So long as an identity survives, the people can change. To propose the reverse is fundamentally wrongheaded. Economics is merely how a people sustain themselves. But it does not constitute what *values* they have. Compare the Plains Indians to the Cossacks. Both were people of wild, horsed steppes, fundamentally nomadic. But the Indians are a dying people and the Cossacks are not. It is not a story of economic obsolescence. The Cossacks no longer sustain themselves with the old ways. The world has changed to a world of steel and factories. But the essential character remains. On a steel horse, he rides. It is the spirit of a people that endures. When economic conditions change, so long as the identity lives, people find a way to adapt their mores to their circumstances.

The aristocratic identity is alive and well, despite the obsoletion of living off land rents. The traditional form of sustenance died out. But the idea of living above labor survived into the concept of the rentier, a repackaging of the idea of shunning labor. When that also ceased to be viable, the aristocrat took on the form of the professional, an adaptation of the idea of the noblesse de robe. They arbitrarily carved a certain kind of labor as “intellectual” and “professional” and therefore not work. The similarities were used to bridge the gap. A modern person of the upper middle class has almost nothing in common with an old style aristocrat – except for cultural continuity. They are much less chop, much more suey. And this is the way things go. But if you crush a people’s spirit, it’s over. Culture changes as a Ship of Theseus, but when it sinks, it sinks.

And then you’re drowning.

Cultural identities aren’t useless. They’re life scripts. They help you navigate life. They structure its trials and travails. They overcome decision paralysis. They give meaning. They say – this is what life is, this is what life’s about. They tell you how to butter your toast.

You butter it wrong, by the way. Blasted knave.

And… cultures provide customary restraints. Rules. Laws. Taboos. They mark some things as off the table. Many sins can be thus avoided. Some taboos are obsoleted by time. But many taboos have to do with people, and people never change. Human nature remains what it was. In forgetting traditional culture, we forget everything we knew about what people were.

That’s significant.

This all started when Babs shitposted a question at me: What’s with the Asians that act like… disadvantaged Negroes?

The truth is a little deeper than that. Ghetto culture is not black culture. As Sowell points out, much of it is taken from white cracker culture. What Asians take from Black culture removes one more layer of cultural veneer off the underlying thing. What is the thing that chavs, ghetto blacks, white trash, and chiggers share in common? It’s the essence underlying all of those cultures. Ghetto culture is deracinated prolishness. It is prole nature without any guidance or restraints to channel those energies and desires somewhere productive. It is prole culture without any of the taboos against the worst poisons. That’s how it can be so similar across time and space. What all of them are practicing is the emergent behavior of people on the bottom without identity-behaviors to constrain it. It is pure class tendency, raw and harsh. When medieval peasants… misbehave, it is not in imitation of blacks centuries in the future. But their unique cultures provide answers to the problems posed by these class tendencies. Memes adapt to their memetic niches. The solidarity and clannishness of the holler protects against the corrosion of dumb shit. The humble white man remains upright because of a cultural narrative prizing work. Without these little stories, you collapse back into deracinated prolishness. Why *should* you work when all your efforts will amount to nothing anyways? Even the hardiest and most diligent laborer earns a pittance for their troubles. But a culture that thought that way would go extinct. It is only when the layers of culture are removed that the ugly question rears its head once more.

So what is globohomo? Globohomo is deracinated aristocracy. It is the tendency of the elite to move left, subverting the existing order, combined with its international and cosmopolitan outlook. By nature, elites of all countries have more in common with each other than their people. But being connected to your people is necessary to maintain asabiya, and peoples that lacked asabiya were relegated to the dustbin of history. Within a culture, there will be adaptations to draw the people and the elite closer. Noblesse oblige. Shared rituals. A common cult. But these adaptations are not cross cultural. Prussia had its soldier kings and warrior junkers eating beans and sleeping alongside foot sloggers, and while this fulfills the same cultural niche as, say, WASPs taking townies under their wing, ala Our Kids, they are not the *same behavior*. It’s just convergent evolution. A mixing of all elites does not result in the practice of all of these rites, but the practice of none of them. Globohomo unleashed.

And when globohomo is unleashed, elite power knows no checks and limits. Just as a wolf pack let loose soon kills off all its deer, so too do the elites salt their own soil. For the elite do not feed themselves, but rely on value extracted from the proles. Starvation ensues.

Starving for a sushirito,
Monsieur le Baron

Ave Machina, or the Rituals of Complex Labor

Dearest friends,

Eldar rule, orks drool. Get dunkt on, nerds. But if I had to pick the faction most true to life, I would pick the AdMech. Of course, I *would* say that as a tech worker. Forget the promise of technology, indeed. In the Foundation series, technology is only preserved by creating a new religion of Scientism.

Hail the Machine Cult.

Go read this things: my comment here and this blog post. While you’re at it, you might as well read both those blogs in their entirety. I’ll wait.

If you’ve read both those things, you may find this blog post a dull rehash. People are dumb. Obviously dumb people are dumb. The problem is that even smart people are dumb. Our greatest minds can, with extreme difficulty, grasp the basic entry-level ideas of a field.

When a person receives a professional education, they are often acquainted with all sorts of principles and rules. Every field has a wide variety of theories and explanations. Some people recite these as mantra. The truth is – it’s all bollocks. It’s tripe. As you go higher in a field, you realize that every field boils down to two things. 1. Do it right. 2. Don’t do it wrong. The problem is that this is very, very hard. Take finance. There are all sorts of fumblings about what the true value of various assets should be and ramblings about the rationality of markets. These crystal cathedrals of math don’t hold up in the real world. But great energy is maintained to pass them along.

What does Warren Buffet do?

1. Buy things which have good value.
2. Don’t buy things which have terrible value.

Easy enough? The trouble is determining what the hell value means. What is value?

Hence, theories. Wrong, useless theories. These theories make the problems of the field more tractable for midwit rule-followers. A Machine Cult makes it possible to tap far greater supplies of labor. There are many, many times more people of 120IQ than there are people of 140IQ. Analysts do labor and they do it according to the Cult, which they believe is true. The labor is useful, but the Cult is wrong. Only by promulgating the invincible truth of the Cult can the field recruit enough grunts to feed it data – data which slowly improves the truth of the mostly wrong Cult doctrine. The produce of the cultists is fed to the true initiates, those who have inducted into the complex and nebulous notion of “value” and actually making money. If these people actually believed the market was efficient, they’d abolish themselves.

Praise CAPM.

Those who can do cannot always write. It is an unfortunate reality that people do not have concrete explanations for all the things they can do by practice. Experience teaches us many lessons we cannot give words. Those who dismiss these practices as irrational do so at their own peril. The Cult allows one to “rationalize” the otherwise irrational by creating a system of true lies. Intuition is a noiseless understanding. We cannot always give it shape. The Cult protects intuition. The founders of a field saw the Truth, but only dimly. They needed more labor and more minds to reach it. Thus, they create a Machine Cult. The Machine Cult Hypothesis is a meta-theory about theories and their social purpose.

If outsiders knew that even the most learned were mostly incompetent, there would be a revolt. And if the cultists knew their labors were done for the sake of a lie, they would question things. How much trouble is caused whenever people realize the wizards of Wall Street bet billions on glorified hunches? And people grumble that the great scientific advances always seem to be 5 years out and never here. If that was revealed to be working as intended, then how many would balk at the vast expenditure scientific research requires? Both cultists and outsiders require certainty, but certainty is in short supply. In order for one to truly succeed, one must pierce through the lies of the Machine Cult and realize the truth. Those who come to understand there is much work to be done and that the problems remain unsolved are the ones able to make names for themselves by producing novel ideas.

But, you may be saying, “Monsieur, this is just a rehash of spandrell’s post. I’m bored and you’re stupid.” True enough, reader. And so far, it is. Still, even an idiot has some ideas.

If we accept the Machine Cult formulation, and an insider/outsider distinction, another property becomes self-evident to us. It took me a while to put this together, but I imagine you have already figured it out.

Across many fields, there is a curious phenomenon. HR departments are disproportionately drawn from the proletarian classes, and not from the aristocracy. The scale of this distortion demands explanation. The explanation is simple. The Machine Cult creates an insider/outsider distinction. The Inner Party does not police the Outer Party, as Orwell put forth in 1984. The Outer Party polices the Inner Party.

Why? How?

Heresy has a damaging effect on all beliefs. This heresy is even more damaging if it happens to be true. Imagine the ignorance of the learned was revealed for what it was. Imagine the politicians were fully unmasked. Chaos. Anarchy. The end of civilization. Global thermonuclear war, maybe.

To be initiated is to no longer fully believe in the Cult. One may believe in it somewhat, but there is always lingering doubt. The writings of the past have many true insights, but much of it makes leaps to try and make something coherent. One cannot be a true believer. Some even repudiate the whole enterprise in their heart. This is existentially dangerous to the Machine Cult, but also necessary to it.

The only ones who can zealously prosecute the faithless are true believers. By nature, the Inner Party cannot be true believers. So where do true believers come from? The Outer Party. The cultists. In the Cathedral and the Cathedral-Society complex, the middle class. To be a true believer is to be handicapped in the pursuit of further knowledge, but their labor is essential to the functioning of the Cult. And they provide one further purpose, a very dear one. How does one dispose of an Inner Party member? Feed them to the mob, and let them do the rest. When Tchen outmaneuvered Morris Dees, Dees was fed to the true believers. Now, Dees was a huckster. But Dees was always a huckster. Many people are pure hucksters. Heresy is a way of life.

As for a plan like Hari Seldon’s? One bumps into so many little secret societies that you start to wonder what they all originated as, before all the memetic cruft. Maybe some of them were meant to stave off the darkness of anarchy. Time reveals even the wise to be the fools they are.

Wonders if there is a 22.8% chance of his doom,
Monsieur le Baron

Cultures are not Greenfield Projects, or the Virtue of Pulling Someone’s Spinal Cord Out Through Their Ass

Dearest friends,

The biggest problem with building shit is that someone else, inconveniently, has already built things there! How dare they? It’s always nice to get out a fresh piece of paper and start anew. If only reality could be so yielding. Instead, you have to deal with the lumpy remains of the past. Still, even lumps become charming with enough age, though the roads remain narrow and cramped.

To make a long story short, if someone calls asking about an arsonist, I’m not home.

While I remain on the lam, I might as well write something.

Cultures are not greenfield projects. Much ink is spilled over the best way to structure society or government or a religion or money or whatever. People identify problems and devise all sorts of fiendishly clever solutions. I can’t understand them all – I am a rather thick and unclever man. But I do know this much. Clever solutions rarely see the light of day. Much as ant farmers and social engineers might wish otherwise, you’re never starting from zero. You’re starting from an existing culture with existing norms. To get a new idea, you have to bridge from the old, and that means creating intermediate steps and watering down the old design. UBI is a functional idea – but to get it, you have to grandfather in the old welfare recipients. That means it loses quite a bit of its shine.

Well, what about revolution?

What about revolution?

Revolution is not some clean sweep of the old order. That’s gloss and infant formula for bright-eyed idealists. Revolutions are beholden to backers, backers with their own demands for power, wealth, and status. To get them their rightful rewards, one must compromise with reality and break with ideological purity. Comrade Director may be leading us into a bright syndicalist future, but it’s one where he has a stately manor and a staff of Comrade Cleaners. Furthermore, complex civilizations require legions of manpower. Society doesn’t run itself. New regimes tend to coopt the elites of the old order. That keeps the lights on (well, as best as they can be kept on when half the people at the plant are dead), but it also reintroduces many of the rigidities of the old regime. Here’s the new boss, same as the old boss.

I really do mean the same.

I understand the feelings of the wignats. Of course I do. They see a strange people who have invaded their home and dare to call themselves the inhabitants. Not only that, they call themselves *more* deserving of the home’s title than you.

That’s how I feel about the self-proclaimed Kshatriya. Sure, they’re not important in the modern Dissident Right. I still don’t like them.

What many would-be revolutionaries fail to understand in their historical narratives is that the house always wins. Those who praise aristocracy but damn the DC swamp monster fail to understand that the swamp monster *is* aristocracy. Sure, it has a bunch of annoying clerisy gnats goading it to be more progressiver, but the core of it is aristocratic. Any narrative that starts with the Jews or the Bourgeois or the smelly people down the street beating the Back-to-Back Every War Champs is, frankly, ludicrous. The aristocracy was not destroyed. It’s stronger than ever. The aristocracy reduced the monarchs into mango puree before rendering the Church into kibbles and bits. Sure, they may not make “good government” or “maximize profit”, but that was never the goal. The goal is to have power. Power is being had. Mission accomplished. The aristocracy is a tremendously fit creature. It is now superbly well-adapted to its niche of stomping on faces and turning avocado toast into poop.

We’re stuck with the consequences of the past. People don’t get to start over. People build over old cultures much like sushiritos follow burritos (TO BE EXPOUNDED ON IN FUTURE EXCITING SUSHIRITO MUSINGS). That’s it, really. You can’t start from nothing. You’re stuck with piles of cultural appendixes. Why do I wear a collared shirt? Why is this office open? Where do cubicles come from? Why do we drive on the right side of the road? It’s all arbitrary continuities of arbitrary traditions, sushiritos all the way down. The world isn’t built on the back of sturdy turtles, it’s built on sushiritos. That’s my word of the day, sushirito. Am I impressing you with my sushirito-based wordliness? Never use a two syllable word where a sushirito might do.

It’s not easy being an idiot in the Dissident Right. That’s why I have to keep shoveling sushiritos down my throat. It helps with cope with the pain of dumbness. But a dumb person like me can see all the layers piled up like a Taco Baal monstrosity offered up as a gift to the Altar of Excess. And the layers only get deeper, meatier, and cheesier with time. We are all creatures of forgotten, pointless rituals. We must be like Confucius and just accept they are what they are.

Instead of worrying about policy or institutions or inefficient practices, worry about power. Power doesn’t care about your facts *or* your feelings.

It’s fun to come up with policies. But when you get down to brass tacks, the most useful superpower is incredible spine-ass-ripping strength.

Plays too much Mortal Kombat,
Monsieur le Baron