And He Fell From Heaven Like Lightning, or the End and the Beginning

Dearest friends,

I must admit I have had problems laying out my answer. What is to be done? It is as difficult a question now as it has ever been. But perhaps the way to clarifying the answer is to lay out the problem.

Within the newborn state lie the seeds of its own destruction. Its own ideology, carried to its natural ends, must self-contradict. The more a state ages, the more it accumulates Schelling points increasingly unsuited to present conditions, while at the same time, it accelerates more and more towards the extreme of the present conditions it itself created. The long state invariably becomes a state haunted by its own contradictions.

Take, for instance, the Ottoman Empire. It was founded as a religious state, explicitly so, defender of the House of Islam, the house of peace. From the get go, this mission was… only dubiously true. Early on, less than half of the ghazis, the warriors of the faith, were Muslim. Why would they be? The Ottoman Empire was the phoenix rising from the ashes of Byzantium. A young Christian lord had a simple choice. Either stand and die for a dying empire, or turn coat and live. And so it went. Constantine XI’s nephew becomes the Grand Vizier of a great new empire.

Even in the early stages, the contradictions of a regime exist. But so long as the empire is growing and strong, the elites have no reason to question them. Instead of debating angels and pins, they are getting rich and powerful. The Ottoman Empire grows, first reclaiming its rightful core territory as inheritor of Byzantium, then going forth to seize more land. It is here that the ideological is least valued, and yet, most truly believed. For only a man who believes when it does not provide gain is a true believer. The rest are grifters and fairweather friends.

But an empire cannot grow forever. There are physical limits. And as the empire stagnates, the elites must now compete among themselves. There is the material conflict, but an empire also seeks to centralize power and bring all authority under the sovereign. Violence becomes more and more the realm of the state, starting with physical violence and seeping down to any kind of imposition of force, until the elites are totally neutered in any material sense. And the more neutered they are to wage war by other means, the more the nobles must wage war through ideology. Leftism is the extension of a regime’s ideology further towards its natural ends. Liberals become more liberal. Japanese militarists become more militarist. Islamists become more Islamist. The more you push an ideology, the further it must diverge from reality, because it becomes more and more about ideals and idealism, and less about material conditions. The end result of this must be to wildly diverge law and reality, as law is the product of the political process, and the political exists symbiotically with ideology. Thus, the law, at first fair, devolves into anarcho-tyranny, as ideological demands become totally opposed to the actual maintenance of order. Any single noble may try to stop it, but then they will be deposed by a rival outflanking them from the left. One must speak the language of power to stay in power. From the perspective of the peasant masses, it looks like the elite are coming to believe more and more insane things, a mass lunacy. The Dirt People and Cloud People can no longer understand each other.

Why does the ruler not step in? The ruler cannot move left, because then the laws and what is real will diverge even further. But if he moves right, he undermines his own legitimacy, becoming the Caliph who stands against Islam – a doomed maneuver. But this means the gaps between the Schelling points of ideology and what is on the ground soon become unspeakably large.

Near the end of the Ottomans, janissaries roamed the land, plundering the peasantry through malicious lawfare and abuse of their powers. Their actions had the weight of false legitimacy, as they were nominally servants of the national ideology and its consensus. Enter Hadji Mustafa Pasha, governor of Serbia, the “Mother of Serbs”. He was a benevolent lord, concerned with the wellbeing of his land and its people. So, like any wise ruler, he summons his ghazis to strike down the bandit-janissaries and restore the Sultan’s peace. And here he dies, and the course of history turns another corner.

Mustafa’s men and their captain are Christian. The captain writes a letter to the Sultan, asking to be recognized as the new Duke of Serbia so that he may carry out the Sultan’s will and protect his laws. A young empire could have assented. But this is no young empire, but an old and crooked thing, constrained by forgotten law. It cannot. The captain has a choice. He can die for the sake of the Sultan, for the regime, for its laws, for its ideology, and all that which he previously believed, a bright reactionary blaze. Or he can choose to live.

Awake, Serbia. History calls.

In that sense, Camp of the Saints and Submission are two sides of the same coin. In one, the heroes choose to die gloriously, submitting to the beautiful end of the reactionary death cult – a sacrifice to expiate the sins of the dead regime which recapitulates all its art and virtue, men standing against time. And in the other, the last man resigns himself to life and becomes the first man of the new order. The human sacrifice of the reactionary is the blood which permits the sun to rise on the first day of the new order.

We, as builders of the new order, must reenact the mystic secrets of the Osiris mystery. Like Isis, we shall don the seven veils, and descend through seven hells, to take the pieces of the dead man, the reactionary, and bring him back to life as the living-dead man, the soul of the old and the flesh of the new. Here is the dialectic of an ancient occultism resurfacing and its opportune time.

A perceptive soul must be appalled by all the horrors and abominations of a dying anarcho-tyranny. And so the thesis of the regime creates its own antithesis which begins to attract dissident elites. Out of this, a new synthesis must be drawn from the unity of far right and far left.

Wokeism is not a perversion of liberalism, but its highest fulfillment. It is the highest stage of the capitalist, liberal republic, carrying out the work of atomization and commodification to the fullest.

What else? Last time, we discussed the construction of a political machine. A political machine allows you to build a patronage network and a power base. In a time of chaos, a political machine easily becomes a war machine. The working boys are turned into fighting men. When you own a local government, it is only a short step to go independent. The natural instinct of power is to tend to itself. As Rome falls, the city walls go up.

Behold the glory of Ali Pasha, king of Ioannina, lord of the Epirotes. Here is an elite with an independent power base. He ruled over much of Rumelia, and Rumelia, in turn, was the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Officials in Rumelia held rank and privilege over their equals elsewhere in the Empire. It would be like having a warlord ruling over New England. Here was a man of cruel and magnificent appetites. For his own sexual amusements, he had the young women of his lands thrown into lakes. And he dreamed big. He dreamed, one day, of restoring Greek culture to its rightful glory. To this end, he built his power greater and greater, holding court with some of the great Romantics of the age.

A more vigorous Empire could reabsorb an independent power base like this. But not the Ottomans, not at that point. Ali Pasha dies, but Greece springs from his blood. And when Greece goes, so goes almost 40% of the Ottoman tax base. A mortal wound. A great Alexander, Augustus, or Alexios could recover from such dire straits.

But none are coming.

The falcon cannot hear the falconer. Things fall apart. The center cannot hold.

So too with China in many collapses. Elites are able to construct their own power bases, and when the core shakes, the power bases can strike out on their own. Empires splinter into many pieces. Here, there is sometimes an easy path back through the marsh. If a warlord has enough personal loyalty cultivated in a large enough army, they can, like Franco, conquer the whole land themselves, and restore order. But without that personal loyalty, one cannot do this. Politics runs on loyalty. You have personal loyalty, built up through long relationships between patron and client, but to make a larger machine, you must have engineered loyalty. What is to stop multiple minions from combining to remove the master? Nothing. This infighting necessarily prevents reunification. To restore order, one must have an ideology which can generate loyalty in a new Party. Not only that, it must be a better ideology than even the regime had. The regime had the benefit of inertia, allowing it to staff itself with the pathetic and weak. The new ruler must be able to generate loyalty from the best and most talented, those whose abilities give them many abilities and thus natural independence. When you are on the rough path, many will want to retreat back to the safety of the marsh. When you are on the rough path, only the best and most skilled comrades will do. A would-be ruler must be able to drag them back forward, and if not, then clearly mark those who return to the marshes as weak and not of the Party. You need an ideology for that.

The natural instinct at this point is restoration, to end the chaos by reinstating the old order. But the material conditions which made the original regime possible no longer hold. Recall the regime is founded on its original power bases and then has to flex and bend its system as new power bases and new elites come into being – the original constitution is even less suitable than the perverted one, since it removes all the cultural adaptations. And the ideological conditions which exist are not suitable. It is attempting to return thinking to the state of the original question, when the intellectual chaos of the collapse comes from carrying ideas to their natural conclusions. And finally, the ruling clique itself is rendered unsuitable. Regimes are founded by players of naked power politics, persons of an UMC or WC background, those who can play with concrete realities. Over the course of a regime’s lifespan, the top elites transition from UMC thinking to UC thinking. Power becomes curried through court maneuver and social scheming and thin networks of charm, rather than the brute force of gold, guns, and grunts. Necessarily, this must be so, because the state must monopolize force, and therefore must prevent open conflict, causing a transition to battle by social grace. The dinosaur evolves into a chicken. The dirty business of rule is devolved to the lower aristocracy, and the dirty business of facing power to the proles, leaving these as the two classes with an understanding of what power means when the clock runs out. The middle class bureaucrat and the cloistered emperor have simply drunk too much of the koolaid to be saved. And any attempt at restoration will be full of the apparatchiks of the last regime, the eunuchs come to pick over the corpse. Cao Cao begins as the regent defending the emperor’s lawful rights, but this is a path that can only end one way. The restoration of a regime requires the same skills as founding a new one, and the last emperor is not up to the task.

Let us lay out the necessities of our new movement or any new movement which must succeed. First of all, it must be the furthest left and furthest right movement possible. If it is not, then one will be outflanked from the left or the right. One must not be overcome, but always be overcoming. Like Lenin, we must be able to attack and absorb all our rivals from the left, right, and center at the same time, attacking our enemies as cowardly Kautskyites, left-utopians, and right-opportunists without reserve and without contradiction. Secondly, the ideology must engender loyalty by creating a contradicted ruling class. A Christian class of ghazis. An aristocratic Bolshevism. A Jewish Nazism. Because we lack enough personal loyalty to rule an empire (this must always be the case, Monkeyspheres are too small), and we are moving fast, without the old regime’s structure, we must be able to manufacture loyalty from our elites en masse. There are our basic requirements.

This leaves us with the problem of building a Biostalinism. You can never turn back the clock. The horse has bolted.

The only way out is through.

A cultist for the Red Tsar who was, is, and will be,
Monsieur le Baron

The Maw of the Machine, or A Donor’s Eye View of the Base and Superstructure Dynamic of Party Patronage

Dearest friends,

Have you ever inserted money into a vending machine? I have! Where does the money go? How does it turn the dollars into chocolate? It is like magic, if magic was real and made of chocolate and also magic. Amazing! And friends, have you wondered how your dollars magically turn into social justice? I haven’t. Step into my Chocolate Factory, but please avoid Mr. Weiner or he’ll show you his Willy Wonka.

How much does it take to buy your way into a politician’s good graces? $1,000,000? $10,000,000? $1,000,000,000? If you answered $10,000, you’re closest to the money. A donor dinner is often only a thousand or couple thousand dollars. For very important people, it might be tens of thousands of dollars, or a hundred or two hundred thousand for someone like the President. These sums are, in fact, fairly small dollar. But the small proletarian donors can’t play because they’re just too small. They could aggregate their funds under a suitable figurehead like le Chapo Man or a union boss. But the boss, once elevated, soon finds his material interests differ from his former comrades. No longer a proletarian, he becomes his own player in the great game, able to independently express his will. The coordination problem prevents proletarians from pooling their resources together to fight.

So you can make contact fairly cheaply. But what about following up? How do you buy a politician with such small sums? Laundering the money through organizations. I don’t mean in the “dark money” sense. That’s childish. Instead, found a cause. A front organization. Get together a few of your friends and make a NGO focused on some political cause you have coming from some ideology you share. Call this the backers a “faction” or “ideo-tribe”. More on this later. When you look at something like urbanism, that’s obviously a front for certain elements of high finance, right? It allows you to justify further development through livability rhetoric. This new construction, preferably of something holy like public housing, creates profits for developers, real estate private equity funds (hedge funds), issuers of asset-backed bonds relating to these deals, and ultimately becomes its own power base which can feed back into the original cause. Or take the green movement. Green rhetoric allows the subsidization of green industries. Good news if you run Nikolai’s Motors or Zappy Sun Power Fun. You get you and a few of your other well-heeled friends in your faction and you each chip in, say, 10 grand. Because these are causes, and ideally, “good causes”, you can attract the donations of small donors, well-meaning progressives or conservatives who want to make change. All of that goes into your slush fund. Being the founder and a major donor, you can set the agenda, which effectively means you control all that money, which means you’ve effectively levered up your initial small dollar outlay several times over. Your initial million or whatever becomes twenty or thirty or fifty million.

And it all comes from the little people. That it comes from the retail workers and clerks and delivery boys is not a flaw but the point! These are the people who can’t fight back if they ever notice you using the organization as a front. Not that they will. How could they? What does the corrupt organization look like? One imagines no show jobs and corrupt cynicism everywhere – but that’s not necessary. Because the front organization’s cause legitimately advances the material interests of the backer, overt corruption is not needed at all. The sinecures need not look like sinecures. Sincerity does not dissolve the organization. Let in all the sunshine you want – the demon does not melt.

Best of all, it’s a tax writeoff. Isn’t that something?

Once your front organization is rolling, you can put people on the payroll. Bluechecks, writers, activists… and politicians. And once you give a politician a sweet, sweet sinecure, you buy the man. And why not? You’re supporting some nice, sweet progressive cause. Nothing corrupt about it, no sir. And even if there are people so principled they’ll never take any money at all, there’s always far more willing to be bought. Many are the activists and bluechecks waiting for their big chance to be pushed up the ladder. Push them, and they will repay you with loyalty. Why not? You made them.

Once they’re in office, they can start repaying you. And believe me, why invest in a cause if it won’t turn a profit? If you and your friends chip a total of $1mm, leverage it to $20mm, and win back a development opportunity worth $25mm, you’ve gotten a 2400% return on your own money and a 25% return on the front org’s. A profit! And you had better turn a profit. The cold logic of capital demands it. If you are not increasing the resources of your front org rather than diminishing, someone else is. There are many ways to redirect money back into your pockets. Secret information, like knowing about coronavirus beforehand so you can short it. Sinecures and created job positions at new bureaus so you can place your lackeys. Favorable laws – or unfavorable ones for your enemies. And the best part? Most of the giveaways don’t even have to look that crooked. Because the cause advances your interests, even sincere laws passed will help you. All the while, the cost is footed by public funds. The burden on the taxpayer creeps higher and higher.

Thus moves the political machine. This is the base. The action of the base is to concretely mobilize manpower, money, and mantras to serve your political empire.

But how do you coordinate and form your ideo-tribe in the first place? That’s the superstructure, the dynamics of ideology. That’s social media, that’s the blogosphere, that’s the public square, that’s Reddit and Twitter and 4chan and all those spaces. Ideology is always promulgating around the internet. One or another flavor of communist thinking or liberal thinking or conservative thought will match up with your material interests and moral sensibilities. Then you can latch on. Now you have a common thread to connect with other players in the game. It launders sordid material interest into sacred morality and ideology.

And what kind of ideology is ideal? Not orthodoxy. Orthodoxy in an ideology signifies you want to conform to something greater than yourself, which often means seeking a tribe to belong to, a protector to shield you, or a patron to employ you. No, you want heterodoxy. Drop a Marx quotation in the right places on the “Right”, and you can be ushered into a hidden circle. Those who are overcorrect in professing their ideology create a signal for wanting a party job. Profess heterodoxy, and it shows you aren’t in a position to need to parrot a party line for cash. It shows you can afford to dictate one.

You take your heterodox ideology with which you’ve bonded and you turn around and create organizations to push it. These are your front organizations. The control doesn’t have to be direct here, though it sometimes is. The point is that it pushes discourse your way. As discourse goes enough your way, your front orgs grow more and more powerful, thus moving them from the superstructure from the base. They pay off, pay you, you seize power. Your new ideology, whatever it is, Anarcho-Frontierism, Radical Recyclianism, Eco-Fascism, is now the mainstream in some way. Once upon a time, neoconservatism was a few followers of the mad Jew Strauss, and the New Left was a bunch of radical chic philanthropists and some young buck politicians with the steely ambition in their eyes.

But once it becomes the mainstream, it is no longer heterodox to profess your ideology. Professing it is now the domain of young Twitter suckups looking for a cushy media job. So the organizing ideology shifts again. Thus, the base-superstructure dynamic is always shifting the discourse window to new politics. Thus we have a continuous feedback cycle of base-superstructure ideological laundering for material interests.

And what about the employees of the front orgs? For some, fame, power, and prosperity await. They will rise high, and those that envy them will be many. Their smiles will strike fear into the hearts of their courtiers. All the riches of the empire will be splayed before their feet. But for most, the machine will consume their big city dreams. They will pen article after article chasing the big break. They will march and call and knock. Their friends will decry them as a gentrifier or the stooge of Melon Tusk or a thousand other things. And in time, they will return home, ashamed by their own brokenness. It does not matter what happens to them. The freelances are the free lances, mere disposable foot soldiers.

These are the shadow wars waged by capital from its invisible fiefdoms, their movements only betrayed by the occasional silver-steel flash in that everblack night.

Lamenting his own unread ink,
Monsieur le Baron

In a Fashion: Aesthetic, Prole Drift, and Sumptuary Laws as Sanity Preservation

Dearest frens,

henlo pals i am a frenly guy here to exposit a thing okay thanks

You ever think about like… clothes? Man, why do we even wear clothes? To cover our nudity? Man, that’s fucking stupid. This is a total grift, and, bro, bro, this is such a fucking racket! Let’s get in on it! That’s always my first instinct when I find a racket, as the good value transference parasite I am (Still the best, two millennia and counting, arguably three!)

So let’s talk about this racket. Why do people buy clothes? To cover themselves, obviously. But also, to express tribal identity, hence all the amusing novelty graphic tees. And what is the biggest racket in the market? You know what I’m going to say if you’re a regular reader of the blog, and I know there are literally dozen of you. Luxury. The attempt to signal wealth through clothing. So let’s talk about that.

Most people’s first instinct would be to aim upscale or ultra-upscale. At the highest heights, maybe you sell something for $100,000 – once. Once a year. That’s not much fodder for your business, and there is a shit load of variance. I saw a art piece that struck my fancy, but the low five figure price tag didn’t fit the budget. It’s still for sale, years later. Unless you’re one of the few that arbitrarily strikes a mood (and if you do, milk that hard), your prices can only rise so high, and your volume will be anemic. So maybe less upscale, less tailored, something more for the broad upper class. Let’s widen our market to centimillionaires and their cadet branches. There were 50,000 centimillionaires a few years back, probably quite a few more now, and there are associated families with those. We can reasonably eyeball our global upper class market as a few hundred thousand households. Now you’ve got a much larger customer base! Still, they can’t dig as deep into their pockets, right? But you can still charge them a couple hundred bucks. So you open up your store, call it Taul Spuart, and you sell 10,000 sport jackets for $300 each and make a snappy $3,000,000 and then sell 10,000 more shirts for $100 each and call it a day. Hey, that’s weird. By sliding down the class totem pole, we made more money.

Is there a pattern here? Let’s move down again. Let’s start selling to the upper middle class. Now our market is a whopping 5% of the population. Sure, maybe we have to cut the price per shirt to like, $40, but we are literally selling millions of shirts now. Profit goes up again. Incredible. But if we keep chopping prices, we’ll have no profit margin, right?

Well, that’s the magic of it. In 1980, a book came out called The Official Preppy Handbook. The retailer pimped, LL Bean, was a fairly standard retailer catering to upper middle class clientele. What happened to it? Now middle class shoppers were clamoring to buy their products. Obviously, prices had to drop to accommodate poorer customers, right? Wrong. Prices doubled, tripled, sometimes even quadrupled. A LL Bean shirt in 1980 was only twice the cost of a Sears shirt. Since then, the cost of a LL Bean shirt has far outpaced inflation. Profits went up an order of magnitude. Girbaud, an upscale jeans brand, was appropriated by blacks. Since that point, the price has doubled in inflation-adjusted terms. The pants were more expensive than commodity pants, but part of that is just the cost of materials and the cost of having a smaller market. The truth is that the upper middle class exists in an awkward valley where they are extremely stingy relative to other classes as a proportion of their income, and thus demand lower prices to buy anything. Hence, core UMC stores like Costco run on discount stores. The thrift store, when it was classy and not for bandwagon grifters, was a cheap way to pick up novelty clothing that smelled like urine, the urine smell adding a level of class by shocking prudish middle class assholes. When I shop at Amazon, I get special discounts on top of Prime thanks to Amazon’s Special Rates For Rich Assholes program. Credit card companies and banks induce their mass affluent/millionaire customers to spend more by enticing them with generous point and reward programs, while hitting the proles and middle class with intrusive credit score requirements and fees.

If you can market your product to the middle class, you take that opportunity. Now you’re selling $100 shirts again, but even more than before. And at the end of the day, it’s all the same plastic crap anyways. You’ve got plastic crap for the upper class, for the upper middle, for the middle, for the proles. The main difference is that the plastic of the very rich is made by slaves in Italy, not China. Still plastic crap. But what people buy is not the actual product, but the image of the product. Marketing, marketing, marketing. Middloids on Le Reddit insist Walmart shirts disintegrate into plastic goo within a year, when I’ve got hand-me-downs going strong for years now. For all intents and purposes, that’s perfect durability.

But wait, why would the middle class pay so much for ordinary plastic clothing? Because they believe it conveys an image of being classier than they are. After all, they can afford “designer” now. But that puts you into a bind. In order to keep selling, you have to maintain the image of being upper class or at least upper middle class while simultaneously being far more accessible and downmarketed. That’s the dance of mass fashion. Ignore morons who talk about Burberry burning coats to keep them out of the hands of hobos. The amount of coats Burberry can burn can’t possibly put a dent in global supplies – shock, they destroyed millions in merchandise! What a terrible destruction of stock for a company that pulls in billions! It’s a fraction of a WHOLE PERCENT! You lose an order of magnitude more stock to shrinkage. What it can do, however, is reinforce a narrative of exclusivity and prestige. The intended audience, who falls for it hook, line, and sinker, is the middle class, which eagerly shlicks itself to the idea of buying merchandise that can’t possibly fall into the hands of those deplorable proles, while also being able to masturbate to the feeling of virtue signalling about designer clothing for hobos. The prestige dance can be helped along by actually having genuine upper middle class products or upper class products while producing a gaudier, more expensive version for the middle class. Bigger logo, anyone? To illustrate with another kind of example, a $125 tasting menu at some celebrity chef’s shitty 1 star Michelin restaurant is a genuine upper middle class experience, the counterfeit of spending $1000 for a gold-plated steak and a selfie with a celebrity of non-chef persuasion is middle class at best. But the latter is more expensive than the former.

Marketing is fake and bullshit, so what? You’re probably rolling your eyes at these observations you already made in grade school. Well, the act of marketing itself makes an image. And that image is not a true reflection of reality, but an exaggerated distortion. Just as Instagram creates unrealistic images of female appearance, marketing creates unrealistic images of tribal identities. Take my good friend, the Iraqistani Hebroid. When inebriated, one of his favorite rant topics is about the beautiful blond goys and their exclusive fucking country clubs and their Dartmouths and their boating. This is a very insane topic of conversation. The reason why it is insane is because half the people in his rich Jewland are blond, his family has been life members in a club since the 19th century, his relatives went to said white bro Dartmouth, and he is such a boater, he only knows how to boat and can’t drive. I fucking drive him. The conscious mind recognizes that this is unreasonable. But the unconscious mind does not. What the unconscious mind sees is a lifetime growing up on LL Bean and J Crew ads showing impossibly beautiful people on boats. The unconscious mind understands that the self is not an impossibly beautiful person on a boat, and thus nurses a resentment against an image that does not exist. In fact, the image is meant to depict a tribe which he is certifiably a member of, the Judeo-Puritan ruling elite, so that the masses might admire their Calvinism. But the image is so distorted that the Funhouse mirror reflection becomes a figure of superiority to taunt him. Rich people will do a lot to self-confirm their own membership in the tribe. In the past, striver New Money Americans would invent new genealogies tying them back to European noble titles, which is why genealogical documents and Ancestry websites today are totally trustworthy and true. In the more recent past of a few years ago, autism was a physical proof of bluebloodness, so grown ass men would pay to get fake diagnoses of autism to confirm their own superiority of blood. For my part, back in university, I would Banepost with my college roommate, another aristocrat, in real meatspace. The waiters were in awe of our Calvinism, or at least they were paid enough to pretend to be.

But what if the neuroticism of the rich doesn’t bother you? It should. Here’s the moneyshot. What is the figure that all people are compared to and found wanting? Fussell famously said that every American wants to live like the upper middle class, but I’d like to add my own addendum – but they’d like to look like the white middle class while doing so. It is a fact that middle class white people are the most beautiful people, which is why they are used as the pretty person when not diversity pandering. But the fact that white middle class people are used to model all these distorted identities means that all sorts of insane tribes are ascribed onto them subconsciously. They become the targets of every status resentment, and marketing works by creating status anxiety and status resentment. In short, unrestricted capitalism, even without the woke component, creates marketing, and marketing is all implicitly anti-white by aligning the resentments of all non-white middle class people (and, for that matter, white middle class people who resent the fake marketing images of wealth) against an imagined figure that looks like… the white middle class.

Ogilvy said that the best advertisement is infotainment. How foolishly the wisdom of elders has been ignored.

A second effect is that over time, these constructed images and reality yaw farther and farther apart. The image of rich people that most people have is some kind of indifferent white Republican with boomercon views. That’s been outdated since the 1920s. They think rich people are conservative, when conservatism is indisputably low rent. I express my conservative leanings among my peers by identifying as a fucking Marxist-Leninist. That’s how you signal family values and support for Trump without getting cancelled. My image of factories is a conglomeration of media images of British satanic mills, and I worked as an engineer in a fucking modern factory. Just like with LL Bean, the image overrides the truth. People simp for tradwheats in sundresses when those thots have a high body count than Hiroshima. What kind of a woman dresses up as a tradwheat? A woman who wants to drown in male attention – a whore, in short.

The key problem is that most of us aren’t wired to handle signals and tribal outfits changing so fast. They change so fast because free societies permit cheap signals to be appropriated quickly, but any large tribe necessarily must have relatively cheap signals. Tradwheat quickly becomes a thot sign, because the form and the function are not inherently aligned. We’re looking for the old stereotypes, but the stereotypes are constantly changing in real life, helped along by marketing departments manipulating them to drive up profits. Autism is high status before, but is it high status now that low rent moms use it to excuse the behavior of their shitty children? That’s just a few years of change. Nothing sticks long enough to form coherent cultural narratives. We exist in a constant state of agitation and status anxiety, and Uncle Capital has the answer for only 20 payments of $29.99.

The most status insecure of all, the downwardly mobile middle class white, thus becomes the archetypal consoomer, filling the identity void with infinite amounts of expensive plastic crap. His race is devalued, his class is in trouble – what’s a man to do but watch MARVEL CAPESHIT KABOOM?

So what did ye olden people do? It’s like there was a problem like this in China, where names and realities went out of sync. It required a sort of rectification of names. A formal designation of things, so to speak. A formalism. That’ll work. Let’s call these sumptuary laws, dictating exactly what people of a specific caste can look like. Perfect!

One problem is that people will do what they can to circumvent those laws so they can signal higher status than they have. The second problem – how do you decide who is a noble, who is a burgher, etc? In Ancien France, they self-identified during the census. Yes, sir, I am most def a noble, pinky swear. But we can do better, right? What if we created some kind of institution of autists that screened other autists for the proper autism, and if they could successfully defend a statement of autism, then a panel of King Autists would give them the vaunted designation of PotatoHead Douchebag, and Emperor von Hipsburg could send them a letter of baronhood in the mail. Surely they would never devalue the prestige of their own name by issuing far too many degrees for short-term monetary gains, since they are institutions with centuries of history and a long and unalienable connection with noble culture. Old problems demand new solutions.

In the end, everything rots. Everything becomes…

Blurry in the USA!

Zing.

So spiritually barren he writes whole articles to set up a shitty pop culture reference,
Monsieur le Baron

dope songs there tho

Egalitarian Rhetoric and a Schelling Point for Purges, or On Revolutions Pt. II

Dearest friends,

Lee Kuan Yew is a brilliant man. And to be honest, it was an insight of his that prompted these points.

The human being is an unequal creature. That is a fact. And we start off with the proposition. All the great religions, all the great movements, all the great political ideology, say let us make the human being as equal as possible. In fact, he is not equal, never will be.

The words of the great man himself! And yet, if egalitarianism is transparently false, why is it the cornerstone of all these great movements? It can’t just be because it’s absurd. Many things are absurd, but the Cult of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has never attracted many sincere adherents. One answer, one very true answer, is that it widens your coalition, helping you seize power. But once you’ve seized power, why keep paying lip service? Why not discard it like other parts of the pre-revolution rhetorical crap? If you’re an elite, doesn’t egalitarianism paint a giant target on you?

Yes. And that’s the point. The fact that a revolution occurred shows that there were too many elites to begin with. Look at some other points adopted by the USSR after the Revolution. Great Russian Chauvinism and a hatred of intelligentsia as “bourgeois specialists”. A campaign against rootless cosmopolitans. Combine an anti-nobility campaign, an anti-intelligentsia campaign, and an anti-non-Russian campaign, and you’ve managed to implicate the entirety of the Party as class enemies. Which is precisely the idea! Killing people is bloody work. Killing people who are your friends, your comrades-in-arms, even your family, is even harder. Even worse is doing so basically arbitrarily. But in short order, you run out of enemy elites to purge. And there are still a lot of elites. You need to kill randomly, but no humans ever agree to kill randomly. That’s monstrous. You need a Schelling point to rally around. So various persecution campaigns are made that conveniently damn the Party’s whole membership. After the Great Purge, the number of Old Bolsheviks is reduced by 2/3rds, and only 1% are pre-Tsarist nobility. Sure, a lot of those people get politically rehabilitated instead of killed. But you cut down drastically on the numbers. And why does egalitarianism keep showing up in the mix? Because egalitarianism is always against the presence of a standing elite at all, by denying the justness of eliteness and the existence of genuine differences in ability. If all people are equal, any elite must necessarily be comprised of oppressors. And therefore, any member of such an elite can be justifiably purged.

Furthermore, the ability to arbitrarily purge elites allows the new post-revolution sovereign to restore order and the supremacy of the throne. One of the problems before the revolution is an unruly, disordered elite with outside power bases. How do you fix that? You purge the shit out of the elite. You’re disloyal? You’re fucking purged. I think you’re disloyal? Purged. Take too long making the waffles at the Politburo breakfast? Purge, motherfucker. When a revolution occurs, the country is mired in the aftermath of the conflict, and leftist signals are spewing everywhere, like a fire hose. By purging the elite, the sovereign is able to take control of the holiness spiral and reassert control of the situation.

Furthermore, any statement of holiness which must destroy the ruling elite when carried out to its natural conclusion is a negative feedback loop. Nature loves negative feedback loops, and for good reason. The end of a Christian holiness spiral was to become a monk – a celibate monk who disdained worldly power – and that was the end of you as a political entity. It’s too bad Protestantism did away with that, and look at how badly Protestant countries holiness spiral! When you have a negative feedback loop like this, if you go too far, it starts destroying you or even the elite as a whole. At the height of the purge, people were selling out their wives, their families, their children. That’s a tremendous psychic pain and creates a huge incentive to bring the holiness spiral to an end. Hey, fuck this Marxism crap, let’s just have intra-Party peace. As soon as there is enough economic surplus to sustain every surviving elite, there’s a very good reason to call it quits before the monster consumes you too. And so, the French nobility end the French Revolution with a higher median wealth.

But it’s not just egalitarianism. Egalitarianism is just a great universal negative feedback loop. Any creed can work so long as it places disproportionate burdens upon the elite. Let’s take Germany. Specifically, Nazi Germany. A million or two mischlinge survived Nazi Germany – isn’t that fucking weird? That’s a lot of fucking Jews, not just a few freaks. Why would Jews work for the Jew hating machine? Well, one reason is that regime has them by the nuts. If you’re a Jew, and the state’s ideology is to kill all Jews, and you don’t cooperate, you will be killed. But if you do cooperate? Here’s this Certificate of Official Aryan Blood, you’re a good fellow. And there are a lot of Jews placed in that position. Germany was not a particularly anti-semitic place before Hitler. It had full Jewish emancipation. Jews were over-represented in the nobility, and even more over-represented in business. That means there are a lot of Jewish elites. Far from being destabilizing, it builds tremendous loyalty.

To quote Hermann Goering, “I decide who is a Jew in the Luftwaffe.” Far from being a quirk of history, the anti-semitism of Nazi Germany necessarily creates Jewish Nazis. Now let’s go invade Poland and gas their Jews. After all, our Schelling Point demands we put the Jews in camps, so we must round up some Jews.

You would think that noble defectors from the USSR would despise it, but the US troops recording the defectors noted the highest class defectors were the most loyal to Communism, and lamented the excesses of the purge – if only Stalin knew!

Any point which implicates the ruling elite in injustice or perceived injustice can be used as a Schelling Point for purges.

So now we can finally explain the tragedy of Spain, the expulsion of the Jews. It’s because Isabella and Torquemada are nasty, bigoted, closeminded Christian proto-Nazis, right? Spain, the earliest fascist state. Well, actually, there were marriages across religious lines, and the Umayyad elite had mixed with the Christian one. And Jews were fully emancipated, and made up a substantial portion of the Spanish nobility. Well, maybe Torquemada or Isabella are particularly bigoted? Torquemada came from a Jewish family, and Isabella’s father died at a young age, leaving her to be raised by a Jewish father figure. What did happen? The crowns of Castile and Aragon were joined as one. The Reconquista was finished. Great! Spain was unified! And a unified Spain means no more Spain to take as your own.

And with so much Jewish freedom, everyone has a little bit of Jew in them.

How convenient.

And so it came to pass that the Spanish monarchy was able to make a Big Book of Jews, in which any family suspected of being crypto-Jews could be placed, and in it was written the whole Spanish nobility. If any Spanish noble fuck started holiness spiraling about the brown babies? Hey, is your aunt’s name Mary or Miriam? Are you sure your grandfather was named Henry and not Hebrew Shekelstein? How curious. Would you care to step into my office for a moment? Some Jewish peasants get exiled too. That’s politics, baby. It’s not like Stalin wanted to kill off a bunch of kulaks either, it’s collateral damage.

And Daddy’s little girl makes Papa take the wafer and eat a nice juicy pork sausage. He cries. Tears of joy, of course.

The rest of the spares are shipped off to the New World.

Spain enters a Golden Age. Until it ends.

Sic transit gloria mundi,
Monsieur le Baron

EDIT: Some of you may have seen I left my notes/outline up top! That’s why you don’t publish in the middle of the night.

As an addendum, I might as well make a point explicit. You need that negative feedback loop otherwise your movement consumes itself in wasteful signalling before you ever reach power. A political movement with a Schelling point of fitness just turns into a fitness movement. Only when signalling imposes political costs can it keep checking itself long enough to reach power. Egalitarianism works. BLM works – if you are white.

Aristocracy, Leftism, and the Moment of Radicalization, or Revolutions Pt. I

Dearest friends,

America is burning. And so I thought I would finish a post I’d been keeping on the backburner for a while, about the elite and revolutions.

If you read this blog, you almost certainly read bigger blogs, so you are probably familiar with the concepts of Bioleninism (See: Spandrell) and Elite Overproduction (Turchin). I won’t go too far into that, so please read up on that before continuing if you haven’t.

Instead, I’d like to talk about the social composition of revolutionary parties and the significance of that. It is often asserted that revolutions are the middle class using the proles as a bludgeon to pry their way into elite status, killing off the innocent pre-Revolution nobles along the way. There is a lot of handwringing about Jewish bolsheviks killing off the Russian nobility or the rising merchant bourgeois in France destroying the Ancien Regime. It’s a neat little story.

It’s too bad that it’s bullshit.

In my typology of class conflict blog post, I explained that the middle class can rarely create a critical mass of followers because it’s too transparently self-serving. I’m going to elaborate on that. What would you expect the social origins of the early Bolsheviks to be? One would guess a bunch of Jews and middle class people and middle class Jews, right? To some extent, that’s not unfounded. The Party is about 15% Jewish and 44% middle class (Riga). Sounds pretty over-represented, right? Well, Riga is coding noble origins conservatively, since the line between service gentry (upper middle class) and true noble was blurry in the late empire, and still comes up with 13% of the Party being noble. I am less conservative about this, and estimate 15-20%. Commentary’s estimate of Jewish bolshevism skews higher, at 20%. Jews were 4% of the Russian Empire. At most, Jews are 5x over-represented in Bolshevism. The middle class numbered about 10%, so the middle class is also 4-5x over-represented. The nobility was 2.4% of the population (and formally included the service gentry upper middle class, so the broadest definition of noble), and at the very least over 5x over-represented, and perhaps as high as 8x over-represented. No wonder Trotsky, who was both Jew and noble, was a Communist.

Well, some people may say that the NKVD was 75% Jewish. For them, I have a quote from a man who went to observe the Red Army in action.

“Among them, many come from old Russian noble families, where military service in the position of commanders was a tradition of many generations, where military science, one might say, was im- bibed at the mother’s breast, and where military talk surrounded the child from the first years of his life. Cadet schools and military academies were the next steps in their training. Formerly 80 or 90 percent of the famous Russian military leaders as well as the rank and file of officers came from these privileged classes of old Russia.”

80 or 90%, huh? That’s a backbone of the Party. The Red Army wins the Russian Civil War. The Red Army kicks the ass of all the foreign powers intervening. Without the Red Army, there is no USSR. And not only are these the Tsarist officers, they’re the creme of the Tsarist Army. A scholar, Kenez, says of the White Army – their officers are cadets and young, unestablished men. The Red Army gets the old grizzled veterans, real nobles that have been blooded in war. And Trotsky leads them! If you’re Stalin, you can see why you have to purge the Red Army after purging Trotsky, even though you have wars to fight. Can’t have that power base lingering. So it’s a really important part of the power structure.

Okay, so let’s talk about the French Revolution then. Bunch of fucking bourgeois, right? Bzzt. 21 of the Society of Thirty are from the highest levels of the French nobility, almost half, and a majority are noblesse d’epee, which tend to be older and more established than the noblesse de robe. So what about the loyalists? What about the regime? Only 3 out of 36 of Louis’s ministers are of ancient feudal extraction. Far from a rowdy bourgeois element trying to make room for itself, it was the membership of the most pedigreed families that were upset.

So why would an established elite do this? The standard Marxist explanation is economics, historical materialism. Why would a old Bolshevik turn class traitor? True, there is some virtue, but don’t deify them, they are the product of larger material trends. In 1905, the Russian elite was more conservative – and then things went totally to shit. Agriculture produce prices were plummeting, roving bands of anti-semitic thugs called the Black Hundreds roamed the land looting, manors were attacked. Basically, it was becoming really fucking hard to be a noble. Even with so many impoverished peasants, there was not a lot of economic surplus to go around.

What about in France? Well, the French revolutionary families often had one thing in common. They were disfavored at court. That meant they didn’t get the juicy sinecures. Louis XIV was a smart guy, and he always distributed titles and sinecures around all the old families fairly, so that everyone felt like they got a piece. Not so with Louis XVI. Guy is dumb, and he lets his wife award all the best sinecures to her friends and favorites. Bad, bad move. But even with that, the kingdom was broke. They made a big stink about the necklace. Louis XIV did lavish stuff for the court, who complained then? But France then was able to handle it, and the cost of all his many wars. The American Revolutionary War was ruinous for Louis XVI’s France.

You may be sensing a theme here. By the time of the collapse, the state was no longer able to sustain all of its elites. This is Turchin’s elite overproduction in action, a classic set of examples. So why are these revolutions identified as bourgeois? Because there is a grain of truth to that. A truly middle class person has no resources or credibility to rouse the masses, since they have no skin in the game. But as history passes, new forms of maintaining elite power arise (See my post “The Second Technocracy”). One of the leaders of the French Revolution, the Duke of Biron, ran an early form of hedge fund. Does that sound like bourgeois merchant behavior to you? Yes, it does. While not all of the Party was middle class, almost all of it was “middle class” in the sense the early members almost always had a time they spent as itinerant intelligentsia. The managers and thinkers of the coming Managerial Revolution. These new ways of holding power create ways to be powerful and elite without being directly dependent on the state for your power base. It creates an origin point for an alternative state. When the state is rising, it is able to successfully assimilate a new counterelite. 19th century France assimilates the rising medical establishment into its power structure. But when the state is weak? They will have their pound of flesh.

And how do they do it? Signalling spiral. Leftism. Easy enough. Do they believe it? I’m sure they do. Few people are so cynical. You can very easily hold a belief even if it benefits you in a cynical way. Humans are wired that way.

It is too bad they picked an ideology so disastrous for them to personally signal. On comes the guillotine.

Luckily, we humans are smart.

As a non-white, upper middle class person, I would never associate with a political ideology that would harm me. Ha! That would be stupid. Oh wait.

Perhaps this deserves explanation. To be continued in part 2.

Knitting by the rolling carts,
Monsieur le Baron

Interest, Inflation, and Currency: Or Why Monetary Policy Creates Hurdles to Entrepreneurship

Dearest friends,

I suppose at one point, I would discuss personal finance. So here it is. The finance of persons, or a bit of it, as I understand it. Call me Mr. Monsieur Moustache. Let’s go down to New York, The New York, and follow the money.

The following is not a definitive theory, but merely my hypothesis. I don’t know *for sure* what has caused this to happen, but here is what I think.

Repeat after me: Volatility is not risk. Volatility is not risk. Volatility is not risk.

Imagine two agents. The first entity, call it the rentier, is concerned with extracting value sufficient to live a comfortable life off of their assets. The goal of a rentier is not the maximization of their own wealth, but their own survival through long time, preferably in maximal comfort. Therefore, the rentier wants to invest in something where the returns exceed the erosion of purchasing power (inflation) plus their own desired safe rate of withdrawal (a number I typically ballpark, arbitrarily, at 2% for long time) plus an amount to be reinvested to maintain a margin of safety against uncertainty, such that the fund is never overdrawn during bad times.

So the equation faced by the rentier is as follows.

ROI > I + MS + RS

Where the terms stand for inflation, margin of safety, and safe withdrawal rate.

Now, the naive supposition is that these people will chase as much yield as they can. That’s a misunderstanding of rentier psychology. If that were the case, you would see the fortunes of old money balloon into infinity. Simultaneously, if the fate of old money was to lose money, you would not see old money at all – the term would be meaningless and the concept nonsense. Some people do deny the existence of old money and confidently proclaim the saying, “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” To that, I say that if you take that as the null hypothesis (persistence = .4), the odds of my family surviving to the present are like the odds of picking a single grain of sand correctly out of all the grains of sand on Earth. And some of our rivals from those very old days are still around. You see this around the world, from the Norman conquerors, to Florentine elites, to American colonial fortunes. The probability of a family surviving like that by chance is well past 1e-9*.

Why wouldn’t an aristocratic family want to maximize yields? All too often, power means problems. The majority of people are content to live a life of comfort and ease. The goal of a Cloud Person family is not to slowly expand until it engulfs the whole world, and despite the maxim of r>g, this does not and cannot hold in the micro scale. No tree grows to the sky. r>g implying the growth of elite fortunes only holds in the macro/societal sense, implying the steady expansion of the noble/professional class through an empire’s lifespan, what Turchin calls elite overproduction. An individual aristocratic family stagnates, stuck in a perpetual decline towards poverty but never quite getting there, a dramatic WASP (although, strictly speaking, I believe the term Norman-American is more historically accurate) heiress lamenting the fall of her house with a breathy “Alas!” (To my beloved sad one, do not hit me.) This is a holding pattern which can safely last centuries or millennia.

How does one successfully stagnate? The avoidance of risk. As they say in finance, rule 1 is to not lose money. That doesn’t mean never take losses, it means never blowup. Risk is not volatility, but the chance of an investment blowing up. And fatal risk, the kind you never take, is when these blowups blow you up, not just your investment. But even lesser blowups hurt bigly. Rather than pursuing maximal returns, a prudent aristocrat acts contra the prescriptions of economists and their rational Homo Economicus, but instead minimizes their exposure to blowup SO LONG AS THEY ARE ABLE TO SATISFY THE RENTIER EQUATION WITH THE BASKET OF ASSETS.

What’s the other half of this capital equation? Why, people who want to take that money and make more money, like yours truly. Call them the capitalists. Value can beget value, wealth can birth wealth. Little golden soldiers march out and produce a building, a factory, a monument to prosperity. A would-be capitalist presents an opportunity, like open a restaurant on Fifth Street, speculate on macroeconomic conditions, buy oil futures, make loans to greased up deaf guys, and gets capital. Money is not free. Money is not free! Money has a price. What is this price? Interest. Interest is the cost of acquiring money. For the capitalist, interest is a cost. So far, this all hews to conventional theory. But conventional theory holds that lower interest spur further investment, because the lower cost of money increases the profitability of investment until it attracts a taker.

But is this the case? Let’s imagine an extreme example (which is increasingly less extreme in this day and age). If you can borrow at 0%, you can grow this money and have a safe rate of return by putting it in a brokerage and enjoying 2% interest. If you are a rentier, you are now satisfied. If you are a capitalist playing this skim somehow, you are satisfied. Economic activity is not really happening. Business is not growing. Money is stuck in a brokerage, doing activities where the broker can’t lose too much money and collapse from a bank run. The money sits under a mattress, useless. If you can borrow at a sufficiently negative rate of interest, then you don’t have to do anything. You can sit on a dragon’s hoard of gold and wait for your purchasing power to steadily increase.

What generates new wealth? Entrepreneurship. Innovation. Expansion. These are activities which yield very high returns. In some sense, you can say that you’re rewarded handsomely for this. But this is foolish. You are actually exposed to a lot of real risk, even if the asset is not volatile. It can explode! Rentiers are not in the business of investing in entrepreneurs and business, even if this is a fundamentally profitable thing to do. Rentiers want to stay safe. Their interests lie not in profit maximization, but an indefinite stay at the top. Accordingly, you have to force them into riskier asset classes. The lower the interest rates, the lower you can descend on the risk chain while still surviving as a rentier. At very high interest rates, you might only be able to maintain rentier status by investing in direct business ventures while maintaining a store of gold as your margin of safety. As interest rates decline, stocks and corporate bonds become attractive vehicles. Fall further, and you can just dick around on an infinitely leveraged bank deposit. The items higher on the risk totem are closer to the production of real value. First you build a business, then you invest in developed businesses so they can grow, then you lend to a government or a bank which might invest in developed business so they can grow, etc. Just as delta can be said to be an option’s moneyness, yield is an asset’s entrepreneuriness. The closer you get to the fray and the struggle of business competition, the sweeter the returns. Rentiers aren’t charities. They’re families that delay consumption for millennia so they can sit and drink pina coladas. They’ll only do what they’re obliged to do so, whether from financial need or cultural bonds.

Here’s a chart.

fredgraph

The red line is real interest rates.
The blue line is investment as a proportion of real GDP.

Viewed this way, investment goes up when interest rates go down. The monetarist thesis is confirmed. The long run secular decline in interest rates is a steady increase in investment spending over time. And that’s why every Tom, Dick, and Harry can start a business.

Except… the green line.

What is that green line?

The green line is net investment in new business. If you tell the story of the green line, then business investment (as opposed to purchasing blue chips and AAA bonds) is anemic, barely responding to interest rates as monetarists would expect. Actually, it does the inverse. New business investment never does better than during the terrible super interest rates of the early 1980s. As interest rates decline, the spread between investment spending in general and business investment shoots up and never looks back. We call that asset inflation. The low interest rates allow for more leverage, and thus more capital directed at assets, but business activity becomes disfavored. You can see that investment overall goes up, but business investment is anemic! Particularly, you can note 2 years of net negative business activity under Obama, the first time a contraction has ever exceeded a quarter in length.

Why would people feel the Obama recovery was fake? Why were the roaring 80s so roaring? What does GDP mean for lived prosperity? I believe the net business formation better reflects the perceived health of the economy, because small business is more linked to the prosperity of the average American. While big business generates the GDP and pays out handsome salaries and benefits, the majority of new jobs come from small business. Up until very recently, a majority of people still worked for small businesses. The expansion of big business into mass employment with McJobs is not precisely a trend to root for either. Small business keeps America employed, and employed America stays away from drugs, despair, and depression.

fredgraph-2

Here is a chart with business formation, inflation, and interest. We can see neither curve is a perfect fit, but again, contrary to establishment thinking, there is a clear positive correlation between inflation and business. Accordingly, the Fed’s goal is to keep inflation… low. At least this, I consider more forgivable because inflation serves as a tax on the middle class, which primarily holds hard cash instead of investments.

We can consider this a variation on the Austrian economics theme of malinvestment. Essentially, the lower the interest, the more investment classes become viable as a means for a rentier to maintain their wealth. That means money is driven from business into these other categories, causing a buildup of assets that would not happen under the free money market of gold or some other deregulated currency. Interest being the cost of money, the demand for lots of money to play games with bonds instead of increasing direct production would drive the price of money up. The difference is that the activity is rentier-based, not entrepreneur/capitalist based. The Austrians suppose that entrepreneurs start businesses because of low interest rates, or that a fund might start a strategy because of favorable rates. Not so. Entrepreneurs start new businesses because they are entrepreneurs and they have a screw loose. Similarly, funds don’t wind up when the interest rates go against them. It’s the way rentiers allocate their capital that changes, in accordance with the least risk principle. Some people blame the complacency of the American people for the decline of business. But if this was the case, then the amount of capital per business would rise, as all the investors converge to invest in the few remaining gritty entrepreneurs. Many of the people who espouse this theory believe that immigrants are needed to inject a entrepreneurial spirit into America. Put bluntly, this is bullshit and a cheap excuse for open borders. The amount of capital put into each business has remained constant. The pool of capital available has shrunk.

Another hypothesis a friend and colleague has advanced is that the real explanation is a cultural shift – the shift to professional money managers and financial advisors. These people don’t invest in small business because they don’t understand it, because it’s not securitized and theorized. Now, the theories behind the markets are mostly bunk used by over-groomed finance professors to pleasure themselves, as seen by the regular failure of EMH and MPT. But that may also be a cause. Financial advisors don’t feel comfortable in this pool. You might find that explanation more sound.

No jokes today. Monetarism is the death of American business. It is the death of the American dream. I don’t like the gold standard, but it imposes discipline on central bankers. The Rothschild-backed gold standard never saw madness like this. Coincidentally, it would probably be easier for me to get funding, but your dear Monsieur would never act selfishly, I promise.

You may not be interested in markets, but markets are interested in you.

Sincerely,
Monsieur le Baron

* If your alleged odds of staying in the top quintile starting in the top quintile by conventional mobility models are .35, then the odds of staying in the top quintile for 20 generations (a relatively conservative survival horizon, many families are older, including big ticket names) are 7.6e-10, something that only happens a few times in all of humanity’s existence. Not recorded history. Human existence. The short version is that Raj Chetty is wrong and his optimistic, sunny estimates of social mobility are practically utopian.

Hello frens

Dearest friends,

I will have a full length post soon enough, I think. I’m working on one. Economics based.

In the meantime, there is something on my mind. The problem with polls.

I got polled again today.

According to Pew, you have a 1 in 154,000 chance to be selected for one of their polls. Fair enough. Here’s the problem though. I’m polled every month or two. Either I severely, severely underestimate the amount of polls conducted in this country, or something is rotten in the state of Denmark, though probably not intentionally rotten.

Supposing I experience a 1 in 3 chance to be polled each month, that suggests there are something like 70,000 polls conducted a month. That seems improbably high to me, but perhaps it’s true. Otherwise, there’s some sort of strong sampling bias going on.

I can think of two major reasons why this might be so.

1. People don’t like to talk to pollsters. I like to talk to pollsters. A pollster will dial until they reach a halting point, which often means they’ll halt at me or a person similar in character to me. That’s not going to be representative. That’s going to be the kind of weirdos who love talking to pollsters.

2. The difficulty in building samples of certain demographics. I’m not just polled an unusual amount. I’m also invited to focus group new products for Big Bank and Fancy Corp. Why? If you’re constructing a sample and one of the components has to be people in their 20s of a certain net worth, then you’re not dealing with a lot of people! Clearly, too many of the yoofs are avocado toast loving wastrels. Polls try to fractionally distill into groups like income >$250k, Asian, Wiccan, Republican, Space Wizard, but these are not independent categories, but interact and form weird archetypes, such that if you’re looking for rich people, the kind of rich people you find will return radically different results. I’m not sure I’m being very clear, but people are archetypes, are types, are kinds of people. The man who owns a dealership may be just as rich as a BigLaw partner, but brother, they are going to be very, very different. So if you try to construct samples and you pick rich people, you can create really weird and bizarre answers depending on the arbitrary rich person you found that day.

Weep woo. Bean burritos.

A strange thing. And yet, polls are held up as scientific truth.

Call me maybe,
Monsieur le Baron

A Chart, A Tool, But Not for Chartists

Dearest friends,

A chart!

Class Diagrams-blog

Next time you’re talking to someone and the labels get thick and confusing, use this.

Class is a sticky socio-economic concept.

When someone says “UC” or “UMC” or what have you, they could mean any of the things to the right.

Church’s conception of class is basically three career tracks or life paths. A young E begins their life in E4 and tries to scrabble upwards. They start with a ticket punched to join the ranks of America’s professionals, but often have their eyes on higher things. A G dues pays their way up until they arrive at a comfortable G2 position. These are the people who go to the Big City to “make it”. Labor people develop skills and certifications to advance, while paying their dues in time. These represent three ways of making your way through the world. You can vaguely call them “connections”, “culture”, and “skills”. Church is bigoted against Es, who he considers vaguely sinister at best and downright Satanic Illuminati evil at worst.

The Fussell conception of class is more like different ethnotribes. You can imagine three different tribes, “Uppers”, “Middles”, and “Proles”, with their own customs and cultures. There are, in turn, little clans with their own quirks within the three. That the classes happen to be arranged hierarchically is less significant than the three basically being distinct populations with their own unique physiognomies and cults. They eat differently, drink differently, speak differently, and play differently. Fussell is bigoted against “Middles”, who he considers pretentious, snobby, spendthrift pikers.

The money conception of class is rarely expounded formerly by any academic or bloggers, but it’s probably the most naturally American. Class is your money, and class can be bought. The economic brackets I have highlighted can be thought of the status of established households. You will note the considerable overlap. This is intentional. Each economic class imparts different attitudes about money. For the uppers, they simply do not understand money, just as a fish does not know what water is. How could they? For the upper middles, money is a tool of influence and power, used to extend one’s reach. Debt and hard cash are interchangeable as “liquidity”. Two attitudes predominate: “Ambitious” and “Contemptuous”. The ambitious mindset is possessed by those well-aware of their own lowliness, who feel the knife cutting lightly into their dangling gonads. The contemptuous mindset is possessed by bohemians, who turn their back on a life of striving to go live in a dumpster. The middle segment sees money as a way of obtaining fine goods, the better things in life, and to keep up with the Joneses. Their watchword is “comfortable”, they are born into “comfort”, then spend their adulthoods trying (and sometimes succeeding!) in regaining that “comfort”, banishing money anxiety from their minds. The working and lowers experience money as a fleeting thing, to be spent as soon as it is seen, before it darts away. In fat times, they purchase bling like jewelry and TVs and boats. In lean times, they clip coupons and try not to starve.

The common terms are basically a hodge-podge medley of all these concepts. And this occurs partly because it is true. People of the “UMC” world might interact with Es who were born into professional jobs, Gs who finally clawed their way into being G2, and labor elite business owners. Trump might act like a member of Fussell’s Prole tribe, but he still lives among people of the “UC”. It’s very easy to imagine a teacher knowing a cop, even though a cop is the better sort of prole/L, while a teacher is a “Middle” or a G.

Are you still confused?

At least I got to draw.

Good with crayons,
Monsieur le Baron

Stupid Party, Evil Party, or the Cynical Crusades of Cunning Capitalists

Dearest friends,

It seems that when I am at a party, I am in a party, which makes me party to certain things. Personally, I’d rather be privy to the privy, a privy in the privy. Too many people are looking for a magic spell, or some formula which may as well be one, but I am sympathetic to the sentiments of Gore Vidal. The greatest magic is not some occult scrap or incantation, it is being smarter than your enemies. If only I could be such a wizard.

Alas, it seems I am often in the stupid party. The only problem is that no one can seem to agree which one it is! To hear Donkeyphants tell it, Demonthuglirats are a party masterminded by Big Fupa, Cleetonius Snapback Sueytonius, Hitler Jesus, and the Menergy lobby. Every day, the Cock Brothers drill the Ladyboy Earth Mother and extract her viscous black fluids (should probably get that checked out, by the way) so as to collect the Menergy profits they use to fund the racism machine, which beams the racism that keeps wypipo alive.

Tangent. Cleaning product called Ethnic Cleansing. WIPE POWER! WIPE POWER! It’s got all the cleaning secrets of… uhh… the ethnics. Fund it, bruvs.

By contrast, we have the Muleodons. When they aren’t desecrating the cross, they’re getting spitroasted by the handlers in the Big Gay. They outsource factories and import fudge-colored fudge packeries to satisfy their lust for the British Broadcasting Corporation. They erect dead baby castles made out of live babies, just to be ironically extra evil (Note: Don’t try this at home). Their list of crimes is so long, you could make a whole documentary denying them all. Does anyone want an NPR tote?

Let’s take one contemporary issue, which I have studied at great length. To pro-abortionists, it seems obvious abortion should be mandatory, because we must abort the fetus of the baby Cthulhu before he awakens and begins a thousand years of darkness. The pro-choicers only have the weak argument that baby Cthulhu should be free to self-actualize and get a LIBERAL ARTS DEGREE in world-destruction, the hippie bastards. Since it’s ridiculous anyone would sincerely believe in this, it’s clear their organizations have been paid off by the sinister Cock Brothers and their Menergy Companies, collectively known as the Menocratic Manocracy. Not even the Cock Brothers want a thousand years of darkness. But they’ll still pay for people to protect the bodily autonomy of the fetus against the parasitic sustainer (who leeches off the fetus’s Instaauras for precious likes and upvotes).

The problem with labeling the Pachydemos the Evil Party is that the roles are often reversed in different situations. Sometimes the Remonrats are trying to make our economy more sustainable by using precious green energy mined from our Earth’s confetti deposits, while the DMC scaremongers about the threat caused by runaway clown emissions. That’s because there’s a profit to be had tying our energy to the non-renewable sun, which will soon grow dim and explode, whereas confetti rocks last billions of years and can be recycled into new planets. Now, both parties will claim to be using fax and logjams to DESTROY their opponents, but the problem with that claim is that you can fax anything so long as it fits on a flatbed scanner. Obviously. Indeed, if you go to college and take a Philophilia course, or get a Doctorate in Office Supplies, you will often be called to fax something from one side of the room, go to the reverse side, fax it again, and keep faxing it back and forth until the professor gets bored and unleashes the rabid badgers on everyone who hasn’t done their homework. This is a training technique known as the Devil’s Avocado, where you try to spread toast that isn’t yours.

Ultimately, people come to rely on their moral intuitions and certain core axioms. And that’s the problem. Political parties are not composed of people of one mind, like the Borg, but are coalitions built on a constant struggle for advantage between internal factions. Because of this, one party may have many different positive agendas within it, which the factions can’t agree on. The political platform itself is, of course, a compromise position. When a party plays the “stupid party” role, it means that they are trying to set forth a positive policy but can’t agree on one. After all, policies come from different axioms and also present different tradeoffs. To the lumpen, oblivious to party politics, it looks like squabbling over minutia. And to some extent, it is. When a party is being the “evil party”, it is acting oppositionally to a positive agenda. It can be because the positive agenda smells, because they’re being manipulated by nefarious forceps, or probably even a third or fourth reason. Either way, it appears like one party has a moral message, and the other party is just saying “Fuck you”. Because it is. The opposing party doesn’t need to agree on a path forward to agree that a certain path is obviously bad, but because it sets forth no positive agenda of its own, it looks like it is opposing an obviously good thing (all positive agendas are sold to the masses as obviously good).

But Monsieur, this is all stupid and obvious! How dare you waste my time? Apologies, dear reader, but I am a brainlet and it takes me a while to get anywhere. Besides, regardless of how obvious things are, sometimes they must be restated. Education has a knack for blinding people to obvious truths. They get so many fax, they can dial into anything. That’s tragedy and alienation of modem life, we’re not on the same page. And worse than that is to fax too many modems – life becomes phoney. That’s post-modem thinking, that there is and can be no one true AOL disk (but it’s AOL 10). Personally, I think we will one day look to the heavens again, and cast our ether nets there.

To get back on track, sometimes policies get passed. Obviously stupid policies get passed. You see, when setting a positive agenda, and you have many good but flawed paths forward, dissenting is entirely reasonable. Accordingly, it’s not a good show of loyalty. But if the party chooses a very, very stupid policy, then agreement shows that everyone really is a true blue party member. It’s a classic example of signalling. So instead of seeing a party choose one of several viable options, we should see them ultimately unite behind very stupid plans that please no one. A very stupid party indeed.

A seeker after slamsara,
Monsieur le Baron