I’ve been on the Luke Ford stream along with my pal Kyle!
Catch me live at Luke Ford’s!
Also, I’ve been reading Z Man. Interesting, interesting stuff.
Minor League Baron
I’ve been on the Luke Ford stream along with my pal Kyle!
Catch me live at Luke Ford’s!
Also, I’ve been reading Z Man. Interesting, interesting stuff.
Minor League Baron
It is clear to me that when a man waits in line for his breakfast, he must contemplate the spiritual. After all, to look at a menu is a deeply transcendental experience, as a man confronting a multitude of meal choices must also confront the multitude of choices we, as free individuals, must face every day in a modern technological society. The menu, with its dizzying variety, is a reflection of society in miniature.
It is easy to get lost in choice. When people are forced to make their own choices, they often find themselves making choices that they later come to regret, but have no way of reversing. And then they’re stuck. The world is littered with the detritus of shattered lives. People, lacking guidance, bury themselves in debt to chase dreams that they don’t really have, but that they think they should have. One way to mediate the problem of choice is to provide a life script. You establish certain rites of passage and markers of adulthood such that the transition is guided by respected authority figures and possesses a clear checklist of things to do. It structures life. And, based on my surveys of the great prole wilderness, I do believe the average American is in need of structure.
This sort of thing requires a lot of cultural infrastructure. A lifescript has to have buy-in at every stage of life to retain a sense of weight and resonance. It must have the weight of legitimacy. Tradition. Things must be done this way because this is the way things are done (lifescripts being essentially arbitrary things).
And unfortunately, there are no rites and rituals for picking a delicious breakfast. So that wouldn’t help me with my particular predicament.
But such a problem does make me think of something. Kashrut laws. The Jews who keep kosher have significantly reduced the size of their decision space. Is it true that they may have sealed off some tasty foods? Sure. But at least the mental energy needed to make a food decision is reduced. In fact, any such food tradition can serve this goal. If you always eat Chinese food on Christmas, you don’t need to use any mental energy thinking about it. Your life has been simplified.
It all comes down to the question of “Why do the Goyim X?”
“Why do the Goyim X?” Which does remind me of something. Goyim. Usually, people think of inviting refugees and other unsorted undesirable immigrants as an act of xenophilia. But if that were the case, why are elite communities free of them? The normal answer is hypocrisy. I don’t think that’s a complete explanation. I think that it’s an act of xenophobia. Elite communities are beautiful ethnic (ethnicity: Aristocrat) and cultural (culture: Aristocratic) monocultures, and they like it that way. But outside is a vast reservoir of filthy, unwashed, impoverished foreigners, who, terrifyingly enough, even kinda look like you. How do we stop their incursion? Undermine their shitty little communities, because, conveniently, we rule them. I’m a xenophile – I’m open to class mixing and making gross half-breed babies and listening to the weird ideas of the unwashed.
But that’s a thought for another day.
Why do the Goyim X? In that case, it was “why do people care so much about arbitrary rules and taboos over moral principles?” Reform Judaism nixed a lot of the rules such that Reform Jews are basically Episcopalians in funny hats, but it’s dying. The churches that thrive have an abundance of arbitrary rules and rites. People seem to need to crave them. And when it comes to everybody’s favorite prole church, Evangelicalism, a big unifying moral factor for their base seems to be abortion. And this, of course, seems absurd. Abortion is only necessary because these proles are already living lives of grievous sin. If you’re convinced otherwise, go spend some time in a typical American small town. It’s basically Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s not some sort of moral principle they’re upholding, because they don’t uphold moral principles. It’s a holiness signal. And the fact that not aborting ruins their life (what little there is to ruin) is all the better – the more you sacrifice to show your conspicuous holiness, the more holy you appear. At least prole virtue signaling only leads to self-destruction, unlike elite virtue signaling. To paraphrase Mr. Card, only one man actually asked us to be holy, and so we killed him for it.
This leaves us with the question of why the Goyim are so in love with moral rites. One could bring up that previous example of pro-life as virtue signaling, but you can just as easily virtue signal with moral principles. Why is “Why do the Goyim X” such a fertile question? And it is a fertile question, because otherwise it wouldn’t keep being brought up in my circle as conversation fodder. It’s such a fertile question because the commonsense practices of the goys often have some underlying logic governing them. But, goys being goys, they are unaware of what is. So you know there’s some reason why the memes exist in the way they do, but you are free to disentangle what is. And when you do, you look very clever and gain a lot of social status.
So why the fixation on moral rites? I thought about it, which is rather a pain, since my mental capabilities are rather limited and therefore I try to stay away from thinking, and I came up with a few categories of moral regulation.
This one is pretty straightforward. You have a big moral idea, like egalitarianism, and what is holy is that which advances the cause of egalitarianism. Being a principle, it is easily extensible to novel problems, which is pretty good. And it doesn’t ask for any wasted use of effort. You’re not holy if you burn meat on a firepit, you’re holy if you advance egalitarianism. Seems pretty good, right? Well. No, not really. The problem with principle is that it’s very vulnerable to leftism. If leftism is the extension of societal principles towards their natural (but stupid) conclusions for the sake of power and social status, then any principle is totally open to it. It’s also easy to subvert, since any fuck can make a plausible sounding argument that your shoes need to be his shoes because equality.
Let’s move one level down. Moral law! Holiness lies in following the law. This is basically what Jews do. Thou shalt not eat unclean foods. Thou shalt not get abortions (I do assume there is some kind of moral principle behind this, but given that it’s a belief held by proles, it’s damned hard to figure out what it might be). They have a whole bunch of moral laws. By inscribing the law and not the principle, you basically shift the burden of leftism. Now, any attempt to move leftwards must first involve moral lawyers using various legal tricks to make a good argument that what the law really means is something else. This requires a lot of g, which screens off the attempts of any random prole. But aristocrats will still be able to manage, and moreover, they have a strong incentive to do so. Still, it at least puts one gate, even if it’s just a child-safe gate (Personal experience: these fuckers can be hard to open. Get a child gate, keeps kids in and landlords out.) And it provides a natural defense against leftism – you’re trying to twist the law to serve your own ends. If an aristocrat was so inclined, and they had allies, they could mount a credible defense of a moral law. And in the future, a moral law provides a natural Schelling point for reaction. Let’s just return to the letter of the law. Done deal. But we can get even more rigid than this.
There’s a set of things to do, and you better fucking do them. If kashrut law did away with clean and unclean and just said that you better not eat pork because God will rape your butt if you do, then that would be a rite. If you are to stack boxes in the northeast corner every morning and unstack them every evening, that’s a rite. There’s no logic beyond “God said so, now shut up”. And that’s the brilliance of it. You can’t push it through leftism because there’s nothing to extend. There’s no principle or logic to it. Holiness lies in not eating pork, full stop. You can’t holiness spiral. A holiness spiral here consists in perfect adherence to the rite, and you can’t get more holy than that. You can keep kosher perfectly, but you can’t keep superkosher.
So we’ve defeated leftism. What’s the problem?
Leftism is death, sure. But leftism is also life. Leftism is mutation. The drive to gain more status drives new arguments, and these arguments allow society to change. Unfortunately for society, most mutations are bad. And eventually a society implodes under the weight of its own memetic load. But what’s the alternative? Stagnation and death. The modern leftism we know so well is rooted in WASP and Christian ideals. It’s an ultra-Calvinism. Why do Jews have such a strong rabbinical tradition, such a strong mutation engine? Because the rigidity of only having so many moral laws and needing to get on in a novel and hostile world demanded a significant rate of mutation. It demanded the ability to come up with novel moral solutions to novel moral problems. And what of China? Confucius dwelled heavily on the subject of rites. Human rites brought out an essential humanness. And I think that this vindicates his views, because a focus on rites allows for memetic stability. But China itself had significant memetic stagnation. The practices of the elite remained largely intact over the course of millennia, from Han to Qing. And one day, some big nosed people in a boat came and knocked it all over.
But wait, you say. You’re forgetting something. And indeed I am. There’s another possibility out there. The charismatic. The spiritual. Morality rooted in feels. If it feels holy, it is holy. This tends to be a creature of the lower classes, and for good reason. It has all the downsides of moral principle, because it can be perfectly pushed and subverted. I can push leftier than you because I’m even more of a sobbing, blubbering vagina of a concerned mom. Hooray! But it has none of the upsides. Because there’s nothing there but feels, it can’t give rise to new arguments, newly mutated memes. It can corrode, but it can’t build up. So the charismatic Christianities, the Evangelicals, these are prole. And deeply prole. When they are adapted by non-proles, they begin to shed the prole characteristics and to accrue theology in their place.
And what happens when you shear Evangelicals of even the fig leaf of moral structure bequeathed to it by Christianity? You get the Spiritual but Not Religious, which tend to be converts from prole Christianity. And boy are they prole. Spiritual but Not Religious is basically all the feel good holiness without any of the possible judgment by an angry Sky Daddy (Proles being proles, their conception of God is often just an angry Dad in the sky. Now, he is the Heavenly Father, but that doesn’t make him literally your dad.). It’s pretty easy to suss out a bravetheist of prole origins, because they rail against God-as-sky-daddy, which tends to earn them bemused smirks in the company of their betters. Higher class bravetheists have better arguments. I don’t agree with them, obviously, but I can find merit in some of what they say. Now, people who want to feel good but don’t want to be judged, even if those judgments are trying to steer them in the right direction are probably low FTO and low rationality. And people who can’t be arsed to do the rituals of church are probably low conscientiousness too. So this is already a population selected from the left tail of Evangelicals. But I suspect that the loss of moral structure also plays a role in making them even worse than what they would normally be. It’s a double whammy of adverse selection and adverse effects. The result? A predominately white ethno-religious group that performs about as economically well as the National Baptist Convention or the Church of God in Christ, aka black Protestant churches. That’s like an accomplishment, but in the opposite direction. It’s an un-achievement.
Or maybe this is all bullshit, and I’m upset I didn’t get the lox bagel instead. See, that’s a problem that kashrut fixes. C’est la vie!
Suffering a case of moral indigestion,
Monsieur le Baron
Note: today we have a guest post, courtesy of Monsieur le Baron. I hope you enjoy it.
Welcome back. I’m happy to be here with another guest post.
Last time, we discussed the strange creature known as the Bobo. But not all SWPLs are rich. Many are, in fact, quite poor. What of these… SWProles? Today, we’ll be covering the Theory of the Aspirational Class, walking through some musings, and making some conclusions.
First, to explain terms. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the author’s analysis. They have a tendency to lump both Bobo and SWProle together into one homogeneous SWPL group, which they call “elite” or the Aspirational Class. I don’t think this is necessarily a valid leap – while it does capture some essential cultural similarities, the defining aspect of the SWProle WITH RELATION TO their more affluent brethren is their total lack of power…
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My sincerest thanks to EvoX.
Go here. Read this.
The cold season is upon me, and snowflakes descend like falling ash from distant burning woods. When I look up, I half-expect the skies to be a murky black, filled with dark, churning clouds spreading like goopy oil slicks, the air rich with a stench half-way between a Vegas gambling den and a gaping incinerator.
But… it’s not.
The bugs are gone, for now. Fly away, little bugs. Perhaps I ought to decamp to warmer climes myself? Maikäfer flieg!
But I won’t.
Instead, like rather less majestic insects, I will hunker down in my little hole, digging deep for warmth. And once ensconced, I will sup on defrosted lamb and all this Brisk Iced Tea (Brisk, goes down smooth and fast! A real thirst quencher!) I got for real fire sale prices.
It is a certain kind of bliss, I suppose.
Speaking of groceries, it reminds of that strange little box, Whole Foods. I don’t shop there, and I never have. Too rich for my blood. Well, I suppose that’s not completely true. When I was in school, I had a friend who liked to buy a particular brand of yogurt from Whole Foods. These trips were always brief, lest the Eye of Mackey gaze deep into our wallets and dispatch his legion of crustwraiths after our shekels. Would we, one day, be white enough to shop their hallowed halls without shame? Probably not, though he now is getting close. The day we graduated, we went and bought bottles of VOSS water and drank them. To be honest… it didn’t really taste that great. But that didn’t matter – it was the excess of it, the conspicuous consumption, the sheer audacious whiteness – it might as well been, no, indeed it was… the nectar of the gods. The culmination of years of effort, struggle, and pain. It was over, it was done. At long last, a deathly silence had settled over our lives, for the guns had stopped. And all was stillness on the Western Front.
We had won. We had won and we were drinking fucking VOSS water and we were reveling in it because, goddamnit, we deserved it. We were the fucking Masters of the Universe. Born to be kings! Princes of the Universe! That water was the ecstasy of gold in pure, bottled form. It was JUST. FUCKING. WATER. And that was the beauty of it, that was what we exulted in, that pinnacle of white-being. Water, this thing which was free, we had just bought and drank at great expense.
VOSS wasn’t water, it was liquid status.
After that, I didn’t give Whole Foods any more mind.
A friend of mine showed me ad for Brandless, which appears to be a store selling organic generics. Its claim to fame is that it’s cheaper than Whole Foods.
Yeah, no fucking shit. Having fresh fish flown to me from goddamn Alaska and pairing with caviar was literally cheaper than Whole Foods. It doesn’t make it cheap! What the hell!
Under my feet, seemingly overnight, had grown an entire class of people buying and doing lots of fancy shit. There were a few possibilities. One was that, while I was looking at the lint gathering in my navel, the rest of the country had become astoundingly rich and left me behind. Now, a trip to the national income percentile statistics strongly suggests this was indeed not the case, but there was always the chance that everyone but me is evading, like, a shit-ton of taxes.
The other possibility, which I strongly believe is true, is that the modern middle class spends lots and lots of money on ostentatious luxury goods. Literally speaking, groceries purchased from Whole Foods are food. But the price tag is not because of the specialness of the food you buy. Rather, fancy organic SWPL food exists as a *positional* good that elevates your status above others. When I wear my crappy suits, they serve as a visual statement that I am inferior to The Management in their crisp new Brooks Brothers. Similarly, when my peers at college shopped at Whole Foods, it was a statement of power and prestige – they were so king dick that they could eat shopping carts full of quinoa harvested by weeping Chilean babies in mist-shrouded mystic highlands, and treat it like no big deal. “Why yes, my father does happen to be close to the Philippine Department of Agriculture, now that you mention it,” as they take another bite of oven-roasted kale.
Meanwhile, I take another swig of tea-flavored high fructose corn syrup, that marvelous beverage, Brisk, a perfectly frugal choice for the modern shopper.
I call these creatures SWProles. That the SWProles so often live so luxuriously often places me in the unfortunate position of envying their lifestyle. With the ordinary proles, while I may shake my head when they buy a massive TV, ultimately, I don’t need or want such a thing. Not so with the SWProles, who often live lives that make me blush with furious envy. Casual Eurotrips, degrees in subjects so outrageously useless and expensive that they almost approach the platonic ideal of Veblen good, the kind of thing you’d be shocked to see outside of Lynndegarden, funny jobs making artisanal pottery and hipstercraft cereal, and the nicest not-nice clothing a thrift store can offer.
These days, I am more likely to identify one of my peers by their relative lack of ornamentation and luxury. So what has brought about such a state of affairs? The SWProle has come to believe that the luxury goods purchased by the overclass are not a signal of their prosperity, but instead are the cause. In short, a cargo cult. I’m not sure how this started precisely, but many SWProles blame their parents or society or their parents AND society. Apparently, there was a widespread narrative that these things were the road to wealth. Go to college and get an English degree and you’ll get a good job, probably. Did you know there are around four thousand 4-year schools in the US? I didn’t, and the figure horrifies me. As far as I knew, the USNews top 200 was *it*, all the schools in the US. It’s like finding out your map of the world only covers California. Or better yet, art school! Go to the city and slum around the fashionable parts of town, because that’s where the work is. A gap year is a great resume builder! It is a Frankensteinian pastiche of luxury status signalling and middle class earnest conscientiousness. People who go on vacation to Europe because… that’s just what is done. A too small apartment in Manhattan with a Studies Studies degree and a barista job (or some menial white collar position they cheerfully dub “professional”), that’s the way to do it. It’s like the industry that’s sprung up selling canned answers to prestige firm interviews – the point of the interview is to demonstrate your authentic UMC habitus, not to recite certain correct answers like this is a goddamn exam at a two-bit school.
Just as yesteryear saw the emergence of Class X, that fusion of bohemian tastes and bourgeois wealth, and that new creature of “BoBo” came to dominate the UMC, so too do we see conspicuous consumption wedded to MC conscientiousness, SWPL tastes and prole incomes. Behold, the New
Soviet Coastal Man, the SWProle, rising from the sea foam.
BUY BRISK. BUY IT NOW FUCKERS.
My life doesn’t go smoothly because I have the right taste in burlap (I don’t, which is why I have a Kinkade on my wall). It goes smoothly because I can collect some six thousand dollars of passive income from my investments every month, despite being in my early 20s. They pay me a reasonable amount precisely because it’s *not* an aspirational, fulfilling job. As my coworkers say, if we were having fun, we’d have to pay them. The professional work of the “creative class” may be more like fun, but it’s still WORK. It’s sitting in a cube and bathing your face in the eerie midmire blue light, day in and day out. I do this not because I love it, but because I have needs and wants that my passive income alone cannot satisfy. Like my Camry, which, foolishly, I bought at sticker price. Meanwhile, on various comment threads, I repeatedly see the insistence that more expensive Tesla’s Model 3 is a mass market car. Wha… what? What? No, it’s not!
When I buy my fucking VOSS water for $TOO MUCH, it’s not because it’s helping me be a good worker bee in the modern gig/information/UberEATS (gig-a-bite?) economy or whatever the fuck. I’M BEING AN ASSHOLE!
Good golly, my blood pressure is rising. Better take a crisp and refreshing gulp of Brisk, as sweet and airy as a summer day.
You can’t get rich through conspicuous consumption. You can’t! You just can’t! It doesn’t make any goddamn sense and it makes wonder if the whole fucking world has gone crazy. You get rich by refraining from spending. When I suggest such a thing, I am scoffed out. “You think I can afford a house by not buying avocado toast?” Har har har. That is EXACTLY how you can afford a house. That is EXACTLY how you get rich. You act like a SWPL to flaunt your affluence and social status. These SWProles have everything precisely backwards!
Of course, all that goes up must come down. Because these people are not, in fact, spectacularly rich, and they don’t actually know the COO of Kraftwerkgill, the Food/Electronica conglomerate, they must fund such a lifestyle through debt. Lots and lots and lots of consumer debt. Run up those student loans to go to a crappy state school (Yet another case of apparent conventional MC wisdom being totally bass-ackwards, since they often say more prestigious schools would be too expensive. 96% of Harvard students graduate debt-free. Even at my comparatively shitty tier 2 consolation school, the median student graduates without taking a single penny of student loans.). Get a payday loan to go on vacation (that this concept exists appalls). Work as a cabbie to chase your dreams (the Uber ads also appall me).
So we reach the next inevitable step in our downward spiral. White trash goods rebranded to have hipster/SWPL cred. We return to Brandless. Or, as my friend put it, store generics “but for hipsters.” Is Brandless actually that cheap? Their shtick is meant to suggest such – everything only $3! But I went ahead and compared their prices to Kirkland and Walmart generics. Kirkland generic products are actually of quite high quality. For instance, Kirkland wine is pretty much the same wine as the high class stuff, just put through less quality control and refinement. And I have been assured that, if you take the effort to properly age it in your own wine cellar, it really turns out top notch. Much like brewing your own booze, this seems to be a lot of effort to me, but if you already have the setup, might as well. The Brandless stuff was almost always significantly more expensive, except for chips, naturally. The SWProle is still a prole at heart.
Shorn of his wealth, with no income potential, and teetering towards bankruptcy, the SWProle must abandon Whole Foods for generics. But even there, his generics have to signal SWPL status with their elegant unbranded branding and design. And he will have to pay extra for that status.
Similarly, with no hope of affording a house on their own the proper way, the SWProle turns to a small movable abode placed on land, bought or rented, and makes do. They call them Tiny Houses. They’re trailers with hipster cred. The idea isn’t new at all, it’s just a rebranding of something poor people already do.
And we revisit Fishtown, Murray’s byword for poor America. Only now, it is being hailed as a symbol of revitalization, as artsy young white people flood in to provide artisanal services in a quirky, homey environment. Gentrification! Affluence! The only problem is that the median income isn’t budging. Brandless isn’t unbranding, despite its name. Brandless itself constitutes a brand, and thus, the act is an act of *rebranding*, not unbranding. So too, the new Fishtown isn’t an end to poverty.
Merely a rebranding.
And so, we arrive at the curious case of the DINK in the nighttime. Much as the life script dictated, they went to college, a sensible state school which would minimize their student loans, got professional white collar jobs, and waited until getting financial stability to have kids.
Only their school didn’t give them a leg up, their jobs were professional in MC minds only and didn’t pay worth a damn, and by the time they were financially secure, a truly grueling ordeal, they found out that the Obamas had to get IVF. Which they can’t afford.
DINK, but not by choice.
Even with all their decadence, I cannot truly envy the SWProle. It ends in tragedy.
Perhaps I can comfort myself with the idea that it was always so. There are some letters from the reign of Louis XIV where a lady of the court ventured to see the humble villagers, only to find a village woman in a dress that would cost about $40,000 in today’s money, and herself in rags by comparison.
In the end, will it all end by guillotine?
Dramatic in my thirst,
Monsieur le Baron
There comes a time in every man’s life where he must become pastry.
Nah, I’m Just Fucking Kidding.
And I’m kidding about that too! No conspiracy theories, please.
Nobody really believed the Wall could fall until it did. Except for those crazy people who did, but let’s ignore them. Mass psychology is a funny thing. But people, far better people than I, have already written about the psychology of the masses. Unfortunately for me, they did so in books, long books, long books with big words and no pictures, thus placing these insights far outside my reach. However, I have no doubt you, dear reader, could be an equal to these challenges.
Instead, I’m going to talk about an easy subject: Brahmin. Brahmin are easy to discuss because you can watch them and write down their silly behaviors. And they are fruitful to discuss because, generally speaking, few people write about Brahmin. The masses can’t write about Brahmin because they don’t see Brahmin, and the Brahmin don’t write about Brahmin because all of the interesting insights they take as natural. Fish are tragically unable to know water.
A Brahmin is a priestly creature. He loves books and Calvinism and books and smug pontifications about the Galapagos and books and dolphin-safe donuts. Being a creature of religion, heretic though he may be (do you see Brahmin living among their beloved ghettowalkers or getting divorced?), he has a big ego goal – to preach his religion.
But, you may say, Brahmins hate Christers! Or maybe not. Presumably you’ve already read some neoreaction. Regardless of their professed religion beliefs, Brahmin do, more or less, believe in a set of doctrines and moral behaviors that, if followed, will lead to paradise, and which constitute the grounds for moral judgement and sin. The real religion of the Brahmin is, of course, the Cathedral. Universal, omnipresent progressivism. The goal of the priest is to become pure and attain paradise, but what of the Cathedral’s priest? Given that his paradise is earthly, he has no choice but to attempt to immatenize the eschaton. He will bring paradise to the present, material world.
Now, every so often, a Brahmin goes off the reservation and renounces the Cathedral faith. What then? Well, dear reader, you might say they finally let truth into their darkened eyes and embrace neoreaction. Of course, once we formally recognize power, restore the sovereign, banish egalitarianism, and end voting, we will attain the Superparisian Vienna on a hill. Paradise, good wine, and good times will be had by all.
Dawkins may have been pwned, but so was Moldbug. It’s not just that the Cathedral is a religion. All political ideologies are religions – they promise to fix the problems of society with a few prescriptions and thus deliver humanity into the age of good government. The issue is that while they fix a few problems, usually the problems they purport to, they create others. Why? They ignore the fundamental problem of power.
Which is really a fundamental problem of humanity.
The problem is that gains are not made without tradeoffs because this is not, in fact, a utopian world, but a fallen one, governed not by rational shekel-maximizers or wise kings, but human dickheads.
Behold! In an instant, USG vanishes with a greasy popping noise. Hot dog, says the state-in-wait, and a thousand would-be Kshatriya swarm the abandoned capital, eager for political loot. Behind them are their invincible robot armies.
Problem 1: Those robots are made by people. Tech people. Why should the tech people give full control to the new Kshtockholders and the proprietor they choose? Political power grows from the barrel of a gun. Just take the gun for yourself and now you rule. And what do techies love? The Cathedral. Back to square one.
Problem 2: Suppose the Kshatriya, through their immense handsomeness and muscularity, manage to take over with loyal robot armies. They split the country up into fifty million patch states and begin to rule. You know, ruling. Even though they abstained from the power process before and have no practice, I’m sure they’ll do fine. They have invincible robot armies!
My great-great-grandfather, too, had an invincible robot army. His model was the PEOPLE model, short for Privately Employed Organic Political Law Enforcement. They worked pretty well except for the part where they malfunctioned when impacted with too much blunt or explosive force. The thing is, each patch gets their own robot army.
It turns out, in such an environment, a little patch is surrounded by other patches. What do all the patches do? Well, what motivates patches (read: nobles)? Shekels? Nyet. Survival. Survival! Your first and foremost concern is to prevent your insides from becoming outsides. Every neighbor is a potential enemy. It is Central Park in the dead of night. There are no policemen. And the night never ends. The only promise of security is more robots. So you pump your patch dry to buy more PEOPLE-model robots. But you don’t have enough robots, so you need more resources. Where to get them? You’re already raping your little patch. Better grab another. So you invade another patch to secure the resources to prevent yourself from being invaded by another patch that wants to secure the resources to prevent itself from being invaded by another…
We call this environment “civil war”, and our thousand little proprietors “warlords”. It was a bloody, unpleasant unfair, and most of said proprietors lose, with modestly dire results for their descendants.
I am haunted by all the good wine not being drunk. By me. Every night, I go to bed unpleasured by like, fifty harem girls. It’s a dreadful world. Don’t subject your line to that.
Problem 3: So suppose that our proprietors, being rational, recognize after only a few defenestrations that civil war is bad for their life expectancy. They band together into one greater entity to bring an end to the war of all against all, and this entity rapidly expands to regional or global hegemony. Great! Wonderful!
The problem is that you’ve just made Stuart FEDGOV, with all the problems of a big, creaky FEDGOV. That’s not such a bad thing, because the Pax Americana, like the Pax Romana, is pretty wonderful. Napoleon Kai-Sulla rides triumphantly into DC astride a white charger, and the nations quake before his limitless might. Good stuff.
Do I think things will run better after that?
The problem is that our new constitution still sucks. All the power is invested in the nobility, who have the power to remove the Proprietor with their shares. What is the cardinal rule of power? Nobles are dickheads. Leftist dickheads. Now they have absolute power. They’re just gonna make a new Cathedral, but blackjack and hookers. What does giving the aristoi absolute power accomplish? Does it restrain them? Hahahaha! Fuck no. Do you think the *people*, of all things, push the aristoi to make the Cathedral? How? The people are useful bioleninist shocktroopers for the ultimate goal – more power. Does anyone really think democracy can hold the aristoi accountable?
The truth of the matter is that aristoi power is already absolute. There are no meaningful consequences for the upper middle class. The only ways I can really fuck up are to commit a crime that denies FEDGOV’s monopoly on force or otherwise subvert it. And lese majeste is always a serious crime. Or if I arouse the ire of an even bigger fish. Besides that, everything is permitted.
Let me tell you a story of the upper middle class. There once was a girl who had everything going for her. She ended up going to the best school. But once there, she let herself go to pot. She dated black men to spite daddy, she neglected her studies, and worst of all, she got fat. Let me assure you that is an unpardonable sin, fatness. She bummed around with a useless Study Studies degree, obtaining no useful skills. In lieu of gathering experience, she did activism.
Does this story end with a Starbucks job and piles of debt? Ha. Of course not. She changed her mind, immediately stepped into a six-figure job, and lived happily ever after.
Even I am a pile of bad decisions and stupid risks. I have a humanities degree. A humanities degree from a second-tier college, not even an Ivy or Stanford. Not only that, I neglected my studies. My grades were below the minimum hiring cutoff for firms. As a worker, I am… slovenly at best, showing up an hour late, unkempt, with a penchant to wander in contemplation. And yet…
Monsieur le Baron lives rather comfortably, I’ll say that.
Perhaps it’s talent? Well, talent, just as much as wealth, is part of their inheritance.
One might protest that madame was merely being a good leftist in the Cathedral tradition. First of all, if you actually do the things we tell the proles to do – you’re an idiot. And second of all, Monsieur le Baron is a brash rightist. A card-carrying Democratic rightist, but certainly right enough for the Cathedral. But this, like pedophilia or other such maladies, is merely a sword given by its handle. Leverage. At least my sin keeps my conscience clean before God, even if it isn’t clean in the eyes of man.
The upper middle class is immune to consequences. And if you protest that you are a member and you are not… I have some bad news for you.
No, their power is unchecked. And it has not produced virtue, far from it.
The first generation of the new empire *will* be virtuous. And things will run well. But not for reasons of constitution. Give me a hundred constitutions and I’ll poke holes in them all. All arrangements are flawed and doomed. It is order and chaos. Foundings are acts of reaction because they impose order on order. The American Founding was just as much reaction as Stalin’s rise to power or the coming of the Normans. The Empire is vigorous as it arises from the sea foam, fully formed.
Leftism – the powerlust – rot – entropy – is universal. It is LEFTISM that rules over all things in the end. The tribe of the lion does not content itself to mortar the slumping edifice. It hungers for power. Only in times of chaos is the warlord finally welcome. But in all times, the warlord is born.
What does it mean to be Vernunftrepublikaner? It means abandoning hope in ideology. All regimes fail. Entropy devours all things. Chaos is the rule, order a brief exception.
But it means to love it regardless, for there is nothing else and nothing better.
It means tending the bonfire of Western civilization, nay, all of civilizations, the sacred hearth with its ever-burning flame. A flame that must constantly be stoked and fed, that demands patrician virgins and the noblest sons be given to it. It means understanding that being a defender of order means being a sucker, means giving yourself to a hopeless cause. It means understanding that it is so much more than that – it is becoming a ritual sacrifice, kindling for the flame. A life surrendered for one’s children, and all that will come after you.
And why? Because with the state came the end of the war of all. When the fire is brought to a rest and stoked, it becomes a hearth. Civilization is man’s home, the place where he can finally rest. It is the only rest he can know until he is finally recalled to his Maker’s side.
Thus, we carry the flame, insatiable as it is. And when Troy is ashes, we spirit the flame away across the sea to an unknown shore.
Cathedrals rise, Cathedrals fall.
The flame burns on.
Actually a disgruntled Krispy Kreme shill,
Monsieur le Baron
In lieu of a real blog post, I’m going to define some terms I love to use.
Classes! Social classes! Yaaaaay.
Don’t expect too much insight here. Just doing some defining. Definitions are important if people are to understand each other.
I do this because most people like to bandy around labels like upper class or lower class based on statements from journalists reading Pew or other such stuff. These definitions are usually based on income thresholds where the top quintile or anyone who makes more than 75k or double the median is upper class. The problem is that a senior truck driver or cop can easily make more.
Any definition of upper class where a truck driver is upper class is stupid and for dumbs.
When people say they love science and experts, they usually mean they love the flimsy interpretations of the abstracts of papers written by journalists. Journalists are dumb. In this field, I am objectively more of an expert than a journalist because I got a useless degree in the subject in a fancy place for smart people.
So what’s better than income metrics? Income is part of the picture, but it’s not the whole picture. You’ve got to take habitus and cultural traditions into account.
Our class system is more or less derived from the social order that formed as the Medieval era came to a close and the Early Modern era began. If you’re not familiar with these terms, then… it’s about when the Renaissance occurred and when Columbus sailed the ocean blue. A long time ago, but not that long ago.
Upper Class (UC)
~.1% of the population
Why .1%? At the top .1% of wealth, you can comfortably sustain an UMC lifestyle on purely passive income.
As a class, they’re the heirs of the high aristocracy. If you’ve played games like CK2, these are the playable characters. Basically… they’re super powerful. And very rich. They set the societal narrative. They’re also pretty secretive.
I’m not gonna speculate on their personal habits or nature. To be quite frank, I’m not upper class, so I’d make a hash of it.
People love to talk about the schemes of the rich and powerful. Ehhhh… people ascribe too much agency to the powerful. There’s a popular setting for tabletop and video games called Warhammer 40k. In it, there’s a faction called the AdMech that oversees technology, and they’re a bunch of superstitious mystics who worship technology and maintain it through the practice of elaborate rites handed down for generations. Few, if any, understand the theories governing why their technology works. Most people think this is ridiculous, that the AdMech are stupid, and this is yet another case of retarded grimdark. Based on my personal experience and family lore, at least in the West and the Communist world, the AdMech gets it right. If anything, it’s a little generous.
People are stupid and incompetent. Nobody can actually do what they should be able to do. I can’t do a deep delve on the upper class, but I’ve seen enough to know they’re human, all too human. People like to mock the yokels in the past for believing in divine right and god-rulers. But, to be quite frank, most people still believe in a deified elite. An elite capable of setting right all that is wrong using the salvific force of government for the left, and an insidious, all-seeing cabal that plots for decades for the right. The idea that we are ruled by morons, always have been, and always will be is deeply terrifying. It almost makes you want to invent a god-computer to save you from the angst.
Upper Middle Class (UMC)
~5% of the population
These are the descendants of the low nobility – the assorted gentry, barons, and knights (as a rank, not profession) bumming around the regime. If the UC is the Senatorial class, the UMC is the Curiales and Equestrians.
Why 5%? These numbers are all just rough numbers. The number of rank and file nobles will vary by time and place. In pre-revolutionary France, they were over 1% of the population. In Japan, the samurai were about 5% of the population. In China, gentry men were just under 1% of the population, and with an average family size of 5, you get to just under 5% of the population. On much of the continent, the nobility numbered between 1 and 2% and was coupled with a bourgeois with which they could intermarry, smoke doobies, and play putt putt golf. In Poland, you had over 10%. That was bad. In the CURRENT YEAR, if you add up the professions and common elite jobbies (job+hobby, because these things aren’t really work even by the loose value transference definition), you end up somewhere around 4%. In Britain, the BBC defines the elite as the top 6%. I hate non-round numbers, so I think 5% is a good estimate. If you have too few, they get all stressed and anxious by all the work they have to do (they hate that), and if you have too many, elite overproduction creates conflict and social unrest because society can only absorb so many
The traditional aristocracy is the noblesse d’epee, the military aristocracy. But starting in the early modern, you see the emergency of an aristocracy that does jobs. These are the noblesse de robe. Unlike the old kind of nobles, who had gained their land by forcibly disemboweling anyone else who might want to own it, these folks went to university and got fancy pieces of paper so that they might sit in grim little
cubicles mansions and do work. And play putt putt golf. As time passes, you see more and more complex professions emerge. Finance becomes respectable-ish. Medicine advances from quackery to quackery with fine robes. People shut themselves in Ivory Towers to learn and shit. Science! It began. And finally, engineering arrived. These jobs we now know as the “professions”. Their practitioners? Professionals.
How does yesterday become today?
With a bang, of course. France explodes. Then a funny Corsican man in a weird hat takes this explosion and smears the goo all over Europe. Everything changes, but nothing really changes. Even at the best of times, the baron was a pressed upon fellow. His rental income was hardly vast, and then he had to keep up appearances. He was pressed by that joyful beast, college tuition. When Louis XIV summoned the Arriere Ban, the barons arrived in a terribly shabby state. They simply didn’t have the income to manage. The Prussian Junker lives in a little box he fancies a grand castle, spends his days milking cows, and puffs up a little every time someone addresses him as Lord. Things got worse, as they often do. The nobility of the long nineteenth century was in between a rock and a harder rock. Their way of life was under threat from all sides. Rental incomes were insufficient for the age. The old order that gave them legitimacy was under threat. As the story goes, they were swept into the dustbin of history.
The story is wrong, of course. Life, like water damage, finds a way. What comes to mind immediately when thinking about the noble-bourgeois conflict? Obviously the Conflict of the Orders in Rome. The behatted patricians stood against the unhatted plebian elites, men just as powerful as they. But in the end, they came together as one elite. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. The bourgeois-noble dialectic ended in sublation, and from its synthesis was born a new class, more than the sum of its parts. What would it do? Exactly what it did before. Where? If the land could no longer sustain it, it would take to the cities. And if courtly life was now obsolete, it would forge a new life script.
Exit Court, enter Corporate.
The last image of a dying age.
A father and his son. The father stands, a proud Lord, master of all he surveys, a man of taste and leisure. His Persian rugs are immaculate, his vases Ming, his furniture well-worn by age. His son is a man of business, a managing director and company man. The tie wraps his neck like shackles. Year by year, the father’s purse grows lighter. And one day, it is all gone. And in steps his son, cash in hand.
How can a man’s dignity be bought?
Anger. Fear. Then silence.
A man called Orwell pens a book describing his youth growing up in a curious group of people, a gentry without land.
He called them the upper-middle class.*
The rest, as we say, is history.
What does the upper middle class do today? Professions (and job-hobbies). Academia, Medicine, Law, Finance, Science, Engineering.
In order of prestige, I would say Academia > Law > Finance > Medicine = Science > Engineering.
Why? Value transference.
Engineering is the lowest status because it involves a lot of stuff which can only be described as work. And worse, it’s work that very tangibly provides value. Prior to our industrial age, one could at least present the image of being a mad crank tinkering with bizarre machines. But, alas, in an age of technology, engineering clearly adds value.
Medicine and Science come next. While both clearly add value and are worthwhile to society in obvious ways, they both have distancing factors. With medicine, a doctor is able to delegate the actual work to nurses, serving mostly to diagnose and analyze. And with science, it very closely resembles bookishness. And book learning is quite obviously high status, because learning is great.
Finance! You count money and move it around. People do this for fun. The value proposition is… the efficient allocation of capital? That doesn’t even sound convincing in the strong case, and most bankers underperform the market. It seems like an obviously useless ornament and thus is high status.
Law! You argue. For a living. Left to the own devices, the UMC will sit around and argue for fun, so this is not really work at all. Unfortunately, there are other things to do too, but at least you have paralegals.
The UMC spends its free time learning and arguing, and this is all academics do, so academics win. The only way to beat this is to have a job-hobby, like art. Those aren’t even real jobs.
Given it spends its time working jobs which are not really work, the UMC has plenty of free time. And it has money too! What’s one to do? Bullshit around with status, of course. The UMC can show status in several exciting ways!
Work: If you put in more hours at your job that doesn’t really do anything, you can brag about how diligent you are. People will admire your Calvinism!
Lobby about bullshit: Just come up with some fake issue like “straws are evil”. It doesn’t have to be true or even remotely plausible. The joy is the same joy as nuking a city in SimCity or shaking an ant farm. Change for change’s sake is fun. Aristocrats are natural leftists. People will admire your
Frugality: Steal ketchup packets. Practice a trade or other work skill because you can. Make crappy furniture yourself. Buy your furniture at IKEA. ALL OF IT. Save 90% of your income. People will admire your
Learning: Everyone has the potential to be brilliant, but especially you! It’s just like being at Harvard again. Read a book from the New York Times list. Then discuss it. Nod seriously at serious issues. People will admire your
Épater le bourgeois: Those people are stuffy and lame. And plus? Totally stuck in the world. Say something silly like “marriage… is… bad!” and watch the gasps. Important: Do not actually practice what you preached. That would be sincere, which is middle-class, which is bad. And also, the idea is probably really stupid. And stupidity is the opposite of learning. People will admire your
Convert to Calvinism: I think this one should be obvious.
Some people say there are two castes: Kshatriya/Optimates and Brahmin. I really don’t think so. Optimate and Brahmin are more like attitudes within the elite. Optimates, as you reactionaries know, believe in good governance, tradition, uprightness, etc etc etc blahblahblah. Really, we can divide the UMC into two kinds of people: Brahmin and suckers. Looking back at family history, being an Optimate is a great way to find an early grave. Leftism is the language of power.
Brahminland, as said before, is the All-American Town populated by Ward Cleavers that vomit apple pie. It’s unironically ironically extremely wholesome.
Most people who claim to be upper middle class are actually middle class. It is a common phenomena for people to go to college or the Big City or college then the Big City and fancy themselves elite. Unfortunately, this is like building an airstrip and expecting cargo.
Middle Class (MC)
~45% of the population
When the new conflict of the orders was resolved, the bourgeois as they knew it was dissolved into the aristocracy, giving it a tangy capitalist flavor. But if there is a top and a bottom, there must always be a middle. The old bourgeois fucked off at the first opportunity, but the old petit bourgeois stepped right in to assume its mantle. If the UMC is the modern aristocracy, a charge they occasionally cop to, then the MC upholds the legacy of the ordinary townsman, skilled laborer and tradesman. Unlike the professional organizations of the UMC, they have unions. Unions are like guilds in that they regulate the practice of the trade and also lobby for higher wages and more shit. Like the guilds of old, they have some political clout, but not an excessive amount.
Here, we find lots of concerned mothers. Concerned momma bears rove in packs, looking for soccer balls and their natural prey, the cashier. When it discovers food, it will screech its war cry, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” followed by “Can I speak to your manager?” Naturally, nobody knows who the fuck they are. Augustus used to wander around town and watch people, because he’s an aristocrat and aristocrats are autistic weirdos, and nobody would recognize him.
You can probably tell I have a distaste for the MC. The thing is, my distaste comes from an irrational place. Fussell once said the MC represents everything bad about America. That’s not true. But it feels true. I do find the Redprole charming, with his unaffected country manner and hospitality. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the Blueprole. And for every one of me that likes Redproles, there is another (probably more than that) who despises the Redprole and likes the Blueprole. All in all, the MC is doomed to a beatdown. If the tradesmen and nobles were ever able to work together, they would have stopped the change of *their* day, the rise of absolutism. They weren’t. Obviously.
As I’ve said before, the MC are the true believers. If you have an ideology, they are the ones who uphold its doctrine. They trust in science and experts and studies. Unfortunately, a lot of studies found in the media (they’ll never read the actual study, not least of all because they lack the expensive access to professional libraries and thus must eat paywall) exist to further some ant-farm shaking bullshit agenda. Once enough foot soldiers are enlisted in some nonsense cause (MOMS DEMAND STRAW CONTROL NOW), the originator will gain social points and high-fives all around. Society will get a little worse. That’s theme 1. Morality! The MC is moral. You find the MC tuning into their favored media outlet, as they receive moral lectures and received wisdom from members of the UC and UMC who weren’t even good enough to do value transference brainwork.
The MC is conscientious. It finds pride in its work, which is tangible and meaningful. You find the MC teaching the youth, joyfully explicating every word of the textbook as it opens new vistas of learning to fresh minds. By the roads, you find them breaking stone and cracking open a cold one. In the hospitals, it is the tender touch of the nurse that restores the masses to good health. In the streets, it peddles the latest miracle cure or marvel of science from BigCorp. It is the silent watcher behind golden badges, enforcing the justice passed down from on high. And it is the legions abroad, fighting to protect freedom and the American way.
The middle class is the unappreciated hero of the American story, and if society does not collapse, it is only thanks to their tireless efforts.
The middle class is sincere. And therefore, the middle class is doomed. The UMC doesn’t actually like the MC. At all. The MC wants to keep up with the Joneses. Most of all, it wants to reach status perfection, the way of life Fussell said every American envies – the UMC way of life. Unfortunately, status is relative and the UMC really, really, really doesn’t like to be threatened by upstarts. The UMC sets the agenda for the workers. It’s “the boss class”.
You can see where this is going.
Teachers are given books written to shock the bourgeois while simultaneously padding resumes. Construction work is bogged down by endless contradictory regulations. The inventions don’t do anything and are planned to obsolete themselves regardless, so the MC is trapped in an endless cycle of buying status signals that don’t actually signal status to important people. The police are simultaneously told to beat minorities and the poor to keep them out of nice communities while also lambasted for doing the same, while the criminal scum they just put away is released so that they can hound middle class communities. And finally, their children are made into blood sacrifices to project Cathedral power across the world.
Sincerity is naive. The true believer has put his faith in one that will tell him the sacred rite is to draw an eight, then two equals signs, and then finally a capital D on his forehead. And when he finally realizes the trick, he makes what he formerly saw as a god into a demon. Here lies the origins of conspiracy theories. The true believer inverts his former beliefs and comes to see all evil in what was formerly all good. Grand proclamations about the wickedness of the capitalists or the Jews or the capitalist Jews retain the character of an all-powerful elite (the proles do not see the UC).
The most hated man in feudalism was not the king, but the local baron.
If the MC person constantly pursues status, it is because they dream. Status anxiety is the fear of losing something precious.
Where lies hope? In a dedication not to the values of a false UMC idol, but in dedication to the work for its own sake.
Lower Middle Class (LMC)
~40% of the population
Here we find the platonic proletariat. Here is the unskilled worker, fodder for machines, a walking sacrifice to Moloch. The Heart Machine must be placated. Unlike the MC, these people do not have skills. This is the half of society that works for near minimum wage, or even minimum wage. Their flesh is meat for the Heart Machine. Every hour, the Metropolis demands more power.
There is little joy in this labor. It is undignified and mechanical, a glassy-eyed slog.
The core value is survival. It’s not literal survival, because America is so wealthy that even the poor are fat and have cable. Rather, it is the protection and the development of the ego in a world that does not feed it.
The middle class dreams of finally catching up with the Jones. The LMC just wants to escape its plight. Some of them do so sensibly, by planning to acquire skills and so increase the value of their labor. But much dreaming here is wild fantasy. Lotto wins, pro sports, inheritance from unknown relatives.
In a world where everything is valued, to be LMC is to be someone placed in the clearance bin. At Kmart.
Soccer moms yell at you. People use you as a warning for their kids. Who can really appreciate anything about who are you? Being LMC is going to the big city with a college degree and a pile of debt only to become a barista, then raging against the machine, then dreaming of Revolution, and finally abandoning even that, left only with the cold revelation that the future your MC worked so hard to give you was hollow and that you have nothing left. Being LMC is being born in the ghetto but not in the talented tenth. It’s not having a way out no matter how hard you try. It’s bashing your head against the wall over and over again until you finally realize you were given a bum hand. And that’s just the luck of the draw. It’s looking for a good man but never finding one because there are no good men where you are. It’s chasing high after high, material, chemical, emotional, just to free yourself from the ennui of life. One day after another.
It’s a terrible thing to be below average.
Walking, talking, genetic load.
In this class, it really is better to be a simpleton. At least then, you can throw yourself into house and block parties with wild abandon. Simple work and idle pleasures, that’s the name of the game. If one can avoid despair, then one can realize that even in low status, as painful as it is for human brains to stomach, there is a lot to be enjoyed in modern America. The streets are paved with gold. Metaphorically.
~10% of the population
Uhhhh… assholes. If the UC is the top-out-of-sight, the underclass (also inconveniently UC) is the bottom-out-of-sight.
Bam. Class or something.
Too lazy for a signoff,
Monsieur le Baron
*I have found earlier mentions, but they don’t really bother describing the meaning of the term. I suppose this is natural – most of our terminology today goes completely unexplained and will probably baffle future readers. Given the term “upper middle class” in those texts is used to describe a family of minor French nobility and Italian patricians respectively, I think we can surmise they used in a way similar to Orwell.
It is always annoying to run into a white man that loudly protests his own privilege. Such fellows think that, just because they are white, they are your equal. Worse still is that odious breed that thinks it makes him superior, worthy of producing constant preening condescension that would make even the mightiest Emperor blush at its boldness.
I mean, hell. Let’s just compare.
|The Virgin King Louis XIV||THE CHAD KWIK-E-MART GUY|
|Listens attentively to manure shovelers (lol)||KNOWS MINORITIES SHOULD BE SEEN AND NOT HEARD.|
|Thinks he’s rich because he’s king. Has to wear hand-me-downs from maids.||KNOWS HE’S RICH BECAUSE HE’S WHITE. SPENDS WHITE PRIVILEGE ON GUCCI AND NEW ADIDAS.|
|Has to blow out candles to avoid wasting them.||KEEPS LIGHTS ON BECAUSE THEY’RE ECO-BULBS|
|Rides a horse||DRIVES A PRIUS, MARVEL OF ENGINEERING. SUPPORTS MINORITY ENGINEERING.|
|Gives gay speeches about France||BELLOWS INSPIRED WORDS ABOUT INTERSECTIONALITY.|
|Wears heels. What is he, gay?||SECURELY GENDERQUEER|
|Thinks you’re worth his time||KNOWS HIS TIME IS MORE VALUABLE|
Of course, the most popular books about social power advocate staying aloof, being hard to reach, and disdaining lots of things. I DISDAIN THAT. AND THAT. AND THIS. GRRRRR. SO CONTEMPTUOUS.
Before we move on, I’d like to warn any middle-class readers: you cannot pay for things with white privilege. If you attempt to rent a home using “white privilege” or your “whiteness” as payment, I will not be amused, and I dare say that my counterparts will be equally unamused. And while I can’t guarantee this, despite what your mooney professors may have said about redlining, you cannot waltz into a bank and have them hand over piles of money. Generally speaking, the best way to get a loan is to show that you have enough cash to cover the obligation in its entirety. The middle class among you may wonder why even bother with the loan then – why not pay cash? That’s a matter for another time… personal finance with Monsieur le Baron?
Generally speaking, there is usually a speck of truth in things that people say. Rare is the person who fabricates things whole cloth, and those usually go to prison. Being an aloof, contemptuous dickhead works as a status signal on an animal level.
Once upon a time, Roman elites, from the humble curiale to even the mightiest clārissimus were obliged to make vast contributions to all sorts of public goods. These contributions could be so large they were impoverishing. French aristocrats made loans to peasants that probably wouldn’t be repaid. One noble lady was dismayed to find a peasant woman she had lent a substantial sum of money to had spent it all on a fancy dress. These same aristocrats then proceeded to snoop around looking for events with free food. Whenever you find economically irrational behavior, you find the game of status. Magnanimity is a classic status signal because it shows you have so much that you can give plenty away. It raises the esteem of others while also proving your own power. Why do elites feel compelled to give PUBLICLY? Why do they need to put on charity galas (which eat a lot of the donated money)? Don’t they understand that prayer and charity are two things you shouldn’t be *caught* dead doing? Of course they do. But the point is not to do good (that’s a convenient side effect).
What does this have to do with belief in white privilege?
Believing in white privilege seems like a strongly disadvantageous meme for its carrier. Does it make anyone more positively disposed towards them? NAMs won’t be very impressed by this wite boi who is just as poor as they lecturing them with silly social justice things in a condescending tone of voice. The powerful will sneer at someone so uppity they are deluded into thinking they are one of the elites and not one of the goyim (a delightfully evocative word, more evidence of the Jewish talent for language), simply because they have the right skin color. Perhaps the Cathedral, but they won’t exactly be showering the believer in cash and prizes. At best, they might get one of the crummy jobs I see floating on job boards from time to time. An interviewer will be impressed with their devotion to the cause and give them the opportunity to shill on the internet for $15/hr! Joy. You’d have to be mentally ill to be thrilled by such a prospect. Though I suppose it’s not very different from email processing scams, which proles love. And the Cathedral’s money is most definitely real.
So what’s the deal then?
A belief in white privilege allows its holder to reposition themselves as being POWERFUL. Being innately powerful, they are now free to make gestures of charity (acknowledging their own white privilege), and do so in the same tone and mindset of someone in the upper middle class donating a big check to charity. It enables them to engage in magnanimous signalling, thus raising their own status. Unfortunately, this is a cheap signal. Whitesplaining doesn’t cost a dime. And as we know, cheap signals are all but worthless. The thing is, the dopamine reward for signalling doesn’t care if the signal is actually effective. How could it? It would require the brain to calculate all the groups of society and figure out their responses and whether it raised or lowered their esteem. Instead, it must depend on whether the holder believes in their own signal. And they do. So bam, dopamine. It’s like expensive clothing with big brand names splashed gaudily on the front. It doesn’t signal high socioeconomic status, but the buyers believe it does, so they feel good anyways.
The same holds true of white nationalism. White nationalists and social justice warriors are two sides of the same coin – both believe in the inherent superiority and mastery of white people, of which they are a prime example. And just as social justice warriors are so generous as to check their own privilege, so too do white nationalists glory in and fetishize the restraint of the white man, which permits the lesser races to do whatever it is they’re doing. And equally gratifying is the power fantasy such a narrative presents – when the white man loses his patience, he will throw off his self-imposed bonds and utterly crush everything in his way. The Day of the Rope. The Storm. The white man finally chimping out. Ha! Like the Cathedral, they blindly seek to immanetize the eschaton. Their paradise just has different paint.
The problem with both narratives is that those who could unleash a lot of force, the powerful, don’t see things the same way. Just because they’re also white doesn’t mean they feel any sense of real kinship. The masses are the goyim. Fuck ’em.
But I’m probably just a crank standing in the way of change.
Upset his token negro escaped the dungeon,
Monsieur le Baron
We all have choices.
For instance, I am often confronted with the weighty and significant choice between the Quadruple Stacked Beef McChapula and the Double Down Syndrome Ultrachicken Pentawich. Naturally, being a man of culture and taste, I always make the right choice. But others are not endowed with as fine powers of discrimination*. How are they supposed to decide what to eat in this crazed Gibson Guitaresque Cyberpunk reality not rated for teens?
Perhaps it doesn’t matter.
Speaking of buying things, let’s talk about customer service. I have often been treated poorly by receptionists. A decent number of them are not particularly generous with time. The same holds true of customer service representatives, TSA grunts, and all sorts of people with a little power. By contrast, I have never been treated badly by the branch manager of a bank.
Just a little power.
Now, one might counter-argue there are real economic reasons for this. The branch manager generally deals with more important patrons, so of course they’re going to be kinder. They are, after all, more profitable. However, I’m not quite sure this is true. Certainly, this is true at the margins. A billionaire customer no doubt generates far more revenue than a streetrat. But when you compare your average prole to your average millionaire, the former is a reliable source of fees, while the latter is quite stingy. And if pure profit was the main reason, representatives would be easily swayed (or at least trained to be swayed) if the customer is important. Suggestions that the firm would like not to lose a valued customer, I find, have little effect. The kind ones are kind even before they find out who you are (and this is quite admirable), while the mean ones are unmoved.
It generally takes the harsh intervention of reality to change minds. When it comes down to it, only raw force will persuade.
So what’s the payoff matrix for being rude? In the best case scenario, they go away, unsatisfied with you, but do nothing for one reason or another. In worst case scenario, you get disciplined and maybe even crushed like a bug. So why do it? From an economic standpoint, it’s a dumb idea. Well, it’s simple. It feels good! But that’s not a terribly satisfying answer, now is it? Why does it feel good?
It comes down to a very simple thing. Signalling. Humans care about social status. They care about social status a lot. One would expect that the deepest group hatreds exist towards very alien strangers, but that tends not to be the case, really. The medieval Europeans were willing to ally with Mongols to strike down the Saracen. The alien has the element of the exotic. Familiarity breeds contempt. And why? Well, the more similar two groups are, the MORE DIFFICULT it is for people to tell them apart. Therefore, it means people must signal even more vigorously! In this light, ethnic wars become a very, very expensive and bloody way for Serbians to signal they’re not Bosnians. The more alike two groups are, the more powerful the signalling must be to distinguish them.
The person with a little power abuses it not for real material gain (nobody’s going to bribe a fucking bank teller), but for social gain. In that moment, they raise their social position over those they have power over, their kith and kin with no power. A person with real power? They don’t give a shit. They’re above all of this. It’s only because it’s very, very hard to tell between a little power and no power that this small amount of power must constantly be demonstrated. And sure, there might be a Black Swan event of fucking with someone you shouldn’t have. But, by and large, people are surrounded by people like themselves, so it becomes a rational decision to make small gains in social position through power abuse. So what if the real monetary or power payoff is at best negative? Viewed in the light of Homo Economicus, this is dumb. But as a signal, it makes perfect sense. Signals have to have costs and not benefits because if they were genuinely beneficial, everyone would adopt that practice since there’s no reason not to and it would quickly lose its signal value. It has to be costly to convey information.
Nobody really likes castes. But then again, who really likes casts? The purpose of both is simple – to keep things in their place. Do allow me to illustrate.
Once, in the before times, society was not free. You are probably well-aware of the standard narrative, but I will briefly repeat the tragedy of it. Because of arcane legal privileges and various systems of oppression, the talented were kept away from positions that they could have thrived in, thus depriving society of many boons and consigning many brilliant people to lives of meaningless drudgery and deprivation. And you know what? That’s not wrong. Neoreactionaries often like to gloss over the flaws of the past, making it into this idealized golden idol, but the truth of the matter is that the past was pretty shit. Even being noble in the past was pretty shit, and does not hold a candle, let alone an energy-efficient lightbulb, to the wonders we have now. Now, the neoreactionaries like to say that those improvements come not from the political structure, but from advances in technology – but those advancements in technology are intricately tied with the liberalization of society. If half the salarymen at modern Japanese megacorps come from samurai lineages, that means half of the salarymen come from the bottom 95% of families, who, thanks to liberalization and the free society, were able to lift their families up and advance to the upper middle class, our modern, democratized aristocracy. The modern education system really is an efficient machine to pipeline talented commoners into an upper middle class and inculcate into the roles and cultural traditions of its aristocratic predecessor. And this does not just mean the upper middle class is twice as large as its predecessor. It isn’t. In our hypothetical restricted world, that half is not just gone, it is replaced by dumb sons of fine families, meaning advancement should be *less than half* of what it is, thanks to the mucking up one bad apple can do to a barrel. The standard narrative is not a lie!
The problem is that it is only a story of first-order effects. It does not address the second-order side effects.
In our original society, class status is formal. A strapping young lad, through one way or another, goes to Venice U and, four years later, gets a sheepskin saying “BS Civil Engineering” and a fine little form letter in the mail from His Imperial Apostolic Majesty congratulating him on his accomplishment and elevating him to the nobility. He proceeds to go down to the local tavern to hit on local wenches as Freiherr Lad, a Somewhat Important Fellow, gets slapped a few times, and thinks nothing more of the matter. Or, today, a lad goes to law school and exists Lad, Esq., a formally protected title. When things are formal, there is a designated font of honor and the government enforces status. That means, at least in regards to matters of class, there is no point to signalling. The government shuts down the signalling spiral.
When society is freed, it begins the spiral. No longer can people pull out their business card and point to it as a definitive final word on status. Instead, status is marked via various indicators of taste and other informal mechanisms. What came to dominate markers of class? As recounted by Bourdieu and other such scholars, the answer was pretty simple. The Ancien Regime fell, but the University took the sovereign’s place as font of honor. It had many advantages – it was already tied to the old system, it had a formal hierarchy, it was easy to understand and communicate, and it was even somewhat formal, since a degree is a real and verifiable thing. Now you had the University, and it made sweeping decisions on who was Harvard Material and who was not. And though many Harvard Material lads were so because of their socioeconomic status, there were also many young lads of common origin who possessed talent. If things stopped there, it would’ve been pretty good.
Things didn’t stop there.
How could they? Universities couldn’t own up to the truth and admit they were just the new fonts of honor. They had to come up with some sort of lie as cover. The lie was that education created wealth. This is, of course, a farce. A society needs doctors, but a society of only doctors would quickly come to resemble a syringe-themed Lord of the Flies. Universities credential people to enter prestige professions, but there are only so many of those to go around. We quickly enter elite overproduction as the signal is diluted more and more. But the natural impulse of people is to try and aim as high as they can, and since education creates wealth, why not? Even if it didn’t, the individual incentives would still be the same. A Bachelor’s degree quickly becomes worthless. The education signalling spiral intensifies. Today, 42% of the modern descendants of Europe’s high nobility have doctorates. That is a spectacular rate of educational over-representation. As more and more people crowded into education, one had to flee higher and higher to maintain the status signal.
At this point, you may be exasperated with me. Either you are rolling your eyes and spouting the standard prolish wisdom of college education being good for nuthin’, or you are reminding me that as a Classy Person, you read the Important Books, and you already read Caplan’s book, The Case Against Education, and you already know all this.
Please, bear with me.
What’s the core problem with this signalling race? It’s pretty simple. Education is not purely a signal of status. It is also used to select people for certain professions. “No duh,” you say. Well, as education becomes diluted further and further, you start seeing scary things like the average IQ of psychology majors falling to 100. And engineering? 106. The problem is that jobs need a minimum level of intelligence to be done at any level of competence. This is why the Armed Forces gives an IQ test to all people who want to join. And for some jobs, this minimum is relatively high.
If engineers were becoming dumb, you would start seeing projects go more and more poorly. Slower, more expensive, less reliable. Bridges would collapse. Outlets would write articles about the end of infrastructure. Mysterious holes and cracks would be found in new buildings. Past feats would become impossible. Websites would slow down even though, by all rights, they should become ever faster.
A job is not just a fancy hat. Societies need aristocratic castes in the first place because societies need persons who can manipulate complex systems, and those people will then reward themselves handsomely. When the Cathedral gives an important bureaucratic position to an Evil Fat Black Lady as a signal, government starts to run a little bit worse.
A caste system puts an end to all this. In a system of free labor, people are constantly trying to push to the highest prestige level they can reach, which is not always the highest level of work they can competently do. Under restricted labor, people are kept in their place. This may keep men of talent away from where they might make the most impact. But those people don’t just disappear. In an unfree system, they have to make the best of what their lot is, so they practice, practice, practice (not like they have a choice), and they push the envelope and make advancements in their low prestige fields. And they serve to help stabilize lower strata of society and ward against destructive tendencies.
Just as desegregation removed the pillars of the community from black neighborhoods and sucked them into white suburbs, leaving a tremendous void, so too does a free society create brain drain across social classes. The proletariat is stripped of its most talented members and receives only dregs as recompense. Belmont may get nicer year after year, but Fishtown sinks into a deeper and deeper swamp.
Of course, I would be in favor of more restricted labor, now wouldn’t I?
Crushed by competitive wages,
Monsieur le Baron
*See my book, 50 Shades of Grape Soda: A Field Guide to Racial Slurs
I must admit to a deep and enduring flaw.
I cannot properly tie a tie. It’s really knot my forte. Windsors, Italians, Orientals, Hanovers – the technique escapes me. It seems that I will exist in a permanent state of scruffy dishevelment. True, true, I could practice for quite a while, and perhaps I’d get it. But if my younger self, with a juicier, more plastic brain, could not manage the task, then why should I suspect I’d be more able now?
So I won’t do it! Bah, to hell with practice.
Anyways. On to a more pleasant and easy topic. Let’s talk about class signals. Signalling is a topic near and dear to my heart, but it may be a hard cell for you. Still, humor my mad ramblings and accept that this behavior is generally true. Even then, a few behaviors would seem not to trickle down in the same way our black and white cells change color. Namely, we would expect the middle class to be the most fervent and reliable signaler of the ideology.
Why would I say this?
The middle class is plagued by its own anxious gentility. A strict adherence to the party line, the dominant signals of the day, can be considered essentially risk-averse. No one ever lost their job for expressing too much rightthink. Therefore, someone without any sort of independent power and who very much wants to hold on to their job will signal correctly. And cognitive dissonance being a painful thing, many of them will come to believe it. However, this does not explain why the middle class should be *especially* correct in its signalling. Wouldn’t higher classes also have an incentive to signal correctly to preserve their own status?
Yes, they do. But the strict adherence of the middle class to the perfect version of the signal creates its own opportunity to signal. Namely, if the middle class deploys a polished, well-rehearsed 100% signal, then the upper-middle class ought to deploy a sloppy, half-assed version of said signal. Why? Because signalling in that way shows that one is not afraid of the consequences of failure. If an upper-middle class person is fired – so what? What’s the big deal? He’ll retire to his estate to play Extremely Irate Birds on his iPhone XXX, perhaps listening to the lewd noises of the Pornograph and awaiting the next e-telegram from his fellows. A half-assed adherence to the norms of the day becomes, in and of itself, a signal of independent wealth or power.
Only the middle class, bless them, would do a foolish thing like go hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt for a useless piece of paper. We’ve got to follow the party line, after all.
It is relatively popular in the Manosphere and the Reactosphere to come up with all sorts of biological or cultural explanations for why women vote and act more reliably left-wing than men. They’re wired to love invaders, or kidnappers, or despise the ingroup, or have too much empathy.
And these explanations sound quite plausible. The problem? In the Weimar Republic, women were far more right-wing than men. If only women voted in Weimar, Hindenburg would have won the first round, and Hitler could have won an outright majority, or at least close to one. The same held true in France. It was a good long while before women won the right to vote in France – lest their irrational, reactionary natures strangle baby democracy in its cradle. And when they did, they confirmed the fears of the menfolk, voting right-wing 25% more than men.
So much for the left-wing nature of women.
Let’s consider class behaviors as emergent properties of g, that little blob of wisp we call intelligence. Women are middling in many respects. The standard deviation of their intelligence is lower, so you will see them cluster around an acceptable, but often not exceptional point. Many women go to college, but women geniuses are rare. Many women could play chess, but they do not number among the grandmasters. At the Most Selective institutions, these shining beacons of reasonableness and respectability, men outnumber women. And the women there are like the howling terrain of Dzungaria or the wind-swept prairies of Kansas – plain.
Women are the middle class of genders.
What does this mean for a would-be purveyor of ideology?
The Rationalist community is a pleasant place for debate. People constrain themselves with certain norms, thus ensuring constructive conversations and learning for all. It is polite. It is learned. It is elegant. What a wonderful place. Why can’t the world be more Rational, like the Rationalist community? And ideology architects have such lovely arguments for why their solution would be so much more efficient and orderly and well-run than the present state of affairs. The best part is is that they are often correct, and that their explanations and solutions are exceedingly simple. Simple is good and correct is better.
If you lived in an elite community governed by the norms of the Cathedral, you would believe it was heaven on earth. And though you might search and search for any imperfection, you would be unable to find one. Move over, Rasselas, your quest is at an end. This is the Happy Valley perfected. And it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the virtues of the Cathedral.
As it turns out, if you give a bunch of IQ140 geniuses with relatively high conscientiousness *anything*, *anything at all*, as a blueprint, they will probably make it work and look damn good in the process. But the problem is that it has nothing to do with the merits of the ideology, and everything to do with them. The architects of ideology are usually of the upper-middle class, and if they are not, their high intelligence has allowed some of its behaviors to independently emerge, and so the unspoken caveat to every prescription is “except in cases where doing this would make no goddamn sense”. Take that privileging of logic and debate to a population more representative of the general populace, and you don’t get the Rationalist community. You get Reddit. And Reddit is a terrible, terrible place, full of all manner of trolls, scoundrels, circlejerkers, snobs, and plain idiots. Worse still, this probably represents a high estimate of privileged reason, not a low one, since there is reason to suspect Reddit is still somewhat more intelligent than the real average America. That beautiful ideology you designed as 100% Neo-Reaction? Remove all the implicit slack and take everything to its logical but retarded conclusion. Now you have 120% Hyper-Reaction and it doesn’t really work very well at all. Or swap for your favorite flavor of Neoliberalism, your own new infallible version of Communism (this one will work), Anarchism, etc.
You may object and say you’ve built some wiggle room in to account for the foibles of man. Wise, very wise. But unfortunately, this is not a one-and-done process. Who teaches the next generation? Teachers. And teachers are terribly female and terribly middle class. So even if 120% Neoreaction is fine, what about 140%? 160%? 180%? Sooner or later, your ideology will reach a breaking point where its solutions stop making any goddamn sense. This is how you start with the well-reasoned, eminently sensible writings of Saints and Church Fathers and end, through aeons of church ladies, with the dog-and-pony show absurdity of modern American Protestantism.
Imagine two principals. Both are issued a zero-tolerance policy regarding violent acts. One day, Count-Principal Maximilian Howe IV, clad in half-askew tie, notices two schoolchildren playing a rather rough game of Cowboys and Elizabeth Warrens. Now, the letter of the law would demand he crack down. On the other hand, he uses his expandingbrain.jpg and correctly assess this as not really a threat and not quite what the policy is meant to curtail and leaves it be. The other principal, Bob Smith, sees this and shuts it down. It’s in violation of the policy, even if it is a natural expression of the need of boys to play. Now, you might protest this is unfair to Mr. Smith – I’m not giving him the same intelligence as our dear Count-Principal. But suppose I do. Mr. Smith sees this play for what it is, something healthy and harmless. Then what? If he is found in violation, that’s the end of his fine career in education. For the Count-Principal, this is a non-issue. He didn’t need the job, as it was a passion project to begin with. He’ll retire to his estate to play 5 dimension hyperbilliards. But Mr. Smith? That’s his ass. That’s a foreclosure on his house. That’s a car payment going unpaid. So he’s going to crack down, even knowing in his gut that he’s wrong to. After all, he’s only following orders…
Only a perfectly fault-tolerant ideology would be immune. Let me know how formulating that goes.
I’ll be here.
I balanced some time between principle and inclination, till I recollected that, when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish take out of their stomachs; then thought I, “if you eat one another, I don’t see when we mayn’t eat you.” So I dined upon cod very heartily, and continued to eat with other people, returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.
– Rucka Rucka Ali
Yours in shabbiness,
Monsieur le Baron