Underneath our fancy justifications, and benevolent altruistic advertising-style overtures to others, our society is about control. Unlike other societies, we do not enact control on the macro level. We do it individual-to-individual.
Within a society of individualists, no external goal exists such as “uphold our values and become an epic civilization like the ancient Greeks and Romans.” There is only defense of the individual’s absolute autonomy, which requires the individual to place their own needs before many competing autonomous needs.
Equality means that we are all the same, so outside of official acts, any act by one person toward another is purely personal. There is no sense of rank or roles, just one person against another, and the one who comes out on top wins.
We are also judged entirely by our group of peers. Since there are no standards to be compared against, the only judgment of our success or failure is whether what we did appears appealing to the people around us.
When a society dedicates itself to the absolute autonomy of the individual, it makes its primary goal a negation. Our society aims to eliminate any obstacle to that individualistic, narcissistic and wholly subjective state.
For that reason, any intrusion on our absolute autonomy as individuals makes us defensive. In theory, because we’re equal, we can do whatever we want to do — unless it infringes on someone else.
However, because their right to do live in whatever reality they choose is also absolute, they will at some point be offended by what we do. Often, they’re right; our actions have consequences, and many actions will change the character of a community or society in such a way that it precludes what they want from it. This doesn’t even get into the effects on their descendants, who will be forced to inhabit the world they leave behind.
In this society, there is no obligation to accept you because you are good at achieving the goal of our civilization, or a good person. Image judges you; in the eyes of others, how do you appear? This is what you are, in a society of equals.
As a result our society has developed a manic virus of interpersonal control. If someone is opposed to you, it is your job to shout them down and re-style the situation so you appear blameless. To do so, you must control the minds of others with deceptive words and images.
When you are out there in the world trying to procure goods and services, other equal citizens are busy screwing off at their jobs or returning mediocre performance. You need to scare them, to use your power to command and control them.
You will do the same to your children, requiring years of expensive therapy when they get out of college. Since you controlled them, they will rebel against all control or anything like it, meaning they will have problems with authority. This is why the children of successful people are almost always found in leftist demonstrations.
Our society appears stable because we have neutered it. We have done that by making it unstable on the personal level, which means everyone is afraid to rock the boat, which means that all decisions are made as if by committee, deferring to compromise and the solution that deviates least from the existing path. That leaves us nowhere to go but down: a steady erosion of meaning, a constant loss of direction, an inability to make decisions, a removal of complexity and nuance.
It succeeds because this personal instability translates into very little public instability. People are terrified and mind their own business. The result is long-term decay because nothing unites them and they can’t make decisions, but in the meantime we have “peace” of the kind that happens when no one has the energy to fight even for what’s right.
This instability means that others are subservient to us because they don’t want us to be offended. In fact, that is our primary weapon: “He didn’t treat me like an equal!” We can get away with hiding behind transactions or rules sometimes, but in general, the mob rages whenever any one of its own is not treated like a little king or queen.
But the individual has no real power except defensive power. The individual then utilizes that to the max. This makes them controlling, and consequently unable to form real bonds. Children alienate. Marriages dissolve. Friends are fairweather.
The result is a society dedicated to fooling itself, for the convenience of individuals, so that each can evade the others and control enough to retreat behind closed doors. We could have a more intelligent society, but we would have to give up the myth of personal control.
Nothing in this world exists as a meaning in itself. Instead all things are like concentric layers of cause, as you might find in an eschatological onion, pointing inward. Only after you peel back all but the last do you find some implication of what is actually going on.
At the outer layer of the onion this seems to be about health care. After all, American liberals have been clamoring for socialized medicine since the 1950s, like the systems Canada and Europe have. Since that time, the debate has become poisoned by media and public figures throwing their propagandistic weight heavily behind socialized care. As a result, truth is hard to spot.
Underneath that outer layer is another agenda. The people who will benefit most from this health care are the baby boomers, many of whom have saved almost nothing for retirement despite the high possibility of crushing late-life health care costs. This will bail them out, by taking money from present generations to pay for the boomers as they fade away.
Peel back that layer, and there’s another. People with jobs have health care, for the most part. People who are part timing, are not legal citizens, or have neither employment nor marriage are at risk. The left side of politics always like internationalism, or the destruction of what makes nations unique so that anyone can be accepted.
Finally, we get to the core of the onion, which has two lobes.
The first lobe is the actual agenda of the left, which never changes: equality through wealth and power redistribution. In 1789, they killed the kings and took the power for themselves, spreading it around evenly so none would have a grievance arising from inequality. Despite the more than two centuries of unmitigated political disaster since that time, people still believe this is a good idea.
The second lobe is a symbol of our future: will government continue its leftward shift, toward a facilitative hyper-state that provides entitlement benefits in exchange for obedience, or a rightward shift, where government provides next to nothing and culture regulates who thrives and who strives?
Those are the agendas of the left. On the right, the outer onion consists of thwarting Obama, thwarting Democrats and protecting big business. Underneath that is the recognition that business is more efficient and less corrupt than government. At the core is the same ideological distinction: do we go socialist and become a Soviet-style ideological state, or cut government back and become a cultural nation, one based on values in common instead of dogma obligations?
As a rightist, I am inclined to casually note that the cost of health care in the West is directly proportional to the amount of regulation involved. Whether paid by the state or individuals, costs rise when we put more paperwork into the loop. For each rule made by our politicians, we must hire another hundred bureaucrats and have every hospital spend another few hundred hours a year doing paperwork specifically for that rule. Despite all that, many rules have not stopped abuses, and by making doctors work longer on non-medical paperwork, may have in fact burnt them out. We have the same problems, only a higher cost and more boredom and paperwork.
The constituents of the Democrats do not mind more regulation of course because a good many of them either work for the government, or see that as the ideal civilization they want to live in — one where government jobs are the way to success and power. For them, these rules mean more of “their people” — people like them, however they define that — being hired and getting a leg up on the rest.
Nonetheless, when healthcare was most personal in this country, there were not many rules. There was not much paperwork. Doctors operated without much oversight, and any errors were corrected when those doctors got sued. The situation is much the same today, except we’ve taken on a huge administrative load, which has raised costs to the point where it requires insurance to even get basic medical care at all.
It’s unfortunate that President Obama has decided to continue going down this path, but it’s what his constituency wants. To them, it’s free money; they only see the outer peel of the onion. They are unaware of any consequences besides the fact that now, they are guaranteed health care.
They are unaware of the fact that this may change the definition of health care to mean that it will be less effective, or that the increasing paperwork may drive our most competent candidates away from being doctors.
They are oblivious to the fact that this will most likely have consequences beyond the first ring of that onion, like an economy now totally dependent on government, a society veering toward socialism and away from quality control, and a fundamental change to our values system to praise those who choose to be ineffective parasites working for government or pushing papers, at the expense of those like doctors who do the actual work.
If there is a lesson in the drama over Obamacare, it is that the voters steadfastly refuse to see past that first layer of the onion, and it explains why over time our basic services decline in quality and increase in cost, all while government grows like a giant tick on their backs. But the voters are oblivious, so they can get away with this — for now.
When we were kids, there was one question we always wanted to ask adults but knew it would bring retribution.
Why were people such dickheads?
That schoolyard term reflected our knowledge of how people were. They were angry and cruel, pointless and destructive. It originated in frustration and a desire to be in control by putting others down.
Every bully eventually became unmasked when his Mom showed up to pick him up after school, drunk and carousing with someone who was not his dad. Every true sadist teacher, a petit tyrant who became aroused by the thought that his own subjugation at the hands of life could be lessened by subjugating the little people around him, was eventually revealed when the repo man drove away his car or divorce papers arrived mid-class.
We understood that about adults and kids. We were roughly the same and acted on the same impulses. But when we ventured out on daily errands with parents, it became clear that people had problems on a much grander scale in the world at large.
For example, at the grocery store. Why did that man cut in line? You could see on his face that he knew he was wrong. And he did it anyway, maybe with a little half-smile like he’d won a tiny contest. People said things to each other that they knew were hateful. They seemed to enjoy it, too, as if it brought them closer to power.
It seemed almost like the same thing.
Years later, when they finally handed us the sheepskin that in theory said we had passed some course of study, but really was a sentence to adulthood and to having to deal with these people, we experienced it up close.
Bosses who had worked away their youths trying to rise suddenly became too willing to sadistically pass on horrible tasks to subordinates, rubbing their noses in it as the saying goes. “I had to do this crap when I was a kid, and it hurt me,” the thinking went. “Now I’ll hurt you and maybe it will hurt me less.”
Co-workers seemed to take great delight in doing nothing. If not told exactly what to do, they flaked out or screwed it up. They obeyed the letter of instructions, ignoring the obvious purpose. The point? Their autonomy and boundaries were affirmed, as if pushing back to compensate for a lack of those at home.
Our fellow citizens also dismayed us. The neighbors who couldn’t be bothered to stop the dog from desecrating the lawn with ordure. The bitterly controlling PTAs, HOAs, even traffic cops giving tickets with a smug grin, saying Now I win.
Whenever this was mentioned, our peers did as adults had done years before: deny it, claim people have always been this way, get “philosophical” and shrug it off. Nothing ever changes.
But these people really aren’t that different from the bullies back on the schoolyard. They feel helpless, so they harm someone else in order to feel powerful. They experience a lack of control, so they control others. From crossing guards all the way to serial killers, this pattern is consistent.
Some people have broken out of it. They tend to have a weird mystical air about them, like they understand something the rest of us can barely glimpse. They refuse to play. When bad things happen to them, they deal with it some other way. They may fight back against people who try to harm them, but they don’t pass that buck.
What they didn’t tell you about equality is that it means everyone is in constant competition against everyone else. You have no ancestral home, no role by right, no natural purpose. You are raw labor, like any other raw material.
Either make a bunch of money, get popular and get power, or you’re fodder and will end up asking about whether we want fries with that. You’ll be on the bottom, and if there’s a rape metaphor in there, it’s not an invention of the writer.
Each person becomes a micromanager. They cannot count on anyone else to do anything but sabotage them, unless watched. They need to make sure their power is asserted at all times. Thus we all wait, either for bureaucrats to make decisions or bosses to approve vacations, because there’s no trust except the trust that each person will behave as much like a dickhead as possible.
The result is mass instability. There is no purpose to our society, and no real culture, just a big open market ruled by a popularity contest. Because that’s anarchy, we have cops, and lots of rules. We try strange policies like multiculturalism and the entitlement state to purchase stability. Even that doesn’t work.
When there is no task to work together on, we fall into interpersonal squabbles. Power to the individual becomes more important than a job well done. We make ourselves into dickheads, out of fear, instability and resentment.
And we still can’t ask that question, at least without the retribution of our peers.
When I was young, they told me fairy tales. It took many years, but I have seen through them. The real stories are less complex; however, they are less emotionally satisfying.
It can take a decade to trade truth for emotion.
The fairy tales we tell ourselves all involve the same theme: the individual as victim of forces out of their control, and the resulting lack of autonomy meaning that they cannot fix the situation.
Once upon a time I believed that people were homeless from bad luck. Now I am more willing to face the truth: they are generally insane, and almost always have drug/alcohol problems.
The few who truly do “fall on hard times” generally bounce back after a while, usually by getting a menial job while homeless until they have the cash to rent a place. It’s probably not easy but not hard either, since menial jobs have high turnover. The real problem is avoiding temptation to get intoxicated, buy stuff that you don’t need, or chuck it all and hit the road.
I also used to believe the line that government was a manipulator and that shadowy groups of rich or religious people used their twisted power to control us. Now I see that we control us, and that the control is decentralized. Most people prefer fast food to fine food, and idiotic TV to quality literature, so these win out.
Long ago I believed the line that people work hard at jobs. After experience, people work long hours at jobs, and some people work diligently meaning that they stay on top of what they must manage. Very few people work “hard.” These are desk jobs. The mythos of hard work was invented so that we don’t have to face the truth, which is that some people are born smarter and more competent than almost everyone else.
When I was in school, people made a big deal out of luck. If Johnny was an A student, it was because he was fortunate to have the support network to help him. If Billy was a C student, he just had bad luck in home life. Years later I see that all was lies; people make their own luck. If Billy or Johnny decides to rise, they can. It takes that decision.
People also made a big fuss over true love, passion, compassion, hatred, love, peace, and other big emotions. Over time I came to realize that emotions are like any other type of thought, and without discipline they tend toward the metaphysical equivalent of a cheeseburger. Undisciplined emotion is a wrecking ball just like unsystematic thought. Either leads to chaos.
There were other popular notions too. One was that if you did not have a constant stream of distractions, and new products, or workplace/home/friend drama, you were missing out on life. I later came to realize that these distractions were the surrogate, or a pale outward imitation of what people really want, which is purpose. They want a quest, a goal and a value to uphold. Without that, they revert to being fat people on couches surfing 500 cable channels and not finding any one of them to their taste.
The point is, looking back over the years, that people invent stories to justify the inaction, incompetence and dysfunction of the average person through blame of some impersonal “other” like The Rich, The Jews, The Bilderbergers, The Republicans or The Hitlers. We tell ourselves these stories so that every person has an excuse and thus we can all (theoretically) get along.
The people who should know better — upper half of middle class, college-educated, experienced — tell comfortable lies in order to appear like “allies” to the people who benefit from these lies. They seem to be hoping to stave off revolution, or hoping that if they come across as “nice” they won’t get their homes burgled. Neither seems to work.
At the bottom are those who benefit from these stories. They are let off the hook and given not only an excuse, but a free ticket for charity. This simply enrages them, because they may be dysfunctional but they can detect snobby condescension.
It’s unclear why people lie so much. We have a choice to suffer or not. If you want to suffer, do whatever you can to distance yourself from reality and practical, efficient plans for making it better. If you want to avoiding as much suffering as possible, be systematic and organized and have a goal. It’s that simple.
The heart of the problem is that people realize how simple it is to do things right, but they want a reason to not feel bad about not doing this, usually because they were busy with personal drama or selfish behavior. Thus a pyramid of lies was invented to hide a single falsehood.
For centuries we’ve gotten away with the daily trade in lies because the inventions of the past put us in a position where with minimal effort, we could expand on those technologies and become luxurious and lazy. We could afford to.
Now as the world economy caves in, people are making noises about cleaning up our act. That won’t do it, nor will global warming. What’s really forcing our hand is the realization that humanity is expanding over this earth like a swarm of locusts, and soon there will be almost no nice places to escape from the madness of the rest of them.
For many years, having as many people as we wanted was free, and being oblivious to their incompetence, criminality and drama was basically low-cost too. What’s changed that is the sheer number of people. Now it’s us against them, and so our desire to tolerate them is lessening.
Societies tend to have a life cycle that moves from impoverished struggle with a clear purpose to wealth without a clear purpose, followed by a long slow destruction.
What makes societies self-destructive? It’s as if they get through the hard times to the good times, and then bloat up and become self-pitying, and thus splash money around but stop achieving, and then decay like an abandoned building rotting from within.
Blaming wealth alone is tempting. We have all probably been lucky enough to experience the sense of relief and disinterest that occurs when there’s enough money in the bank and food in the fridge. There’s just less of an impetus than when we’re starving and broke.
The researchers argue that because wealth allows people to experience the best that life has to offer, it ultimately undermines their ability to savor life’s little pleasures. Once we’ve had the opportunity to drink the finest French wines, fly in a private jet, eat foie gras with edible gold leaf, and watch the Super Bowl from a box seat, coffee at Starbucks with a friend, a sunny day after a week of rain, or an unexpected Reese’s peanut butter cup on our desks just doesn’t provide the same jolt of happiness it used to. Indeed, a landmark study of lottery winners showed just that: People who had won between $50,000 and $1,000,000 (in 1970s dollars) were less impressed by life’s simple pleasures than people who experienced no such windfall. – Scientific American
However wealth alone makes a bad candidate because the decay includes decisions that have nothing to do with happiness, like functional design choices about how we repair and update our civilization and its infrastructure. Perhaps people are so depressed that they lose cognitive ability, but more likely there’s another reason for their lack of focus.
A more likely scapegoat is the loss of goal itself. Like a family starting out, a new civilization is hungry and desperate. As a result, it tends to be efficient, and closely bind its members not to each other but to a goal they share, which has the added side benefit of binding them to each other.
People work together toward a goal and when they look back over their lives, they can say that the choice itself defined them. They made their stand, and it made all the difference.
Without this, society becomes a process of servitude (for money) and control (when you have money). This is why people can go from their jobs where they got abused all day to a store, and abuse the people there.
Another theory suggests that this common goal may get us past a conflict as old as humanity, which is tension between the individual and the group:
Probably at this point, during the habiline period, a conflict ensued between individual-level selection, with individuals competing with other individuals in the same group, versus group-level selection, with competition among groups. The latter force promoted altruism and cooperation among all the group members. It led to group-wide morality and a sense of conscience and honor. The competitor between the two forces can be succinctly expressed as follows: within groups selfish individuals beat altruistic individuals, but groups of altruists beat groups of selfish individuals. Or, risking oversimplification, individual selection promoted sin, while group selection promoted virtue. – New York Times
A normal civilization is a tug-of-war between individual rights and the needs of the whole; in bad times, “needs of the whole” gets confused with needs of the mass, or of all individuals, instead of the concept of a body made of different elements as “whole” implies.
Without some transcendent goal like this, all that is left are material goals. Politics then becomes a science of pleasing the most people with rewards for them, at the expense of the whole. People pull apart from each other because there is no shared direction. Society becomes wracked by distrust and paranoia.
For a civilization to be healthy, it needs a goal that is more important than material things or making other people happy (social esteem). It requires that everyone set their individualism on hold, but instead of having the group rule them with its needs, they think of society as a whole tied together by its need to achieve this goal.
We call this kind of thinking “transcendent” because it allows us to transcend the daily concerns and focus on ideals, values and identity. With it, we can work together without feeling taken advantage of. Without it, we don’t work together except when forced or bribed.
Wealth seems to be what destroys civilizations, but it may be the lack of a non-material goal itself. Wealth is just one of the many consequences, none of which can serve as a successful surrogate for having a reason to cooperate.
A society with a reason to cooperate is a less miserable place. People have higher things to think about than what irritates, annoys and upsets them. They have a reason to think their sacrifice of time and effort was worthwhile. They have an identity, a shared faith in what they and their fellow citizens are doing.
Most importantly, this removes the non-functional drama of endless scrabbling for political and economic control, and allows people to focus instead on finding a role of beauty and grace in their own lives.
When we think about, finding that role is more important than wealth or even happiness itself. But oddly, being able to give yourself over to beauty can lead to a greater happiness than wealth, power, control and all the other fake forms of enjoyment that we can peddle.
As mentioned in a previous blog post, the last 60 years of politics against nationalism are being undone by the people in whose name nationalism was demonized.
Jews in Israel are realizing that like other first-world populations, they have produced a comfortable nation, and now just about everyone else on earth wants to sneak in and set up shop to partake of the wealth. (These people haven’t yet learned that wealth is created, not found. This is in part why they have none in the first place.)
When that happens, these foreigners move into your land and quickly set up shop. They prosper from your wealth and soon outnumber you. At that point, they either gain power through democratic means, or outright seize it. In the process, they interbreed with your people. This means you are no longer what you were. In fact, you’re now a hybrid. The original is gone forever, much like it would be in a genocide.
Under a nationalist order, which was the popular way of doing things until 1945 or so, one nation meant one group by culture, language, heritage and values. Heritage included race, and ethnic group. Thus Germany was for Germans, Israel for Jews, Ethiopia for Ethiopians and Thailand for the Thai. This both protected each unique ethnic group, and also maintained an order that government could not hope to achieve.
With agreement in culture, parity in abilities which are heritable and constitute heritage, and thus shared values and direction, civilizations simply did not need as much government. Everyone did what they needed to in roughly similar ways. The sense of group identity, and the pairing of that identity with values and heritage, meant that a sense of cooperation prevailed over the individualism. People were still individuals, but expressed it through achievement and moral decision-making and not in the surface adornments of possessions, outlandish behavior and bangles like trophy wives and families and adopted political viewpoints.
Theodor Herzl, a famous Jewish writer, pointed out why nationalism was important. In his view, the cause of anti-Semitism was the presence of Jews among majority cultures. The cause was not Jews; it was the presence of Jews, or to genericize it, the presence of a minority among a majority culture. He saw that a minority culture could either attempt to assimilate, and thus adulterate the majority culture, or remain true to their own traditions, and thus always be the exception that forced others to accommodate them. In Herzl’s view, this was a path to constant ethnic conflict, and the solution was a national homeland in Israel.
After almost seventy years of denying nationalism, the government of Israel — an ethnostate created to preserve the Jewish heritage, religion and culture — has affirmed nationalism by ejecting its immigrants and refusing to cater to the Palestinian majority, who with their higher rate of breeding will displace the Jewish people in their own homeland within another five decades.
In the last few weeks, Israeli authorities have shown similar resolve in deporting Africans, who have been sneaking into the country in ever-increasing numbers. With a boldness that every Western country should imitate, the Israelis have mandated expulsion for the explicit purpose of keeping their country Jewish—even for keeping it white. Once the government made up its mind that the Africans had to go, it went into action very quickly.
…There is, to be sure, a cruel double standard. Any American or European who wants an ethnostate of his own is a frothing bigot, whereas Israelis who want the same thing are heroes in their own country and respectable statesmen here. It is entirely understandable that American patriots should be angry about the double standard, but it is more useful to laud the Israeli example than to complain about it. The Israeli government is doing exactly what we would like our government to do. We should point to Israel as a model and encourage our rulers to copy it rather than grouse about others getting away with things we can’t do. We should celebrate this Israeli policy just as we would a similar outbreak of sanity in Canada or Australia. – American Renaissance
Israel has realized that this is a question of genocide.
Immigration is genocide. There are more immigrants than there are people in the first world, and if some come, others will rise up to replace them in their native lands as people reproduce more to ensure a steady supply of workers. The first world will be overrun by people “seeking a better life,” at which point its economies will collapse, then it will politically collapse, and finally it will dissolve into anarchy and criminality as its people starve.
If your nation exists, it should have a purpose. That includes the protection of your people, who are unique and easily destroyed. Viewing the task as one of economics or politics misses the point: this is not an optional issue that can be fiddled with to buy votes or jack up the taxpayer population. It’s a question of exterminating yourselves.
Europe is finally waking up and beginning to follow the European model. The United States will not be far behind. The reason is that these nations are recognizing that multiculturalism produces a do-nothing society where no one has anything in common, and resent their society for that, thus tend to riot, rape, loot, vandalize, assault and steal. The result is a path to a postmodern dystopia: unruly grey cultureless people ruled by a strong police state which also functions as permanent in loco parentis for people too disassociative to figure out the means of their own survival.
Even European leftist parties are snorting themselves to consciousness and declaring that the great multiculturalism experiment is over:
For too long we assumed those who worried about immigration were stuck in the past — unrealistic about how things could be different, even prejudiced.
Britain was experiencing the largest peacetime migration in recent history partly because of global factors like the lower cost of travel but also because the last Labour government severely underestimated the numbers who would come here when the EU expanded.
We were too dazzled by globalisation’s impact on growth and too sanguine about its price. We lost sight of who was benefiting and the people being squeezed in the middle who were losing out. And, to them, Labour was too quick to say: “Like it or lump it.” – VDARE
Multiculturalism, also known by its 1780s-1920s name of internationalism, is part of the leftist drive for absolute equality. The individual alone should be important, and no border should restrain him. Like Communism, a nice plan in the idealized space of “logic” that inhabits idle minds.
Back in the land of thinking about all of the consequences of an event, and not just how pleasing it is as a social meme or talking point, people are realizing that multiculturalism does not work. It’s not just this recession; it’s that societies are falling apart wherever it is tried, and the promise of making life better for (a) European-descended peoples and (b) immigrants has for the most part not materialized.
Instead, what we’re seeing is a destruction of indigenous populations and their replacement with a known quantity. This known quantity is not some adventurous, interesting and genius new race of humankind, but the same old mishmash of people without culture or heritage that we find in most third-world states.
This is why Israel is leading the way in the charge back to nationalism. We can have only one: nationalism or internationalism. Internationalism as it turns out is genocide that destroys societies and makes victims of everyone.
Now that the ice has been broken by the very people our rabid anti-internationalism was designed to protect, expect a domino effect of other countries demanding the same privilege. They’re not doing it from ideology, but from practicality. Their only other option is self-destruction.
The greatest gift to any person is impossible to buy and very hard to attain, although it can be done with hard work. That gift is the gift of a normal life.
As our modern minds are conditioned to point out, “normal” changes with context. Normal for a war zone is collecting shell casings to trade for live ammunition. Normal in the suburbs is casseroles and board meetings. Normal in 1950 is not normal in 2012.
But that is, like so many things that we are told, self-serving for the teller. A sense of what normal ought to be is a threat to those who want to lower the standard, possibly to sell us an “edgy” lifestyle that comes at a lower cost. In fact, a true normal in which people found contentment would be a sad investment indeed, since products would have to compete on quality and not trendiness.
Normal could be seen as a description of an ideal that is not a peak, but a middle. Instead of being rich or poor, one has enough to do everything well, and then a little more for hobbies like astronomy or music. It could also be a description of the environment in which one grows.
For example, since most species have maternal and paternal units raising the young, it would involve a nuclear family with two parents of opposite genders. These parents would be intelligent and gentle people; not perfect, but not “flawed” in that trendy way that serves to obscure moral laziness.
Their normal parents would be innocents or at least could pass for them, having had low miles or no miles at marriage. History shows us that this makes for the greatest bond and the most stable household for the kids. These parents would not have extramarital affairs, or go to key parties or engage in BDSM. They would also not buy a whole lot of designer products, or drink to excess, or even spend too much time watching TV. The parents would have full, purposeful and reverent lives.
They would live in a normal house, not too big, not too stylish, but not small or ugly either. They would live in a normal city or town, in a normal suburb or city block, surrounded by well-adjusted people. For a real normal, these people would be roughly like them in age, intellect, caste, class, heritage, culture, values and language. Their neighborhood would not have extreme crime, but as a constant reminder of why one lives honestly, would have its resident criminals, layabouts, grifters and con-men to pray on the unwary, but only a certain number of them, kept in check by its normal police force which is not overzealous nor excessive sensitive.
A normal town or city would be semi-idyllic only because of its stability. It would not be seen as the coolest place in the world, or the wealthiest, but it wouldn’t be the opposite either. It would be a normal place, where normal people gathered to have families and careers and feel well-adjusted. It would have its share of ugly buildings along with the nice-looking ones, so that the nice-looking ones really stood out in the minds of those who saw them. It would not be paradise, but not an infernal wasteland, either.
The kids would go to a normal school where they would not stand out for anything. Their parents would not be celebrities, but neither would they be downtrodden nobodies. Just average generic folk with about the same jobs, hobbies, and so on that you’d expect. They would not be wealthy, nor poor. They would not have every toy they wanted, but nor would they go without the things they really needed. No one would know them by their last names except as a personal connection to the parent.
The kids would go through a normal life cycle. Born, they would be raised by loving parents, go through the usual learning experiences and then come out stronger. They would go to school, go to college, find careers and fall in love, then have families. They might never do anything exceptional. But they would have normalcy.
Normalcy is a product of normal people, which are those who intend to be normal because it is a life in harmony with nature and self. They have no need for extremes, but prefer a middle path. Not too radical, not too inflexible. Not too much, not too little. Normal means balance, an adaptation to an environment with some grace, but without losing sight of the bottom line. Normal means finding a middling version of the life you would find ideal, and then realizing that the lack of an ideal (a peak) or a threat (a valley) means that you’re on level ground.
Money cannot buy a normal life. If you are wealthy, your name comes tainted with dollar signs. You cannot buy your way into anonymity, and become just another person on an average block in Anywhere, USA. If you are famous the same thing applies. If you are powerful, you would not leave yourself so exposed. You cannot again fit into the fabric of normal life. In fact, normalcy is not a buying decision at all, but a series of decisions: the smaller city, the less-trendy suburb, the average house, the small talk at parties and used Buick in the garage.
To our modern television-instructed minds, the first impulse that explodes out of the mouth is to say, “But isn’t that boring?” Why, yes, on the surface it is. A generic horde of generic people. But this is part of the genius of normalcy. On the surface, there is no variation. This removes all of the parts of life that are essentially distractions. Do you really care that much about being trendy? Having an important-looking car? Buying the right TV?
Normalcy removes the burden of trying to make life interesting through its least interesting attributes. Instead, it provides a stable platform on which we can face the great moral challenge of life itself, which is to find a place for ourselves. We need to feel that what we do is useful, reverent to nature and god and ourselves, and gives us a sense of fulfillment so we can get to know ourselves in the time we have alive.
If we distract ourselves with the drama of life itself and attempt to find meaning in our “different” and “unique” approaches, we are backing away from the larger questions in favor of the smaller. The larger questions are what truly forge our personalities in the moral decisions we make. Normalcy is the environment that nurtures us and encourages us to make these decisions, instead of backing away like so many callow hipsters in the mist.
He is hopelessly manipulated by a media owned by criminal elites, pushed around by government with its paramilitary police, and his fortunes wax and wane at the whim of the sociopathic banksters who control Wall Street and the value of our currency.
In Europe, the billionaires meet and plan the future of international finance. The little guy is just a pawn in this game, a profit counter to be tossed around and discarded. He will work his whole life for an amount equivalent to what they spend on pool care in a month.
When he wants to find out the truth, the news-entertainment media lies to him. It is owned by six large corporations whose boards of directors and ruling families are incestuously intertwined. Its highest positions are a matter of nepotism.
If he resists, he will be drummed out of his job for being a conspiracy nut or having unpopular opinions. Then government can haul out a book of ten thousand laws and search until they find one he’s violating. Then he gets to see the inside of a jail, and perpetual debt to his legal defense.
The little guy is systematically crushed so that big corporate and government interests can get richer and more powerful. When they can, they manipulate him, and if that doesn’t work, they force him into position with threats of financial armageddon, arrest or isolation.
There is no hope of beating such a complex and powerful system. If all the little guys joined together, and formed a big enough group, maybe they could overthrow it. But that will never happen since the little guys are hypnotized by media, government and corporate narratives that deny the need for revolution.
Did you get all that? It’s unmitigated horse droppings, by the way. Not a word of it is true, although it “feels” true. It “seems” to be a plausible explanation for how things work, if you’re in the habit of coming to a conclusion first and then searching for an explanation or justification later that fits into the narrative.
Let us be more critical in our thinking: at no time in history has the individual had as much power as he does now. He has the vote, the ability to form political groups, the use of petitions, and the freedom of expression to convince others to see it his way.
The individual in fact is king in this society. It is structured around individualism and self-expression. It is designed to stop the presses if a single person is wronged, and to allow that person powerful means of redress. The media actively seeks stories of individuals wounded by the system and represents them. With financial flexibility, the individual has the greatest chance of gaining power of any time in history.
Vast legal and administrative systems exist which cater to the individual’s needs. These systems will represent the individual against government, industry and society at large. Society itself is geared toward defense of the individual and her pursuits against the impersonal and machinelike modern bureaucracy.
There’s only one glitch. While most people agree that things are bad, almost no one agrees on what should be done. In an individualistic culture, each person is his own political party and has his own platform. There is no agreement except that things are bad.
An interesting relationship exists between the three groups: the sheep who are ruled, the wolves who command, and the pigs who own the means of production.
If this were not a realist blog, and we liked to live in the world of simple emotional “truths” that allow ideas like Marxism to seem appealing, we would automatically blame the wolves or the pigs. But a more analytical approach reveals how the three groups depend on each other.
The sheep, as seen above, cannot make decisions on their own. They are pulling in too many directions at once. At the same time, the wolves can make decisions, but need popular support or they are viewed as tyrants by the sheep, who will then revolt and destroy them. The pigs need the protection of the wolves in order to fleece the sheep, but also need the sheep to become prosperous so there is something to fleece. These three groups are dependent on each other.
Furthermore, “democracy” means that the people vote and those votes determine who is in power. Consumerism means that the people vote with their purchase dollars and determine which products, including news-entertainment media, are successful. All of our society is run by the sheep, although they delegate that power to the wolves and pigs.
Because this three-way cluster is so comfortable, it has invented a mythology that is emotionally appealing but factual nonsense. In this mythology, the sheep are victims who have no power; this lets them off the hook for being actually responsible for what goes on in their democracies. The wolves get to play the dual role of being in charge, and being beholden to sheep and pigs. That lets them off the hook for ever achieving anything notable. Finally, the pigs get what they really need, which is a society that will not change its underlying financial structure, while gaining a cover story that excuses the worst of their abuses; after all, they’re the bad guys.
Don’t the sheep stop to wonder about this comfortable narrative? Hollywood movies tell us that corporations run the country and that the sheep need to fight back against them and government, and portray the pigs as evil corruptors. Yet Hollywood are of the pigs themselves. Surely they would not say something that wasn’t in their self-interest, would they? The mythology lets them off the hook as surely as it does the sheep and wolves.
The wolves of course could stop this process, but they encourage it. Each rebellion against a select wolf, but not the domination of wolves themselves, strengthens the wolves as a group. They remove the lone offender and use that wolf as a scapegoat for all systemic failings of their government and society. They’re off the hook too.
Among the sheep, it is considered bold and brave to “speak truth to power” by reciting what is basically Marxist and liberal propaganda about how the people are oppressed by government and industry, and need to rise up against the same. And yet revolutions of that nature are what created our current society. The sheep are letting themselves off the hook by picking a solution that is not a re-making of the system itself, but an affirmation of that system as a concept by removing one of its instances, just like they might remove a “rogue” wolf or pig but not remove wolfdom and pigdom.
Centuries ago conservatives saw this coming. They realized that government in the hands of the sheep was untenable, and as a result, the wolves and pigs would take over like the mechanical little profit centers they are. They realized the sheep would invent a victim story, like a girl who got drunk and said “yes” and cried rape the next day, which would allow all three groups to co-exist as buddies in a profit scheme.
There are no revolutions that can un-do this order and none are needed. What threatens it is the idea that we will select values higher than the individual, and thus liberate the sheep from their disorganization, which will force the wolves and pigs — who depend on the sheep — into acting in a way that pleases the sheep. This way will be a new way, since it will no longer be based on a victim story, but on a process of asserting values despite the inconvenience of doing so.
Sheep, wolves and pigs. We fall into these simple roles when we have lost sight of a larger goal. When that happens, our society begins to fall apart, and we invent excuses so that we can let it happen without troubling our individualistic pursuits.
Most modern citizens of the West take their society at face value and assume that its intention is what it says its intention is.
In contrast to that, some have found out that society is more of a pleasant covering — a perfume, a drop cloth, a euphemism — for the underlying natural order of predation, parasitism and production.
This order was chosen by life because it requires no context. It works in any situation, provided there is time, space and energy. Evolution is of this nature, as is thought itself.
When we think, some thoughts consume others and some thoughts delay others, prolonging their own lives with the momentum of others. This has the effect of producing a hierarchy: weakness is dragged down by the parasites, and the strong conquer others to rise.
The translation of this order into the physical reality we inhabit is terrifying to us because not only are we potential prey, made of tasty meat, but we are also locked in our large brains which see only the world made of our memories, our judgments, our knowledge and our feelings.
As a result, we tend to deny the underlying order of reality and its predators, parasites and producers. One reason for that is that we, and by that I generalize the Western population in the middle socioeconomic and intellectual bracket, are actually what is hunted by both the predators and parasites in this world.
Predators are those who would take what we have through conquest. These are on the international scale other contenders for superpower status, and at home, competition in business and social pursuits. Some groups want to rise above their social status, others want to immigrate and take control, and still others want to seize us for their religious, economic, political or social agendas. We are their targets.
Even more predatory are those who want to use us as food for their businesses. They want us to be fodder for our products. They wish to infect our heads with illusions, inducing us to buy from them, and to make profit from us.
While this is part of the natural order, it is natural for us to wish to avoid when not advantageous for us. How many times must we hear this tale: product is invented, becomes an underground hit because it’s a better option, then gets sold and the MBAs come out of the woodwork, thus product gets made more cheaply and becomes less effective at the same time it becomes the most popular. We are the target. They hunt us for their nourishment and want to dominate us.
On the other side, the parasites wish to drag down those of us that they can catch being unwary. Unlike a predator, a parasite does not seek to consume. It seeks to cut itself a share of the pie and eat at the table, every day. A successful predator wins by conducting a transaction, but a parasite wins by keeping the transaction open for as long as possible.
The biggest parasites are well-intentioned government programs and special interest groups that demand we subsidize them in exchange for feelings of moral superiority. They actually give us nothing. They program us to think that quibbling over money is lower-class, and that we look like jerks if we don’t support any cause that makes someone somewhere happier or “more empowered.”
The goal of these parasites cannot be taken at face value. They do not intend to fix the problems they describe. Instead they intent to milk them, applying gentle pressure in such a way that induces more of the problem to come to light, so they can achieve their real agenda, which is bleeding away your cash.
Middle class people in the West, who comprise its most productive sector and those who will determine its future with their political power, like to remain in oblivion that they are the hunted. But they are: they are the prize, the real breadwinners of this society and the ones everyone else wants to replace, or else live off of.
Almost all the voices in media deny this because each voice is hoping to cut itself a share of that wholesome middle class pie. But as animals struggling for our own survival, we forget the natural order — no matter how much cloaked in pleasantries — at our peril.
It strikes me sometimes as I wander through this high-tech wasteland just how puny almost everything is.
I am supposed to be awed by the giant buildings, the vast technology and the massive power of our industry, but I can’t find praise in my soul for them. Most products are barely usable, unreliable, inefficient and inelegant. Our technology can’t go a day without screwing up, crashing, exploding, or otherwise failing. The buildings, unlike their forbears, decay in a matter of decades.
Even more the purposes of individual lives are puny. It is great that some are rich, but with most it is a question of putting the rest of life on hold to get through the education, get a business or career started, and then plug away until it succeeds. It doesn’t speak to a particular elan or exceptional intellect — in fact it rewards the obvious, venal and clever but not intelligent — and leaves a sad discoloration to reality when encountered. “Success” often means dedicating yourself to the crowd, to think as it does, and then at the height of pandering to become mercenary.
There are many respectable professions. Who will scorn the community doctor, the honest lawyer, or the reliable business leader? Even that however in itself is the finding of a slot, the insertion of oneself in it, and then following the indicators to pick the “better” option over the “worse” option. Even some of the giants of industry seem to have succeeded through a lack of imagination and purpose, not from it. It seems they often regretted that later in life and showered money on others as their surrogates, or their hired “meaning” emissaries like artists and other cultural types.
In fact, most of what this life rewards is singularity. Pick something, dedicate to it, keep on it and stay with it for most of your conscious hours, and then good things happen. By that point, you are rounding out middle age into the senior years, and have a fascinating three decades of shufflepuck before heart disease, cancer or dementia carry you off. When you look back on it, what do you see? A role, like a product on a shelf, and a grade. It’s high school all over again.
What is not puny seems to me to be the whole person. For this person, a career is part of the goal, but is beaten back as not a noble expenditure of time but a necessary one. In their greater amount of free time, they conquer their own lack of self-discipline, improve their wisdom and focus, become valued members of the community and lead moral lives. They are not focused on singularity, but on many things being true at once. That’s a balancing act. It does not have the rewards of singularity, which like a vending machine produces an equal and opposite reaction, but it has a reward over all else which is the sense of a full life and time well spent.