The emergence of liberalism is not unique to the industrialized West. Nor it is unique to the modern time, or technology, or our complex financial systems. Liberalism is as old as humanity.

When people decide they want to pay attention to themselves more than reality, an occurrence which inevitably follows any population bloom, they begin a long slow progress like becoming obese. A candy bar here, an extra beer there, and each year a few pounds are added. Suddenly at 40 the slim 18-year-old is a marshmallow of 300 lbs.

This slow attack is hard to detect because people like to hide behind what is not immediately visible. If you claim that doom awaits, but in 50 years, only the 1% of the population with the brains and character to think ahead are going to care about what you’re talking about. The 99% are going to change the channel.

Liberal ideology holds that those 99% are in fact blameless paragons of virtue and they are in a subordinate position only by chance or oppression. As the slow attack gains momentum, what was initially an excuse (I didn’t perform well because I was oppressed because I was not treated equally) becomes a cause of action, namely the elimination of all inequality.

But that too goes through layers of interpretation. At first it is innocent, a cry for meritocracy. Then it becomes a crusade against those who violate it. Finally it becomes a demand for subsidies for all of those who did not make it to the bar labeled “equal.” Eventually, society consumes itself like a dog chasing its tail, forever self-critical of its inability to be totally equal.

An important part of this myth is the idea that some people are born The Beautiful People and enjoy a life of luxury, happiness, plenty and ease that the rest of us are denied. It’s not that we don’t have it; it’s that someone else has it, and since we’re all equal, the only way it can be that we do not have this is that someone denied it to us, oppressed us or otherwise used inequality as a weapon against us. In order to sustain this fantasy, we have to assume that all people are born with a “blank slate,” or equal abilities and potential, depending only on “nurture” or the circumstances of their upbringing. This illusion allows us to demand equality so that every person has an equal shot at becoming whatever they want to be.

Thus this illusion requires constant warfare against The Beautiful People. If they have more than us, that’s excess that should be re-distributed. In fact, if we divide everything up equally, there will be no strife and happiness can reign forever. That is called “progress.” And yet what is really happening, slowly at first but accelerating in the second century, is the replacement of the former The Beautiful People with a new group of favored ones. We can call this new group BPs, for Beautiful People, because such acronyms fit with the atmosphere of governments, non-profits and academics who most vigorously champion this idea, speaking over their wineglasses from their own gated communities.

The BPs are a new group that doesn’t resemble the golden Beautiful People of the 1950s or more. To be part of the BPs, you can’t be born with any kind of advantage. In fact, the more degraded your origins, the better. BPs are hipsters and immigrants from impoverished countries, the homeless and the lowly, those who have experimented with being in pornography and taking hard drugs, those who may be criminal but have artistic visions, those who are anonymous but think themselves superstars. These are the new beautiful people, replacing those A students on the football team of classic American lore.

Our mass-culture emphasizes these BPs. Whether it’s the Puerto Rican street gang from West Side Story or the “downtown man” of Uptown Girl, the point is that that which is born privileged is giving way to that which is not. The flower girl in My Fair Lady deserves an upper-crust man, and their love must be true, because it crosses those ugly unequal lines. When a prince marries a Kate Middleton, despite her family having forged their fortune through dubious means and her sister being essentially a prostitute, we all get that little glow inside of us. Inequality is banished, now pacifism and brotherhood can wipe away all those dark thoughts and unsettling realities. We can live in peace and prosperity together.

This is the impetus behind the creation of the BPs. We don’t want the beautiful people; we want the ugly, so they can be lifted up. We want the poor, so they can be gifted with wealth. We want the foreign, the alien, and the dangerous, so we can extend to them the privilege of our birthright. The purpose is to make ourselves feel good, not to care about them; they are the means to the end of our happiness, our uplifting moments, and our sense of well-being through altruism. And yet, when morning comes and the hangover passes, we see that even our well-intentioned acts have consequences and that perhaps those are more grave than a transient feeling.

15 Responses to “BPs”

  1. Jim says:

    My parents immigrated here in 1967 dirt poor with 3 kids. My mother used to tell me stories of being so poor as to resort to eating animal feed literally. Yet they came here and opened their own business and made it without the government. Modern liberalism does not want that to happen anymore as you write about. But as we see laws being perpetuated the punish wealth and even go so far to those who wish to renounce their citizenship, the final nails in the coffin are already being hammered in. As taxation climbs, capital flight away from the US is ensured and the BPs will turn into anarchists, looters, thieves, the whole enchilada. Someone has to pay EXCEPT them.

    See the story of the thug with 30 kids by 11 different women who expects the state to pay for them? Why should anyone finance him or his children?

  2. Sun says:

    Heart drumming against the force nature, the air presses against the stride I make. With motion I become more wise, and time slows down.

    A strong heart lets someone breath deeper breathers, taking life in more deeply and enjoying it slower.

    Of course for the decadent and obese, they rot, succumbed to sloth and die.

    My muscles sore and torn. On verge of collapse I press onward.

    My freedom is to deny myself it. For something better.

    Through strength and will, I develop deeper sense action and motion, thus understand who I am better and able to master myself unto the elements.

    • Sun says:

      Developing, training, this is what true freedom is, in the hopes of achieving a higher state.

      Studying all avenues thought, clinging onto not, explorer of the worlds, the master harbors no favorites.

      For what is a master, the absence of doing, or the doer of doing?

      • Sun says:

        The deeper your breath, the stronger your heart, the better man you are.

        • Sun says:

          Chaos reigns in him, yet never outside of him. He is nature’s incarnate. A storm and a gentle breeze.

          Through conflict and overcoming, a better man comes.

          • Sun says:

            The decadent love immediate gratification.

            But not the true Man. He cares not. TVs, junk food, gossip do not impure him.

            Seeking a strong foundation, a home is built. But a man who does not go into the wilderness to fight or hunt, will die.

            If love is not found in doing, what love can there be?

            Only the decadent use “the means” for personal indulgence.

            In denying one the petty luxuries in life, one is able to gain much more.

            • Ryan says:

              bravo zarathustra, bravo! and may i add, it is only when one forgoes these pleasures and easy roads that one is able to see the forces at play, to see the world devoid of all these false smiles and do-dads is quite terrifying and forces the one that sees it to attempt to construct a bulwark (a set of values) against the horror of unmeaning, pointlessness,etc.

            • Sun says:

              Your body is your temple, honor it.

              • Sun says:

                Exercise, like climbing a mountain, is a spiritual journey.

                Time slows for those who are fit both mentally, physically, and spiritually.

                Time speeds for those who are weak.

                • Sun says:

                  As the heart races, the air becomes fuller, lungs are pierced with cold air, and the sweat becomes sweeter. The Moment stills.

                  Awareness deepens and perceptions broaden with those who have a strong heart, pushing blood that make you more alive.

                  • Sun says:

                    Beseeched on all sides the True Man can be seduced by all the vices of the world.

                    Everywhere one look a path to corruption is there. TV shows, youtube, movies, money, internet, TV shows, candy, cars, fast food, video games, and drama.

                    Even the noble gym, TVs are prompted up in everyone corner. Desecrated.

                    Within democracy, within modernity, pulled by the whaling gluttons and slothful, the True Man doesn’t falter.

                    Under the weight.

                    Rather smiles a smile that would make the devil shiver.

  3. Missy says:

    Old-style BPs or the new bunch, they are all the bloody same. No ultrarich person, in any meaningful sense of the word “earn”, has earned his or her wealth. You are losing sleep over the fact that the old-style golden Beautiful People are suffering replacement by a different breed? I’m not supposed to resent the ultra rich of the past but it’s okay for you to resent the newly created bunch. They all want to sit on 24 carat gold toilets, irrespective of their origins, and someone has to work in the mines getting all that gold. All the superrich are skunks, having no sense of self-restraint whatsoever. Can you name any old-style rich or new-style BPerson who doesn’t push his weight around, using his wealth & power to mould the world into what he thinks it should be? I sure can’t.

  4. Ted Swanson says:

    @Missy: I think you’re conflating this too much with literal material wealth. This monumental article should be understood in a more idealized sense. Sometimes we understand reality better by not taking it literally but by taking it as a “story,” by looking at what and who we idealize and what and who we don’t (what constitutes being heroic and what constitutes being heinous), and by looking at how we are trying to fit ourselves within the “narrative” of history. Different eras have different archetypes and this can help us get to the bottom of things quicker than trying to think of how people “really” are. Sometimes trying to conceive of things “on the ground” is actually an exercise in futility.

    I think this whole line of thinking stems from the idea that “there are no actual heroes in real life,” “everyone has demons/we’re all mortal,” and “the victors write history, so you can’t trust it,” therefore the old myths and heroic ideals set “unrealistic goals and conceptions” for young boys and girls and it scares them (why are you scaring young boys and girls!!??). Since we can’t hardly live up to such high expectations, let’s change the expectation and ideals themselves. Some people go so far as to claim myth and stories, themselves, are an evil thing that prevents us from understanding things properly when in reality they’re about the only guide we have.

    This all reminds me of the author James Frey. I mentioned James Frey in a few of my early articles because his whole situation fascinates me. Frey wrote a best-selling drug memoir/autobiography that ended up being endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. It came out that he exaggerated the story to basically make it look like he was a bigger screw-up than he really was. Does this not perfectly coincide with this article? Frey’s “real” story wasn’t pathetic and disastrous enough for a bestseller. Frey intuitively understood that to be “beautiful” today, is to be a disaster. The other component that’s interesting is that he billed it as an autobiography when he could have just wrote a fiction piece from the get go.

    I can’t claim to be really tuned into the “avant garde” fiction scene but I read some things here and there and there is clearly this trend that also resembles this. The stock story in “flash fiction” is basically privileged people slumming around, behaving like proles but written in a quirky, humorous, somewhat flippant way. It’s a perfect example of a race to the bottom and of people acting all the same despite a desperate, desperate attempt to be completely different.

    I have more thoughts on this but that’s all for now. Something’s going on here and I intend to get to the bottom of it!

    • Ted Swanson says:

      And by the way I read ‘A Million Little Pieces’ and his next book ‘Bright Shiny Morning’ (or something lame like that) which was a fictional book basically just jumping around between 6 or 7 different stories revolving around different people in Southern California or something. All these stories were basically just poor rabble and rich proles slumming around Los Angeles and what not. One of the revolving stories was a boyfriend/girlfriend duo from Nebraska that moved to Los Angeles right after graduating high school to chase come vague dream and they got menial jobs and embroiled themselves is some half-assed drug-deal gone wrong or what have you. These kind of cliches in both film and literature are so easy to spot nowadays. It kind of goes hand-in-hand with “The NPR Style” article from a few months ago. There is this nebulous, pseudo-sophisticated “counter-culture” contingent out there that are not exactly flamboyant hipsters but are a little more mainstream than that. Had James Frey not been found out with A Million Little Pieces, he would be the #1 spokesman for the contingent I’m talking about. Oprah Winfrey is obviously mainstream and for James Frey to straddle that line between mainstream and “hard-nosed” author with “street cred,” (which he did for 15 minutes until he was exposed), is notable.

      Anyway, on the one hand Frey is a skilled writer – at times I actually couldn’t put his books down. I was actually surprised I read them as quickly as I did. But on the other hand there is not much substance either. The whole slumming around, down-and-out drug-memoir/rehab-memoir is so unoriginal and so played out it’s not even funny. A Million Little Pieces has a cast of quirky fellow rehab patients right down to the stock “guttersnipe chick” character. The whole thing is laughable, really. This sophisticated rebel “scene” that is going on out there is begging to be lampooned. It’s a cut above flamboyant hipsters in a sense, but it’s still pretty flimsy. This scene is important because it’s where a lot of young intellectuals dwell. It’s not so elitist or “out there” that the mainstream can’t wrap its head around it, but on the other hand it has a certain “street-cred” and is a cut above mainstream mainstream like “America’s Biggest Loser” or what ever is on primetime TV.

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