The Tipping Point

Inertia is an odd thing. When an object is at rest, its tendency is to stay there. When enough pressure is applied, a certain inevitability takes over, and its tendency shifts toward the explosive.

The West has spent the past two centuries in inertia because it has never fully accepted the events of July 14, 1789. Liberalism split civilization in two: there was the social order, and then there was an entirely new way of living based on abstractions.

These abstractions justified themselves with morality, but at essence, were justifications. They were not forward-reaching reasons, but reasons-why that looked backward and dug around until they found reasoning that supported what individuals desired.

Since then, the West has been conquered in progressive stages by extreme individualism. In this, the individual creates rules that demand equality for all people — so the individual can always demand whatever is at hand. It is like a nagging mother not permitting locks on bedroom doors.

When individuals band together to enforce these rules — a state called Crowdism — they take over all politics, society, academia and even the very words we use to express ourselves. It is a pervasive, evangelical and paranoid movement that is convinced of its absolute moral correctness.

During the time it has been active, the West (Europe, USA and related societies) has declined like a cancer patient. Our technology has surged forward, but like doctors treating symptoms in an illness that is otherwise fatal, it’s a show of strength and not a cure.

In the meantime, our society has degenerated from within. We are now a bazaar-culture, having replaced national culture with commerce, advertising and government pamphlets. Our cities are ghettos covered in advertising. We commit ecocide through the selfishness of individuals. And yet we have no goal.

But of late, things have been changing. Words that once took an inconceivable amount of courage to utter are now being said. Questions that were once considered the domain of society’s rejects and assholes are now being asked. Inertia is reaching a tipping point when inaction becomes action.

[E]xperts say a frank debate about immigration may be the best way to prevent similar explosions of violence.

{…}

But experts argue overly aggressive political rhetoric and scare tactics have inflamed passions rather than address the many complex, underlying problems.

{…}

British Prime Minister David Cameron, Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy have all declared in recent months that multiculturalism has failed, in speeches that were otherwise careful to highlight the contribution of immigrants.

But critics say such statements at best do little to offer solutions to tackle the economic and societal pressures that stem from increasing immigration and globalization, and do even less to harness the benefits of a multi-ethnic society.

{…}

“What has clearly emerged from recent speeches and ensuing public national debates on multiculturalism is a sense of confusion, malaise and often contradictory messages,” said Sara Silvestri, lecturer in religion and international politics at London’s City University, in an article dated June 8. – Reuters

If you look carefully, you can see the tipping occurring. It’s like a see-saw.

First we are told how complex it is, how amazing multiculturalism is, how multi-ethnic societies have obvious benefits.

We’re also reminded that the far right are terrible Nazis, monarchists, elitists, Charlemagneists and probably fascists, but we get enough of that from our TVs that we’re actually ready for that be glossed over.

Finally, we start to get actual debate, and people ask the “Emperor has no clothes” questions: we assume there are benefits to diversity, so what are they? Are the problems we find on the way caused by irrational people, or a design flaw in diversity itself?

As you know when reading this blog, we’re fond of pointing out that diversity contains a design flaw. It is popular as a way to import voters, cheap labor and future consumers. But it requires that each person have no culture except mall culture and government pamphlets, or for us to have a society that replicates the order of the world — many Chinatowns, each one per nationality, religion, political inclination, sexual identity or lifestyle choice.

That type of society doesn’t hold together well because it has no unifying principle. Saying that our unifying principle is some abstract hoodoo-voodoo like “equality” only works so far, because that’s really a political concept and not a practical daily-life belief.

That type of society is guaranteed to have perpetual internal war, just like how the USA now has 150+ years of race riots under its belt with none in sight, and Ireland has several centuries of religious warfare continuing ad infinitum, and Pakistan and India will be at war covertly over the Muslim-Hindu fracture, etc.

Many of us do not want to live in such a society. We would rather give up some freedom — the right to do just about anything — in favor of a lesser number of permitted activities, and greater stability. This allows us to focus on what well-adjusted people: build things.

We build careers so we have interesting things to do to pay the bills. We build families and invest heavily in educating and rearing our young. We build religious centers, learning centers, community centers and interesting new technologies. This is the creative force of life at its finest.

But doing that requires an organic society. We don’t want a centralized authority enforcing rules on us, or a snitch culture where people cut us down for not following rules to the letter. We want a cooperative culture where people come together and work together based on mutually-held values, ideals, goals and notions about life.

The best examples of organic culture are the traditional ones. Hinduism for India; Judaism for Israel; England for the English; Germany for the Germans; Christianity or “Christian atheism” for Europe; Islam for the middle east.

But that offends people who are so unstable that they think having infinite options is a substitute for having a path.

For a long time, we’ve listened to such people. We are worried they might riot, or break out the guillotine (or gulag) again. They are like a capricious Crowd of houseguests we keep in the front room, always hinting we want them gone, but never brave enough to say “here, my need is greater than yours, so you need to leave.”

Until now. The cracks in the facade are widening.

Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.

The scientists, who are members of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer, used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion. The finding has implications for the study and influence of societal interactions ranging from the spread of innovations to the movement of political ideals.

“When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority,” said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer. “Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.”

As an example, the ongoing events in Tunisia and Egypt appear to exhibit a similar process, according to Szymanski. “In those countries, dictators who were in power for decades were suddenly overthrown in just a few weeks.” – PhysOrg

As our society faces its tipping point, we’re going to climb back up the ladder of assumptions that we slowly descended to get to this state.

  1. Diversity.

    Also called multiculturalism, but more conventionally known as internationalism, diversity is the idea that heritage does not matter, that all people are biologically equal, and thus we can assemble a country of random people and — with the right laws, police force and economy — make it into a prosperous, Western-European style nation.

    However, we are seeing that diversity does not work on many levels. First, people are not biologically equal, not even within very specific ethnic groups. Some rise above others, which is why school is hard and not everyone is a neurosurgeon. Most people end up at where they are in life because of what their abilities are, including that nebulous ability called “judgment” which includes delayed gratification.

    Second, diversity requires people give up what they know to be necessary — culture, including values, religion and heritage. This their identity and how they know what will be valued and accepted in their social group. It is how they explain their lives, and understand their importance in the world. It is their role. With multiculturalism, they must either give it up (and adopt the generic mall culture) or retain it and be marginalized like Amerinds.

    Finally, having a consensus — a shared set of values, customs, languages and ideals — forms the most stable society. You need fewer laws, and fewer cops, when there’s a standard of behavior that isn’t written in legal language but understood as a form of common sense. Multiculturalism destroys this, as it destroys the identity that conveys it to people.

  2. Wealth redistribution.

    If we tell people that they are politically equal, they remember that as equal. We are all the same, they think. Well, then how did my neighbor end up rich and I end up poor? It cannot be a difference between their actions and my own; instead, it must be witchcraft, subterfuge or theft.

    This creates a social tsunami of people who want to redistribute wealth. The problem is that this takes money away from those who can earn more of it, and transfers it to those who are unable to do that. Several problems arise as a result: first, there is no longer incentive to exert oneself, which drives smart people away or into boredom and self-destruction. Second, you produce a large captive population who are not particularly good at anything, and more in subsequent generations. Finally, you remove your mechanism for picking those who are competent above those who are not. Mediocrity results.

  3. Equal freedom.

    Our favorite notion is that all people are equal in ability, so should be able to do whatever others are able to do. The problem with this is that people vary in competence, so putting them all in cars on the same road, for example, means that everyone waits longer. Putting them all in the same lines means that every person waits for the slowest person with the most convoluted issues.

    Even more, we are making the assumption that people given freedom will not abuse it, when they have never done anything to earn it. They view it as a right that they can then test through abuse. They know it cannot be taken away, so why bother applying it only to good things? Try some destruction.

    The final result here is that people become accustomed to moving in mass culture, where the presence of the slower and less capable forces everyone into a one-size-fits-all lowest common denominator. They adjust their expectations and behaviors accordingly. Society plummets downward as standards of behavior and competence fall.

  4. Equality.

    The last taboo to fall will be the one idea that the French Revolution in 1789 was based upon: the equality of all people, with none given any privileges or powers because of their greater degree of ability or moral character. Equality manifests itself as democracy, consumerism and endless competition for rising socioeconomic status.

    The result is chaos. Where people formerly had a guaranteed place, they now can be usurped by any other equal person — so they become controlling, territorial, manipulative and deceptive. Since the masses will throng anywhere they can, and seem to have less to do than they need, elitism of a nasty sort arises as some people try to insulate themselves from the mess with money.

    Even more, the notion of equality is psychologically destructive. People need to know that they fulfill a specific local place, a specific role in that place, and are valued for who they are. Saying we accept everyone equally sounds good until you realize it is also by extension saying that we deny what makes people exceptional, not in a linear sense, but in the sense of being great at being who they are.

We have held onto these sacred cows for too long. (And unlike real cows, they do not produce delicious milk.)

They make us miserable, but because we assume they are necessary, we put it out of our head and struggle onwards.

They make us psychologically unstable, and create an ugly and controlling society, which hides behind a facade of “freedom”,”justice”,”peace”,”love” and anything else it could put on a Hallmark Card.

Right now, people look at us as heretics when we oppose these things. That is nothing more than the sheep instinct: they perceive a threat to the group, and so react against it as individuals, without realizing that the group in which they are assembled is a false group.

However, we’re reaching that tipping point. It takes a few brave people to speak up, and to do so without emotion or drama, taking the argument away from being about them personally and their self interest. Instead, they focus the argument on what is best for society as a whole.

As this happens, people begin to see. A few at first, but each of them invites a friend to ride along. Soon the movement begins momentum.

For the first time in two centuries, we are moving closer to that magic 10% (probably more like 2-5% who are local experts and born leaders) and there is the hope of change.

If you close your eyes for a moment, and forget your vertigo, you might find something new: a sense of fear and joy intermingled, the rush of finding yourself again in charge of your future. The thrill of exploration and possibly, better things.

Any time dark thoughts visit you, remember that this universe for all the darkness it contains seems to be guiding itself toward ultimately a good and loving end. This tipping point is just one small step on that journey.

12 Comments

  1. mark says:

    The Revolution was not about absolute equality, alone. More than egalite, it was about fraternite and liberte, which were then bywords for the bourgeousie. Nobles were succeeded not by peasants but by notables,i.e., the accomplished.
    The archaic state didn’t have to go because it was monarchic, reasoned the business community, but because it enforced too may internal tariffs and local legal impediments that made intra-state business impossible. The best way to think of the pre-revolutionary French state would be to compare it to the typical corrupt Latin American state of today, with kickbacks, greed and semi-lawlessness everywhere.
    You would want to live in such a place?
    The French at the time of the Revolution ( or should I say some of them) were beginning to be aware of the possibilities of scientific advance and knew antiquity had to be modified. The Europe they inhabited was, remember, ultra-competitive. Your next door neighbor could be your worst enemy, and complex treaties made all of the European states wary and irascible. The monarchical family system was not a relief either. Please recall the families of Russia, Germany and England were all related. Did that stop WW1?

    1. J says:

      Exactly. In that sense the French Revolution was not very diferent from the American Revolution. The author seems to believe however that the American Revolution was a aristocratic revolution, although the class the led the revolution was not much diferent from the elites that led the french revolution. In facts he mentions in another post that the masonic order of the nine sisters were involved in the revolution, yet fails to see that among the ranks of the order were people like Benjamin Franklin. American founding fathers were elitists yes but nor aristocrats in the european sense. They did not own Titles, feuds. They were wealthy Landowners or entrepeneurs.
      But the notables who led the french revolution were also elitists. In fact Voltaire wrote that teching the peasants how to read and do math was dangerous because then they would not want to work in the Land.

    2. JHB says:

      It is also worth noting that nationalism as we know it didn’t exist before the French Revolution. During most of the 1700s, warfare was territorial. Kings were nothing more than gangstas with bling who shook down their inferiors, and went to war when dissed, which more often than not involved mercs, as the idea of “dying for your country” was still incomprehensible.

      In addition, it is worth noting that nationalism was a consequence of imperialism. The French Revolution took an imperialistic turn only when its back was forced against the wall. At that point, it turned the common man into a Frenchman, and thereby gained an enormous strategic advantage over its enemies through mass conscription.

      France at that point was still a state-nation — a state that mobilizes a nationality to further its own interests. The nation-state is a 20th century thing pioneered at the end of the 1800s by Bismarck — a nation mobilizing a state to further its own interests. Like the state-nation, the nation-state was in part a result of the technology of mass communications Brett Stevens likes to deplore. While people think of nations as old and traditional and ancient and connected to the past, they’re a relatively new and somewhat fluid innovation.

      1. Nicholas Marville says:

        These three replies are excellent additions to the original article because they provide more welcome in depth information about the French Revolution, its genesis and its aftermath.

      2. J says:

        “While people think of nations as old and traditional and ancient and connected to the past, they’re a relatively new and somewhat fluid innovation.”

        I have to disagree a bit with you there. Nationalism actually predates the French Revolution. Although not in the same mold of today nationalism. The 100 year war displayed a certain nationalist tendency to protect the French Nation by the French against invading (foreign) English. The Scottish War for independence against the English to. The Battle of Clontarf between Gaelic Irish and invading Vikings and also Anglo Saxon Alfred the Great. There was also Nationalist Romantic Literature before the French Revolution.
        For example the Portuguese epic The Lusiads (1572
        ) written by poet Camoens, was written to reawaken the nationalist soul that he felt is compatriots forgot.
        In this verse a European conscious is displayed:

        “Between that zone where endless winter reigns
        And that where flaming heat consumes the plains;
        Array’d in green, beneath indulgent skies,
        The queen of arts and arms, fair Europe lies.”

        He also describes other nations:

        “Whose sons’ dread footsteps yet Ausonia wears,
        And yet proud Rome in mournful ruin bears.
        When summer bursts stern winter’s icy chain,
        Here the bold Swede, the Prussian, and the Dane
        Hoist the white sail and plough the foamy way,
        Cheer’d by whole months of one continual day”
        (…)
        The various nations whom the Rhine’s cold wave
        The Elbe, Amasis, and the Danube lave,
        Of various tongues, for various princes known,
        Their mighty lord the German emperor own.

        Later he describes is own nation in such way:

        “As crown to this wide empire, Europe’s head,
        Fair Lusitania smiles, the western bound,
        Whose verdant breast the rolling waves surround,
        Where gentle evening pours her lambent ray,
        The last pale gleaming of departing day;
        This, this, O mighty king, the sacred earth,
        This the loved parent-soil that gave me birth.
        And oh, would bounteous Heaven my prayer regard,
        And fair success my perilous toils reward,
        May that dear land my latest breath receive,
        And give my weary bones a peaceful grave.”

        1. JHB says:

          By nationalism, I’m thinking of not of a folk spirit, but of political entities defined and identified with in national terms.

          The medieval period was more of an age of status than states. Rulers organized military mercenaries for Christianizing missions, avenging injuries, forcefully resolving disputes concerning lineage/inheritance, and maintaining personal honor. Warfare was much more small-scale than it is now. In the Battle of Auray in 1364, during the series of conflicts known as the Hundred Years War, Charles of Blois had 4,000 men under his command. Compare that to the swarm of 500,000 Napoleon managed to summon for his invasion of Russia. With the property formerly in the hands of the nobility and the clergy redistributed to the hands of the common man, the common man now had an interest to fight for his nation.

          Even the early modern period isn’t nationalistic. The Treaty of Augsburg in 1555 legitimized the state in terms of cuius regio, eius religio — whose realm, whose religion. There were a lot of tiny political entities, and a lot of political entities arbitrarily pieced together. This framework held until the brutal series of religious wars known as the Thirty Years War, where the Habsburgs failed to reunite Europe in the name of Catholicism. We mock divine right of kings today as something silly, but there was a rationale for it at the time. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 established secularism: instead of the state conferring legitimacy upon a dynasty, a dynasty now conferred legitimacy upon the state.

          The environment of the 1700s was set by the end of the War of Spanish Succession by the Treaty of Utrecht, which established legitimacy not in terms of dynasty, but in terms of efficient management over a territory. Like neo-classical music, the key theme here was symmetry and balance: balance of power. It is here where we see the development of professional armies, things like Hessians. Nationalism as a political force truly doesn’t kick off until the French Revolution, and even then, we don’t get nation-states until after WWI. Progressives like to blame WWI on excessive nationalism, as if the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Russian Empire were nation-states. Jingoism and prestige certainly played a role, though national-ism is something that came afterward. Drawing up political boundaries by nationality was a consequence of WWI. So nationalism is indeed a relatively new and innovative phenomenon.

          1. J says:

            Well, there are many different views on the definition of nationalism. Because there was not Nation states before WW1 does not mean there wasn’t nationalism already. the Austrian prince was murdered by a Serbian nationalist student. Dvorak was a Check Nationalist composer and the state of Check Republic did not exist by then. And the Italian Rissorgimento (Italian unification) was a profoundly Nationalist movement. I understand that nation awareness was not spread through all classes, and that most peasants were not aware of nationality until after the French revolution when they had access to a “piece of the pie” so to speak. But still that does not mean there was not a National awareness.

            The example of Camoens is another one. If writing a National epic where he recounts the history of his country, the battles his people fought and they’re seafaring journeys in a poetic romanticist way is not a display of Nationalism, then what is?

            I understand your state-nation and nation-state terminology and I agree with you there. But I am referring to nationalism not so much in political terms but in ethnic awareness and pride.

            As for the Grand Armee reference the truth is that the population also grew from middle ages to Napoleon period. So recruitment was more numerous. Plus the grand armee was not entirely French and comprised different nationalities at the time.

  2. Nicholas Marville says:

    Mwah, the notion of a Christian Occident is not the same thing as having nationalism. When the Flemish party came to the court of the English king during the 100 year wars, the mobs attacked them. Even though they were supposed to be allies. This more or less points towards a sort of ‘xenophobia’ rather than a national awareness.

    1. J says:

      “When the Flemish party came to the court of the English king during the 100 year wars, the mobs attacked them. Even though they were supposed to be allies. This more or less points towards a sort of ‘xenophobia’ rather than a national awareness.”

      Well that particular episode yes. The ones I mentioned in my post not so much. Plus in ancient times the Greeks (Helennes) had awareness of ethnic pride. Specially against Persia even though they were split in different nation states and even between those (the case of Sparta is particularly known). But I agree that it was not the same as we see in modern days specially for the uncultured mob.
      As for the poem reference, it is not just the Christian Occident that is mentioned, he then goes on to describe various battles and an epic romantic account of the History of his country.

  3. crow says:

    Thanks “J”.
    Wondrous poetry, that.
    A reminder that humans were not always as they have now become.
    The only real art is art that endures, elevating, illustrating, praising, alongside, but not diminished by, the flow of time.

    1. J says:

      THANK YOU Crow for you’re kind words and you’re beautiful site. The best I found in the Internet in a long time.

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