Parables of inclusion and parables of purpose

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It is a popular saying in our churches and political halls: “we are all one.”

In fact, it will make almost any group perk up and listen to you with misty eyes. It encapsulates so many of our sentiments in this fallen time, from egalitarianism to the idea that we should all “just get along.” But it is an incorrect and degraded version of a greater statement, much as our time is an inferior residue of a better one, albeit without iPads and hip-hop music.

The original statement, unfashionable in this time, reads “We are all one in God.” If you are atheistic like many are and in fact I tend to be whenever I fill out triplicate forms, you may substitute purpose for the name of the deity. Most of the time however I find that a religion, in parallel with what was once called “science” that encompassed all learning, marks the mind which has sought beyond the boundaries of the visible and into the non-existent structure that nonetheless emerges everywhere, in both logic and the arrangement of physical matter in discernible patterns. God, purpose, nature, logic — pick which one you feel most comfortable with — because what I describe is in common with all three.

Now, “we are all one” is a much more convenient statement. It is the equivalent of the kindergarten teacher saying that we should all share and get along, or the politician talking about bipartisanship, or even the come-one-come-all cry of the barker. It limits our focus to the human world only, and thus like so many other human behaviors is entirely social in its scope, which reduces our problems from a complex management of ourselves as both individuals and species to a simple matter of socializing with others. Like many things in this world, it is a surrogate for the real task that, being easier to grasp and more tangible in focus, allows us a measure of comfort in how easy it is on our minds and the weight we carry as we consider what our future decisions will be.

On the other hand, “we are all one in God” represents a type of conditional statement. We are united where we are in God. This type of statement makes sense only when God refers to an order, not a physical person or discrete entity. God is Godliness, a participation in the order that is holy and what produces that type of pattern that is simultaneously good, beautiful and true. True means reality; good means a morality of creating greater order — complexity, endurance, universality, efficiency, quality — wherever we go; and the beautiful is what shows us the transcendent in the mundane. It peels back the layer of the visible and shows us an invisible order pervading all reality which gives it the possibility of purpose, and shows us a path to make us like ourselves more. But these must occur at the same time so that all three traits are one.

People shy away from this phrase not only because it mentions that least sociable of ideas, that of the higher order and possibly but not necessarily a metaphysical one, but because it mentions purpose. If God is an order, our purpose is that order; this is not to say that the order is inherent, because we can choose to avoid it. But like any thought which is more good, beautiful and true than others, it calls to us like a childhood dream or the image of early and perpetual love. The problem with purpose is twofold: first, we can fail to achieve it; second, we must cut out of the social circle those who fail to achieve it. Like the small rodents of the forest, we fear the predators in our world, but the greatest predator is existential despair or the sense that our lives have been wasted. We never want to be wrong, and wake up to find that we have spent our irreplaceable time and energy on the worthless, revealing ourselves as fools or lost souls. In other words, “in God” adds a burden of an order which the best of us embrace, revealing the rest of us as lesser beings, and with that burden comes the necessity of exclusivity. Some rise, others fall.

Exclusivity is the least popular topic in any social gathering. People take it personally when they are found wanting. (The best form of exclusivity is secret exclusivity, because then one may feel the rush of ego-opiates brought by recognition, but not suffer from the wrath and resentment of others when they realize they did not make the cut). In contrast, inclusivity remains perennially popular because it gives us all warm feelings. “All are welcome” and “we are all one” are the same statement. Inclusivity conveys not only the sense that peace will prevail and all will be happy, but the notion that individual advocating it has risen above the earthbound tensions of animals and has become a higher being, if only socially. Our society sways under the weight of many would-be prophets who feel the rush of endorphins and dopamine that comes with having negated the self in preference for the group. Inclusivity creates a group where everyone feels good about themselves and feels safe from others.

In the view of that group, exclusivity represents a cruel and primitive urge to stimulate the ego by being above others. They view it as a vestige of our simian past and congratulate themselves on having enlightened, progressed, transcended and most of all “been better than that” or “been the bigger person.” Exclusivity threatens the circle of warm feelings that socialization through altruism/egalitarianism provides. With purpose, exclusion of some becomes inevitable. And yet without purpose, our lives become a prison confined to personal power and desires, a game which rapidly becomes pointless and boring, but which we play out of habit and the same desire for completism and uniformity which motivates our obsessive-compulsive cleaning and organizing of ideas. Purpose gives us a reason to rise above ourselves, but most people fear that challenge through the assumption that they will fail, even when it is highly unlikely that they will.

In an exclusive society defined by purpose, inclusion becomes revealed as what it is: a great injustice. The person who does right gets the same reward as the person who does nothing, or stops just short in his wrongdoing as to fall below the threshold of laws or rules. To be fair to people, those who do more should receive more reward and recognition, and also be given power so they can more effectively continue doing more. This is the nature of any society with order, any belief system with consistency, and even nature which rewards adaptation over illusion. Exclusivity is entirely incompatible with inclusivity because each is anathema to the other and would un-do it in short order. Where “we are all one” is a statement of inclusion, “we are all one in purpose” forces upon us both the greatest gift of a life — purpose — and what we fear most, the lack of pacifism and sociability uniting us into a happy circle.

At the same time, purpose raises standards. Our goal is not the constantly downgrading cycle of acceptance that lowers standards in order to fit every plausible candidate in the circle, but the rising of standards that says that as we improve the goal rises higher. Perhaps we might even reach the stars. Where inclusion calls for a minimum standard, in other words a negative measure based on fear of excluding, purpose calls for a positive standard which rewards all of those who step outside their fuzzily self-referential minds and begin the climb toward excellence. This is why purpose, like so many experiences, begins with terror and then progresses after an initial learning curve to a golden era of greatness. But our fear holds us back.

You will hear “we are all one” anywhere people wish to unite others and manipulate them. Inclusivity carries an automatic threat which is that if you are not inclusive enough, you can be excluded. Exclusivity, on the other hand, has no additional hidden layer; you do what achieves a higher degree of the order sought and you are rewarded, and there is no other standard that can be used to exclude you. In addition, all benefit from the increased stability to society as a whole, and the decrease of ideas that make us neurotic. If we listen to pop-philosophers like Bill and Ted, who tell us to “be excellent to each other,” we see an initial progress out of pure inclusivity. It is not enough to be all one; we must be excellent. If we wish to return that statement to its original balance, it can be shortened to the simple be excellent. Discover the order to life — and beyond! — and make yourself and your civilization excellent through it. Not everyone can participate, but those who are excluded fail only by their own fear, and those who beat the fear go on to become more of all the good in themselves.

Twin pitfalls of “fact”-based narrative and detail obsession

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Civilization creates its own fatal disease which is the predominance of popular notions over realistic ones. This disease proves difficult to diagnose because it is invisible, intangible and omnipresent. Like a virus in a computer network, it spreads through any and every program, elusive in its lack of a center to attack.

If these writings seem to rage too much against scapegoats — The JewsTM, “thugs,” The Rich, government itself instead of the voters who empower it — it is to avoid falling into the pitfall of popular notions, which perpetually prefer a tangible and easily-understood target to the more complex task of unraveling different threads and separating truth from lies.

Other popular illusions get short shrift sometimes but merit our attention, with two of them being the “fact”-based narrative and the obsession with details that demands lengthy research and vocabulary to merely discuss an item at a deeper level than “insight porn,” the pop culture styled contrarianism that creates a Thomas Kinkade level of philosophy: bright colors, simple scenes, and essentially a pleasant illusion avoiding the deeper problems within.

Many of us distrust the “fact”-based narrative for a simple reason:

There are no facts, only interpretations. – F.W. Nietzsche

That is to say: our language cannot convey wholly what is in reality, so it is inherently selective. This extends to fact-finding itself, which must choose facts to fit a narrative instead of assessing all facts and then looking to see what remains. A selective narrative produces a 300-page book of compelling ideas, where an assessment of all facts would produce a 10,000-page spacy analysis that few would read, until a final chapter appears which seems to magically make broad conclusions.

The left will always attack with the idea that conservative ideas are not “fact”-based, because the left specializes in cherry-picking data especially within a recent time frame, mainly because their goal is to explain away the unbroken historical record of failure to democracy, egalitarianism and subsidy-based economies (“socialism”). They have more to conceal than they have to say, so they specialize in generating “facts” that are in fact a very selective reading of reality, transferred into narrow categorical containers to produce a binary, and then spun into broad universal conclusions derived from relatively thin evidence.

Over the course of my life, I have seen both popular wisdom and the latest scientific studies fall. Not just arrive at a state of doubt; outright fail. This is because there are numerous levels of selection bias. Paul Krugman, a talented writer whose conclusions are often wrong because they are based on false assumptions, hits the nail on the head — broken clock right twice a day, perhaps — with this statement:

It doesn’t matter that the skeptics have been proved right. Simply raising questions about the orthodoxies of the moment leads to excommunication, from which there is no coming back. So the only “experts” left standing are those who made all the approved mistakes. It’s kind of a fraternity of failure: men and women united by a shared history of getting everything wrong, and refusing to admit it.

In other words, there is a selection bias among those who have become recognized leaders in their field, and it is not unfair to assume that much of this consists of destroying any ideas which conflict with their own. Their careers are based on their ideas; unlike even fifty years ago, when people were promoted based on their character and generalized abilities, in the current time people are vaulted to the top of their profession for attracting public interest. This leads to the second form of selection bias.

Crowd selection bias exists as a positive distinction, meaning that the masses reward what they find appealing. Note that these are not the masses as a whole, but the specific plurality which consumes news and intellectual products (usually books and movies). They ignore anything which is too complex or offends their conventional wisdom, but if they find a champion for an idea they find compelling, they will lift that person up through their purchases and attention. These heroes are the talk of the town for a few years, then are forgotten because their theories did not redefine the world. Thus Thomas Piketty passes into history and joins a list of other names I could cite here, but none of us would recognize them. They are past favorites, now comfortably serving as heads of departments or laboratories across the West.

In addition to the above selection biases, a type of negative selection bias exists which is fear of offending. We on the realist fringe are familiar with this one! Any idea that is too dangerous, or too insane — and the opposition likes to conflate these two much as the Soviets did — will be viewed as potentially incurring risk of offending either a plurality that is vocal or worse, a group or individual with protected pity-status. Those are dangerous and must be avoided, and so these are filtered out before they reach the surface.

Those three alone guarantee that “facts” as released into the mainstream will rarely provide useful information; “useful” is a better test than crowd favorite “valid,” which merely means placed in a form that is coherent. More likely, the facts issued forth will take the form of the far wall of an echo chamber, repeating what is already believed by excluding anything which does not fit that narrative.

Some useful facts make it through. These are either advanced by those who know their importance, or sneak past in a variety of guises. The best guise is insignificance, or the noting of a small detail and allowing others to interpret it. Another is as internal criticism within already accepted theory or ideology. Yet another is the infamous backwards attack, in which the researcher or writer advances a terrible argument in favor of an idea in order to show how hollow the idea is. These different types of guises are generally employed by those who work for the crowd heroes who run the departments.

None of these filters however disguise the raw problem with “fact”-based reasoning: the facts are chosen in order to be popular, and the method is bad. Modern science consists of surveying data, picking a factor to look at, and implying a causative relationship through statistical means that address only the data itself. Inherent in that are a number of assumptions which rely on universal tendencies to data, or similarities between context based on the form of information and not the specifics of its derivation, and these fail time and again. No one cares: this is an industry, not a moral crusade to be realistic.

On the other side from the “fact”-based narrative is another narrative which seems to be different: the detail obsession of specific domains of knowledge and vocabulary, which hold that to discuss a topic you must have read thousands of pages of dense material and mastered many small nuances. If humans retained their ancestral intelligence, they would see this for what it is, which is job protection through obscurity. Remember “security through obscurity,” the idea that if you make your computer products cryptic enough no one will hack them, despite the fact that hackers specialize in the cryptic because much like regulation offers more options to cheat, it offers more different wrinkles to exploit? Job security requires that specialized workers make their tasks so obscure and rife with tedious detail that outsiders cannot critique, oversee or redesign them. This perpetuates “the way we do things around hereTM” in perpetuity, guaranteeing jobs but reducing competitiveness. The same is true of academics and other thinkers, who want to claim ideographic space on the great blueprint of known ideas, and the defend it by making entry impossible, and forcing those who would enter to adopt enough of the language of the discipline as to force them to accept the specific precepts of its owners.

Within this topic, I side with the philosophers: all ideas reduce to a very simple core, and there are not many actual ideas, so generally what one finds is a variation on a previous idea. What is needed is not an in-depth look, but a clarification of the basic concepts in as few words and specialized terms as possible, or discussion is moved into a domain controlled by the specific knowledge which makes extrusion to other domains of knowledge nearly impossible. Academia hates this idea because it would put the philosophers and literature teachers back in charge, and since the best of those tend toward realism, they would focus on collapsing the empty spaces of rhetoric and domain-anchoring dogma and replace it with simpler, clearer concepts. Compare The Republic or Reverence to the average book of academic writing and the difference leaps from the page: good thinking expresses itself clearly in few concepts and then reveals their depth; bad thinking expresses itself in a nearly flat hierarchy of specialized concepts, hiding meaning within, then explains it through examples which only gradually reveal what is actually being said.

As always, the problem of humanity chases us here. Why is it that all of our knowledge is corrupted, all of our leaders are bad, and all great civilizations extinguish themselves? The only smart money says that a similar pathology, or repeated behavior that is indifferent to its results, explains all three. We got a hint of this in the news this week when attention whoring made the news:

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on Saturday backtracked from recent comments in which she seemed to suggest that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was getting more attention than she deserved by admitting what’s widely known about Washington: everyone seeks attention.

So that we all catch the tacit admission here, let us look at the normal, healthy leadership. A good manager seeks what must be done to succeed and then works to accomplish it. But as McCaskill says, democratic Washington acts on the opposite principle: it seeks what is popular, and then finds a way to justify it by arguing toward some recognized policy goal. In other words, we are no longer in the domain of leadership, but in entertainment, except that it uses the mantle of authority given to leaders to grant itself gravitas and extort money from us all. People, she said that politicians make their careers by attention-whoring; no one mentioned leadership or acting on what is important here. Grab headlines and win, just like the “fact”-based studies, and do what is right and be ignored.

In this light, our society resembles a closed circle: each of us does what is popular, so that we may become popular, based on what has been popular in the past. Surface-level alterations, such as what hipsters excel at like adding tubas to indie-rock bands and proclaiming it “a new sound,” are in fact affirmation of sameness in the same way the exception proves the rule: if the only differentiation possible is aesthetics only, then no other idea is possible, which affirms the predominance of the idea. This closed circle means that we as a society are like a dog chasing its own tail, entirely self-referential and oblivious to the larger reality around us. “Fact”-based argument, and argument from detail-obsessive specialized domains of knowledge, are methodologies which endorse and promote this outlook. Its end result is that reality is ignored and supplanted by social reality, or the collective consensual hallucination formed of what people desire, judge or feel — in other words, what they wish were true instead of what they deduce or induce to be true. This is the end result of all crowd selection algorithms, whether democracy, consumerism or simply social popularity, and constitutes a revelation of the implicit goal in those methods which is to obscure difficult truths by re-directing our focus elsewhere.

All of this leads to the point of the essay you are now (still?) reading: universalism creates subjectivity. Our theory is that in order to find objective truths, we must create an objective truth which is shared among people. However, by doing so, we grant a weight to that objectivity which guarantees it will be manipulated, and because people have different levels of the power of discernment — this is distinct from subjectivity; it suggests that we have different degrees of the same abilities, not different abilities which produce different truths — they will then use the same objective symbols and tokens but mean different things, gradually poisoning the objective truth by redefining its tokens. A better approach is to reject the objectivity/subjectivity dichotomy and instead take an esoteric approach, which may be summarized as “the truth reveals itself to those who are ready, in varying degrees according to readiness.” With esotericism, we expect no objective truth to be universal, and correspondingly guard against poisoning by cherry-picked facts (in “scientific” “studies”) and biased language controlling specialized domains of thought alike.

Love and sample size

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Most of us know by now to be skeptical of the politically-biased “study” which uses the wrong sample size. It can prove a trend in a small group, or prove absence of a trend in a larger group, instead of looking at the right size to see what is real.

For example, if I poll 14 people in a bad part of town I will get radically different opinions than polling 14,000 college students or blue-collar workers in the suburbs. If I poll 14 million people, I can make dissent appear to be marginalized by capturing the least thoughtful majority.

But what of moral sample size, by which we judge the way we treat others?

It is popular — eternally so, as human beings have never changed and never essentially will — to engage in the repetition of platitudes that make people feel simultaneously egoless and in control. We are all one; but my feelings are the will of that one. Love everyone, which makes my love important. Peace and justice for all, as I interpret peace and justice. This is the way of the ego, which seeks to make itself appear to be the world as a whole, so that only the desires of the ego exist and they appear validated by all that surrounds it. Laugh, and the world laughs with you — no, actually, you are merely projecting.

The eternal favorite among hippies, Communists, advertisers and other populists is “love everyone.” Accept them all, validate their behaviors, and include them in your society, including its wealth. Make everyone part of the team and no one will oppose you. In effect, buy them off by trading your approval for their compliance.

But this is the wrong sample size. It is too large; it is not precise enough, because people vary in what they do. And it is too small, in that it reduces all questions to a yes/no binary, which both excludes degree and background.

Who are we extending love to? Do they deserve it? It matters because what we encourage, we get more of. To give love to someone evil is to validate evil and to ask for more of it (and ye shall receive, undoubtedly, because evil has a lower opportunity cost than good). To give the same love to someone who does good as someone who does bad is in effect to say there is no reward for being good, which since being good takes more effort, is to punish the good so we can accept the bad.

A correct sample size would be to look at each person individually and to bestow upon them love as is appropriate for what they are. The love to give a bad person is intolerance for the bad that they do, to both protect oneself and give that person feedback that bad is bad, so they may avoid it. The love to give a good person should be in excess of that given to others so that they are rewarded for the risk they undertook, and the extra effort. And the love for those who fall in between should be nothing, because they gave nothing and in that selfish state, deserve nothing since they have already taken everything they can.

As the old saying goes, “You get what you give.” But to that I add another, which is the formulation of Plato: good to the good, and bad to the bad. Those who do ill must face the consequences, because only this is realistic, and only reality can show them what they need to do in order to become the best that they can be. Hiding reality and saving them from its consequences only sets them up for future failure in places that money and power cannot reach, like self-esteem and self-knowledge. Those who do good need to be recognized, or they will see the world as bad for punishing them for doing good.

This view, like most adopted on this blog, is highly unpopular because it does not include everyone. Yet the ill of society is to include all without enacting quality control or sorting the bad from the good, because that forces an averaging of good and bad to a middle state of selfishness, where no one ventures beyond themselves and everything that is a shared responsibility decays in no time. Such a society will have opulent bedrooms and disgusting, ugly and violent streets as each person retreats into their own private world and walls off the rest of them.

Unpopular views however represent too large of a sample size, because the unpopular includes both the rightly taboo and that which people fear, and what they fear is the actual frontier or unexplored zone where new spaces of thought and action exist. When we shy away from the unpopular, we not only limit our thought but make it bigoted toward that which is unrealistic, and in doing so, make our actions bad and doom ourselves to eventual — no matter how much we buy it off — evil.

Looking toward the future (not “progress”)

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Leftists manufacture a constant stream of “issues” for us to look at. An experienced leader might see these for what they are: distractions.

The leftist concept grows from the idea of individual experience and wanting to be an exception to social standards. The insecure or otherwise confused individual sees society as a threat to his own autonomy, which creates a cycle which intensifies this feeling into a paranoia which eventually becomes narcissistic, and then solipsistic. The person then sees anything but his own desires and power as a threat to his very existence.

“Issues” appear when leftists, in looking for ways to attack social power, create or discover a situation where someone has been an exception to the rule, and therefore — the magic “therefore” of all bad logic — the rule is bad. This is why Western history is littered with lore about whores with hearts of gold, hard-working peasants, and impoverished princesses. We want to believe that the rules do not apply because we see ourselves in those roles, and fear having rules applied to us in that case.

This is a trick of the mind, of course. We are not in those situations because of a long chain of cause->effect events which put us in another position. But our egos resist the idea of rules and standards, because maybe we want to do something different, even though there is no reason for us to do so. Mostly it makes us feel powerful to believe that we need no rules or guidance, no values but our own whims. This is what happens when people have no direction: they collapse into themselves, like aged stars becoming black holes, and consume everything around them.

When did we lose purpose? The Christians say we lost God first; maybe they are right. Our civilization as a whole lost purpose when it succeeded. When you are striving to succeed, life is simple and caught up in the task. When you have success, the more difficult question of what to do with the power rises. Most societies collapse shortly after the peak of their power because they utterly lose direction. Striving to succeed is non-arbitrary, but when you have success, your direction becomes arbitrary because you must choose something that is not presented to you by the struggle for life itself. Few know what to do with that and, worse, in any society those who can understand the question and its possible answers are the tiny minority on the right side of the Bell Curve.

The problem becomes clear when you imagine a farm full of workers. When there is a quest to do, they are satisfied because they know they will be rewarded. When there is nothing, they fall to bickering and start inventing new causes to go chase because those will make them important and thus guarantee the reward. On the larger farm known as Western civilization, our strength has become our weakness because in our success, nothing remains to be done — and we struggle to invent tasks within what we know, which causes every person to pull in a different direction in an impulse to differentiate themselves and receive reward for having invented a unique necessary sub-quest. That desire for differentiation causes people to think in terms of how their actions are perceived, and through that to lose the ability to reason from cause to effect and back, making them blind to the reality underneath our world of linguistic categories, financial incentives, and political and moral binaries.

Luckily we have now fallen far enough that our quest has again become clear: there is one issue, and it is the health of our society, which is in doubt.

A huge farm of people who make a name for themselves suppressing this knowledge — call them denialists, apologists and compensators, most of them liberal — pander to what most people want to believe which is “Keep on Truckin’,” or that everything is fine with just a few patches here and there. Hence: issues. Do not look at the big picture, but these small details, and use them as the addict uses his shot of heroin to give himself existential purpose for one… more… day.

Our mania for “progress” reflects our lack of direction. That doctrine states that since everything is fine, our only concern remains shifting people from means to an end (that end being the health of civilization, from which everyone benefits) to ends in themselves. But ends-in-themselves makes people into little tyrants who state desire as fact and send us pursuing that at the expense of the health of our civilization. We are oppressed, yes, but by ourselves, and our refusal to acknowledge that individual self-interest is at the core of collectivism, and that collectivism makes society a servant to any special interest group that can claim victimhood, a.k.a. being an “exception.”

“Progress” once meant the advancement of industry. A good old boy might look out at a once-verdant valley now populated with factories and stores, and comment how he misses the old days when you could hunt deer on those hills and breathe fresh air. He then shrugs it off and resigns himself to “progress,” or the replacement of his old way of life by these new, better — and profitable! — ways of life. But in that expression is contained the idea that something is lost, perhaps the starting point of our existence that gives it purpose, such as enjoying those great woods and the clean fragrant air.

I will advance instead the oldest conservative argument which is that our direction needs to be two things: it must honor what is eternal, or true no matter what year it is, and it must have some direction that is “transcendent” or finding wisdom in the order of nature (substitute “God” if you are religious; nature is His brilliant work) without giving up on the ability to rise within it. We must be both practical and look toward what makes life beautiful, in other words. And in doing so, we have a new quest: make life beautiful.

A modern Moses might look out over the valleys of New Canaan and see the ugliness that most of us filter out in order to avoid hating our lives and seeing ourselves as the chump slaves of a dying society. He might realize that “Let me people go” means to free us from our own illusion that has us choose this ugliness and tedium because we see it as inevitable because most people think it is OK. He may even tell us that we are playing a giant game of follow-the-leader where each of us emulates what others do and then claims there is no other way because to admit otherwise would reveal his lack of direction. This modern Moses might tell us that we are all slaves, not to tangible things, but to ugliness. The idea that we must chase after exceptions and focus on those who are miserable and predicate our own happiness and sense of well-being (and self-esteem) on raising them up from a state they chose themselves. That we must pursue progress through issues instead of taking what we have that works and simply improving it as a whole.

Issues focus on specific groups and activities. They have two goals: first, whatever their advocates claim is to be achieved, but also, second and more importantly, distraction from looking at the health of the whole. The denialists (compensators, apologists) want to avoid noticing that our civilization is in decline and to distract us with these issues. They always look for the hopeless, the poor and miserable, to present us with something we cannot deny. Who wants to be known as against the poor, against women or against minorities? It sounds cruel and cheap. But it is a variant of the old snake oil salesman logical fallacy of begging the question: “Either you want what I promise this product can do, or you’re against having that,” which requires you to agree with him in advance that the product actually achieves that end.

We change direction when we start thinking about “our problem” instead of “our problems.” The problem is a lack of health, caused by a lack of direction, and that amorphous condition is itself caused by a lack of tendency toward beauty. We have given up on striving and settled for dividing up the pie. We have forsaken making our lives beautiful, and instead settled for defending ourselves against a constant stream of threats caused by one or another groups of people failing to thrive. A sane leader would cut the flailing ones free and focus on the health, then build a society which produces more healthy people and has higher standards across the board.

Why do we not live in cities of unbroken beautiful architecture, populated by people who are actually intelligent instead of merely having learned to appear so, where life is not a series of products and sales but a process of living toward a purpose of enhancing life itself? All of our inventions can be produced by such a system without the overtone of manipulation inherent to our products. Our social order could consist of happy people with each having a role befitting her abilities, and receiving reward in proportion. Instead, we have turned on that and created an ugly competitive landscape where each person must become a tyrant defending what he has against all others, which naturally creates a paranoid and corrupt social order. Has anyone noticed that most people spend most of their time doing things that make them hate life, and hate everyone else, even if they hide it behind politeness and tolerance?

Certain individuals — those who doubt life, and their own purpose in it — fear the idea of having a quest to civilization, even if that quest is civilization or the qualitative improvement thereof. If we have a goal, all of us are immediately subject to a social standard that measures our fulfillment of our role toward achieving that goal. This means that some will fall short, and the fearful rodent in each of us worries that it may be us. (Naturally, this is useless worry, because if the same energy were spent on achievement, the problem would vanish.) Our society fears leadership because leadership puts us all on notice to perform. And yet, without it, we are left in the ugliness and tedium of directionless, and turn to prey on each other, whether through outright opportunism or its passive-aggressively concealed variant, “progress.”

Hillary Clinton = Tipper Gore

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The names for liberals change, but does the intent? SJWs, leftists, liberals, Communists, Socialists, Anarchists… it’s all the same.

They will seize power in the name of the defenseless, and use it to create a state where only people like them gain power. This is not much different from how organisms act in nature, conquering niches and excluding others.

It presents a problem however, because liberal consequence is anti-realist and by excluding reality from its consideration when acting, guarantees a collision with the unintended effects of its own program.

Back in the 1980s, Tipper Gore (wife of meaty Senator Al Gore) demanded that stores card shoppers and prevent minors from purchasing “dangerous” music with sexual, occult and violent content.

The more things change…

At a 2005 news conference, Clinton expressed outrage that the recent “San Andreas” version of the popular video game contained an unlockable mini-game that simulated sex. She said the hidden “Hot Coffee” mod undermined parents’ ability to supervise their children.

She introduced a law, the Family Entertainment Protection Act, that would make it a federal crime to rent or sell a video game rated “mature” or “adults only” to anyone younger than 17.

…Clinton kept pushing the federal bill to criminalize the sale of some video games to minors through her 2008 presidential bid. In a questionnaire sent to a children’s media organization in December 2007, she urged Federal Trade Commission audits of game retailers and investigations into games with hidden content. – Politico

What conservatives do not understand about liberals is that the goal of a liberal law is never what it states it is. The goal of a liberal law is to seize power in the name of something that on a social level cannot be criticized, like civil rights, women’s suffrage, “think of the children,” equality, etc.

Liberals are the people who think socially and are expert at interpreting rules because they do not consider the underlying objects in reality to which those rules refer. To a liberal, if the word “is” is not properly defined, nothing is anything, even if in reality all of them are the same. This is a fundamentally social approach which reduces the facts considered to those which consist of what other people think or what language might imply.

When liberal policies create chaos, as they inevitably do, the liberal response is the socially acceptable one: blame someone who is not present and cannot be named, like a vast shadowy right-wing conspiracy. This both explains away the failure and justifies liberals having more power.

They repeat themselves until deposed.

The rise of Nietzschean conservatives

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As democracy winds down in the West, many of us are facing an ugly truth that first reared its head in the 1800s: that democracy itself impedes conservatism.

Mainstream conservatives will not publicly approach this realization, but the core tenet of democracy is leadership by desire, not by reality. People vote for what they wish were true.

While the ashes cool in Baltimore and the latest news frenzy keeps us distracted so we can avoid noticing the systemic problems of Western civilization, many are wondering how the situation got so bad without anyone figuring it out.

The answer is simple: we voted for it.

By “we” I mean the largest plurality which could work itself into a frenzy over an issue. This is how democracy works: the simplest and most emotional concept unites a mob, they rage and expound and demand it, and then it gets passed. Everyone assumes the situation is decided and moves on.

In any sane democracy, every single law would be voted on every year with a simple question: Is this law achieving its aims?

When you speak to the average voter, it becomes clear that they focus on anything but this question. They talk about moral categories, such as how well-intentioned the law is, or how essential it is, or how it cannot be changed because people depend on it. Never do they look at it as a cause-effect principle that intends to achieve a goal.

The conservatives you see on the television earned the name “the stupid party” because their ideas are fundamentally paradoxical. They want a reality/accountability/responsibility-based (consequentialist) society with a transcendent focus, since if you understand reality, you have no need for the emotional distractions of ideology and go right to the need for meaning. The voters do not want this because distraction is always simpler and more emotionally comforting.

The situation can be revealed in this comical law of politics from Robert Conquest:

2. Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.

This law succumbs to an easy attack, called (sensibly) “entryism” by neoreactionaries, which is that it is easy to dress up a liberal idea as a conservative one and declare it explicitly right-wing, then use it to subvert the rest of a right-wing movement.

The left wing will forever be more popular because it offers ideas that are easier to understand, since they require no knowledge of reality and its workings, and more emotionally satisfying, since they are both distraction and “social,” or consist of gift-giving to those who identify with victimhood. Every person in their under-confident, weak and uncontrolled moments succumbs to self-pity and in remembering those, they yield to this force.

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote about this process because he saw it first-hand. In the 1800s, he drove an ambulance in one of the early wars of the forces of democracy versus the rest of us. In it, he saw the process: liberalism appeals to the best of us first because they are reacting emotionally to problems in our society, and only later do they recognize it for what it is, which is a cynical power grab by those least competent to rule.

Conservatives have balked at this dividing line so far. They hope to ride the train of liberal popularity by endorsing the great illusion that desire can decide our problems. They also fear alienating the Christian segment of the right which sees Nietzsche as an atheist and blasphemer, since they have confused the name of what is holy with what is actually holy.

Like other dividing lines — nationalism, rejection of all socialism and need for social hierarchy — this decision separates the men from the boys. Boys still want to please their mother and their friends, maybe hope one of the girls in the class will let them kiss her if they do what she wants. Men realize that original sin was correct, and that without the intervention of discipline and focus the human being is nothing more than a monkey which can talk.

As mainstream conservatism is forced to confront issues like the ongoing failure of diversity, the corruption rising from the liberal state and its institutions, and the accelerating decline of Western Civilization, more conservatives will join the “underground” fringe of conservatism and take the path that Nietzsche did. Until that point, nothing said by conservatives in public will make any sense.

On stolen valor

Incidents of “stolen valor” — where a civilian pretends to be a member of the military and/or brags of nonexistent heroic acts performed — seem to be on the uptick lately. Perhaps it is general social decay or the increasing gullibility of those who might give money or favors to soldiers, or they are simply more visible. But it seems to float around the news as a topic.

While much has been written about individual cases and how to stop them, very few have focused on an interesting aspect to the situation, which is the psychology of those involved. The following passage from Force Recon Diary, 1969 by Bruce H. Norton reveals much of the thought process of these individuals

One of the first real patient “characters” that I encountered on the war was a Marine private, a fat, loudmouthed clown who tried to intimidate the new ward corpsmen. He could be counted on for starting some kind of trouble on a daily basis. He tried to sleep in after being told to get up. He refused to eat. He “borrowed” things from other patients while they were sleeping. Argumentative, he was considered a general pain in the ass to all who came in contact with him.

He had told those few people who cared to listen about his combat experiences in Vietnam, and listening to the guy, he had practically won the war by himself. His glorious self-image took a great turn for the worse when one of the ward’s new corpsmen reviewed his medical record and announced to the dozen Marines on Ward D that the patient’s infected leg would did not come from an AK-47 round during his unit’s assault on an enemy-held hill but was, in fact, a self-inflicted wound. The Marine private had been with a supply unit located near Da Nang, and when the unit had volunteered him for duty with a Marine rifle company, he decided not to go.

The sad part about the entire incident was that the coward had tried to shoot himself in the leg, but the bullet had glanced off a bone, changed direction, and then shattered his foot.

After the secret of the wound was exposed, the other Marines on the ward would have nothing to do with him. They said it wasn’t so much the fact that the man was a known coward that alienated them, it was the simple fact that he couldn’t even shoot himself in the leg without screwing up the job. He made the other Marines on the ward look bad by his poor example. (41)

This man (the leg wound Marine, not Norton) as a classic example of the psychology of compensation. He failed at something, and worse fled from it, so now he hopes that by convincing others he did it, that he can regain what he would have achieved had he not run away. Compensatory behavior is huge among humans. If a thing cannot be had, the appearance will do, but it always increases mental dysfunction by forcing the person to make compatible two entirely opposite worlds in his own head.

Compensation figures prominently in Crowdism where people who cannot achieve feel that by having a group tell them that they have achieved something better will in fact gain them what they could not attain. Life however is an individual process of growing better at being alive, and to run away from a challenge leaves a void in the self that no accolades or social prestige can cover. This explains the pathological nature of Crowdists who inevitably attempt to destroy that which they cannot have, because it serves as a reminder of what they lack, much as this Marine made a lot of trouble on the ward as if attacking the Marine Corps itself for his own insufficiencies.

Darwin on genetic entropy

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What process kills every civilization? Degeneration, or the genetic adaptation to lower conditions by its population, precipitating a collapse into third world status. Too much inclusivity normally causes this, which leads a civilization to value its least productive and moral citizens along with others, and that quickly leads to disastrous policy including unnecessary wars and diversity.

Every effect has a singular cause, however, and the cause of too much inclusivity is a lack of direction. Without purpose, societies become subsidy engines through easy work, producing hordes of parasites who think that by showing up to a job and reaping the benefits, they have participated in society. The “bourgeois” attitude of more than laissez faire but “out of sight, out of mind” applies there.

Lack of purposes emerges from an unwillingness to strive for more than the material. In turn, that originates in a lack of belief in the physical world and withdrawal into mental worlds, including personal religion. When people reject the goodness of our world, they reject a purpose to life itself by passing off their human judgment as absolute truth, which then creates a ghetto where only human desires, judgments and feelings are accepted as real, which creates a very real neurotic hell.

Darwin rightly points out that degeneration occurs naturally to any population without the strength to resist it:

Those who marry early produce within a given period not only a greater number of generations, but, as shewn by Dr. Duncan,19 they produce many more children. The children, moreover, that are born by mothers during the prime of life are heavier and larger, and therefore probably more vigorous, than those born at other periods. Thus the reckless, degraded, and often vicious members of society, tend to increase at a quicker rate than the provident and generally virtuous members. Or as Mr. Greg puts the case: “The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman multiplies like rabbits: the frugal, foreseeing, self-respecting, ambitious Scot, stern in his morality, spiritual in his faith, sagacious and disciplined in his intelligence, passes his best years in struggle and in celibacy, marries late, and leaves few behind him. Given a land originally peopled by a thousand Saxons and a thousand Celts—and in a dozen generations five-sixths of the population would be Celts, but five-sixths of the property, of the power, of the intellect, would belong to the one-sixth of Saxons that remained. In the eternal ‘struggle for existence,’ it would be the inferior and less favoured race that had prevailed—and prevailed by virtue not of its good qualities but of its faults.” — Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

Evola shows, in turn, that degeneration arises from lack of purpose toward the transcendent:

If we look at the secret of degeneration from the exclusively traditional point of view, it becomes even harder to solve it completely. It is then a matter of the division of all cultures into two main types. On the one hand there are the traditional cultures, whose principle is identical and unchangeable, despite all the differences evident on the surface. The axis of these cultures and the summit of their hierarchical order consists of metaphysical, supra-individual powers and actions, which serve to inform and justify everything that is merely human, temporal, subject to becoming and to “history.” On the other hand there is “modern culture,” which is actually the anti-tradition and which exhausts itself in a construction of purely human and earthly conditions and in the total development of these, in pursuit of a life entirely detached from the “higher world.” — Julius Evola, “On the Secret of Degeneration”

Conservatism is what conserves. What is conserved? That which is excellent. Conservatism has two prongs. The first is consequentialism or measurement of all things by their effect in reality in full scope, meaning for all time and in all contexts. The second is transcendental purpose to life itself, based in — if nothing else — our ability to establish an order above the default, and achieve “the good, the beautiful and the true” and “the perennial things” (Huxley) or “Tradition” (Evola).

We define ourselves by that toward which we strive. With a physical goal, we become more physical things; this includes physical goals like equality and pacifism. With a transcendental goal, we push ourselves toward what is not just reacting to life, but what is enhancing it, and in that power we see the reason to ascend to greater clarity of consciousness and through that see the wisdom of nature and any gods in which we believe.

Until that point is achieved, all discipline is “outward in” meaning manipulating manifestations in appearance of inward tendencies, not the tendencies themselves. Very few humans achieve this point, and only later in their lives, and even then they see in varying degrees. This is why the ancients put their best people into aristocracies and kept them in sheltered, introverted, and meditative states of contemplation and surrounded them with other wise people, to produce leaders who were fully aware and capable.

Without leaders of this nature, we succumb to degeneration because of the inevitable compromise and eroding of standards and through that purpose over the years, and so we end up degenerating within and having that manifest itself in declining genetics. At that point, our civilization becomes moronland, the outright stupid and thoughtless becomes the approved norm, and anyone with a brain flees to the hills, leaving behind a third world level of disorganization and venality.

The Great Filter that dooms non-leftist movements

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Recapping history in brief: The EnlightenmentTM legitimized egalitarianism — lack of social standards to hold back the individual — as a viewpoint, then the French Revolution in 1789 made it a political force. The French went on from there to rage across Europe in the first of the ideological wars, and the Americans tried to invent a form of liberalism that would not consume itself.

We all know the problem of liberalism: it destroys civilizations and leaves third world remnants. It does this by dividing the people against one another and substituting the quest for civilizational and personal health with an ideological jihad for ever-greater equality. Its policies are unrealistic, its advocates insane, and it constitutes a power grab that then fails to rule because it is mob rule.

Why, you may ask, with every intellectual who was not awash in personal problems knowing this since 1500 AD approximately, has nothing been done?

The first is democracy itself. Crowds reward emotionally-pleasing ideas that are easy to understand, which cuts out any long-term plans (longer than the next year at most) and any complex ideas that cannot be explained in one sentence at a bar. Crowds also like to receive things from society, and to not be accountable, so radical changes are bad but entitlements are good.

The further problem is the compromise problem which is that in a group of people, each person will differentiate himself by having a unique opinion or need; the process of differentiation is important for that person to succeed socially. This will force a norming onto the many divergent ideas which involves taking their lowest common denominator. (See LCD, r/k, Dunning-Kruger.)

Between these effects, you have a political system that is hostile toward leadership. Leadership sees what others do not, acts toward it, and worries later about getting all the special interests into line. Politics works the exact opposite way: it is “pragmatic,” and involves currying favor among special interests and flattering voters and accepting lobbyists and the interests of foreign powers, a process that politicians hide behind altruism because if you can justify your plan with helping pity objects — the poor, women, LGTBBQ, minorities, orphans and cripples — then the credulous wide-eyed voters will go for it and completely fail to observe its actual goal.

This is analogous to advertising. If you want to make good beer, you create a painstakingly crafted product that is more expensive than the average and has low margins. If you want to make money making beer, find a way to do it at low cost so that you can both sell it cheaply and have a high margin. This requires making bad beer, but you can offset that with a relatively minor cost — compared to that of making actually good beer — of advertising. When you advertise, do not sell them cheap beer. Sell them an image of how this is sexually successful person beer, and being essentially monkeys with the facility of language, they will buzz warmly to that image and buy the product. Politics is no different.

In addition to the problem of politics, there is the problem of internal politics on the right:

On the other hand, it has happened several times already in the history of the Right that intellectual movements have gotten to this level. Then they dissipated. For whatever ultimate cause, they became corrupted and oversimplified; they lost the enthusiasm of their followers and the attention of everyone else. These schools of thought all failed to impede the advance of liberalism. Between its initial awakening and world historical influence there seems to be a Filter (perhaps several, but let’s keep things simple), and no antiliberal movement has yet survived it. And this challenge is before the neoreactionaries, not behind them. – Bonald via Outside In

What, indeed, is this Great Filter?

I submit it is two things: First, people interested in normal life do not have a concentrated demand that is deconstructive like the ideological people do. Second, people on the right are easily seduced by the ego, which demands social success over accuracy, and so they modify their philosophies to include what people want to hear and special interests demand, and get rich and popular and so everyone follows them.

Truth is a lonely path that can only be appreciated by at best the top fifth of the population in terms of intelligence. Then the question of their honesty arises. Have they disciplined their emotions? Are they mature enough to view a world in which they and their personal success are not the most important things? Can they think on a long term basis? And the biggest: can they think of situations with more than one actor, such as market forces, culture and leadership working together, instead of the standard modern solution of making a law to create an institution to address a problem with a strict rule?

Most right-wingers know they are not-liberal by their gut feelings and their intimation that liberalism is sheerly insane.

There are some who are not right-wing per se, but also recognize that the liberal/leftist plans will end in disaster.

These two find it very hard to unify in any way because to do so requires unpopular thoughts, violation of trends and fashion, and even more, personal sacrifice by not profiting from selling people what they already want to hear, and personal negation by recognizing the world outside of the narcissistic ego.

Any right-wing movement is easy to split up. Wait for it to get going, then re-state liberalism with a conservative surface. The crowd will flock to you! You have given them a path of least resistance, and the ability to be popular for upholding it. This is why conservatives always try to be like liberals, even though it hands them defeats over the long term.

It is easier for conservatives to be the “party of NO” because it enables them to hide their own ideas and focus solely on why liberal ideas are insane, dysfunctional and destructive. While this is less popular than the “and it’s all free!” style of politics, it gains support from those who want lower taxes and to avoid following the ideological train into the graveyard of empires along with the Soviets.

But can Neoreaction survive entryism by populism through self-promotion?

Understanding the extremism of modernity

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Ideology makes itself tempting by providing a single set of symbols and categories to explain civilization and its problems. What if, on the other hand, politics were not a cause but an effect? Including possibly the type of mistaken effect that occurs when something is used as a justification, or an explanation after the fact to make an event seem favorable.

Biology explains much of our society and its behavior better than politics does. Imagine that society were a single animal, or a herd of animals. Knowing that it was in trouble, perhaps with a disease or famine or threat of invasion, that herd might go a bit wild. It would accelerate normal behaviors of life to extremes in order to save what it could of itself before the end.

Using the herd analogy, a herd under stress tends to produce more offspring so they will outlast its losses. It becomes more violent, both to fend off attackers and possibly subjugate other herds and occupy their environmental niches. As part of this, it forces its animals to demonstrate greater loyalty.

What does this translate into for humanity?

  1. Hypersexuality. Like crazed animals, we repeat the sex act frequently as if it were a talisman against our downfall.
  2. Obesity. Cornered animals will often eat impulsively to give themselves something to do, and to try to boost health.
  3. Zealotry. When the herd is threatened, its members obsessively come together and exile discontents.
  4. Competition. Members of the herd assert position and test others to firm up the command and control hierarchy.
  5. Paranoia. Feeling constantly alert, and wary also of instability within, members become hyper-alert and suspicious.
  6. Superstitious. Confronting an ill it does not understand, the herd becomes neurotic and superstitious looking for causes.

Our past 200 years could be viewed as the spasms of a dying animal or a dying herd. Aware of its short time, it is manically trying to conduct the patterns of life in compressed form so that there is a chance of survival.

This creates pathology where the method is repeated without the purpose, and as the method does not produce the right results, it is repeated even more obsessively. Like instinct in the domesticated animal, it arises out of place and is repeated creepily and fanatically.

For the West, the writing has been on the wall for centuries. A peak of culture, massive internal conflict, massive political instability, lack of good leaders, incursion of commerce into all areas, and lower echelon revolt that seems more destructive than constructive. We can argue about causes later, but it is clear that we are in decline.

That has — like all crises — created a division in our society. At the highest level, there are two groupings of humans: those who recognize the problem, and those who do not. The denialists invent excuses for how our collapse is a good thing, which explains the beady-eyed fixation of the left on the Third World, and/or come up with other “problems” that are not real but will distract us, like the war on drugs or the quest for social justice.

As the doom still approaches despite our efforts, and no real consensus exists about it, people become more frenetic and unstable. Very few of them can articulate what is going on because it requires someone who has the equivalent of a PhD in philosophy and history who also has lived as an outsider, and thus not been tainted by denialism, his or her whole life.

Some exist. The herd takes revenge on them as it always does, by ignoring what they say and then pretending to not notice the steady increase of doom, because this gives the herd power with what it has left. Yet the only real power consists in recognizing the problem and counteracting it, because otherwise all of what we have exists on borrowed time.