Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘david brooks’

СССР, Inc.

Monday, August 14th, 2017

товарищ, nobody should emulate the late and unlamented CCCP. Even modern Communists won’t admit that The Stalin State was really Communist. So why do it? Well, there is the ego-bracing power that rulers get to wield in these banana republics where Lysenko’s biological theories kill all the banana trees.

If you want ego on Roger Clemmons Juice, go check your typical corporate CEO. If you want ego gone A-Rod, check out your typical SWPL/SJW. Cross-breed the two, create a SJW CEO, and the dickhead genes merge and mutate. They converge, and you get an adorable little Sauron. There can be no God but El Hombre on His Throne of Skulls at Corporate Headcutters. It should surprise no one that these types tend to follow the path of Robespierre, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hugo Chavez, killing any who fail to praise their works and oppressing the best so that the terror of the rest keeps everyone in line.

Starting with Lenin’s NKVD, these types take the scene-policing a bit too far. When this happens at the modern, converged corporation, it gets carried out by The HRKGB. Just as the ideological inquisitions forced Soviet citizens to see the world as the world was not, the rise of the HRKGB renders really original sports networks into ESPN. The new idea of music television gets degraded into MTV.

CNN has taken this to some epic heights. Their infamous doxxing of HanAssholeSolo was particularly late 80s Soviet when they outed the wrong hole. Like the boobs and idiots of the Politboro that couldn’t quite hold their vodka as well as Boris Yeltsin, CNN has yet to learn. Here’s their latest debacle at The CNN People’s Collective:

Jeffrey Lord, a prominent political analyst on CNN for the past two years, known for his passionate defense of Donald J. Trump, during the campaign and now as president, was fired on Thursday, August 10 after he used the words “Sieg Heil!” in a tweet. On Thursday morning, Lord was engaged in a strident Twitter exchange with Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters, the far left group that targets conservative media programs, hosts, and analysts. Lord had written several articles in American Spectator (published August 9 and August 10) critical of Media Matters, dubbing them Media Matters Fascists (MMF) for their latest attempt to suppress a conservative program, Sean Hannity’s nightly Fox News show…

CNN, of course, only aspires an ascent to the hypocritical peaks of PC Kilimanjaro recently obtained by the Kultists of Goolag. Leftists always lie, and Google’s CEO of Diversity Fascism Sundar Pichai uses that as an a model to reach that conclusion. The recent firing of James Damore over egregious free speech from the cubes was bad enough. It’s mischaracterization of what Damore said that even made David Brooks of The New York Times don his rarely-worn and linty Konservative Kolumnist Kostume to decry the painfully obvious agitprop.

Which brings us to Pichai, the supposed grown-up in the room. He could have wrestled with the tension between population-level research and individual experience. He could have stood up for the free flow of information. Instead he joined the mob. He fired Damore and wrote, “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not O.K.” That is a blatantly dishonest characterization of the memo. Damore wrote nothing like that about his Google colleagues. Either Pichai is unprepared to understand the research (unlikely), is not capable of handling complex data flows (a bad trait in a C.E.O.) or was simply too afraid to stand up to a mob.

In the end David gets it wrong. He becomes the same lovable cuck the NYT sought out for its carefully regulated, neutered and vaguely conservative “contrary” opinion. What Brooks ultimately demands is that the lemming SJWs turn on the head SJW Pichai and deplatform him the way Damore was deplatformed. Lying about the head liar ought to solve everything wrong at CCCP, Inc. It worked wonders when the USSR replaced Kruschev with Brezhnev with Andropov with Gorbachev. Just find a nice blame toilet and everyone can go back to feeling comfortable as they ride down to hell in their bucket-like cubicles.

That in turn reveals the truth of the Soviets, the French Revolution, and every other grand screwup in humanity since the dawn of time: we can blame the leaders at the top, but we created them, by wanting safety and security more than we wanted goodness, sanity, health, normalcy, balance, order, beauty, hierarchy, purpose, virtue and meaning. Our scared little animals selves took over, and to protect us from our fears, we created an empire of lies. The only way to end that is to stop being afraid and to start demanding good instead of (illusory) safety, of which political correctness is but one of many varieties.

The real solution to all of this is to emulate James Damore. Prepare the bomb-shelter. Tell the truth. Eat the consequences. Move on to a new and more alive life outside of CCCP, Inc. All men die, some even get to truly live. Damore has shown us a hard, rocky path leading to greatness in a Lilliputian Age. We all need to tell CNN, ESPN, MTV, and Google what history told the Soviets: you are unrealistic liars and you fooled us once, but not again, and so now it is your turn to fall.

Yet Another Democracy Failure In Greece

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

I’ll drop a secret regarding the current ANTIFA government pissing away the great European Nation known as Greece. They won’t be challenging Aristotle effectively in next year’s Genius World Cup.

Two years after an international bailout that was supposed to lead to an economic revival, conditions here have only worsened and life for Greeks has become one of constant misery. The economy is stagnant, unemployment hovers around 25% and is twice as high for young adults, taxes are rising, and wages are falling. Half of Greek homeowners can’t make their mortgage payments and another quarter can’t afford their property taxes, according to the Bank of Greece.

So Greece is pretty much looking like a nation that went from The Cradle of Democracy to its pathetic abortion grave. After starting out as a nice, civilized, bureaucratic way to make non-conformists like Socrates drink the hemlock, Grecian democracy has upped its game. It has now spent the last two years serving its surviving population the economic equivalent of Jonestown Coolaid just to make sure they get every last bug.

Yet, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his left-wing Syriza Party ignored the referendum results and signed a third bailout deal that would provide nearly $100 billion in loans the country desperately needed to avoid collapse. Tsipras, whose party gained power on a pledge to resist further austerity requirements, reversed itself and adopted more budget and pension cuts. In June, he negotiated the latest payment of $9.7 billion.

You see Greece elected a formal and doctrinaire communist who has thus far demonstrated a capacity for leadership almost, but not quite as bountiful as a North Korean rice harvest. He could just about accidentally Holodomor a significant swath of his population. You probably wouldn’t like him if he were ever competent and professional enough to be deliberately malicious. Tsipras famously ran for office on three platforms.

1) He wasn’t The Golden Dawn Party.

2) He wasn’t, you know, a (((Bankster))).

3) He’d never knuckle under to Germany because the Nazis stole Greece’s gold and the Greeks still hadn’t received reparations.

There’s an old joke about a tourist who goes to Paris and asks about all the nice trees along the Champs Elysees. The natives explain that they are there as a service. They were planted so that German armies could march in the shade. A simple bumpkin could be forgiven for believing something similar with regards to the streets of Athens after Tsipras folded to Angela Merkel’s pet European Union and paid up his Danegeld like a nice little Marxian Poodle. German armies don’t march these days. Their financiers simply launch a blitzkrieg of foreclosures and credit downgrades.

But then again, Charles Darwin could only approve of how utterly the Greeks allowed themselves to be pwned without the firing of a single shot. We can cry about how rough it is to be cocaine addict and how we should all have sympathy. However, nobody stuck a gun to the dumb sonnovavitch’s head and made him buy the Bolivian Marching Powder. The Greeks believed they were actually getting money for free by discontinuing their national currency and adopting the Euro. They also may as well send a serious response to those Nigerian Prince emails that show up in the Spam Folder every other day. Those who believe in sodomizing the weak apparently need to pack their bags and go tour The Parthenon. The Greek People actually chose Alex Tsipras to represent their interests. I run very low on pity.

This is a hidden positive externality of the Democratic process. Just keep your passport handy. When a population freely chooses a man of Alex Tsipras’ philosophical beliefs, you know that you live among a den of thieves. When Alex Tsipras is The Prudent Man’s best choice out of a radioactively defective litter of candidates, you are a man amongst the ruins. Your nation is done — well past Medium Rare. Greece will get it’s Hitler. They deserve him just for being themselves. The only positive here is that he’ll be a Greek Hitler and not quite figure out how to get the trains to the death camps. Maybe he’ll watch The Great Dictator starring Charlie Chaplin rather than reading Mein Kampf. It’s about the only chance the Greeks have of staying out of Hell aside from a real-world German military intervention. It could be Repo Man on steroids.

Now all of this mockery is terrible. There’s another country I could also mention that has similar ongoing death of it’s worthwhile human beings.

According to a report that was produced by researchers at Harvard University, the number of Americans that spend more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing has more than doubled. In 2001, nearly 16 million Americans couldn’t afford the homes that they were currently living in, but by 2015 that figure had jumped to 38 million.

Cucks will whinge that the system is rigged. Like it fell out of the sky that way as Lucifer’s Hammer. Since nobody does whinging Cuck Twathurt with the elan of David Brooks, here we sample the fine whine.

It’s when we turn to the next task — excluding other people’s children from the same opportunities — that things become morally dicey. Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution recently published a book called “Dream Hoarders” detailing some of the structural ways the well educated rig the system. The most important is residential zoning restrictions. Well-educated people tend to live in places like Portland, New York and San Francisco that have housing and construction rules that keep the poor and less educated away from places with good schools and good job opportunities. These rules have a devastating effect on economic growth nationwide. Research by economists Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti suggests that zoning restrictions in the nation’s 220 top metro areas lowered aggregate U.S. growth by more than 50 percent from 1964 to 2009. The restrictions also have a crucial role in widening inequality.

Find me a sentence that Alex Tsipras wouldn’t nod along with in ideological synonymity. That’s your “conservative” New York Times columnist. The lefties couldn’t be reached. They were out back building a guillotine out of Legos and Lincoln Logs. Our elite smart guys would take us exactly where the Greek versions of Bernie, Hillary and Cherokee Liz have taken the miserable, suffering, bankrupt Athenians. The American People were still uncucked enough to offer the timerous and tenuous resistance of electing Donald Trump.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash. When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

So maybe God will help us. If he does, it will be for the nonce. The long-term trend will not travel on an upward monotonic azimuth. There’s a slow train coming and it’s not going to take the US of A to a very happy place. Our nation’s electorate has started voting itself free beer. That only ends in tears. It only ends like Greece. It ultimately only ends the way it did in Weimar Germany. A democracy becomes a contest of who/whom, and then it is doomed to dissolve into modern terror, inevitably some form of creeping socialist terror worthy of a Lovecraft novel.

Individualism Spotted In The Wild

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Read David Brooks columns is an exercise in coin-flipping because he is either mostly really on and totally insightful, or completely off-base in an educated, half-bottle-of-wine sort of way that is both entertaining and misleading:

The early Christians seem to have worshiped the way David did, with ecstatic dancing, communal joy and what Emile Durkheim called “collective effervescence.” In her book “Dancing in the Streets,” Barbara Ehrenreich argues that in the first centuries of Christianity, worship of Jesus overlapped with worship of Dionysus, the Greek god of revelry. Both Jesus and Dionysus upended class categories. Both turned water into wine. Second- and third-century statuettes show Dionysus hanging on a cross.

But when the church became more hierarchical, the Michals took over. Somber priest-led rituals began to replace direct access to the divine. In the fourth century, Gregory of Nazianzus urged, “Let us sing hymns instead of striking drums, have psalms instead of frivolous music and song, … modesty instead of laughter, wise contemplation instead of intoxication, seriousness instead of delirium.”

When elites try to quash the manners and impulses of the people, those impulses are bound to spill out in some other way.

In this column, Brooks gets one thing right, which is that Trump is appealing to those who recognize that the official way is broken and needs to be overthrown through mockery. What he gets wrong is the nature of the process.

New ideas start out with an attitude that is part Dionysian, but more appropriately, esoteric. That is, those who can know, know, and everyone else follows along.

The herd surges, and then infiltrates, and then assimilates, which results in the original idea being converted to a form of hedonism: whatever makes people feel good, whether intellectually or physically, predominates. The Crowd has won!

At that point, a backlash — just as stupidly rigid as that which it is reacting against — takes over. The people of order take over and create a whole lot of rules to keep the sheep in line.

What they are reacting to is not Dionysianism, which is a type of discovering nature through deconstructing the human perceptual barriers that enclose our consciousness, but individualism. Everyone doing whatever they feel good about means that the original purpose is lost.

The 180 degree reaction is not Apollonianism, which is negation of the self and dwelling within the idea outside of the human stain, but a reaction to the emotionality of the crowd with the emotionality of the cause, which drives away anyone fun and lets drippy nerds who excel at tests and fail at life predominate.

A saner way is the middle path: keep focus on the goal, and do not seek to patrol methods, which is a type of control or backward logic that attempts to regulate purpose by making certain types of action taboo. You can regulate goal, but regulating methods does not force the goal to appear, even when you remove all methods known to end elsewhere than the goal, assuming that what is left is a direct path to the goal.

Nietzsche might not see the middle path as Dionysian, but in another view, it is the ultimate Dionysian. Instead of looking toward the idea, one adapts to reality, finds what is beautiful, and then invents theory from that, knowing that (per parallelism) this world is organized in the same way as the next, and therefore that what is realistic is also logically optimal.

Donald Trump may be a jester because the court is corrupt. Western civilization is at its nadir. However, our path out lies in not separating adaptation to physical reality from logical clarity, but in the area where the two overlap, giving us a perspective on what is real both now and forever.

David Brooks: A Mirror To The Cuck Faux Elite

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

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When the scholarly class notices Reactionaries, they tend to react as if they’ve just noticed an asp at their feet.

These faux elites react with a prophylactic, psuedo-erudite epistemic closure argument designed to write reactionary sentiment out of any debate. Wise and Venerable scholar of the Cathedral Mark Lilla deploys pity, with all the condescending dislike and disgust that that particular hostile emotion entails below.

The reactionary is anything but a conservative. He is as radical and modern a figure as the revolutionary, someone shipwrecked in the rapidly changing present, and suffering from nostalgia for an idealized past and an apocalyptic fear that history is rushing toward catastrophe. And like the revolutionary his political engagements are motivated by highly developed ideas.

David Brooks, NYT House Conservative (i.e. Quasi-White Step ‘n Fetchit of the Cathedral) capes for the ongoing infliction of “progress” on its defenseless victims below. First he stokes the mordant, pearl-clutching fears of the cuck hivemind.

Reactionaries, whether angry white Trumpians, European nationalists, radical Islamists or left-wing anti-globalists, are loud, self-confident and on the march.

David Brooks, unlike those Conservatives, is no gibbering barbarian. He believes that ratiocination and the honey-sweet tone of reconciliation can still win the day. He must patiently lecture all three Conservatives who still read the New York Times out of that Basket of Deplorables.™ So what could steer such a vast Fifth Column of Philistines to the beckoning banners of Pepe Le Hate Frog Demonique? He offers us up a self-serving explanation below.

Reactionaries come in different stripes but share a similar mentality: There was once a golden age, when people knew their place and lived in harmony. But then that golden age was betrayed by the elites. “The betrayal of elites is the linchpin of every reactionary story,” Lilla writes.

Soon, they believe, a false and decadent consciousness descended upon the land. “Only those who have preserved memories of the old ways see what is happening,” Lilla notes. Only the reactionaries have the wisdom to turn things back to the way they used to be, to “Make America Great Again.”

Perhaps the key to understanding the propaganda at work here is to patiently explain its untruths. It’s not the elites that do us in unless we fault them for sleeping on the job and letting degenrates catamite about on the hallowed grounds of the Haute Culture Country Club. Calling people like Hillary Clinton, who willingly hired, trusted and associated with a woman who voluntarily wed Anthony Weiner elite is not acceptable. Such an affront to the English language requires the presence of pink HTML sarcasm tags.

So the problem an intelligent Reactionary identifes is not the elite. The problem is the people who allow Anthony Weiner to pretend that he is elite. The problem is the mob. Crowdism is the vehicle by which the cathedral of apostates empowers a mob of morons to elect and elevate a trolladytic shlub like Anthony Weiner in return for an unending stream of gimmedats. I personally have no problem with a genuine (“natural”) elite. That sort of a group would reclaim the term as a compliment rather than an insult.

Lilla gets two things correct.

  1. Reactionaries react against Modernism.

  2. Reactionaries are not Conservative.

He gets things correct for the wrong reasons. Reactionaries act against Modernism. We are consequentialist, as opposed to nostalgia-laden. Many Reactionaries miss the extent to which religious faith was treated with respect and local culture was revered in respected in the 1860s. Not many American Southern Reactionaries are out there asking if we can bring back Civil War field medicine. We’d prefer, as a logical choice, that the local surgeon at Huntsville Hospital not have a rusty, old hacksaw and a bottle of Ancient Age in the his medical bag. Even if that was how things got done back in The Golden Age.

We see history as a living and viable discipline that should be dedicated to identifying and understanding what worked in prior human generations. Reactionaries react selectively; not reflexively. We take data from the world around us and examine it. We, not the “Progressives,” are the ones that just flippin’ love science. So based on consequentialist evaluation of what works and what doesn’t, we specifically critique the vast extent to which Modernism and democracy have obviously and completely failed to maintain the clear and indisputible standards of what “Makes America Great.”

As a consequence, Mark Lilla gets another one right as well. His Amerika.org kewpie doll should arrive in the email today. We are not Conservatives. We prefer virtue, with the postive and affirmative manhood that this entails, to Modern Conservatism. Conservatives stand athwart history asking nicely if it would slow down and not swamp their mutual funds or lustily deflower their daughters.

They lack the real guts to fight Leftism because they believe in a weaker form thereof. They secretly wish they could be the Left too. They are the nerds who melt in gratitude from a friendly hug from Michelle Obama. Liberals get this and therefore understand they can work them for anything they want. No Real Conservative would ever rock the boat by actually trying to repeal Obamacare. People (meaning the Leftists) would be scared and upset. Michelle wouldn’t feel like hugging them ever again. Oh No!

So David Brooks is dutifully doing his duty to calm down all of those people. It wouldn’t be dainty if all his liberal friends got worried. Like the trusty black overseer on an antebellum pine tar plantation, David Brooks gets busy stopping all the hootin’ and a hollerin.’ He needs to do that before Massa gets all upset. He fits into an outmoded role from a dark and evil period. It’s as if he came from the malignant heart of darkness found in that America. Is David Brooks the real stereotype of The Blind Reactionary? “The horror!” Said Mr. Kurtz. “The horror!”

And that, in essence, is what we get from the Cuck Faux Elite. We particularly get that from the ones who tell us they are “Conservative” and here to look out for our interests. They look out for us by telling us to tone it down. Just be patient and take your medicine. Don’t be a “Reactionary.” That would be unseemly. Being unseemly is far worse to the Cuck Faux Elite than being dead wrong. The tattermedalion reactionaries don’t like being dead wrong. Particularly the part about being dead. This is why David Brooks is blessedly losing. May his downfall become complete.

The collapse of Western civilization becomes undeniable

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

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I encountered this moment in 1997 where I realized that my fiction could go no further unless I was certain about what I was writing about. I had mastered the aesthetics that others struggled over, had a reasonable grasp of the mechanics, and was intuitive about storyline development, but I did not know what I wanted to say.

At the core of every great writing, there is some expression. In the Bible, it is the contrast between the Garden of Eden and Crucifixion of Christ; in Hemingway, it is the individual drama versus the social impulse; in Faulkner, the absorption of the countryside by Progress I because it is so much more convenient. Every book has an idea. They are no different than essays, in actuality, just expressed differently.

What I lacked was that vision. What is the core of human experience I want to communicate? On the left I found endless self-absorption, and on the right a series of plateaus that I found myself admitting were true, but still not the essence of the issue. What had actually gone wrong? Since my earliest conscious days, I had known that adults were a bit off, and that society had the reek of failure and death about it, but I had no idea how to express it.

Over time, I returned to my old copy of The Republic. There, my Nietzschean and Romantic learnings combined: yes, our civilization was in decline, and here was why. Since then, I have devoted myself to combat against the source of that decline, individualism, which in groups turns people into a clay mass that demands idiocy so that no one feels inferior or wrong.

What I learned was that civilization decay is how all great societies perish, and that it is always a threat, and that it begins in the individual. When the individual becomes morally weak, and dedicated to an ethic of convenience, he approves of all sorts of defective behaviors that then tear his society down. “Tolerance” is the gateway to the end.

Slowly, others are noticing that our civilization is in full-blown miserable decline:

Generally speaking, sweepingly pessimistic statements about society should be taken with a grain of salt. When someone claims pop music is getting much dumber, or college kids are much more prone to mental illness, odds are pretty good the claim in question is a bit overblown. Overall, we’re often more attuned to the negative stories and anecdotes than positive ones, meaning that news coverage of terrible events, for example, can cause us to develop a distorted view of things.

Sometimes, though, there are exceptions. And an interesting, under-discussed one involves young people and mental health. In short: Ever since the 1930s, young people in America have reported feeling increasingly anxious and depressed. And no one knows exactly why.
One of the researchers who has done the most work on this subject is Dr. Jean Twenge, a social psychologist at San Diego State University who is the author of Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before. She’s published a handful of articles on this trajectory, and the underlying story, she thinks, is a rather negative one. “I think the research tells us that modern life is not good for mental health,” she said.

The subterfuge here is found in the phrase “modern life.” What they really should say is Late Empire, or the state of a powerful civilization when it still has wealth and military might, but nothing holds it together within. It is a dead man walking, a hollow shell. The other salient point to notice is that most people are oblivious. For them to show visible effects means the situation has gotten really bad.

What makes Late Empire distinct from other phases of a healthy civilization? In short, the civilization has become inward-looking in a collectivist sense; instead of individuals exploring their own moral components, or the group looking toward future goals, the civilization looks inside itself and tries to re-arrange itself to make everyone happy. This leads to endless guilt, shame and “egalitarian” posturing through altruism.

David Brooks gives us an insightful but flawed view:

In a guilt culture you know you are good or bad by what your conscience feels. In a shame culture you know you are good or bad by what your community says about you, by whether it honors or excludes you. In a guilt culture people sometimes feel they do bad things; in a shame culture social exclusion makes people feel they are bad.

He is correct in distinguishing guilt and shame cultures, but incorrect in that they are natural. A healthier state of humankind is aspirational culture: the desire to do right so that not only will you be rewarded, but that you will be free from doubt. Whatever consequences arise, you did the right thing, by not just the order of nature, but by that of your own people. You made the heroic choice.

This type of thinking is anathema in a culture like our current one, which is an ego-culture. What feels good is right; what makes other people feel good makes you feel good, therefore is also right. The problem with this is that it creates granularity, so that there is always a party opposing any kind of shared standard: the individual.

Initially, this seems like a good idea. No one can tell me what to do! No one is superior to me! But that also applies to everyone else, which means that standards race toward the lowest common denominator, reversing the Darwinian evolution that raised us above hominid status. Individualism is evolution toward the past, not the future.

Whether we apply guilt or shame or even another force, the result will be the same. The reduction of society to individuals alone breaks down what we share as civilized people, which is a belief in inconvenient higher standards toward which we aspire, and by abiding to which we make ourselves and society better at the same time.

What has really happened over the last 80 years? In 1789, Leftism began its takeover of the West; in the 1930s, it became popular and after the reaction ended in 1945, it became the absolute rule. Since then we have become miserable, alienated in isolation as ourselves with nothing bigger to strive for or participate in.

If we wish to reverse the inertia of our decline, it begins in abandoning “the individual alone” as our standard, and starting to think about civilization again. It reminds me of this (possibly apocryphal) witticism:

On a visit to London in 1931, for a conference on determining India’s political future, Gandhi was asked by a British journalist what he thought of Western civilization. “I think it would be a good idea,” he replied.

Success for me, but not for thee — the secret of guilt culture

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

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Neoreaction stands out among right-wing movements because it is essentially a toolkit of arguments to use against the vast flood of liberal propaganda in which we are immersed constantly. Liberalism has dominated the discourse for 226 years by generating a constant flood of “new” ideas which are picked up by compliant voices among intellectuals, media and the arts.

One of the best arguments to come from Neoreaction is the notion that liberalism operates mainly by “virtue signaling,” or allowing preening individual animals to show how good and moral they are by repeating the right dogma. I propose a more radical amendment: liberalism is virtue signaling in order to throw others off the scent of success, which is achieved by conservative methods.

In addition to explaining the somewhat schizophrenic nature of liberals, who tend to embrace realism when it concerns their own profits but publicly condemn realism and preach liberalism, this theory explains the utility of liberalism: it enhances success by allowing individuals to hide their actual motives behind flowery words, like politicians donating a few bucks to the poor and grafting millions behind the scenes.

Interesting, Tom Wolfe covered this years ago as part of his analysis of how competition for social status as a means of distinguishing the individual from others is the basis of all contrarianism, which is the essence of liberal thought. In other words, people hope to get ahead by loudly endorsing dogma that makes them seem different and unique from the rest of the herd:

Status groups, Weber contended, are the creators of all new styles of life. In his heyday, the turn of the 19th century, the most stylish new status sphere, no more than 30 years old, was known as la vie boheme, the bohemian life. The bohemians were artists plus the intellectuals and layabouts in their orbit. They did their best to stand bourgeois propriety on its head through rakish dishabille, louder music, more wine, great gouts of it, ostentatious cohabitation, and by flaunting their poverty as a virtue. And why? Because they all came from the bourgeoisie themselves originally and wanted nothing more desperately than to distinguish themselves from it. They seldom mentioned the upper class, Marx’s owners of “the means of production.” They seldom mentioned Marx’s working class, except in sentimental appreciation of the workers’ occasional show of rebelliousness. No, as the late Jean-Francois Revel said of mid-20th century French intellectuals, the bohemians’ sole object was to separate themselves from the mob, the rabble, which today is known as the middle class.

I thought bohemia had been brought to its apogee in the 1960s, before my very eyes, by the hippies, originally known as acid heads, in reference to the drug LSD, with their Rapunzel hair down to the shoulder blades among the males and great tangled thickets of hair in the armpits of the women, all living in communes. The communes inevitably turned religious thanks to the hallucinations hippies experienced while on LSD and a whole array of other hallucinogens whose names no one can remember. Some head–short for acid head–would end up in the middle of Broadway, one of San Francisco’s main drags, sitting cross-legged in the Lotus position, looking about, wide eyes glistening with beatification, shouting, “I’m in the pudding and I’ve met the manager! I’m in the pudding and I’ve met the manager!” Seldom had so many gone so far to feel aloof from the middle class.

While this seems like competitive behavior, it more resembles compensatory behavior of the form “If I can’t get to a good place, I’ll at least be a big fish in a small pond.” No one seriously doubts that the West is in decline any longer, although they will not admit it in public because that makes it look like they are complaining in order to excuse their own failures. There is no longer an expectation of a good life for people here other than materially (desirable zip code, fancy car, good money). They accept that, and then try to make themselves seem important. To such a person, posturing becomes the basis of all their acts, with it becoming important to demonstrate moral and social pretense that affirms their role. A status-seeking person will never complain about a bad meal, or a ding on their bumper, or someone slowing them down by moving slowly, because to demonstrate pretense they must show that they are masters of their time, that a few hundred dollars are “nothing” to them, and that they are altruistic, egalitarian and moral potlatch-givers who expect everyone else to screw up and in response just pat them on the head and say, “There, there, good little serf.”

This compensatory behavior consists of not going to war against the problems that make the West slide into oblivion, but trying to be the most important fish in the pond left by the collapse. Their pretense is such that they do not even bother to note the decline, but wave it off like an undercooked soufflé as if to say, “Well of course society is self-destructing my dear, it’s what these little monkeys do. In the meantime, I’m getting a promotion and a BMW that runs on used cooking oil.” Wolfe was followed by David Brooks who wrote one of the most important books of our time, BOBOS in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, showing how these new pretentious citizens replaced the old Western European order back in the 1960s by using the pretense of liberalism. What to know why today’s SJWs, hipsters, nouveau riche and status climbers all employ public and hyperbolic liberalism? Because it worked last time.

Wolfe again on compensatory behavior:

Even before I left graduate school I had come to the conclusion that virtually all people live by what I think of as a “fiction-absolute.” Each individual adopts a set of values which, if truly absolute in the world–so ordained by some almighty force–would make not that individual but his group . . . the best of all possible groups, the best of all inner circles. Politicians, the rich, the celebrated, become mere types. Does this apply to “the intellectuals” also? Oh, yes. . . perfectly, all too perfectly.

What he has described above is pretense. You set up values that benefit you and make you look like the center of the universe, and then act like these are universal truth, which allows you to retaliate against anyone who does not accept them as if they attacked you. It is both passive-aggressive behavior and the “Begging the Question” fallacy in behavioral form, and the more pretentious and unrealistic it is, the more you force others to recognize your importance and grant you social status.

This explains the combination of nanny-style Agony Aunt and Berkeley radical that defines today’s liberals. From Brooks:

Bobos turn out to be the parsons of the pubic region. Nearly gone are 1960s traces of Dionysian wantonness. Instead, “Play Safe” and “Play Responsibly” are the slogans that are repeated again and again in sophisticated sex literature. The practicioners talk so much about how healthy it all is you’d think they were doing jumping jacks…Today’s Marquis de Sades don’t want to create an immoral underground society. They’re not trying to subvert normalcy. They’re trying to join it. They want to win mainstream acceptance and so gain a respectable place in the middle-class world.

To them, ideology itself is a means to an end of raising their status, justifying their lifestyle as necessary, and showing higher pretense than others thus making them look appealing and powerful as people. It is no different than birds puffing up their feathers before a fight, or monkeys posturing before throwing feces at one another. It is one of the oldest animal processes and no amount of layers of business clothing, perfume, Marxist theory, or even hip club lingo can disguise the raw animality of it.

If we decode liberals in this way, we see them as not outsiders trying to take over our society, but insiders trying to hide their own middle class origins and rise above them with pretense and the social boost that having the right opinions gives in liberal circles. If you look through media, government, entertainment of much of business, you will see the reason that liberals like Masons or Toastmasters remain popular: liberals helping liberals get ahead by promoting fellow liberals above everyone else.

Looking at this psychology through other eyes, we come to the question of guilt, shame or pity culture — from a post over at Dividuals:

Basically, it is about prestige. When we argue we have a moral obligation to do X we are saying we should deduct prestige points from people who don’t do X…the West is a guilt culture, not a shame culture.

As shame is basically low social prestige, it is fairly obvious how shame cultures really work like this.

For a guilt culture, the simplest explanation is that guilt is internalized shame, and thus the idea of moral obligation is internalized shame, internalized prestige loss, you feel bad about yourself if you did something bad, thus basically reduce your own prestige points in your head even if nobody else did.

This is probably a good thing, at some level. Installing a prestige policeman in everybody’s head.

The distinction between guilt and shame cultures strikes me as nothing more than a gap between pre-emptive mental process filtering and post hoc behavioral filtering. In guilt cultures, people use compliance as a means to get ahead, as if in a free market; in a shame culture, the only consideration is getting caught. If you look at shame cultures worldwide, whatever their average IQ, they have less of a strong middle and upper echelon level of intelligence than we do (still) in the West. These are cultures where it is acceptable to destroy certain individuals when they are caught doing wrong because they become token sacrifices and scapegoats.

Let us look at the successful psychology of guilt culture in what Vaclav Havel calls “post-totalitarian” systems:

THE MANAGER of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!” Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment’s thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean?

I think it can safely be assumed that the overwhelming majority of shopkeepers never think about the slogans they put in their windows, nor do they use them to express their real opinions. That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be. If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper decoration in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life “in harmony with society,” as they say.

Obviously the greengrocer is indifferent to the semantic content of the slogan on exhibit; he does not put the slogan in his window from any personal desire to acquaint the public with the ideal it expresses. This, of course, does not mean that his action has no motive or significance at all, or that the slogan communicates nothing to anyone. The slogan is really a sign, and as such it contains a subliminal but very definite message. Verbally, it might be expressed this way: “I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace.” This message, of course, has an addressee: it is directed above, to the greengrocer’s superior, and at the same time it is a shield that protects the greengrocer from potential informers. The slogan’s real meaning, therefore, is rooted firmly in the greengrocer’s existence. It reflects his vital interests. But what are those vital interests?

Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient,” he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth. The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation in the shop window, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign which, at least on its textual surface, indicates a level of disinterested conviction. It must allow the greengrocer to say, “What’s wrong with the workers of the world uniting?” Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the facade of something high. And that something is ideology.

Guilt cultures control everyone. We all want to rise, so like Havel’s grocer, we clearly signal our obedience to the dominant paradigm of liberalism. Our modern SJWs for example form a shame culture as a means to guilt culture; SJWs gain personal prestige for shaming others. Thus we see that the guilt-shame distinction really gets in the way of seeing what is actually happening here: whether by consuming others (shame) or censoring themselves (guilt) modern people are raising status, and raising job prospects, through liberalism. That is all it is: a giant street gang where the secret handshake involves repeating something you read in The New York Times or Salon. When you join the gang, the gang will help you out and defend you, and you can gain power in the gang by doing audacious stuff. The kids of a century ago who lit firecrackers under police horses and became legends on their blocks are the kids of today who go on Twitter and Tumblr to demand that people stop using gendered pronouns.

Now for the “Success for me, but not for thee” part: at the same time these people are using liberalism to advance themselves and push down others, they are also using it to conceal their greatest secret. If they are succeeding, it is with conservative methods and principles, but they must hide these because they are unpopular, so like the politician kissing babies they make a big public show of liberalism, and then in private, act as conservative as possible. As a mainstream source notes:

Greg Gutfeld says conservative principles are more common than you think in professions sometimes identified with liberals—music, exercise, and cooking. “If liberals applied their no-score, no-winner, no-loser belief system to their hobbies and professions, they would fail miserably,” says Gutfeld, author of “How to Be Right: The Art of Being Persuasively Correct.”

The best thing about liberalism is that it is old. Ancient, even. 1789 was its first real formulation, but the disease had been festering for some time. People like me argue that liberalism came about because the West overpopulated itself with idiots after sacrificing too many of its good people to fight off Mongols at the same time it became diverse from too much trade, but the gory truth is that every society faces this high noon. If you do not purge the idiots, outsiders, perverts, fetishists, neurotic intellectuals, criminals and grifters among you, they eventually gang up on you and win out by superior number.

Luckily the situation is easily changed — from Dividuals again:

Thus the only potential for true change is to change how prestige is assigned. I mean, prestige is assigned by e.g. socially valued achievements, but also by moral arguments, such as “we have a moral obligation to do X”, thus doing X is high-prestige and not doing Y is low-prestige.

When a civilization shifts from an individual-based model to a culture-based model, these guilt/shame/blame/pity feelings get redirected into a singular question: “Did you uphold the culture?” Since culture takes the form of values, honor, pride, behaviors, aesthetics, customs, and includes in itself things such as civilizational goals, this serves as a non-intrusive control mechanism that harnesses these weird animal impulses and directs them toward a positive end. With individualism, we get animals competing for pretense; with culture-based societies, as known in Nationalism, we have individuals competing to achieve things that benefit all people in past, present and future of that society.

Wolfe himself affirms this with a nod to the rising prevalance of Nationalism in societies where people are not divided against themselves by competing for status:

More recently, I returned to Washington and Lee for a conference on the subject of Latin American writing in the United States. The conference soon became a general and much hotter discussion of the current immigration dispute. I had arrived believing that, for example, Mexicans who had gone to the trouble of coming to the United States legally, going through all the prescribed steps, would resent the fact that millions of Mexicans were now coming into the United States illegally across the desert border. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. I discovered that everyone who thought of himself as Latin, even people who had been in this country for two and three generations, were wholeheartedly in favor of immediate amnesty and immediate citizenship for all Mexicans who happened now to be in the United States. And this feeling had nothing to do with immigration policy itself, nothing to do with law, nothing to do with politics, for that matter. To them, this was not a debate about immigration. The very existence of the debate itself was to them a besmirching of their fiction-absolute, of their conception of themselves as Latins. Somehow the debate, simply as a debate, cast an aspersion upon all Latins, implying doubt about their fitness to be within the border of such a superior nation.

In other words, identity works not just because it is a motivator, but because it motivates people to act in their own interests. Who cares what’s fair? Get more of us here!

As modern society crumbles from within, not only Nationalism but every form of “birds of a feather flock together” is rising. People are grouping together by ancestry, values, caste and moral system as they anticipate the acceleration of decline.

This shows the importance of Nationalism as the vital cornerstone of a successful society. With Nationalism, people work toward values; without it, they become chaotic beings competing with each other to see who looks coolest according to an unrealistic and delusional ideology. Others argue that we need conveniently one-step fixes like a restoration of religion, and a return to pure capitalism, and while we need those also, they will get nowhere without a return to rigid nationalism. Only the group with an unbroken identity can construct for itself a society that does not tear itself apart from within.

What we see with modern liberalism is merely more of the tearing-apart: people who have given up hope on a future, trying to make themselves more important now, so they can justify their inaction in the face of obvious problems. As history shows us, most great empires go out that way, not so much in flames but falling from the pages of history and resurfacing centuries later as third-world ruins.

BOBOS in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, by David Brooks

Sunday, November 17th, 2013


BOBOS in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There
by David Brooks
Simon & Schuster, 284 pages, $11 (2000)

david_brooks-bobos_in_paradiseThe maturation of the “Me Generation” who brought us the shift to liberal-leaning regimes across the West received little coherent exposition before this book. However with BOBOS in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, David Brooks explicates the rise of Bobos — “bourgeois bohemians” — as a fusion of 1960s values and 1980s methods.

In exploring this fusion, Brooks carefully and humorously reveals the underpinning of the ideological motivation of these people, which is 1968 itself — albeit tempered with a taste for what we hoped won the Cold War, which is the cornucopia of the fruits of personal liberty and free markets. the “bourgeois bohemians” are actually hybrids of yuppies and hippies.

This group appeared in the 1990s and that is where Brooks centers his book. In his view, they came to power as a replacement for the old WASP hierarchy in America. While that ancient regime operated by knowing the right people, and having the right family, this new regime accelerates those who have the right education, the right careers and the right beliefs and lifestyle choices. Brooks shows us a new elite trying to justify itself with claims that it morally deserves what it has.

As Brooks ably and humorously reveals, however, the downside of being in this new elite is inanity and pretense. Inanity, in that the trends they follow are even more boring than those of the WASP hierarchy before them. Pretense, in that the constant moral posturing by having to play nice with conspicuous consumption creates a useless, posturing and haughty lifestyle that is still just as product-oriented as the lives of the middle classes that its adherents disdain.

Bobos turn out to be the parsons of the pubic region. Nearly gone are 1960s traces of Dionysian wantonness. Instead, “Play Safe” and “Play Responsibly” are the slogans that are repeated again and again in sophisticated sex literature. The practicioners talk so much about how healthy it all is you’d think they were doing jumping jacks…Today’s Marquis de Sades don’t want to create an immoral underground society. They’re not trying to subvert normalcy. They’re trying to join it. They want to win mainstream acceptance and so gain a respectable place in the middle-class world. (192)

BOBOS in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There is a personal favorite of mine because it demonstrates how the individualism of the leftism spectrum — Communism, progressivism, Socialism, anarchy and liberalism are different only as a matter of degree — quickly leads to the type of blind obedience we see in panicked crowds, faddish trends and lynch/witch-hunting mobs. This isn’t deliberate behavior, but defensive behavior designed to justify an inner selfishness arising from a total lack of purpose. Brooks hints at this through numerous satirical examples and tongue-in-cheek comments.

Parts of this read a lot like Tom Wolfe and Bret Easton Ellis fiction that notice in excruciating detail the products that people use to compose their lives. For American Psycho‘s Wall Street bankers, the products are luxury goods and high-performance tools; in BOBOS in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, as in A Man in Full and Bonfire of the Vanities, products are passive-aggression defenses of lifestyle. They aren’t there to be used, but to explain a life. In the case of the Bobos, it’s how they are morally superior and therefore deserve what they have.

Conservatives should read this book because it reveals the nature of what opposes us. Liberalism is after all a social mentality that spreads by threatening people with ostracism. You join the club, and you’re accepted; you don’t need to do anything else. But even liberals hate a flat hierarchy, so soon the club fragments as we see in this book. The “bohemian bourgeois” movement is a postmodern keeping up with the Joneses, where you’re not so much conspicuously consuming as consuming specific things so that a narrative about your lifestyle is created. As a result, it’s more cryptic and twisted like a hipster conversation consisting of namedrops only.

In this spirit we sometimes even reintroduce the old WASP styles into our eclecticism. The WASPs may have been racist and elitist. They may have been the establishment that we Bobos destroyed. But at least they weren’t consumed by ambition. So when we look at those calm beautiful faces in the Ralph Lauren ads, we can’t help feeling that they have something we long for. And so mixed in with our multicultural decor may be an item or two that could have come right out of the New York Yacht Club, maybe a faded leather chair or a dark wooden desk. The WASP Establishment is dead, and irony of ironies, the Protestant Establishment has been transmogrified into one of those extinct cultures destroyed by technology and progress. (97)

Underneath the laughs, BOBOS in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There shows us a society in deep trouble. It has lost its direction, and is trying to fill that void with ideology and lifestyle choices that exhibit that ideology, like Sovietism modulated into a consumerist ideology. Much like the millennials, the “Me Generation” who adopted this philosophy show a radical individualism that consists not of a desire to achieve things oneself, but to be part of the winning social group. This suggests in turn a society so fragmented that it has turned on itself, and people are looking for some reason to justify shutting out the rest and ignoring the certain path to collective doom.

Witty, imaginative and insightful, Brooks’ writing bounces lightly through these otherwise crushingly heavy realizations. Instead, he chooses to help us laugh at the irony of the hippies and the Gordon Gekkos of the world merging into a single voice, attempting to fill the void of a lack of purpose with pretense and purchases, and finding the emptiness of that approach as everpresent as before.

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