Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘tragedy of the commons’

Escaping The Two-Party Paradigm Requires Realizing That The Left-Right Division Is Real

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

The wires of the internet are alive with bloviation about a “horseshoe theory” and “false Left-Right paradigm.” As with anything popular and trending, these too are stupid and illusory, but they refer to something else we should pay attention to which the herd has poorly articulated.

So what are we missing?

Andy Nowicki gives us part of the vision with a look into the futility of mass politics:

For in casting one’s vote for or otherwise throwing one’s weight behind one side—be it the yin or the yang—of a binary, duopolic, Manichean paradigm, one is in fact not only selling one’s soul (which is to say, serving a master who is not God), or supporting evil in order to oppose what one takes to be a greater evil… no, one is not merely guilty of these betrayals ; one is also in a sense propping up the other side, the side one recognizes as being the worse of the two factions.

For in a world ruled by a duopoly, each side of the yin-yang spectrum parasitically feeds off the other for its own sustenance. One side could not be what it is without the active contrivance of its supposed opposite, and vice versa. Both yin and yang are fortified by the other’s scorn, contempt, and hostility; each digs in all the more when it perceives itself being threatened, and by digging in, thereby causes the other side to feel threatened, which in turn enhances the other side’s sense of righteous hysteria, leading to a never-ending cycle of rationalized provocations and self-justified aggressions.

What he describes is a feedback loop, or what occurs when there are two or more entities in a system interacting with one another. The first does something, the second reacts to it, and then the first reacts to that, perpetuating a cycle. The classic feedback loop as described by William Gibson is a child playing a video game, with computer and human both responding to the other and then triggering the next iteration of responses.

When we support one side of a duality, it strengthens the other by making it necessary, since the first is based on its relationship to the other. The two are defined relatively. This even applies to multiple parties, in that if all participants in a system adjust their behavior based on what others do, to support one is to cause interaction with the others.

However, this model fails when we step outside the democratic paradigm and as a result, stop treating politics like a conflict between football teams. The goal of politics is not to fight the other guy, but to assert what is the right type of society to have. This is why Leftists and Rightists are incompatible: we want entirely different types of civilizations.

The difference between Left and Right comes down to a war of ideas:

The very idea of a political spectrum fosters the illusion that if two schools of thought are both on the Right, they must be just two versions of the same thing, differing only in matters of degree. But of course Right and Left are on the same political spectrum as well, and we do not think they differ only in degree. Political philosophies differ fundamentally in terms of their basic principles and their political goals. This is true of Left vs. Right, and it is true of one Right vs. another. The only thing that really unites the different camps of the Right is a negative belief, namely rejecting the idea that equality is the highest political value. (The camps of the Left are more unified because they all affirm a positive, namely that equality is the highest political value.)

…ultimately White Nationalists believe and want very different things than the civic nationalists, classical liberals, neoconservatives, and Christian conservatives who oppose us. They have different philosophies and goals. They don’t want to be like us. They have nothing to gain from us — except looking more moderate and reasonable to centrist eyes, which is really the only reason they mention us at all.

…We will be a lot more effective if we stop being threatened by principled intellectual disagreement and start taking ideas a bit more seriously.

The basic argument above — that this is a war of ideas, and we must discuss ideas to clarify them, even through argument and debate — is a healthy and sensible one. There are a few points upon which elaboration is necessary.

First, most people do not understand that in a war of ideas, each idea is a sub-archetype of some fundamental philosophy that represents more of a direction/purpose in life and an explanation of how life works than a distinct and new direction in itself. Even if we accept that Rightism is not a spectrum, we can see how all Rightist beliefs are unified by some ancestor in thought.

On Amerika, we have identified the Right as consequentialists who also strive for transcendental goodness. To be an extreme realist like a consequentialist is to believe that we get anywhere only by understanding our world in detail, but that tells us method, and we then must know toward what we should strive.

The answer comes from reality itself: like Darwinian evolution, or even self-discipline, we strive for qualitative improvement based on our lot in life “as it is” according to realism. To do that, we must seek that which is good and beautiful in life, exploring our own capacity for virtue, so that we know what to do with what we know of how reality works.

It is not as simple as saying that the Right opposes equality. We do oppose it, but mainly because it is unrealistic. It is also moral sabotage, but that is minor compared to the fact that equality clashes with the mathematics underlying our universe and, as a result, leads to accelerated entropy and decrepitude.

More importantly, the Right desires a society that is based on an order higher than the individual; this is part of consequentialism, or measuring our actions in terms of their results and not how humans judge them. The other extreme, egalitarianism, figures that whatever is popular is right, simply because it is what the individual wants. This is the secret meaning behind equality: no one can rise above the herd, and whatever the herd desires, is presumed to be right, especially if it contradicts what more intelligent, honorable or wiser people know.

So while the “official” Leftist and Rightist parties — or even a host of parties including Greens, Communitarians, and other permutations, all of which boil down to one ideological ancestor of the other — are engaged in a football game of Red Team versus Blue Team, the battle between Rightist (realism) and Leftism (individualism) is real.

Those official parties are allegorically similar to the difference between a McDonald’s cheeseburger and the abstract notion of cooked meat. The Right-wing parties sometimes do something vaguely Right-wing, true, but most of the time they are buying votes just like the Left-wing party. The difference is that buying votes and other attributes of democracy push further toward the Left, because democracy itself as the political wing of egalitarianism tends toward the Left. Whether this is done through elections, judges, shifts in meaning to common terms or all of the above is irrelevant at that point. Any participation in democracy strengthens the Left.

In addition, democracy is doomed because it always favors what is not real. In a democracy, those who offer the words that make most people feel warm and happy inside become the winners. There is no obligation to follow up. That means that we are choosing actors, not leaders, and that they will do as little as possible to change the course of history because doing so would endanger their personal place within the hierarchy. In addition, there is no accountability for the people making the decisions in question, because the voters cast their lot like throwing dice and then blame everyone else for whatever they get.

Now let us return to the horseshoe theory which states that at their extremes, Rightism and Leftism resemble each other because both become authoritarian. Looking at this more sagely, it is clear that “government” — as opposed to leadership as in a monarchy — itself is a creation of modernity, which is the time period that arose after the individualism of the Renaissance™ became the egalitarianism of the Enlightement™ and finally, mutated into a collectivism and conformist version of those.

Equality is the root of modernity and government. However, government does not work; it is a self-serving corporation that becomes parasitic to the nations in which it holds power. As a result, it becomes unstable over time and must become authoritarian in order to remain in power by retaining control. The “horseshoe theory” applies to government, not political inclinations.

Rightism, as you no doubt recall, was the name given to those who liked the way things were before the French Revolution. All conservatives have this in common, and the use of time-honored methods represented a variant of the Rightist idea of extreme realism plus existential well-being through qualitative improvement. Kings are the only stable method of leadership; this can be improved qualitatively, but not changed.

If you are not an egalitarian, you are most likely a Rightist, but this is because of a lack of other options. You either believe in an order above human intentions, or an order of human intentions. You can avoid the question entirely, but there is no “third front” or “third way.” The Egalitarianism Question (EQ) divides all theories into these two camps.

We know that government is doom; how would a rightist pick something… better? One answer comes to us from civic engagement and social capital, which are both not-government and not-anarchy:

Especially with regard to the postcommunist countries, scholars and democratic activists alike have lamented the absence or obliteration of traditions of independent civic engagement and a widespread tendency toward passive reliance on the state.

…When Tocqueville visited the United States in the 1830s, it was the Americans’ propensity for civic association that most impressed him as the key to their unprecedented ability to make democracy work. “Americans of all ages, all stations in life, and all types of disposition,” he observed, “are forever forming associations. There are not only commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but others of a thousand different types–religious, moral, serious, futile, very general and very limited, immensely large and very minute. . . . Nothing, in my view, deserves more attention than the intellectual and moral associations in America.”

Recently, American social scientists of a neo-Tocquevillean bent have unearthed a wide range of empirical evidence that the quality of public life and the performance of social institutions (and not only in America) are indeed powerfully influenced by norms and networks of civic engagement. Researchers in such fields as education, urban poverty, unemployment, the control of crime and drug abuse, and even health have discovered that successful outcomes are more likely in civically engaged communities.

These civic engagements only exist for so long as they are protected by a conservative social order, however, because the “me first” individualist order of egalitarianism erodes them by demanding attention to the individual, and not the shared social space. In effect, when each individual can take power, a “tragedy of the commons” results where each person seizes power for themselves, and none is allowed to remain shared between the citizens; the paradox of this is that for power to remain shared, it must be owned by someone so that there is actual accountability, because otherwise people take what they want and then blame others or the group for the collective tragedy.

This tragedy of the commons takes effect anywhere humans go, and constitutes part of The Human Problem, which is how every human organization decays. The goal of the group is eroded under waves of individual need. As individuals exploit their own need, they see no reason to be limited in doing so, because if they do, others will win out. Only when a factor like a shared goal or higher order intervenes can people be induced to stop competing with one another and cooperate, but at that point, those who do not cooperate — “free riders” — gain power.

Ironically, success brings about this condition. A society that is thriving has extra wealth that it can squander on various forms of non-productive or even destructive behavior. In societies where every moment and morsel count, there is less tolerance for getting it wrong, and so the individuals in those societies develop social codes based on long-term thinking, honor, fidelity and shared goals. Where there is tolerance for getting it wrong, The Human Problem accelerates. This may be why the original Western Civilization originated in people who emerged from the Arctic Circle, where sloppiness or parasitism resulted in death, and were punished accordingly.

Egalitarianism, on the other hand, says that sloppiness and parasitism are just fine because everyone is equal and therefore, should be accepted even if they are unproductive, screw up a lot or have bad faith participation. Leftism is the philosophy of egalitarianism, much as democracy is its political arm. For that reason, the West cannot be Leftist:

The Alt-Right certainly doesn’t believe the West is “liberal values.” Western civilization existed for centuries before the Enlightenment. It was the product of a particular people, their religion, history and culture. It used to be a very illiberal place in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Early Modern Era. The Left admits this by saying we should be ashamed to be Westerners because we weren’t always so liberal.

We believe that liberalism is destroying Western civilization. It has led to this crippling sense of racial guilt and cultural malaise. It has opened our borders to the ongoing Third World invasion. It has unraveled and debauched our culture. We’ve degenerated to the point where we celebrate the death of our own children as “freedom.” We can’t even reproduce ourselves anymore or assert our own identity and interests. It will suffice to say that liberalism is the philosophy of Western suicide.

In other words, the West is its people, and those people only thrive when subjected to natural selection, such that those who are productive, intelligent and morally good are advanced above the rest and keep that herd under control, because otherwise the herd discovers egalitarianism and promptly exploits civilization in a tragedy of the commons.

So now we come full-circle. The horseshoe theory is nonsense if applied to Left and Right, but describes exactly what happens as government decays. The Left-Right paradigm is not false at all, but taking sides based on the parties and not the philosophies that they in theory espouse, is in fact nonsensical and merely strengthens the Left-leaning system. And Leftism, like all forms of herd morality, is our death.

At The Core Of Cuck Pathology, A Stereotypical Middle Class Behavior

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Like most good slang, the political term “cuck” exploded into public consciousness because it is highly descriptive. It articulates the thought process behind those who, whatever party they are from, simply give in to the decay of our society without at least putting up a fight. They then get “Stockholm Syndrome” and start acting like sociopaths.

In the oldest human tradition, cucks project. They do not see themselves as a negative force. Instead, they convince their brains that they are enlightened, doing the right thing, rising above the rest and bringing a new era of prosperity to the West. They recite these things like a mantra because they are dependent on that illusion, as otherwise they must see that they are simply rationalizing decay.

Cucks join an old human tendency in this way which is to indulge in the solipsistic fallacy. This mental state suggests to those in its grip that the world is unchanging, and that only the decisions of the individual matter, as if they were made in a perpetual present tense where time did not pass and actions did not have consequences.

This mentality manifests in the classic bourgeois view that the individual should not interfere with the world as it is, but merely concentrate on improving his own position of wealth and social status. That corresponds to a frequent utterance, “everything will be fine,” which encourages that individual to ignore the world around him.

Analyzed as a political viewpoint, this outlook on the world encourages a kind of competitive apathy whereby the individual seeks to take as much as possible from the civilization while investing as little as possible. Technically, it makes sense, so long as the concern is limited to an individual lifetime and that person denies any investment in offspring and their descendants.

Through this mode of thought, the individual is convinced to adopt opinions that produce short-term social benefit at the expense of coherence about long-term concerns. If all of the popular people are insisting that the sky is green, the winning strategy in the short term is to say that the sky is green; a few may try a long-term strategy of being iconoclastic, but that is a long shot.

For this reason, people congregate into herds and gather around illusions. The illusions make other people feel better, so they become mandatory opinion; then, the group stands around confirming those illusions to one another. Anyone who says differently is a threat, and so the group punishes this person.

In societies based purely on competition, which is the case in all egalitarian societies, lies therefore predominate over truth. Individuals are acting in self-interest and, through a cultural variety of the “tragedy of the commons,” they adopt nonsensical views in order to win at the game of being social.

When people in the modern West blame a variety of scapegoats for our problems, they are indulging in the fallacy that they are not responsible for their actions. In reality, social forces and a lack of hierarchy empower this default tendency of individuals, which is why equality is the handmaiden of the death of empires.

Ecosystems, Societies and Human Conflict

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Biology informs our perspective on a number of our societal problems. One thing that it tells us a lot about is the curse of enforced diversity. We here at Amerika champion the old maxim that diversity does not work. But so far we have cited this as a given, not subjected it to probative analysis. This post seeks to draw upon our background knowledge of Deep Ecology and provide the analytical prop to support the maxim with appropriate rigor.

We know from basic biology that an ecosystem consists of the environment that surrounds a community of species and comprises the region within which these species tend to competitively react. Within said environment each living organism requires four things to do well: food, shelter, water, and space. If there isn’t enough for everybody to get a pony, then one or more of these resources is a limiting factor that is by definition scarce. Once we have scarce resources, competition ensues. Some win, some dirt-nap, some head straight for the exit.

We can then compare our society to said ecosystem by analogy. The different sub-cultures such as religions, races, and social classes are all populations attempting to lay hands on what they need. When times are good and easy, you will get more of them. Absent limiting factors, the different groups will tend to coexist. But when one of the big four requirements runs scarce….Some win, some dirt-nap, some head straight for the exit.

Biologists define diversity as the variety of differing species that exist within the confines of an ecosystem. By analogy, we can describe cultural diversity as the number of different subcultures that compete for resources and status within the society. A biologist will define an ecosystem as robust when it contains significantly large amounts of diversity. A simple extension dictates that a diverse society should also be robust.

However, we now reach a contradiction. Diversity equals conflict, or diversity is our strength. Can it be both, could it be neither or is it forced to be one or the other? This requires an analysis of our appetite for conflict and tendency toward destruction. In competition, some win, some lose and some retreat for the hills. We can referee this competition, or we can let it go full-metal Darwin. We can let iron sharpen iron, or we can make certain competitors pad their blades and use whiffle bats, not war clubs. Finally, and most importantly, we can allow for the graceful exit of those hors de combat or just sadistically kick ’em back into the field of play.

When the competition is refereed, we need to feel confident the referee is just. We have so badly sunk into Post-Modernism and incorrectly applied Nihilism, we can’t even define the term just. Equality of result becomes an ideal held by most who fail to get results any other way. Like the whinging, flop-artist soccer player these people constantly work the ref rather than working on leveling up their game. When this works to the extent that Asian-Americans with an ACT score of X1 have less than half the likelihood of getting into Harvard of a Hispanic-American with a similar score, the impartiality of the referee can only be called into question.

It also calls into question what we define as a strength. Let’s say Harvard University has the best Applied Mathematics Department in America. Let’s also assume it takes a hundred new majors per year. If diversity is truly intended to produce social robustness and iron really sharpens iron, then we ultimately would have to steel ourselves for an outcome where all hundred members of the next Applied Math major cohort at Harvard were all Vietnamese Americans. If that group of individuals happened to be the top hundred, and if diversity is our strength — as opposed to being our slogan — we’ve got to be totally cool with that. Even if we are either Caucasian or African-American. If we really believe Vietnamese lives matter, what else could we conclude? If the referee forces any other outcome, than obviously we have some sort of unjust and implicit hierarchy of which lives really matter more.

So if the game isn’t fair, should everybody have to play? Now there used to be an implicit right in America known as Freedom of Association that dictated the extent to which you were forced to experience diversity. People could live, work and do business with those they trusted and felt a level of comfort with. Now you will bake their wedding cakes even if you find them utterly detestable and would forego the income that produces with pleasure. You literally can’t escape, and if you compete too hard and too well, the referee will intervene and prevent you from winning to the extent to which you deserve.

Imagine an NBA game where Steph Curry has to crank his threes wearing a pair of five pound ankle weights. Imagine we just tech him up and give the other team free throws if he turns around and gripes. That’s the diversity culture of Modern America. It is not our strength. It is often a laughable rendition of Kurt Vonnegut’s classic Harrison Bergeron. Iron is not sharpening iron. The resources are not accurately valued and a predictable Tragedy of The Commons settles upon us as a pestilence. The different cultures forced into this revolting petri dish of dysfunction hate one another with the blistering fire of a thousand suns.

Wikipedia Discovers Crowdism

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

As it turns out, crowd-approved group blog Wikipedia reveals the Crowdist pattern in its “objective” articles and comments:

They concluded that “significant progress could be made by moderating a relatively small number of frequent attackers.” But at the same time, in Wikipedia’s comments “less than half of attacks come from users with little prior participation; and perhaps surprisingly, approximately 30% of attacks come from registered users with over a 100 contributions. These results suggest the problems associated with personal attacks do not have an easy solution… the majority of personal attacks on Wikipedia are not the result of a few malicious users, nor primarily the consequence of allowing anonymous contributions.”

In other words, the wrong people got in power… again. Funny how this happens. In business, in social groups, in volunteer groups and even among fellow employees heading out to lunch. When there is not a clear leader and hierarchy, the snarling Simian ancestry of humans comes forth and we sabotage ourselves by fighting for power like preening animals, “talking monkeys with car keys.”

The problem is us. Crowdism is the theory of what happens when individualism becomes collectivized, and inverts definitions by removing the unpopular complex and unpleasant concepts from within the bigger concept, leaving us with something like a cross between Disneyland and the Soviet Union.

Humans ruin everything they touch. Someone starts up a new idea, and this idea will be powerful so long as it is not widely understood, so that the idea selects its audience. But when people start coming in for demotic reasons — politics, commerce, popularity — then they want to use the idea as a means to the end of their own personal advancement, and they destroy it.

This is why nothing persists in the human world. As soon as something good is formed, it is destroyed. Wherever people gather, they consume whatever they find so that they can advance themselves. Unless this herd instinct is formed, humanity becomes the source of the death of anything good and devolves into squabbling, pretentious rodents who soak up all the resources and leave a wasteland.

We talk a good deal about virtue signaling on this blog, but the fact is that virtue signaling is one method of bullying people out of the way. There are others, but generally, people use language to manipulate each other, not to communicate. As a result, they are like worms creeping through computer data, changing everything into gibberish by redefining it.

Wikipedia provides an interesting model for this because it seems that it would be free of the commercial pressures that are commonly blamed for corrupting everything in the human world. In fact, commerce is just one of the ways that a “tragedy of the commons” occurs, with people acting in self-interest against group interest.

Could Wikipedia be saved? Yes, but only if: it had strong leaders, a caste system, and a strong culture that rewards the honest and punishes the bad. That is the opposite of what it has now, which is a popularity contest. We can see reflections of our society in Wikipedia, and in neither case is the prognosis very good.

The Fall Of Democracy Becomes Plausible

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

bourbon_restoration

The American Interest asks a vital question, citing this study (via Outside In:

But it does highlight the fact that the democratic discontent of 2016 is not just a temporary episode can be allayed by rebuffing Putin’s shenanigans or hectoring voters about their irresponsibility or putting the right technocrats in charge. The dark specter of illiberalism across the West is symptomatic of a deep and broad-based decline in confidence in democratic institutions and ideas that has been taking place for two decades.

Liberalism (the early stages of Leftism) rose to power because of a simple promise: pacifism. Leftism surmises that by making people equally included in society, we can avoid the ravages of the class warfare that devastated Europe in the middle of the last millennium.

However, it has failed to deliver: inequality is ever-increasing, and our new elites are both incompetent and seemingly evil in their capacity to relentlessly advance destructive non-solutions to imaginary problems while ignoring real ones. The economies of the world have reached their end-stage, overpopulation threatens, social instability and decay are raging, and our leaders have no suggestions except to double down on what brought those problems in the first place.

As a result, people are rethinking the supposition that enabled Leftism, which is that we can use external control — an idea inherited from technological processes — to treat people like interchangeable parts and shape them into perfect citizens with rules, incentives and threats. Control is the idea that a centralized authority can use force to organize essentially identical units, which is the opposite of the ecosystem model that nature uses.

The end result of this poor thinking is that we operate by a simple rule: if it is human, it is good; this form of revenge on the natural order leads to promotion of incompetents and a proliferation of regulations which make daily life choking in its tedium and frustration.

Instead, people are looking toward natural-style (organic, ecosystemic, gradual) orders such those described in the four pillars: tribalism, aristocracy, positive incentive systems and some kind of purpose, goal and objective which by its nature is transcendental.

Tribalism means that culture and its values systems take the place of government and economy in regulating a society:

Jewish identity since the days of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel had always been a tribal/national peoplehood. While tribal practices and customs (which are often incorrectly referred to as “Judaism”) and a strong biological link between many of the members are certainly present, Israelite identity was never based on either of these. Israelite identity has always been a tribal membership that goes by lineage (being born into the Tribes of Israel) or tribal acceptance (which is incorrectly translated as “conversion”). The identity Ashkenazi Jews have today is identical to that of King David whose great grandmother was a Moabite convert, but was nonetheless a Jew by virtue of being born into the Tribes of Israel by lineage.

Aristocracy means a reversal of the idea of external control. Instead of seeing who masters the system, we look at who is good (moral, intelligent, strong leadership) and give them power and wealth to manage. This gets us off the treadmill of needing constant growth and the resulting “tragedy of the commons”.

Having a goal also removes control. Control exists for itself, alone, although it justifies its power by claiming that it preserves social order. This fails because people become focused on satisfying the needs of the System instead of acting toward what is needed for civilization; control replaces goals. The modern West and the Soviet Union have both failed because the needs of the System replaced the goals of civilization.

In this change from a Francis Fukuyama-styled “end of history” where liberal democracy with market-supported socialism is the final state of humanity, we see the refutation and affirmation of the Unabomber’s thesis that industrial technology is our undoing:

The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in “advanced” countries, but they have destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued development of technology will worsen the situation. It will certainly subject human beings to greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased physical suffering even in “advanced” countries.

Instead of industrial technology forming the root of our problem, we see that the theory of industry — take in raw materials, process them, and produce identical units — became the basis for the idea of equality, which because it replaces social order, requires strong State power to implement. Technology itself is not the problem, but treating civilization like a factory is.

As liberal democracy fails people will turn toward alternatives. As always, what people think in groups is wrong. One half will want Communism, and the other half, a capitalist dictatorship of the fascist nature. Instead, we should reverse the very core of our thinking, which is that Systems — themselves an idea arising from equality — can save us. We should look toward putting our best people in power instead, ruling ourselves by culture, and finally, having a goal other than keeping the group together through pacifism.

StrangeLoop: no one “owns” a conference

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

strangeloop

When the StrangeLoop conference banned Curtis Yarvin because of his political writings, they opened up a terrible can of worms. By excluding people with the “wrong” opinions, a conference selects out all but those who have the “right” opinions, and rapidly becomes blind to anything but its own assumptions.

Conformity becomes assured when one must have the “right” opinions to be part of a community. This means that everyone will be two-faced: say what is expected in public, and think something different and radicalized in private. StrangeLoop has become such a community: its agenda aims not for innovation, but participation in the “right” ways, which creates a giant circle hug dedicated to avoidance of the parts of reality that might be scary.

The debacle introduced a conversation that we need to be having about online spaces. Specifically: who “owns” them.

Online communities and conferences share a salient attribute: although the means of producing them are owned, the event itself is a form of commons, or resource shared by all that is dependent on the participation of others. In the best times, they are entrusted to those with the wisdom to govern them. In the worst time, they are handed over to the mob, which creates a race to exploit and destroy them (this is what Garrett Hardin wrote about in “The Tragedy of the Commons”).

One critique brought up this point in the context of the Yarvin exile (TYE):

The conference is the property of its organisers, who can invite and uninvite whomever they like.

I would like to challenge this point.

No one owns a conference. A culture, a conference or an online space belongs to those who use it. The means of its production — the server which hosts it or the hall which houses it — are not equal to the conference or virtual space itself. They are physical elements which facilitate the virtual space, which can be viewed as an intersection between users and ideas. A virtual space, including some physical spaces united by ideas like conferences, is not a physical thing. Like a conversation, it is the interaction between people. Conformity out of fear threatens that interaction.

Conferences belong to the community they serve. This does not mean, as StrangeLoop asserts, that it is appropriate to disinvite a speaker for unrelated writings because some of the attendees might be offended. The grim fact is that we are always surrounded by people who hate at least one thing we love, or love at least one thing we hate, and thus there are no “safe spaces” until we reduce standards to such a lowest common denominator that we exist among fluffy clouds and warm pillows, with reality — and the challenges we need to address to live full lives — spaced out far away. A community does not consist of people who agree. It consists of people who are willing to disagree, but focus their thoughts on the same goal, and have those disagreements be related to that goal and not personal pretense, which is the other option.

The community is not healthy if it consists of people who think exactly the same things, nor does it thrive if people have nothing in common. It must have a tension within which causes the re-teaching of old truths through renewal via conflict. This is why no happy community either (1) squashes dissent or (2) enables people to post low quality garbage that drowns out the dissent with inanity. These extremes reflect a lack of ability to look at the community as an organic whole with different internal needs.

Users can manipulate any forum which is dedicated to avoiding conflict. A small group of them will simply agree that one specific category of content is unacceptable to them, and raise a ruckus when it is posted. They will then swarm and attack all who fail to condemn it. At this point, the online community is heading toward rapid death as all normal users flee the scene. That fact will go unnoticed because the caretakers of the forum look at numbers and not who is leaving. If they did, they would see long-time users heading for the hills and being replaced with a new group: the friends of the small group who initiated the decline, invited from other areas to do the same thing they did there, since they have found a new host.

The expulsion of Yarvin shows what happens when leadership is weak and unable to resist even such a small group. Any sane person would point out that with a thousand attendees, there are bound to be dozens of people who endorse certain ideas that some hate and fear. This is a necessary condition for a thriving community. When people insist that only some of those ideas are worth focusing on, that is not them defending themselves against scary ideas; it is them using the pretense of being afraid as an offensive weapon against anyone who disagrees with them. This kills the community under the guise of protecting property.

StrangeLoop has essentially isolated itself to only those who think in such terms by excluding all others, even if they did not agree with Yarvin. The same process happens over and over again as social groups, companies, industries and nation-states self-destruct by their inability to realize the community itself is worth defending against incursions by politically correct agitators. The ultimate loser here is everyone, because a thriving but sometimes offensive community was replaced by a game of office politics that no one can win but the cynical, sociopathic and narcissistic.

Burning Man in New York

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Occupy Wall Street contains the seeds of its own demise. It is not going to be a happy ending, like the transformation of the Tea Party into a powerful wing of the Republican Party, but a sputtering out that will leave the movement’s allies with a feeling of distaste. I know a frequent response to these sorts of friendly criticisms is that the critic should go down to his local occupation and discuss his ideas himself, but in this case this would be unproductive, since the flaw is not in the way the idea is being handled but in the very concept of occupation itself.

For some, the sole purpose of this protest is to make their feelings heard about income inequality. These people may show up for a day and say hello, or express sympathy from the comfort of their suburban Massachusetts homes, but they will not make the movement any more powerful. For the core of believers, the draw is that this protest is different from anything that came before it: it is not one day’s march through New York, but a new community separate from evil, corporate New York that represents a new way of living to the world. It is this permanency, the act of taking over a public space for an endless Teach-In, that has fascinated the liberal mind. As core organizers of the movement wrote on its secret mailing list, “We are building the community we WANT in this world. One that feeds, shelters … and cares for all [its] members. A community that hears every voice.”

This is Burning Man in New York. By entering the protest space you renounce the protection of and slavery to the police and the banks, and enter an agreement that you are going to build a community where everyone is equal and will avoid any problems of the old, evil world by being nice and respecting each other. When my sympathetic Facebook friends visit their local occupation, they come back glowing with energy from this step into the sacred sphere: the people are so diverse, everyone has such good intentions, there’s so much creativity and potential here.

This cult mentality allows them to blind themselves to what the protest is really like. At Burning Man, disruptions have prevented total freedom as the population grows– and this event lasts only a few days a year. Imagine trying to sustain 40,000 artists in the desert… permanently. Ludicrous? Well, at least Burning Man is utterly inaccessible. If you want to be disruptive there, you have to drive most of the day through empty desert and pass through a gate where they want a $300 ticket. At Occupy Wall Street, you’re a few metro stops away from millions of people, and admission is free.

Only with this background can the jaw-dropping record of crime at occupations around the country over the past few weeks can be believed, although not totally understood. How many sexual assaults and rapes were there at the Greensboro sit-ins? How many police cars were defecated upon at Selma? I don’t have a complete record, but I’m almost certain this is the first time a married couple has sold heroin at a political protest as their 6-year-old child watched. And this is certainly the first political protest in America that a sex offender has registered as his permanent address.

That this idea did not fall apart immediately is thanks to some clever quirks about the way it is marketed. First, because the protests are held in cities where participants can easily go to and from their homes and jobs, maintaining the protest is more of a hobby than a commitment, like a broken radio you tinker with in your basement for the hell of it. If you get burned out you can walk away at any time without losing much. Second, many Americans are used to giving money to political causes, and so a society was created without scarcity. If you as an individual or business owner consider Occupy a demand for reform, then it makes sense to support it with money. (If you realize you are giving your money to a utopian commune, then you may second-guess your decision.) Finally, due to the culture of leftist protests, any police crackdown will only renew support for the occupation.

But cracks are starting to show in this structure. Everyone is allowed to choose the job they want to do, which naturally leads to stifling bureaucracy from overcrowded committees and out-of-control kids who just want to do their thing.  Money is bound to dry up as long as the occupiers are not producing anything of value themselves. And the constant influx of the actual 99%, homeless beggars enjoying the free food and shelter, will surely be an entertaining disruption in the weeks to come.

Perhaps it should be disbanded before things get too bad. They’ve made their point, after all. But agreeing to stop fighting the police and to go home turns Occupy into just another protest and a failure as a new paradigm, as Slavoj Žižek indeed said when he visited Zucotti Park. To be “successful”, as they are now, the protesters must try to maintain their little society indefinitely. And that spells ruin.

The problem is not in the way the protest is being run; it’s in the entire concept of the protest. What is the good about the masses whose interests they are trying to promote? Why do the 1% lack this goodness? As Irving Babbit wrote in Ideas and the World, “The democratic idealist is prone to make light of the whole question of standards and leadership because of his unbounded faith in the plain people.” The 99% are the people, and are thus inherently good; the 1%, on the other hand, has not just been bad recently, but is inherently untrustworthy because it is such a small minority. If 99% of the mob before Pilate wanted to crucify Christ, these protesters would have no choice but to approve. They are unable to choose any particular strain of American culture over the other, even if one kind is dangerous to civil society, and another is the foundation of society itself.

To be allowed to join the camp of Occupy, the only creed you need affirm is political. The scholar Claes G. Ryn has recently observed that in modern American intellectual life, “issues of cultural decline are discussed as if the key to reversing the trend lay in the hands of politicians.” The reality is always, without exception, the inverse. The way people conduct themselves and interact with each other determines what they can achieve together.  Culture dictates politics, and a culture that believes otherwise is going insane. The failure of Occupy Wall Street is not in its political goals, but in the culture its structure inherently creates. Notice the utter chaos of their art and architecture, the formless, artless madness of the crowd. It could only have been dreamt up in a society that believes politics can come first and culture afterwards, and without understanding how either of these things arise.

An “occupation” can last centuries in the right hands. In the 4th century, some stray radicals wanderered out of the cities and occupied Kadisha Valley in Lebanon. Their descendants are still occupying it, based on the same principles: Christian monasticism. It takes a stronger bond than faith in the goodness of the mob to keep people together through the hardships of life and supporting each other indefinitely.

The coming storm

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

A paradox forms when the conditions for collision are right. Collision occurs when two objects want to occupy the same space at the same time.

In the West, we have been pretending that we can both have the liberal ideological state, and also have a comfortable place to live like we always have. Most people are unaware that these two things are at odds with one another.

The liberal ideological state, as demonstrated by the worst theorists of Sweden who quickly took over that country because people are pathologically afraid of being seen as discompassionate, is opposed to any kind of native culture, individual feeling, or hierarchy.

Despite its creepy organic posturing and loudly shouted greenish noises, the liberal establishment advocates industrialization of the soul, a world of interchangeable equal parts administered by a central machine, with the end goal of producing identical citizens.

Not content with a world governed by natural law, which is what brought us from primitive chimpanzee state to our slightly more advanced human state, the liberal establishment aims to take a single, crowd-pleasing, unrealistic, pandering idea — equality of all people — and turn it into a means of total control.

This is why a storm is coming. The two forces — those who want to be free to evolve, and those who oppose evolution in the name of equality — are gathered, and are finally realizing that their dream of “coexistence” was a pleasant-smelling lie with foul innards. It cannot be.

“We have to tolerate also views we don’t like,” he said. Later, he said that no one should confuse openness with naiveté. – NYT

Political correctness is a nonsense ideology. Its idea — that we can avoid offending everyone — rests on the basic concept of equality. It also demonstrates why equality is perpetually dysfunctional: if every opinion is equal, none can be chosen.

The result is a paralysis of all higher functions of society while the lower functions — industry, bureaucracy, commerce and socialization — go on, but at an accelerated pace in order to fill in for the missing higher functions.

The only safe policy in a time of political correctness is to do nothing and have no opinions. Go to your job. Have hobbies, in your own home or in socially approved activities. But don’t suggest changes to the inertia of modern society. Someone will be offended, and it will cost you.

“…the [United Nations Human Rights] Committee made clear that limits on freedom of expression for these reasons can only be in the very exceptional situations laid out elsewhere in the (ICCPR) that deal with incitement to hatred and discrimination on religious or racial grounds and so forth.” – IPS

No red-blooded person would ever tolerate such insanity. We have stopped leading ourselves, and are letting our tools (industry, technology, democracy) lead us to places we originally had no intention of going. We have pushed reality away in favor of what is socially popular.

The backlash is not people coming from the right-wing, but moving into the right-wing. They were originally leftists of various stripes, or mainstream conservatives, but eventually saw that those paths lead to the ultimate fusion of 1984 and Brave New World: the postmodern totalitarian state.

Political correctness, instead of being an innocent attempt to be nice to other people, is a form of thought control that is forcing those who are not yet neutered to lash out and fight back. They are not fighting the symptoms of their upset, but the causes:

In the end it was not Norway’s immigrants or Muslims that Breivik chose to assassinate, but people who came from the same background as he did and whose parents were almost certainly Labour Party supporters like his own. But the fact was that by last Friday, Breivik felt not only that he no longer belonged to his own people, he had come to detest them with a virulence that was unprecedented.Is Norway’s ostensibly tolerant social model partially to blame? – The Independent

We are kept at bay because the modern liberal ideology is intentionally paradoxical.

It tolerates anything, except that which criticizes the tolerance of anything. It supports all freedoms for the individual, and none for the group or for individuals who want an organized, functional, values-centered society.

It is deconstruction enshrined as wisdom, a complete breakdown in social values and even social concept, leaving us with alienated, atomized, isolated, selfish, oblivious and resentful people alone in their apartments and homes. They can shop, and they can socialize on a plastic surface level, but that is all.

This life is ugly and paranoid. It is hollow and unsatisfying. It is without any kind of real satisfaction. But it hides this under a surface composed of both an absence of certain “great fears” and an ability to indulge in personal desires.

The great cold lie at the heart of present-day America is that the nation will magically benefit if we each single-mindedly pursue our self-interest to the exclusion of all else. The idea has a sleek quasi-free-market sheen, as it borrows the market’s “invisible hand” and applies it to social, fiscal and environmental policies.

That is a magical-thinking fantasy. If I pursued only my own self-interest, I would dump the toxic effluent from my factory right into the river ( a la China’s very laissez faire economy) while I lived far away in an exclusive community far from the stench and poisons. Why pay for costly remediation when the “free” river beckons? After all, it all works out wonderfully if we each pursue our own self-interest with methodical, nay maniacal, single-mindedness. – Zero Hedge

This is exactly what Immanuel Kant warned us about with his theory of radical evil: the problem is not Satan, or intentional evil by fiendish masterminds, but the daily small evils we commit by being oblivious to reality.

Intentional evil provides a convenient symbol, or scapegoat, but doesn’t describe how evil truly comes about. We think if we avoid evil intent, we have avoided evil; the truth is that unintentional evil is the biggest threat to us.

Evil comes about through selfishness, like that which powers both crime and deceptive business practices; it also comes about through willful ignorance of the consequences of our actions, or tolerance of actions by others that will result in bad consequences.

Garrett Hardin upgraded Kant’s formula with his Tragedy of the Commons. His point is that self-interest, because it places the self first before the world at large, is a form of unintentional evil and we encourage it with our equality, democracy, consumerism and social popularity cult.

The tragedy of the commons develops in this way. Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast well below the carrying capacity of the land. Finally, however, comes the day of reckoning, that is, the day when the long-desired goal of social stability becomes a reality. At this point, the inherent logic of the commons remorselessly generates tragedy.

As a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximize his gain. Explicitly or implicitly, more or less consciously, he asks, “What is the utility to me of adding one more animal to my herd?” This utility has one negative and one positive component.

1) The positive component is a function of the increment of one animal. Since the herdsman receives all the proceeds from the sale of the additional animal, the positive utility is nearly +1.

2) The negative component is a function of the additional overgrazing created by one more animal. Since, however, the effects of overgrazing are shared by all the herdsmen, the negative utility for any particular decision-making herdsman is only a fraction of -1.

Adding together the component partial utilities, the rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another…. But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit–in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all. – “The Tragedy of the Commons,” by Garrett Hardin

Rationalism is the art of deconstruction. Instead of trying to take in the world as a whole, we set up a little mental sandbox and we focus only on its contents. This lets us simplify and also misleads us with the nature of symbols; they are not the whole, although they represent it.

Part of this deconstructive logic allows us to put blinders on to any consequence of our actions that we are not officially instructed to address. We delegate leadership to democratic rulers who, by reacting to our desires instead of our needs, allow us to act through them.

We then have an army of bureaucrats, cops, firemen, activists and other service-roles who we assume take care of the problems we create. They’re paid to, after all. As a result, we push awareness of those issues right out of our minds and focus on what we are delegated to address, which is our personal desires.

This explains how with the best of intentions, we achieve the worst of results. Acting as granular individuals, we become like yeast: we eat up all the resources and then die. Unified under an intelligent leadership, we can plan for our future as a group and thus do better.

What opposes this is the anti-group, or the Crowd. Composed of individuals who want nothing to obstruct their own desires, this group acts to remove any standards, hierarchy, collective leadership, culture or common sense. Its goal is anarchy, protected by the guise of being in a group.

The most recent effort of this group is political correctness. It wants to obliterate any type of thinking that offends any one person, because if it allows such thinking, it no longer controls discourse. The Crowd wants to control discourse so that it can reject any collective standards except those delegated roles mentioned above.

As a result, we live in a time with freedom toward any deconstructive activity, but ultimately, a totalitarian system blocking our path from making any qualitative changes to our own society — having standards, values, culture or even common sense.

The only remaining option is conflict:

Can you think of an effective AND acceptable way to publicize his views and ideologies?

He could not have gone via the mainstream media route, because of the politically incorrect nature of his ideas.

{…}

If you ignore morality or ethics, his actions were infact rational and logical. He chose to do something that would guarantee two outcomes.

1. Widespread notoriety and exposure to his ideas, which were well laid out.

2. A government security-law overreaction which will end up pushing moderates into extremism.

To put it another way, he chose the ‘V for Vendetta‘ approach right down to bombing the prime minister’s office and his verbose manifestos. You know something else- he might ultimately succeed even if he does not live to see that day. – A.D.

We are facing an age not of lesser terrorism, but of more terrorism. The centralized states are too powerful to oppose militarily; what force could defeat the USA, Russia or China through power of arms? None that was averse to high casualties, certainly.

The great conflict that has been brewing since 1789 is upon us. Are we with the people who want to adapt to our world and evolve, or those who want individuals to be able to live in a mental fugue composed of desires, notions, jingles, memes, anecdotes and most of all, a feral anarchistic desire for no common sense?

Al-Qaeda, Ted Kaczynski, Tim McVeigh and Anders Behring Breivik are simply the vanguard of this coming storm. They want a choice of type of civilization, not more meaningless personal choices and hobbies.

Those that oppose them are afraid, as well they should be. Liberalism in all forms leads to society deconstructing itself and ending a ruin; however, those who espouse liberalism are too personally unstable to care. The only option left is extremism, and it is not the right that has forced it — it is the left.

The court of public opinion

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Forgive me for intruding with stupidity, but it makes a good talking point.

Unless you are living under a rock (where I hear it is quiet and peaceful) you have been inundated with propaganda about the Casey Anthony trial. It’s a veritable media gold rush because it has all the elements that make the crowd stand up and howl: a dead child, a dead cancer patient child, a reckless mother, etc.

The moral indignation rings out loudly as we all try to hide our own moral failings. We love Casey Anthony because whatever we’ve done, she’s done worse. She takes the pressure off us, even if it’s just internal pressure.

Her trial is in fact the ultimate extension of democracy.

  • If you’re a feminist, you can rail at her treatment by men.
  • If you’re a masculinist (MRA), you can rail at how the justice system coddles crazy women.
  • If you’re a conservative, you can rail against the failing of traditional values.
  • If you’re a liberal, you can rail at how our social services fail children.
  • If you hate America, you can use this to prove that Americans are morons.
  • If you love America, you can praise our fair-minded justice system.

The best thing about the above: they’re all true.

True, that is, as part of the whole picture; they don’t tell you the whole story, but they’re true in that each of the above is logically valid.

But if we look at this story from a legal angle, we see that partially true isn’t enough. The case presented by the state did not directly link Casey to the murder of her child. An unproven crime should not result in a conviction, even if many people out there think it should have.

A second defense attorney for Anthony, Cheney Mason, blasted the media in a statement, saying, “I hope that this is a lesson to those of you who have indulged in media assassination for three years, bias, and prejudice, and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and how to be.”

Are Baez and Mason right? Has the media that followed the trial, which became the nation’s obsession as it played out on national television, gone over the top in their overwhelmingly negative response to the verdict? – WAPO

The Crowd is wrong on this one, because the Crowd bases its feelings on appearance, emotion, reaction and effect — not cause/effect logic. The Crowd does not understand that despite feelings, we must use facts to prove a case, and that not every murder case will result in a conviction.

We should not be convicting people in a court of public opinion.

However, our media wants us to and they are outraged that someone has rebuked them.

The court of public opinion is like a lynch mob composed of daytime television watchers — people whose uninteresting lives bore them, people who have no particular accomplishments, people filled with resentment that others are having a good time or making a go of it. If you want angry busybodies, they’re the daytime TV audience, which is something our media panders to.

Just like in the French Revolution, we find out that it’s easy to be popular — just find someone to blame for everyone’s failings. A scapegoat, an enemy, or a symbol. Convince us all that we’re innocent and someone else did this to us. Casey Anthony is after all a perfect scapegoat for our own failings as people, as parents, or as unemployed alcoholics throwing food items at their televisions.

There is also a more logical reason for our outrage: legal justice systems also only tell partial truths.

Casey Anthony is not guilty of the charges presented against her. I am convinced the jury did a good job here, because the case against her was weak.

However, there’s another issue that cannot be packaged up as a legal case: Casey Anthony is unfit to be a parent. She is the type of person most middle class people do not want in their neighborhoods.

Our law doesn’t let us say that we should spay Casey Anthony, or that we should be able to exile people like her from our towns and cities. After all, she has the “right” and “freedom” to be wherever she can afford to buy, and to conduct her disaster of a life however she wants — even the dumbest American learned this at school.

But we don’t have an outlet for what she took from us. She took away our ability to live in a community where a child’s life is sacred, and we think people who think otherwise need to move along to somewhere else. She took from us the ability to set community standards.

All of the media outrage is fake, and the “solutions” like “Caylee’s law” are stupid. We don’t need more laws; we need more common sense, and fewer stupid people. Fewer rights and more responsibilities. Fewer politicians and media manipulators telling us we need more rights and laws.

Caylee was a doomed child. Of bad genetics, born into a bad family, in a bad situation. Casey Anthony is a failure. Her life is a constant disaster and will continue to be a constant disaster. Both Casey and Caylee would be better off dead.

If we listened to our common sense, we’d oblige them, and turn around and put all of our energies into constructive things instead. But because we’re afraid to break the “rights” and “freedoms” taboos, we just sit back and watch as a million Casey Anthonys rip away the social fabric of our lives, leaving chaos and possibly a faint odor of death.

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