Furthest Right

How society organizes itself without traditional culture

The problem with diversity: a lowest common denominator of culture and genetics is reached.

In practical terms, that means the nation-state becomes an open-air bazaar, because the only values we can agree on are:

  • Freedom. Leave me alone, I leave you alone.
  • Money. I want to make it. Leave me alone.
  • Populism. Individuals are sacred. Do not offend others.

In short, you create a society where everything is permitted, but there may be unintended consequences if another person is inconvenient, annoyed or an idea becomes unpopular.

That’s a marketplace.

My basic libertarian leaning is this: make it clear what’s expected, make it clear what’s destructive and otherwise, leave people alone. They need room to experiment and learn, to make some mistakes, and so on. That’s the oldest definition of freedom.

Do not, however, tolerate behaviors just because the only victim appears to be the individual; there are secondary effects. If someone smokes crack in his house, sooner or later bad stuff is going to happen; exile the idiot.

People can spread poison with bad behavior. If a slut moves into your town, rest assured she’ll start trying to make others like her. That in turn produces social upheaval. Eject her.

But never, ever lay a minefield where behaviors are deemed OK and then suddenly the crowd turns on someone. If you declare a behavior OK, you need to defend that person.

Even more, make those behaviors which are forbidden relate to a goal the society has. If your goal is to produce higher learning and society, and smoking salvia does not conflict with that goal, it should be legal.

But in a marketplace, you can do none of that, and so society continues to degenerate into a lowest common denominator.

And that’s what the United States and Europe have become today: places unfriendly to the oldest kind of freedom, which is the freedom to not be obligated to stupidity.

We are so afraid of offending, and thus failing at democracy and making unnecessary products that we convince others to buy with slick marketing, that we have become a society of lies and mediocrity. It’s more important to palliate each other and buy each other off, which means that reality is ignored. We have become wholly anthrocentric.

Someone finally pointed that out:

In short, the United States will never be Europe. It was born as a commercial republic. It’s addicted to the pace of commercial enterprise. After periodic pauses, the country inevitably returns to its elemental nature.

Washington is temporarily at the center of the nation’s economic gravity and a noncommercial administration holds sway. This is an administration that has many lawyers and academics but almost no businesspeople in it, let alone self-made entrepreneurs. The president speaks passionately about education and health care reform, but he is strangely aloof from the banking crisis and displays no passion when speaking about commercial drive and success.

But if there is one thing we can be sure of, this pause will not last. The cultural DNA of the past 400 years will not be erased. The pendulum will swing hard. The gospel of success will recapture the imagination.

David Brooks

Modern libertarians and conservatives have been hoodwinked by this dogma. They like to think that if they support commerce, they’ll be OK. They didn’t realize that when Nietzsche praised competition and commerce, he did not say that was where our thinking should stop. In fact, he pointed out that it could become like other things a tool of the lowest common denominator tastes, at which point the society collapses.

On the other hand, Ayn Rand took Nietzsche’s ideas and super-simplified them. Work hard, and you deserve what you get, and you shouldn’t worry about anyone else. Don’t worry when they starve, and don’t worry about anything they do. This idea seems smart to those who haven’t read history deeply enough, and realize that when the herd turns toward illusion, because civilization is inherently collective, others get dragged down into the morass.

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