May 26, 2017

The Zucker-Borg vs. Trumpism: Hedonistic decline or communal revitalization?

While the clueless geezers of the Establishment continue to dismiss the Bernie and Trump phenomena as flukes that will pass once the emotional catharsis of election season is over, the younger leaders of globalism have already begun working in earnest to pacify and co-opt what they accurately understand as a long-term discontent among the general public toward their rulers.

Yet unlike the handful of responsible stewards within the elite, like Trump himself, the Zuckerbergs of the world are not trying to earnestly meet the needs of the people in order to prevent the festering anger from exploding into bloody revolution. They are not trying to protect the people from the savage beatings they've been taking -- they are instead trying to promise painkillers so that the victims at least will not have to suffer while getting abused, so that they will therefore not feel motivated to strike back, and so that they can get killed off in peace.

Recently Zuckerberg has floated the idea of a Universal Basic Income from the government, supposedly to provide enough to meet basic material needs so that people can be liberated to pursue higher goals on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs -- to experiment around with a diversity of values and experiences, and after a vision quest in the sweat lodge of the "gig economy," to ultimately discover their inner entrepreneurial badass.

Nobody, including Zuckerberg himself, takes this pitch seriously as a policy proposal, but it is the larger vision that he is really selling -- that the government's foremost responsibility to its citizens must now be to provide a comfy and stimulating little cocoon to numb your awareness of Medieval levels of material insecurity, and a manufactured persona of self-importance to make you not feel so pathetic while powerful groups seize control over every aspect of your life.

By now, everybody can see the writing on the wall, and they will not resonate with tone-deaf appeals to the failed promises of the past several decades -- "Just go to college, take your degree to the nearest employer, and begin collecting enough money to live independently." Absolutely nobody believes this bullshit any longer, except for the Boomers who will always be stuck back in the easy-breezy Seventies and the go-go Eighties.

Since the status-striving vision has proven unable to deliver the goods, a vacuum of values has been opened up. Now the only question is, What will take the place of the elitist message? Naturally it will be some form of populism, but that still leaves a wide array of variations on the theme.

The Zuckerberg pitch is defeatist populism -- just accept that the elites are only going to get ever more wealthy and powerful, the society ever more fragmented, the culture ever more artificial, the technology ever more intrusive, and the population ever more Babel-ized. But not to worry! -- here's enough free money to afford living in a little storage locker like some appliance that's been taken out of regular use. And here's enough free money for a smartphone and WiFi, and a latte from the coffee hive that you'll be lounging around in all day long, and back home again at night, a self-cleaning vibrator or rubber sock.

Against that vision of converting society into one great big languorous opium den, stands the movement to revitalize our decaying communities. The big picture: a roomy home in a small town, wife and husband raising children, stimulation from social contact with neighbors and extended families, and public spaces meant for walking around while being close to others (parks, trails, main streets, malls). And instead of the income needed for these things coming from hand-outs, a rich set of highly profitable industries, whereby higher profit margins mean more is passed on to the workers (even more so with the collective bargaining power of labor unions) -- manufacturing and trades rather than retail or food service.

The values it pursues are communalism over individualism, natalism over childlessness, satiety rather than addiction, organic rather than artificial culture, and honestly earning a living instead of being taken care of like someone's pet.

In strategy, what distinguishes this movement from its alternative of "managed decline" is collective confrontation against The Powers That Be, rather than individual resignation. And therefore, accepting somewhat higher risk but also a higher return -- and with that extra risk still being diminished per person thanks to safety in numbers, rather than bearing the brunt of a failure all by oneself. The collective strategy also distinguishes it from the therapeutic approach that tries to treat individuals one-by-one on an inner level -- straight edge, NoFap, paleo lifestyle, gorilla mindset, etc. Nothing wrong with those choices that can change the person, but they are not going to change the world.

Coming up I'll be going over some more concrete policy proposals, just big-picture stuff rather than quibbling over details. For the time being, the important thing is to recognize that there is now a concerted effort by the opposition to neuter the nascent populist uprising.

It is not stupid enough to try denying the reality we face -- only the sheltered and pampered Boomers in the Democrat party are responding to us with "America is already great!" and only the SJWs in the younger group are complaining that "America was never great". Normal people can sense how awful things are, contra the Boomers, and that contra the SJWs this is a dramatic change from the old days that we've seen on The Wonder Years, Mad Men, or online gurus of all things vintage.

This is not the first time that society depended on choosing the wholesome path out of an inegalitarian laissez-faire climate -- over the course of the Gilded Age, it became clear that business as usual was not going to make life any better. One choice was the atomized escapist hedonism of the brothels, saloons, cafes, and cabarets. But just as popular during the fin-de-siecle zeitgeist was the Temperance movement that worked alongside the labor union movement to bring society out of decadence and into the age of Progressivism (what we would call populism today).

If we've already managed once to transform our society from one great big Red Light District into a network of wholesome neighborhoods, there's no reason we can't do it again.


  1. Exactly! Environment today is eerily similar to 1920s, maybe Trump presidency will end up like Coolidge-Hoover years, only to end up in a spectacular blowup of financial system. Only question is, can Democrat party come up with new version of FDR? On surface, the coalition of poor whites/blacks/mexicans against rich mostly Jewish and gentile whites is possible, but not probable.

  2. Perhaps not quite the 1920s. That was a period of rising militarism and military expansion in society(cycles once every 150 years or so), which creates a radically, radically different dynamic.

    Calls for World War III or another Civil War are overblown, as those types of crises only happen when the male population is militarized, which is far from the case now. Both WWII and Civil War took place during a period of military expansion.

    To find an appropriate example, you would have to go back to the Revolutionary Period, which was a period of declining expansion and military power. (remember, we barely beat the BRitish, getting rescued by the French - though that's not meant to impugn Washington enormous strength of character in holding the army together).

  3. WWIII can absolutely happen even if we're no longer expansionist. First of all, we still are expansionist -- does it look like we're getting out of the Middle East and Afghanistan? And now we're back in Korea. Maybe next week, Venezuela.

    Second of all, who says every country involved in a war has to be expansionist? Only the main aggressor has to be -- everyone else can get sucked in as a target or as a partner to an alliance.

    There are at least three expansionist nations in the M-E right now -- Turkey, Iran, Saudi / Gulf states -- and the superpowers and other major powers are all aligned with one or the other.

  4. "Calls for World War III or another Civil War are overblown, as those types of crises only happen when the male population is militarized,"

    Technology being what it is, we're never going to be in a period where world war *isn't* readily possible. High speed air travel, ICBMs, arguably even cyber warfare (we're seeing the provocation/propaganda utility of hacking claims as we speak), etc. allow conflicts to quickly reach global proportions, if an aggressor is suitably powerful and frightening to enemy countries.

    As much as the Pentagon salivates about more and more boots on the ground, after the yellow cake fiasco in the Bush era the Trumpian wing has presumably warned the war mongers that there had better be a damn good reason to launch a large scale invasion of another country. And oh, BTW, Korea, Russia, Iran, et al aren't going to greet us with open arms.

    The media beats the drum about Western enemies possessing and testing nukes, but so what? We can't just up and invade countries with strong armies among whom there's probably decent morale. It should also go without saying that at this point, what entitles the US to have it's arsenal as opposed to anyone else having it? We squandered the moral high ground long ago.

    Had Hillary been elected, I don't doubt for a second that we'd cut any last vestige of collegiality with Russia, gone all-in on taking over Syria, and so on. Obummer was more concerned about boutique urbane Leftist issues than he was with empire building ("If I had a son"), and Trump doesn't want more quagmires (and being a businessman, he understand that the US has no political or financial equity left to justify empire building).

    As best we expect, Trump and his few allies will have to drag their feet on the overall Pentagon plan and make the occasional token gesture of aggression to buy us time while, God willing, we get more realtalkers into the system who can cleanse bloody talons.

  5. Absolutely phenomenal post.


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