August 5, 2021

The "total demolition of healthy structures" stage of imperial implosion

A recurring take among the overproduced elite aspirant midwits who Aimee Terese rails against on Twitter, is that demolishing "old buildings" is good actually. There's nothing wrong with them whatsoever on a material level, they just have to be erased because they're from a period of our history that we're past, and we want no tangible record left of it at all.

There may be one or another of the usual BS rationalizations about "greening" architecture, or wokely canceling problematic things, but more often than not the insecure midwit class just does it without any narrative at all. Only in high-profile cases does a narrative need to be furbished by the media sector, e.g. taking down statues of Confederate figures. Otherwise, just bulldoze the sucker and get on with it.

This has never happened in our nation's history, and is a clear sign of imperial implosion after a few centuries of imperial expansion. Or more to the point in this case, collapsing asabiya after centuries of rising asabiya (the potential for collective action and cooperation at a large scale). "Capitalism" doesn't explain it, since we've been capitalist in various forms since our founding.

All of the buildings that got demolished during the New Deal were privately owned, and had been allowed by their owners to fall into disrepair and negligence. For example, a Victorian mansion used as a residence, or a picture palace from the Roaring Twenties.

This got bad enough, and our nation's elites still had enough public civic spirit, that they used the government to appropriate these neglected buildings and renovate them, remaining as faithful to the original as possible. That was the birth of the contemporary "historical preservation" movement -- right at the height / end of the New Deal in the 1960s and '70s.

The new widespread demolition trend has nothing to do with dilapidated structures that are falling in on themselves due to the negligence of private owners. There is nothing wrong structurally with them at all, and a decent share are publicly owned and operated, like schools and parks.

The goal is simply to erase all signs of what was good and valuable from our past, because we're past the imperial growth and rising asabiya stage of our nation's history. We can never attain that again, so why not destroy all reminders of how good we used to have it, to alleviate cognitive dissonance about how much shit our society sucks in the 2020s and forever after.

I occasionally visit the town I grew up in during elementary school, which started out middle class but has become steadily more upper-middle class in the past 30 years since I left. It's in a decently large metro area of a flyover state, so not insanely woke, but also not conservative either. It's a useful bellwether.

The town library was due for something new toward the end of the '80s, but they left the old one from the Midcentury intact, and built a huge addition onto it (many times the size of the original, which you would now think was a little add-on, if not for signs of which materials and styles are newer).

By the late '90s, the neoliberal Reaganite climate had gotten worse, and there was talk of a total demolition of one of the middle schools, dating back to the '30s and very impressive, whether for a middle school or any other purpose. Fortunately there was still enough civic spirit that the parents and other community members banded together to block that plan, which would have been incredibly expensive, on top of sacrilegious. Instead they just renovated the HVAC system, and left everything else alone. Total demolition is always far more expensive than renovation, which contradicts the BS about "efficiency" from the neolibs and woketards.

I don't know too much about what happened during the 2000s and early 2010s, since I was at college, Barcelona, and grad school. But by the second half of the 2010s, the climate had worsened further. Now there was talk of "renovating" one of the major parks -- to include cutting down almost all of the numerous, large, mature trees to make way for whatever yuppie bullshit they wanted to impress themselves with. This one just narrowly got nixed, and the new yuppie structures were confined to the parking lot area adjacent to the park, leaving the park itself intact.

However, now that we've crossed a political historical threshold during 2020 and this year, all bets are off. If they burned down major cities for "progress," why would they stop just because the election's been stolen in the meantime? True, there are no riots this summer because there's no voters to whip into a panic.

But the riots of 2020 were just the beginning of the long-term Democrat project to demolish our environment, in all years going forward, with or without some BS woke rationalization narrative to accompany it.

This year, the town's civic spirit finally dipped below a critical level, and the demolishers got their way for the first time ever. There was a large iconic local building from the early '60s, pleasing to look at and explore inside, that had been a fixture of the community since it was first erected. It got closed and put into limbo during the retail apocalypse of the late 2010s, and now the debate was over whether or not its new use would at least preserve the structure?

Sensing the seismic shift in our imperial implosion, the new owners razed the entire building to the ground this year. Strike while the zeitgeist iron is hot, since in the late 2010s it still felt like we had a country, albeit one fraying apart. The local government did not stop it ahead of time when it was in limbo. No woke witch-hunt to demonize it ahead of demolition, no #MeToo against former owners, or anything propagandistic like that. Just wreck it and be done with it.

Whatever ugly, pointless, rootless, cheaply-constructed striver distraction mecca they put in its place, the character of the town is gone forever. Not just because a single iconic building was erased from existence, but because of what the climate that allowed that to happen portends about the future. It's all going to come down, and the only question is when, not if.

It all happened so suddenly I had to do a double-take when I drove by. It had remained idle and closed down for years, then without warning -- BOOM. All gone. I paced up and down the fences blocking off the demolition site, and scrounged up from the dirt and rubble a few pieces of that distinctive colorful glazed brick exterior, which I will hold onto to preserve the memory.

At this point, I don't even trust images on the internet to last -- either the site as a whole will fall into negligence, and all pictures hosted there will get vaporized (like MySpace), or the same people who are demolishing buildings will turn to erasing online images of the former site as well. Total memory-hole operation. But no one is going to take away my brick shards, which I can show to others to remind them and keep things alive to some extent.

I don't think I'd trust the local historical society with them either. They are not run by civic-minded Boomers anymore (whether lib or con), but going forward by sacrilegious Millennials. These are the people who, as librarians, are dedicated to censorship and gatekeeping. Why would they do anything other than literally trash the objects I donated to them from the community's history? Their whole goal was to erase it, not preserve it.

The overproduced elites of our imperial implosion cannot stand the physical sight of material things that remind them how much more competent, accomplished, and magnanimous their counterparts were 50 or more years ago. The older generations did not have to provide such awesome buildings -- they did it because they were filled with civic spirit, and they were cooperative enough to execute the plan.

With plummeting levels of asabiya, today's elites are nothing more than parasites and decomposers in our shithole ecosystem. They can't stand being held accountable, so their manifest failures and pathetic nature must be hidden by erasing the accomplishments of former elites, which set the bar for the present. Lower the bar for the present by demolishing the past. And magically, you don't have to put up with such palpable reminders of what an abject, pathetic failure you are and always will be, as an entire class.

Where does the past get the nerve, to annoy the parasites of the present? We'll just put them in their insolent place, six feet underground, with no trial or appeal. Bulldoze first and refuse to answer questions later.

I'm tempted to say, at least our really monumental-scale structures will survive, akin to the Roman civil engineering marvels that were all built during their imperial expansion, and were not purposefully totally demolished once their imperial implosion began during the Crisis of the Third Century. Allowed to fall into neglect, and decay into ruins? Perhaps. But not systematically demolished by leaders of the in-group that had built them in the first place.

However, we are unique in being a young, new nation -- not just one that had been a nation for a long time, and only recently began expanding. We weren't even here before a few hundred years ago, so the taboo against sacrilege of the environment, based on rootedness, conservation, and stewardship, is going to be far weaker here than in a long-settled place. We haven't been stewards here very long, compared to Romans in the 3rd century Italian peninsula. Appealing to norms that transcend imperial timelines is not going to resonate as deeply here.

There really does seem to be a growing hysteria among the elites to just burn it all down, however they rationalize their civilizational death-drive. We're really in uncharted waters here, with seemingly no historical case studies to compare ourselves with in that respect (failed empires, yes, but not ones that had only existed as nations of new settlers just five seconds before the empire began expanding). We just don't have the extra centuries or millennia of rootedness that other imperial nations around the world do today, or former empires did in the past.

17 comments:

  1. I think you are wrong about Rome. Our history corresponds to that of the Republic (which razed itself and built anew a couple of times), not to Imperial Rome, which almost entirely razed evidence of the Republic. The core block of Julius Caesar's Senate house is about all that remains (and is a thoroughly unimpressive sight). The Senate House that tourists flock to today was only a couple of hundred years old at the fall.

    It was nearly a hobby of Emperors to raze portions of the city to rebuild as a monument to their rule.

    When the Empire fell there was no civilization as such to undertake the destruction of major construction.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Imperial history goes through phases of expansion, stagnation, and contraction. The American empire has been expanding since the 1700s, stagnated after WWII, and has begun losing territory (Cuba, Philippines, Panama Canal / Latin America generally).

    Not for want of trying -- no success on mainland Asia, and neverending failures in the Middle East.

    Roman territory stagnated during the 2nd century, and began contracting in the 3rd. That's where we're at in America in the 2020s onward.

    There was little monumental architecture in Rome before the Imperial period, let alone the civil engineering marvels. Those are all due to the Roman Architectural Revolution and concrete, roughly corresponding to the Imperial period, pre-3rd century breakdown.

    That's akin to the American empire clearing away farmhouses or early Colonial buildings in order to erect the truly impressive stuff from the post-Civil War period through the New Deal (before more or less stagnating during the Reaganite period).

    That's when we really got going as an empire, after a civil war was over (like the Roman Imperial period following their own civil wars), and after our competing empires bit the dust during WWI.

    Unlike the beginning of the Roman Imperial period, there is a shitload of monumental architecture and public iconic landmarks to destroy, built during our imperial heyday. The huge-scale skyscrapers may be left alone, whether to rot and decay or be maintained, like the largest of Roman buildings once they began declining in the 3rd C.

    But anything smaller than a skyscraper, and older than 1980, has a target on its back. Unlike similar structures in the Roman 3rd C. They didn't devote themselves to wiping out their own recent heyday's history.

    You'd think this would be confined to building enjoyed by working and middle-class people, but like I said, these pressures are building up in upper-middle-class yuppie suburbs as well.

    So this is not class war -- although they will certainly try to wipe out the working-class' enjoyments too. This is a form of intra-elite conflict, the most fiery kind. It's today's elites competing against the elites of our heyday, wanting to erase their memory because they prove tangibly that our elites used to be worth half a shit, and gave us a pretty enjoyable society to live in (not without working-class pressure circa 1920, of course, but that's not the only or most important factor).

    Physical reminders of good elites cannot be tolerated by today's bad elites. And so even in affluent areas, the past must be demolished.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Albionic American8/5/21, 11:18 PM

    Does the demolition of shopping malls fall into this pattern? Paradise Valley Mall in Phoenix is now in the process of being destroyed, to be replaced by something call "mixed use" architecture, whatever that means.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Malls are harder to adapt to different uses than what they were originally built for, so once the demand for malls goes away, it's hard to imagine them staying around. Sadly.

    But with malls, that's mainly the outgoing vs. cocooning social mood I've written about extensively. They were not big during the cocooning Midcentury, exploded from the '60s through the '80s, and have steadily eroded since the '90s.

    During the cocooning Victorian era, not much resembling a shopping mall either. But toward the end of the 19th C. the arcades became popular in Europe, and that's like a mall. Then the huge department stores with lunch counters, various special rooms, etc., also like a mall, during the early 20th C. rising-crime / outgoing era.

    In a cocooning climate, no one wants to hang out or lounge around in a large public space, which is what a mall is -- like a Middle Eastern bazaar. Big box stores do not allow hanging out and lounging around. Nor do shopping centers, which have no shared public space anyway.

    The public hang-out space has shrunken during the cocooning era of the '90s through today -- first it was the big bookstore in the '90s (B&N, Borders), then the coffee shop in the 2000s (Starbucks, indie ones), and by the 2010s it was the yuppie supermarket (Whole Foods, etc.), which doesn't even allow for a long trip, but where people do leisurely stroll around and people-watch without the intention of buying much that they truly need.

    So no one is willing to go to a mall, no matter what stores are inside it. It's a single large public space for hanging out and lounging around, and that's anathema to the cocooners.

    Unfortunately, not much else you can fill a space like that with. But they should still be kept going as much as possible, since cocooning is not going to last forever, and then people will want to go back into large public spaces like malls again. Just keep them idle when demand is down, then you don't have to start all over and re-build them when demand goes back up.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Someone who asked their comment to be deleted said the local historical societies have good people working there, and I can't make a difference unless I show up myself.

    That's true for now, but like I said the civic-minded Boomers are on the way out the door. Gen X is a bridge generation, some are trustworthy and others are hardcore demolishers. Within my lifetime, it'll be Millennials in charge of those institutions, and I know exactly how they will treat anything given to them from the past that we're supposed to move beyond.

    Zoomers seem more like they just never gave a fuck in the first place, one way or the other. They assume the country's being dismantled and controlled by forces they can't have any influence over, so just don't bother with it on any side of the conflict.

    Still, the bad half of Gen X and all Millennials are going to be running these things for awhile, and they are the most hell-bent on demolishing American society.

    The Boomers had idealistic, and unrealistic, dreams of lifting everyone up -- everyone can accomplish anything if they just put their mind to it, try hard enough, etc. All turned out to be bullshit. But that was their goal -- lift everyone up.

    The bad X-ers and the Millennials see that the Boomer project failed, and that made them cynical and jaded about the whole concept of lifting everyone up. So if they want equality of outcomes, they are going with the Harrison Bergeron project instead. Namely, destroy everything good, so that everyone is equally poor, miserable, ugly, rootless, alienated, and suicidal.

    Boomers just do not get how Millennials can be so obsessed with canceling things, censoring things, making beautiful things ugly, and so on and so forth. They thought the progressive direction pointed toward everyone making the best of themselves, great achievements to marvel at, etc.

    Millennials are just like, "Yeah, um, that whole project failed? So how about we go with dragging everything great down into the gutter where the rest of us will be content to languish. Much more feasible."

    ReplyDelete
  6. https://unherd.com/2021/08/america-is-turning-into-the-soviet-union/

    ReplyDelete
  7. My somewhat old review of how wokeness will break down, as the empire breaks apart, and something transnational will replace it. Call it "socialism," although that label's tainted for the short-term. I don't care about labels. The substance is in the post.

    Lots of historical parallels from imperial rise and wokeness, followed by imperial decline and a transnational replacement ideology. I didn't mention the Russian / Soviet case, which the Unherd article adds to the list of cases below:

    https://akinokure.blogspot.com/2019/05/monotheistic-socialism-will-replace.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. BTW, this is why Millennials corrupt the knowledge transmission process when they merely relate an idea or theory of someone else's, without attributing it by name, linking it, etc.

    Aimee's co-host Benjamin Studebaker read that post, and shortly after on the What's Left podcast, referred to socialism as monotheistic -- meaning founded on class analysis, as opposed to polytheistic wokeness which adds in gender, ethnicity, sexuality, etc.

    But that's not what I meant. It's not "one social force" vs. an array of intersectional forces.

    It's that wokeness incorporates the elites of various races, ethnicities, nationalities, etc., as a part of imperial integration. Incorporating all those different subject groups into our sphere of influence. That's the pluralism -- not gender, sexuality, ableism, and so on.

    A monotheistic replacement would stop privileging the elites (or commoners) of particular racial / ethnic / national groups -- namely, the ones being incorporated into our empire's sphere of influence -- and treat them all equally.

    Just like Roman polytheism privileged the gods of those who they conquered -- not the Chinese, Mongols, Persians, or others outside their empire. And all the subjects had to worship the Roman imperial cult / Roman emperor.

    Whereas Christianity wiped out the cult centered on Rome and the Roman emperor, replaced it with something for every nationality -- including those who were never part of the Roman empire.

    I could've explained this distinction to Studebaker, but not to his audience. And he didn't link to my blog or post, so there's no way to clarify it here "in case you found this from remarks on the What's Left podcast".

    It was a positive endorsement, not negative subtweeting. But still, confused the main point being made, and leaving no way to clarify that.

    I've stopped trying to get Millennials to attribute anything to anyone, because they are incapable of it, being super-strivers. Unlike when Boomers and Gen X ran the blogosphere -- it was required to attribute things. Even if they didn't write the original content, just saying "hat-tip to so-and-so for highlighting this article from the NYT".

    I've accepted that our collective knowledge will gradually entropize into a total dark age, due to this process. Woke cancellations will only compound it, but it would happen without wokeness, because hyper-competitive people cannot form a collective or cooperative endeavor.

    It's hardly a major example, either, not from a bad actor, and not going to single-handedly destroy all knowledge. But when stuff like that happens as part of the background conditions of intellectual life, it's over.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Why did we give "hat-tip" credit back in the blogosphere days? Because it was meant to drive traffic to other useful finders of interesting things.

    Like, if you're reading my blog because of the things I cover, I don't find all of this stuff on my own by reading every newspaper's website, every group blog, forum, etc. I rely on XYZ source to point me to interesting articles, so please consider visiting their blog in order to keep up with their coverage of other people's content (and maybe their original stuff). Because I'm not going to cover everything they cover, and you'll have to follow them separately.

    It's not like a re-tweet or link, which shares someone else's original post / content / take / etc. It's like giving them a finder's fee, but in public, so your audience knows they're a good source of info, aside from you yourself.

    This is one function from the blogosphere days that has no correlate in the social media system. E.g., if you linked to an article, and above or below the link / thumbnail image, there were a little caption that read, "Hat-tip to XYZ" who clued you into the article first, and where clicking on that caption would take your audience to XYZ's account.

    That's because social media is not about cooperating to increase or refine knowledge, but to hog social clout by pretending you're the sole gatekeeper of all interesting and cool things.

    Sometimes people will share others' original content, in a kind of content-creator clique or cartel, rather than uber-individualism. But it's still meant to block rather than disseminate understanding.

    Someone you provided a hat-tip to was more like a source for a reporter. And reporters don't like revealing their sources, because then the audience could cut out the middleman and go to their various sources, not the reporter. But then, reporters are super-strivers looking to hyper-competitively block and corrupt information and understanding. They're propagandists.

    The blogosphere was meant to be, and to some degree succeeded in being, a place where there was "open access" to sources, methods, etc. Don't trust me as an omniscient gatekeeper, go to these other people's sites who aggregate info of their own. It's not a content-creator cartel in that case, because they're playing the role of a source, not a reporter.

    After Gen X gets senile, or the Silicon Valley cartel shuts down the ruins of the blogosphere, it's over for cooperative open-access knowledge. It'll all be elite media propaganda, and half-baked reflexive "reactions" from a handful of talking heads (reacting avis) on social media platforms.

    I'm running this blog more for posterity than for present-day influence. Something transcending the here and now.

    (Except writing tribute songs to Aimee Terese, which is equally about affecting the present as it is about providing something transcendent to the future, hehe.)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Historical preservation regulations are themselves part of our decline. In the 19th century, when America was dynamic and booming, people just built things as needed, and replacing old buildings was normal. Now it's nearly impossible to build anything in any of the cities that boomed in the past and then developed a bunch of incumbents who could restrict everything to preserve the high values of the property they own. There's even a "historical" laundromat in San Francisco whose owner can't replace it with an apartment building because of such rules. Hence why rents are ridiculous there.

    If he never acknowledged your blog post, then how do you know he's actually read your blog or has any awareness of you?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sadly, the knowledge to re-build a national, industrial economy is increasingly absent.

    https://palladiummag.com/2021/03/24/the-end-of-industrial-society/

    ReplyDelete
  12. re shopping malls:

    They have the appearance of monumental structures, but are in fact cartoons of monumental structures built fast, cheap and disposable. However long a particular mall may remain in operation, they are built and financed assuming a 20 year lifespan and only the raw steel is of any lasting value.

    And if we had actually built malls to be lasting, monumental structures, they would have been Brutalist.

    ReplyDelete
  13. He used the same distinct phrase for the same distinct context, within a week or whatever after I had written an entire post about it. No accident. No one has used "monotheism" for socialism and "polytheism" for intersectionality before. Ergo, he read my blog.

    Everyone with a podcast is media-savvy, and word gets around that so-and-so is worth reading ("even if you think he's crazy on some issue" or whatever well-poisoning qualifier that they would never use with each other). Especially once I soured on the Trump admin as it took a nosedive during 2017, and I turned more to the Bernie side (which I already supported in 2016, wanting him as Trump's unity-ticket running mate).

    Aimee, his co-host, was probably reading me by then. But the Chapo Trap House guys were reading me before that, in 2017 or '18. How often, I don't know. And maybe not all, but at least Matt and Felix and perhaps Amber.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I also invented "15 years" as a standard unit of time measurement, BTW. Especially describing a certain number of years ago. The whole 15-year cultural excitement cycle I've been writing about since 2017.

    I hear that all over the place now -- not because they've read me directly, but someone they read had read someone who had read me, etc. It spreads exponentially like an epidemic.

    The standard units are always round numbers -- 10 years, 20, 30, 40, 50, etc. There's no such unit of time as "35 years" or "45 years" or "95 years". There are 25 and 75, but those are just one-quarter and three-quarters of a century.

    Maybe "10 to 20 years". But not 15.

    There were stylized numbers between 10 and 20, used for emphasis, and always prime numbers for some reason. Like "eleven" in the phrase "eleventy" or joking on exclamation points coming from Shift-1, e.g. "!!!!!one-one-eleventy-one!!!"

    And there was "17" or "17th" -- "I don't want to do that again, I've already done it SEVEN-TEEN TIMES!!!" "Christ, for the SEVENTEENTH TIME, here is my new number."

    Maybe the prime number made it sound unusual, marked as special, as an emphatic deserves. Not "14 times" or "18 times".

    And so 15, a composite number, was never part of that emphatic vocabulary.

    It all came from my excitement cycle model.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I still get warm & fuzzy thinking back on Anna and Aimee using "orthogonal" in their podcasts last summer, after I used it in a comment to one of my posts. (They both hate math and never use math words.)

    Not just the feeling of validation from others turning to me for building their vocabulary, because they respect me, but because it meant they were reading comments here and not only the main posts. That's real attachment! Awwww...

    Or Heather Habsburg tweeting that the only place to find a date or a wife was "in the comments section of a blog whose user-interface was dated even 10 years ago". Hmmm, so many blogs still active these days, which one of the many could she have been alluding to? :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. The mention that really ate up the leftoids inside was Alison Balsam. She was on a higher plane than the irony bros, the dime-a-dozen Bernie babes, journos, and other assorted reacting avis -- and they all knew it. They really respected her, and were thirsty for her validation.

    And then some rando blogger comes along, publishes a model of the ethnic composition of the anti-woke left, and *he* is the one who sincerity-posting senpai notices? Jealoussss...

    Maybe if they allowed themselves to be insightful, original, and not irony-poisoned, they too could make Alison Balsam express the starry-eyes emoji at their content.

    God, 2019 was such a carnivalesque year of everyone mixing it up with each other. And then POOF, everything blew up in 2020, and a lot of them logged off the whole-ass internet, not just Twitter / social media.

    I don't think Alison would come back after getting smeared for objecting to a mob burning down an indie used bookstore during the BLM / Antifa riots. "Only the fash would get in the way of a book-burning mob!" Jesus Christ.

    RIP, wherever you are out there.

    ReplyDelete

You MUST enter a nickname with the "Name/URL" option if you're not signed in. We can't follow who is saying what if everyone is "Anonymous."