Twitter Volume III, Part II, Modern Society (Jan 2023-Dec 2023)

Just had an interesting back-and-forth with @rickwilliamscpa, worth a follow. There’s a lot of emotion and articles these days about (White) generational wealth and The Great Wealth Transfer to come. A lot of it is horseshit and I’d like to break it down in a short thread.

If you go off of news articles and Twitter, a lot of people are already counting their parent’s money. This is a supremely foolish thing to do and basically comes from millennial entitlement and resentment. Most people are not inheriting a damn thing. White millennials are being indoctrinated into narratives of White generational wealth so they feel entitled to vast fortunes that their parents don’t actually have. It becomes a game of blame Old White Boomer (who usually has nothing to give). From the BLS Inheritance Report and the 2019 SCF. The overwhelming majority of people – including the overwhelming majority of Whites – do not get an inheritance *at all*. Only 20.7% of households and 24.6% of Whites. If you’re not at least middle class, count yourself out.


And of those who do receive inheritances, the majority are receiving middle class inheritances from middle class families. The median *inheritance* (so already cash in hand) is only tens of thousands of dollars. A million dollar inheritance is the TOP ONE PERCENT.


This is not money to live off, and people normally get this in their 40s or 50s (perhaps even their 60s these days). I expect to receive an inheritance of between $600k and $1mm depending on how many health problems Mom and Dad have, so in the top few percent. But the other side of this is Boomer selfishness, which is also very real. 73% of millionaires come from millionaire parents. The old Dave Ramsey stat about 80% of millionaires being self-made just means they didn’t inherit their money. And it’s true. I did not inherit my money. What most millionaires get is a good school, connections, cultural capital, the WASP money mentality, and a good job from their good school. This is enough, you don’t need a money handout. If we look at the BLS inheritance chart again, we see only 47.3% and 45.5% of the top two wealth categories got an inheritance from their parents. Averaging that out, we get 46.4%. Subtract the 27% that are genuinely self-made, and you get 63.5% inheritances in the latest cohort.

This will shift up and down based on the year, but it’s a staggering number. Boomer selfishness is real. It means almost 40% of the Boomers who *can* leave an inheritance worth talking about choose not to. Every real story of Boomers blowing their kid’s inheritance is from here.


The traditional WASP ethos is that you are the steward of a fortune that was not made by you and ultimately does not belong to you. It’s family money. And millionaires tend *not* to be self-made. So a huge minority of Boomer millionaires received a handup and blew it. They’re eating the seed corn given them by past generations to provide for future generations.

To sum up: Many boomers *are* dicks, and many millennials have delusionally high expectations and entitlement. I’m going to pin this as my last word on inheritance. 

I think a key difference between being a Millennial and being a Zoomer is that growing up Millennial, you really did believe in all this shit. None of it was a bit, the invincibility and legitimacy of the narrative and the institutions was taken for granted. I loved the myths.

One by one, they’ve been taken away from me. America was invincible – until 9/11. But then we struck hard, struck hard, struck fast. America was Eagletopia and it could drop a McDonald’s right into the desert in a day. Mission accomplished.

Except it wasn’t, of course. The war dragged on. But people didn’t *blame America*, let alone *the military*. It was *Bush’s* fault. Bad leadership, not bad institutions, not a bad core. America was a fundamentally good and powerful country that was stumbling.

The bailouts were existentially crushing because we felt that this was a country that ran on fair play and competition and letting people suffer for their mistakes. Now we drop a bailout over the weekend and nobody blinks. But this seemed like a delegitimization of capitalism.

And why was that important? Millennials grew up in prosperity and more importantly, grew up expecting prosperity for themselves. Not ending up in their parent’s class or better felt like an aberration brought about by corruption, but a fixable corruption. You could protest it.

There were the creeping signs of ZSHC, but it felt like a fundamentally fair competition with corruption. My college rejections felt like a genuine letdown rather than a systemic failure and breakdown of meritocracy as an illegitimate idea. And then I got back on track.

After all, though I didn’t get into the best colleges, I still got into a very good college. What happened to that straight A, 35 ACT student would have been unthinkable – total rejection. I still got *an* admission in the end. I could rationalize, a bit, that I had bad grades.

When we graduated, the ceremony had genuine weight and feeling. Swearing oaths and taking the ring felt like being initiated into an ancient order to protect America. Some of us had clearances, some of us would have them soon, but all of us knew something very important.

For two hundred and fifty years, men and women had stood up to protect this country in different ways. Now you will too. Stand up. Having made this oath, you are bound to America forever. “Your honor will be loyalty.” And it was. For a time.

Do you know the sense of awe and reverence there was being taken, by one of the old men at your first real adult job, to see one of the slide rules used in the Space Program? It felt like seeing the tools of the gods themselves. Can Zoomers even feel awe and reverence?

A holy relic. A holy, secular relic to the civic religion of America, which we all believed in, left, right, and center. It was an America that was erring, but it was an America that was good, and whole, and holy. We had built and earned our city on the hill.

It’s not a joke. It may all seem like jokes to you now, but none it felt like a joke. And even as the America outside fell, the America in your heart lingered. You knew that this was wrong, that this is not how things were meant to be.

I graduated, I got a job immediately, and within a year, I had bought a house. The losers of the competition hadn’t settled down so easily, but there was some logic to that. Now you can’t go right into a house even if you get an entry-level job at the most elite firms in America.

Race relations. I grew up on a diet of Rush Hour and race buddy narratives. I saw Obama elected – what a moment of healing that was meant to be. I grew up in a *culturally homogenous* and largely *ethnically homogenous* community. There was a majority and there was assimilation.

Yes, any race could learn to become an White American in ways. Look at this Black, your classmate. Ignore that they are from an African royal family – they are functionally an AWFL. Isn’t that wonderful? Now, there were still the ghettos. But that was considered soluble.

Maybe they’d never be like us, but they could assimilate to White Redneck norms, or some kind of norms. You just needed more money for the programs, said sincerely. Yes, actually more money for programs, not just as a punchline to a meme or a greentext.

As it all started unraveling, the dissidence was sincere. You know what looking at Richard Spencer felt like? It didn’t feel like looking at a gay eunuch clown the regime trots out to push increasingly ridiculous plots as he wrangles with being a useless divorcee.

It felt like watching a man who could be a dangerous, a real Nazi. This was a man who could build a new America – and I almost believed it myself. And I worked for the fucking government, man. People were ashamed to be non-White racists. Now it’s a gag.

The idea of a WN coming out as Jewish (in the end, so, so, so many, almost all?) was like a sacrilege. You felt ashamed to be non-White in a White country, and even if the real America was no longer the City on the Hill, new Wignat America would be. I’m serious.

And the other people in this side of Twitter are ex-Berners, and they felt the same way. Bernie was their hero, their champion, not just a dried up husk of a man begging for cash in memes and jokes. He would bring about the Revolution that would redeem America with blood.11013.8K

Once the corrupt men of Wall Street were thrown out and replaced, everything would run smoothly again, and they would enjoy the middle class prosperity of their fathers and mothers. You had only to fight and to believe. It’s not just $27, but a sacrifice to the soul of America.

“BAP is a Gay Jew!” “We know!” “Nick Fuentes is a Gay S***!” “We know!” “BAP is a Gay Jew!” “We know!” “Nick Fuentes is a Gay S***!” “We know!” Every two weeks. It’s like an Abbott and Costello bit.

I am once again asking for your sincere belief America can be saved, and not just $27, says unemployed elderly socialist man.

And this Hillary email server. Lock her up. That was a genuine belief that you could, that the laws applied to *anyone*. And her getting away with it was attributed to her power, but it still felt like a blow to our collective honor, which was a thing that people had.

Elections were fair, or mostly fair. Secrets had to be kept, or mostly kept. Do you know how scared I was to try and warn people that the military had planned lockdowns and the COVID response in advance? Not only for my own freedom.

Hillary could leak because she was both powerful and corrupt. But me, even if I had some power, I was still a good man. I remembered. My honor was loyalty. It hurt me, but at the same time, the COVID response was a slowly unfolding horror.

Imagine leaking government secrets to win an argument about video games. That’s the norm now, apparently – because nobody gives a shit. They’ve killed even the America in their hearts. Now all that’s left is the signage.

We are like sleepwalkers carrying out the motions of a system nobody really believes in anymore, not sincerely. None of this shit used to be a joke. And I think that’s the difference between Millennials and Zoomers.

I was born in Heaven and watched it become Hell. Zoomers never knew Heaven.

Zoomers were born in the Wilderness, after we were cast out of Egypt by force. Zoomers have never known the sweetness of living by the Nile with its rich produce. They have known only the quiet solitude and struggle of the desert wandering.

I know why the Jews complained in the Sinai. Because many of them knew Egypt. They were not all slaves. Some were mighty men of Egypt. Did we forget Hyksos and our glory? Did we forget Joseph? We used to eat quail and garlic and onions, not manna from Heaven.

Aaron, my brother, why did you build the Golden Bull? Did you not trust me? Because I wanted to RETVRN. I wanted to go back. I have tasted the sweet things of Egypt and I miss them. Did you not grow up in the palaces of Pharaoh? We can never go back.

But any who knew those things would always be tempted. And so, they all had to die before the Jews could cross into the Promised Land, even Moses. Because they remembered and the ways of Egypt dwelt in their hearts, and they would imitate them in the New Land, despite themselves.

In my dreams, Satan tempts me and has tempted me with promises of many things. But there are only two things that really give me pause. One I will not say here. But the other, seductive temptation, is that I could return to, say, 1990 or 2000, before this. And live there forever.

I wish I could say I had enough personal strength and faith to resist this, but it is only the angels of the Lord that can sweep the Devil away at these times. I have tasted the fruit of Egypt and it will be in me forever.

Anyways, I’ve promised to shill, so I’ll shill even if I can’t link. The first volume of Von Haller is out now on Imperium Press! Pick it up today! And the complete writings of Spandrell are available now on Amazon. Look for “Bloody Shovel” in the books section!

When people talk about college and the college experience, they often talk past each other. And that’s because there’s several different college experiences and all differently class-coded. Before continuing, I assume you’ve read or are at least familiar with Michael O Church’s class ladders essay and Fussell’s SES class categories, since I will be using at least those terms in defining the different college experiences. First we have a kind of prole college experience, which is Hairdresser University or Cop College. That’s where you get a degree in something like Criminal Justice just to qualify for a credential. Jobs that require these credentials are things like nursing, social work, admin. If trade school is the path into higher paid skilled labor for male proles, then this is the path into a form of higher paid lower white collar labor often taken by women. It’s basically “Girl Trade School”. One complaint often seen online – and I do not know the truth of it nor can I verify it – is that women can’t marry because they can’t find college educated men. Most of the bias towards women in college actually comes from this cohort going to Girl Trade School. Their real class match is a lineman or plumber, but Manospherians claim they disdain these people for not being educated (they are actually approximately the same in education in real terms). Closely related to this is the “unselective liberal arts college”. America is dotted with very expensive, very unprestigious small liberal arts colleges that will charge you $60,000/yr for an English degree that doesn’t do anything. This is the “useless humanities degree”. Graduates from these places are often upwardly mobiles proles or sidewardly mobile educated middles who enter life saddled with a ten ton bag of student debt. To a large extent, their humanities degree disqualifies from doing labor work. This group is a frequent partaker in radical leftist politics. They usually eventually find employment in government jobs or in the administrative departments of large corporations, which is a material reason why they lobby for government expansion and more corporate regulation. These two college experience types are broadly working class/prole or lower middle class in Fussell SES terms. In terms of the ladders, Girl Trade School is L3/L2/G4 and Unprestigious Liberal Arts College is G4/G3. Next up you have the Frat Boy Sorority Girl Party School experience. Examples would be the University of Arizona and “The” Ohio State. There is a lot of emphasis on playing the ball and drinking the beer and having the sex. This is stereotypically “rich”, but it’s not elite. There are some E2 National Elites who partake in this culture, giving extremely generously to football teams, and they mostly are from Southern Elite/Cavalier culture. But for the most part, the rich here are L1/L2. They are very well-to-do tradesmen and small businessmen. Then there’s the authentic Small Liberal Arts College experience. Think Amherst (#22), Williams (#23), or Oberlin (#63, As Seen in Girls). Unlike the previous expensive unranked liberal arts colleges, these schools are genuinely prestigious and can open career doors. The essential counterfeit done by their less prestigious cousins is to swap “prestigious college” for “college” as the token of status, and then to superficially replicate all the *lifestyle* elements of an expensive liberal arts college. But you’re not paying for the lifestyle. You’re paying for the connections. The degrees here will create connections to bring you into the social network of the intelligentsia. After college, these graduates usually transition into G2 roles. Next we have Study Hard Mathematic 12 Hour school. Tell me why the Weihan grinds. The Weihan grinds because he is trying to enter the bottom rung of the elite. The Study Hard Mathematic 12 Hour school experience starts early, often in Kindergarten, with IQ test prep. You Study Hard Mathematic 12 Hour for 12 Year so that you can get admitted to Harvard. And what do you do at Harvard?

You Study Hard Mathematic 12 Hour again.

Of undergrad majors declared at Harvard, ~75% are either STEM or in Economics.

Gore Vidal said that, at his boarding school, and in the elite more broadly, there are the smart kids and the rich kids. Of course, everyone is, roughly speaking, rich. But the smart kids serve and guide the rich kids and are groomed for that early. Gore Vidal got his first NatSec job at 16, and by his early 20s, he was ready to call of this quits forever. And he did. Most don’t. I also got my first job in defense at 16. And the rich kid? The rich kid was his cousin Al Gore. You do this endless grind so you can get a job at a prestige firm and grind some more as a junior. After thirty years of grinding, you make partner and join the few, the proud, the true elite. At the bottom. You’re not Lord Rothschild, you just fetch his coffee. These are the people who are recruited into the MBB consultancies, FAANG, the Bulge Bracket banks, and BigLaw. In Fussell’s terms, they can be UMC or UC, and in Michael O Church’s ladders, they are Elite… but E3. The people competing by Study Hard Mathematic are E4. The last kind of college experience is also Ivy. It’s the Occulted Ivy experience. This is the experience of the kids who get into their dad’s secret society and the right dining club and the right social club. The value of the degree is the networks formed. They’re not just here to meet each other (they already meet each other), but also to be introduced to their future servants, the smart kids. This is a process that begins in boarding schools and private schools, but at college they mix up all the streams and pick up Stuy kids. This cohort is the E2s and E1s of the Church ladders. It is the Fussellian UC and TOOS. And they are the true lords of the earth.

Happy back to school season! Corrections and Additions:
Gore Vidal and Al Gore were not cousins, this is just a joke Gore Vidal liked to make. To be fair to me, the NYT made the same mistake. There’s a substantial Greek life scene at the top small liberal arts colleges too. In fact, these can be thought of more as currents or styles present to varying degrees at different institutions rather than monopolizing. Two more types:
State School Credentialer: Just needs a degree to qualify for certain white collar jobs and is trying to get it as cheaply as possible.

The Academic/Grad Student: In it for the long haul, aspires to professorhood. If I think about the four thousand unranked colleges and their innumerable students, it spoops me. Like academic dark matter or the bottom of an iceberg. They’re out there.

What are they doing? 

This relates to the interminable “stealth wealth”/”grandiose wealth” discourse which I noted yesterday. It’s been a while, but it’s time for a class thread explaining the material drivers of class cultures and the expressions of luxury.

Not what “stealth wealth”. Why “stealth wealth”? The answer is as banal as it is overlooked. Going flashy is totally fucking ruinous. You can’t actually live the IG lifestyle unless you’re one of tens of thousands of oligarchs on earth.

Once the good times roll again, if they do, I expect to make a seven figure income. Even so, I remain comfortably in the middle sixes. I couldn’t afford to “ball out” with the branded lifestyle even if I wanted to. Suppose you take home $20k/mo. You can’t spend $1k on a shirt. That’s basic math. Regular people who make $50k spend like $10 on a shirt. If you make 10x that, you can spend $100 on a shirt, if you want (and that will get you an Italian tailored shirt handmade by craftsmen carrying tradition), but $1000? It’s too much. Marx commented on this in Das Kapital as the death of luxury. In a capitalist economy, all consumption comes at the expense of capital accumulation. If you consume all your income, your capital stagnates, diminishes, and eventually disintegrates. Not so with estate rents. So the death of luxury and the dawn of stealth wealth started in the 19th century, as a response to the capitalist economy. The irony was that unlimited abundance was the end of material signaling in any practical sense.

But that makes sense. A signal only matters if rare. So if capitalist abundance is the end of luxury, how does luxury come about in the first place if medieval aristocracy was so goddamn poor? (And they were poor.)

The answer lies in the tweet I am quote tweeting at the start. Neither Rome nor Roissy was built in a day. Rather, the Lords of Roissy built incrementally. If we excavate the site, we find that Roissy did not begin life as a 1400sqft stone castle. Rather, like most medieval structures, it was a thatched cottage. But the lords prospered. As they conquered and accumulated territory, the thatch cottage gave way to a fine wood and plaster house, the equal of any merchant burgher dealing in Oriental spices. And they rose further still. As their demesne grew, wood was replaced by stone, though small at first. Once they had the enduring stone structure, each generation could expand the house. Room by room, the castle grows. You put down a garden, or a mud room. You add a chapel with some books. Around the perimeter, you replace the dirt moat with a wall, then add a water moat. Many preserved manor-museums show the lordly collection of some family. One head buys a finger of a saint at the bazaar one day. Another acquires a rhino horn from the unicorns of the Kingdom of Prester John. You build up your literal family jewels. Showing off wealth was therefore a literally true and unfakable signal that your family had, for generations, been able to divert some of its surplus value towards accumulating luxury goods. But for this to work, you need both continuity of taste *and* continuity of place. Modernity, even before the advent of capitalism, was undermining both. Without continuity of taste, any luxury goods you do accumulate are obsoleted as soon as a fad cycle finishes. Poor is the woman (almost always woman) slaved to the runway season, for all her wealth goes into fineries tossed away by the next year. But what drives continuity of taste and what undermines it? Continuity of taste is undermined by the Red Queen race of signaling spirals. The more easily your directly-below countersignaled class can ape your signals, the faster fads shift. Sumptuary laws fight fads. However, the underlying strength of continuity, which has to balance against the corrosive signal spiraling effects of egalitarianism, is continuity and distinctiveness of lifestyle. That is, your style reflects your lifestyle and ethos, which is handed down generationally. The attempts of Manhattan culture curators to enshrine, memorialize, and make tradition the memory of the punks of Alphabet City is an attempt to lock and freeze a culture in place to end a signaling spiral (almost always toxic), even if that’s not the conscious motive. But this has been a losing battle since modernity began. The cry for the aristocratic man, the man of profound excellence, or more crassly, the “smart jock”, is an attempt to recapture a lost way of life which flowered and died off with the Renaissance. The Renaissance Man was the culmination, completion, and death of the medieval aristocrat. The Renaissance polymath knew essentially the entire corpus of Western knowledge and was good at everything, and pushed the bounds in every direction. That can only ever be true once. The generation after the most superior man masters and expands everything, the most superior man now has a body of work just slightly too large to master everything. Human genetic excellence was now eugenically increasing more slowly than world info density. We like to think about medieval aristocrats as jocks, but that’s because we invented the idea of jocks. Jocks are specialists. By contrast, Queen Margaret of Scotland was both a queen and a deeply religious thinker who memorized the entirety of the Psalter. By 1500, the end and the beginning, about 80% of Provencal nobles had a university education. These were men who were learned, cultured, and deadly.

In theory. In practice, by 1600, most barons, these little lords, had to pick between chasing the heights of education, the commercial success needed to wield power, and the investment of time and valor needed to prepare for war.

The armor rusted. 

The manor was a self-contained world led by a generational leader who was a man of universal excellence. But as the Middle Ages dragged on and eventually gave way to modernity, ties of tradition and oath were replaced by cash payments and specialization of labor. The other side of this is continuity of place. Continuity of place was also undermined by modernity. But this was not just about commercialization, but about power. Absolutism. When an elite is embedded in their local community, they begin to accrete luxurious wealth. But what does that look like? That looks like a fine mansion and collected antiques. But it also looks like the formation of social clubs and community bonds. The freemen and middling burghersr of a town could come together with its lord or lords and make some kind of club, like a Honorable Moose Club, or the Rotational Club. Together, by pooling wealth, they could make great works, like a church, a school, a park, or a monument. This kind of community building creates real bonds of loyalty. But civil cohesion can easily translate into martial power. The cohesive, harmonious town can summon the fyrd and go to war to defend itself – or attack.

Centralized power does not like this. Central power divides. There is a great movie, The Devils, about the priest Grandier. This was a priest defending the rights and liberties and way of life of Loudun against the encroach of central power, as symbolized by its walls. Walls, as established, are a symbol of continuity of wealth and place. To sum it up, he loses. And dies. In “The Hall of Three Pines”, the author, a Qing aristocrat turned Communist professor, recounts his youth. His father was selected to assume power in the imperial bureaucracy and govern an administrative division. This meant being relocated across the whole empire to a strange land with a strange people. In those days, people mostly spoke their dialect. His father – and my forefathers – spoke Mandarin. This meant you did not understand the peasants and they didn’t understand you. Despite the power and wealth you might accumulate, you would be a stranger and an alien to them. A foreign occupier. Such an elite cannot meaningfully rise up against the central power. Absolutism, for political reasons, broke continuity of place. As modernity developed in Europe, the life script of living and governing your estate was replaced with going to college, being summoned to court, and taking a position of power in a strange place with hostile locals. This equilibrium was only broken with liberalism. Liberal nationalism replaced a thousand microcultures with one homogenous national culture, which made low level elites, the nobles, once again the same culture as the peasants they ruled, and able to command personal loyalty.

Liberalism saw a political collapse every few years. But continuity of place was dead. And it’s still dead. All those mansions disappeared and aren’t coming back because in this day and age, they’re just white elephants.

Material forces drive culture. The mansion and the castle came into being because the lord could compel either direct labor service or cash-in-lieu payments from a community to maintain it. These mansions require constant construction work as well as a staff of servants to clean and maintain them. You incurred such costs because the thing had real benefits. It was a protection for you and your community. It was a physical symbol of your power, wealth, and continuity. It was a place to live in generation after generation. Well, now there are no wars of local honor, anyone can build a McMansion for enough cash, and your kids are going to move away anyways.

It’s pointless. It has been obsoleted by the march of time. Keeping them around became a romantic, not a practical gesture. Some of my inlaws are in a perpetual battle, loaded with debt, to save the mansion back in Europe. It is a form of ultimate house poverty – fighting to protect a house you don’t even live in (Buc-ee’s check, you can’t make money in Europe). Many British families applied, successfully or unsuccessfully, to have the state subsidize their old homes as cultural landmarks or convert them into museums. The remainder of these old country homes?

Ash and ruins. The romantic gesture is ultimately a doomed one, because people live for the here and now. They must.

And that’s what happened to grandiose wealth, and why “stealth wealth” rules.

The age has passed. 

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