Absorbing Barriers, Rocket Launches, and the Market Clearing Price for Signaling, Or Status and Society Pt. II

Dearest friends,

I was at a Costco. I was also at a different Costco. Both Costcos were Costcos. The forms of the Costcos were substantively the same. 95% of the products were the same, as they sourced from the same regional distribution centers. And yet, despite this, there were clear class differences between the two, apparent not just from the clientele and the neighborhood, but in the internals of the stores themselves. If you took away all the people, you could still tell which would be the higher class Costco. One Costco had a 4.5lb chocolate pie and 6oz cupcakes and a sushi deli counter, and the other Costco had artisanal cheeses. Though both Costcos had a wide variety of steaks, one Costco advertised USDA choice and the other USDA prime. As one more divide, one Costco had employee vests with a message saying “Ask me about Costco”. I leave this one as an exercise for the reader.

I was discussing class with my dear godsister and nonna this morning. My godsister had found an interesting article about someone’s experience with (partial) upward mobility and their discontent about it. In order to facilitate the transition upwards from white trash to PMC/middle class, the journalist’s family instilled strict shaming protocols around white trash behavior like getting drunk and substance abuse. One-above countersignaling behavior is almost always a reliable class indicator because the strict countersignal is usually functional. If you have to worry about falling in with heroin addicts in your community, then signaling about heroin addicts is important and functional to create a divide so you don’t fall into the wrong crowd. But it leashes your status as only one-above what you have to worry about, and reliably, because abandoning that countersignaling would be *extremely costly for you*, as you would fall into heroin abuse, so people two or more levels of class above you can countersignal the countersignal to show they don’t have to worry about the problem. This journalist had distinctly prole physiognomy, but my first glance assessment of her was middle class. Why? Problem glasses. And that led me to an insight.

Some signals are so informationally rich that they overwhelm all the information that led a person up to that point. I will call these absorbing barriers. Wearing problem glasses and having SJW behaviors is an absorbing barrier, because information about what led someone up to that point now has minimal value. We can know that they’re white trash, or we could know they’re failsons from wealthy families, or they could be generationally middle class but underemployed, but their new tribal markers are reliable to signal a complete message about their new state of being and mode of living. Similarly, the alt-girls in Lower Womanhattan may come from a variety of backgrounds, but by putting on that particular style and living in that place and socializing the way they do, they have announced their new way of life is to try and snag one of the young junior bankers in the area and pair off. But I don’t mean to imply the main absorbing barriers are primarily in fashion. Indeed, most aren’t. Going to college is an absorbing barrier. Once you go to Harvard, you are henceforth and forevermore a Harvard graduate, which is your main identity until you pass another absorbing barrier superseding it. People, rightfully, stop caring about what GPA or extracurriculars got you into Harvard. All that information fades into the background. Another important absorbing barrier is your first job, or the first job you get at successively higher tiers of employer prestige. After your first corporate job, you’ll be corporate material for the rest of your life. After working at McKinsey, your Harvard education gets distilled into the larger signal of “McKinsey Man”.

We can divide putative upward mobility into three categories:
1. Lifestyle Branding: This is not upward mobility in any sense, but adjusting your consumption choices differently so as to project a higher socioeconomic status than you do. The Gods hate cheap signals and lifestyle branding basically gets you nothing except from credulous idiots (but there’s enough of those that a few people do get genuinely rich selling Bugatti videos on how to get rich after throwing on a $10,000 suit).
2. Absorbing Barriers, or Partial Upward Mobility: This is the most common type of movement mistaken for true upward mobility. This is where you’ve created a true costly signal by enacting a genuine change in your identity, like going to college or abandoning a provincial accent. However, while it is in the upward direction, it is not a total change of class. Sooner or later, people get reality checked because passing the barrier is not self-sustaining. While a lifestyle brand can be easily walked back by changing your consumption status again, an absorbing barrier is a barrier both ways. Once you cross it, you can’t uncross it again without being harmed.
3. True Class Mobility: True class mobility is distinguished from absorbing barriers because it is self-sustaining. One achieves true class mobility when you are able to sustain your lifestyle at your new class with your new resources and reproduce it for another generation. In short, you are now at a new stable equilibrium. Every class is a stable equilibrium socio-economic tribe. Absorbing barriers tend to be cultural or social shifts that can act as stepping stones towards economic mobility, but economic mobility is the most necessary part of true class mobility. Once you have the economic habitus of your new class, you are almost to the end, and the cultural shifts are mostly useful to enable that shift.

We can illustrate these categories with an imagined Regular Huwyte Man from Middle America.
1. This would be our humble hero considering himself an upwardly mobile elite because he moved to NYC and eats expensive hamburgers at the Shake Shack in Soldman alley. Fake and gay.
2. If our hero moves to New York, gets a job as an investment banking analyst, and then washes out and goes home, he has passed a number of absorbing barriers, but cannot maintain the new classes which he has genuinely experienced in part. This is not true upward mobility, but it is *partial* upward mobility. It’s a failed attempt to strive.
3. If our hero moves to New York, gets a job as an investment banking analyst, exits into another high paying, high prestige job, finds and marries a WASP woman, and has children after retiring to Westeaster County, he has successfully strived and achieved genuine class mobility. Good work, hero.

We can imagine upward mobility as a rocket ship ride to another planet, the Planet of the Aliens Somewhat Richer than Yourself. We must prepare enough supplies to get all the way to the next planet on our home planet, our class of origin. But absorbing barriers, despite not being true class mobility, do represent progress. We can imagine our planet as being encased by several atmospheric layers of thick jelly. These are the absorbing barriers. Because of their thickness and stickiness, you can stop to rest on them along your journey and you won’t lose progress. Once you graduate college, you can take a break and you won’t ungraduate college. But at the same time, you can’t rest too long, because this is not true ground. You are still being pulled back towards earth, and until you reach your new planet, you have no permanent progress. A college graduate who doesn’t use that degree to secure a college job is actually worse off than a non-college prole. They’re not just a barista, they’re a barista with a lot of useless debt and a lot of wasted years. Because passing through an absorbing barrier is the adoption of a costly signal, if you have to return to your class of origin, you have to bear genuine cost. In video game terms, they’re like a checkpoint where your progress is saved, but you still haven’t completed the level. And absorbing barriers obsolete the steps you took to break through the barrier. If we imagine our rocket travelling at a fast speed towards the jelly wall ceiling, then after it passes through, it loses most of its momentum. Anyone not going fast enough to break through hits the jelly ceiling and bounces off, back down to earth. Everyone starts over at more or less the same point after the jelly ceiling. All Harvard graduates are Harvard graduates. All McKinsey Men are McKinsey Men. People can have accrued advantages or disadvantages from their speed when they hit the ceiling, but these become modifiers on your speed rather than the main event, like a +10% or -10%. It’s like a new World of Warcraft expansion releasing. All your epics from the last expansion become slightly better leveling gear for the new content. Your prestige and your achievements may carry over, but the new content runs on new rules by new standards. Or Cookie Clicker or other idle games: there are points where you unlock new powers that make cookies 100x faster. Your old stuff still makes cookies, but being twice as good at the pre-barrier stage only carries over as a 5% advantage for the next stage of competition. Like a rocket, what you did to bust through a barrier is like a rocket booster, and the moment you don’t need it, you should discard it as dead weight, because it’s not going to help you in your next upward climb anymore. America has lots of bilingual and trilingual teenagers, because elite colleges mandate it. America has almost no bilingual and trilingual adults. Keeping multiple languages fresh is hard work indeed, and it stops mattering to your life once you get into your college of choice, because you only needed it to get in, so people ditch it. It’s a spent rocket booster.

People who pass through several absorbing barriers but don’t reach a self-sustaining point of genuine class mobility sooner or later get a reality check. Oops, you can’t consume the culture to which you’re accustomed to without going deep into debt. Oops, you can’t raise kids in the city and have to move back to your hometown. Oops, that college degree is useless without a good job to go with it. Because the change was costly, people end up in a worse position than when they started. To strive out of the ghetto, a ghettoid has to cut off their family, or else their hungry mouths (cousin needs a new TV, brother needs braces, we need mo money for dem programs) will drag them back into the crab bucket and the abyss. What happens if you cut off your family to chase upward mobility and then have to slink back to the ghetto? You’re even worse off than before.

Once you’re committed, there’s no looking back. You have to go all the way. If you cut the thrust halfway through, you’ll burn up on reentry.

We return to the example of our Lower Womanhattanite. Imagine a 7 from Minnesota, a blonde in the top 10% of attractiveness. In order to enroll in the game, she has to move to Lower Womanhattan and rent an apartment there. Once she’s there, she’s on the clock. Every month, $3000 will be deducted from her bank account and she’ll get closer and closer to the wall. If she runs out of time, she has nothing to show for it but a bunch of stories about getting pumped and dumped by a bunch of autistic men named Brad who are a little too good at math. She puts on her war regalia, a nose ring, a tastefully subtle tattoo which can be covered up, and a single streak in her hair. The moment she makes this choice, she has devalued herself to her tribe of origin. She is no longer a debt-free virgin without tattoos. People can, and do, cite all sorts of statistics about people being better and better marriage material the further up you go the socioeconomic ladder. It’s true. It’s also irrelevant. It’s cope. What our heroine is doing is trying to signal availability to a rival socioeconomic tribe, a higher status one. Goth girl brain is a form of striver brain. And it’s a very old brain. It’s the same brain that led French girls to try and marry the invading German officers. And what did the French do? They shaved most of them and hung a few, as examples. You can’t defect from the tribe to a new higher status tribe. You stuck up whore, you think you’re too good for us? You uppity bitch. The actual n-count is fucking irrelevant, man. Actual sluttiness is a different bell curve and rural country girls have plenty of sluts too. But this is a deep disgust instinct. Any tribe that didn’t punish women and humiliate them for trying to leave the tribe to a conquering tribe would have died out a long time ago, because every tribe has been conquered at least once in history. So yeah, fuck that uppity bitch. But you normally let them back in after that. Eggs are expensive and sperm is cheap.

Now you may be wondering why pretty women don’t skip all this and try to maximize their lustful attractiveness as much as possible instead of playing subculture games. It doesn’t have to be alt-girl-fashion, but you do have to play at least one cultural game acceptable to the tribe, like Old Money aesthetic, or Tomboy Archaeologist/Ranger/etc, or Girlboss Executive. Why not just get pretty? Men online like to tell women that all men want is a pretty face and that rich men love to marry waitresses. That’s bullshit. It’s not true. Mating is about mixing genes, and you don’t keep your status generation after generation by breeding with waitresses. But there’s more to it than that.

In the game Cultist Simulator, the goal is to ascend to occult godhood by passing through the Tricuspid Gate. But there is another door, the Wrong Door, the Spider’s Door. And while you can enter the realm of gods through the Wrong Door, you cannot linger. You have a guest pass to eternity. This is what women are doing when they try to move up by focusing on their beauty alone. These are the yacht girls trapped between parties on the Social Club circuit, the lost and the damned. Why are they outcasts? Don’t men only care about beauty? Certainly, every once in a while one of them succeeds. There are plenty of idiots even among the elites and the oligarchs, and they tend to vote Republican! A scant few of them will pair off with a Donald Trump or some kind of megakulak who owns a megadealership, but most are doomed to be the cumrags handed out in the bags of party favors. For one thing, someone like me finds it incredibly disturbing when a model comes up and asks if you and your friend want to spitroast her. But men are horny dogs and some people will still find that to be… marriage material. However, one need only observe the behavior of the wives to see why the yacht girls are doomed. The wives do not like the yacht girls, and not just because they are literally looking to create affairs. If that were the case, the wives would relax when the yacht girls mingled with the young men on the make. But the yacht girls are unwelcome even when they are promoted to a wife, because they’re never acceptable as a “real wife”. Why? Because they didn’t play the game. They didn’t accept the tribal competition. They never did the alt girl thing, they never founded some fucking Airhockey startup. They cheated. It would be like an West African woman’s daughter not circumcising her genitals or a girl from the lip plate tribe not putting in a lip plate or a Chinese woman in certain eras not crushing her feet. Oh, you fucking bitch. You think you can skip the line? We’re going to ostracize you. And that means ostracizing your idiot husband. He doesn’t get to come to the smoky backrooms where deals are done. He can’t attend the dinner parties where the world spins. He’s cut off from the tribe.

And that’s what it is. Class mobility is about changing one tribe for another, where the tribes happen to be approximately hierarchical. A ruling class is also a ruling ethnicity, a clan of clans, a family of families. In all the paths of upward mobility, people are exchanging a combination of cultural signals and intelligence in order to get real economic resources and influence. But you can’t directly show your intelligence. So really, you’re exchanging a combination of signals and signals to get real economic resources. That’s the game, exchanging signals for resources until your resources are enough to secure a self-sustaining wealth pump of some kind. In the past, that was a landed estate, and today it’s a white shoe job, and tomorrow it may be a GPU farm, but the concept has not changed as long as there are humans. Autistics and sociopaths are often better at this because they have to construct their social matrix from zero, whereas most neurotypicals just imprint on their tribe of origin and that’s that. And nobody can ever signal their new tribe as well as if they were born in it because there’s a billion subtle things that can’t be aped except by being immersed in it. The signals are a sign of showing your commitment to your new tribe.

And this answers the mystery of why social mobility is constant over time. If we study our NRx canon and read The Son Also Rises, we find that class is hereditary at .8 in Europe and Northeast Asia. Astonishing! But what’s more astonishing is that this mobility rate has not changed for hundreds and hundreds of years. Why? Across that time, we’ve seen the rise and fall of feudalism, liberalism, Communist revolutions, civil wars, technology – and it keeps chugging along. Part of that is IQ. IQ is hereditary at 0.65 or so, so we should expect this to be the absolute maximum level of class mobility, for class mobility to have 0.65 heredity. Smart aristocrats have smart aristocrat kids. But why has it not moved at all, despite vast institutional changes? Because all our attempts to change mobility do nothing about what mobility actually is. Mobility is allowing people to exchange signals for resources. Our attempts to increase class mobility are nothing more than making signals cheaper and more accessible. The prime example is college. College used to be a ticket straight into the elite, now it’s a gold star you stamp on your resume just to get into the door of an unpaid internship. That’s because signals are only valuable insofar as they are both rare and costly. A signal that is not rare and not costly is worthless, which is why lifestyle branding is pointless and people who signal their spiritual aristocracy by eating at Shake Shack and living in a city writing a blog do not move a single inch on the Great Class Ladder.

What class mobility is is a market. The supply of class mobility is however many slots in a higher class organically open up through failure to reproduce and downward mobility. The demand for class mobility is how many strivers want to move up. Every striver is every other striver’s competition. And the price? The price is signals. The more people want to strive, the more you need people to pay more in terms of signaling. The winners of the competition are the high bidders, more or less, just like a regular market. What liberalism and meritocracy did was not permit more class mobility. Class mobility isn’t a coup complete program, it’s a jihad complete program, because the amount of class mobility is the amount of slots that open up each generation, which is a product of how an ethnicity lives and breeds and expels unworthy talent from its tribe. Instead, these reforms made it cheaper to signal, which made the signals less rare and less valuable, which meant that people had to spend more resources to create more signaling currency to outbid their rival strivers, while simultaneously vastly increasing the pool of strivers. After the French Revolution, every fuck in your whole country could try to strive and become an aristocrat, and after globalization, the whole world could gun for your spot, theoretically. Humans are evolved for inefficient, localized status competitions. We want to compete with our monkeysphere. People are going insane.

So what can be done? If reforms aren’t about increasing class mobility, what are they about? Well, competition is good in that it creates more of what you compete over. Intensified signaling spirals create more of whatever good is incidentally created in the signaling spiral. The post-French Revolution period was immensely good for science and technology. Aristocrats around the world have convergently evolved to loving ideas as a signal of high status, because having complex, interesting ideas is a good way to convey intelligence, which keeps your tribe full of smart people, which keeps you on top. You’ll notice that most of the men who countersignal smart wives and focus on beauty are proles. Proles stay proles. Once the signaling spiral was let loose, you had to make as many ideas as you could to stay on top, which meant science went ballistic. But we don’t value genuine knowledge anymore, for many reasons.

So why strive at all, if it’s so fraught and if failing has real consequences? Because Man is not content with his lot. Because the mark of an ambitious soul is to peer out past the foggy crests of the mountains and wonder what lies beyond, to look at the setting sun and want to chase it into the strange unknown, to see a throne and imagine yourself atop it. To never settle, but with a restless murmur, carry on, towards an unimagined and unimaginable infinite.

Though I’ve flown one hundred thousand miles, feeling very still,
Monsieur le Baron

PS: The Costco with the “Ask me about Costco” vests was the wealthier. If you got it wrong, check your gut instincts.

Thankstaking Season and the Status Competition, Or Nerd Power and Cunt Power – 1001 New York Nights: Status and Society Pt. I

Dearest Friends,

I was gobble gobble gobbling over my Turkey Day, and as always, there was an argument. Or we might call it a spirited debate. Let me take you through it.

Imagine a man. He is a stereotypical resident of a stereotypical neighborhood we’ll call the Upper Rest Side. The man is a professor at You Pork University, one of the best “State Schools” in the country, despite being inexplicably private. He wears square glasses and a tweed coat, is balding, and he collects African masks. He is a very wealthy nouveau riche, but his family is from the shtetl. Every year on Thanksgiving, he gives a lecture on an obscure African tribe and their sociology and praises Hashem for His grace.

Is this man high status?

Everyone agreed he was.

Now imagine another man from another place. This man is from Snark Pope, a neighborhood across town. He’s rich, but he’s not as rich, and at any rate, the money is vulgar. Not only is he shtetl people, he’s first-generation rich, having made a few million as a marketing executive. Nevertheless, he is also thankful, for he does also live a blessed life. His hair is starting to go salt-and-pepper and he has a body that, while not as chiseled as a Grek bodybuilder’s, is well-maintained from regular aerobic exercise and clean living. His business affairs prosper and his dinner is well-attended by both friends and family. He gives his own speech, and this one is about Black Lives Matters. It is cribbed from MSNBC and consists of platitudes and cheap slogans.

My interlocutor asserts this man, the Snark Poper, is higher status than our first subject. He’s more socially dominant, which I am forced to agree to. When the two meet, the Snark Poper owns the Upper Rest Sider. And not only that, he’s more evolved! What? How can he be more evolved, man? This guy is just worse than the Upper Rest Sider. Well, exactly! I object to this. Of course I object.

If you don’t believe the Snark Poper would own the Upper Rest Sider, I will provide an illustrative example:

Upper Rest Sider: So you see, the tribesmen of the Ombombo eat the tree fly as part of their coming-of-age ritual because the tree fly has a particular life cycle in which the larva embed into the fruit and emerge fully grown – accordingly, the youth is told to eat the fly to gain its nous, so that he may also taste the sweetness of life.

Snark Papist: Are you saying that Africans eat flies because they have no food? That seems really inappropriate.

Upper Rest Sider: No, you misunderstand. This is an example of their rich culture, they have different moral standards from Weste-

Snark Papist: Oh, so they don’t have morals and that’s why they eat bugs? That’s racist. You’re racist!

The Upper Rest Sider sags in defeat. Later that night, he will return home, log onto his anonymous Bird.com account, and write an esoteric racist shitpost.

Well, think about it, continues my interlocuter. His status-seeking features are more refined. The Snark Poper is doing prog-to-mog. If you’re optimizing yourself to be a mogging machine, then objectively the actual knowledge, money, etc is dead weight. It’s much better and more effective to become a bigger asshole. In fact, we can go further.

Imagine a third man, from a neighborhood adjoining Snark Pope: Billionswurg. He has no money. He has no taste, at least not any taste an art critic would grasp. His favorite painters are Bart Simpson and the guy who draws graffiti dicks on the brick walls of alleyways. He knows nothing about Africa, instead cribbing racist jokes from his favorite podcasts. But this guy is cool. He’s way cooler than the Snark Poper.

At this, I was speechless.

This is what happens when those two meet.

Snark Papist: Hey there young man, do you know where the subway station is? I’m afraid I’ve gotten a little mixed up.

Hipster: Why the fuck are you bothering me?

Snark Papist: Oh, I’m just trying to figure out where to go. I’m not from here, I came down to see the Art of Niger exhibit.

Hipster: Whoa bro, did you just say the N-word? The NIGGER word? C’mon man, you can’t do that.

Snark Papist: No, no, it’s Niger. It’s a country in Africa.

Hipster: I don’t think you know anything about nigger. Name every African.

Snark Papist: I’m sorry?

Hipster: Damn right you’re sorry. Ooga booga bix nood mufugga watermelon chicken! Gronk! Snood! Do you even know what that means? That’s Nig-Nog, the language of the Nogger tribe.

Snark Papist: Well, ah, uhh, um, that’s why I’m trying to learn more, so I can grow and thrive.

Hipster: Ummm, you’re Chinese.

Snark Papist: I… I am? No, I… I’m Jewish.

At this point, the Hipster begins aggressively pelvic thrusting towards the Snark Papist. The Papist flees in terror. When he gets home, he wonders if he was raped. He resolves to be a better feminist ally in the future.

What is status? Social dominance. And what is social dominance? Social dominance is the ability to force your way in social situations. If everyone agrees on something because it benefits them all, that doesn’t take any social dominance to do. What takes a lot of social dominance? Pointing at a deer and calling it a horse. Or better yet, pointing at an empty box and calling it a horse. Not just a horse, but the most majestic stallion you’ve ever seen. And the act of exerting social dominance and getting away with it is itself both a signal of and a producer of more social dominance. The act is its own social proof if you don’t get called out on it. Roughly speaking, we can say social dominance has two components, which I will call Nerd Power and Cunt Power, and your total social dominance, which is your status, is a function of the two factors.

Nerd Power is your ability to generate objective value. In a relationship, it’s your ability to provide, to bring home the bacon. In the white collar tech world, engineers have the Nerd Power. But it’s not just things like that. If the standard of value is muscles, then the jock has a lot of Nerd Power. In fact, it is commonly observed, and true, that many jocks are just Nerds for Sports. The value of Nerd Power is the ability to give people carrots. In the carrot-and-stick of social dynamics, your Nerd Power is how many carrots you bring to the table. One problem is that without a stick, a lot of your carrots can be bullied out of you for very little. And the traits that make people good at things often make it harder for them to defend what they make. Cooperativeness, high trust, and affability generate value in most parts of life, but it’s easy to be walked over if you do. The most conscientious person on a work team ends up carrying the project. But there’s an even worse failure state. Sometimes people don’t want any carrots out of you. At that point, you reach Nerd Power’s failure mode. Nerd Power’s value comes from objective Survival Constraints. The more you need that value, the more you’re going to have to negotiate with someone with Nerd Power, and the better their conditions will get. The classic example of Nerd Power achieving utter social dominance is when you have Employee #1, the only one who groks the mainframe. People like that set their own rules and name their own price. But much of the time, Nerd Power can be pushed around by the other source of social dominance: Cunt Power.

This is what happens when Nerd Power has no carrots the other party wants.

Let me tell you a story. How many layers of recursion deep can we go? As many as it takes to fry the brains of the censors. There was a junior investment banker who had a girlfriend, a journalist, he wanted desperately to please. But no matter what he did, none of it ever seemed good enough. Not that he had enough time. He hated that. Every day, he woke up – too early – and rolled out of bed, sometimes clothes still on from the last night, and dragged himself into the office.

He wanted to die. He was counting the days until that bonus check hit. Was it worth it? Could it be worth it? Was this all there was to life?

He was neglecting her. Was he abusing her? Was this abuse? He hated himself. He didn’t want to hurt her, he really didn’t. He wanted to love her. He wasn’t worthy of loving her. He wanted to be. He couldn’t. He hit himself, a lot. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Stupid! Even his nights didn’t belong to him. He could leave the office, but he couldn’t escape the office. Ping. Ping. He checked his phone. It was Teams. It was his boss, actually. He was supposed to spend some time with her. He wouldn’t get to. Was this his fault? He should have checked his work more. He should have asked for comments before leaving. Stupid. Stupid!

I’m sorry, he croaks. I have to do this. Ten minutes, babe. Twenty, tops.

He spends the next hour turning comments. By the time he finishes, she’s bored. She’s gone.

He wants to crumple up and blow away. He can’t. Yet another thing he can’t do right.

When they make love, he thinks about death a lot. Mortality. Death would be the end of his pain. At least he could die right. Everyone can. But death also seems like a door. Who knows what’s beyond death? At night, he dreams about a different, far off world. It is full of fairies and dreams and sweet princesses and noble princes. Everyone lives happily ever after. Is that the place beyond death? Maybe this is his sleeping life. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with his life. She’s out there, in the woods. She’s waiting for him to wake up. Death. He tells her this, once, well, at least the first part. He thinks of death when they make love. She looks at him with sheer contempt. He never brings it up again.

He takes her to the Hamptons by Blade. That helicopter service. He thinks it will be magical. The house is his parent’s, but it’s his for the weekend. She thinks it’s too loud. Her hair gets messed up. She blames him. She mopes. He wakes up before dawn. He stands in the sand, water up to his ankles, and looks out, waiting for the sun to rise. The cold wind nips at his face. He subscribes to Jezebel. He wants to understand her better. He doesn’t understand the articles. Stupid. Stupid!

He’s going to do it. He’s going to quit. He’s going to love her like she deserves to be loved. He’s going to move to New Hampshire and become an English professor. He’ll have a large dog that he walks every morning. He’ll grow his own flowers. They’ll sip coffee and watch the swaying of the trees. They’ll be happy. Come with me. He tells her.

She leaves him. Later, she writes an article about him. My experience dating a toxic finance bro who pretended to be a feminist!

He cries. He wants to die. He takes a fluffy, woolly blanket, and wraps it around himself until he feels safe. Then he picks up his pencils. And he begins to draw.

A world where the pain will stop.

Nassapaqua Hills.


The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.

Autumn 2022.

I am on the train heading into New York City.

Summer is over. It’s always better to spend as much of summer outside the swampy, murky mess of New York summer as you can.

I am pacing the halls back and forth, agitated. Bored, mostly. You lose signal sometimes – often, frankly too often. The infrastructure in this fucking country. You can’t put cell towers all along a fixed railroad route? Of course they can’t. They used to have booze on the trains. It was something to do. Killed time. They got rid of that a little while back. Still, I can’t hate the train. I love the train. I love cross-country trips by train, and I even love little commuter hops. I love the sleepers and I love the Amtrak food.

At the very least, you might run into someone interesting, someone to talk to. You meet all kinds of people in the train. I’ve met Italian dukes who run painting contractors (there’s a lot of money in that, apparently). I’ve met retired medical professors. I’ve met ranchers headed back to their vast herds in the trackless Midwest. You never know, you know?

I walk up and down the seats. I see someone reading. Tall kid, young, white. Square jaw, but a bit of softness around the eyes. Well, you don’t want to interrupt that, it’s rude. They’re reading. I spy the title of the book on the front. Kirstin Lavransdatter. Oh, what the hell. I know that book.

“Hey,” I say. “Is that Kirstin Lavransdatter?” He doesn’t respond. The hell is this? “I’ve read that book,” I say again, loudly, staring directly at him. He jumps a little up in his seat, looks like he’s about to bolt. Maybe that was a little much. I think about conquering the world while he opens his book more widely, then reaches a hand into his coat pocket, retrieving… a fucking flower? He places it slowly in the inner fold of the book, then pauses, then picks it up, adjusts it slightly, and gingerly moves it so that the bloom of the flower isn’t disturbed by the book. Then he slowly closes the book around the flower.

“I’m sorry,” he says. “I didn’t realize you were talking to me.”
“I’ve read that book too. It’s interesting,” I say.
“Really? I can never get enough of it. You know, the way flawed people… women, they can find grace. People getting caught up in themselves, but… it works out.”
“Well, that’s the beauty of the Catholic tradition, I think. It doesn’t demand perfection, but penance. Grace is a gift, freely given, to sinners, if only they reach out for it. Lord have mercy.”
“Lord have mercy,” he repeats.

There is a silence. There is only the rumbling and shaking of the train.

“I’m Clive,” he says. “I teach this book at a local liberal arts college. Local to Nassapaqua, I mean, not New York. It’s, uh, the subject of my doctoral work. I find it really interesting… women, feminism, sacrifice… coming to terms with a broken life. I don’t- well, that is, I mean… it’s not feminist like that, not in… It’s not clear that she’s right or wrong. Can any woman be happy with a disappointing man? But can she do anything but blame herself when the man she does pick… he’s… well… It all comes down to the grace of God, I guess. What do you do?”

“I work in finance.” He winces.

We pass through the internet dead zone. I sit down in a row I can have to myself, whip out my phone, and doomscroll the Bird the rest of the journey.

When I arrive at the station, I call an Uber. The app spins a bit, then picks up a driver. Because I’m an Uber Diamond Rewards customer, Uber upgrades me to a black cab automatically. A tank-like SUV pulls up to the curb. “Ahmed?” I ask. He nods. He repeats my name back to me. I confirm. We’re on our way.

I’m headed down to Dimes Square. Dimes Square is a microneighborhood, a little lemon wedge squeezed next to Chinatown, a little slip of a place. That’s what it is geographically. Culturally? It’s the scene.

All cultural roads lead to Dimes Square. Here is the intersection of Trumpism and breast milk and tradcaths and racists and leftists and dirtbags and poasters and troons and and balloons and drugged out freaks and artists and geeks. It was, in short, the worst place on Earth and the only place to be. Anyone who was anyone was there, and there were there to be a tastemaker and a tastetaker.

And me? I don’t know. I supposed I wanted to see it. Just to know about it, and that it was there. Grandly, I thought, I would give voice to the voiceless stories. Lowly, I thought, this was my version of Little Honey Boo Boo. The truth is probably something in between.

I showed up at the door, only to be checked by some bro in a jacket.

“Do you see this jacket? Do you know what that means?” he screamed.
“No,” I said, nonplussed.
“That means I work at BOAR’S HEAD, BRO. I make SANDWICHES. I decide who pees! You want to pee, I’m the bathroom king.”

I just wanted to go inside but this guy wouldn’t let me. But then, a black man looked at me, then looked at him, and spoke. “Ay, what do you think you’re doing? Crazy motherfucker,” he said. The Boar’s Head Guard stammered. “I’m Black,” said the black man. He was black. The Boar’s Head Guard’s eyes widened in realization as he realized the black man was black.

“Sorry,” he murmured. “Right this way,” he said, ushering me in.

I went inside. I scanned the room. Some people were clearly and visibly dysgenic, their physical mutations no doubt only matched by their mental ones. The others were not. They were attractive. Art hos. The place was swarming with journalists. They loved it. They hated it. It disgusted them. It was that curious mixture of emotions that was closest to them being collectively aroused. They were aroused by this, The Scene. And they were here to observe it, write about it, fawn about it. I wasn’t sure which group disturbed me more. This was not a place of honor. A man was hitting himself in the testicles with a hammer. That was his art. Another was reading his poetry. The poetry was about masturbating to his dead cat, who reminded him of Garfield the Cat, who he was sexually attracted to. It climaxed and so did he. I sidled up in that awkward mixer way to someone to strike up a conversation.

“So what’s your deal?” he asked.
“I work in finance,” I mumbled.
“Pfft. You know where I work?” he asked, puffing out his chest. “I work at a fucking movie theater, man. A mo-vie the-at-er.”
“Like for ar-” I started.
“Man, we show the best pictures. Probably. I make the popcorn. I pop the popcorn. I put the butter on the popcorn. Does a faggot financier even know what butter is? Fucking retard.”

I started to talk again, to tell him that I did know what butter was, but he interrupted me again.

“Butter is,” he said, crinkling his nose. He paused. He was thinking. “Butter is that yellow delicious stuff.” He looked me up and down. “So where do you live? Can you even afford your own place? Loser.”
“I live on the Upper East Side,” I said.
He smirked condescendingly. “I live in SoHo,” he said. “My rent is $15,000 a month.” Then, triumph crackling in his voice, he said, “Daddy dearest pays for me.”

He scoffed, concluding I wasn’t worth any more of his time, and turned around. It didn’t matter. The King had arrived.

The King was the coolest guy in this crowd, the New York scene, which made him the coolest guy in New York, which made him the coolest guy in the Western World. He wasn’t just a tastemaker, he was *the tastemaker*. At least until someone knocked him down. But that would be hard to do. He was a magnificent specimen. His hair formed a greasy Jewfro. His eyes were beady and poorly spaced, so it was never quite clear what he was looking at. His jowls were too fat, and bulbous, and he looked around the room with the cool, dispassionate gaze of someone who knew he was the shit. Idly, he picked at himself with his fat sausage fingers.

With him was 2022’s It Girl. Everyone knew he was the most beautiful woman in New York. He had broad shoulders, like a linebacker. His jaw was thick enough to crack granite. He was wearing a wig, which was starting to fall off. He had a hairy chest, which the King licked with lust. He was hot with desire for his Queen. They began to make out. As one, moved by this sight, the crowd stood to clap. And clap. They kept clapping.

I kept clapping. They kept clapping. We were clapping. Seconds passed. Sweat dripped down my forehead. I shouldn’t have worn my coat. But I couldn’t take it off now. I was busy clapping. What, was I gonna stop to take off my coat? But still, that was making me thirsty. My arms were getting tired. I was clapping. How long were we clapping? Five minutes? Ten minutes? Clap, clap, clap. Finally, one of the journalists, she began to slow down. She stopped clapping. Bit by bit, the crowd slowed too, then stopped.

The King locked eyes with her, his gaze steely.

The next day, she was cancelled on Twitter for transphobia. Soon afterwards, she was fired from her job.

Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.


Cunt Power. What is Cunt Power? If Nerd Power is the carrot, then Cunt Power is the stick. Cunt Power is how much of a dickhead you are. The more you can cunt people out, the more power you have over them, because people will do what you say to make you stop. Cunt Power is bragging, Cunt Power is being overbearing, Cunt Power is shaming people into line. One of the reason why women like assholes is because without any ability to be an asshole, people will just walk over you and take all of your value. They will win by Cunt Power. But absent the survival constraints, Cunt Power tends to dominate Nerd Power. Any time Cunt Power interacts with Nerd Power, Cunt Power will simply own Nerd Power. You can only deal with someone pushing you by pushing back yourself.

The problem with a pure Cunt Power strategy is that people can easily disengage with you. Social status is not a one person game, but requires other to acquiesce to your will in order for you to be high social status. You can cunt people out, but if they have no reason to stay, then they will stop interacting with you. So most people have to balance carrot with stick, and on balance, they tend to need more carrots than there are sticks. But cunt power can spiral out of control if there’s no need to bargain for the other person’s social presence in your life. That creates an inherent power imbalance. So someone’s Mother-in-Law can get a very high social status by cunting out their Son-in-Law. If his status is high, then her status becomes his status + 1, which is very high. The ideal status-maximizing position to take there is for the Son-in-Law to be a real catch, but still not good enough for your daughter, and have to sit and take it while you ream him out. That’s the visceral feeling of winning. Similarly, a Bridezilla is essential to her own wedding, so she can feel and demonstrate high social status by making everyone else’s life hell. That’s, on an animal level, the definition of winning. And we are just status apes deep down.

But we can go further. What if you could cunt out total strangers? What if you could achieve maximum cuntiness all the time with people you don’t even know? You can. All societies have sacred myths which they find legitimate. In ours, wokeness and progressive morality plays that role. By becoming holier-than-thou in the reigning ideology, you can cunt out random people, and if they resist, you can shame them inside the dominant moral paradigm, bringing down force against them. Damn, that feels good. You’re winning as an animal. There is, however, a problem. Status showing behaviors almost all come at a cost to the signaler. A peacock’s tail is a drag on the peacock. Philanthropy comes at great expense if you do it for real. The ancients used to have their Big Men throw grand feasts or make sacrifices of their fine animals to the gods. To show off your status usually makes you poorer, not richer. Even pure social shows of status rarely turn out well for the signaler – nobody really likes a braggart. But we still do it. High status means high mating chances. And those hipsters mate like crazy, for what they bring to the table (nothing but how cool they are). The problem with constantly degrading your own life when you already have little, though, is that you break right through rock bottom and keep going. In some objective sense of life achievement, these are some of the worst losers you can imagine. They’re not smart, they’re not successful, they’re not learned, they’re not working to benefit society, they’re not good company, and they’re not nice.

I suppose that gives us a good working definition of a true Status-Maximizing Sociopath. A Status-Maximizing Sociopath is someone who looks at that and thinks “Good deal”. Love of the world, or perhaps, love of the world loving you.

But almost everyone will do something for a few status points more, unless they’re literally fighting to survive.

Later that night, I had the opportunity to own my interlocuter. And I took it. He was complaining about venture capital. How come he couldn’t raise a bunch of VC money? It’s because he didn’t have the right credentials. Someone like my friends had the right credentials. But his ideas were good. I took this opportunity to own him.

In fact, his ideas being good were the problem. I was in that world long enough to know that many of the companies that raised the most money came from the stupidest ideas. Why? Because it’s, again, status signaling. It takes a good VC to make money. But it takes a great VC to lose a lot of money. First, because you need that money to begin with. And secondly, the stupider an idea, the more “visionary” it seems to champion it, which benefits the VC’s status. I had won.

But I had also lost, in principle, the argument I had made earlier in the night. And so, to my interlocuter, who I know will be reading this, consider this essay my concession speech. You have won the traditional Thanksgiving political argument, and proven yourself to really have become an exceptional young adult. I am thankful for another year passing – after all, we only get so many.

May all of your lives be blessed and may we all get through the coming trials.

Monsieur le Baron

Tales From the Tire Guy: Or Mythic Ages, Safe Exotics, and the Familiarity of Distance

Dearest friends,

Do you know why the caged tire man sings? Probably because we keep poking his rubber fat rolls. But why does he sing for his supper? Because he must, because we all must. And what does he sing for?

Well, often for the Japanese. Japan was a place where the Tire Man food guide found a lot of traction. Why? Because the Japanese, like the French, found a lot of success in the technique and artistry of food. The presentation and the experience of food was given a lot of focus. In the Japanese, the French had found a kind of kindred spirit. And what they had in common was a very important thing.

What is high and low cuisine? High cuisine is defined not just by its deliciousness, but about the care of preparation, the quality of ingredients, the presentation, and especially the technique. While many 3 stars exist in the realm of novelty and experimentation (the chefs have ascended to the food equivalent of modernist composition – is molecular gastronomy not akin to atonality?), the far more common 2 and 1 stars are almost always very delicious. But deliciousness itself does not make something high cuisine. The aforementioned elements of high cuisine combine into one thing: the pursuit of a perfected dish. It is not only dumplings or whatever, but the attempt to create dumplings with such art that they are really what they ought to be. By contrast, low cuisine is cheap, mass produced, and delicious. Fast food is delicious, but in a crude way. Hearty peasant foods are delicious, but able to made by an ordinary, non-professional chef household with commonplace tools – they do not emphasize strange and exacting techniques. Stewing and roasting are popular – cheap on attention, even if they can take a long time. Between high and low cuisine is middle cuisine, which is often not delicious but is a statement of fanciness – you go to show that you are a person who can go to fancy restaurants.

Of course it was always a fit for Japanese culture. Japan is a culture of monomania – it’s not just the katana meme. While Japan pretends its claims to fame are all ancient, many are really imported. Oh, you think you know trucks? We’ll take those trucks and make the perfect truck. Oh, you think you know noodles? Those noodles are bullshit. We have made the perfect ramen. This fruit, the grape? Watch this. We will grow a grape the size of a fist, watching the skin every day to make sure it doesn’t split open. Beef? You think you’re a beef eater, Texan Man? Behold my marbling! The case of the peach is instructive. Peaches are not from Japan, but Japan loves its peaches. And Japan has a myth about peaches. But as one normally imagines myths, we have a problem – peaches showed up in Japan in 1875. The peach blossoms were not used to grow real, eaten peaches prior to then. How could real, modern humans invent a myth? I suppose the same way one invents a religion.

While Shinto is fake, what we might call the Shinto ethos is real. That is, objects that are real and physical can deserve worship. And that mastery or perfection can be obtained with physical pursuits. I’m sure you’ve seen things like the “God of Swords” or the “God of Spears” in anime or manga. What the peach man is growing is not a peach, but a Peach. Not an ordinary peach, but the God of Peaches. So of course the God of Peaches can have a myth and dwell in mythology. That is rightly where it belongs. Like the Bronze Age brave, the peach man undergoes a quest to the realm of the divine. Through ritual, the physical passes into the realm of the mythical, much like burning offerings changed them from the meat of men to the meat of the gods. The mythical is a realm of stories, and these stories are true lies about what composes a culture.

To the extent you can invent a religion or a myth, it must be reflecting of the deep nature of a people, such that it can survive the quest to the mythic realm. That is the secret of the Gloranthan hero quest. The safest way is always to reenact the myth as told. But if circumstances dictate, you can introduce novelty to the realm of the gods, and in doing so, hopefully find the answer fitting your own time. However, the novelty must conform to the realm of the gods – what is introduced must reflect the deep nature and essence of a myth, which is the people that produced it, in the same way, or it will be ejected from the Godrealm – painfully.

Consider that a warning for all our would-be right-wing Brahmin.

And what is this mythic realm? It is an imagined place, certainly. But it is also an imagined time. It is a particular imagined time, which becomes the Mythic Age. It is an idealized past from which all things of antiquity must descend. The common mistake is to imagine this Mythic Age is always the Ancient Age, a distant, far-off place beyond human recording. But that is not so. The Mythic Age is deeply tied with the birth of a culture, not the strictures of absolute time and absolute technology.

The birth of a culture, like the death of a culture, is a long, drawn-out thing, and it is hard to draw bright lines. Take, for instance, the long, strange death of Late Antiquity. Rome fell, Rome will fall, and Rome is falling.

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who, during the eruption of Vesuvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one thing that can not be taken from a man.”

Ryan Gosling

An honorable culture, like an honorable man, must seek an honorable end. When did Rome fall? 476? And yet, for a while longer, the lingering energy of the empire and its institutions persisted. The men who felled Rome did not think they were felling Rome. They admired Rome. They wanted to be Rome. When Rome fell, they styled themselves as continuations of such. Successors.

What happened to the legion? The legions started out as free men of property mustered to serve Rome. Marius transformed them into a standing army of career professionals. But as Rome decayed, it proved incapable of paying and upkeeping the classic Marian legions. There was a shift to a two-tiered system. There would be interior legions which more closely resembled the classic legions combined with the limitanei, troops that manned permanent border fortifications and which could quickly muster to confront threats. When Rome fell, the limitanei did not. They stayed at their posts because no one relieved them. When the Merovingian Empire rose, it found willing servants in these final legions. The nature of birth and death can be seen in the evolution of the Merovingian military. Roughly, it had several components: royal retainers (belonging to one or many kings), the retinues of the magnates, the yeoman levy, and the Roman legions. Each of these had different operational ranges. The yeoman levy had to stay close enough to home to return to do farm labor. The magnate retinues had no business but war, but had a magnate master who would not allow them to do tasks disagreeable to them or stray from their control. The legionnaires were professional soldiers but had a home base in the fortification they manned. The royal retainers were highly mobile and well trained, but few in number. The Merovingian army was primarily an infantry army, with 10-30% cavalry. The Merovingian legionnaire was an armored heavy infantryman with a throwing axe or javelin that was used to break or disable an enemy’s shield before closing into melee combat.

What is the life or death of a culture? While a culture lives, it is vital. It self-reproduces and evolves and comes up with new variations. It is, like a living thing, learning and growing older. A dying culture is not the same way. We can see this in the decline and fall of the last Roman legions. Youthful Rome had an inexhaustible supply of manpower, but had not yet found its way – it had not yet invented the legion idea. Marius’s mules were strong, vigorous, and many. As Rome passed through adulthood to enter old age, the legions changed again to this center and border model. But the fall of the Rome, the death of Rome, did not usher in a new form of legion. That is what it means to have a dead culture – despite the radically different world, the legions did not become radically different. Rather, they were conserving a fixed supply of vitality inherited from their dead world which ebbed over time. When Romanness was the living culture, the ability to raise legions was – while not unlimited – certainly not a problem. Strong and willing men could be recruited and *formed into* legions.

When the early Merovingians summoned these legions, they found this still to be the case, and were able to form a few of their own. But while Rome mustered whole armies into being, the Merovingians, despite holding substantially similar territory, could only create a few legions. A living and vital culture has the power to assimilate and absorb. The legions could always reproduce the culture of the legion through their institutions during the time of Rome. During the Merovingian night, the institutions and their military science disappeared – but there was still military tradition. And this tradition was alive enough that it was understood, and being an understood tradition, it could be used to raise more legions. As this vitality waned further, no more legions could be raised. The last reinforcements had arrived in that long, dark night. What legions remained could only reinforce themselves, reproducing themselves. The military traditions still survived, but they were now merely dead tradition. The preservation of fire had become the worship of embers scattered among ashes. The ability to teach military drills and maneuvers had forgotten the purpose and reasoning of such things. You were a legionnaire because your father was a legionnaire and his father before him, going back into a forgotten antiquity. And you would do your duty until one day, the Emperor returned to relieve you. The one thing that could not be taken from you was an honorable death.

The wars continued. Bit by bit, the last Roman legions were chipped away, lines ending before they could renew themselves. And some time in the final decades of the 7th century, the last legion fell, two hundred years after their emperors did. Only in death did duty end.

As the last embers fade, a great relearning must occur. Traditions are a culture’s answers to the great problems of life, and those problems do not go away just because an empire declines and falls. Who now speaks of the Merovingians? Because the Merovingians are only the shade of Rome, rapidly fading away. The traditions are necessary because the problems remain. But the old, dying culture cannot adapt its traditions to meet changing times, and more and more, they fall out of step with a world deeply unlike the world that created them. Meanwhile, the rising culture is confronting the constant problems of life and happening into solutions that work with those problems while reflecting the reality *it* is born into.

This early misty age, when the culture exists but is not aware of itself, is not conscious of itself and what it is, becomes the Mythic Age of the culture. Cultural Antiquity, the age which we consider a thing to have existed since time immemorial, is not a fixed thing, or even a time relative to the present, but refers back to the Mythic Age of the culture. The Romans had their own Mythic Age in the founding of Rome, the kings, and the early Republic, the early Republic becoming the moment of consciousness. What is the British Mythic Age? It begins with Late Antiquity and King Arthur and ends with British self-awareness in either Alfred the Great or William the Conqueror. The mythology of Britain thus hearkens back to an imagined Romano-British age, which has a *fixed chronology*, despite being mythical. You can place the unreal events in a particular time and a particular place. It is the mythic Britain behind the real one, as C.S. Lewis might say. And the Mythic Age and the Mythic place are perhaps not real, but they are a reflection of what should be real, the Britain that Britain imagines it should be. For the French, this Mythic Age is a time spanning from that same Late Antiquity to Charlemagne, when the new culture realizes it is born and that it exists.

When writing new myths, they place themselves into that Mythic Age. Stories set long ago, in a vague past, are set at a particular time, the Mythic Age. It is the symbols of that Mythic Age that confer legitimacy. The scepter is not a universal of rule, but there must be a thing that fills the role of that scepter. For instance, the Dahomey, a gunpowder culture, coming of age in the Early Modern, had a shotgun of state as a symbolic weapon conferring legitimacy. In their primal myths, metallurgy and the forging of iron are very important, developing into themes of duality, reshaping, and a metaphysics of creation. From a real historical viewpoint, it does not make sense to have iron and gunpowder as primal, metaphysical elements when they were created in real history at a real time at a documented place and were not eternal and coexistent with the universe. But from a mythic point of view, there was only one thing the Dahomey could call their god of iron, war, and ur-masculinity: Gun.

What is America’s Mythic Age? The Early Modern period through the Civil War. When do we set our Disney fairy tales? For the most part, they are set in the Early Modern era, the time preceding the American and French Revolutions, but succeeding the Medieval. Like European Gothic civilization before us, Americans struggle, on a folk and gut level, to comprehend a past beyond the Early Modern. When medieval painters painted antiquity, they dressed up the figures in a style familiar to them, and they could do nothing else. To really live and perceive the past beyond that would mean reaching into a time where their culture did not exist, which they cannot recall and which does exist in the scope of their oral and cultural traditions. When Americans imagine the past, everything before our infancy is blobbed together with the events of the Early Modern, becoming one theme park of Pastland, the world of a vague yesterday. When we try to imagine the Medieval, we get not the Medieval, but knights in shining armor (Late Medieval/Early Modern) and regulated grand jousting tournaments (Late Medieval/Early Modern), and to top it all off, we call it… a Renaissance Faire. Nice. America does not remember the world before the New World. The Old World is shrouded in mystery. There are Mythic figures for America from the Colonial Age and the settling of the West and Manifest Destiny, but with the Civil War, we were forced into being one nation. We exited childhood by seeing our parents fucking – traumatic.

So it doesn’t matter if peaches came to Japan in 1876. The peaches have a peach spirit and they’re a part of myth now.

So we return to food, and with that, the safe exotic.

What is the safe exotic? The safe exotic is a thing which is culturally distant that does not transgress the axioms of the culture, thus becoming a boundary limiter between us and the alien them. Whenever the benefits of multiculturalism are brought up, the safe exotic is cited, ignoring the fact that the safe exotic is necessarily of the host culture and not alien. When people say chicken tikki marsala is as British as British gets, they’re right, but they’re also lying, and this is obvious because they cite it as a benefit of multiculturalism and thus the alien. The safe exotic exists in the boundary, the liminal space between us and them. But it cannot be them, because it being them would make it unsafe, would actually end up challenging the assumptions of the host. Honor killing is not the safe exotic, because it transgresses the cultural frame and values of the host culture, despite being another ubiquitous product of mass immigration.

Why did Chinese and Japanese food find wide adoption in America? Because, for America, they are a safe exotic. They are different – but not too different. Not every cuisine takes off in America. Chinese food is a safe exotic. Chinese dishes are a lot like regular American State Fair food – here’s some shit, fry it. Fry it some more. Drown things in oil. Blunt, meaty flavors. Japanese food is an analogue to French food, a relationship the French also acknowledge. It is a safe exotic mirror of French cooking, a traditional style of fancy food for Americans. So in your small town, you will have a fancy European (Italian or French, usually Italian in a small town) restaurant, a diner or burger place, a pizza place, and their safe exotic analogues: a Chinese takeout place and a Japanese (or, more often, an “Asian fusion”/”fusion hibachi”) restaurant. It’s a way of leaving the comfort zone without actually having to confront the alien. In the fictional small town of Twin Peaks (population 5,120.1), you have a Thai-Italian restaurant (fancy, also combines the safe exotic with the local version), a BBQ restaurant, a tavern, and a diner.

The safe exotic doesn’t just apply to food, but the boundary markings of any culture or subculture. Another kind of culture is class culture. Some people assume things which are expensive are things consumed by the rich or high class. This is not the case. UMC people do not buy and wear T-shirts with large Gucci logos, despite their high price tags. That is because that item transgresses their cultural values. Rather, those items are for proles who get rich. The gold-covered, flashy aesthetic is an expression of prole values given a lot of money: that’s why they love Donald Trump. These items constitute the safe exotic for the prole. If you get rich and consume these luxury items, you are not a class traitor because you have not transgressed our cultural values, you have not violated the taboos of working class life. But if you do something far cheaper that goes against prole values, like becoming a blue hair – even if that lifestyle only costs $50k/yr, you’re still a class traitor. Because class is not just an economic condition, or even purely a relation to production, but is the tribe which forms out of those people who have a particular relationship to production and socioeconomic status. There is no necessary material condition that demands high professionals from Wall Street and Silicon Valley wear those stupid vests, but they do because it symbolizes their membership in a particular tribe with particular values. Antiques are not much more expensive than new furniture (or throwing out IKEA every few years), but buying antiques signifies membership in the world of Fussell’s Uppers (the upper middle and upper class), new furniture is a liminal space, and IKEA is firmly middle class, despite the lifetime costs being roughly similar. After all, people – in an economic and material sense – can only ever afford to spend so much on furniture. The divides are not primarily price, but cultural and tribal.

What is the thread uniting the safe exotic and the Mythic Age? I’m sure, dear reader, you have already figured it out. But sometimes it takes me a bit to puzzle out the implications of my own statements.

It’s boundaries. Both these concepts establish the bounds of the familiar. The Mythic Age is the boundary age of our culture, beyond which all things belong to an unreal past. For the modern progressive, dictatorships are a real fear, but feudal monarchies live only in storybooks. The latter precedes the Mythic Age and thus is too alien to be real in any gut sense. It’s fantastical. The safe exotic establishes a boundary for a culture and its people, while the Mythic Age sets a chronological boundary. And these boundaries matter. Across the boundary, those “in the know” will assume everything is alien (Those who are less cosmopolitan, like hicklib progressives and Protestant Universalists will assume every culture is more or less like ours, which is definitely untrue. There’s more to life than all bleeding red.). Thus, paradoxically, the distant is familiar. When we deal with the truly alien, we are often shocked by how familiar, human, and real it all seems. Rome is often as alive to us as the friends we greet each day. That is because, across the frontier of the alien, we assume everything must be strange, and thus chalk up peculiarities to them being different from us. What remains are the human universals, and we marvel that Romans were humans just like us. Amazingly, the Romans bleed red like us, and we marvel. They, too, cry and die and love and live and scheme and sleep, perchance to dream.

That is the familiarity of distance.

That which is near to us often feels more alien precisely because it is so familiar. It is chilling and dreadful for a progressive to remember slavery, because to remember slavery is to know that people almost identical to yourself, living the same lifestyle as you, in the same place as you, in the same time as you, condoned it.

What does that say about you?

In conclusion, I got a dinner reservation at prime hours on a prime day at Dorsia (MICHELIN STARS AHAHAHA). Fuck you.

Loves to humblebrag,
Monsieur le Baron

The Three No’s, Or Towards a Explanation of Dialectics, Part II

Dearest Friends,

It’s time to take you to my no-no place.

The Three No’s:
1. No Culture By Steam
2. No Politics By Memes
3. No Fulfillment of the Dream

No Culture By Steam
In a near-off past, fools dreamed of a world-computer that could compute all the correct decisions men would make. It is the dream of every technocrat. This is the government-by-steam, a contraption to rule men. But men are not automatons, so to make the government-by-steam, you must have men-by-steam. Are we to be clockwork men, machine men, ruled by our Heart Machine in the hideous underdark? Will we submit fully to Moloch? But that’s a normative judgement. I will go farther – government-by-steam is impossible, precisely because of *normative judgements*. To have government-by-steam presumes that man is, like a rock or a machine, governed by purely physical laws. But it is not so. We make choices because we have free will, and what drives our choices is some idea of the good, or The Good, which is the Holy Spirit. It attempts to collapse human subjectivity into objectivity – our thoughts are merely the collisions of atoms, and therefore the universe could be predicted from the first state if we had a complete Theory of Everything.

And what is Culture-by-Steam? Merely the same thing. It presumes memetics is governed by purely physical laws, rather than being a thing of Man and therefore Manmade in a contingent way. The laws of culture are not like the laws of physics. What a perfect theory of memetics would give us is a prediction of what *sort of thing* might thrive in an environment, but not the shape of that thing in particular, contingent reality. To wit: Objectivism and Orthodox Marxism are, dialectically, the same ideology. Ayn Rand and Karl Marx are the same kind of person, NEET-Prophets of the Industrial Future, which now is the Industrial Past. Both of these ideologies are ideologies of High Modernism. Both of them exalt the productive over the idle, the machine over the plantation, because both exist in and are reactions to the age of the machine. And yet it’s clear that Objectivism is not Orthodox Marxism. What material conditions create are cultural ecological niches. But though different animals across different continents convergently evolve similar shapes to meet similar environments, they are not *the same animal*. The mistake of Culture-by-Steam is to imagine these laws are deterministic, that they dictate a path rather than laying out a set of possibilities that conform to the material pressures of the time.

You must forgive me for being shallow and pedantic, but I feel the need to spell it out, even though it should be obvious now what the role of the artist from the above. Obviously, if a path is contingent, what moves it? Happenstance events and the choices of *men*. And what men here? I am a little slow, so I have to work it out, but it seems clear that it is artists. This is why DALL-E et al cannot replace the artist, because the artist is not creating bulk art, but is envisioning an aesthetic and *translating* their aesthetic into something which can be perceived. An aesthetic is an imagined future, an imagined possible, a statement of an ideal. So the act of art is an act of vision, of perceiving the transcendental values of a given age. What the artist tries to capture in a scene of a battle is not the battle, but what the battle represents: Valor. To do otherwise is like the bulk landscapes of hotel rooms… kitsch. The material conditions create the ecological niche, they create a certain moment. But the artist’s goal is to draw out the essence of the moment and render it.

It is clear to any man of passing intellect why RW Artist Twitter is wrong then. But, again, I have to work out my gut assertions sometimes, because my brain is a little lacking. Imagination is not action. Words are not deeds. By being men of imagination, the artist divorces himself from the real. So too does the intellectual and the propagandist. What matters is no longer the real, but the words around the real. They are charting the map and not the territory. They are guiding imaginations, which set out a distant horizon, but to get to that horizon, you must steer the ship.

What is the revolutionary’s task? The revolutionary is the one who sees changing material conditions and re-adapts our present state to conform to God’s will. We are evolved for a more or less feudal structure, and feudalism is the natural form power takes, but material conditions killed Feudalism 1.0. We are designed to live in certain ways, but modernity and technical progress alienates us from our nature. The job of the revolutionary is to reattach ourselves to our nature and God’s plan for us, given that things are so unlike the natural state of things.

He sees the ideal of community, but he does not resurrect the old village commune and other obsolete things. He is not one who retreats from the world, but one who confronts it. He is not a reactionary, he does not react. He is the one who dictates. From Alexander to Caesar, from Washington to Lincoln to FDR, from Napoleon to Lenin, the revolutionary is the World Spirit on horseback, the one who cuts the Gordian Knot of an age’s contradictions, and leads it to a new settlement.

The Revolutionary rules by the Divine Right of Kings, for a Revolutionary, in truth, is the natural King. Just as there is always a natural aristocracy, there is also a natural King, the man who is the master of the age.

No Politics by Memes
What does this imply? The ruling class, the real elites, are not primarily men of words, but first and foremost, men of action. And what is action? Action is something that must exist in the world of the real. The artist is a man of visions and imaginations. But the king is a man of property and a leader of men. The artist dreams of Valor, but Darius dreams of cows, and frets about the trade routes for wool merchants. This may seem snarky, but it’s not. High ideals are not the place of princes. The prince is on the ready line at all times. I sneer at those who talk about being natural aristocrats because they are natural idlers. The prince sleeps on the ground and eats beans with his men. He must bleed blood for blood, and clash iron against iron.

Above all, the prince must be rooted. The thing about ideals is that ideals are impossible. You can measure how idealistic a person is by looking at how much they sacrifice for their ideals. It’s easy to say you’re honest because you always tell the truth when it benefits you. But that doesn’t make you honest at all. An ideal is held true when it costs something. A true idealist is not a sunshine soldier. And so with art. The best artist must understand best their subject. But because their subject is an Ideal, a Vision, an Aesthetic, it unroots them from reality. The artist does not swim in reality. Originally, we came up with symbols to depict and describe reality. Then people learned those symbols absent experience with those realities. Eventually, those symbols take on a life of their own, becoming hyperreality, an image reflecting reality run amok, taking on a life of its own. Bill Gates is real, the media depiction of The Billionaire is a symbol, and the 50 Shades of Gray Billionaire Romance Novel Character or The Cabal is hyperreality, that media depiction coming to life. Symbols have become detached from their referents. But if we go by the symbols without referents, we are only combining together these memes without concern for reality, what they originally described. Ridiculous constructions like Ancap Marxist-Bidenist or Hoxhaist Appalachian or Barbie Girl Nationalism are products of this sea of symbols without referents. Rather than evolving from pressures in the material world, describing material reality, they come about from the conflict of these symbols with each other, and the contradictions and tensions present within the symbols. People pick up these labels not to propose some policies or change things for their loved ones, but to own other people online who exist in the sea of symbols.

Zealots are the most extreme idealists, because they will actually shed blood for their ideals. But most men are not idealists, let alone zealots. That is why politics is driven by material concerns or status (which is our lizard brain approximation of material conditions that will lead to us mating). Men will not die to meme, but they will die to protect their material concerns. Men have died to protect their property, men have died to protect their class, and most of all, men die to protect their people and their family. In doing serious politics, we must start from serious concerns rooted in the real world.

For these reasons, Lenin said we must focus on praxis. And a man with praxis but no theory is a better king than a man with theory and no praxis. Why do ordinary soldiers and ordinary businessmen make better kings than a reedy intellectual? Because their lives have forced them to confront the real at every turn, and therefore they know reality by her shape and feel, even if they aren’t capable of intellectualizing. A king is an executive, and certain pursuits demonstrate, by necessity, executive capacity.

No Fulfillment of the Dream
The Left always wins, I say from my Soviet dacha. I mean, uhhh, my star fort. Long live Louis XIV! My free love commune.

Oh, none of those things lasted?

The thing about the eschaton is that you can’t immatenize it. The Left always wins, but every particular Left fails to accomplish its goals, because its goals are the imaginations of an artist, and what must exist in reality is some manifestation that can be real. Therefore, the utopias of every particular Left will fail, and in time, the Left of a time becomes the Right, in some sense.

All these different aesthetics and visions are arbitrary vectors in an impossibly complex multi-dimensional space, but we can’t actually reach the infinite end of the proposed vector. The mission of our civilization is always beckoning us forward, but at the end of forward is always collapse, as the contradictions of the idea pile up and undo it.

Fully Automated Space Luxury Gay Communism is no more the end of history than Fukuyama’s ramblings or Louis XIV’s absolutism. The main difference, I suppose, is that the Left that was Absolutism had less delusions about its own impossible megalomanias. There is no end of history. Rather, history is a record of contingent events in sequence, and dialectics is a process of continuous cyclical adjustment. It is like the roundabout approach of prices towards equilibrium, even though equilibrium never comes. Nevertheless, it is approached. It is the process by which the sine wave moves around the changing line such as to continuously approximate the best response for a given set of material conditions. Part of why every great modern leader gets an “-ism” is because that is what a leader must do. A leader must divorce from the impossible demands of the artists and their symbols without referents and enact practical solutions to practical problems. Paradise never comes, so it behooves us to take care of ourselves in the world as it is.

Monday’s here. Get back to work.

No country for bold men,
Monsieur le Baron

Three Laws of Dialectics, Or Towards a Explanation of Dialectics, Part I

Dearest Friends,

What’s the deal with brown white supremacists? Har har har.

No, but seriously.

Why are all the Fascists Jewish or homosexual? Come on. You know it’s true. As Gorky said, “Exterminate all homosexuals and fascism will vanish.”

The answer to both these things is the same, of course. It’s classic dialectics.

I believe we are now able to express dialectics in a more formal way, dispensing with the obscurantism of German Idealism while capturing the essences in a straightforward, plain English way, because our understandings of certain phenomena has grown far, far more advanced in the machine age. By observing convergent evolution and adaptation in technological contexts and genetic algorithms, we are able to gain an understanding of our own cultural development. Memetics was a paradigm shift in the idea of cultural development. But it doesn’t really answer why certain memes are fit and propagate, especially the propagation of memetic supercomplexes, the most interesting memes, the complex life of memetics. What a modern understanding of dialectics will provide us is a fitness equation for memetic evolution.

We will propose Three Laws and Three No’s of Dialectics:

The Three Laws:
1. Signaling
2. Cultural Hydraulics and Escape Pressure
3. Dynamic Cycling

The Three No’s:
1. No Culture By Steam
2. No Politics By Memes
3. No Fulfillment of the Dream

The dialectical process is the dominant law of sociological and cultural processes. It is why Cubism does not become “Super-Cubism”. Physical processes usually follow a cycle, linear growth, exponential growth, or a logistic curve (S-curve), but social processes do not evolve that way. Instead, social processes seem to operate by dialectics. What does dialectics describe? Dialectics describes a process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, a unity of opposites. What is the main dynamic of signaling? Signal, counter-signal, counter-counter-signal, with the counter-counter-signal being opposed to the counter-signal, but in a way that distinguishes it, and thus incorporates it, by reflecting the imagined Other in what it counter-counter-signals. The counter-counter-signal always bears the mark of the counter-signal in the way that the signal does not, because the purpose of the counter-counter-signal is to signal against the original counter-signal, which incorporates an opposition or criticism of the original signal not addressed by the original signal. The original signal is naive to the opposition, the counter-counter-signal bears adaptation. Signaling is the basic law by which culture moves. As culture moves, trends are opposed as lame or tacky and the cultural vanguard defines themselves against the old trend. But what determines where the new opposition heads? What fads catch on and what fads die? Signaling is well worn ground, but this isn’t.

Cultural Hydraulics
The Unity of Opposites is more illusory than real. Phenomena like brown white supremacists or anti-white whites only confuse us because we confuse the map for the territory. Concepts are the map. Concepts are the means by which we try to transform real things, which are messy objects, into word-categories, the basic building blocks of meaning from which we construct language and logic. The problem is that, having mapped reality to concepts, we confuse our map for the territory. But what is real is not our concepts, but the objects themselves. We might conceive brown white supremacists as contradictory, but what makes it so? Only the opposing concepts of “White person” and “Brown person” and the negating concept of “Racial Supremacy”. But there is no law of the universe which makes a brown person explode if they put on a swastika. Water and fire are held to be opposites culturally, but water can worsen an oil fire and fires can burn on top of rivers. Water has a reason to be considered an “opposite” to fire because water puts out fire, but that’s not because water is the opposite of water. Rather, the water reduces the heat of the fire and smothers it of oxygen. To wit, opposites are only truly opposites when there is some physical reality that compels the oppositional relation. Otherwise, all we have is conceptual opposition. And it is in conceptual opposition that the Unity of Opposites might occur, because nothing keeps the opposites from uniting, and by uniting, a tension is resolved. Let us define two kinds of physical opposition: Strong Physical Opposition and Weak Physical Opposition. Strong Physical Opposition is when some scientific law creates a physical impossibility. For instance, water putting out fire comes from a physical law. The law of gravity is a physical law, and someone countersignaling gravity will meet a very stupid end. Weak Physical Opposition is when some person or a group of persons in an institution take it upon themselves to enforce some conceptual opposition. For instance, under the Third Reich, Nazism and Judaism had a Weak Physical Opposition because the state was enforcing this relation by murdering Jews. Nevertheless, Weak Physical Oppositions are imperfect because they require the constant enforcing of the law. They require the actions of men to remain true. The Third Reich had many ethnic Jews serving it because there was no scientific law that caused their heads to explode if they became Nazis, and absent that, they could cross over if Hitler did not have them killed and they found it interesting and agreeable. Conceptual Oppositions are often rooted in past historical Weak Physical Oppositions. People think that rich people cannot be Communists – which is a ludicrous idea both now and historically – because Mao and others enacted a classicide. That’s like saying investors can’t buy high and sell low because that means getting wiped out. As Galileo would say: And yet it moves. To some extent, we must suffer the blind spots that Conceptual Oppositions impose on us, because we cannot reason without the map. Only by simplifying and categorizing things into these rigidities can we do any sort of analysis, even if real objects are too messy for the categories, but the messiness of the realities always strains our attempts to categorize and lexify them.

The structure of most midwit arguments:
Person: Rule
Midwit: Exception?
Midwit: Therefore no rule
Did you know your generalization is not perfectly accurate? Wow whoa.

The reason why this is a very, very stupid line of attack is that without generalizations and categories, we cannot think at all. The midwit likes to make this attack without realizing *all of their* concepts are equally flawed from this perspective.

So far, we have only established the Non-Contradiction of (Conceptual) Opposites, not their Unity. The Unity is a process, the process of dialectics. In the signaling/counter-signaling process, there are unguarded avenues. Because we are blind to the illusory nature of Conceptual Opposites, we are always surprised when Nixon Goes To China. But why should we be? Not only can Nixon go to China, only Nixons can go to China. There is energy from outflanking. Where do the rich go when the middle imitate them? The rich countersignal the rising middle by adopting the fashions of the poor, which their adversaries cannot adopt, because that would collapse the cultural distinctions signaled between middle and poor, which the rich have no fear of. Similarly, Nixon has no fear of being accused of being a communist, because he is the anti-communist. Political arguments break down into two sides, pro and anti, friend and enemy. Centrists are merely those who have different friends and enemies for different issues, rather than some wishy washy mystical not-pro, not-anti position on an issue (this can only be maintained by indifference, which conceptually is negative liberty, the basis of libertarianism – the state shall be indifferent to most matters). In a very abstract sense, you can conceive of Left and Right as basically two arbitrary teams, and one’s level of Leftism or Rightism is a level of purity. That is, on how many issues does this person deviate from their “team’s” friend/enemy distinction? Of course, deviation requires a fixed reference point, and this is where culture matters, because the cultural vanguard sets what the “goal” of maximally pure ideological Rightism or Leftism is for an era, which in turn determines who is “more Right wing”. The Unity of Opposites occurs when someone from the Left or Right adopts some stances of the other side *without accepting the overall frame* (this is just changing sides otherwise), thus rotating the issue such that both the original Left and Right positions are invalidated compared to the obvious correctness of the new position. The correctness is obvious because the synthesis position incorporates the good components of both sides, and both sides in a hard fought political conflict must have at least *some points* that carry weight. In short, the Left outflanks the Right from the Right or vice versa. The White Army was forced to champion mealy mouthed liberal democracy while also being castigated as incompetent Tsarists because Lenin had outflanked the Right from the Right – he was the perfect autocrat and democratic centralism was a (more) perfected autocracy, undermining any argument that might propose the virtues of Tsarist autocracy.

After Caesar, there are no Populares or Optimates because the issue is simply obsolete. A new political distinction must and will come into being.

But why?

Dynamic Cycling
Men and machines think in straight lines. But nature thinks in cycles. Why? Aren’t cycles inherently inefficient? Yes. In the overshoot and the undershoot, there exists inefficiency. As the Austrians might say, prices approach perfection in a roundabout way, always going over or under, alternating between wasteful glut and shortage. The classical Marxist-Leninist Plannerist might say the solution is obvious: Pick the perfect, correct price using your intellect and calculation. And they have, historically, directed their energies towards increasing calculation power as to *find* that perfect price.

Everything above and below the line is “wasted”

But there’s a problem with that, even if perfect calculation was possible.

It’s simple: the perfect price *changes*. Nature loves a cycle because nature does not know what the ideal carrying capacity of an environment under changing conditions and imperfect information. Even if you could calculate a perfect price, or even a system of perfect prices, a change in conditions will perturb the whole system so much as to shake it apart. The flaw in planning is the same as the flaw in the supply chain: hyperefficiency, even *when real*, is fragile, because reserve is robustness to change. And the negative feedback cycle, so loved by engineers, is better than inventory or reserve, because it is not only robust, but adaptive. Small changes are absorbed and used to reach the new ideal equilibrium. Machines are fragile because they are built for perfection. Even the best and most robust machines have assumptions about operating conditions. Biology and cycles are anti-fragile. They learn.

To wit: Human history in a graph.

The cycle must continue

If the carrying capacity of the woods increases, then the amount of deer genuinely can increase. And the characteristics of our physical environments are always changing. The business cycle isn’t just healthy because it clears out deadwood with every brush fire. No, it’s also healthy because bubbles and busts don’t have natural lengths. The pendulum is swinging, but when the pendulum swings back, it can either swing back to its original position, or nearer or farther depending on what has changed. We can think of the entirety of the Industrial Age as a “bubble” or “boom” driven by the changed conditions of cheap energy and machinery. And if we fall from here, we nevertheless stand far beyond our ancestors in the levels of knowledge and mechanical sophistication we have attained. The new equilibrium of our bubble burst is not the old 16th century stasis, because we know how to build many fascinating machines which could exist in a low energy paradigm, but which we did not conceive of back then. The future is not quite the Ancien Regime, but perhaps the Ancien Regime and however it might be altered by trains and organ-sized vacuum tube computers and machine guns and any other low-energy, high intellectual sophistication technology. The dodo dies, the mammoth is reborn. And in a distant, unremembered future, youthful Mormongol adventurers slay Rationalist GPT-3 Technoliches still guarding the ruins of Harvard TS/SCI labs, plundering ancient secrets from beneath the shadows of vast and trunkless legs of stone, the thickened lips of a Pharaonic Floyd still gasping for breath, and the lone and level concrete flatways swarming with gray goo techno-slimes.

Sing, O Wild Horse Woman.

Dusting off his sandals,
Monsieur le Baron

Aesthetica McNuggetica, Or Idealism Real Word Count by the Baron

Dearest Friends,

I’ve talked a lot about pragmatic action, Realpolitik as it were, but there is a time for lighter things: Idealpolitik. The time is McDonald’s, the place is McDonald’s, the why is McDonald’s. Mcdolans. What could be more ideal than a crispy, juicy Chicken McNugget dipped in Cajun Sauce, available for a limited time only as part of the BTS meal! Two great tastes that go great together! I’m Lovin’ It!

Or maybe you’d like something more refined? A steak, maybe. As we all know, the medium is the message. Medium is the message. For some people, it’s a job well done that’s the message, or perhaps a rare well done steak well done – with ketchup? Some people would call that a missed steak, but the thing about taste is that it’s subjective, right? That Trump trumps trump is well done well done, that cats up catsup is the postmodern condition, and the postmodern condition is to post modern conditions, not realizing the pointlessness of less points. All is subjective, and this is derivative, a meat slurry of discourse formed neatly, neatly, gently, creeping, into a boot shoop, sloop mast down into the Cajun sea, a imitation of spiciness, the appearance but not the reality of controversy!

Is there anything more passe, more banal, than lamenting postmodernity in the postmodern age? So I will eat the McNugget, for the McNugget is the sacred mystery of meaning without meaning and meaning for meaning, and I tell the whispering demon – yes, yes, a thousand times yes, let me face it again and again for eternity.

To make a long story short, if you eat a thousand McNuggets, you will go to the hospital.


So what am I talking about?

Meaning my meaning, of course. What does it mean for medium to be the message? The nature of a medium is by nature constraining, and this imposes a certain necessary shape to the art itself, which affects the kind of art which it can produce. Shot length is both a limitation on film and something to play with, something to explore, which affects the art. But it’s more than just physical limitations, but also the elements of style present, and the tropes. Every genre of art has its own expectations. Strunk’s Elements of Style has many counterparts. In either hewing to or subverting these structures, we come to recognize a piece as of a genre through the patterns present in it – it matches its peers in some way. And the definition it hews to – or subverts – comes to define it in some way. What is constrained, what is restricted, forms the negative of what we think ought to be present, but which we often overlook, assuming it without thought. The structure of our art is a negative of our values, just as an interior is defined by its borders. This creates a point. The values create and present themes, and themes are recapitulated throughout the life of a civilization. Art is not pointless and authors are not dead. All art has a nature which itself encodes the point – the medium is the message, no matter how much one might deny the *intent* of art, to deny that it has a *point*. When a postmodern gazes upon the Baroque, even an atheist, they cannot help be filled with an immensity, because within the *nature* of the Baroque, points are made about the divine and a Catholic, Christian civilization which expressed itself not only in the content of this kind of art, but in its form itself, in what makes Baroque Baroque, for the immensity is the immensity of God, for the starkness of the chiaroscuro must clearly separate dark from light and good from evil. These elements of a kind of art are its thematics, the messages which can be played, straight or inverted, with the medium at hand, and which in turn combine into an aesthetic. All the elements of Baroque together are Baroque, and all the elements each have a message within which together form the aesthetics of Baroque, which is a way of communicating the ethos of Catholic, Christian Europe not through mere words, but through emotion to the soul. The Renaissance art thus patronized was not ruined by these structures, but defined by it.

I know, I know. Dull, derivative, boring midwittery. Heard it a thousand times. But let’s stack one derivative layer upon another and see if we can’t make a flavorful lasagna.

What is pop art? Simply, pop art is art with a use. It’s created to do something. Whereas high art exists for itself, it is art for art’s sake, pop art has a use. When people make pop art, it can be a creative endeavor, it is often an artistic endeavor, but fundamentally, it has to accomplish what it is here to do. An ad that does not sell product is not a good ad. Whatever you may think of Marvel movies, they exist to sell tickets, and they do sell tickets. Even if they are schlock. This imposes restraints on what can be done, which the common artist takes as an insult to their creativity. But a negative, a medium and its constraints, exists for all forms of art. Art exists in the managing of constraints. Like eros, or a really clever engineering problem, it is the act of the hidden, the unshown, not the shown, which generates excitement. The act of artistry is to create the good within the bounds of these restraints. The commercial object at its highest is art, and high art indeed. Warhol. That’s the message of the soup cans – one need add nothing to these objects of beauty, so often overlooked.

And more than that, scorned.

To return to the McNugget, what we have these days is a kind of vulgar contrarianism which is mistaken for sophistication. The barbarian artist, seeking to make themselves a name, looks and disdains the beauty present in the popular pop art. What is a McNugget? The McNugget is the craft of a French chef who was the top of his class, a head chef that served kings and emperors of the world, working to design the perfect dippable chicken object which could be prepared by anyone for anyone. It is a reenactment of the sacred mysteries of Prometheus, a descent with the fires of Michelin to the masses below, a delivery of light to the darkness. In short, the McNugget is a masterpiece. And what is the negation of a masterpiece? Ugliness. Trash. The vulgar contrarian seeks to elevate by negating the popular object, not realizing that the pop object possess not only vulgarity, but beauty, and thus creates an object which negates the beauty of the common – an uncommon ugliness. An anti-masterpiece.

Le hecking subversion of Star Wars, with twists which made no sense, with points that go nowhere, with themes almost schizophrenic in their inconstancy, eaten up by fourth rate minds from third rate colleges.

The mark of a great artist is to create beauty out of the ugly. What we have now is the reverse.

So what is aesthetics? It is simple. Aesthetics is the pop art of hyperreality. We are drawn to believe in these larger than life things, these unreal specters. These visions of wealth beyond wealth, power beyond power, beauty beyond beauty, are the demons which drive postmodern man, and like Tantalus, they always recede beyond his reach. There never was such a man as Chad. Not even Gigachad is really Gigachad. In the beginning, we have the things which are real, the referants. To represent them, we create symbols, which exist as some insightful distillation of the real. But these symbols take on a life of their own. When the symbols begin to interact and recombine on their own, and reach frightful exaggerations or mutations, they cease to relate to reality, but become idols or objects of obsession and worship. These are the demons that haunt postmodern man indeed.

Or his gods.

Because, to return to the question, what is aesthetics? Aesthetics, like hyperreality, is unreal. Like the hyperreal symbols, the objects of an aesthetics never really exist and never really will. This is why small-souled bugmen accuse trads of falling in love with Coke commercials. Because this is essentially true. But while hyperreality, like high art, exists for its own sake, fighting as it will, aesthetics do not. Aesthetics embody the values which a civilization chooses to uphold. They are its objects of worship. An aesthetic is a picture of a societal ideal – of course it cannot be real, it is impossibly unreal – and yet, like beauty standards, it is something to strive for. A society’s aesthetic is its purpose, what it’s heading for. And so why do people thirst for better aesthetics and hate modern art? Because the ugliness reflects the meaningless – that there is no higher ideal being conveyed. The postmodern man, the Last Man, has no higher ideals because he believes in nothing. And when men lament art, they lament that we have no great vision of the good to move towards. Instead, we are drawn by our own inertia, we are a runaway train headed off a cliff. The crisis of art is the crisis of democracy. It is the crisis of a West which no longer believes in itself.

Why did the proles yearn for Trumpian magnificence? Why do they applaud the magnificent? Because they yearn for beauty. They want something greater than themselves. The showy rich, for all their many faults, are so full of themselves that they burst and overflow. So assured is Louis XIV that all wish to soak in his glow. And while they may not be able to create art, they know art when they see it. Trump was a well done well done steak, the slab of American red meat cooked almost to shoe leather, a reflection of Reagan’s reflection of Jackson – and yet something. Even the shadow of a message retains a voice, enough to still the deathly silence, if only for a stolen moment. Trump was a gasping of an ancient and powerful American dream, a man of proletarian culture done good, bedecked in all the golden splendor that entails. A Mr. Smith gone to Washington to drain the Swamp, to throw down the scoundrels from their high places, and restore power to the sovereign people. Trump himself, orange as a McNugget, was himself an art object. For a brief moment, there was an operation of the setting sun, and it blazed streaky scarlet into the sky before being snuffed out.


Here is where the rubes from Kansas sputter and point about Orange Man Bad, so fearful of tainting themselves by any association with low culture that they reveal their own lowness.

To channel an aesthetic is to channel the hyperreal impulse towards a higher end. From ugliness, beauty. To give that hunger something more, something that will fill it.

The disdain of the modern artist for the commercial is not a sign of their own good breeding, as they so suppose, but in fact evidence of the smallness of their souls, for they are unable to emerge from the smallness of their own souls and submerge themselves in anything greater than themselves. For the act of creating such is the act of channeling the essence of the greater thing, whereas they can only write of their own meager selves. Depression this, anxiety that, and a lot of Brooklyn status panic. That about covers the bulk of modern artistic production, doesn’t it? A self-absorption.

Now, go back and read it again.

Double dipping the Eternal Recurrence,
Monsieur le Baron

Twitter Volume 1 (Start – June 2021), Part II: Class and Culture

Exactly what it says on the tin, bruv.

Grendel was a good book. Grendel himself is a fantastic pointless man as crybully. But all of the mortals struggle. Grendel and other mortals are most like the Dragon and have the Dragon scent when they transcend their pathetic meat forms to grasp eternity. By inhabiting the story-forms, they become things beyond time and more than meaninglessness. What angers Grendel most is that someone might try to match his pitifulness. But at the same time, he drives them towards it. When he sees Unferth trying to live a story, he destroys him. Simultaneously, he wants to drag people to his level while also remaining the most pitiful. He’s the happiest when he can be the monster, and this is also when his dragon scent is strongest. But he loves to hear the stories too. We are so eager to defy structures because we see them as impositions on our absolute freedom. But we are defined by our relations to others and the world. If we never make a mark, what are we? By breaking free of these relations in their entirety, we abolish our own meaning. We become Grendels, pointless monsters, in love with our own pitifulness but afraid to admit it. Everyone is so wrapped up in ironic and gesture that nothing sincere or eternal remains. We cut off our families because we are afraid to love – and hate – them. We abandon friends. Where does that lead us? The Dragon. And the Dragon as timeless thing is no accident. The Dragon is Nietzsche’s timeless value creature, with an eternal and recurrent lifecycle. The Dragon is the Ubermensch completed, the Ubermensch the larval Dragon. Unferth is only a mortal man, and thus must steel himself with mere words of heroism. Beowulf *is* heroism. And thus Beowulf can restore meaning, as the Ubermensch, and banish the hideous nihilism.

Does Grendel sacrifice himself to religion, or does religion sacrifice Grendel? Does it matter?

There is a difference between sleaze and filth, and this is the difference between the crime wave coming now and the high crime times of the 1980s. Sleaze comes out of an unrestricted freedom, and this freedom begets psychological emancipation. An indifference to tired pieties. The crime of that day was *selfish*. The crimes of today are *selfless*. Crime then, and the accompanying filth, came from an abundance of ego which denied the rights or wellbeing of anyone around them, so eager was it to get some for itself. It is the behavior of the outlaw.

By contrast, the selfless criminal, the anarchist, behaves not to fulfill a hunger within them so strong it cannot be denied, but as a yearning for meaning, for something to coalesce self around. It is empty. It is narcissist in the Lasch sense. The anarchist struggle becomes an attempt to construct a cosmology, a narrative, some thing which will justify the person. The totally selfish person needs no justification. Their own hunger is the only meaning in the world. This is not to excuse it. But it is different. “Natural Born Killers”. That’s the crime of egoism. They have a message, as savage and brutal as it is. They have desires. They are full, so full, they impinge on others, and take from the weak to fill their own bellies.

And that is why the 60s, 70s, 80s, saw an outpouring of art. Art was the spontaneous expression of these selfish, cruel selves. But they were *selves*. Why is the modern Leftist censorious? Because they are a devourer of art, because their self must consume art, not create art, because there is a hole there. So it goes. Once as tragedy, again as farce. And that’s the difference between sleaze and filth. The filth is a product of sleaze, but it isn’t sleaze. Sleaze is the run-down nature of absolute egoist freedom. The filth cult of the modern left is just a cargo cult to sleaze, vainly hoping to be the same.

Let’s talk nobility!

Imagine! Grand palaces! Luxurious feasts! Dictating the course of world history with your whims! Conquering! Being a tiny king in your own right!

Yeah, I’m not talking about those guys. No counts or dukes or princes today.

I’m talking about the baron. How much does a modest manor produce? Between 20 and 30 pounds sterling in Britain. In France, just over 20 livre tournois. Today, this purchases about $20,000 in goods. But we don’t care about that. We care about relatives. I’ll explain later. This is about 2500 days wages. Converting back to modern money, 2500 days wages is about $200,000. So a manor produces about $200k/yr in income. How many manors does a baron own? Well, some own several. Some are even as mighty as a count or duke! But probably not. You see, the medievals did do censuses. In the County of Champagne in 1252, the count had 1182 fiefs under him. 42% were held by knights, 39% were held by bourgeois, 15% were held by barons, and 5% by clerics. The average amount of manors for a fiefholder was ONE, regardless of the official title. Single manor. But what about Britain? British barons are so important! Yeah, title deflation. Norman barons became major landholders in the new England. The English equivalent to the baron is the gentry. I will treat knights, barons, untitled lords, gentry and high bougies as interchangable.

So what did the barons do? So what are the barons? The barons are the people who rule your little shit village for the great lord, the Count, who can’t be arsed. He’s too important. And in times of trouble, they are marshalled for war. That was their original purpose. There are tons and tons and tons of these guys. Whenever you hear a historian quote a stat like “France had 1% nobility” or “Russia had 2% nobility”, by weight, that’s all fucking barons. They’re everywhere. The British peerage is a few hundred people. How many French? About 200 Frenchmen were ranked Count or above in medieval France. That’s not a lot of dudes. In fact, it basically rounds to zero. You may be noticing something similar in our lives. Millionaires and billionaires, perhaps? There are a few thousand billionaires ON EARTH. We’ll return to that and many other things later. The role of the barons was intricately tied to the feudal regime. They administered its lowest levels, managed its peasants, and fought its wars. So when early modern states formed with professional armies, they were gone.

Right? In evolution, Nature doesn’t come up with new organs willy-nilly. Limbs are adapted into other kinds of limbs. Systems are repurposed. So too with memetics.

The new system needed a labor pool to staff it. The baronage is dead. Long live the baronage. Why are college students upset when they have to be baristas? One could say it’s the income, which is terribly low. But they won’t be tradesmen or factory workers either, even when those can easily pay high 5 figure incomes. No, they want particular jobs. What jobs? Things like, I dunno. Doctor, Engineer, Lawyer, Banker, Bureaucrat, Professor.

What jobs did the baronage take up after the 16th century Crisis of the Nobility?







College degrees are minor titles. Always were. So, recall the average incomes of a barony? $200,000? Familiar, eh? What are the average incomes of a midcareer BigLawyer, Software Engineer, or Banker? About $200,000?

Applying Piketty’s 5% land value rule, we find a barony is worth $4mm. The average wealth of a US millionaire. Funny how that works. And what did they need the money for? Maintenance of honors. So dowries, housing, and… college tuition.

It all starts to click, doesn’t it?

All these figures are constant over time because the social-material relations have not changed in 1000 years. This is the dead hand of feudalism reaching into the present. Material conditions remain the same because social-material relations remain the same, regardless of whatever ideological garnish you put on. Call them professionals, managerials, nomenklatura…

The Eternal Baron. It is often said that the 19th century marked a new crisis of the nobility. And it did. But don’t we still have doctors, lawyers, etc? Of course. The decline of the traditional landowner was a minor crisis to be sure. But it merely finalized the shift to professionalization. But what was changing? And changing in a big way? Capitalism. The old world was being upended, and with it, the social order. Peasants became migrant farm labor or prole city workers. The communal village was destroyed. The *status* of the nobility was under attack. Remember our old friend, the haute bourgeois? In the middle ages, we see he earns about the same as the baron. They’re peers. The baron and the boat dealer are friends.

In the 19th century, the bourgeois stops being a boat dealer. And now he earns 100x what you do. Engels’s father is a factory owner, a typical New Man, a bourgeois. And he hates what Engels writes. So how can Engels always get a living? His mother. His mother adored him and gave him her moral code and values.

She was an aristocrat.

And Marx married Jenny von Westphalen.


And why? Imagine those peasants, whom you have lived with, loved, cared for, and struggled with, for a thousand years, turned into grist for Satanic mills. Their children devoured by machines. Their lands despoiled by belching steel monsters run by migrants for a profit. Your communal village, destroyed. Overrun by foreigners. Your nursemaid’s family, gone. As Marx says, capitalism reduces the qualities of the proles to quantities.

Numbers. Data points in a spreadsheet. Dehumanization. Atomization.

All that is solid melts into air. Welcome to Hellworld.

There was only one thing to do. Make common cause with the peasants and proletarians being destroyed by this system and destroy Moloch.

Revolt against the Modern World.

Tragedy is the pain of facing irresistible fate. All politics is material interests, not ideology. Always remember that.

Blessed proletarians, will you join me again?

We will not eat the bugs.

And we will not go gently into that good night.


In the year 1666, a strange thing happened. A rabbi from Turkey, Sabbatai Zevi, had declared himself the Messiah and was gathering up quite the following. He was marching to Constantinople (still of that name in that day) where he would confront the Sultan and depose him.

When he arrived, he did not depose the Sultan. On the contrary, he submitted – totally – not only surrendering his mob, but converting to Islam. The Sultan gave him a modest pension but later revoked it, because the man was troublesome. A few followers remained, but only a few. They disappeared back into Judaism or converted into Islam, like their leader. A few stubborn holdouts remained. About a century later, they rallied behind a leader, Jacob Frank, who claimed to be Zevi’s reincarnation. But Frank also converted, to Catholicism. Thus ended a curious footnote in history, as the Frankists followed their leader into Catholicism and Mother Church, assimilating into Christian Polish society. So it goes.

And this is where the textbooks end. So what did these curious people believe? Some of it may be familiar. They believed that the God that others believed in was a false God, a material God, a demiurge that created a world of wickedness, and that the true God had to be redeemed through special knowledge. And they were feminists! Yes, they believed in #girlbosses, slay. There could even be a female Messiah, and women had to be delivered from the bonds of marriage, a wicked, patriarchal concept. They were free, like us.

Is it any wonder that the like were drawn to the Enlightenment? They found themselves influencing movements as disparate as Enlightenment liberalism, Reform Judaism, and even @bog_beef‘s favorite, the Quakers.

So obviously they were hounded and hunted by the authorities. Such bigots never appreciated the Sabbateans in their own time. Orthodox Rabbis and Christian authorities attempted to root out this heresy, which was spreading both high and low.

Some, uneducated as they were, claimed the Sabbateans were engaged in magic, mysticism, strange rituals…


Ridiculous notions, all absurd.

After all, the Frankists had many friends, distinguished friends. They had protectors among powerful Christian magnates, such as the aforementioned Bishop Dembowsky, but also other wealthy Polish Christians had taken an interest in Sabbateanism, as well as wealthy Jews.

The influence of Sabbatai and Frank immediately calls to mind other charismatic religious figures. One obvious parallel is, of course, Rasputin. As we all know, this mad monk, unkempt and wild, quickly rose to prominence in the Russian court. Why? Well, the Tsar’s son had a terrible disease: hemophlia. But Rasputin could make his son well using his special technique of hypnosis. Of course, those outside the royal family didn’t know this. They were disgusted by this man and his disgusting and immoral behaviors. Rasputin slept around. Rasputin seduced noble ladies. And most of all, Rasputin had terrible hypnotic eyes that could draw anyone in. There is an essence in the eyes. A magic to them. In the eyes are marked terrible, horrible things. Princess Marat saw the power of his eyes.

What beliefs did Rasputin have? Although he was not a Whip himself, Rasputin was influenced by the Whips and their doctrines of holy sin and magical sex. The struggle of sin led to the heights of redemption. Holy sin.

His influence was vast. Trotsky himself remarked on this “leprous camarilla” ruling the state. They practiced magic. They had sex. They had sex… with children. Some as young as 7. “Widespread child seduction had become associated with the ‘best’ members of society.”

That is what held sway over the monarchy.

So let’s return to the Sabbateans. What did they believe in? You see, the conversion of Sabbatai Zevi was not an apostasy, but a sacrament. To save the world, Zevi had to pass into the world of gentiles, which meant converting. And so too did Frank. Zevi became a Muslim and Frank became a Catholic.

So what did these Sabbateans, these Frankists believe? They believed that they had to join their Messiah’s fight and do as he did.

Firstly, they too had to falsely convert, and enter the kelipot, the Kingdom of Evil. Their true faith would be that of the prophet of 1666.

But their false faith would embed them among Quakers, Reform Jews, heretical Orthodox and Reformed Christians, Enlightenment thinkers, Masons, and all manner of people. There they would spread their beliefs. And what were their beliefs? Why, the same as Rasputin, of one of these very heretical sects. Holy Sin. Sex Magic.

And… other things.

In the darkness, they helped each other prosper.

It may be instructive to inform you that Sabbatai’s name? It means Saturn.

The Sabbateans were the Saturn worshippers. They infiltrated sects and ideologies around the world. And their beliefs sound awfully familiar, now don’t they?

“I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”


The mail order catalogue is dead, but shopping is not. Consoom is dead, long live consoom! Today, many people buy things at the Big Box stores or Amazon. And here, at the Big Box stores, you have class distinction. You see, there are many, fundamentally the same… But different. Big Box stores are all Big Box stores, but people will describe a vague distinction between them, not in the products, but in the atmosphere. That’s class culture at work. We respond to market segmentation by class.

So let’s start. Walmart is working class/lower middle. That one should be obvious, but I will still state it. The focus is on frugality and everyday low prices. The working class, by necessity, counts pennies. Walmart is bulk, but bulk of low grade/commodity grade items. The customers are usually dressed in a slovenly, prolish manner, and they act accordingly. I see a lot of arguments and messes at Walmart. I like it. It feels earthy, secure, down to earth, authentic. There’s not a lot of focus on projecting an image – people are here to shop.

Up a rung is Target. Target is middle class. You can tell by how it markets and positions itself. No longer are you here for [product], you’re here for the Target experience. You’re not a customer, you’re a ~guest~, like you’re at a hotel. And there is conspicuous wait staff. The middle class like the experience of being conspicuously waited on and treated as special, worthy of distinction. The analogue here is how the middle class in Fussell’s day loved “posh” French restaurants that focused on the continental atmosphere and wearing fancy clothes. They’re not just there for the food, they’re there for the atmosphere. Target shoppers aren’t just there to shop, they’re there to live – and Tar-jay will help. The price is a little higher, and this keeps penny-pinching proles away. It is subtle things that classgate.

Next in our list is Costco. Costco is upper middle class. Costco is very austere and minimalist. Customers are still waited on, but silently. At Walmart, you have to go flag someone down. At Target, the wait staff gets in your face. At Costco, everything runs smoothly, invisibly. The theme of frugality returns, but in a variant form. Things are cheap because they’re bought in bulk. But what’s being bought isn’t cheap. The Costco promise is the cheapest price *for the finest of goods*. Real extra virgin olive oil, imported wine, wagyu steak, Mexicoke, etc. The message is clear – Costco customers expect the finer things in life, and they treat it as the everyday, not as a conspicuous expenditure for which costlier is better. Steak is just the grocery bill, and you’ve got to keep it down. It is similar to another class marker. Costco is the dusty car of Big Box stores.

But there is also another side – the luxury car. And what’s the Luxury Car?

Well, you had to have guessed it. Whole Foods.

Whole Foods/Costco represent New Money/Old Money. Frankly, Whole Foods is a place that makes me incredulous. It’s flashy, it’s showy. Everything about a Whole Foods is meant to show off gaudy, conspicuous wealth. What they sell is often ridiculous and they sell it at ridiculous prices. At Whole Foods, you make a splash. So what above? Is there a Big Box store of the upper class? No, frankly. It would go out of business. There are simply not enough upper class people to sustain a Big Box store. But they do have their own stores. They’re smaller, more specialized stores. The upper class has small, boutique stores selling basically handcrafted or specialized versions of goods. These stores are expensive, and the products are almost indistinguishable from generic – but they are fine, very fine. You will find them in the back alleys of cosmopolises. Does the upper middle class have boutiques? Yes, but not for regular stuff.


Basically, you spend lots of money on amusing white elephants. The upper middle class has plenty of money and likes to be amused. Being amused is an important class value.

The old Fussell wisdom still holds true, mostly. A general disdain for education is prolish. Proles (rightfully) mistrust the higher education system. The education system forms a key part of the American class system. I won’t belabor the old points, but I’ll quickly sum it up.

The middle class is very proud of having gone to college. If they are from a small town, they may be convinced this makes them much better than their origin. This is the transplant of CB’s “Midwestern Excellence joke”. It’s middle class to draw the line between college-educated and not.

The upper middle class assumes college is a given, since most of them have been getting an education since time immemorial. The thing that brings status here is going to a good, prestigious college. Don’t just go to Podunk Directional State U. You’ve got to be a Harvard man like your uncle and your father and your grandfather – carry on that legacy. The principle of legacy. This is what matters.

Uppers often go to silly little Lib Arts colleges that cost a king’s ransom.

Speaking of king’s ransom, let’s move on from Fussell and talk about what’s new. In his day, college was cheap. Now it isn’t. While the uppers can pay their way, lower classes must figure out how to pay for college. The proles, often first gen students, get need-based aid if they can wrangle the education bureaucracy/FAFSA. What they misunderstand is the generosity of need-aid at prestige schools. If they get loans, it is often because they go to for-profits or stingy low-grade schools. It is the middles that bear the brunt of student loans. Their parents are too well-off to fairly qualify for financial aid, and yet they are not well-off enough to pay their children through. So the middle class ends up saddled with student loans, made worse by high tuition. While uppers often go to these strange liberal arts colleges, they’re not an unpopular choice among the middles, since they’re not as competitive as fighting for one of the Harvard slots. But the price is steep, incredibly steep. So the upper middles. The more prestigious universities have incredibly generous aid packages and fat endowments to fund them. As such, many upper middles end up getting full ride need-based scholarships or sometimes full ride+ merit scholarships that actually make money. This is helped along by generous loopholes in the tax code that allow them to maximize the financial aid given to them by shielding lots of income and assets from FAFSA. Piketty has studied the US tax code, and the tax rate begins to decline at the UMC as SSI phases out. Tax and asset shelters allow the UMC to game the system and get “welfare”. The result is that I graduated to a higher income than most of you and without a penny of student debt.

Remember, privilege is what you get for free.

If you pay for it, they’re selling you something. The tax gap in action. Note the dip that starts at the top 10% and dives at the top 1%. That is the UMC hole. Red is with sales tax, blue without.


So that’s paying for the party. What about getting there? Let’s talk about school. This is something else that has changed since Fussell’s day, and it deserves some looking at it. What does schooling look like for the classes? For the underclass, school is like an tiny prison. The purpose is discipline. Rarely can enough order be imposed to teach anything, and the students often aren’t terribly interested in learning anything anyways. These schools are usually failing. Teach For America kids go here. The working class will send their kids to whatever’s around. They don’t have the luxury of uprooting to chase a school. This can be good, this can be bad. For what it’s worth, I had a working class Latina classmate in Calc, and these people get sucked up into the UMC stream. The middle class is the beginning of school consciousness and the desire for a “good school”. Their main goal is to avoid the disorder of the underclass, so for them, “good school” is a euphemism for white school. You can admit that here. Ha! Any school is enough for “college”.

What is alien for Fussell’s generation and probably most of you is what I call “The Thunderdome”. It is a school system of intensive winnowing and it is the main pipeline from which our nation’s elites are produced. This is the form of intense American meritocracy. It begins when the aspirant elite is a toddler. They begin to take IQ tests to qualify for an elite preschool as well as personality screening. The cutoff for these tests is usually somewhere about 130. Some parents make their toddlers do test prep. The stakes are high. If accepted, the Thunderdome begins. The toddler, then child, then teenager, begins to compete with their rival-peers for resources and attention. The best survive, the rest are winnowed. Rank and yank. Ace the test or don’t come back. At every stage, advance. Never fail. A grade that isn’t an A is a permanent black mark on the transcript that will ruin your chances for Harvard. The child must have perfect grades, perfect grades, and perfect extracurriculars. The leadership requirement means they must outmaneuver their rival-peers to take a club. Many cannot handle the pressure. The suicide rate is not insubstantial. Coffee is common. A common coping mechanism beyond caffeine is performance-enhancing drugs. A swift trade in amphetamines has developed, as well as cocaine. Anything to get an edge in the academic race. The winners are the products of “meritocracy”, its blighted fruits. They are, as a rule, both brutal and conformist – conformity is a must to reach “perfection” as defined by a grading rubric. No principles but obedience. No desire but hunger. An Ivy league professor, himself an alumnus, compared the commencement speech he had received, one calling for noblesse oblige and reminding them of their responsibilities, to the one his young students were receiving.

They were told thus:
You are the fruits of meritocracy, and you deserve this and more. The world belongs to you by right. You must take of it. So eat, eat and never be full, and feast until the world’s ending – this is the truth of the world and what is right.

Anyways. On to the upper class. More cheerful! The upper class is schooled and socialized to be affable. Their schooling is not as intensive, generally, because the goal of their education is to make them good members of the upper class: socialites and networkers. For the upper class, the world can be treacherous, so school networks can be some of the most honest and true sources of friendship. In addition, a lot of their education doesn’t just come at school, but exists passively, in their upbringing. The upper middle class is cultured and sophisticated by education and training, the result of 10 hour school days. The upper class absorbs knowledge by osmosis. They end up with a passing knowledge of fine art because everyone knows it. They read books by whim. The goal is to create that charming affability and the perfect manners for which the upper class is famed. Imperturbably fine spirits, level moods, and a willingness to cover. Generosity befits an upper class person. This leads me to manners, but that’s a matter for another day.

A subject conspicuous in its absence from the Fussell book. Money and class are not the same thing, but, of course, they are related. Without money, one cannot maintain the expenditures needed to live above low proledom for long. So then money. For proles, money is a means for consumption. Proles convert money into goods or services and then consume them. For the lower sorts of proles, this consumption is primarily for survival, but the higher proles enjoy many (very expensive) luxury goods like jetskis and boats. Why is this so? Precarity. @acczibit has a concept “Hood Post-Scarcity”, where one can satisfy all one’s needs, but a single emergency would wipe out any savings. Luxury goods are expensive but “cheap” compared to wealth. Money is here today, gone tomorrow. Spend while you can.

As you move into the middle class, incomes are not necessarily higher, and often lower. But the tone is different. The watchword of the middle is “comfortable”. 90% of the time, when you meet someone who self-describes their upbringing as comfortable, that’s middle class. If they describe themselves as upper middle class but have low class consciousness, they’re also middle class. Twitter is a very middle class place – most of its users are middle class. The middle class no longer fears starvation – here is the source of its comfort. Instead, the middle class uses its spare cash for *status*. The middle class is always attempting to keep up with the Joneses, because its key value is respectability. So the middle class is in an arms race to maintain its status. It buys trends because it is forced to *conform*. And why must the middle class conform? Because little separates them from proledom. Certainly not their income. Respectability means keeping up the habits that keep you from becoming another “deplorable”, who often have lots of personal and life drama. Middles live by codes. Because of these material realities, the middle class plays the role of morality police. Their main asset is their home, and the patrolling of morality helps preserve the niceness of their neighborhood – and their net worth.

Remember: Class is downstream of material conditions. Above this, the upper middle. Here, many living expenses are permitted to fall, since the UMC does not have to follow (expensive) trends, while income drastically increases. This creates an inevitable and perpetual surplus. Within a year of graduation, I had >100k. Here begins the accumulation of capital. What is money here? Money is a tool. Money is power. Money is not hoarded, but deployed to useful ends. The UMC readily uses money to solve its problems. But it primarily is a means of accumulating more money and projecting power. Money can be donated to buy influence, and influence can be used to advance the self. Every investment begets further investment. The UMC is funding political movements, research, etc. Bill Gates was born UMC. As Burnham says, the UMC is the strongest part of the ruling class. Now, let us digress.

Imagine the classes as celestial spheres in the firmament. Hydrogen gas is capital.

The life of the underclass is fragmented, bizarre, full of misadventures, prison, and drama. They go from gig to gig, and sometimes prison to prison. They are space debris. If the space debris can cohere, if some semblance of order can be brought to life, then there appears a terrestial planet out of these space rocks. The proletarian has a functioning life now, a routine, and steady work. But no savings. No capital. That can change. When a proletarian internalizes the disciplined living of the middle class, the need to live respectably, it begins to save. It develops a small capital buffer, which is the “comfort” of the middle. The middles are gas giants. They have capital, but it is inert. However, the process of saving is long. Eventually, a successful middle accumulates enough gas that something changes. The capital begins to work upon itself. The gas ignites.

A star is born.

A Novus Homo takes their place among the Nobiles. Which, finally, leads me back on track. The upper class. While the process of entering the nobiles is slow, the ascent of a lesser noble to the greater is exceedingly fast. It happens in the “liquidity moment”. The UMC have, on average, a few million. They’re multimillionaires. In the liquidity moment, one very quickly experiences an increase in wealth in an order of magnitude or multiple orders of magnitude. A critical point is passed and explosive growth occurs.

A star becomes a giant. And what is money for these giants? Everything. Nothing. What is water to a fish?

Money is merely the reality they dwell in.

Fundamentally, the upper class does not understand money. In this, and many other ways, they are the most alien class of all. When I met @babs11111111, he asked me how much my Camry cost. His guess? $500,000.

But at the same time, the upper class can be quite frugal. I make money. For better or for worse, the upper class is beyond making money. That means no more is coming. The Banana Test. I do not know how much a banana costs ($10?) and don’t care to learn. By contrast, Babs knows how much a banana costs, down to the cent, because the principal must be preserved, but for big prices, he has no understanding, while I am shrewd and haggle. The upper class just has money. It’s always there. Like the tap, you turn it on and fill up a glass. But it has to be respected carefully, because one day it might go away forever and never return.

That’s the balancing act. The principal must be preserved, at all costs. From this, we see a material reason why the upper class is fundamentally anti-consumerist (whereas the upper middle is minimalist but can spend a lot). Consumerism would devour the fortune and return them to the lower nobility from whence they came.

Not that that happens often. In the act of rising, the upper middle class striver builds ideologies and movements, which become funded into small NGOs, which grow into large bureaucracies of power in triumph. But what happens after the rise?

The NGOs, finally, begin to do their ostensible goal. Where the UMC spends to create power, the UC is beyond striving. The NGOs stop being a front for a machine (or at least, not their machine), and become real charitable endeavors. The main living of the UC person is to be a socialite, and that means charity, charity, charity. For a long time, the upper class family exists in this kind of philanthropic stasis, throwing many fantastical and spectacular charity galas. But eventually, all things end. At long last, the star’s fuel burns out.

Things begin to change, once more. The final change. An upper class family, spending all its time socializing, builds up deep and wide connections across an entire civilization. Normally, it exists in torpor. When the money ends, it wakes. In its waking, it stirs, and it moves the world. Activity goes out across the connections. This causes the entire civilization to shake. When an UMC family ascends to the upper class, that makes the news.

But the decline and fall of an upper class family? That makes world history. The conditions which create and sustain an upper class family are fundamentally rooted in some reality about material conditions. When those are invalidated, the era is changing.

The liquidity moment is so explosive because its agent becomes an avatar of world historical trends. The ending and undoing of those world historical trends is not only as spectacular, it is more spectacular.

The giant goes supernova.

Elements are scattered to the far solar winds in vast, billowing clouds.

In some distant cloud, the fragments begin to cohere again…


So why does Fussell not talk about money? Part of it is that money played a much less central role back then. And why is that?

Something has happened since the 80s.

Let’s talk about consumer debt.

Do the proles have debt? Yes and no. Many of you are familiar with payday lenders, which charge hundreds of % in interest a year. Now that people have cottoned, they are evolving into “social justice microlenders” that… charge hundreds of % in interest a year. But that’s not the only scheme. Witness CreditOne and other shady credit card companies which charge fees for carrying a balance, fees not carrying a balance, a fee when you pay, an annual fee, etc. Like the NASCAR card (NASCARD). Scams. Or rent-to-own, which started with furniture and appliances, but has actually expanded to housing, with the same exploitative terms. In this context, Walmart’s layaway program, with an APR of 7-20%, like the rest of Walmart, is exploitative but relatively benevolent. Subprime car scams involve setting exorbitant payments and luring customers in with promises of zero or almost zero down, then repossessing the car when they inevitably fail to make the payment. Or they might, like the others, charge really high interest. Which leads to the other side of prole debt. No debt. Proles come to distrust this usury, and for good reason. So the other side of proles is movements like Dave Ramsey and going totally debt-free. It makes sense. The kind of debt they run into is almost all totally predatory.

Leaving the proles behind, how does the middle class interact with debt? The middle class believes in having a sanitary credit score. Why? Because it wants debt. But only some debt. Instead of all-or-nothing, like the proles, the middle class separates out its debts. There is good debt and bad debt, and these differ primarily by category. Good debt includes house debt and at least used to include student debt. Car debt is also considered good debt. Bad debt is debt for frivolous purchases and other things. Credit card debt is bad debt.

This is a middle class credit card ad. Let’s analyze it, shall we? The card level is fairly basic, but it is treated as an aspirational goal (gotten after building credit with a pointless card). This is topped off with the symbolism of climbing a mountain. This act of climbing a mountain on vacation, a status expenditure, is treated as far more important than the boyfriend (not husband). Marriage still carries a lot of cultural cachet with the UMC while it is slowly dissolving in the middle. Class matters in how things are marketed.

So to transition to the UMC, let’s look at an ad for a similar product, but for a higher class. Same thing, different culture.

Like the previous ad, it has a travel motif. But the vibe is artsy. Furthermore, the card opens the beginning of a journey, not the end. While the Gold card is the result of building credit for middles, I got offered one (and similar cards) as a broke, 0 income college student.

In this ad and the next ad, we see the principles of amusement and countersignalling the high – shows you don’t hold it in awe. One of my friends, descended from a colonial governor, wears work boots and T-shirts smeared with truck grease to Whole Foods. The card the Vikings are pitching is one of CapitalOne’s top cards.

Here we have big deal Wes Anderson treated with humor and irreverence. Countersignal the high.

Before I forget – note the importance of family in the sincere commercial! What is the end of the journey she undertakes? A good marriage! Striver middles, take note.

So how does this tie into UMC relations with credit? First of all, everything is cheaper for the rich. As mentioned with Costco, the prices are lower. When I shop on Amazon, I get special Amazon Business Prime discounts not available to the hoi polloi. You apply corporate discounts, that’s another price cut. But the credit cards play into this. When you spend, you get money or points. These programs synergize. On UberEats, I pay with a Samsung wallet discount offer on UberCash, and those purchases earn Marriott points. So I get cashback on the underlying credit card in the wallet, points with Samsung, points with Uber, points with Marriott, and all of these get redeemed in my normal life – on top of cheaper sticker price to begin with. All in all, my prices are probably 20% less. The rich do not go into debt on the same terms as the poor. Like many things, it’s cheaper to be rich.

But the relationship with debt, like money, also differs. Money and debt are both part of one pool, liquidity. It’s all lumped together. What matters is the cost (opportunity cost + APR, cash has APR 0%), availability in crisis (cash is perfect), and liquidity needs. In that sense, debt is not necessarily a meaningful concept. Debt becomes part of a general pattern of money deployment to maximize asset efficiency. It’s not debt, but leverage, to be used wisely. It’s all of a kind.

Now, for the upper class, which has money for everything, why would they need debt? And generally, they don’t. But there are exceptions. When an upper class family begins to decline, they still need to maintain their social and philanthropic obligations. It’s all they know. In those times, you begin to see noble estates take on debt. And as these estates become increasingly indebted, they reach a crisis point. They have to act. Let’s take a look at an example. In the late 19th and early 20th century, a grain glut and economic shifts led to the collapse in value and income of vast landed estates, a ruinous event for great magnates and small alike. In Eastern Europe, the result was communism and collectives run by these very nobles. But in Britain? The great lords decided on marriage. They went across the pond and found wealthy heiresses.

The birth of an Anglo-American empire.

The birth of its champion.

Churchill was the fruit of such a union.

His old (American) home is down the road from my lake house. Like I said, the decline and fall of upper class families? That shapes world history.

That’s all for today.

In a Fashion: Aesthetic, Prole Drift, and Sumptuary Laws as Sanity Preservation

Dearest frens,

henlo pals i am a frenly guy here to exposit a thing okay thanks

You ever think about like… clothes? Man, why do we even wear clothes? To cover our nudity? Man, that’s fucking stupid. This is a total grift, and, bro, bro, this is such a fucking racket! Let’s get in on it! That’s always my first instinct when I find a racket, as the good value transference parasite I am (Still the best, two millennia and counting, arguably three!)

So let’s talk about this racket. Why do people buy clothes? To cover themselves, obviously. But also, to express tribal identity, hence all the amusing novelty graphic tees. And what is the biggest racket in the market? You know what I’m going to say if you’re a regular reader of the blog, and I know there are literally dozen of you. Luxury. The attempt to signal wealth through clothing. So let’s talk about that.

Most people’s first instinct would be to aim upscale or ultra-upscale. At the highest heights, maybe you sell something for $100,000 – once. Once a year. That’s not much fodder for your business, and there is a shit load of variance. I saw a art piece that struck my fancy, but the low five figure price tag didn’t fit the budget. It’s still for sale, years later. Unless you’re one of the few that arbitrarily strikes a mood (and if you do, milk that hard), your prices can only rise so high, and your volume will be anemic. So maybe less upscale, less tailored, something more for the broad upper class. Let’s widen our market to centimillionaires and their cadet branches. There were 50,000 centimillionaires a few years back, probably quite a few more now, and there are associated families with those. We can reasonably eyeball our global upper class market as a few hundred thousand households. Now you’ve got a much larger customer base! Still, they can’t dig as deep into their pockets, right? But you can still charge them a couple hundred bucks. So you open up your store, call it Taul Spuart, and you sell 10,000 sport jackets for $300 each and make a snappy $3,000,000 and then sell 10,000 more shirts for $100 each and call it a day. Hey, that’s weird. By sliding down the class totem pole, we made more money.

Is there a pattern here? Let’s move down again. Let’s start selling to the upper middle class. Now our market is a whopping 5% of the population. Sure, maybe we have to cut the price per shirt to like, $40, but we are literally selling millions of shirts now. Profit goes up again. Incredible. But if we keep chopping prices, we’ll have no profit margin, right?

Well, that’s the magic of it. In 1980, a book came out called The Official Preppy Handbook. The retailer pimped, LL Bean, was a fairly standard retailer catering to upper middle class clientele. What happened to it? Now middle class shoppers were clamoring to buy their products. Obviously, prices had to drop to accommodate poorer customers, right? Wrong. Prices doubled, tripled, sometimes even quadrupled. A LL Bean shirt in 1980 was only twice the cost of a Sears shirt. Since then, the cost of a LL Bean shirt has far outpaced inflation. Profits went up an order of magnitude. Girbaud, an upscale jeans brand, was appropriated by blacks. Since that point, the price has doubled in inflation-adjusted terms. The pants were more expensive than commodity pants, but part of that is just the cost of materials and the cost of having a smaller market. The truth is that the upper middle class exists in an awkward valley where they are extremely stingy relative to other classes as a proportion of their income, and thus demand lower prices to buy anything. Hence, core UMC stores like Costco run on discount stores. The thrift store, when it was classy and not for bandwagon grifters, was a cheap way to pick up novelty clothing that smelled like urine, the urine smell adding a level of class by shocking prudish middle class assholes. When I shop at Amazon, I get special discounts on top of Prime thanks to Amazon’s Special Rates For Rich Assholes program. Credit card companies and banks induce their mass affluent/millionaire customers to spend more by enticing them with generous point and reward programs, while hitting the proles and middle class with intrusive credit score requirements and fees.

If you can market your product to the middle class, you take that opportunity. Now you’re selling $100 shirts again, but even more than before. And at the end of the day, it’s all the same plastic crap anyways. You’ve got plastic crap for the upper class, for the upper middle, for the middle, for the proles. The main difference is that the plastic of the very rich is made by slaves in Italy, not China. Still plastic crap. But what people buy is not the actual product, but the image of the product. Marketing, marketing, marketing. Middloids on Le Reddit insist Walmart shirts disintegrate into plastic goo within a year, when I’ve got hand-me-downs going strong for years now. For all intents and purposes, that’s perfect durability.

But wait, why would the middle class pay so much for ordinary plastic clothing? Because they believe it conveys an image of being classier than they are. After all, they can afford “designer” now. But that puts you into a bind. In order to keep selling, you have to maintain the image of being upper class or at least upper middle class while simultaneously being far more accessible and downmarketed. That’s the dance of mass fashion. Ignore morons who talk about Burberry burning coats to keep them out of the hands of hobos. The amount of coats Burberry can burn can’t possibly put a dent in global supplies – shock, they destroyed millions in merchandise! What a terrible destruction of stock for a company that pulls in billions! It’s a fraction of a WHOLE PERCENT! You lose an order of magnitude more stock to shrinkage. What it can do, however, is reinforce a narrative of exclusivity and prestige. The intended audience, who falls for it hook, line, and sinker, is the middle class, which eagerly shlicks itself to the idea of buying merchandise that can’t possibly fall into the hands of those deplorable proles, while also being able to masturbate to the feeling of virtue signalling about designer clothing for hobos. The prestige dance can be helped along by actually having genuine upper middle class products or upper class products while producing a gaudier, more expensive version for the middle class. Bigger logo, anyone? To illustrate with another kind of example, a $125 tasting menu at some celebrity chef’s shitty 1 star Michelin restaurant is a genuine upper middle class experience, the counterfeit of spending $1000 for a gold-plated steak and a selfie with a celebrity of non-chef persuasion is middle class at best. But the latter is more expensive than the former.

Marketing is fake and bullshit, so what? You’re probably rolling your eyes at these observations you already made in grade school. Well, the act of marketing itself makes an image. And that image is not a true reflection of reality, but an exaggerated distortion. Just as Instagram creates unrealistic images of female appearance, marketing creates unrealistic images of tribal identities. Take my good friend, the Iraqistani Hebroid. When inebriated, one of his favorite rant topics is about the beautiful blond goys and their exclusive fucking country clubs and their Dartmouths and their boating. This is a very insane topic of conversation. The reason why it is insane is because half the people in his rich Jewland are blond, his family has been life members in a club since the 19th century, his relatives went to said white bro Dartmouth, and he is such a boater, he only knows how to boat and can’t drive. I fucking drive him. The conscious mind recognizes that this is unreasonable. But the unconscious mind does not. What the unconscious mind sees is a lifetime growing up on LL Bean and J Crew ads showing impossibly beautiful people on boats. The unconscious mind understands that the self is not an impossibly beautiful person on a boat, and thus nurses a resentment against an image that does not exist. In fact, the image is meant to depict a tribe which he is certifiably a member of, the Judeo-Puritan ruling elite, so that the masses might admire their Calvinism. But the image is so distorted that the Funhouse mirror reflection becomes a figure of superiority to taunt him. Rich people will do a lot to self-confirm their own membership in the tribe. In the past, striver New Money Americans would invent new genealogies tying them back to European noble titles, which is why genealogical documents and Ancestry websites today are totally trustworthy and true. In the more recent past of a few years ago, autism was a physical proof of bluebloodness, so grown ass men would pay to get fake diagnoses of autism to confirm their own superiority of blood. For my part, back in university, I would Banepost with my college roommate, another aristocrat, in real meatspace. The waiters were in awe of our Calvinism, or at least they were paid enough to pretend to be.

But what if the neuroticism of the rich doesn’t bother you? It should. Here’s the moneyshot. What is the figure that all people are compared to and found wanting? Fussell famously said that every American wants to live like the upper middle class, but I’d like to add my own addendum – but they’d like to look like the white middle class while doing so. It is a fact that middle class white people are the most beautiful people, which is why they are used as the pretty person when not diversity pandering. But the fact that white middle class people are used to model all these distorted identities means that all sorts of insane tribes are ascribed onto them subconsciously. They become the targets of every status resentment, and marketing works by creating status anxiety and status resentment. In short, unrestricted capitalism, even without the woke component, creates marketing, and marketing is all implicitly anti-white by aligning the resentments of all non-white middle class people (and, for that matter, white middle class people who resent the fake marketing images of wealth) against an imagined figure that looks like… the white middle class.

Ogilvy said that the best advertisement is infotainment. How foolishly the wisdom of elders has been ignored.

A second effect is that over time, these constructed images and reality yaw farther and farther apart. The image of rich people that most people have is some kind of indifferent white Republican with boomercon views. That’s been outdated since the 1920s. They think rich people are conservative, when conservatism is indisputably low rent. I express my conservative leanings among my peers by identifying as a fucking Marxist-Leninist. That’s how you signal family values and support for Trump without getting cancelled. My image of factories is a conglomeration of media images of British satanic mills, and I worked as an engineer in a fucking modern factory. Just like with LL Bean, the image overrides the truth. People simp for tradwheats in sundresses when those thots have a high body count than Hiroshima. What kind of a woman dresses up as a tradwheat? A woman who wants to drown in male attention – a whore, in short.

The key problem is that most of us aren’t wired to handle signals and tribal outfits changing so fast. They change so fast because free societies permit cheap signals to be appropriated quickly, but any large tribe necessarily must have relatively cheap signals. Tradwheat quickly becomes a thot sign, because the form and the function are not inherently aligned. We’re looking for the old stereotypes, but the stereotypes are constantly changing in real life, helped along by marketing departments manipulating them to drive up profits. Autism is high status before, but is it high status now that low rent moms use it to excuse the behavior of their shitty children? That’s just a few years of change. Nothing sticks long enough to form coherent cultural narratives. We exist in a constant state of agitation and status anxiety, and Uncle Capital has the answer for only 20 payments of $29.99.

The most status insecure of all, the downwardly mobile middle class white, thus becomes the archetypal consoomer, filling the identity void with infinite amounts of expensive plastic crap. His race is devalued, his class is in trouble – what’s a man to do but watch MARVEL CAPESHIT KABOOM?

So what did ye olden people do? It’s like there was a problem like this in China, where names and realities went out of sync. It required a sort of rectification of names. A formal designation of things, so to speak. A formalism. That’ll work. Let’s call these sumptuary laws, dictating exactly what people of a specific caste can look like. Perfect!

One problem is that people will do what they can to circumvent those laws so they can signal higher status than they have. The second problem – how do you decide who is a noble, who is a burgher, etc? In Ancien France, they self-identified during the census. Yes, sir, I am most def a noble, pinky swear. But we can do better, right? What if we created some kind of institution of autists that screened other autists for the proper autism, and if they could successfully defend a statement of autism, then a panel of King Autists would give them the vaunted designation of PotatoHead Douchebag, and Emperor von Hipsburg could send them a letter of baronhood in the mail. Surely they would never devalue the prestige of their own name by issuing far too many degrees for short-term monetary gains, since they are institutions with centuries of history and a long and unalienable connection with noble culture. Old problems demand new solutions.

In the end, everything rots. Everything becomes…

Blurry in the USA!


So spiritually barren he writes whole articles to set up a shitty pop culture reference,
Monsieur le Baron

dope songs there tho

Japanese Takeout, or the Continuity of Cultural Narrative

Dearest friends,

Consider the burrito. It is a tortilla wrapped around a delicious filling. Now, we can derive another idea from this core burrito concept – the sushirito. A sushirito, or sushi burrito, is a burrito with rice instead of tortilla and raw fish as the filling. Imagine a world where the burrito suddenly ceased to be, but the sushirito would remain. Over time, the name and idea of burrito would come to be associated with the sushirito, since only the sushirito remains as a reminder of the burrito past. The sushirito would be the burrito. And then no one would know the  burrito, only the sushirito.

There are only so many narratives that exist. We appropriate from the past.

People want to fill their egg role.

The HR person is not just the HR person. Some of what they do comes from economic or practical necessity. But much of it is simply passed down, unquestioned tradition. People act in a certain way because that’s Just The Way Things Are. An HR person is the vessel of the clerisy long dead.

Much is made of pivotal shifts in economic conditions, but so long as the cultural identity survives, these can be adapted to. It is not the way of life that defines the man, but the man who makes a way of life amenable to himself.

So long as an identity survives, the people can change. To propose the reverse is fundamentally wrongheaded. Economics is merely how a people sustain themselves. But it does not constitute what *values* they have. Compare the Plains Indians to the Cossacks. Both were people of wild, horsed steppes, fundamentally nomadic. But the Indians are a dying people and the Cossacks are not. It is not a story of economic obsolescence. The Cossacks no longer sustain themselves with the old ways. The world has changed to a world of steel and factories. But the essential character remains. On a steel horse, he rides. It is the spirit of a people that endures. When economic conditions change, so long as the identity lives, people find a way to adapt their mores to their circumstances.

The aristocratic identity is alive and well, despite the obsoletion of living off land rents. The traditional form of sustenance died out. But the idea of living above labor survived into the concept of the rentier, a repackaging of the idea of shunning labor. When that also ceased to be viable, the aristocrat took on the form of the professional, an adaptation of the idea of the noblesse de robe. They arbitrarily carved a certain kind of labor as “intellectual” and “professional” and therefore not work. The similarities were used to bridge the gap. A modern person of the upper middle class has almost nothing in common with an old style aristocrat – except for cultural continuity. They are much less chop, much more suey. And this is the way things go. But if you crush a people’s spirit, it’s over. Culture changes as a Ship of Theseus, but when it sinks, it sinks.

And then you’re drowning.

Cultural identities aren’t useless. They’re life scripts. They help you navigate life. They structure its trials and travails. They overcome decision paralysis. They give meaning. They say – this is what life is, this is what life’s about. They tell you how to butter your toast.

You butter it wrong, by the way. Blasted knave.

And… cultures provide customary restraints. Rules. Laws. Taboos. They mark some things as off the table. Many sins can be thus avoided. Some taboos are obsoleted by time. But many taboos have to do with people, and people never change. Human nature remains what it was. In forgetting traditional culture, we forget everything we knew about what people were.

That’s significant.

This all started when Babs shitposted a question at me: What’s with the Asians that act like… disadvantaged Negroes?

The truth is a little deeper than that. Ghetto culture is not black culture. As Sowell points out, much of it is taken from white cracker culture. What Asians take from Black culture removes one more layer of cultural veneer off the underlying thing. What is the thing that chavs, ghetto blacks, white trash, and chiggers share in common? It’s the essence underlying all of those cultures. Ghetto culture is deracinated prolishness. It is prole nature without any guidance or restraints to channel those energies and desires somewhere productive. It is prole culture without any of the taboos against the worst poisons. That’s how it can be so similar across time and space. What all of them are practicing is the emergent behavior of people on the bottom without identity-behaviors to constrain it. It is pure class tendency, raw and harsh. When medieval peasants… misbehave, it is not in imitation of blacks centuries in the future. But their unique cultures provide answers to the problems posed by these class tendencies. Memes adapt to their memetic niches. The solidarity and clannishness of the holler protects against the corrosion of dumb shit. The humble white man remains upright because of a cultural narrative prizing work. Without these little stories, you collapse back into deracinated prolishness. Why *should* you work when all your efforts will amount to nothing anyways? Even the hardiest and most diligent laborer earns a pittance for their troubles. But a culture that thought that way would go extinct. It is only when the layers of culture are removed that the ugly question rears its head once more.

So what is globohomo? Globohomo is deracinated aristocracy. It is the tendency of the elite to move left, subverting the existing order, combined with its international and cosmopolitan outlook. By nature, elites of all countries have more in common with each other than their people. But being connected to your people is necessary to maintain asabiya, and peoples that lacked asabiya were relegated to the dustbin of history. Within a culture, there will be adaptations to draw the people and the elite closer. Noblesse oblige. Shared rituals. A common cult. But these adaptations are not cross cultural. Prussia had its soldier kings and warrior junkers eating beans and sleeping alongside foot sloggers, and while this fulfills the same cultural niche as, say, WASPs taking townies under their wing, ala Our Kids, they are not the *same behavior*. It’s just convergent evolution. A mixing of all elites does not result in the practice of all of these rites, but the practice of none of them. Globohomo unleashed.

And when globohomo is unleashed, elite power knows no checks and limits. Just as a wolf pack let loose soon kills off all its deer, so too do the elites salt their own soil. For the elite do not feed themselves, but rely on value extracted from the proles. Starvation ensues.

Starving for a sushirito,
Monsieur le Baron

Hermemes Trismegistus, or The Occult as Decentralized Command and Control

Dearest friends,

A friend of mine is literally dismantling history. No, it’s not an overwrought metaphor for the collapse of Western civilization and its traditions. It’s an old building that the local government is unwilling to pony up the cash to maintain. So down it goes, as do all unloved relics. What matters about this old building is that it is a lodge of a secret society. In short, I am considering buying up one of the old murals so that an all-seeing Illuminati eye can watch me masturbate while I wear a funny hat. Glorious.

Now, most blogging about the occult talks about… well, the occult practices. I’m not going to do that. For one, others do it far better than me. For two, I don’t believe the actual occult practices do a damn thing. If Satan-magic worked, why’d Hillary get her ass beat so badly?

No, I’m going to talk about the occult as power mechanism.

In most organizations, you have the distinction between formal and informal power. Formal power is the power of process, meetings, procedure, and regulations. Informal power is the power of connections, backroom deals, and quid pro quos sealed by handshake. These processes are different. And the informal? The informal is where the real power lies. Anyone who has worked in a corporate workplace knows there is a formal process to getting a promotion, usually involving plodding forward giving your best work and putting in the time. People don’t get promoted this way.

No, you have to work the mechanisms of informal power. To get ahead, you have to do something sociologists would call reproducing the symbols and habitus of the dominant class. You have to find the dominant in-group, and make like how they do. We all know where the real loci of power lie.

What is the most basic meaning of occult?


The occult is the hidden. Informal power is occult power. The occult rulers are the hidden rulers. This isn’t just a language game I’m playing. In order to gate the informal, it must have memes to gatekeep it. It must operate memetically because it lacks the formal gatekeeping mechanisms of formal power.

Male societies are fundamentally LARPs. A LARP allows a man to propose a transcendent ideal to strive to, and because it is human, it can only be role-played, not truly lived. It is in reaching towards the transcendent we ground our moral codes. The Soros boys are a LARP of Star Wars, the Mafia and Yakuza LARP feudal chivalry, and the Triads ape the Taoist divine. One creates mysteries to serve as informal markers of authority – those who keep a certain level of mystery have a certain level of implied authority. Mysteries cannot be faked by the regime’s mens or aspirants. The older the society, the more complex the LARP. Since the idea is to remain hidden, each layer must become more obscure than the last. A LARP that fails to continually increase in complexity has all its layers probed and exposed by outsiders.

What happens when a secret society takes over? Well, r/the_donald is more or less a /pol/ony. You will see flashes of the controller memes pass by unheeded. Thus, one sees occult imagery all the time. Suppose I became rich and powerful (alas, alas, I am but a small fry right now). I’d commission a big statue of Leviathan. Secret Clintonians would start to network with me. It’s a powerful signal. But nothing about it is actually supernatural. Nor is the base signal, the statue, actually hidden. Much like a Secret Police, it cannot be truly secret, or it would fail to serve as an invitation to other members of the sect. People wonder why Satanic symbols are everywhere – wouldn’t effective worship demand it all remain hidden? Sure, but it’s a coordinating mechanism. It’s not actually mygikal power. Suppose 4chan took over the world. Kekkian frog magic would not be the cause! These memes serve as keys to govern a self-managing cell-based secret society. In fact, the base level memes of many an occult society are probably shitty jokes or half-remembered profundities like many 4chan memes. The genius of literary analysis is the ability to backfill and deepen complexities. The occult structure is inherently extremely resilient, at the price of rarely being able to mobilize its full force. Thus, we naturally see secret societies form across the world.

And occult memes do not necessarily have to correspond with any agenda. They might. But first and foremost, they serve as keys. The Triads captured such luminaries as Chang Kai-Shek and Sun Yat-Sen. If China was the imperial Republic of China, I have no doubt it would be littered with Taoist symbology, with the common Chinese puzzling over the sinister symbols of a Taoist mystery religion behind the professed Christianity of the rulers. But that wouldn’t be the agenda. The agenda of Triads was imperial restoration (of a sort), not any Taoist occult purification of man.

Or maybe I’m covering for masked and hooded brothers with a suitably materialist explanation. Who knows?

Crushed between Boaz and Jachin,
Monsieur le Baron