This is a follow-up to my previous article on social hierarchy and the poor.
It has puzzled me for years as to why the American leadership class prefers telescopic philanthropy to the domestic variety. The typical excuse that you will hear in person is that the government already takes care of the domestic poor, so their social betters have no further obligations to them.
Another excuse is that the relative ‘need’ overseas is that much greater. In Ivy League admissions, it has been known for at least a generation that a stint overseas performing charity work is well-regarded as a sign that you are not a grubby striver only gunning for a seat to grease your career.
Caring deeply about impoverished foreigners is actively selected for at the highest levels. And it is repeatedly impressed upon the young ‘leaders of tomorrow’ how important it is for them to internalize this belief and to signal their faith early and often to their fellows. The nature of this social custom tends to be opaque to American populists lower down the class ladder.
This habit, exemplified by Bill Gates’ foundation, takes the education and care of the foreign poor as its prime mission. The domestic poor are perceived to be primarily a governmental concern.
Tomorrow’s neocameralism today
Davos man already lives in an anarcho-capitalist utopia. It is just expensive to get in. Once you are in, however, governments become increasingly irrelevant. The middle lives in the bureaucratic ‘third solution’ — they must settled for ‘magnet schools’ or ‘charter schools.’ The dregs live under Communism. The above-dregs live under Glastnost-type Communism.
Working in the American government is déclassé — nearly unthinkable to anyone with better prospects. The only people who think that government officials are respectable sorts are unqualified to be government officials. Consultancies and investment perform much of real government work. These institutions hand officials and civil service bureaucracies completed plans for projects to be implemented by favored contractors.
If you want to look for neocameralism in the real world, it is already here. To the extent that the American government does much of anything, its job is to manage the American masses and prevent them from becoming too unruly. It is not clear where the government ends and where the financial institutions that manage it begin. We do, in some sense, already have a private government: it’s just that the corporations with the most influence are willing to use socialism as a strategic tool to suit their ends.
They are still private — after all, the mass majority of the country opposed TARP and other TA** programs, but they were still passed — handily displaying their immunity to democracy in that area.
They do not realize their errors in thinking because they are rewarded financially for their intellectual errors — and the more flagrant their intellectual errors, the greater financial rewards that they gain (unless the wrong Treasury Secretary is in office when your firm needs to be bailed out).
The American leadership class has forgotten its obligations to its inferiors, which is why those inferiors are continually conspiring against it. They are rather blind to the danger that they are in, believing incorrectly that the state keeps them safe, and that by paying lip service to the ‘historically oppressed,’ they will be kept safe as they seek greater opportunities abroad in ’emerging markets.’
The superpower: not so super no more
As the international trade system enters chaos (the Americans just kicked Russia out of the G8), the EU begins to collapse, and national self-interest and security problems overwhelms the Anglo-American system of global trade, communication, and finance, we are entering a new stage of history that is catching most of the American leadership flat-footed. This is not something that the current or previous generation was trained or raised to expect, and few have the experience and education to adapt to a more local politics.
The Cathedral has trained entire cohorts of American leaders to believe that the world of the future is ‘global,’ and that they must learn to leverage ‘diversity’ (because they will be administrating international corporations that must make use of diverse teams of experts to succeed) and comparative advantage for a higher social mission that coincides with profit maximization as their legal and personal duty.
The Clintonian melding of Marxist dreaming and global fiat capitalism is the dog-vomit admixture of ideology that passes for elite thought in America. Its leaders are in barely-concealed panic.
And it’s becoming more obvious that there are probably more conspiracies than any one person can track to set various parties up in as plum positions as can be mustered when the former Pax Americana ceases to be neither Pax-ful nor American. What Taleb calls the ‘Soviet-Harvard delusion’ is proving to have been just that.
Will historians look at the recent Crimean affair as comparable to the Suez crisis? As the US policy establishment backs down from armed conflict, Putin achieves one objective after another at minimal expense at the cost of the State Department’s flailing improvisational programs for ‘freedom’ promotion that involve sending billions of dollars to Al Qaeda and various low-rent eastern European fascist LARPers.
Conditions are shifting faster than the majority of the American nonklematura are capable of reacting to. But many will react. And it is difficult to tell what the coalitions will look like and where exactly the splits will be.
The great plan of the American leadership class is coming unraveled at the center, and on the edges. The great temptation for many is to ride the waves of popular rage to destroy certain narrow elements of the existing elite class.
You can see this in the react-o-sphere with half-earnest, half-joke calls to ‘burn Harvard.’ Perhaps it is not so much of a joke, as the Weathermen and their fellow-travelers, who did bomb universities all over the country, have since gained hold of many important American spiritual institutions (namely the educational establishment).
Once the American foreign policy establishment completely loses the capability to project force internationally, we should expect different factions of elites to begin fighting for control over the remnants of the United States. Without a credible external enemy, infighting is the usual result.
The Right should resist the temptation to cannibalize the country by giving in to the easy populist pandering and quick fortunes to be earned through looting. Instead, the project must be one of social and economic construction. There will be a pressing need to re-sort the former United States into separate nations that are both stable and productive. If not all of them can be made stable and productive, then buffer states must be established around the geographic sections that are not.
When the globalist ideology fails in an undeniable and dramatic manner, there will be an immediate political need to transition formal power from the previous state to the new ones.
I strongly doubt that it will be terribly easy for the current generation of Davos Man to continue flitting about across borders as they have been. The return of nationalism and international distrust will force those of us who have most internalized the characteristic North-European ethos of universalism will need to recover our sense of civic obligation — or we will fall to civil war and barbarism.
The message that we must get across to the current elite is that there is a way to abdicate, to back down from their un-salvageable situation, that permits them to preserve some of their face and some part of their capital. The tendency of people out of power in democratic and democratizing states who would like to be in power is to attempt to use the masses as a weapon against their rivals. As the French revolution should teach any student of history, this strategy is too dangerous to be worth using.
Contemporary reminders of this folly can be seen in Egypt, the Ukraine, Syria, and Venezuela. Once unleashed, ‘the people’ are a deadly force that do not stop killing until killing is no longer possible.
Radio Control (@RiverC) says
“The people’s” revolutions look like the crucifixion of Christ, over and over again.
Bloodsoaked groundhog day.
…knowledge that works out well for grubby strivers gunning for a seat to grease their careers.
Oh, but there are other expectations besides that one. Just the chrarity stint is not enough.
Yeah, I know. Just trying to turn a phrase. The Vaisyas NEVER keep up with the Brahmins.
My degree has a lot of applications in development, which is the field a lot of people in my classes want to go onto. I’m interested in how it can be applied in redevelopment through the West. I think development is actually underestimated as an important foreign-policy tool by the Right. The Right is concerned with migration, but people migrate because there are no opportunities at home. Smart investment would help solve the migration problem at the root and have greater returns than a constant military watch on the Mediterranean. Obviously that stance would require radical change, at least concerning the worldview of the people involved in it, but there are several organizations which do work along those lines, implicitly and explicitly.
As an aside, I find your comments on the privatized nature of the USG interesting. A lot of people, including myself, discovered the crank Right because of the Federal Reserve issue. A private central bank?! How dare they! Thing is, there is a strong correlation between government involvement in central banks and recessions coupled with hyperinflation, since they try to lower unemployment and buy voting bases, especially before elections. So…oh shit. Was a private Fed the best option in the end? Maybe the issue is more the debt-based system? I’m not sure how the Saudi central bank works, but I’d be interested to see how involved the monarchy is in its decisions since it doesn’t have to buy votes every four years.
I derive from the Davos man class.
I don’t agree that the Fed was the best long term solution. It was a more realistic compromise at the time for the political class involved.
It’s also not that clear that it was a whole lot better than the series of unstable systems that it replaced.
Currently the elite needs to pretend hard that we have a sustainable financial system. More international coordination to keep it together is needed than at any other time.
That willingness is showing signs of crumbling. Certainly central banking is crucial to running an ochlocratic state which rules in the name of the people.
If you change the requirements, the best tools for the job change with them.
So to go back to your migration issue, American people power chased heavy manufacturing overseas in the form of environmentalism. The People wanted safe and clean and creative office jobs. The ochlocrats abided and gave them what they wanted wuth unintended consequences.
You got me until this:
The rich in Egypt, Ukraine and Venezuela are doing quite alright, and will probably end up better than ever. As for Syria it was hardly a class struggle.
I say bullshit. There’s a lot of difference between a Soviet/third world style leadership class and one with a much broader base.
All of those countries have become dangerous to the point of unlivable.
Are you bothered by my suggestion that life for Western expats is bound to become even more complicated?
BS? You’ve seen any oligarchs suffering in Ukraine or Egypt? All those countries have become dangerous for those unfortunate to live around unemployed men, which live far away from the guarded compounds of the rich.
I am hardly an expat, and certainly not in the third world. If there’s a worldwide revolution where the poor and middle class kill the rich fucks up to the last one, where I live will be the last place to be affected.
So no, I’m not bothered in the least. Hey I wouldn’t mind some long knives in Wall Street. I’m just not seeing it.
1. Egypt and the Ukraine have produced no business leaders of note for gemerations because they are weak, third world socities.
2. Reeks of the just world fallacy — even good people who take precautions die in large numbers when society collapses, like in South Africa.
3. Being a big cheese in the third world is both dangerous and not all that pleasant relative to the west. You’re better off upper middle and secure stateside than at the top with a target on your back some place else.
When the rich need to live in compounds, their wealth is not all that useful.
Saying to the mob to go have a murder party with the American cream would do nothing to fix the country’s issues.
You checked out of the West — why should you care about our problems? What is it to you if you are as safe as you say?
>I wasn’t expecting this hostility. I’m not arguing against your values I’m just pointing out that Davos man, both the first world plutocrats and third world oligarchs aren’t being threatened by any recent events, and may end even stronger after them.
This has been correct since 2007. I doubt that it will continue to be correct.
I thought you would enjoy the hostility: I enjoy it so much when you seize upon people in their comment sections.
>Third world rich have lived in compounds for generations, sure some of them find living in the West, with relative less status more pleasant, but many others don’t. I wouldn’t like that sort of lifestyle but the upper class of South America seems quite fond of it. Why do you deny that?
Yes, I have visited such compounds in South America. It has its upsides. I don’t deny it. One of the most beautiful houses I have ever been to is one such place. You get more for your money there, but politics can be hazardous.
Let us take New York as an example. The rich of the gilded age famously built armories to retreat to in case of civic disorder as in the draft riots during the civil war. Today, those armories are either malls or semi-disused public spaces. The rich of today believe as you do that they are not in much danger. What security they do have usually amounts to two unarmed doormen, a trivial elevator security system, and fire doors that can be breached with crowbars.
>I go home often and may go live back, so of course I care. About my safety I guess you’ll have to take my word for it. Japan’s a pretty safe place, and I know my place.
A quiz for you. Let’s say, hypothetically, that Abenomics is less than a glistening success. Whose fault is it, according to the Japanese?
a( The glorious and good people of Japan
b( Sneaky roundeyes
c( Chinese dogs
d( b and c
I am not suggesting that you are in immediate danger. What I am suggesting is that societies that undergo rapid shocks tend to look for external scapegoats as quick as possible. You yourself have written about this.
Well I expect hostility from the outgroup, but I consider you ingroup, and I’m quite cordial to the ingroup.
To your quiz: Tribalism in Japan is mostly focused on the Koreans, the Chinese far in the second place, and then the Left in general. Whites in Japan are far less numerous, and never considered a dangerous community per se. Mostly because they aren’t a coherent community at all. Among the far right there is some non-trivial hostility to American hegemony, and if SHTF I guess there will be some cases of random guys shouting at random whites.
But nothing compared to what would happen to the Koreans! And in Japan having a Korean looking face makes you suspicious, even if you are native as far as you can say. So the average Japanese has more to fear than me.
Actually right now Abenomics is not looking very good, and the internets are bursting full of people blaming the Koreans, and pointing out how Abe’s wife has suspiciously looking slanted eyes (Koreans on average have smaller eyes than Japanese).
Hell I wouldn’t be here if I sensed a Boxer Rebellion mood.