The White Nationalist Hypothesis

Thesis: As the white demographic wanes, there will be a consolidation of whites into a Republican coalition including those that would be presently described as either “liberal” or “conservative.”

In a democracy, we do not only vote for particular policies, we also shape our voting preferences in response to the – revealed and stated – preferences of others. The more alike the members of a society are, the more opportunity there is for politicians to appeal to more specific voting blocs of that society. For example, if 100% of the members of a democratic society supported gun rights, then some politicians would differ from each other by approving of policies to subsidize gun ownership. On the other hand, in our society there is more of a split between some supporting gun rights and others supporting gun control, so politicians tend to differ by supporting those policies, respectively. As a general rule, the narrower the overall range of opinions of citizens in a democratic society, the more specific will be the policies that politicians give approval to.

The consequence of this general rule is that, the wider the range of opinions, the less specific will be the policies that politicians differ from each other by. This is what we are observing with the expansion of the US citizenship to include immigrants from many places all around the world, of very different cultures and socioeconomic positions. The result will be politicians taking more general policy perspectives, as it becomes necessary for the individual voter to join broader coalitions to find representation of their views in government. This leads to what I am calling the white nationalist hypothesis: as the white demographic wanes, whites will end up voting more as a coalition than they presently do.

This is because minorities, with their distinct incentives and policy preferences (which differ as much from whites as they do with other minority groups), will tend to vote along group lines, both cultural and ethnic. The policies of their politicians will appeal to them by policies crafted to benefit them, even at the expense of other groups. That is a consequence of democracy, where people tend to vote in terms of what they believe will benefit them most of all, and it is unavoidable. As the population expands in terms of cultures and ethnic groups, the opportunities for differing groups to agree on policies shrinks, as politicians support more policies designed to appeal to specific cultural groups.

The result is that whites, as a political coalition, will become more represented as whites rather than as liberals or conservatives. It will be viewed by individual voters as necessary to maintain the representation of their interests in government, especially as the rise of minority groups – and their politicians – make policies of wealth transfer more popular. Whites will simply have less room to support policies of liberal or conservative slant when it becomes necessary to vote primarily as a coalition to support politicians who avow to protect their socioeconomic status and wealth. When it was more taken for granted in previous decades – among a white majority – that their wealth was basically not going to be transferred to others, i.e. Republicans and Democrats opposed “socialist” policies and broadly supported free markets, that gave more opportunity for politicians to differentiate themselves on more specific issues.

However, although I am calling it the white nationalist hypothesis, and whites will vote more like present white nationalists claim they would like to see, those whites are unlikely to be white nationalists per se. That is because whites will remain politically diverse, it is just that when push comes to shove, white liberals will find their incentives lining up more frequently with white conservatives than, say, with minority liberals. That is because “minority liberals” will already tend to vote along basically ethnocultural lines, differentiating themselves more from white liberals rather than white liberals cozying up closer to white conservatives. In other words, the universe of voters will expand, and although white liberals and white conservatives will remain as far apart in absolute terms as they are presently, they will be relatively nearer than their “liberal” brethren among minorities. That is because minorities will vote more as ethnocultural coalitions than as politically-minded coalitions, e.g. the Hispanic minority will seek more representation in government as Hispanics rather than as liberals.

This changes the “rules” by which Republicans and Democrats currently play in our democracy. According to the rapidly-obsolescing, mid-20th century ideal, the citizen is supposed to consider the issues on their own, and then vote for the politician that they think will best support the policies they think best address those issues. However, in the 21st century the rules will change; empirically, minority groups tend to vote as ethnocultural coalitions, rather than splitting along political lines. Even Hispanic conservatives tend to vote Democrat rather than Republican, simply because Democrats still appeal to them more as Hispanics than their sensibilities as conservatives. This becomes obvious when one considers that minority groups tend to be much more culturally conservative even than white conservatives, and still tend to support the culturally liberal Democrats!

The election of Trump can be viewed as a “pre-emptive strike” by whites against this change, even while Trump’s election actually sets the precedent to improve the likelihood of minorities voting along ethnocultural lines! From that perspective, the narrative forwarded about the ills of white nationalism is a simple, cynical strike against whites forming a coalition that would impede the opportunity for minorities to gain representation in government. Whites as a voting coalition have been divided simply because they were the majority. As their majority status wanes, and especially when they become a mere plurality, their tendency to vote as a coalition will increase. White identity as such will become hardened by the democratic process.

The candidates running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination might be the last of a dying breed. Although politicians like Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker have made quite ham-fisted appeals to Hispanic voters, and every candidate on the debate stage raised their hand in support of providing healthcare to illegal immigrants, the majority of them still appear to be running as classical liberal politicians. This is simply because whites remain the dominant racial group in the Democratic party, making up 60% of its members. However, in the future as Democratic candidates differentiate amongst each other to find support from voting coalitions, they will compete to gain larger swathes of support from minority groups, who otherwise tend to be treated as “already in the bag” for Democratic politicians. Politicians like Ilhan Omar are the future of the Democratic party, who make relatively naked appeals to their ethnocultural groups to gain support.

It is when the support of white liberals becomes presumed – all the while heaping abuse on them – that many younger whites will change their allegiance. They will simply observe other ethnocultural groups voting along purely ethnocultural lines, and as observing a behavior normalizes it, will begin to engage in the same tactics. The mainstream media will play a role in this, especially as the internet operates to expand the political consciousness of the people. Within 10 years, views and individuals derogated as “white nationalist” or even “white supremacist” will become popular voices in mainstream media. This will be viewed as financially expedient, as the influence of Boomers wanes and Millennials rises in the culture. This process will be part of a trend away from liberal hegemony, simply due to liberalism as such becoming less of a factor in forming political coalitions. The people will all be more liberal in general, and at the same time ethnocultural identity will also matter more for everyone. Ironically, Republicans will become the party of culturally progressive whites while Democrats become the party of culturally regressive minorities.

Of course, I could be wrong, but then again more surprising things have already happened in the last 10 years. By the time it happens, everyone will assert they always saw it coming anyway.

Is this a good thing? A bad thing? I don’t know, and won’t pretend to answer. This is simply my disinterested prediction. But, if I were a younger person interested in pursuing politics, especially if I where white, I would begin positioning myself to gain support from the future demographically-shrinking white coalition by making a presence on social media and making myself host to a wide spectrum of different political ideas.

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The Means and Ends of Ideology

Where the average person falters in the implementation of their ideology – the behaviors they adopt and the actions they commit ostensibly to support some endstate they conceive of as good – is in the application of themselves to its means. In fact, the ends of ideology is simple enough: you just decide what kind of world you would like to live in. Many people settle on unilinear, flat ends, such as equality. Sometimes people choose a means itself as the end, such as capitalism. Either way, there is the goal people have in mind for their actions to lend themselves towards. Any person would prefer their lives contribute to the eventual benefit of their goals. Yet nearly everyone lives in a way similar to everyone else. At least, very few people act exceptionally, to the degree there is a permanent cycle of some social constructs.

People act predictably enough for markets to meet demand, people act predictably enough for politicians to consistently appeal to them for votes, and people act predictably enough for insurance companies to form and make a profit. Truly “ideological” behavior is impossible, if viewed from the perspective of separating ourselves from our current situation, or else ideology is simply an emergence of the system’s own logic. Humans not only have ulterior motives hidden from themselves, those rites and events we most associate with ideology are also likely to be assimilated by the system. Even our idea of an end is formed in response to the system, meaning personal energies are often co-opted to ends outside themselves, whether formed symbiotically or not. Conforming our behavior to an ideology has the difficulty of not only requiring personal change, but understanding the world to a sufficient degree, lest our energies are co-opted simply because we cannot always observe the complete consequences of our actions.

But, in fact, in order for anything to exist, it must exist alongside other forms. Everything is born into multiplicity and with multiplicity it must contend. As such, to sustain an energy and direct it to particular ends over time, one must act in a world where others are also acting. From this perspective, one is either playing against other players or with other players. Your ends are more likely to be promoted when your ends align with others, who will cooperate because helping you helps them, and vice versa.

A number of ideologies promote protest and public demonstration as a means to achieve their ends. For policies compatible with the ruling regime, this can be effective, but then it presupposes that the system and the protest are themselves bound to a common end, so it is unlikely to be a source of true ideology. The system and the protests reproduce each other. Most banally, this can be observed in the synergy of established politicians and citizen demonstrations who promote each other, whether because of mutually agreed ends or simple exchange. More importantly, and inherent to this systematic critique of protest and public demonstration, it is the medium of the protest that determines the end it can achieve. Changed minds? Sure – humans are socially reasoning beings, with beliefs that are influenced by social proof and ostentatious displays of social capital. The number of demonstrators that can be gathered to unite in promoting a message is just how egregores flex. The changing of minds and the influence of beliefs is what protests achieve. But then it becomes a question of how successful changed minds have been in achieving those ideological ends. Sometimes it is less how many minds have been changed, but to whom those minds belong.

Socialism, communism, syndicalism, anarchism, and capitalism partake of indistinguishable means of promoting themselves. Arguably, capitalism is the victor where it is because the public demonstrations of social capital are inherent to its means – the opportunity to individually pursue material wealth, rather than holding out for a social revolution as a means of promoting one’s status, does have its appeal. Likewise, capitalism as a form seems more capable of eating the other ideologies – its open-ended form and lack of teleological commitment as such seems to routinely co-opt the other ideologies. Arguably, we arrive/d at capitalism as a result of opting to a form of social computation that most equitably balances coercion with its backlash. Not that it is fair – only that, from the immediate moves most people are capable of making, it’s a system more likely to cohere itself from those constituent parts.

When people act en masse, the resulting chaos of other people’s subsequent actions in response tends to diminish the energy back to nil, in terms of the ultimate impact. Some change takes constant reinforcement to take effect, and even then it might depend on a continual “subsidy” from other social energies (foregone and actually committed). Unless the resulting behavior has a tendency to propagate itself simply due to the self-sustainable nature of its form, then most social energies may as well be thrown into a void. We are abundant in social wealth, and can afford to subsidize some socially non-reproductive behaviors. But the fact remains some behaviors are, if not self-defeating, simply wasted.

In other words, if one sought effectiveness in the implementation of their ideology, they should probably study. The way the world works is not easy to figure out. You will probably want to study economics, sociology, philosophy, and history. Not knowing those things won’t prohibit you from being organizationally effective, but in terms of ideological effectiveness? A completely ‘nother matter.

Consider it the principle of reproducibility. In order to extend the effect of your own personal actions, find actions which have a high likelihood of being reproduced. This requires not only adopting behaviors you think will be copied by others, but behaviors that will be copied in response to their opposition. There will always be some who support your behavior or idea, and others who oppose it. The opposition itself should be thought of as an essential force, rather than one that could or should be done away with. The lion and the gazelle, by their natures, excel the nature of the other, and unless they did so they should not have existed for as long as they have. The yang incorporates the yin, and so on; there is no yangless yin or yinless yang, each is bound to and interdepends on the other.

You should think of your ideas as not being merely designed to overpower the opposition, but capable of harnessing the opposition to transmit and improve the idea. It is as if the challenge is to preserve and promote your doctrine, but your doctrine would only be recorded by those who thought of it as heresy. You cannot enforce the charity of those contending with your doctrine, but nonetheless you must speak to those capable of separating the received opinion from the analysis of the idea. This is essential even while intending the idea to dominate the regime. The memeplex it instills should be capable of both asserting and defending itself against rival doctrines. When you promote an idea, you are not promoting a static, inorganic entity, but something that’s alive, which is shaped by and shapes the environment it occupies.

The logos, the doctrine conforming all things to itself, cannot be iterated even while all ideas tend to its expression. Ideas have ends beyond themselves. Even when an idea takes hold, it will always be succeeded by others. Living things require continual regeneration for their existence. The particularity with which a doctrine is promoted is ephemeral, but what is beyond it isn’t.

I conceive of history as an eternal golden thread. The world of motion has its inevitable end in some ultimate state of being we call God, and although inevitable it can only be accomplished by work. When we act in history, we are creating the eternal golden thread. Our actions become the basis for change tomorrow, which eventually promotes a new set of circumstances which change themselves, and on and on. Unless we consider how our actions might turn out, with or without our intention, then we cannot say we are addressing our action to the end of history.

Of course, it seems obvious to say “One should make sure one’s actions actually contribute to the end they desire,” but so few actually getting around to studying it needs repeating. The number of people who would like to help the poor is vastly greater than the number of people who have studied the causes of poverty. In fact, the number of people who would like to help the poor but would impose self-defeating or unsustainable policies to that end is also probably greater than the number who have studied. Ignorance stops no one from speaking, which is probably why the wise insist there is wisdom in remaining silent.

As much as we value the participation of the average individual in democracy, the truth is democracy tends to the lowest common denominator. On the one hand, this is probably why the value of education is promoted, in order to increase the value of that participation. But on the other hand, it also explains the allure of elitist systems. If you knew what you knew, given an expansive (largely autodidactic, as any good learner will be) education, but you were reduced to using the same base of knowledge as everyone else, you would likely despair. Yet, when promoting your own ends, we are forced to contend with the forces of ignorance more than those of learning and knowledge. So much of our meaning can be easily lost when other people approach our ideas, simply due to their uninformed biases and prejudice. Like I said, one should consider their ideas as being proposed to a hostile, ignorant audience if one seeks to promote them in their strongest form – a form in which the genuine understanding of the idea is apt to make one amenable to it.

This can be partly achieved by formulating one’s ideas in a form which repels interaction by the ignorant, but then one must contend with the claims of witchcraft. When people do not understand, they are as likely to conclude the idea is dangerous and should be suppressed. Sometimes misunderstanding is unavoidable, especially if one is promoting an idea at odds with the mainstream or the status quo. And if one is actually seeking to change the system, then it is incredibly likely one is, in fact, doing such a thing. If the idea were already popular and widely accepted, either with or without being implemented in some form, then probably it is assimilable to the system and, therefore, not truly a matter of ideology. For example, promoting the minimum wage is popular, thoroughly non-revolutionary, and self-defeating. I won’t elaborate on the economic reasons for its being self-defeating – more importantly, the personal and social energies committed to the minimum wage aren’t being dedicated to measures that will have more significant impact in terms of helping those in poverty, such as reducing the cost of living standards or promoting free trade among nations. Yet, those who can be inclined to support the minimum wage, are the same people who can’t be persuaded to support policies reducing the cost of living standards, because they are not the type to study economic policy in the first place. There are many who can and will only commit what is necessary to demonstrate their personal preferences, and nothing beyond. It might even be the majority of people.

As such, one ought to be concerned about the company they keep. If you find yourself comfortable with people who particularly enjoy being seen promoting policies, but who are otherwise ignorant as to the practical application of knowledge concerning their approved subject matter, then it suggests something very troubling for your ideas. Either the company you keep has already been co-opted, will be co-opted, or it is simply throwing energies into a void where it will accomplish nothing. We are social creatures and social reasoners, so it is possible to detect the virtue of our ideas from those around us to some degree. If you enjoy the human body and wish to promote your ideas about how it should work, but everyone you keep company with is abhorrently ignorant of anatomy and biology, it very well probably does shed some light on how earnest you are about your pursuits, at least in terms of objectivity. It probably reveals that the interest you feign in “helping people” is really about being seen “wanting to help people” more than it actually has to do with helping people. I bring this up because it is as important to study and understand ourselves, when promoting a doctrine, as it is to study and seek how to promote that doctrine itself. If we are blind to our motivations, we may be blinding ourselves to the futility (or self-defeating character) of the doctrine we promote.

An ideology to help everyone may well be a contradiction in terms. Should circumstance benefit equally the productive, who provide the means to live comfortably, equally as the slothful, who consume more than they produce? Such a system, if it benefited both equally, would be quickly outcompeted by a system that gave some preference to the productive over the slothful. The more resources are allocated to the productive, the more productive those resources are by extension, which in turn provides more for everyone. Likewise, the system needs a consistent means of determining between productivity and sloth. Should it only be a matter of human judgment? Or are there better means available? The input of millions – rather than an individual controller – may provide a clearer picture. Fortunately, such a system will tend to promote itself over that of systems benefiting the slothful, meaning the robust and dynamic system tends to rise easily above the others that lend themselves to poverty. But that does not mean the system cannot be improved, although at such a point the “non-revolutionary ideology” of the system will also tend to be already embedded into it, including those ideologies acting as though they were opposed but which, in reality, only redouble its efforts.

The lion does not mean to benefit the herd of gazelle by picking off the slow and weak. Yet the effect of its efforts is to leave the stronger, more agile gazelle who subsequently reproduce, promoting the greater average strength of the gazelle. There is an intrinsic relationship exerted between the mass and the elite, in which each trades with the other their respective benefits; the elites more to themselves individually, but the mass more to themselves as a collective. The strategies and incentives of each inherent to the system they occupy lend themselves to acting in a manner that always ultimately strengthens the system; if the immediate actions they might take weakened the system, then either those actions would have already been disincentivized, with some attendant penalty (e.g. lower chance at gaining wealth or reproducing), or they are the result of some novel challenge the system faces and which, in time, it – or some other system – will overcome. The result is that we live in a system that affords us very little room for ideological action – and action that truly moves the system is as likely to be destructive in the long run as creative. If we are committed to some purpose of nature, then we should concern ourselves with whether those ends are creative, although it is just as likely what is creative can only realize itself in competition with destructive pursuits.

Nature does not ultimately care about the individual, and if the individual’s suffering benefits its ability to reproduce systems that dissipate entropy beyond their environments, all the better that individual should suffer. Nature only cares about what helps its end to manifest the logos, that ultimate form capable of sustaining itself to the end of time. Indeed, from a certain perspective the whole universe is a machine for creating such a form, a form that must, in the end, become commensurate with the whole. An entity which has incorporated every last antithesis, the final synthesis beyond which no more possible evolution is possible, a system that has been completed. But we are nowhere near the end. We are bound to the eternal golden thread, to see what is creative and destructive all the way to the end of time. It is the universal and natural religion of the mystics, to realize the end of the world. The final apocalypse after which there is no more to be revealed. That is my ideology, and it is what grants me faith that such an end will realize itself – because the world has always been bound to such an end from its beginning, it is inevitable given its essential nature. We, as individuals and as a collective, are only a step, a single fiber connecting the beginning of time to its end.

The Game Theory of Elite Blackmail Networks

Civilization is premised upon coordination. In each of our interactions, the possibility is to either cooperate or defect with another. The more cooperation that persists, the easier and more likely it is that cooperation will reign. However, in the event of defection, those who have been defected on – or others observing others being defected on – realize there is greater risk to cooperation, and so become more likely to defect against another themselves. The more defection reigns, the more difficult it is to coordinate actors, even to ends that are mutually beneficial to themselves.

Defection, in other words, is the entropy of social systems, a feature inherent to any system predicated on the transfer and exchange of energy. Civilization is, in other words, a dyamic equilibrium of sufficiently agreed contracts, formal and informal, to cooperate. The process of socialization humans undergo as part of their maturation is meant to expose them to a sufficient number of examples of cooperation that, as creatures which default to mimesis, we engage in cooperation with others. Often our learned reflexes to cooperate are so deeply ingrained we cannot even articulate why certain behaviors are important for us to repeat in our interactions, but we can still sense when something is off.

Basically, the more cooperation reigns, the nicer civilization is to live in. When cooperation is less costly, we can form more agreements with more people and coordinate more people to greater collective purposes. It also costs time and energy to assimilate individuals not already acquainted with a given collective’s norms, whether that collective is a nation, a corporation, a religion, a political party, or what have you. Depending on the nature of the collective and the conditions under which it exists, the process of assimilation may depend on a process of differentiated socialization (e.g. school or training) or selection (potentially even self-selection, as in the case of religions and political parties). Typically, the more responsibility over the lives of others one possesses, the more stringent this process of assimilation will be, with some candidates being rejected in favor of those demonstrating superior qualities.

A collective imposing strict assimilation standards, albeit informally, is the elite. “The elite” are those exercising a powerful influence over millions, if not billions, making decisions about policy, culture, and business from an executive position where there exist no others to oversee them. Often they are responsible for decisions that only have consequential feedback for people like themselves generations down the line, and who are otherwise shielded from the direct feedback of the millions they influence. An overwhelming number of elites could trash the populations they have authority over, extorting billions by leveraging statecraft or even military power, but this would generally be bad for other elites. In general, regimes of cooperation create better circumstances for everyone, including not only the mass of the people but elites as well. Even if they otherwise care little for the people they oversee, elites usually have children who are left to inherit their wealth and capital resources, wealth and capital resources that in turn only have their power to confer benefits on the premise of a functional, high-cooperation society.

Cooperation among elites is even more important than among the mass of the people. For one, an elite in which defection reigns makes it harder to secure the benefits of wealth. A billion dollars matter very little if all your extra resources must be dedicated to securing yourself from the predation of other elites. It is better for elites to cooperate with one another, as it allows them greater opportunity to enjoy their extra wealth. Likewise, the mass of the people tend to imitate the behaviors they observe among the elite, so an elite in which defection reigns is more likely to become a society where it, again, becomes difficult to enjoy the benefits of wealth. Further, the dynamics of a high cooperation society are easier to predict, which makes it easier to rule, and so on. Cooperation is in the interest of the elites.

Those with the most power over who shall become elite are the elite themselves. There are some who can attain an elite status even without the help of other elites, but typically individuals are vetted extensively, with more sensitive positions requiring more careful standards of assimilation. The most sensitive positions are in politics, where elites have a direct lever on the propositions dictating how our society is constructed. Law is really the formal codification of cooperation, and it impacts elites who, even if they may not personally follow its dictates, still reign over a mass of people who must typically follow the law. The maintenance of law requires the careful deliberation by elites, who often have access to the best information informing how laws will affect them. In a democracy, the maintenance of law is performed by individuals selected to their position by the mass of the people, which makes the translation of elite preferences into law – preferences that are usually aligned with the mass of the people, assuming a well-constructed social system – a step more difficult. That is because, in order to exert influence over government, not only the aspirations of elites must be coordinated, but those of the democratic mass as well.

Coordination of the democratic mass is easier with cooperation among elites, who can use their control over institutions such as media to promote individuals to the visibility required to garner democratic support. Functional government requires continuity, continuity that is more difficult to achieve with a finicky democratic mass that switches its support between parties, which would normally stall elite agendas that take multi-term time horizons to roll out. Democracy has a notorious problem with time preference, in that democratic voters typically have higher time preferences (lower time horizons) than elites (who are often elite in part due to their knack for long term planning). However, if certain aspects of the democratic process can be superseded, than one can lower time preferences.

The elite have more in common with each other than they do with the mass of the people. Their interests are aligned differently, especially with regards to politics. Where the mass of the people are left to seek shelter in the political structure, to the elite politics is a means of doing business. “Left” and “right” have less bearing except as those can appeal to the democratic mass to coordinate support for the policies the elite prefer. What you often find is the progressive and conservative wings being balanced against each other with a mixture of policies in each that guarantees, whichever party is in power at a time, their agenda still advances the interests of the elites. Where the party’s platform coincides with the interests of the elite, its members will be elevated premised on their support of those policies – and where the party’s platform opposes elite interests, then it’s capacity to effectively impose those policies will be systematically hamstrung. Especially in a democracy, where passing legislation also requires coordinating democratically elected representatives, breaking coalitions is easy, especially given the level of influence elites already have over the selection and promotion of those representatives.

In either case, whether to promote a policy by promoting its proponents or to prevent a policy by muddling its proponents, blackmail is a useful tool. As a tool, it is a way to ensure any given individual’s overt allegiance to their elite supporters. It can also be used to guarantee the balance of opposed factions in government, by forcing otherwise powerful politicians to fail to coordinate when it would be in their interest to do so. A politician who senses the political opportunity to pass some preferred legislation might be told to forego the opportunity lest blackmail is released. Typically, blackmail will be used to destructive purposes – but it can also be used to form a pact to forward some agenda. However, the former is much easier, and blackmail can be secured by simply requiring the provision of blackmail material to elite handlers as a requirement of gaining elite support. In that way, separate parties might be controlled by even more powerful elites from above, who have such a preference for control that they only provide their resources to those they can effectively control through blackmail. There might be others who gain entry to government through the democratic process without the support of elites, but they will be easy to isolate by requiring the corrupted politicians to close ranks against them.

In that way, almost the entire body of federal legislators might be controlled by an elite who could otherwise only be reined in by that legislative body. Individuals with elite support are also more likely to gain democratic support, as they have considerable resources on their side to gain influence, resources provided by an elite because they can control their puppets. The network is apt to include influencers in media and entertainment, who can be relied upon to promote the elite’s preferred “democratic” representatives and policies. Individuals who attempt to enter politics honestly will be regularly derogated by the same and, if they do find democratic support, they will still find it difficult to find rapport with their fellow representatives, who per the blackmail network will be required to refuse cooperation with them.

How might an elite blackmail network be detected? First, it might be expected at the highest levels of power and finance. Elites can be expected to secure their own power and wealth from others, and the cultivation of elite blackmail networks are a means to that end. If forwarding elite agendas requires multi-term coordination, then it becomes even more necessary to utilize blackmail as a means of securing cooperation between parties that might otherwise appeal to their constituents by refusing to cooperate with the other party when it is popular to do so. If an elite puppeteer controls representatives from both parties, it will be easier for them to push those representatives together to craft democratically unpopular legislation requiring bipartisan support.

Members of a blackmail network will support each other over others, even those who might otherwise be in their same party. They will be able to form coalitions of support for unpopular legislation while simultaneously backing down from opportunities in their power to actualize. They will be loathe to call out each other’s misdeeds, as that threatens the blackmail network and themselves by extension. In general they will look out for each other, cooperating as necessary to ensure power for their own network. They will isolate upstarts in their own party, even when it might seem politically opportune for them to cooperate.

Competing blackmail networks will generally cooperate with one another, as anything threatening the existence of one threatens the existence of all. At present, the public is not wise to the operation of blackmail in their political structures, but if it became common knowledge blackmail networks would be required to operate more discreetly. An individual being blackmailed by one party cannot be successfully blackmailed by another party at cross-odds with the first party, which suggests the elites of one country might blackmail their own politicians more frequently than the politicians of other countries. Likewise, capture of a political elite by the elites of another country typically invalidate the preferences of the captured political elite’s democratic mass more than when those politicians are captured by elites of their own country. This suggests that more powerful countries tend to have political elites captured by their own elites rather than that of other countries.

The ultimate goal of these blackmail networks is to ensure that political elites will cooperate with even more powerful elites over the interests of their democratic constituents. Whereas the executives of corporations are legally obligated to act in the interests of their shareholders, blackmailed politicians are obligated to act in the interests of their controllers. In this way, the elites ensure that the democratic process continues to unfold in a manner suiting their interests, even – and often – when it is at odds with the interests of the democratic mass.

Who’s a Good Boy? A Short Story

We convinced ourselves it was better this way. After all, some genetic experimentation turned really ugly, and people couldn’t imagine doing that to humans. The ostensible benefit of ultra-intelligent humans was sworn off due to fears the cost, in terms of human suffering, would be greater. The media we were exposed to – albeit, chosen for us by the dogs – continually affirmed our prescient decision to prohibit human genetic experimentation.

However, even though genetic experimentation and engineering of humans was prohibited in the 30’s, that’s not to say genetic experimentation and engineering as an industry was forestalled. They simply began implementing the techniques in other species. It was found, in very short order, that dogs – those trusty domicile breeds especially – were especially susceptible to gene engineering. By the 40’s, some prototype breeds were uplifted to the stature of average human intelligence. By the 50’s, the first legitimately genius breeds were created. In the 60’s, a crisis was precipitated as corporations began hiring the genius breeds. Ever loyal and trustworthy, the corporations argued the dogs could be trusted to act in humanity’s best interests – even if humans weren’t intelligent enough to understand their decisions.

There being little to no restriction on their artificial reproduction, mass techniques of production were quickly applied to the generation of genius dogs. In 2070, there were 1000 humans for every genius dog. By the end of that decade, the ratio had fallen to 10 to 1. And they only continued to become smarter, ultra-intelligent dogs in the field of genetics innovating at an unprecedented rate. By 2080, entire companies were composed exclusively of dogs and their human handlers. By 2090, the number of genius dogs and humans were equal. At this point, things really began to get interesting.

First there was the push to provide a genius dog for every human. This was not only out of sentimental value – being completely outmoded by genius dogs, the only way for humans to compete in the economy was by employing their own personal genius dog. From janitors to tech executives, the genius dogs were not only smarter, they were much more reliable and harder working. Part of this might have had to do with selection effects, both on the front end and back end… The dogs were genetically engineered to be loyal, and those that weren’t…. Let’s just say, many kind euphemisms proliferated to document them being “put down.”

You might think humans would still have an economic advantage where craftsmanship and physical precision were required, but here again the dogs – with the help of technologies they developed – again succeeded in making humans economically irrelevant. Robotics in combination with artificially intelligent methods of mind-reading made it possible for genius dogs to take over the roles in the economy requiring opposable thumbs. The same laws passed in the 30’s prohibiting genetic engineering of humans were gradually extended – with the adept reasoning of dog lawyers – to prohibit mind-computer interfacing in humans. Naturally, there was no such prohibition against dog-computer interfacing.

By 2100 the ratio of dog to humans employed in the economy neared 100 to 1… and it was never better. Average human lifespans were in the triple digits, healthcare was freely accessible to all no matter their condition, the borders of countries barely mattered as transportation and housing costs plummeted, self-sufficient colonies were established on Mars, in the asteroid belt, and around Jupiter, a spiritual awakening had occurred in the 70’s in which virtually all humans joined a single world religion, war no longer existed, drugs were completely legal, incarceration of criminals was at its lowest, education was free and open to all, and the future looked exceedingly bright.

The President of the United States, Skip Kibbles III, a descendant of border collies, announced a new manifest destiny – to populate the solar system and to explore the galaxy. A new faster-than-light technology had been recently developed and, although organic matter couldn’t survive, it could be used to establish teleportation portals for nanomachines to pass through. The hope was that extraterrestrials would be encountered who could provide humanity the necessary technology to make it possible for humans to survive the vast distances of space. She set a goal of establishing a human colony on an extrasolar planet by 2200. Humans couldn’t argue – they could barely comprehend the fundamentals involved with faster-than-light travel, the dogs having developed a post-Einsteinian physics decades ago that humans had never sought to understand in the first place.

What was left for human destiny? Virtually all our problems had been solved by the dogs. Man’s best friend – no one could argue otherwise.

Facts and Their Political Concession Value

Tribal cognition is a funny thing. It often turns facts into values, and values into facts. When we try to wrap our head around “pressing social issues,” we often get mired in the same backwards reasoning that produces such confusion. That is because, very often, the analysis of facts concerning highly-fraught events is not value-neutral. Very often, the facts are treated as pawns in a battle where admission to a fact also requires concession by one side to the other.

The conflation of facts into values and vice versa results in highly motivated reasoning that leads both sides into supporting or stipulating very bizarre things. If one supposes a value requires one to support a particular factual occurrence, then one can see how that leads to people believing in occurrences that have little basis in facts. Likewise, if one supposes a fact requires one to support a particular policy conclusion, then one can see how that leads to people resisting very obvious facts. This bundling of facts and values into singular items that one is simultaneously for or against produces a lot of the phenomena we associate with tribal cognition.

When one draws out the fact-value bundles it becomes easier to recognize their absurdity, so that they might be addressed one by one rather than becoming the implicit value in question in certain disagreements over facts. What is odious about the fact-value bundling is that it seems both sides very often agree about the values in question, without ever directly admitting how the particular value relates to the factual disagreement. One can observe this in events such as the Michael Brown case, and it might be used to explain the split in conservative and liberal opinion. The implicit fact-value bundle might be described as this:

  1. Michael Brown, a young black man, assaulted a police officer

  2. Therefore, all police harassment of young black men is justified

Now, not all conservatives or liberals agree to this particular fact-value bundle. But there are many who see the two statements as inextricably linked. Many liberals seem to argue against the first proposition, that Michael Brown assaulted a police officer, because they seem to believe it would justify the second. And many conservatives defend the first proposition, because they believe the second. Both sides treat the facts of this one particular case as having policy concessions attached. If Michael Brown assaulted a police officer, it follows that current policy informing police treatment of young black men is justified. Likewise, if police harrassment of young black men is unfair, it follows that Michael Black did not assault the police officer. Both of these arguments are quite absurd, yet they also seem to linger in the background of the discussion surrounding Michael Brown’s actions.

It is entirely possible that Michael Brown assaulted a police officer and police harassment of young black men is unfair. The fact of Michael Brown assaulting a police officer – whether he did or not – does not necessarily determine whether or not police harassment of young black men is fair or unfair. It is also logically possible police harassment of young black men is fair, and Michael Brown did not assault a police officer. The two propositions, seemingly accepted by both sides as inextricably linked, are in fact logically separate.

More likely, the question of whether police harassment of young black men is justified might be better gleaned from examining thousands of cases of police interactions with young black men. That would give a more complete picture, which is undoubtedly complex and full of exceptions. A single case such as Michael Brown’s, especially given its media sensationalization, is probably insufficient to answer complex questions surrounding the relationship of police attitudes towards young black men ad law enforcement policy on the local and federal level. But at the same time, statistical data is unlikely to move tribal cognition.

We might just live in a tragic world. Both sides might be accurately capturing some aspect of reality, at the same time they ignore another aspect. Liberals might be right that police harassment of young black men is unfair, at the same time conservatives might be right that young black men are committing higher rates of (violent) crime. A solution to address these problems might require admitting both, but we are unlikely to get that solution as long as each side treats the other as completely wrong. I don’t know what the solution(s) entail, but ignoring a factual aspect of reality probably makes it harder to address the associated problems.

The Dialectic of White Supremacism

A disclaimer: I neither approve of nor condone white supremacy. This essay is an analysis of the dialectic surrounding white supremacism, in both it’s pro-supremacist and anti-supremacist formulations. The analysis is important for what it demonstrates about the importance of the issue both sides grapple with but often fail to clearly diagnose, largely due to a paranoid and over-emotional corruption of the rhetoric. My treatment of the issue of race is overly simplified and intended to focus on the dialectic.

The argument supporting white supremacy (or any racial supremacy, for that matter) has two premises, which may be stated thus:

  1. There are biologically grounded differences between racial groups (empirical proposition)

  2. The average characteristics of racial groups can be ranked on a single dimension from worst to best (moral proposition)

What is curious is which of those premises people choose to deny. I observe many leftists tend to deny the first premise. I also observe that many leftists both never deny the second premise, they also tend to assume that anyone supporting the first premise must also support the second premise. As such, a great deal of rhetoric goes like this:

A: “There are observable differences between racial groups. While not all members of a racial group necessarily have those characteristics, there is nonetheless differences in the averages and distributions of those characteristics between racial groups. These differences seem to have a biological basis, among other factors.”

B: “White supremacist! Nazi! Evil!”

In other words, it is presupposed that, as a matter of course, the only reason anyone believes there might be biologically grounded differences between racial groups is that one also somehow supports an agenda of racial supremacism. However, careful observers do notice that our hypothetical individual A has not declared support for the second premise highlighted above. They may or may not, but from what they have said we must at least be agnostic about whether they believe in the rationality of racial supremacy. I have also observed that, if one attempts to bring up the two premises and how they do not necessarily support each other, individuals represented by B tend to shut down and refuses to consider any alternative viewpoint.

The two premises are quite distinct from one another, and neither presupposes the other. The first premise, a statement about human biodiversity, is empirical. It might be studied by science. The theory of evolution predicts, given the varying commonality of ancestry among human groups and exposue to separate environments, the development of different traits we now observe as group racial differences. The second premise, a statement about superiority ranked along a single dimension, strikes me as moral. People who support the second premise tend to believe that “superior” races deserve preferential treatment economically, culturally, and politically. There are, I have observed, a continuum of conclusions stemming from the premise of superiority, from the need to preserve purity to extermination.

As pointed out by Hume, an ought cannot be derived from an is. One cannot derive the conclusion “We ought to massacre [insert preferred racial group here]” from “There are observed differences.” Neither does “There are observed differences” necessarily predispose one to “We ought to massacre [insert preferred racial group here].” As empirical and moral propositions, respectively, they must be proved or asserted separately. Yet, curiously, leftists so rarely question the moral premise. Why? Note, at least in my observation, conservatives more frequently rebut the moral claim, perhaps out of a sensitivity to the issue on account of historical assocations between the two premises. I think if we can explain the reason for the difference in attention given by leftists and rightists to the moral premise, we can explain much of the dialectic surrounding white supremacism, and perhaps by extension race more generally.

First, there is a tendency by leftists to treat white supremacist rhetoric as inherently threatening and dangerous. They often seem to believe people are inherently susceptible to the rhetoric. Whether they attribute it to the strength of white supremacist rhetoric or the idiocy of people isn’t always apparent. If the former, then they must be at least subconsciously assessing the case in order to determine its strength. If the latter, then they must believe it appeals to some kind of brutish self-interest. They often resort to strawmanning and caricatures, seemingly because they are themselves unaware of the beliefs stated by those they have in mind. By their own rhetoric, they would even themselves prefer it that way, e.g. if they’re ignorant of white supremacist rhetoric they can’t be susceptible to it. They do not seem to believe one can be fully cognizant of white supremacist rhetoric and reject it. If they believed that, they might otherwise give authentic representations of the beliefs of their opponents. Instead, they tend to conflate the first and second premise into one, thereby obscuring the empirical question on account of a supposed moral belief they assume their opponent to hold.

Second, the fact of a conflation between the two premises into one appears to inhibit rejecting the moral premise. In other words, for many leftists there are not two separate propositions: if you believe there might be biologically grounded racial group differences, supremacism necessarily follows. It hasn’t occurred to leftists there are two separate premises at play. Indeed, when I have asked leftists I know about it, they tend to revert to the same rhetoric about white supremacism, Nazis, etc. They do not treat it as a helpful analysis bringing clarity to the issue – indeed, I have even been called a white supremacist attempting what I thought was clarity. Leftists never get around to rejecting the moral premise as such because they believe they reject it in the empirical premise. Thus, rather than disclaiming supremacism as such, they disclaim propositions of empirical content on moral grounds.

This empirical-moral mismatch seems to drive a lot of leftist rhetoric on the issue, which thereby shapes the dialectic between them and actual proponents of white supremacism. In fact, there are at least three groups concerned: the first are leftists who reject both premises, the second are white supremacists who accept both premises, and the third are those who accept the empirical proposition while rejecting the moral premise. The third gets caught in the crossfire, leftists attributing their acceptance of the empirical proposition to a kind of “not-so-secret” agenda of white supremacism, often overlooking actual white supremacists (much rarer than the third group, in my observations).

Leftists lumping the third group with white supremacists does not seem driven by a rational, or strategic, decision. Rather, it seems overtly a matter of pattern-matching: the Nazis promoted race science, therefore race science is evil. Anything that suggests biological influence of observed group differences is race science, therefore it must be opposed at all costs. As a result, because of their inelegant equivocation between the third group and white supremacists, the third group tends to come to the conclusion that leftists are idiots. And not without some justification, considering their obstinate conflation of the empirical proposition and moral premise. Especially when those in the third group with otherwise progressive views about helping minorities get called Nazis. In practical terms, this leads to the third group forming more of a tribal alliance with conservatives, even in some cases inclining them more to supremacism than they might be otherwise.

If the true target of leftists was the elimination of white supremacists, it seemed they would accept the third group and, like them, reject the moral premise. But this never occurs to them. There seems to be a blind spot in their way of thinking about the issue. Even accepting the premise of human biodiversity is too near supremacism for them. I’m not sure why this is, as it seems to be the kind of thing where you would only make a person aware of their mistake, and they would correct it. But many leftists are obstinate to the idea the moral and empirical can be separated. If so, perhaps they have a very ground-level belief that the moral and empirical are inextricable from each other, so much so that even hypothesizing biodiversity as a cause necessarily requires one is also a white supremacist. In their minds, holding to the first premise but not the second is illogical.

That is not an enviable position. It probably also explains the largely emotional histrionics associated with the left’s treatment of the matter. If they believed the first and second could be neatly separated, they would not default to treating anyone considering the empirical proposition as a white supremacist. What is curious is that their association of the first and second premises as necessarily connected is almost identical to white supremacist rhetoric. In their minds, if they accepted the empirical proposition, then because they do not reject the moral proposition, they must logically be white supremacists. This also seems to drive a lot of their behavior. It is almost as much – if not more – about persuading themselves they can entirely reject the empirical proposition without needing to verify it scientifically. As such, they consider even science on human biodiversity – even when it performed by non-whites – to still suggest white supremacism.

One might even make the claim many leftists are unconscious white supremacists. Certainly, if they do not reject the moral premise – and the moral premise appears the substance of justifying white supremacism – then it follows they implicitly accept the moral premise, and with it, white supremacism. This trap is actually very easy to escape: simply accept the separation of propositions I have shown, in which case it is very easy to avoid white supremacism. Of course, if they accept the separation of premises, then they must also accept many they label as white supremacists, or Nazis, or similarly, are not. Their apology for labeling many people so libelously would be greatly appreciated, and it would heal a rift in the American public that doesn’t need to exist.

The Tragedy of Horizontal Oppression

Popular media typically depicts oppression as something occurring in a top-down manner, by people in established positions of power against those existing on the margins, but the truth is otherwise. In truth, the people accomplish most of the work of oppression by themselves against each other. The elites as such rarely need to step in. In fact, “vertical oppression,” defined as those cases in which established powers oppress those without, is the exception. The overwhelming majority of oppression is horizontal, accomplished by people with only a marginal amount greater power over others in very limited circumstances.

Power is a noxious and addictive substance. When we possess even a little bit more of it than another, it is difficult to prevent ourselves using it to assert our position of advantage. And why not? In other circumstances, per the prisoner’s dilemma, the other person would probably use their power against us – if they possessed it. Likewise, the use of power over others is directly aligned with our evolutionary imperative to survive and reproduce. If we have more power, we have more power to both survive and reproduce – even if we aren’t directly trying to obtain those things, our brains have been finessed by millions of years of evolution to obtain that position in our environment.

Power is also multidimensional, and subject to varying between people in different circumstances. Where people exist in horizontal relations – without codified hierarchical relations, e.g. as those that exist between a manager and their subordinates – their respective interactions can still impact their relative status. Respective interactions can occur either between individuals who belong to the same group or different groups, in which case the impact they have on the other differs. Between people of the same group, the impact on status can be much greater in the case of rhetorical defenestration – but that impact will be otherwise marginal if it comes from the outgroup. In which case, attacks by the outgroup might actually bolster someone’s relative position in the ingroup, especially if it gives cause for belligerence by the ingroup.

Horizontal oppression as it occurs within the ingroup is usually between relative outgroups; in other words, other outgroups might group them together as part of the same group, so in many ways it looks like people “on the same team” fighting each other. Which, for all respective purposes, it is. Individuals, jealous of their own power, are apt to abuse those nearer them they perceive as threats to their own position, and often prefer their position of relative power over the success of their ingroup. And likewise, that same individual of the relative ingroup they abuse might be apt to abuse them in turn, if they had the power to do so. Ingroups are as apt to defecting in the prisoner’s dilemma as they are against other groups.

Horizontal oppression between outgroups looks different, but still has a similar effect. Only it tends to be marked by a character of group effort. One group uses energy to abuse and lower the status of another group, at least in the eyes of their own group. The result is power competition when those groups are needed to reach agreements effecting everyone as a whole. The group in a majority is apt to impose standards that benefit themselves at the expense of the minority. The problem with this mindset is, when that majority loses its majority status, the next immediately imposes the same expense on them. There was no progress, only a turn of the wheel of fortune.

The elites do engage in activities to keep the groups they respectively rule over divided, as that is necessary for maintaining their own elite status. A typical example is when elites use their resources to bait individuals of one group into attacking another. On the one hand, the energies exerted by the respective groups against each other is energy that won’t be exerted against them, and when the elites intervene to settle and impose standards they can also more easily impose standards that benefit them most of all. The world is very unfair, in that the most aggrieved groups have the least energy left over to address this problem and are often stuck in survival mode.

Present circumstances are the result of an admixture of horizontal and vertical oppressions. Most vertical oppressions are aimed at maintaining and exacerbating horizontal oppressions. Humanity is in some respects naturally unified, but on the other hand we are also naturally divided; the unity of members of a group requires some costly effort. Even if the benefits of that effort are so naturally tied to each other people rarely notice that’s why they engage in the effort, that doesn’t mean the effort is nil. All present unities are also the result of overcoming division at some point. However, what generates one kind of unity is also apt to generate an over-abundance of energies that are not already incorporated into the whole, and thus becomes a point of natural division.

Overcoming divisions is an eternal work, but it is also the source of all rising living standards. For example, feminism and the rising status of women is afforded by solving other problems of social division afflicting humanity. People who fail to see that work on one kind of unity can only occur following another are apt to misunderstand how to approach the problems of division they presently address. For example, probably the most successful way to address a problem like racism is to raise everyone’s socioeconomic status. When people feel they aren’t fighting for mere survival, they are less apt to abuse each other in a zero sum fight for status.

In other words, horizontal oppression is both natural and artificial. If we respect one aspect of horizontal oppression but fail to respect the other, we are apt to misunderstand and misdiagnose present problems (and solutions). For example, if one believes all present divisions are the result of artificial manipulation of elites, they will be powerless to explain those cases of division occurring naturally, such as that of sex. But likewise, if one believes all present divisions are purely natural, they will be easy for elites to corral into dishing out their oppression for them.

Understanding both perspectives is of benefit to both sides. They are coming from a place where, in their limited understanding, their solutions are the best to solve the problems as they understand them. They are simply limited and incomplete. Both aspects of the source of horizontal oppression – that some of arises of human nature, and some of it from manipulations by elites – must be understood if the masses are to create unity. That means, in even addressing those divisions, not becoming another source of division.

Elites prefer for people to assume that the other group, in suggesting a solution different from their own, must be doing so out of malice or neglect. But it is also natural for ideologies to form themselves in such a way, such that all outgroup ideas are evil and must be resisted. Often it seems two divided groups grasp some essential part of a problem afflicting both of them, but because of their division as groups they cannot complete the answer they both seek. This is a tragedy, but it is a tragedy seemingly innate to human nature. If people allowed themselves to work with the outgroup, we would all be richer for it – materially, intellectually, and spiritually.