Don't call it a spade
Monthly Archives: November 2015
When I get referrals from Twitter I use to search a bit to see how my posts are being talked about. Recently I saw Nick Land calling me a North Korea sympathizer of sorts. Now, I had been wanting to make a post about North Korea since a while ago, so this is as good a chance as any to write what I think about that country.
North Korea is a nasty place. I define “nasty” by the way the people live, not by the way its political system conflicts with the political positions I’ve signaled over the years. I don’t give a crap about it being “totalitarian” or “communist” or “antidemocratic”. I’m not married to any particular political structure. I haven’t spent years signaling my commitment to this or that form of government. I probably should have, as everybody I know has been busy loudly proclaiming their allegiance to western democracy, and my silence on the topic hasn’t gained me any status. Fortunately, I get my status from other sources, and my heartfelt fear that joining the game of public political signaling would get me purged by more adept agitators sooner rather than later made me confident that my outsider strategy is the best over the long term. This is I think the mental calculation that most “conservative” people do.
Anyway, as I was saying, I don’t care about totalitarianism or whatever. If a totalitarian regime produces a wealthy, pleasant and interesting country, God bless it. If a communist country does so; I’ll sing its praises. If a democracy does so, great for them. I’ll go visit often.
North Korea does nothing of the sort. It’s a nasty, wretched place, where commoners starve, and people must constantly fawn over the powerful to avoid being killed or enslaved on trumped up charges. I wouldn’t like it there. North Korea is as bad as everybody says it is, most particularly the people who have managed to get out of there, and have written books on it. Chinese people are generally more nonchalant about it. Many Chinese can remember the Mao days; and they’ll tell you North Korea is mostly the same thing; even slightly better, now that cheap electronics are available by smuggling. The Mao era was bad, of course, but it wasn’t living hell. People lived through it. Most people are glad they got out of it, but others do miss that era of simple poverty. Some people are of course better at loudly proclaiming their love to the Great Leader than they are at making money in a capitalist marketplace. So of course some people miss Mao. When North Korea falls, some people will miss the Kims. I hear some North Korean refugees eventually go back.
Most criticisms of North Korea from abroad blame communism or totalitarianism for the poverty and lack of freedom. Even Moldbug when arguing for monarchy, was pointed out that North Korea is a monarchy too, and it’s not looking so hot. Moldbug answered that North Korea isn’t an actual monarchy, and the totalitarian system there is due to the lack of formal recognition of the Kim’s sovereignty. He stressed that North Korea is communist, and that’s why it’s so bad.
I think that’s wrong. North Korea is of course communist by any definition of the word. But North Korea is also, well, Korea. And the situation in North Korea is by all accounts very similar to what it was during the Joseon dynasty. There you had a king, with absolute power. You had a ruling elite, the yangban, who manned the court and the state administration. You had the commoners half starving and constantly fawning over their leaders in order to get by in life. And you even had slaves, large amounts of native population with no legal status and who could be traded as property.
The Joseon dynasty was as bad, if not worse, as north Korea today, and it wasn’t communist. It was a monarchy run on a traditional Chinese state template. And yet it managed to be one of the poorest countries on earth, containing one of the smartest population of humans. Again, no communism. I guess you could call it totalitarian, but the resources of social control available to the Joseon dynasty were pitiful compared to what any modern state can do. The Joseon dynasty was what it was, and north Korea today is a very similar thing. Communism has little to do with it. China is communist too, and it’s flourishing. Vietnam is communist too, and it’s doing ok.
Of course most people would pull a no true Scotsman here, and say that North Korea is real communist, while china is fake communist, because china allows (effectively) private property, while north Korea doesn’t, and that explains the difference. Well, did the Joseon dynasty allow private property? Surely it did. Until it didn’t. If you were a yangban of status with good connections with the present ruling faction, your property was not secure, it was most likely soaring. If you were a yangban of status with good connections with a falling faction, you could lose your property and life at the whim of a bureaucrat. Is that very different from what happens in North Korea? surely some people own stuff. Land, housing, even factories. Even if its nominally owned by a state department, some man effectively controls that department, and will continue to do so as long as he’s friends with somebody close to Kim the Fat III (as the Chinese call him). Actually that’s not different from how things work in china today. You can hold on your property as long as you are allowed to hold on your property. You can ask the “corrupt officials” that Xi Jinping has been cracking down on recently. How’s your private property?
And yet China is vastly wealthier than north Korea, and a much nicer place to live in. It’s pleasant enough that some people, including Nick Land, choose to live there rather than in a Western democracy. Communism is just a name put on things; actual political realities lie on a continuum. Communist North Korea today does suck very very much, as it did before being communist. It could stop sucking any day, even while still being communist.
Which brings us to the point of this post; this whole discussion, and Land considering me a Nork sympathizer, start with this post at Social Matter on the Paris attacks. The style of the text sounds a lot like Moldbug, in both style and (somewhat) content. I particularly enjoyed this part:
Ten: France must be restored culturally, architecturally, and industrially. Any buildings built in France, of a Modernist, communist, Islamic or or other non-French character, are to be demolished and/or replaced in a French historical style.
To a degree consistent with the actual supply of labor, industrial production of food and clothing is banned. Since the New State has retired the whole government, many Frenchmen will need work. The only conceivable source of labor demand is artisanal production on pre-industrial patterns; honor and fulfillment can only be found in tasks equal to the worker’s human potential. Anyone can be a mason or a carpenter; no one should have to be a 19th-century industrial robot.
Land blasted at this by calling it the “North Korean solution”. He has a point of course; unless managed by some supernatural genius, abolishing the industrial production of food would entail a drop in production so large that it would drop living standards to north Korean levels. And that’s bad. But somethings are worse, and so I said in a comment at his blog. He is of course flabbergasted, as he’s into accelerationism or constantly advancing technology.
But most people are not into accelerationism; most of all the sort of young white people who reject progressivism and go in the internet in search of alternatives. People are into SP. In particular, people are about raising their individual status. And given how things are turning out in the West, accelerating is just not a very attractive proposition.
Put it simply, North Korea is a hellhole of medieval poverty and suffocating hierarchy. But North Korea is there, will continue to be there, and there’s a chance, a very high chance actually, that living standards will improve, at the very least to the level seen in provincial China.
The West however is going down. It has no potential for improvement. Living standards are falling, and the pace of the fall is getting worse. And most importantly, the status fall has been proportionally higher for, well, us. White males with below average political skills are the scapegoat of this generation. They are fair game for all manner of injustice. You could be framed as a rapist in college, as a racist in your workplace, as a homophobe in your bakery. And your dear private property and individual freedom will be taken away from you just as easily as a Joseon yangban of the wrong faction, or a North Korean with insufficient zeal for Kim the Fat.
And it gets worse. Your son could be anally raped by a homosexual leader in the Boy Scouts. And a crossdresser could jerk off naked at the girls’ dressing room in your teenager daughter’s school. And you could do nothing about it. The very attempt of doing something about it will deal you the same punishment as a free spirit in north Korea.
North Korea also has no issues with feminism; most men can and do get married, and women are, as peasants everywhere, not pretty flowers, but generally pleasant enough to run a household. For all the poverty and oppression, they manage to breed more than we do. Now this is not to say North Korea is a paradise of traditional sexual mores; I’m sure Kim the Fat gets dozens of 13 year old girls sent to him to abuse sexually. And surely there’s some homosexual official in some province who enjoys raping little boys and does so with impunity. That again happened all the time in premodern monarchies, it is nothing new.
As a reader of history I know enough of the past not to worship the good ol’ days, the golden age of peace and prosperity that we’ve lost. There was no such thing; the past was a nasty, brutal place to be. Poverty is nasty business, and peasants in a poor country are the most selfish and immoral people you can find. Talleyrand was right as saying that only aristocrats before the revolution really got to know about the true douceur de vivre. But the real douceur wasn’t living standards; it was the guarantee of high status for live. That was very, very sweet, but by definition only available to a few, and it created resentment of the same intensity in the opposite direction.
And yet people do still look back at the past with nostalgia, and it’s not only about pretty buildings. It’s about SP, both real and potential. There is no status for white men today in the West, and all we can see in the horizon is even worse prospects. If the basic programming of the social brain is to prevent loss of status by any means; well then the North Korean solution, the medieval solution, doesn’t look so bad. Blood, iron and hellfire don’t look so bad. Even Islam doesn’t look so bad. Anything, no matter how crazy and poorly thought, is better to the status quo, because uncertain high status beats certain low status, and absolutely anything beats certain lower status in the future.
In my last post I mentioned that Western countries are signaling themselves into annihilation due to the spill over effect of upwardly mobile people wanting to show themselves as being upper class, i.e. not proles. Others have called that Goodwhites signaling they are not Badwhites. Same thing.
There’s a recent article in the New York Times that unintendedly makes the same point. It’s about how Sweden has run out of means to actually accept more refugees, but it can’t stop signaling virtue so they just can’t stop getting more. If you’re in a charitable mood, you might think sounds like a reactionary is very skillfully trying to use progressive rhetoric to make the case for closing the borders. But note this part:
The government’s slow response to all of this seems baffling. But the seeds of the current debacle were sown earlier, when immigration became an untouchable centerpiece of Sweden’s politics. For the past five years, the nationalist Sweden Democrats party has been the only force opposing the country’s refugee policies. Born in the late 1980s through the fusion of an anti-tax populist party and a neo-Nazi activist group, the Sweden Democrats have grown exponentially since entering Parliament in 2010. Their rise has nonetheless been condemned and hotly contested by a mainstream weary of seeing the country’s reputation for tolerance tarnished. Far from introducing new restrictions to immigration, the Sweden Democrats have caused the political establishment to entrench itself: Any move to restrict immigration is now seen as a concession to paranoid nativism.
Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has called the Sweden Democrats “neo-fascists,” and like all other mainstream party leaders — on the left as well as the right — he has refused to communicate with them. But on the heels of his administration’s about-face on its own immigration policy, his past attacks on the party seem awkward. When members of the Sweden Democrats began criticizing his policy months ago for its blindness to logistical and economic pitfalls, he dismissed them. The party also argued early on that money for humanitarian purposes would be more efficiently and equitably spent through foreign aid than immigration, and he disregarded their argument as a convenient excuse for a xenophobic agenda. He may have been right, but so were they.
And therein lies the problem. The real nightmare for Swedish politics is not that it now includes the kind of continental-style far-right party it once thought itself immune to. It is rather that mainstream forces have surrendered all critical perspectives on immigration to a party with which they can neither collaborate nor bear to see affirmed. Had a transparent and dynamic public discussion been taking place in Sweden during the past months — a discussion that acknowledged both the need for human solidarity and the limitations of the country’s infrastructure — a more sustainable immigration policy might have emerged. Instead, it seems ill-fated policies will not be altered until the country brings itself to the brink of collapse.
And that’s the thing. Critics from the right often point out how powerful leftists don’t have to actually suffer the consequences of their decisions; they are isolated in their wealthy neighborhoods, and don’t even have to interact with any of the foreigners they are bringing in. All this humanitarian rhetoric is just an abstraction.
But everything is an abstraction. The FDA don’t suffer personally the consequences of their decisions. Well they do eventually, if somebody gets cancer. But that’s far removed from the decision, and it’s all in the realm of possibility. But that’s not the way politics work. Human groups don’t make decisions like that. It’s not what, or how; politics is about who and whom, who is your friend and who is your foe, who is a useful associate and who isn’t. The left is a social club. A social club which allots status points according to allegiance to some abstract ideological principle, which changes all the time.
By making an opposing social club, and going public on its opinions, that constraints the freedom of action of leftists. Leftists can take any sort of position as long as they frame it in a plausibly deniable way, and they agree to go on with it. But by, say, forming a party called Sweden Democrats to argue against everything that leftist have been doing until now, you put them in a bind. Agreeing with the enemy makes you lose your position completely. If they are right, you have no reason to rule. So no matter what you must double down on everything you do, lest you help your enemies undermine you.
But follow that to the logic conclusion. If Sweden, or France, can’t make good policy because that would undermine their own legitimacy; then under a democratic system of open debate, all governments all the time will find themselves in the same situation. If having an opposition prevents you from doing good policy then we should not have oppositions. Democracy doesn’t work. I didn’t say this; the New York Times did. Not that I disagree.
It also follows that the only way of achieving meaningful political change is through the completely replacement of people in power. A coup. That’s the only way. The politicians can’t just repudiate all they have been doing for decades and admit they’re wrong. They must double down, or else. So they must all go. Every single one of them. In other times, the top politicians would be the ones doing the speeches, and in case of a change in policy they could be made to “take responsibility” and step out. But today in the era of social media everybody is doing political speeches. Everybody has committed itself to a hundred causes every year. Facebook, Twitter, constant garbage on TV and the Internet are semi-forcing you to take a stand on a dozen causes every day. Changing your opinion in any of those is giving ammunition to your enemies to undermine you. So even low level bureaucrats, college students, everybody who’s been talking politics in public must double down on whatever madness they have been committing themselves to. Which is why the leftist madness has been accelerating as of late. Everybody is in the game now.
I have nothing interesting to say about the Paris attacks. Given that they understandably took attention out from my last post, as a blogger my duty is to try to explain the Paris attacks and their likely consequences in terms of Status Point theory. Yes I’m starting to sound like a broken radio, but at least I’m not just rambling about it’s all the fault of the Jews. So listen up.
France will do nothing about these attacks. Nothing will change. The Front National won’t win the elections. Immigration won’t be stopped, nor French Muslims will be incentivized to leave. 120 murdered is a lot of people; but people only care as much as the media reports about it, and the media only reports about it as much as the Cathedral wants to. The Cathedral doesn’t want to report about it, so in 2 weeks people will have forgotten the same they did about Charlie Hebdo. They will remember their Facebook filters and Twitter tags much more clearly than the 120 murdered. They didn’t actually know any of the killed, but they of course have clear memories of how good it felt to signal virtue on social media.
If anything can happen is that the US uses the chance to bomb some more of Assad, and France joins up to signal toughness against terrorism or something; then some neocon arranges for a Russian convoy to get bombed, and Putin responds in kind. That’d be… interesting.
Why will nothing happen? Why will France not bother to defend its own people? In the capital, under the very nose of the President? Because it doesn’t raise the SP of the people taking the decisions. Hence by definition it cannot happen.
Every country has a class system in some form or another. Well a lot of people write about the “British class system”, it’s nothing particular to Britain, except that the British were actually aware of it, and it was part of their cultural consciousness. But even in places where there’s no cultural awareness of class, class is still there. There’s this thing called HBD, which is often used to explain differences between population, but that’s not the whole point. Humans are different by birth. Genetic differences explain all sorts of behaviour and ability. Some people are stronger, others are smarter, some can draw, some can write, some can sing. Some are extroverted, some are introverted, some are ambitious sociopaths, other are sensitive wimps.
As seen in last post, people seek advantage in everything in order to gain status for being on top, so it’s natural that people will want to focus on their natural comparative advantage. Men are physically stronger than women; strength is a very useful trait, especially at controlling others. Groups of random men naturally tend to compete in who is the strongest. Strength in the real world isn’t just potential muscle strength, perhaps the most important part is the impulsiveness to actually use it without hesitation. We’ve all seen how that works in a school setting. Men get together and soon a hierarchy is born where the strongest are on top.
The less strong, or the (for whatever reason) less impulsive will have very low SP under these circumstances. It follows they’ll try to leave this group and form their own, where they could potentially rise in SP. So they go and do that, form a new group where SP depend on something other than physical strength. An easy example is nerds forming hierarchies of perceived intelligence or skill with computers or whatever. After a long enough time being in the same group, SP dynamics make all people inside the group develop a very similar personality. Liking the same things, dressing the same way, speaking the same way, having the same opinions. Of course everybody retains some small individual quirks, but it’s amazing just how completely homogeneous people in groups can be when there’s enough pressure.
Social class is the same thing in society as a whole. The guys who were strong, brash and manly end up being proles, while the smart and conscientious end up in the middle class. Now of course the distribution isn’t perfect; some people are strong and also smart, so they can choose according to the ultimate SP payoff. And of course family pressure has a lot of influence on who you’re allowed to hang out with, no matter your individual qualities. But in most of the world the division works the same way; social classes specialize in different things: proles focus on hands-on labor, the middle class focus on mental labor; the upper class are the lucky fucks who made big, of course most of the time from middle class backgrounds.
Each social class allots Status Points according to different yardsticks; but an obvious one is typicality. Or in other words how different you are from the other side. Being prole-ish is the easiest way to lose points in a middle class group. And being a soft-spoken bookish person is the easiest way to get beaten up in a low class group. SP yardsticks of course always tend to produce signaling spirals, so middle class people are obsessed with showing themselves to be as unprole-ish as possible, and the other way around; but there’s less proles around, so signaling competition isn’t as bad among proles.
Politics in both sides of the Atlantic work the same way; the lower class is xenophobic, the middle class is committed to filling their countries with all the filth of the Third World. The lower class dislike of foreigners is obvious: as manual labor they depress their wages. And lower class males are organised among natural masculinity; that’s the band of brothers, in-group is sacred aesthetic. That doesn’t make them xenophobic per se; as long as the foreigner is in the group, they’re very happy to admit any strong man. Look how many Africans are in sport teams across the West, those are very accepted. But the millions of Muslims in Europe aren’t joining the white proles’ team; they live in their own societies and do every effort to show themselves as the outgroup. The proles can’t possibly like that.
If the proles don’t like that; the middle class must like it. Even if it’s insane; signaling unprole-ness is the game in town. Now of course filling your own country with every low IQ peasant on earth is a very, very insane proposition. But that’s why we have 16 years of full time education, complete conformity on TV and all popular media. You want to signal your non-prole values; well the Cathedral is providing you with all kinds of arguments to help you with that. Once you have used those arguments, say about how poverty drives radicalism, or how Islam is a religion of peace, or whatever bullshit you’ve heard on TV and parroted without really thinking about it; once you’ve parroted those enough times you’re now committed to them. You can’t go back; doing so will signal unseriousness, and will suspiciously look like prole arguments. And you don’t want to sound like a prole. So better hurry to the train station to welcome the next batch of Somalis holding the hand of your 12 year old daughter.
The political class is in the same bind. They can’t possibly admit the errors of bringing all that scum into Europe. It doesn’t matter how much people are killed; media reports can be toned down and stopped after a few days. But admitting that the proles, in France’s case the Front National was right, completely undermines your authority. If Le Pen is right, then what are you doing here? Get the crap out and let her govern. The mainstream political class have been making loud claims about how Muslims are awesome and we need more of them. Backtracking even a single inch means you’ve been lying to all of us for decades for no good reason. The next step after electing Le Pen is putting them all in jail and bringing back the Guillotine.
Hell, even if an individual middle class person were to admit that; he’ll get sandwiched between a rock and a hard place; the proles will shout at him for being wrong and evil, while the rest of their middle class friends will move even further left to avoid being dragged down to the Guillotine by collective responsibility.
So the French and European will double down, and down, and down, as long as they can control the narrative enough to get elected. It doesn’t matter that 100 Parisians are gunned down under their noses. Did 3 fucking thousand killed, the Twin Towers completely destroyed, change anything? Of course not. The only vague hope is that somebody in the shadows of the Deep State starts doing what needs to be done without having it made public, thus avoiding the public signaling racket. But we don’t really have a deep state, and to the extent there is a secret security apparatus, it’s not cohesive enough to avoid somebody signaling virtue by outing the whole thing to the media.
Houellebecq’s Submission is a utopian novel. It’s a best case scenario. It’s gonna be much worse than that. It’s going to suck very badly.
Let’s see if I can expand SP theory.
Early October is the anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, and the people there get a one week vacation. As a result a billion people start moving in one direction or the other. Tourist spots in China become hell on earth, the closest thing to an ant colony. Those who can afford it choose to travel abroad, where there’s bound to be less people. The yen being quite cheap these days, Japan is one of the top destinations for Chinese tourism.
You gotta give it to them, that the Japanese bureaucracy can really pull stuff off when it puts itself to work. 5 years ago I started to hear how one of the “growth strategies” of Japan was to be tourism, and the Japanese government was starting to move in order to achieve that. I thought it was madness; have they looked at a map? Japan is far away. There’s not that much to see to be honest, most old cities having been burnt by Curtis LeMay, and replaced with quite uninspiring jungles of concrete. Japanese hotels are also old, small and expensive. And nobody speaks foreign languages. It can’t work.
Well, 5 years later Japan has more than doubled the number of visiting tourists. From 8 to what might well reach 20 million this year. That has a lot to do with Chinese tourists. The yen being quite cheap right now, Chinese tourists find Japan to be quite cheap. It’s also quite close. So a zillion Chinese came to Japan during the October holidays. Chinese news sites bombastically published how “Chinese armies invade Japan” and “city after city opens its gates in surrender”. Some surrender it was. The average Chinese tourist spent $7,000 in a 4 day trip. Never an invasion army had been so generous. Never was a country so happy to be invaded. Chinese tourists are also famous for buying completely extravagant stuff. Like $1,000 rice cookers. Who the hell buys that? Well, Chinese tourists. It’s painfully obvious that Japanese manufacturers make them exclusively for them: they’re impractically big, painted with shiny black, and has written in big letters on the front “Made in Japan”. That’s catnip for the Chinese. Obviously no native would buy that. But there’s money to be made, and Japanese companies are all to happy to cater to whoever has it.
This year my wife had some friends from China coming to visit. And yes, they bought all sorts of stuff. Clothes, accessories; all very expensive. As far as I know they’re not particularly rich, but China now has increasing numbers of married couples without children, making two middle class incomes, eating cheap food, using cheap smartphones, saving money in daily life to splurge in yearly trips abroad. Children? Oh no that’s SO expensive. Have you seen this bracelet?
The day before leaving these friends asked me where to buy a camera, so I took them to an electronics store. They seemed to have no clue about cameras in general. All they did was look at one, then google it on their smartphone. After a while they decided for one.
-Why this one?
-Oh it’s 20% cheaper than in China.
(Oh, so that’s what they were checking.) -But anyway, who cares about the price difference. Is it any good or not?
-Whatever man, I can’t tell the difference anyway.
Then it struck me; of course if they had any actual knowledge of cameras they’d have bought one before coming, or at least just on arrival. They’re on a fucking trip abroad, which is when cameras are used. But no, the camera was just a signal. A signal of their superior luck, having acquired it 20% cheaper than any of their peers back in China. 20%, man. Awesome, huh? They’ll be bragging about it forever. The camera will probably never be used. That’s what smartphones are for.
What’s the point of that? To keep up with your peer group, of course. If possible to gain some small advantage, some surplus SP. But if you can’t, at the very least you have to keep up, to go through the motions. For most people it’s second nature.
René Girard just passed away, and his intellectual career dealt with this precise phenomenon. Why do we talk so much about individual freedom, when the vast majority of people are all doing the same shit? That’s because people are mimetic animals, he said. We are for some reason wired to copy the people around us, to desire the same things. That breeds conflict, and conflict leads to the selection of scapegoats to harness collective energy into one single focal point, lest the whole tribe collapses in a war of all against all.
Now I haven’t read much of his oeuvre, so perhaps I’m being unfair. But I think Girard got the whole thing backwards. People aren’t mimetic, which leads to conflict. People seek advantage, which leads to conflict, which leads to imitation. The logic is simple; the pursuit of advantage requires a single yardstick to compare others. In order to show yourself to be superior you must excel at something whose value is understood by everyone. And as everyone seeks advantage, conflict naturally evolves around this single yardstick. Which is why people all do the same retarded thing. Because that’s the only way you can settle the match. The eternal tournament of life.
I’ll give credit to Girard for using his clever theory to argue for the superiority of Christianity, with Christ being the last scapegoat and all that. The thing has a nice poetic feel to it, and it’s refreshing to listen to apologies of Christianity with a solid anthropological ground. But still, that doesn’t make much sense. Christians didn’t sacrifice children, sure. But neither did Jews for centuries before Christ. Nor have the Chinese for millennia. Not that there weren’t plenty of scapegoats around. What about all those witch hunts? Temporary lapse into pagan madness? Come on.
My reasoning is simpler, and without mythical allegories. People seek advantage because they must have an edge to reproduce. During most of human existence only 1 in 17 males (or 40%, or whatever) was able to reproduce. And that’s hardly unique to humans. In any sexual species, the males have orders of magnitude more sperm than females hold eggs. Males in turn evolved to have higher trait variance. Females have to choose, one way or another. There’s not enough eggs for every sperm out there. It follows that males must necessarily compete.
But compete how? Well it doesn’t really matter, as long as there’s a winner, or several, and everyone can agree to the result. The typical answer tends to be “good genes”, but that’s a tautology. And females don’t necessarily know what good genes are. Good genes by definition are genes which are more likely to reproduce; which in a male’s context means more likely to attract females. So females like what females like. Cool. And what to females like? Peacock tails. Bright colors. Fancy songs. Long antlers. Corkscrew penises. Tall men. Who cares? It doesn’t matter. As long as a game theory equation computes an area of competition, a common yardstick, the men will get busy in optimizing for that. And the next generation by definition will be the children of those who were better at playing that game. Animals are all built to play the game. Evolution must have made a big chunk of all brains into calculating how the game is played. The ranking of players at that game, even in animals, can be defined as SP. Everybody wants SP. For a peacock, a long tail gives you SP. For a pig… well I don’t know how female pigs choose their mates, but you get the point.
Now of course humans are rather special animals. We can use weapons, which puts the brakes on the fitness advantage of sheer physical force. And we’re social. Being social means we make groups. But we’re animals, and animals must compete. Animals are built to find common yardsticks of value and seek superiority in whatever is valued by the group in order to reproduce. Now it doesn’t follow that the same genetic mechanism gets inherited down the line. We don’t all have peacock tails. But the fundamental logic of sexual selection means that every species must develop some yardstick by which to compare males and make a choice. Every species can, and as far as I can see does evolve a different process of its own. Now imagine what happens when you apply humanity’s massive brainpower into that basic animal process.
Humans also have a fairly basic physical yardstick, male height. But as I was saying humans are social. If the tall guys are getting all the girls, the rest of the men can gang up and slit the throats of all tall guys while they sleep. Group dynamics are very important. But group dynamics are still animal dynamics; we are all built to seek advantage in every circumstance. So once you make a group, people start to seek advantage inside the group. To seek SP. How do you do that? Well one way is what Girard pointed out; people often can and do gang up to grab some poor guy and kill him or make his life miserable. Women do that too. Fellow humans are rivals for resources and mates, and sometimes somebody in your group may genuinely not be that useful. And by pushing some guy down, your SP naturally rises a little bit, if only in comparison (remember it’s a relative measure). Once this dynamic gets established, the ability to not become the scapegoat, the ability to navigate group dynamics so that you can rise in the pecking order, if only to survive, becomes a major factor of evolutionary fitness. SP was important enough to reproduce. But now there’s another avenue of competition. Sexual competition created one sort of SP, now ingroup competition creates its own sort of SP. Sexual SP drives attraction, group SP drives social behavior.
How do people in groups decide who to scapegoat? It doesn’t matter. As long as there’s a single criterion, the specifics don’t matter. The only thing necessary is the ability to measure SP. Once one gets game theoretically computed, the bets are off, and the game starts. Some people choose ability in sports. Others, like my friends, the ability to gain a (apparent) bargain. Others fashion sense. It doesn’t matter; every human group has a pecking order based on whatever they have. Even 8ch incels compete in being edgy or something. Japanese nerds compete on whose anime “wife” is prettier. And of course SJW compete in making up the weirdest leftist madness they can come up with.
This explains intra-group pecking order. Female choice closely follows group SP. But only if the females are closed inside the group. Small bands of primitive humans develop all sorts of weird aesthetic practices, like lip plates or breast-ironing or face-tattooing, and the females are very happy to accept the groups SP yardstick and choose mates according to it. Lip plates are sexy if they’re the only stuff around. But civilized societies have many sorts of groups, all with their own internal hierarchies, living together. How does female choice work in that setting? What are they attracted to? The top fisherman? The top warrior? The top merchant? Denied their ability to use sexual SP, women are left only with Group SP as a criterion. How do they choose?
They don’t. The answer is females had no choice in civilized societies. Not until modernity, of course. Males had their pecking orders and they traded their daughters according to the male’s understanding of SP. Ugly bookish nerds with enough money could have no problem acquiring a wife, and unless his public SP was outrageously low, she’d accept it. But modernity broke that down. Male solidarity, the ability of men to run groups under their own values, is now forbidden. For good reason; the only threat to the power of the state is men raising an army to overthrow it. Which happened all the time; we call those rebellions. Well governments don’t like rebellions, and the most effective way of preventing rebellions is to forbid men’s freedom of association. No male solidarity, no trading of women; no control of females. Let them choose.
I’ve said a lot here, and it’s late. Let me recap:
– Rene Girard noted how everybody imitates everybody else.
– Everybody imitates everybody else, because sexual selection requires a criterion for comparison, and you can’t compare effectively unless everybody does the same thing. The best strategy is to do whatever the guy getting the chicks is doing, and do it better.
– Sexual selection causes competition. Human groups cause competition by other reasons, like scapegoating. Animals are used to compete because of sexual selection anyway; the scapegoating racket creates a new avenue of competition, added to sexual.
– Sexual SP drives attraction. You like what others like. Humans evolved a quite typical archetype; the tall, fit man with high social savvy and a tint of psychopathy to survive human group dynamics.
– (social) Group SP drives behavior. The group has a pecking order, and the musical chair is always running. The best strategy is to play safe and do what everybody else is doing, preferably better. Seek advantage in everything you do, but just a bit.
– Human Civilization developed a way to stave off sexual competition, and subsume it inside group competition through patriarchy.
– Modernity, i.e. industrialized centralized states, has destroyed patriarchy and male group competition. There is only one group now, which drives the scapegoating racket into a mad light-speed signaling spiral, while females are left to choose mates according to paleolithic sexual SP. The distance between social SP and sexual SP is so big that a majority of women either refuses to mate, or are constantly unhappy and underfertile.
Please make any suggestions in the comments.