Sunday, August 31, 2008 80 Comments

Sarah Palin: the proletarian candidate

UR normally only appears on Thursday mornings. But this one is just too fun.

Earlier in the blog, I offered a five-caste definition of the American social spectrum. But I've decided that five is two too many. As St. Exupery said, the machine is complete only when there is nothing left to take away.

Basically, there are three kinds of wonderful people on the wonderful northern continent of our wonderful Western hemisphere. They are called Eloi, Morlocks, and Proles. This list is roughly in order of political power, from absolute dominance to abject submission.

In case it isn't absolutely glaring, Barack Obama is a third-generation Elo on his mother's side. Michelle is a first-generation Ela from a Prole background. Burning Man is an all-Eloi event. I don't feel this is a difficult picture to grasp.

And Sarah! Sarah! Sarah is the Prole to end all Proles. She is practically an Arch-Prole. Look at that hair, girl! Does it say bridge in the front and tunnel in the back, or is it the other way around? I also love the fact that the only scandal they can dig up on her is one involving the fact that her ex-brother-in-law threatened to "put a bullet in" her father. If Governor Palin turns out to be in some way related to Tonya Harding, I shan't be in the least surprised. Dear!

A progressive (and very dear) friend of Mrs. Moldbug's, for example, reacts instantly to this potent allergic stimulus. Her first reaction was: "Eye-ran?" To her this just said it all. As indeed it does. If Sarah Palin is not a prole, there is no such thing as a prole.

If nothing else, the fact that Gov. Palin studied "communications" at something called "Idaho State College" would certainly seal the deal. Status in one of our three castes is not exactly inherited, exactly, as if it were a baronetcy or something. But unless you did start out as a baronet, it is pretty much set by "where you went."

I mean, let's see: George W. Bush is one of the ten most hated men in history. And why? Because he's a traitor. He was raised in the minor Connecticut nobility, but (a) can do a Prole accent and (b) much worse, depends on it for his act. GWB could have said, actually, I would rather be an Elo, thank you very much, basically at any time before he became governor of Texas. Possibly even after. You know he is capable of talking like anyone else who went to Yale. And the White House would have been out of reach. On the other hand, you might see him at Sundance.

But he refuses this. Or has. And that, alone, makes him a dangerous man. So which is scarier? The traitor, Bush? Or the would-be usurper, Palin?

You see, the so-called "Democrats" (whom, here at UR, we call the Inner Party) and their purported opposition, the supposed "Republicans" (or Outer Party) have completely different beliefs about the nature, purpose, and function of the office known as the "Presidency," for which they appear to contend. As usual, the IP is right and the OP is wrong.

To the IP (obviously, also the Eloi-Morlock Party), the so-called "President," ie, the player whom callers help select in USG's quadrennial reality show, is hardly a temporal position at all. It is really more of a spiritual office. The Roman pontifex maximus is a fine analogy. I also admire the phrase "bully pulpit," which I feel could be used a good bit more.

For the IP, for example, the ideal "President" would be Nelson Mandela. But there are obstacles - St. Mandela, for instance, is not an American citizen. At least not in the strict technical sense of the law. Fortunately, our evolving standards of justice may at some point in the future, when we are more spiritually advanced, enable us to overcome this barbarous discrimination. When Archbishop Obama says that "the walls between the countries with the most and the countries with the least cannot stand," perhaps he actually means it. Who knows, with such a great man? Certainly a good first step would be for a Federal court to realize that Mexicans are actually, in fact, Americans. (It's not like they were born in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia or Antarctica.)

But obviously the most sacrilegious possible desecration is one in which an actual, practicing Prole is appointed, by some awful cosmic mistake, to the hallowed post of "President." It's basically like having a porn star elected Pope. Even as candidate vice-Pope, it's way too far. The purpose of the White House is to teach the Proles that it's wrong to be a Prole, and they need to stop. Now. I mean, duh. Ideally, the LORD would let America know at once of her mistake, and send Hurricane Gustav straight up the Mississippi to demolish the polyester-Americans and their so-called "convention." (Which, frankly, could be mistaken for a multi-level marketing conference. At least if all you look at is the hair.)

Meanwhile, the OP (or Prole Party) has a completely different view of the "White House." To the PP, the "President" is the CEO of America.

This illusion can only be sustained by people who either (a) have no idea what Washington is or how it works, or (b) do, but conceal it for their own political benefit. Collectively these individuals are known as "conservatives," and they make up the right side of your radio dial.

(The radio cannot be adjusted beyond this built-in band. But it can be turned off. Please do not vote for, contribute to, or otherwise support the Outer Party. Outer Party politics is not effective against the Inner Party. Please forward this message to all your Avon subscribers.)

The truth is that the White House changes its entire nature as an organ of government when it changes between Inner and Outer Party control. An Inner Party presidency is simply a different institution from an Outer Party presidency. They are apples and oranges.

When the Inner Party is in, the Presidency is a vestigial organ. It would be a fun experiment to actually abolish the White House for four years. The results would be more or less the same. Every agency in Washington would function not only just as well without the existence of the President, but in fact much better.

For example, my mother was at DOE in the Clinton era. In the renewables area - she did a good bit of work for Joe Romm. Once I asked her what Sched Cs (political appointees) did under Clinton, and she said: "they got a nice office, and they were told to work on whatever they liked." Indeed the main difference between Inner Party candidates is (a) whether or not they can win, and (b) the set of people among whom they will distribute the Plum Book.

A ceremonial presidency is perfectly consistent with Inner Party values, which stress that "politics" is bad and "public policy" is good, and the two should be stored separately - for more or less the same reason that sewage and wine are not shipped in the same tanker truck. As so often, the IP is exactly right about this. Except for the fact that the word "democracy" occupies the highest possible position on the mental totem pole of the Inner Party mind. If I could explain this, I might still be a believer.

(Moreover, the contradiction itself is a nice bit of misdirection. It points the marks away from inquiring into the nature, ingredients, and origins of the sausage called "policy." But I digress.)

When an Outer Party man becomes "President," he soon finds that all his efforts are devoted to solving the essentially unsolvable problem of preventing his name from becoming a historic byword for pure, infamous villainy. Maybe not quite like Hitler or Attila the Hun. But certainly like Mussolini, Richard II, Nixon or Ivan the Terrible.

The basic problem of the Outer Party in the White House is that, with minor exceptions such as the Pentagon, its mission is essentially one of preventing the rest of Washington from doing its job. Or at least what it thinks its job is. The military, of course, is an Outer Party shop, and can always be sent on bloody, expensive and counterproductive ticket-punching adventures. The rest of our permanent government, the civil service proper, is Inner Party to the bone. In fact, perhaps the best way to describe the Inner Party is as the party of the permanent civil service.

Which holds far more power than the White House. The While House can prevail or even contend only in the vast minority of conflicts with the permanent civil service. It is not good for the polls. When an Outer Party presidency's approval sinks below 40% or so, it is defeated, and the agencies he supposedly "leads" ignore the "President" and all his handlers, cronies and contributors. Since polls are a function of public opinion, public opinion is fabricated by the press, schools and universities, and the latter are perma-pwned by the Inner Party, the resulting barbecue is too inevitable to be really entertaining. It's best just to play along.

Example: for most of 2008, GWB might as well have been the prime minister of Namibia for all the influence he's exerted over US foreign policy. Cheney probably wishes he was the prime minister of Namibia.

And how is all of this kept a secret? Easy. Two years before each election, each candidate or potential candidate for the Outer Party nomination must submit to a secret ritual conducted in the license-plate room of the Skull and Bones house. First, trained ferrets relieve them of any remaining fringes of their original manhood. Candidates then receive 250ug Delysid. When the drug begins to takes effect, the candidate is locked in a closet with a DVD player and the complete, 7-disc Yes, Minister series. The course ends with a West Point-style trivia drill on the machinations of the devious Sir Humphrey. Brief waterboarding sessions occur throughout. The full training takes a couple of days, but produces a highly tractable Republican "politician."

You see, there are all sorts of problems with Governor Palin. She does not fit the profile. She displays no appearance of any awareness that the reality show is rigged. She might even think that the "President" actually is the CEO of America. And I'll bet no one even told her to show up at Skull and Bones. No, she was out hunting polar bears from her snowmobile, with her Eskimo husband and her weirdly-named offspring. (Track? Trig? Bristol, even? Could these be Eskimo names? Intrepid readers, please advise.)

Depend on it, Eloi: if there is ever a Dominionist restoration in this country, Sarah Palin will be part of it. She's basically Margaret Atwood's Commander, with ovaries. All your worst fears are absolutely true. Of course there is no chance of her gaining any actual power - but this is only due to your assiduous pro-government activism. Keep it up, interns. Remember, they may not pay you, but that doesn't mean you aren't changing the world.

Personally, I am so done with "change" that I'd be happy to turn the country over to the Alaska National Guard - CEO, Commander Palin. With plenary, perpetual, supralegal powers. She'd be half Pat Robertson, half Augusto Pinochet, half Hints from Heloise. Proletarian government! The Eloi tremble. But so do the Morlocks. Perhaps Orwell was right after all.

80 Comments:

Blogger Alrenous said...

I haven't read the article yet, but I have an irresistible urge to make a prediction: the three classes will map well onto merchant, scholar, warrior.

Barring well, it will map interestingly.

August 31, 2008 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

I think I can deform it to match.

Eloi: Scholar

Prole: Merchant

Morlock: Particularly low-class warrior.

Whee.


Sadly, 'traitor' is one of the least contemptuous epithets I've ever seen applied to Bush.

You'd think there would be one other place that gives you your politics straight. You know, once in a while. By accident or something.

August 31, 2008 at 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Honorius Monkeymember said...

Yes, well, what about old grandmother time, living in her ramshackle hut southwest of the rockies? You didn't consider her in your socio-economical division of America, Mr. smarty-pants. Is she a Prole?
(personally I think she is)

But, all kidding aside, your 'article' gave me some hope; perhaps all true ends of history come through the supreme accident,
the thing stared right in the face is the thing least observed.

Anyway, please write some more poetry, If you can... you could have a whole new career on yu'r hands. (not ironically intended)

August 31, 2008 at 9:41 PM  
Anonymous PA said...

-- They are called Eloi, Morlocks, and Proles.

Not bad, as far as generalizations go. I always felt that with your more differentiated five categoroies, the Vaysias were too much of a lumping. Loggers and office drones in the same category? Southern Baptist hell-raisers and Minnesota soccer moms? But Proles somehow does wrap it up nicely.

One thing I wonder... since Eloidom is open to all who wish to enter, why doesn't everyone just join the winning team? Why are there so many Proles, who, like me, have IQs over 125, enjoy about 75% of SWPL things, and yet every fiber of their being recoils with disgust at what the ruling class Eloi are and want to accomplish ?

Why do some very smart men refuse the blue pill? Why isn't Larry Auster a professor of American Studies at Columbia, Steve Sailer a writer for the NYT, and Jared Taylor an Inner Party senator? Why isn't Palin a Pelosi?

-- George W. Bush is one of the ten most hated men in history. And why? Because he's a traitor.

I'm still puzzling over why Bush is so hated by the Left. Why do they hate their useful idiot so? Policy item by policy item, he's more left wing that Clinton was. He took his predecessor's "I feel your pain" to a new level with "when someone hurts, the government must move."

And while Clinton's daughter parties with the Euro-elite, Bush's daughter writes a novel about a Guatemalan single mother with AIDS. How much more Eloi can you be?

So what the fuck? Bush is as much a zealous left-wing, dissolve America in United Colors of Benneton immigration as is Soros. So why doesn't the Inner Party embrace Bush as their own slightly retarded nephew? Is it because he once said "Jesus is my favorite philosopher?"

I don't buy the "Texas accent" explanation.

Yes, the Proles have a reason to hate Bush. It is them he betrayed, when he supplicated before Vincente Fox with that "Minutemen are vigilantes" comment.

-- Outer Party politics is not effective against the Inner Party.

Not in the long run, or by itself. But like a street barricade, it does hold off the tanks, at least for a while. The Outer Party does hold the line on occasion, as with the 1995 welfare reform, or when its principled faction held off the 2006 McAmnesty. We're better off for it.

St. Mandela, for instance, is not an American citizen.

Mandela was shrewd enough to understand that the new South Africa would not function if whites were driven out or killed, which is why he advocated the path of non-violence, in rhetoric if not necessarily in practive.

Plus, he knew that the language of "reconciliation" would generate aid from Western countries as the country transitioned from Apartheit to Afro-Communism.

His beatific image is purely an invention of elite Westerners, desperately seeking a new Jesus figure.

September 1, 2008 at 5:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read on some .za blogs that "wait till Mandela dies" is a fairly common thing to hear black South Africans mutter under their breath to whites who've annoyed them.

September 1, 2008 at 5:56 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I like your 5-caste system better, and would actually like even more castes to be added.

the fact that Gov. Palin studied "communications"
She was for some time a television newscaster, making her an agent of the Evil Librul Media or as Eric Rudolph supposedly called it "The Electric Jew".

Bush and Clinton before him provide an interesting contrast in that Clinton was famous for working late and getting little sleep because he pored over everything before making any decisions (LBJ was famous for his micro-managing as well) while Bush basically likes to sleep and take vacations because other people can take care of shit. Reagan was supposed to be similar. So that kind of reverses your figure-head theory.

It's basically like having a porn star elected Pope
Did someone say pornocracy?

The purpose of the White House is to teach the Proles that it's wrong to be a Prole, and they need to stop
I don't remember Clinton doing that, which for all I know is why the proggles consider him our "best Republican President".

I don't think Morlocks have more power than Eloi. Morlocks can't get their shit together and so they fill our prisons. Anything done in their name is by Eloi, and the supposed beneficiaries of support to Morlocks often turn out to be Eloi.

How is Barak third-generation Eloi? His mother was an anthropologist (though also a single-mother on food stamps, an underclass indicator) but HER parents were in the Army and a Boeing plant, respectively, at the time of her birth. Michelle Obama's parents may have been proles, but they were not part of the "prole party".

What makes Bush a traitor? It can't be that he joined the wrong party, because it was the same as his father and his father before him. His President and Sec. Def were old D.C hands. If Texas is the reason, does that also apply to LBJ (and what about Clinton in Arkansas)? It can't be the church he belongs to, because he's a methodist like Hillary Clinton. Maybe that he's a born-again? But so was Jimmy Carter, who came from the Navy rather than the Ivy League. So I guess we have lived through a prole-president, and he's simply disliked rather than hated.

If Sarah Palin is not a prole, there is no such thing as a prole.
I like the old-fashioned definition of a proletarian: the one Marx used to refer to the urban factory worker who developed solidarity and unions. There aren't many left due to productivity increases that require less labor in that area and the rise of other sectors of the economy. Politically, they provide the base of communist parties in Europe and still vote Eloi-Morlock in America (as well as providing much of their campaign funds).

When an Outer Party man becomes "President," he soon finds that all his efforts are devoted to solving the essentially unsolvable problem of preventing his name from becoming a historic byword for pure, infamous villainy
Gerald Ford managed despite never being elected by the country (only the most insane proggles deny Bush won even the popular vote in '04) and the only thing I recall him doing was pardoning Nixon. So it can't be that hard. How easy would it have been for GWB just to NOT invade Iraq?

Your ceremony bit was silly. Give a serious explanation of how Outer Party politicians are inducted. Bush's own dad was President and doubtlessly just told him what was up (not that Junior paid much attention). When you've had that many people in the White House it doesn't seem like you could keep it secret from people who'd like to know. I think Palin will go through the same process as any other politician and govern similarly in the unlikely event that she does govern.

Could these be Eskimo names?
Nope, nor are they t.v show names.

I don't see the same conflict going on between the White House and the departments that you do. It seems to me like they've implemented the policies they're supposed to. We're not having the first obscenity case 20 years over Bush's objections. I've asked before what concrete actions the State department has taken against Bush's will and I didn't receive any.

Personally, I am so done with "change" that I'd be happy to turn the country over to the Alaska National Guard - CEO, Commander Palin
Uh, did you mean to write "down with change"? Because that would be a change. I'm not so fond of change and so I don't want to grant any "plenary, perpetual, supralegal powers". You know, the Acton objection.

I'm still puzzling over why Bush is so hated by the Left
The big issue is the war which was "unilateral" (my favorite thing about it) and annoyed other countries. Compare Clinton: a boots-free air-war against some inconsequential thug from the former Yugoslavia where absolutely no oil was involved as well as some ineffectual air-strikes against Saddam and a medicine factory in Sudan. Comparatively prudent and boring. Clinton raised taxes and reduced the deficit, Bush cut them and increased it. Your point about immigration reveals just how much you don't get it. It's not a salient issue for most of the left. It's the angry folks on the right that talk about it all the time, and even Soros is more interested in unseating the rulers of former Soviet countries. Additionally, there's a bunch of just plain irrationality. Presidents get praise or blame for things they have nothing to do with like the weather. When poor black people in Nawlins were stuck on top of their houses Bush was to blame, who cares about the mayor or governor. The non-irrational reasons are why libertarians (included the paleos) hate him, though of course I'd characterize those motivations that way since I am one.

September 1, 2008 at 6:59 AM  
Anonymous randy said...

MM,

I liked your original classifications better. Vaisya made sense - Prole is just demeaning.

September 1, 2008 at 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are there so many Proles, who, like me, have IQs over 125, enjoy about 75% of SWPL things, and yet every fiber of their being recoils with disgust at what the ruling class Eloi are and want to accomplish ?

Ditto. I hear ya. I have an Eloi (Brahmin) education and an Eloi (Brahmin) job, but I can't stand the SOBs or what they want to do. My inner Prole (Vaisya) rebels and wants to put them all up against the wall.

Yes, the Proles have a reason to hate Bush. It is them he betrayed,

Yup. Exactly right.

September 1, 2008 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Statsquatch said...

Palin makes this the most hilarious election ever!
The castrated Black Panther wannabe versus Yosimite Sam and Nanette of the North. (I will ignore Biden since everyone else will).
Democracy has morphed into professional wrestling. It’s not politics but political entertainment.
A couple more years of this and people will be lining up for MMs weekly dose of anti-democracy.

September 1, 2008 at 10:33 AM  
Anonymous m said...

The vitriol thrown at this woman, who seems wholly decent and intelligent, on all the left wing blogs like Kos and Sullivan, and even at moderate blogs like Half Sigma, is surprising even to me (and I'm not easily surprised). It's off the deep end; the fangs are really out, no holds barred, hissing and snarling. From attacking her college to her state to her children to her experience, these people are incredibly two-faced with a huge double standard how they are ripping her apart versus how they protect their Messiah candidate Hussein Osama; hiding his background and his family and his experience and denying it matters.

This is some very base primate behavior going on right now. I can almost picture the feces being thrown with Monkey groans and shrieks.....

September 1, 2008 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Statsquatch said...

M,

Relax, enjoy the hilarity. Watching HS have a fit over a ceremonial position such as vice president just shows that he will never be able to take the red pill.

Feel sorry for him. He can't enjoy the spectacle.

September 1, 2008 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger Black Sea said...

". . . Gov. Palin studied "communications" at something called "Idaho State College" . . . ."

According to Wiki, Palin attended Hawaii Pacific College, North Idaho College, and "received a Bachelor of Science degree in communications-journalism from the University of Idaho, where she also minored in political science."

I'm down with that. If I had it to do again, I wouldn't mind squadering my college years in Idaho. No matter where you go, they're pretty much squandered anyway, so you might as well opt for skiing and scenery.

As to the campaign, let's just appoint a Golden Retriever and get it over with.

September 1, 2008 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Statsquatch said...

Golden Retriever? Can't we appoint one of those black of white cats that Deng Xiaoping talked about? I hear they catch mice.

September 1, 2008 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger Zimri said...

Two initial points:

Firstly, for "Richard II" you may mean "Richard III".

Secondly, while I agree that your "Optimates" were always a waste of time, there is still a distinction in the working class between a Helot (unskilled labour, who compete for jobs) and a Vaisya (skilled labour and entrepreneurs, for whom jobs compete). Seriously, it's night and day between these two sorts of worker.

Helots have no money and also few political connections. They could get the money by graduating to Vaisya but that is hard, especially if their IQ is low. They could get the connections by joining the Morlock-Dalits; but that offends one's pride. It's hard out there for a Helot.

Vaisyas get all they want and people are happy to give it to them. They don't want anything from the State other than to be protected from thugs, and also a few basic services. Brahmins / Eloi hate that.

I don't know if a Helot has ever won major office beyond "union leader". Dalits have, and eventually the Brahmins and Dalits piss off enough Vaisyas that Vaisyas end up in charge too.

Palin is a Vaisya.

September 1, 2008 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger mtraven said...

Here's a progressive reaction (mine) that might be of interest.

September 1, 2008 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Guess who's doing the indoctrinating of Palin?

Helots are migrant farm-workers and formerly sharecroppers. MM made that pretty clear, as we are importing them. The New Deal coalition rested on Vaisyas (unskilled blue collar workers as well as farmers) but they have become more up for grabs since Nixon.

Isn't majoring in journalism for Eloi? Eric Alterman teaches journalism classes!

For a good reaction from progressives check out this diavlog with Glenn Loury and Joshua Cohen. Loury was a Hillary supporter and as usual I find him more sensible than the proggles completely gahgah over Obama.

I have to say "Suck on it" to Half Sigma. He was touting Giuliani and then McCain, laughing at us Paultards or MoRons. Now how do you like them apples? Guess McCain was as impulsive and reckless as people said he was!

I'll also note that this brings the issue of gender into play which despite my attempts at goading him, MM has persistently avoided. Anyone find that suspicious?

September 1, 2008 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Also note that MM is now calling for something he previously said would be grounds for him fleeing the country.

September 1, 2008 at 4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lynne Spears for VP!

September 1, 2008 at 4:14 PM  
Anonymous PA said...

Also note that MM is now calling for something he previously said would be grounds for him fleeing the country.

He now has a daughter.

September 1, 2008 at 4:15 PM  
Anonymous m said...

TGGP: I like your site, more updates please! (it took me awhile to warm up to it, as I had lumped you into the mtraven category for awhile]

September 1, 2008 at 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Morlock: Particularly low-class warrior.


No, Morlocks are criminals and animals.

Proles are normal middle class people.

Eloi are the haughty overclass.

Why do they hate their useful idiot so? Policy item by policy item, he's more left wing that Clinton was.

Because *talk matters*.

Clinton talked left, and acted right. Clinton was an amazing president in many ways. Black incarceration rates tripled under Clinton (www.finalcall.com/national/incarceration03-06-2001.htm), one of the main reasons behind the drop in crime in the 1990's. Clinton pushed deregulation and capitalism.

Bush talks right and acts left. That's why the left hates him, even as he gives them NCLB and illegal aliens and Medicare spending and "the government is here to help".

September 1, 2008 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger Zimri said...

that's an interesting question - Vaisya / Helot are working class Proles who don't go in for Dalit-ism. That would apply to the farm labourers (first generation) as equally as to the mine workers (sixth generation) and to the small shopkeepers (any).

But the lifestyle of a Vaisya is pretty nice (if not being harassed) and the life of a Helot is rotten (hand-to-mouth existence, worried that the crappy car will blow a gasket any second, and yeah they get harassed too).

I'd drawn the line at skilled / unskilled. So, a black nurse at the old folks' home is a Helot, as is the Guatemalan nurse with "papers still in process" alongside her. (Neither are Dalits; they both want to steer FAR clear of that subculture, and their kids are each held on a very tight leash.)

But if the question is legality / illegality, then the black nurse is a Vaisya.

I don't think legality should be under consideration for caste assignment purposes. The public issue over immigration, in the black community, is that they are Helots who are in competition with other Helots. (In private, black Dalits don't want to see Hispanic or Hmong Dalits on their turf either; but this dispute is handled appropriately, with gangs.) But Helots of any colour are all in the same socioeconomic bracket relative to Dalits, Brahmins, and Vaisyas. The rain falls on the just and unjust as they say.

September 1, 2008 at 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Lawful Neutral said...

Another terminology change? Yikes. Mark down another reader who preferred the old BDH/OV terms. We're a democracy here, right?

Anyway, I'm surprised how much Palin's kids' names bother me. I know it's pure and disgusting snobbery, but what kind of people name their kids Bristol and Track? Not our kind of people, I can tell you that.

September 1, 2008 at 9:35 PM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

Journalism is Eloish but Idaho itself and it's university are far too far down the totem pole for it to matter.

I don't find the avoidance of gender issues suspicious. This may be because I don't give a damn.

September 1, 2008 at 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Dalits have spoken:

http://www.tmz.com/tmz_main_video?titleid=1764145077

There are no black people and no crackheads in Alaska, hence Diddy can't endorse Palin.

The worst/best part is the ending -- "We the future". Unfortunately, that is true.

September 2, 2008 at 2:56 AM  
Blogger drank said...

Like a couple of others, I don't think "prole" captures the alliances in modern american politics as well as OV/BDH.

Maybe Palin is a bit outside of the Vaisya norm, with her Fargo accent, weird kids' names and fondness for hunting moose, but she still looks like a solid member of the working middle class to me. On the other hand, "prole" just doesn't seem to fit a woman whose husband runs his own business and who has successfully campaigned for a statewide office.

September 2, 2008 at 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Ashen Man said...

Yes, the Vedic-style 5-part classification is better. As Alrenous hinted, the basic 3-part caste system is priest-warrior-producer. This maps onto Brahmin-Ksatriya(Optimate)-Vaisya, but not Eloi-Prole-Morlock.

When a relatively simple Indo-European tribe with that structure conquered another people, the conquered became slaves/serfs/Sudras (or Helots). This is a step-up for the Vaisya, who become landowners and merchants rather than simple farmers, now that they have serfs.

The fundamental divide is always between us & them, light & dark, clean & dirty, Aryan & barbarian, etc.... The 3 castes are all 'us.' Over time, the conquered serfs come to form a caste of their own, but as we see in India only the 3 higher castes are 'dvija,' twice-born, as a reminder of the primal Aryan/barbarian split.

I think there's a problem with how we've been applying all this to the US, but I haven't quite got it pinned down... However, I will say I find the way the term 'middle class' is used in the US quite bizarre. They are described as the put-upon ordinary folks. In this thread they are equated with proles. Eh... prole=proletarian=working class. Middle class=bourgeois. Sudras/helots are proles. Vaisya who own big houses and three SUVs are middle-class; they are not proles.

Has anyone in the US media even heard of the working class? Middle and working class appear to be entirely conflated; in Europe you would be laughed at if you tried to describe the middle class as the put-upon of society. I'm not saying that's right either, but at least the existence of a distinct working class is acknowledged (although sadly it has become mostly a non-working class these days). Perhaps someone with a better knowledge of US social history can elaborate.

Anyway, it seems like that divide with priests, warriors and propertied freemen on one side, and servants and outcastes on the other, has broken down. But why? Why do the priests hate the freemen so much in this society, and engage in a love affair of fantastic delusion with the outcastes?

September 2, 2008 at 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Ashen Man said...

By the way, and as I've said here before, there was no good reason not to just use Indian terms for all 5 groups: Brahmin, Ksatriya, Vaisya, Sudra, and while there's really no good traditional term covering all outcastes, Dalit will do the trick.

But if we're going to have a multi-culti system, it could be fun. How about: Druid, Satrap, Burgher (or 'burber?), Slav, Pariah?

September 2, 2008 at 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Ashen Man said...

Although... now I'm thinking of the Eddic Rigsthula, where Heimdall fathers the 3 castes/races: Thrall, Karl(Churl), and Jarl(Earl). That's Sudra, Vaisya and Ksatriya/Optimate to us. Occasionally a Jarl would be born with a disposition more suited to priestcraft than to war, but the Germanics were not fond of permanent priestly castes. This explains a lot about the Reformation, but also perhaps about the resistance so many of us feel toward our current priests.

September 2, 2008 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Studd Beefpile said...

The line between Helots and Vaisya is best determined by franchise. Not just literally voting, but all political activity. Helots are those who aren't interested in political activity (or legally barred from it) and the Vaisya being those who can act but aren't deeply involved. Remember, the current BDH-OV split is not how things have always been. The new deal coalition was about Bs pitting Vs against the Os. The 60s and 70s were the Vs realized the Bs were more interested in breeding a massive D class than helping them out. The Civil War was B vs. OH with the Vs split regionally.

All in all, MM's best bit is the original 5 caste system, and even if he did get the modern Optimates wrong I wouldn't toss the baby out with the bathwater. The Os need to be there, even if just for historical continuity.

September 2, 2008 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Leonard said...

The purpose of the White House is to teach the Proles that it's wrong to be a Prole, and they need to stop. Now.

Ah! Clap, clap.

As soon as I read about Palin, and beheld the inarticulate horror she inspires in my very very progressive wife, I thought of you, MM. And that it was a shame you post only on Thursdays.

Put me down as supporting proletarian; this is an appropriate use of the word. In fact I suggested it back in OL1, when you suggested the horrible townie, but of course you didn't read that.

Put me down opposing Eloi and Morlock. Not only is the valence there wrong (the Eloi only seemed to be ruling; the Morlocks were de facto rulers), but there was no third class. And yet it is the third class -- the helots (which I think is a perfectly good moniker) -- upon so much of the cultural superstructure of the proletarian/brahmin conflict.

Fundamentally it comes down to that: cultural conflict. The proles despise the helots, considering them culturally, racially, and/or ideologically alien. They despise their poverty and squalor. And they hate the Brahmins' attempts to normalize the helots.

By contrast, the Brahmins despise the proles, as a lesser version of themselves -- less educated, lower IQ, less enlightened. They strive not to despise the helots, despite helots' obvious failings, and even sometimes succeed in it. (Their post-christianity helps in that.) But they never strive not to despise the proles, because the proles are their only real competitor for status and power.

September 2, 2008 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger William Newman said...

I agree there's a big class thing going on here. Imagine taking away the sneers about Palin's sex (so unlike Hillary's!) and her inexperience (so out of character given the high priority on experience demonstrated by everyone in presidential politics this year!). Palin would still be a candidate from Alaska who broke a couple fingers working on a close relative's fishing boat, who has five children including one with Down's syndrome, and who has probably gotten more than 25% of family income from blue-collar oil industry work. Many of the same mental gaskets would still be blowing.

That said, I don't think it works very well to match our modern classes into any ancient system. There's too much class mobility, for one thing. Sure, people often end up in recognizably the same kind of class situation as at one or more of their grandparents. But we don't care nearly enough about who someone's grandparents are to make it truly stable like ancient systems could be. For another thing, a lot of ancient systems involved elite warrior castes, right? Temporarily when iron became cheap, then permanently-so-far again when cavalry lost their importance, elite warrior classes just don't decide wars or even individual battles.

And *that* said, I am tempted to model the current gasket-blowing in terms of Kipling's medieval two-class model, in _Norman and Saxon_. I sorta doubt that Palin is a particularly authentic Saxon, but she does seem to bring up that archetype far more than typical national candidates. I dunno whether that will help win national elections --- it's probably not a coincidence that she was elected in Alaska (or Montana or Wyoming or possibly even Texas), not Pennsylvania or California or Indiana. In an election where McCain has already been trying to encourage an outsider reform vibe, though, possibly an appeal to aspects like "this isn't fair dealing" will make the Saxon brand sell better nationally than it usually does.

September 2, 2008 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Leonard said...

the basic 3-part caste system is priest-warrior-producer.

True, but this system absolutely fails to map onto our society. Warrior castes historically had great prominence; they do not in our society. First off, they aren't a caste at all. Second, the warriors are ideologically neutered via specific anti-caste memes. And they are ruled, within, via warrior-priests, and at the top by priest-warriors.

The trinary mapping which makes the most sense is priest-producer-"outsider", where outsiders are (for inscrutable religious reasons) a fetish object of the priests.

Personally, I do think there needs to be a fourth class, which is basically large capital owners. They are not very important politically, because they are a small minority and split pretty evenly ideologically. But they do have class interests of their own which affect the system.

September 2, 2008 at 2:11 PM  
Anonymous Ashen Man said...

(I've decided to use 'Thrall' instead of 'Slav').

Studd, I don't get your Vaisya/Helot criterion. They sound the same to me.

Point taken about shifting allegiances, though. Some of it can no doubt be explained by the Druids' disillusionment with the recipients of their beneficence. Leftists hate it so much when the lower classes turn out to be religious, conservative, and 'xenophobic', instead of fulfilling the image of the heroic proletariat that was passed on to them by their college professors (and that's why they need Obama to explain it to them). So perhaps after 'doing so much' for the Burghers in the New Deal, but getting no ideological adherence in return, they turned to the Thralls and Pariahs.

But hang on a minute... wasn't the New Deal all about helping organized labour and farmworkers, all Thralls, often to the chagrin of business Burghers & Satraps?

As for the Civil War, wasn't there a rather well-defined Thrall class at that time, whom the Druids were trying to free? The Druid-Thrall alliance seems pretty constant... with Druids & Satraps fighting for the affections of the Burghers.

That's one thing missing from the MM analysis, I think - the fact that so many of the Burghers have been converted to Druidism, will vote for Obama, and are in alliance with the Druids, Thralls and Pariahs, against the interests of their own class.

Leonard, using 'proletarian' to describe the middle classes is a wanton abuse of language. Isn't 'Burgher' a good replacement for 'townie'?

September 2, 2008 at 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Ashen Man said...

Has anyone noticed how perfectly this election matches the BDH-OV thing?

Obama=B/D, Biden=H, McCain=O, Palin=V

September 2, 2008 at 2:23 PM  
Blogger Leonard said...

ashen man, proletarian is well defined -- look at wiki -- as the class having no ownership of capital. Here at UR, we know that "capital" has a extended meaning as both primary and secondary property. The political class and their beneficiaries control the primary property, the USA, and live off its rent. What Marx called capital -- factories and suchlike -- are secondary property to us, but still important.

Proletarians are defined as the class without capital, which is exactly what it says inthe definition above. They are, basically, working and middle class people who are not working in the Cathedral. Taxpayers. The bottom of the (political) barrel.

Using "middle class" in the context of American democracy right now -- that's your "wanton abuse of language". Because "the" middle class is in fact neatly cleft, between the taxpayers, who are mostly red, and the taxeaters, who are almost uniformly blue. You can find some taxpayers who vote blue, as a religious matter, having been indoctrinated in progressive values since birth. And also some who are blue simply as a cultural matter; blue is fashionable; red isn't. But you will very rarely find a tax eater of any kind who will vote red, outside of particular jobs (policeman, law enforcement) which involve progressive-heretical actions as a job requirement. You will almost never find a red-voting tax-eater whose job category did not exist in, oh, 1850 or so.

September 2, 2008 at 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

I agree with those who preferred the earlier BDH/OV designations. Even though the Optimates are an endangered species, their inclusion in the taxonomy made a useful point, namely that the political division usually discussed in terms of left/right or Democrat/Republican does reflect a conflict between two elites, or two factions of the elite - just as Pareto says politics always does. According to Pareto, politics is essentially always an elite preserve. I agree. The average net worth of members of the U.S. Senate - whether Democrat or Republican - certainly supports his point.

Moreover, the distinction between Brahmin and Optimate has been noted and thought worthy of comment by other observers. One such is Robert Frank, author of the recent book "Richistan: A Journey through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich." Frank observes that

"Richistan is... a country of deep divisions. The relatively homogeneous culture of Old Money - with its boarding schools, social clubs, cultural institutions and sporty nicknames - has become atomized. Richistanis are far more diverse in terms of age, race, gender, and geography, with a rising new generation of young, wealthy liberals squaring off against older-line Republicans.

"The most surprising divide in Richistan, however, is between wealth levels. Just as the wealth disparities have grown between Richistan and the rest of the United States, they've also grown within Richistan, creating a new kind of upper-class warfare between the haves and the have-mores." (p. 7)

Frank divides the subjects of his investigation into four categories by order of magnitude: Lower Richistan is comprised of those having net worths between $1 and $10 million, Middle Richistan those between $10 million and $100 million, Upper Richistan those between $100 million and $1 billion, and finally the most exclusive enclave, Billionaireville.

He points out that "Lower Richistanis are conservative in their politics, A majority of them voted for George W. Bush in the 2004 election, saying he was the best candidate to help improve their personal financial situation. They're also strong advocates of abolishing the estate tax, since most would be targets." (p. 9)

On the other hand,

"Middle Richistanis are... more liberal than the Lowers. Most middle Richistanis voted for John Kerry in the last presidential election, even though they said Mr. Bush would be better for their personal financial situation." (p. 10)

Frank comments that among those with net worths above $25 million, the number of inherited fortunes drops off sharply. Furthermore,

"Among the nation's richest 1 percent, inherited wealth accounted for only 9 percent of their combined total net worth in 2001, down from 23 percent in 1989. Only a third of the nation's richest 1 percent have received any inheritance or gift, down from more than half in 1989." (p. 107)

His chapters "Barbarians in the Ballroom: New Money vs. Old" and "Move Over, Christian Coalition: The New Political Kingmakers" are illustrative of the differing social and political attitudes amongst the elite.

Frank's reportage paints a picture that will be familiar to any reader of Pareto or Mosca, namely that of a declining older elite ("lions") pitted against a rising new one ("foxes"). To be sure, these do not correspond exactly to MM's Optimates and Brahmins. Frank's "Lower Richistan" encompasses not only the Optimate heirs to old money but successful small businessmen and professionals, whom MM would identify as belonging to the upper stratum of his Vaisya caste. Frank's "Middle Richistan," on the other hand, includes only a part of MM's Brahmin caste. The latter is swollen with academic, journalistic, and governmental types who do not necessarily have net worths between $10 and $100 million.

What emerges, however, is a rough correspondence between present elite politics and the court vs. country parties that long characterized British politics. A handful of Whig magnates along with their trusted minions at the courts of the first two Georges were opposed in their day by a Tory party made up mostly of high churchmen, lesser peers, and the smaller landed gentry.

This division is reflected in this year's presidential politics. McCain is clearly an optimate - the son and grandson of admirals, wed to a wealthy beer heiress. One is reminded of Admiral Lord Keith, a naval hero of the Napoleonic wars, who married Hester Thrale, the daughter of a rich brewer.

Obama, on the other hand, is an exemplary Brahmin, having risen on the basis of academic credentials, political machinations, and the patronage of inhabitants of Frank's Middle Richistan, such as Tony Rezko, or the San Francisco crowd before which he made his notorious comments about those déclassé folk who clung to guns and religion.

Whether Frank's middle Richistanis will persist over the long term in their support of left-wing politics remains to be seen. In his chapter "Aristokids," Frank writes that

"...most millionaires today plan to leave at least 75 percent of their estates to their children. The number is highest for families with households worth $25 million or more, disproving the widely held notion that wealthier families are more likely to leave a greater share to charity."

The old writers on heraldry used to distinguish between those who had arrived at the "port of gentility" - i.e., those who, having acquired a noble feu and being granted arms, were considered "gentlemen of coat-armour" - and those who had been armigerous for three or more generations, who were "gentlemen of blood." It will be interesting to see if the grandchildren of today's rich radicals do not become tomorrow's aristocratic reactionaries. In due time the atomization of today's upper class may be followed by a congelation into a common elite culture after the three generations it takes to make gentlemen of blood. And what sort of rising elite faction will then challenge it?

September 2, 2008 at 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Blode said...

Ashen Man wrote:
"Middle and working class appear to be entirely conflated; in Europe you would be laughed at if you tried to describe the middle class as the put-upon of society."

That makes sense for Europe. I surmise that Europe either had dramatically lower violent-crime rates in the 60s and 70s, or Europeans were just not paying attention to crime. Imagine a Congressional staffer who wanders six blocks south of her office in her nice pumps ... now imagine the neighborhoods an equivalent distance from the Bundestag or the Assemblee Nationale. Surely the country that defoliated half of Southeast Asia with Agent Orange would have the will to drive crime a solid ten blocks from its national legislature? Well, not if its Optimates have been utterly outmaneuvered and defanged in domestic politics by its Brahmins.

If you want to understand the American middle class mentality of near-paranoia, or at least indignation, just remember how much safer Belfast is than Washington.

"I'm not saying that's right either, but at least the existence of a distinct working class is acknowledged (although sadly it has become mostly a non-working class these days). Perhaps someone with a better knowledge of US social history can elaborate."

Excellent question. I believe the problem is that the really cohesive group in question is the lower-middle-class, and that there is no well-accepted single word to describe that class. Take the folks who run a convenience store - as capital owners, they are middle class, but as people who work 14-hour days and six-day weeks (wild guess on my part) but still can't afford to fix the A/C in their '99 Ford, they are lower class.

Which is why I don't quite support conflating lower and middle classes, but creating a new class between (and probably larger than either of) them. Not trying to compete with the much-loved Moldbugian Five Caste system, which is economic/ psychological/ ideological (I like Leonard's as well), but in terms of economics alone I see:
1. Homeless (hardly ever work; may get subsidized housing)
2. Unskilled Workers (technically proles but usually in service or agriculture rather than industry)
3. Lower-Middle Class (skilled workers, small business proprietors, probably a lot of the military)
4. The Comfortable (always call themselves middle class, but fabulously rich by historical standards)
5. The Wealthy (incl. a few who admit to being "upper class")

As to why Moldbug is calling (most of?) the Vaisya "proles", he's just referencing dear Orwell, I think. Proles are just people kept out of politics by the Party. They aren't itching to get in, because their lives aren't THAT bad, at least not compared to what happens with the cage, you know with the rats, where they eat your face...? Anyway.

"Leftists hate it so much when the lower classes turn out to be religious, conservative, and 'xenophobic', instead of fulfilling the image of the heroic proletariat that was passed on to them by their college professors (and that's why they need Obama to explain it to them). So perhaps after 'doing so much' for the Burghers in the New Deal, but getting no ideological adherence in return, they turned to the Thralls and Pariahs."

I am quoting that paragraph only because it ranks as among the finest pieces of concise writing I have seen in months, maybe years. (The reason I say "concise writing" is that Christopher Lasch does the same thing in "The Politics of the Civilized Minority" - he just ain't concise.)

A question some ask is, Why did black churches, often from a Calvinist / congregational background, abandoned strict conservative morality (particularly regarding sex)? Ask another question: would guilty white secularists really be able to adore (or even stomach) black leftist oratory if it came out of the mouths of "puritans"?

September 2, 2008 at 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Ashen Man said...

Leonard, I really wasn't trying to pick a fight. I guess I just don't get the US discourse on this matter: on TV, steelworkers are middle-class; on this blog, middle management and entrepeneurs are proles.

It's been problematic everywhere since Marx's social prophecies failed. I think there are a lot of people whom we would acknowledge as middle class who don't own means of production. Perhaps I think this way because where I come from, middle and working class are pretty distinct, and kept that way by cultural markers such as accent. I guess white-collar and blue-collar approximate it here.

The cleft you describe between taxpayers and taxeaters - that may be the line I'm looking for that divides burgher from thrall.

Nonetheless, historically, proletarian and working-class are synonymous, as are bourgeois and middle-class.

I want to get back to you on the subject of the trifunctional division, later when I have time to compose something coherent.

September 2, 2008 at 3:37 PM  
Anonymous Blode said...

As to the topic at hand, namely Governor Palin: the field of journalism is only a Brahmin stronghold when it is studied at elite universities. After all, Brahmins control "The Cathedral" not "that sweet little church on the corner".

Vaisyas study at state colleges and go into private business; Brahmins study at private collegs and go to work for the government, NGOs, newspapers, or universities. Overgeneralization, to be sure, but it's true more often than you might think.

The fall of the older media order, in which towns orders of magnitude smaller than, say, Los Angeles, had several competing dailies, is a cause and effect of the slow but decisive defeat of the Optimate / Vaisya by the Brahmin.

And of course, this is all disguised by the emergence of media outlets dominated by Cruise Missile Brahmins loyal to the hard-drinking Cowboy from Kennebunkport. Thus the Violence is Futile Brahmins can claim that they are not part of a media cartel after all, since ... y'know ... Fox News! The "Fair and Balanced" (note the scare quotes) news channel makes the media as a whole ... fair and balanced. A convincing illusion, until you remember not everyone need think like a Brahmin.

September 2, 2008 at 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Ashen Man said...

Leonard: this system absolutely fails to map onto our society. Warrior castes historically had great prominence; they do not in our society. First off, they aren't a caste at all. Second, the warriors are ideologically neutered via specific anti-caste memes. And they are ruled, within, via warrior-priests, and at the top by priest-warriors.

The trinary mapping which makes the most sense is priest-producer-"outsider", where outsiders are (for inscrutable religious reasons) a fetish object of the priests.


Dumezil noted that his 'trifunctional ideology' was first of all an ideal, and was only sometimes and to varying extents manifested in social reality. If we look at it in terms of function rather than social group, it becomes easier to apply. We don't have castes, or not very many, but we certainly have producers of ideology, producers of material goods, and an aristocracy that runs wars of defense and expansion, and is rich from the spoils. This is our warrior class, the warmongering capitalist Republicans that lefties are always going on about, of which McCain is quite an excellent example.

I believe it was Bruce Lincoln, the Marxist critic of Dumezil, who suggested that rather than inherent trifunctionality, these hierarchies derive from repeated binary oppositions dividing the in-group from the out-group. It starts off on an ethnic basis: us vs. the foreigners. 'Us' gets divided into nobles and commoners. Nobles get divided into priests and warriors. The priesthood in turn gets divided into juridical and religious functions.

So your, or MM's, simplified systems work, on the basis of an insider-outsider division, and a single division of the insiders. What they lack is the insight which Michael S. elaborated on: the infighting between two camps of nobility, which is essentially what these elections are all about.

I like your line about 'fetish objects,' by the way.

September 2, 2008 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger The Ashen Man said...

Blode, I can't let a compliment like that go by without thanks, So, thanks. You're not a publisher by any chance, are you?

And thanks also for reminding me to read Lasch.

Your lower-middle class grouping makes a lot of sense, more so than 'Prole' which seemed to include steelworkers and captains of industry in the same social class.

As to the sexual morality of black churches - when and how did that happen? On a similar theme, Theodore Dalrymple has written brilliantly about the disastrous effects of trickle-down liberal ideology on the British working (and non-working) classes. But hey, at least they're not religious anymore.

September 2, 2008 at 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed how perfectly this election matches the BDH-OV thing?

Obama=B/D, Biden=H, McCain=O, Palin=V


How is Biden a Helot? All his posing as the poor boy from Scranton is balderdash. His father was solidly white collar. He went to an elite, and for the time very expensive, Catholic prep school, then he went to law school. There just ain't much H there. A lot of V and wanna-be B.

September 2, 2008 at 8:28 PM  
Anonymous m said...

Clinton = Lenin
Mccain = Trotsky
Obama = Mao

September 2, 2008 at 8:43 PM  
Anonymous m said...

Err, sorry. Clinton = Stalin

September 2, 2008 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger The Ashen Man said...

Of course he isn't, really. But he is obviously the Druids' idea of a regular-white-working-class-guy to offset the weird half-Druid, half-Pariah candidate.

Perhaps he represents a secret nostalgia for a day when Thralls were called Joe, not Jose.

September 2, 2008 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

He now has a daughter
Having a daughter actually shifts dads to the left. Being married shifts women to the right though (and by a more significant amount).

it took me awhile to warm up to it, as I had lumped you into the mtraven category for awhile
If MM's in the area, I try to ensure the Popperian task of subjecting his conjectures to attempts at refutation gets done. Elsewhere I tend to play Devil's Advocate for him. So my behavior varies a lot.

Policy item by policy item, he's more left wing that Clinton was
Not really, Clinton was a center-left neo-liberal, Bush is a center-right "compassionate conservative" under the influence of neocons (McCain is further to the center as the neocon favorite in 2000) so he was a little to the left. Bush expanded government at a greater rate because he COULD. Remember Hillary attempted a healthcare boondoggle in the early nineties but got slapped down. The hostile Congress was the best thing about Clinton, and Clinton was the best thing about Congress. Bush actually stepped up immigration enforcement a little bit in the most recent years, which I don't think Clinton ever did. Also, the teachers unions hated NCLB (my mom was a member and received the NEA's magazine) even if Ted Kennedy thought it was a good idea. There was a botched attempt to impose standards with tests and hold schools accountable, which they hated. I don't see what Clinton had to do with incarceration rates. The effect Presidents have on that front is the kind of judges they appoint, and he gave us Ginsberg.

Go back to MM's original post defining castes and he says Helots are imported peasants from Latin America, who can't maintain their culture across generations. The original Helots were slaves that the Spartans periodically murdered to keep the population level low enough to keep down revolt. "Blue collar workers" just does not fit. Also note in his post that MM says Dalits can be black, hispanic and white, specifying Appalachians as an example. So white trash/hillbillie or whatever != Vaisya.

Unfortunately, that is true
If "we" is blacks, it isn't. They're being ethnically cleansed by hispanics and moved out of nice urban areas through gentrification.

I agree with Ashen Man on the goofy US obsession with the middle class.

The 60s and 70s were the Vs realized the Bs were more interested in breeding a massive D class than helping them out
Vs as a whole remained significantly split, and the conversion of the old black Helot class to Dalits was most importantly due to the opening of jobs in the north that resulted in the Great Migration (northern blacks that preceded the migration tended to be middle class and looked down on the "black rednecks" moving in). The Bs didn't just come up with that.

the helots (which I think is a perfectly good moniker) -- upon so much of the cultural superstructure of the proletarian/brahmin conflict
I'm with Sailer: Americans really don't care that much about Hispanics. We spend way more attention on blacks despite them comprising less of the population nowadays.

the proles are their only real competitor for status and power
Anyone who's read 1984 knows that proles are no worry at all for the Inner Party.

Leftists hate it so much when the lower classes turn out to be religious, conservative, and 'xenophobic', instead of fulfilling the image of the heroic proletariat that was passed on to them by their college professors
Which is why the Left hates Muslims, blacks and Hispanics.

against the interests of their own class.
Save the class-interest false-consciosness stuff for Marxists. It didn't work for them and it won't work for you because it has little to do with politics in a democratic capitalist system. Also, MM noted exactly what you claim is missing in his original caste post, linked above.

Isn't 'Burgher' a good replacement for 'townie'?
I like having a Germanic word to balance out the two Indian and Greco-Roman terms, but "Mittelstand" makes it sound less like a delicious food and more like a middle-class. Plus it has the scary association with the rise of the Nazis.

the class having no ownership of capital
Many of the middle-class are homeowners. Plus, most are also stockholders. I remember either someone at EconLog or CafeHayek making that point regarding returns to capital.

Regarding taxes: blue states pay them on net while red states eat them (within states high earners tend to vote right while low earners vote left, the correlation being lowest in the richer bluer states). Farmers (who certainly existed before 1850) get massive amounts. The biggest recipients though are the elderly and people in defense. Ivy League universities and entertainment/news media, both Brahmin strongholds, get their money either entirely or mostly through private sources (though tax laws for non-profits play a big role, check out the Becker Posner posts I link to at the end of this post).

I've noted this many times before, but victimization rates are very low if you are not a black/hispanic male of a certain age, especially if you are not involved in crime yourself. D.C is the bluest part of the country, so not too many Reds/Vaisyas or whatever are there. I don't think crime gets very high on the opinion polls of what people are concerned about any more.

Why did black churches, often from a Calvinist / congregational background, abandoned strict conservative morality (particularly regarding sex)
I've only attended majority-white churches, so I can't say, but I don't know if they actually have abandoned it. I still hear of them railing against homosexuality, for instance. The behavior of Brahmins is often quite Victorian despite their claimed hostility towards traditional morality. Megachurches spring up in areas with bad behavior. So don't conflate the two phenomena.

Right on, Anonymous on Biden. Now get a pseudonym and stick with it.

September 2, 2008 at 11:10 PM  
Anonymous PA said...

Having a daughter actually shifts dads to the left.

I should read your link before commenting but I don't have the time at the moment. I'll check it out later today.

I'd figure that having a daughter shifts men to the right in the law-and-order sense and in the sense that they become less libertine in theri attitudes toward culture. If in fact it's the opposite, than that would be very counterintuitive.

D.C is the bluest part of the country, [...] I don't think crime gets very high on the opinion polls of what people are concerned about any more.

Press agitation is a significant factor in making certain topics priority or not. Violent crime is not high in the opinion polls because it's every occurrance is treated as an isolated phenomenon. Nosirree, no pattern here.

Yet, crime is also a top priority in the sense that people are very careful about where they live, go to school, drive, walk, let their kids play, etc. Unthinkable, during my childhood in commie Eastern Europe, or even now.

September 3, 2008 at 7:07 AM  
Blogger Aaron Davies said...

Press agitation is a significant factor in making certain topics priority or not. Violent crime is not high in the opinion polls because it's every occurrance is treated as an isolated phenomenon. Nosirree, no pattern here.

Yet, crime is also a top priority in the sense that people are very careful about where they live, go to school, drive, walk, let their kids play, etc. Unthinkable, during my childhood in commie Eastern Europe, or even now.


Pedophiles, OTOH, are everywhere....

September 3, 2008 at 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Ashen Man said...

Having a daughter actually shifts dads to the left.

That link is not very convincing. It only mentions "reproductive rights," and it makes sense that fathers, however conservative, might want their daughters to be able to abort an illegitimate child. But they surely do not hop on board with the rest of left-libertinism. It also confuses correlation and causation.

Which is why the Left hates Muslims, blacks and Hispanics.

No, it's why they shifted their attentions to them in the first place. Perhaps a similar disillusionment with these groups will follow. Or perhaps they've learned from their mistake, and multiculturalism is an effective reaction, allowing the left to continue to patronise certain groups while cynically overlooking the failure of their 'uplift'. So I guess they only hate the Christian-religious, Western-conservative and white-xenophobic lower classes, who serve as a painful reminder of the failure of the old-left project.

MM noted exactly what you claim is missing

Yes, I know he's noted it - the Starbucks thing etc., but it's not often mentioned when we talk about BDH/OV that so many of the Vs, or 'Proles,' are Brahminists.

Save the class-interest false-consciosness stuff for Marxists. It didn't work for them and it won't work for you because it has little to do with politics in a democratic capitalist system.

I'm aware that my phrasing has Marxist resonances, but I mean something quite different. Among the problems with the Marxist analysis are that it reduces class interests to the purely material, and identifies material interests with the receipt of redistributed wealth. It assumes that people have real interests other than the ones they believe in. When I say 'interests' I mean 'things they are interested in.' When a minority of Vs, a largely moderate-conservative, Christian, taxpaying, law-abiding class, vote for the party of anti-Christian bigotry, anti-traditionalism, high taxes, and lax criminal justice, they are obviously voting against the interests of their class.

September 3, 2008 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger Leonard said...

TGGP, I think the use of helot has changed in this new classification as vs the old. It now includes all of the lower classes: most blacks, hispanics and other low-wage immigrants, etc.

As for the use of "proles" in 1984, that was not a reference I was looking for with proletarian. The Marxian meaning is far older and IMO controls. Nonetheless, 1984 is still basically appropriate. (Orwell's use was afterall basically the Marxist one.) Our proles almost never challenge the Brahmins for power as proles; they do only when they become successful Optimates (or whatever we'd like to call the fourth class, who are basically successful proles who manage to succeed without converting religiously into progressivism or otherwise being incorporated into the Cathedral). And as a class, proles do not challenge the Cathedral in any serious way. Optimates can draw upon prole votes for power, of course, and do; i.e. Bush's hick accent. What's weird and amazing about Palin (and horrifying to pwogs) is exactly that she actually is a prole, not even an optimate.

As for your point about proles owning houses and stock, well, um, OK. First off, a lot of them don't own houses except titularly -- a bank owns the house 80% or more, and they rent the rest from the bank. But yes, there is some home ownership amonst the proles, and even some stock ownership. But... not very much. The larger point here is that capital ownership is a spectrum, and "don't own capital" is not meant as literally zero. Owning a single screwdriver does not a capitalist make. Rather, "don't own capital" means "don't own very much capital"; it's a hazy line but I think clear enough.

September 3, 2008 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Studd Beefpile said...

I don't get your Vaisya/Helot criterion. They sound the same to me.


I agree the definition is fuzzier than I usually like. I'm sort of stuck saying I know the difference when I see it. There is also a lot of overlap between Vs and lower status Os and Bs. At the core Helots are those who lack independent political power. They occasionally get mobilized by some faction or the other, but on their own they can't do anything. Immigrants, slaves, blacks in the south before the 60s are all helots. Maybe the (working) very poor as well.

Vs as a whole remained significantly split


The Vs are the largest group so they get fought over the most and are thus the least homogenous. They also tend to aspire to B status, but in the 60s they went from overwhelmingly B aligned to, in the absence of serious Os, the core of the opposition.



and the conversion of the old black Helot class to Dalits was most importantly due to the opening of jobs in the north that resulted in the Great Migration (northern blacks that preceded the migration tended to be middle class and looked down on the "black rednecks" moving in). The Bs didn't just come up with that.


The creation of Dalit's wasn't the plan. In fact, it was pretty much the opposite of the plan. But it did give the people who created them political power and successful strategies reproduce themselves. You could even express the shift in caste terms. The Bs tried to turn those they saw as Hs into Vs, but mostly turned them into Ds. The Vs suffered the most from this policy and many rebelled.

September 3, 2008 at 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Ian said...

Ashen Man wrote:
"Leftists hate it so much when the lower classes turn out to be religious, conservative, and 'xenophobic', instead of fulfilling the image of the heroic proletariat that was passed on to them by their college professors (and that's why they need Obama to explain it to them). So perhaps after 'doing so much' for the Burghers in the New Deal, but getting no ideological adherence in return, they turned to the Thralls and Pariahs."

That reminds me of one of the best articles I've ever read at understanding modern politics [pre-discovering UR, of course :) ], that I recommend to all :

http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/3458371.html

September 3, 2008 at 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Blode said...

Now people, I have it on good authority that Joseph Biden is the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to have gone to university.

September 3, 2008 at 4:11 PM  
Anonymous Blode said...

TGGP, I certainly can't prove that black churches have begun deemphasizing sexual morality, not with survey-type data (which moldbug would rap me on the knuckles for anyway).

This source says "some religious leaders have pulled their punches in preaching about sexual morality, afraid of offending their members. Promiscuity has been condemned in a general way but winked at because of a shortage of men in their communities".

This source implies that the topics are actually quite common, but of course it can't really convey if there is any punch-pulling.

It's hard to say how churches convey if they're serious in the signals they give on sexual morality. I was told, for example, the Swedenborgian don't do premarital sex since it's against their religion, while Catholics do it despite its being against their religion. Yet I don't think Swedenborgian put their members in pillories!

So, I'll admit this is a matter of circumstantial evidence (e.g., teen pregnancy being more common in Los Angeles than SLC).

September 3, 2008 at 4:26 PM  
Anonymous m said...

Wow. Just wow. I had to turn off the TV while watching Sarah Palin's speech. I thought it was disastrous, and I think she might have to withdraw. She failed to address the allegations against her; she failed to demonstrate foreign policy chops; she came off sounding like a country bumkin. The line in her speech, "I was just your average soccer mom" - what the f**k? We want an average soccer mom running the country?
She's likeable and personable, but I get the feeling that she is very much out of her depth.

Don't get me wrong. Hussein Osama is poison and he's going to bring ruin to this country. He will be the next president, though (even if Ragey McRage manages to eek out a win, the country's going down the tubes anyway.)

September 3, 2008 at 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Ashen Man said...

M, did we see the same speech? My inner Prole is still cheering.

September 3, 2008 at 11:45 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Ashen and M,

I have to agree with Ashen on this one. She summed up the familial allegations with a brief sentence. The other allegations are fairly pointless (she fired someone she had the right to fire, etc.).

I was worried she was an empty suit like Obama. I sill worry about that a bit -- and I don't like the cowboy swagger ("and they're worried someone won't read them their rights?") but she was the best of the speakers we've seen so far at these conventions.

Also, she is a baby-wearer and a breastfeeder and I wholeheartedly support those things. They don't have much to do with governance, but neither does the Presidency. If Florida looks like a blowout on either side I may break my perfect record of voting for third-party candidates.

M

September 4, 2008 at 5:02 AM  
Blogger Leonard said...

Me three. Based only on that speech, I expect a President Palin within the next 17 years. We'll have to see how crazy she really is with the trad christianity, though.

September 4, 2008 at 11:26 AM  
Anonymous c23 said...

I, for one, prefer the simpler three-caste system. I found the old one unnecessarily complicated, with divisions that seemed meaningless.

But I disagree with the classification of Michelle Obama as a Prole turned Eloi. Her family may have had Prole-like socioeconomic status and habits, but politically I'll bet they were about the same as any fatherless destined-for-prison Morlock, because all blacks seem to share the same resentments, and they vote in blocs, generally not for the prole (or pseudo-prole, in the case of Bush) candidate. See Obama's 97-2% lead. You seem to define your new system by political power, and BHO's in-laws would not vote for someone like Palin. You can't include people in a caste who would hate your arch-representative of it.

Basically, proles are almost all white (some Latinos are also prole). If Sarah Palin represents proleness, then proleness = Stuff The Wrong Kind Of White People Like. Caste derives from culture, not money. A poor Eloi (a PhD in English who wrote a dissertation about gender roles in lesbian Guatemalan literature, but didn't make tenure and is now a high school teacher with lots and lots of student loan debt) is still an Eloi, and a rich Morlock (George Jefferson) is still a Morlock.

September 5, 2008 at 9:39 PM  
Anonymous AK Democrat said...

Oh, Mr Moldbug, I know you are right, that politics in America really is nothing more than a shoddy reality show... but I still love Sarah Palin anyway.

(And I adore picking fights with "feminists" who strangely insist that all REAL women think the same things. Mostly, the only women who count are Brahmins.)

Palin ran against two other people in the gubernatorial election, an establishment Democrat and an independent. (As I am sure you know!)

Being thoroughly sick of Alaska Republicans, and not believing the independent guy had a shot, I voted for the Democrat.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by how she has done, and I'd vote for her again in a heartbeat, even if voting for her is more useless than casting a vote for American Idol.

But bless your heart for offering me a vocabulary to help accurately express some ideas that have been chewing at me my entire adult life.

September 5, 2008 at 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Blode said...

Another reason I think "Brahmin" is better than "Eloi" is it's a better approximation of the way those folks think of themselves. The Eloi loved playing and making love and all that, and sacrificed themselves only unwittingly; the Brahmin or supposed to be priestly ascetics. The American affluent left perceives itself as very hard-working and self-sacrificing, eschewing high-paying careers for jobs catching flak and houses in knife-the-alley areas.

So I guess Eloi and Brahmin represent different faces of leftist affluence. The Eloi study communication, go to cool slum parties, and end up marrying money or reading news at the local TV station, if they don't end up murdered. The Brahmin study psychology and social work and avoid local TV like the plague.

September 6, 2008 at 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@c23, reminds me of the trouble I've had trying to figure out what the hell class I grew up in. My father was from a lower-middle class background (his father was a telegrapher for a railroad, and he was the first member of his family to go to college), but he has a PhD in English literature and is now an English professor at a state college. My mother was born into a moderately prominent family in the St. Louis Jewish community (her father was a lawyer (and Orthodox), her mother was an activist and a writer (and Reform)) but converted to Christianity and spent her first fifteen years of marriage just raising me and my siblings. (She now works part time in a bookstore.) They both spent a lot of time when they were younger hanging out with Francis Schaeffer helping invent the Christian Right, but have since ditched Christianity almost entirely (my dad's practically converted to Judaism).

In traditional terms, my best analysis is that we lived a somewhat throwback middle-class to upper-middle-class lifestyle (books everywhere, strong parental involvement, etc.) on a lower-middle-class budget (professor's money). In Mencian terms, my parents come from opposite ends of the Vaisya spectrum--nearly into Helot and Optimate territory--and are now solid Vaisyas (and have raised me and my siblings as such) despite strong indicators for ending up Brahmins. In today's article's terms, they're quite definitely Proles, and my father's absolutely from a Prole background. (I'm not so sure about my mother.)

(I like to think of myself as a Vaisya with ambitions to be muscle my way into the Optimates someday....)

September 7, 2008 at 7:36 AM  
Anonymous cranky matron said...

I think that is a very good point, Blode. The self-abnegation (and self-righteousness) of Brahmins are two sides of that "priestly" mindset.

September 8, 2008 at 9:59 AM  
Anonymous randy said...

To me, the Vaisya are the productive class - the class that the other classes could not survive without. This covers a broad range including professionals, entrepreneurs, technicians, and specialized laborers. They do not aspire to be Brahmin, in fact they look down on the Brahmin. That the the Vaisya are not politically inclined, and therefore find themselve paying tribute to the Brahmin, is a source of constant irritation.

September 10, 2008 at 5:02 AM  
Anonymous cranky matron said...

Well, it's not that the Vs are politically uninclined, it's that the Brahmins have managed to conceal their separateness as a tribe. I really think this is what gives rise to the white-nationalist sentiment about Jews, who really are overrepresented in the Brahmin class.

It's like those irritating lefty discussions about White Privilege, in which Brahmins navel-gaze about their own privileged lives and excoriate Vaisyas for failing to do the same.

Vs lose both by resisting this game (moral failure) and by playing along with it (brahmins are still going to be much richer!)

Game over. Little wonder sensible Vs avoid modern-day politics like the plague.

September 10, 2008 at 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Blode said...

"It's like those irritating lefty discussions about White Privilege, in which Brahmins navel-gaze about their own privileged lives and excoriate Vaisyas for failing to do the same."

Well put.
Politics = guilt = a good way to spend your time
... in the Brahmin mindset. Brahmins never seem to "confront" their privilege by getting a Vaisya-style job (if in my oft-used mom-and-pop store example, I think it would vanquish any feelings of privilege quickly). Some Brahmins prefer to "confont" their privilege (yeah, try walking up to an abstract notion and pushing it really hard on the chest and saying, "Get outta town!") by acting like Dalits.

Brahmins love to non-judge the Dalits for taking drugs, which thus shelters them from judgement when they "experiment" with judges. AFAIK know actual Hindu Brahmins aren't supposed to mess with hedonistic things, so in this respect American Brahmins are much more like Eloi. It's hard to judge ANYTHING when you're on crack, so the Eloi youth get a whole new way to be hip (hip = non-judgemental; hip = showing poor judgement). Some of the Eloi get eaten alive by the Morlocks; most get bailed out by their non-judgemental parents.

If the Eloi/Brahmins control everything, why don't they decriminalize the drugs they love so much? Because then, in order to "show their solidarity" with the Dalits, they'd have to engage in the OTHER kind of crime (i.e., the non-victimless kind). Staying on the wrong side of a (poorly-enforced) law gives you a reason to complain about how you're a "victim of the man", which = a bunch more hipness points.

September 11, 2008 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I know this is an old thread nobody comments in anymore, but I'd like to say this so I can repeat myself later when this data-free pop sociology pops up again. The Thomas Frank class-based view of American politics, which many even on the right such as MM have accepted, is completely wrong.

September 14, 2008 at 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Blode said...

TGGP, those are interesting links, but I'm not sure they really contradict what is being said here.

"thomas frank is full of crap because it isn't the poor, but the rich, for whom cultural positions are the most salient and predictive variables in determining their political affinities." - razib

This is backed up by the "Myths and Facts" link, and it pretty much backs up moldbug's thesis that the really important ideological conflicts are between different castes of the elite, not different income levels. So MM talks about Brahmin vs. wealthier Vaisya and Optimates; your Gelman wouldn't use those terms but would surely talk about affluent secular vs. affluent religious people. So ... why is Moldbug's view completely wrong?

Are you thinking Moldbug assessed the income of the Vaisyas too low? I don't; I think he puts them below the Brahmin only because they have less influence, because they live further from media centers and effectively portrayed by the media as bible-thumping bumpkins.

On the whole, razib and Gelman bolster what was my understanding of moldbug's 5-caste system.

September 16, 2008 at 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Blode said...

Okay, I'm not going to go buy the book on Kansas but from the looks of the Wikipedia entry, Thomas Frank's thesis is nothing moldbug would have anything to do with. It looks like Frank is basically an economic populist, meaning something more or less like a pre-1960s (moderate) leftist. His argument is that without emotional wedge issues in social policy, a lot of "conservative Republicans" would be voting pro-union, anti-trust, and maybe pro-public ownership(?)

I doubt moldbug would buy any of that. Most voters haven't heard of anti-trust laws (it takes a lot more than being on the books for a law to enter into the vernacular ... say "Clayton Act" to some random voter).

I wonder how Thomas Frank feels about the subprime lending thing ... does he think social conservatives should try to stick it to the man and punish somebody somewhere for the unprofitability of lending sacks of cash to people with bad credit and shaky prospects? (That does seem like the position of a lot of populists, in a nutshell.)

September 16, 2008 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

The truth does better fit with the 5-caste framework (which I prefer), but MM has just ditched that for 3 castes. Even back in the 5 caste system he talked about how the New Deal state was built through the support of working class Vaisyas, who ditched the Ds when they realized that the government wasn't working on their behalf. Not the case. Among whites possession of a college degree has become less important while having lower incomes has become a greater predictor of voting D. Among whites being working class is a predictor of voting D within every state. It is weakly predictive at a national level, but the correlation is still positive. Universities do not churn out liberals, college grads tend to the right (people that never want to leave college are a different story). The "religious right" or extreme conservatives tend to be well educated and with high incomes. Not only are the religious more happy, but people who "cling" to guns are the opposite of bitter, and also tend to be well off. Support for Ds among those with advanced degrees is primarily due to public school teachers (so notorious as to spark the phrase "teachers unions of the right"). Their support among the educated is strongest among those with incomes under $75000 "the incomes of teachers, social workers, nurses, and skilled technicians, not of Hollywood stars, bestselling authors, or television producers, let alone corporate executives.". Rather than intellectual elites, those in education have the lowest standardized test scores. Steve Sailer once explained how Arnold Schwarzenegger's fight with California public sector unions failed as being because the white middle class identified with them. If someone wants to take on the Minotaur, that's who they'll have to deal with (and it will be ugly) not a gaggle of hipsters and journalists (the latter of whom not unlikely in the employ of GOP voters).

MM likes to harp about how "Brahmins" are an elite that look down on Vaisyas and Vaisyas aspire to be and with reference to Ayers says that the "super rich" are very liberal even if the upper class more generally is conservative. But even in Manhattan the richest are more right-wing than the more moderately rich and Yankees fans are to the right of Mets fans (that's relatively speaking, NYT is still quite liberal). Even the conservatism of the active duty military is due to officers rather than "proles", and among veterans any correlation dissappears if one controls for the fact that they are older males. The big realignment in politics in the second half of the 20th century was the end of the one-party era of the Solid South, not any sort of rejection by Vaisyas of the New Deal state. Racial attitudes play a big role in MM's world view, which he claims fall on the latte-sipping Volvo-driving windsurfing vs Bible-thumping flag-waving deer-hunting divide, but Bartels shows that attitudes toward government aid to blacks is best predicted by views on government supported full employment and worst predicted by cultural views. MM accepted my paraphrase of him saying "the Polygon recruits minorities as their Stasi" but Caplan found the more educated blacks are the LESS likely they are to support affirmative action (as I mention in that link, education also predicts less support for more environmental regulation). You'll note that I make a lot of references to data others have analyzed. If you don't do that you end up spouting David Brooks style pop sociology, which in Brooks' case was also flat wrong. MM has similarly made much of distinctive consumer choices of Brahmins, backed up with "Trust me, I live in San Francisco, I know what I'm talking about". David Brooks is a Manhattenite, but he didn't know what he was talking about.

September 19, 2008 at 7:48 AM  
Anonymous Blode said...

If Sandra Bernhard ever comes to my town, me and my white male friends are going to fold our arms and act standoffish, and frown at her a little.

Take that, big scary urbanite!

(Yeah, I know, this thread is dead, but I miss it.)

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February 12, 2009 at 1:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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March 2, 2009 at 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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March 6, 2009 at 5:52 AM  

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