There Will Always Be a 1%

In Prasie of the Robber Baron

99 Percent

“We, the people…”

Dark words, those.  Good seldom follows them – however elegant the parchment might be.

They appeal to our basest instincts. “We, the people…” What, you mean my people?  Of course!  My Dunbar Tribe – the 100-150 people whom I can feel empathy for.  Within our tribe there’s status and privilege, of course – the Old Man has the nicest car, the Young Wolf is dating the hottest tail – but all those differences are earned, aren’t they?  And at the end of the day all of the pack members are provided for – heck, we even buy Jimmy a beer every so often, since he’s always broke.

Here’s a riddle for you: what’s the difference between a Savage and a Civilized Man?

Answer: the Civilized Man is Civilized.

ͼ-Ѻ-ͽ

It’s easy to see where the Occupussies are coming from; we’ll give them a break, and assume that they’re all K-type psychologied individuals: they’re furious about the corruption in our banking sector, they’re incensed by the squeeze on small businesses, and they bemoan the erosion of the Middle Class.  I’m there with ya’, bud; these factors do not a stable society make.

But the slogans they reach out to us with appeal to our basest instincts – not the perjorative baser instincts (that would be the politicians) – but to the basest.  The unenlightened instincts; the uncivilized instincts.  They appeal to the inherent, inborn sense of fair-play which is endemic to our species.  But in doing so they bypass the theology needed for nuance, that which is necessary for the present state of wealth.

I’m sorry, did I say bypass?  I meant short-circuit.

This is how you start a sex-cult; this is how you start a Utopia.

Theology, Political Theory, Economics – call it Applied Morality for Large Numbers.  Somewhere around the first logarithm of Dunbar’s Unit things start to get weird with humans; our instincts completely break down, without some sort of overweening node of power.  Enter Culture: the colours, slogans, and styles that symbolize “in group” – the creation of archetypes which define the individual, the provision of a conformity to conform to.

This is why thousands of people can show up to concerts and feel “at one” with everybody else there.  Because they are all embracing the One – or at least the One out of a Few Dozen or So.  When ancient man went to war, he became the War God.  When a concert goer listens to Slayer, he becomes Conan.  You might be around thousands of people, but really you’re only around a few; a few you’ve come to know quite well over the years… after all, they are the embodiment of the memeplex which has long infected your brain.

But Culture is not Civilization.  It’s a crucial component of it, yes, but Civilization holds something more which keeps Babel’s tower standing.  With nothing but Culture, all you have is broken dreams, and shattered language… for Culture is still beholden to tribal instincts.

It’s been said that All Primitive Tribes were Communistic.  This is false, of course (though it is a useful rhetoric in daily discourse); tribes were fair, but they certainly weren’t Communistic.  If anything, they were like a small-business with profit-sharing and a good dental package; good enough to keep your employees loyal, while still practising hierarchy and expecting people to produce.  But because of their economic niche (somewhere in between Lion and Gazelle) the wealth gaps were minimal.  The Chief might have the nicest rabbit-skin loincloth – but you weren’t expected to sleep in a dumpster.

Culture on its own can allow a certain level of wealth-gap – the concert-goers don’t mind that Slayer has their pick amongst the most nubile and willing – but how many women can a man sleep with before he gets sick of them and decides to learn chess?  The number is a lot more than ten, but a lot less than a thousand.

Sure, the God-Kings and his priestly caste have it set-up pretty well – but hey, they do put on that great performance on top of Tenochtitlan, right?  And the rest of us are all equal, at least!

Enter Civilization.

Civilization isn’t technology, but it enables technology: while the devices themselves are boringly democratic (your average Low Information Voter is more skilled with a touchscreen than I am), the systems which enable them are not.  Behind each technology – from your simple French Press to your lofty Obamaphone – lies system after system of resource acquisition, patent management, and human resource application.

Social Technologies – these are what made Civilization civilized during the bronze age.

A caveman is not stupid; in most ways, he’s far more educated than your typical office drone.  All those tools he used?  He made.  Everything he eats?  He caught.  There is no specialization in the tribal environ – what, Goldsmithing?  Sure, Billy’s the best at it, but we all know the basics.

But Billy only produces one unit per day.

ͼ-Ѻ-ͽ

In the world I see – you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You’ll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You’ll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. And when you look down, you’ll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway.
~Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Not an unattractive prospect, I have to admit… but at the end of the day, I love the glow of a computer monitor, the rush of scented gasoline, and the happiness that comes from a warm barrel.

I am a Civilized Man who loves his books and guns.

This is where we wrap around back to the beginning: the 1%.  For the things I love so much to exist, we need a 1%.  No German Barbarian ever held a blade so fine as a Gladius, no Gladiator anything as glorious as a Rudius; the wines are sweeter, the weapons are deadlier, but they come at a cost…

Somebody needs to own the patents.

Somebody needs to own the factories.

Somebody needs to be in charge of the Legions.

That somebody is the 1%.

To call the Tribal Savage a Communist is an insult; the Savage lives in reality, while the Communist dreams of Utopia, a place that can never be.

The Communist dreams of a worker-owned factory: so what piece does the worker own?  This bolt?  That beam?  A factory isn’t a pile of bolts and beams, it’s an assembly – an accomplishment of Engineering and design, just as crucial as the patent of the widgets it produces.  Somebody is going to own that – the only question is whom?

In the Soviet system, it’s whomever is most politic and lick-spittle; in the Capitalist system it is whomever is most sociopathic; in the Democratic system it’s whomever provides the best narcissistic supply to the voter base.  Regardless of the system, people will be born into inequality.  Attempts to remedy this situation will involve quite a bit of genocide, and will rapidly revert to the former status quo.

The only way to realize the Equalist dream is to revert back to savagery… and then we’ve got Tyler Durden all over again.  Something tells me that, in the Savage environ, eliminating the Equalist will help make us more equal…

So the 1% is shirking its duty, you say?  The 1% is selling out their own nations?  The 1% is going to send us back into a Dark Age?

Those sound like some interesting conversations to have.

But the moment I hear “equality” and “privilege” drop from your lips – that’s when I know I’m talking to a long-form suicide, who’ll happily bring the rest of us down with him…

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Davis M.J. Aurini

Trained as a Historian at McMaster University, and as an Infantry soldier in the Canadian Forces, I'm a Scholar, Author, Film Maker, and a God fearing Catholic, who loves women for their illogical nature.

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14 Responses

  1. will says:

    The beggar in the streets have neither natural wealth that comes with the pristine wilderness nor the artificial wealth of civilization. The 1% has both.

    Civilization has increased dramatically artificial wealth but at the expense of habitat and pollution hence diminishing natural wealth.

  2. The assumption that there will always be a class line between the top 1% and the bottom 99% assumes that all of the bottom 99% are worth keeping around. A free man produces far better than the slave. The rankings, top any percent, must be contested without government prejudice sooner or later, and the difference to the healthy of the team and the members of it is everything, as we all should know. I mention that there are 1%s and there are 1%s. However, in the spirit of the Magna Carta, the power can be democratized. It has been quite beneficial, because when political pull destroys individual jeopardy, it also destroys individual virtue and vice. The prolific productivity and happiness of the first and second great Western civilizations owed to individual accountability (i.e individual jeopardy rather than institutional jeopardy). In my vision of civilization, those who do not make the cut as first class men who are or may become first-class patriarchs, who do not produce and live better individually free than institutionally free, ought to be enslaved or expelled or otherwise eliminated. It just so happens that politically inept people are often useful. There is not always a supply of first-class men, and women are what they are: evolutionarily anachronistic. Natural slaves/livestock, which is what the uncivilized are if they should not be shot immediately, will NOT produce more than they consume given their freedom. They require coercion to produce more than they consume, to aspire to natural virtue, and they can be replaced with free men who are far more productive when it becomes possible. I believe that explains why American slavery dies from north to south, replaced by something closer to freedom and certainly more productive, wage earners and wage slaves. We could all be more productive is we just do the bidding of master in this debt slave economy, and I should to not, but with wage slaves vis-a-vis chattel slaves, I expect the wage slave normally, until the Gilded Age reaches absurd perversion like we have absurd perversion today, keeps more of what value he produces than the chattel slave. At some point the reverse is true and it’s all lip service because the 1% is based on political power over the supportive, yes, fucking supporting 99%. In modern times, we don’t need slaves outright because physical technique (technology) keeps death at bay and the population is larger while also needing to meet a lesser population threshold to be viable. I envision a top 20%-50% of first-class men and boys who ‘institutionalize’ individual jeopardy, prevent fiat money, prevent fiat redemption of credit that is a corruption of investment called banking, and keep the female imperative in its place until it might be bred out by hundreds of thousands of years of uninterrupted civilization and reproduction determined by individual jeopardy, all enforced by unspecialized contract law and a democracy of ideas and violence in the natural agency of individuals acting unilaterally without guarantee, and the government stepping in only rarely on the worst of occasions, never to rescue individuals from taking the law into their own hands and becoming soft, becoming what this balkanized mob of gutter-snipes that suffocates me is. I get the Hitler argument for an autocrat, but I don’t want autocracy or monarchy or ‘titles’. It rubs me the wrong way when ex-presidents are called president, when ex-governors are called governor. They should be called citizen as if that is the highest office in the land, but we don’t take the law into our own hands, when have no individual jeopardy, and my virtue lost is something I keep barely alive as a society of one seeking an in-group of patriarchal brothers. With the balkanization, the divide and conquer by the elite, there is nothing to loose and everything to gain by forming an in-group of first allegiance. So in summary, why, dear reader, would you presume there will always be a 99%. Morality is only something that is built on the amoral law of might making right, either as a lie and a win-lose mental strength over little people, or as a transparently win-win strength between the more sophisticated humans who will either win the evolutionary struggle and live their way, or the win-lose paradigm will continue because a critical mass of civilized men as a society of philosophers never congealed from the firmament. It is a tall order, but I think it is a natural progression, even if we are far too early to be part of it as vanguard outliers. Obviously, I have not economic outlet for myself in the real world, so you get this as my political output for what it’s worth. I believe when enough men think like I do, my ilk will be unstoppable (until the next evolutionary challenge of culture and politics that is). When toxic oxygen killed off, I would guess, a 99% of life, I dare say that 99%ers that only have their numbers as strength are naturally culled by the universe in the long run, though individual mileage will vary greatly. I think it happens every eon.

  3. JDAM says:

    The inherent threat of “the 1%” is that, in the event they are shirking their duty… who is in a position to do anything about it? Enforcing accountability is the penultimate question in every human system. Give people too much power and they’re above enforcement. Give people too little and they get stepped on. Democracy, in this sense, is an attempt at forcing accountability by mass vote, and yet it ends up giving too much power to those undeserving of it, and too little to those who would use it responsibly. How does one allocate responsibility and enforce standards without being above accountability yourself? Humanity lacks an omniscient, omnipresent, and morally stalwart benevolent dictator, and always will.

  4. There has been a 1% as long as there has been “society”; the division of labor is one of the defining traits of civilization. It is that division which allows for a 1% to exist, and whether it be the priest-caste or the kings which become the 1%, or the “robber barons” and “political class”, there will always be a select few which benefit more from the collective work of the society as a whole.

    The Tyler Durden bit you posted is ambivalent on this; maybe there is still the division of labor, maybe there isn’t, but it does appear that there will still be a privilidged class who get to climb the Sears tower while the worker ants toil below. The chasm between the two isn’t as pronounced as our current situation.

    The OWS people were a weird bunch. On the one hand, I was sympathetic to them in principle. On the other hand, they seemed to be composed of two groups:
    1. People who had not previously added any real value to the world.
    2. people who didn’t want to add any real value to the world.

    By “real value”, I mean “Do they make the world a better place, even by an iota?” A waiter, erm, server, adds value to my life, if only for 30-60 minutes, by taking my order and bringing it to my table; things I wouldn’t need to do when eating at home, but it does allow me the experience of an effort-free meal (hopefully). If they go the extra step and keep my water filled without being asked, that makes the experience all the more pleasant. If they communicate any special requests (I don’t like mushrooms)) in a way where the kitchen staff makes my order properly, and to my tastes, that makes the experience that more pleasant. It seems trivial to spend this much time discussing a profession which I only take the time to take advantage of every couple of weeks, but when I do take advantage of it, it adds value to my life, no matte how insignificant in the big picture.

    All those people who got fired from their corporate make-work jobs, I have no sympathy towards them. They could have chosen another path in life, but they chose to take their 30 silver pieces to become a cog in the machine which would self-improve itself and relegate them to obsolescence. These were the bulk of the older folk at OWS; people who were blind to the fact that their job was soon to be eradicated in the name of efficiency; whether out of stupidity or willful ignorance, they believed that nothing would change.

    Then the younger people, who spent, erm, borrowed $100k for worthless liberal arts majors such as Womens’ Studies, which would not add any real value to the world (appealing to the Hamster Hive Mind does not count, no matter what the feminuts say), and in many cases, would remove value from the world (degenerate society via feminization of men, death of marrige and family, etc.)

    These two groups represented the bulk of OWS, and then you had the malcontents who joined in for the sake of joining in.

    The most egregious part, is that they had no intention of working to make the changes they wanted, they thought they could show up and collectively shame everyone else into supporting them til they got their way. Much like the MRA can tell you, whining, crying, bitching and moaning will only gain you so much support, and rarely leads to action.

  5. will says:

    @JDAM

    If christianity is true and god exists. Then god will be the benevolent omniscient and omnipotent dictator. If the 2nd coming of Christ commences.

  6. JDAM says:

    Direct command of humanity would be beneath any God worthy of the title.

  7. garavn says:

    “Somebody needs to own the patents.

    Somebody needs to own the factories.

    Somebody needs to be in charge of the Legions.”

    You’re right.

    Now you’d better hope you can keep it.

    Because you can only have it, as long as you can prevent the rest of us from taking it from you.

    Us uncivilized people don’t mind about kidnapping a family member or two if it’s the only job prospect available.

    Just as there will always be a 1%, there will always be a Somali Pirate waiting to slit the throat of a 1% for some filthy lucre.

  8. Sean says:

    Every system will benefit people with a certain quality? Ok, granted. Talk of equality is stupid? Yeah, probably. But Davis, does that mean that leaders can hold themselves to different standards from the people they lead? A quote by Tacitus about the Germani springs to mind: “On the field of battle it is a disgrace to a chief to be surpassed in courage by his followers, and to the followers not to equal the courage of their chief.” The message is simple: if the people tasked with upholding the law and setting an example to a society disregard the law, the common people will do so as well.

  9. Kristophr says:

    “Created equal” is not the same as equality. Equality is utopian nonsense.

    The occutards don’t get this. It doesn’t surpise me that they don’t get the founding fathers’ original intent. And most of the 99% doesn’t get this either. We all start as equals: squalling infants.

    Where we go from there is up to our parents and ourselves.

  10. SGT Caz says:

    “How does one allocate responsibility and enforce standards without being above accountability yourself?”

    People below them in the hierarchy certainly don’t enforce anything, nor should they. The enforcement comes from performance. The people in charge operate in a competitive environment where their future is attached to the future of the institution they command. Back in the days of tribes and through the days of property rights, the accountability came from competition, and the need to build a legacy to leave to your children. The power class, on some level, identified with what they had wrought. Their continued power over it, and their children’s power, was the point. If and when this was not the case, then what’s the point of the power? The utility of having lots of stuff? Does the power really even exist?

    None of it works perfectly. None of it will work perfectly. The entire thing was forged in the cauldron of Nietzsche’s power teleology, where instability is the rule. Men fight because men stand for something, and they will always fight, one hopes, for the same reason. If this depresses you, then you never accepted what it meant to be alive.

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