Egalitarianism for thee, Elitism for me
This is such great article. Absolutely love it. I've always thought about the elites along the same lines, but I cannot imagine myself being so articulate about it.
You say: “This is where the hypocrisy comes in: affluent people often broadcast how they owe their success to luck. But then they tell their own children about the importance of hard work and individual effort.”
I am now retired. During my working years, I put a lot of effort into my work to achieve a reasonable amount of success and to build a secure retirement. When I was younger, I used to credit my success largely to my hard work and effort. But in my self-examination following that retirement, only now have I come to realize how so many times in my life there were things that only pure luck kept from going sideways, how many things that were poorly planned came out all right after all, etc. These reflections have forced me to acknowledge how greatly the element of luck has contributed to a positive outcome that may not be totally deserved.
That all being said, I do not agree that the belief you stated above is necessarily hypocritical. That is because I see life as a probabilistic process. You improve the odds where you can, and accept the vicissitudes of chance where you cannot, but you must acknowledge the importance of both.
There's definitely insight here, with issues like the health-lifestyle hypocrisy, but I'd frame "luxury beliefs" as an ideology. And as such, it's not separate from the hypocritical elite behavior. Example: even though polyamory is in direct conflict with a conservative nuclear family lifestyle, it's not like the elite in a "normal" nuclear family is actually adherent to a traditional family - they're fiercely individualistic, by the author's own definition. So the individualism is actually consistent and not hypocritical. It's not that the masses get the average and the elite get the best, it's that the masses simply have a *different* definition of best and everyone is aspiring for the best, albeit with different definitions of best. The consistent, coherent ideology is one of individualism, with self-actualization as its primary goal
It is a good reminder of the double speak. But may I counter-argue that whatever elites will come to the forefront, they MUST use this tactic to stay in power?
The Lion Elites don't work in a democracy or even in an authoritarian state which is sensitive to social uprisings (e.g. China and its elites hypocritical drive against corruption). I don't think the christian source is the reason for the Foxes elites. It's more likely a byproduct of the modern world and people's easy access to and dissemination of information.
So put whatever libertarians or persons you admire as decision makers, by the notion of a few leading & deciding for the majority, I cannot see how we can escape this.
My only hope is that in the future, fully decentralised decision making through AI systems can be implemented. Maybe then...?
I don't buy it.
Frankly, I'm not even sure "elites" is a coherent category. Who, exactly, are you talking about?
And what evidence is there that the beliefs you object to are luxuries? This is first brought up as a theory, interesting if a bit wild, and then treated as a fact.
A synthesis of ideas: Is woke elitism caused by cluelessness or "midwit" beliefs in the middle class? Because otherwise direct lion behavior would work and there will be no resistance.
Also, from someone who read Yarvin, isn't the idea of hypocrisy kind of fake, since power can be easily defined by the ability to make exceptions?
Great article I enjoyed reading!
The one thing I’d nitpick is the statement “Religion is bad” is a luxury belief.
It’s not, most elites are highly educated and not religious, as it isn’t compatible with a scientific worldview. So at-least in that case, they practice what they preach
At the upper levels of anything, everyone is working their ass off as hard as they can already. When a person at the top looks around and sees what sets them apart from the people who were almost but not quite at the top, the difference they see is luck and connections. The difference between a person who wins an Olympic gold medal and the person who finished fourth can hardly be attributed to how hard they worked. People that didn't work hard don't even register as being in the game at all - of course they make their children to work hard, it's so obvious it kind of goes without saying, like telling them the secret to success is driving safely so they don't die in a car accident.
On the other hand, when people with ordinary levels of success compare themselves to people who look to them like total failures, they do notice the people who actually don't work hard and fail as a result, and conclude that the difference between themselves and those damn bums is their willingness to work.
My opinion on this article is a combination of two other comments I saw here:
1. There are some great insights here
2. There is too much generalization and a lack of nuance
This is not a great take. A lot of generalisation. These topics are nuanced and deserve much more thought.
- Coming from a non-elite… well not yet
This is a great analysis, Erik. Have to wonder how atypical (not at all) this is for late-empire elites who see (have themselves caused and often continue to fuel) civilizational decline, seeing it as an opportunity to widen their moats, grab as much as they can under cover of virtue signaling and counterfactual narratives, while preparing the armed security and reinforced bunkers they’ll need once riots start. Always helpful to revisit ye olde Oswald Spengler in times like these :)
“ The tragedy of luxury beliefs is that, since they're free, and since the non-elites aspire to eliteness, the beliefs themselves trickle down to the masses who can’t “afford” them.”
Jesus. Where does this go?
Do you think it’s cyclical or helical?
Elites will drop their current luxury beliefs when they’ve gone stale, but it seems like theres a tendency to pick up old ones as well.
This is a very good set of questions. It is that moment the therapist presses the exact problem area and you have a pretty instant and audible cautionary reaction. Now whom should I believe on Over Population and Climate Change? Ted Turner or what's-his name..Elon Musk? Elon Musk says Over Population is a myth. Though, urbanisation may well be a very big problem. Our biggest problem though is a secret war on Bacteria and Microbiota. We need to harmonise with nature, not fall for managed Hegelian Dialectic opposition fantasies designed to change the topic and divert your attention by Entertaining you- (Slight Chance of Meatballs), Enthralling You (Warner Brothers), Entrap and Enslaving You - Big Pharma., using only your own momentum at any time - same as in Judo.