There is a rising wave of political apathy hitting right now. I don’t think I’m the only one. Different factions on different paths are all converging again on “none of this shit matters” once more.
My pet theory is this: we are at the lowest hype-point between U.S. Presidential elections. Each cycle infects us with a barrage of memetic viruses designed to get us to vote. The incessant chatter that occurs before and after crossing the finish line is just a tertiary symptom of the infection.
Members of the true political fringe are generally immune to these ground-level infections, but have contracted a more malignant disease: the need to be a bleeding-edge meme-generator themselves. The feeling of importance that comes with influencing the apes in the lower canopy with your radical new combinations of howling, shit-flinging, and precision piss.
The part that disgusts me most about myself, as I come to the end of this infection, is the amount of identity investment I had wrapped up in it. And even more ridiculously: as a confirmed survivor of both left and right varieties. My mind is now riddled with memetic lesions, I think half of my brain is scar tissue
For the past five years I’ve been sneering at left-wing types who take a moralizing stance on every issue. I was like that during Occupy, and it was embarrassing. It was a Christ-complex of sorts, for me and most of them. Internally you see yourself as a warrior for kindness and virtue, while in the hind-brain you are angling for social status and sex
Two things have shaken me from my more recent journey through the right-political identity.
The first was getting sober and actually talking to the “space communists” (as like to call them) and realizing that most of them are miles away from the moralizing social-justice martyrs I had imagined. A lot of them literally want to kill me for their explicit personal benefit, making no moral justifications whatsoever for this position.
It might sound edgy and silly, but that’s respectable to me. The screeching “blue hair” types you see on /pol/ and Drudge are certainly the majority, but their handlers – their memetic influencers – are nothing like that. And the best of them are too grizzled from online wars to feel like being a communist makes them who they are. Meanwhile, I was actually starting to think in “Nishiki” voice in my day-to-day life.
So, yes: moralizing your positions is pathetic. The internal groaning I feel listening to an NPR drone is exactly the same as I feel for the religious shithead types. Both have heavy investments in their identities as morally superior people, but display – even in basic social interactions – a overwhelming asocial narcissism.
And that is not to condemn religion or all religious believers. We should be glad that these low-canopy apes (SJW, Christian, Muslim, punk rocker, you name it..) have cultural institution telling them to not go Pol Pot on the nerds. And – it must be said – there are dozens of legitimately pious Christians that I have met and befriended in the reacto-bubble. This is not aimed at them. But the average person leaves much to be desired, in every affiliation.
I was doing the same thing. Wrapping identity up with my views. It’s explicit in many of these blog posts. “Projection: the blog” as one commenter called it. I was appealing to a higher goal, while imagining myself as some sort of rougher, tougher, harsher dude than anyone else in the cubicle farm.
The generic Alt Right bro feels pretty much the same way, especially the atheistic ones. They’ve seen the bell curves, they’ve looked at the pre-Holder FBI crime stats. They know, and you don’t! At the Trump inauguration you could pick them out with ease: cocky 22-year-olds with Hitler youth haircuts walking around with their chests puffed out. Embarrassing youthful bravado, like when you wear an Affliction T-shirt to Belmar.
Believing that personal anti-humanist HBD proselytizing is actually going to change anything is ridiculous, and more about identity-affirmation that anything else. This belief lead to an all-out war on the (now friends) space communist twitter faction. In fact, the majority of these blog posts were written specifically to piss them off and gain approval within my bubble. I literally hated my target audience!
Through my political journeys one theme remained consistent and built upon itself: varying flavors of anti-consumption. To name a few: reactionary paleo diets, DIY basement hardcore, yuppie minimalism, frugal-living hippie, early retirement extremism, homeschooling anti-carcinogen mom blogs. There is nobody on either side of the fringes telling you to buy a lot of shit to be happy, and that should tell us something. Even the hard-line capitalists know better.
As I enter a new era of apolitical chilling, I am at least free from owning any objects that I care about. Each thing in my possession is just a shitty tool to be used and trashed. I will throw out books, birthday cards, dad’s tools, and your handwritten letters. You name it, I will put it in the trash as soon as possible.
Beyond immediate need and current market value, all objects are worthless and should be treated as such. I suspect majority of the things we cherish aren’t even worth the opportunity cost of selling on eBay.
This mentality played into my recent purchase: a $150 electric guitar. It’s incredible that such a thing exists and works well, but it does. But if you look at the customer reviews, there are lots of people crying about their guitars coming with scratches and imperfections.
It’s because they didn’t just buy a tool. They bought some identity. They want to name their Chinese balsa wood instrument, and then nurture it. “I own an electric guitar that sits in my closet. I cover Creed on it.” Great small talk. You are a rocker dude for sure now. Have you remembered to oil your frets this month?
I say skip it. You bought a piece of trash that serves its function well. Treat it like shit and then throw it away.
The most challenging part of achieving asshole yuppie minimalism is throwing out identity-tied and sentimental stuff like books, band t-shirts, and your ex’s nude photos. These sentimental items, more than any other in your life, can hold you back. Stuck In The Past is the name of a popular hardcore blog.
Being tied to an identity can prevent you from growing. If everything you do has to fit into your 2003 hardcore ethos in some way, you’re going to have a tough time sitting through your next SCRUM meeting. I suggest you gather these things and burn them in the yard. Yes even those cool worn-out band T-shirts. It’s liberating.
Like a dead music genre, stale politics become a burden. Why carry the weight? For whom doth we toil? Probably not a person at all, just a runaway memetic Thing that you’re giving your one short and precious life to.
There is a popular set of rules called Conquests Laws (or Robert Conquest’s Three Laws of Politics). The list is a meme attack that is extremely infectious, shutting down key areas of the brain and sending you veering to the right in your intellectual and private life. The rules are as follows:
- Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
- Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.
- The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.
The first one is more of a “huh, yeah” to convert the fence sitters. The second one is the real meat: literally everyone you allow into your life should qualify as right-wing – at least in whatever political organization you involve yourself in (could be just a DM group). The third one leads you to believe that the United States government is a communist organization.
This mentality serves to isolate you, and opens you up to further indoctrination and identity molding. In isolation, you inevitably befriend others with the same infection, who then become your friends. They will encourage behaviors that serve to amplify your right-wing beliefs. This sort of ideological isolation mechanism can be found in religious, clubs, sports teams, and anarchist meetings. It’s a naturally occurring thing, one you should watch out for if you want to keep learning.
I’ve legitimately believed that Conquest’s 2nd law was an infallible truth for the past six years. But it is not. In fact, it makes the right wing weak. In isolation, you stop evolving defenses and become a joke.
The space communists have come up with some hilarious identity-shattering memes, some subtle, some not. Like the “are you triggered, snowflake?” type identity-shattering memes of 2015, they serve to puncture ideological bubbles by pointing out specific flaws in the group’s immune system – flaws that developed in isolation.
One of the left’s newer memes is “I just want to grill, god damn it.” It’s not effective on the target audience (ignorant Republican prole dads), but it does make them less credible to everyone else watching.
A more biting one is adding “…because my wife left me” to basically any energic right-wing political take. “We need to end Muslim immigrant to the United States because of x, y, and z …BECAUSE MY WIFE LEFT ME!”
This pops the bubble of the Drudge Report-obsessed internet divorcee. You can literally feel his heart race now. Yep, you’re very online and checking /pol/ for QAnon updates like fucking Rosanne Barr. That’s you. You’ve gone off the rails, because your wife left you. You need this feeling of agency to feel good about yourself, because your wife left you. Ouch! Do these guys even follow NyxLand?
To avoid becoming a joke yourself, you must expose yourself to every attack. My twitter hero, the real Nick Land (not to be confused with @realNickLand) seems to do this all the time. For a while I thought he was secretly a communist for following assholes like Max Asshole and ThomAss Murphy, but now I realize they’re great people to argue with and I like both of them.
So you don’t have to cave-in and submit to anyone, but you do have to engage. And when you engage enough, you may come to the same conclusion that Berger and Garton both landed on with Anti-Praxis: You, no matter what you believe, probably can’t change anything. You could be Elon Musk or Bill Gates and you still wouldn’t be able to do shit – at least not the shit your intent to occur. Your maneuvers will just as likely trigger an opposite reaction in the grand feedback complex of the acceding (or descending) capitalDeath.
And here is where the space communists have it right: they have no moral stance, cynically minimal belief in their power, and little identity investment. They’re just out there for the fight. That’s a great person to engage with.
If you’re really here (online) to learn about reality (hmm…), there is nothing to lose in doing this. You can still hold all of your previous beliefs – you can even be an activist – you just can’t make it your identity. If you do that, you become the joke and you lose.
So march with the Identity Evropa if you want, or burn a limo at the second inauguration of Donald Trump, but if you feel like it’s making you who you are, you’ve been meme’d on and you need to step back. A political force has seized the most intimate part of you, your identity, for its own use. That Thing does not care how you end up after it’s done with you. Pretty soon you won’t even want to watch Rick and Morty while eating your gf’s ass on Soylent. Can you even call that living?
And the same goes for your stuff. If your guitar makes you feel like a rock star, you are getting owned by a marketing executive. If looking at your dumb car makes you feel cool, more of the same. When you feel this happening, reach into your pocket, take out your keys, and gouge the object. Feel the paint peel off below you blade as you assert your non-attachment to the mind-parasite before you.
Now do the same to your political beliefs.
So yeah, I’m a space communist now. Well actually a hellcommunist. I want to invoke hell on Earth. Not for equality or anything, just for the free money and because it would be cool. It’s gonna happen eventually anyways (check out #hellcommunism for more)
I was inspired to write this evening by SpookyCity’s new blog, where he is dumping copious amounts of identity baggage into the trashcan. Thank you, my man!