Sunday, November 13, 2011

Applied Human City-Castes

"In contrast, a world that disapproves of only some superiority displays while relishing others looks more like a world where folks with some types of excellence have won a battle to be seen as higher status than folks with other types of excellence."

Specifically, Athenians.

Most of the acceptable status displays, and the only one the original poster emphasized with 'finely graded status structure,' are scholarly.

In contrast, monetary status is suspicious. Networking is a dirty word. And actually settling conflicts with (ritualized) violence? Come now.

It's actually normal for men to occasionally settle disputes physically. (Is this well known, or is it just me?) Hence ye olde duelling laws.

But settling a point of debate cannot be done physically. If I'm right and you beat me up, I'm still right. Your bridge will fall down and mine won't. Therefore, nobody is allowed to duel anymore. Makes perfect sense.

Of course there are niches where sports, martial arts, marketing and so on are considered valid status ladders. But, they are exactly niches. Everyone knows they're supposed to espouse support for academics unconditionally.

"Jock inequality is unacceptable if your kid is an average performer on his or her youth soccer team. If your kid is a star, then his or her accomplishments validate your entire existence."

"Sports inequality is acceptable. It is normal to wear a Yankees jersey, an L.S.U. T-shirt or the emblem of any big budget team. The fact that your favorite sports franchise regularly grounds opponents into dust is a signal of your overall prowess."

And yet the jock isn't the hero in any movie. Even in sports movies the hero is a weedy underdog who tends to win by cleverness or giving the little guy a chance.

Similarly, the excessive suspicion of the military is entirely predictable. The elites must inculcate loathing and contempt for Juntas because even a low-grade military elite can defeat them. It doesn't matter how wrong you are when you can beat up the other guy. My bridge might stay up but it doesn't matter if I can't get it built.


Jehu said...

Athenians (or Moldbug's Brahmins) need to realize that political systems are not stable if any groups believe that they could get a better deal by changing the mode of conflict from political to military.

Alrenous said...

Oh heck, that's the actual reason they outlaw duelling. If you duel regularly, you get experience with physical domination. You start to wonder what else you can apply it to.

It is security by obscurity, but it is better than no security.

I'm kind of surprised they allow West Point to exist. Right now, the Spartan elites suck so hard they'd actually lose to our Athenians. However, West Point is forever in danger of passing the Spartan elite threshold.

There's still the 'democracy' buffer, which means even the soldiers buy the idea that you have to be elected to be a legitimate ruler, but that's again essentially security by obscurity.

Jehu said...

The military elite does presently suck pretty badly---because, after all, they're chosen by Athens. However, the US's warrior caste, of which my two year old is a member in good standing, is an extremely capable sleeping giant. You see it stirring in its slumber in the massive sales of arms and (more importantly) ammunition over the past few years. One day they will awaken and find that they have grown strong...