Status striving and political individualism are the same thing

This is an important insight that came to me while I was reflecting on the best scene from The Seventh Seal. The movie is a thesis on the nature of class inequality, ethics, and death. Some quick introductions:

Knight: An aristocrat (a faithful but disenchanted Christian)
Karin: The knight’s wife (a hard, faithful woman)
Jons: The knight’s squire, a doctor by profession (a nihilistic stoic)
Plog: An artisan (a bumbling, appetitive fool)
Girl: A silent, miserable slave

This scene is at the end when Death enters the castle to take the lives of everyone within, and it takes the movie from good to great because it expresses the powerful emotions of each character toward death. The setting is around the dinner table, where the knight’s wife Karin is reading a passage from the Apocalypse.

KARIN “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a torch, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood …” They all lift their heads, and when they see who is coming towards them through the twilight of the large room, they rise from the table and stand close together. KNIGHT Good morning, noble lord. KARIN I am Karin, the knight’s wife, and welcome you courteously to my house.
PLOG I am a smith by profession and rather good at my trade, if I say so myself. My wife Lisa — curtsy for the great lord, Lisa. She’s a little difficult to handle once in a while and we had a little spat, so to speak, but no worse than most people. The KNIGHT hides his face in his hands.
KNIGHT From our darkness, we call out to Thee, Lord. Have mercy on us because we are small and frightened and ignorant.
JONS (bitterly) In the darkness where You are supposed to be, where all of us probably are…. In the darkness You will find no one to listen to Your cries or be touched by Your sufferings. Wash Your tears and mirror Yourself in Your indifference.
KNIGHT God, You who are somewhere, who must be somewhere, have mercy upon us. JONS I could have given you an herb to purge you of your worries about eternity. Now it seems to be too late. But in any case, feel the immense triumph of this last minute when you can still roll your eyes and move your toes.
KARIN Quiet, quiet.
JONS I shall be silent, but under protest.
GIRL (on her knees) It is the end.

I absolutely love the acting in this part, especially the girl’s. You really get the sense of an untouchable thinking “Thank God that’s over.”

But the part that inspired my thinking is the part I bolded, where Jons says “I will be silent, but under protest” because I think this is a linchpin to the movie’s primary theme about silence. He has strong misgivings throughout the movie and asserts them readily but he always follows orders because he has no misgivings about his relative status to the other characters. We could really use an institution like “silent under protest” on the political right, this being the essential nature of hierarchy. But seeing that this is impossible, I wonder what cultural assumptions could we appeal to in 1957 that we now lack?

Consider a similar situation today: a high-status person gives an order to a low-status person which the lower person disagrees with, maybe to open fire on a child soldier in an ethically nebulous situation. Why can’t the soldier do this “under protest”? Because his action will be judged as his own choice as an individual, not as a mere extension of his superior’s will. In Western militaries we believe that soldiers have a duty, as individuals, to disobey unethical orders. This means making a personal ethical judgment every time an order is given, implicitly saying “okay, I agree with this” every time he obeys, If he obeys while telling his superior “I am doing this under protest” this is seen as 1) abdication of duty, 2) a challenge for authority of the team, and 3) a threat to the team’s solidarity. Afterward, he may be liable to face a military tribunal because “orders” is not considered an excuse. The game theory suggests followers must always be hedging against the orders of their superiors, to protect themselves from blowback from the greater institution.

Aside from that, there is a strong chance that the superior will throw him under the bus. We especially see this in capitalist institutions because status attainment (hence the ability to give pseudo-orders) selects for those who can avoid blame. This encourages a culture of negative transference, scapegoating, buck-passing, and a general aversion to writing down important information. (In fact, there is actually an inverse relationship between the importance of a piece of information and the clarity with which it’s communicated.) To be both low-status and a scapegoat is the definition of an Omega and you can’t build a stable society where the majority poor are all Omegas. In the classical situation one derives one’s status first and foremost from group membership and only secondly from position within the group. Lacking this, status competition is a free-for-all where the cost of losing is to be crucified for the group’s sins when times get tough. A recent example is that small business that came under fire from a troublemaking negress and fired its employees to satiate the Twitter mob’s bloodlust.

What this means is that, lacking leaders who receive both liability and reward for all outcomes within their domain of responsibility, and lacking an institution of upward negative transference which allow inferiors to act effectively as instruments of their superiors’ will, individuals must continually advocate for themselves. Based on this, I propose that the bourgeoisie may be defined as those for whom a strategy of silent obedience is more costly than a strategy of signalling individualism. It makes sense then that the bourgeoisie would expand rapidly after the death of noblesse oblige in the wake of the Copernican Revolution and the Reformation. Ever since, each man has been quite profoundly “on his own” in the world. Enlightenment thinkers have tried to recreate the classical arrangement by reinventing civil religion through the “Noble Lie” (this is also the project of Jim’s blog, for example), but they have never resisted the urge to rig the negative transference game against their would-be slaves.

Explanations for why one might be poor and what one’s value to society is have grown “notably more punitive and emotionally awkward in the modern era.”

We strive for status not for ambition, but from fear. And that’s why we’re ruled not by judges, robber-barons, nor even the least-qualified, but by snobs. Is there even a word for snob-ocracy?

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About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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12 Responses to Status striving and political individualism are the same thing

  1. Mycroft Jones says:

    Top kek. I was just telling someone yesterday that every so often you write a gem for the ages. This is one of them. Another one is your explanation of the origins and nature of Accounting. There are a couple more, but keep this up and you’ll have a good book on your hands. Maybe in combination with Giovanni Donato who lays pearls at similar intervals to you. Maybe Z-Man and Dalrock would contribute an essay or two, and Anonymous Conservative a foreword. Just musing out loud here. I’d buy such a book.

  2. aiaslives says:

    >declared silent protest

    So status-seekers (melonheads?) use an absence of words as a weapon to induce solipsism in untrained minds. If you tie this to advertising, you’ll reach propaganda.

    Contrast it with Masculine quietness and brevity and you’ll discover Jewishness.

  3. Aeoli Pera says:

    Our first action in life is always to signal our displeasure

  4. Aeoli Pera says:

    >I was just telling someone yesterday that every so often you write a gem for the ages. This is one of them.

    Thank you, I agree. It’s not written properly but it conveys a big idea and that’s enough to satisfy my addiction.

    >I’d buy such a book.

    My current goal in life is to become functional enough to write one. The problem is that posts like this are REALLY expensive in terms of time and energy. That’s why you can usually tell how I’m doing from the blog alone.

  5. bicebicebice says:

    I don’t remember them speaking english in the movie?!? I must be netting Nobilid.

    “My current goal in life is to become functional enough to write one. The problem is that posts like this are REALLY expensive in terms of time and energy. That’s why you can usually tell how I’m doing from the blog alone.”

    Just get an editor(translator), they have the final say in anything anyways and are good-ish-enough at it, one could even tell IF you have already written SEVERAL books already. Lazy version put all posts from year xxxx into one pdf, write a commentary from the current year, or divide them up into subjects, all posts from that year, with a commentary.
    But if I know me, you will not do it because “it is supposed to lie” there, itz some sort of clocked in time. Most real authors are phonies relying on ghost writers for everything and the editing team, some people can accept that one script guy in jewywood but in “academia” nah can’t be real.

    “Our first action in life is always to signal our displeasure

    DELET

  6. Mycroft Jones says:

    Vox isn’t soliciting outside work. If you have a book in hand, well, damn. I think Aeoli is still banned over at Vox’s.

  7. Heaviside says:

    >In Western militaries we believe that soldiers have a duty, as individuals, to disobey unethical orders.

    Nobody really believes this. Taking this line of thought seriously would make you an anarchist.

  8. Just Call Me Fishmail says:

    “… lacking leaders who receive both liability and reward for all outcomes within their domain of responsibility, and lacking an institution of upward negative transference which allow inferiors to act effectively as instruments of their superiors’ will, individuals must continually advocate for themselves.”

    This is always the case: the “leaders” are participants in a governing process by which decisions are made within a system in which there are accolades for being a good participant and punishments for being a bad participant.

    These rewards and liabilities, as you put it, are managed separately from outcomes.

    Ultimately you can’t get “there” from “here”, by which “there” means an increasingly better outcome for the majority of the stakeholders and by which “here” means a notional leasehold within a system that rents out government privileges to so-called winners.

    Holding one bureaucrat responsible for whether the system is evil or isn’t evil?

    Some justices at Nuremburg worked this out back in 1946, but it was a pragmatic solution: even the most fervent realised they couldn’t hold everyone involved accountable, and so the determination of guilt came from a sorting out of control and direction.

    Naturally, bureaucracies resist reform even under such regimes by secretly plotting acts of non-controlled, non-directed movement away from the reforms …

    Among the British people, there are those who are convinced that the television show “Yes Minister” was a comedy, and then there are those who are even more convinced that it was a documentary. :-)

  9. bicebicebice says:

    “We strive for status not for ambition, but from fear. And that’s why we’re ruled not by judges, robber-barons, nor even the least-qualified, but by snobs. Is there even a word for snob-ocracy?”

    Elitist-jerkism AFAIK, not to be confused with shitlibbery, just like sape/normie/npc/goy isn’t the exact same thing just maybe sounds similiar, like TT vs mt or tm.

    ““Our first action in life is always to signal our displeasure” I think this is a baby thing in that wahmen see all poor chillums on the run as infants, even tho they are 40 year old cannibal rapists. If the baby cries you calm it down come hell or high water. Something something opening up portals from hell to earth and deluges.

    Not even once.

  10. bicebicebice says:

    “Mycroft Jones says:
    October 11, 2018 at 6:10 pm
    Top kek. I was just telling someone yesterday that every so often you write a gem for the ages. This is one of them. Another one is your explanation of the origins and nature of Accounting. There are a couple more, but keep this up and you’ll have a good book on your hands. Maybe in combination with Giovanni Donato who lays pearls at similar intervals to you. Maybe Z-Man and Dalrock would contribute an essay or two, and Anonymous Conservative a foreword. Just musing out loud here. I’d buy such a book.”

    Keep using websitecopythingymajingy before we get another DELET;
    DELETer status; T̶e̶x̶a̶s̶ ̶A̶r̶c̶a̶n̶e̶ , K̶o̶a̶n̶i̶c̶ ̶S̶o̶u̶l̶- A DELET can also happen from social media “updating” and reconnecting shit so it becomes harder to find, what was there seconds ago, like G+. Good thing we have THREE! forums so they can’t scrub us.

  11. Aeoli Pera says:

    >Nobody really believes this. Taking this line of thought seriously would make you an anarchist.

    I’d compare it to the belief that gender is fluid.

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