On the Soft Side

An anti-natalist monarchy, a limited republic of hedonism, an affirmative action open boarders democracy.  What do these have in common?  On the soft side, the social side of things, the underlying values and structure of society are not pro-social civilization building ideas.  Quite the opposite these societies no matter the possible success of their government will tear themselves apart from within.  Whatever your political preference there is another side to the governance of society.  The governance of culture could come in the form of a theocratic police state or friends giving each other shit.  Whatever the solution society must have some institution social, governmental or otherwise to maintain pro-social behavior.

When looking at modern society there is the immediate problem of putting the cat back in the bag.  Can people be herded back into strict social hierarchies and dogmas? For most of history people’s aspirations were limited not only by culture but my Malthusian or technological progress limitations.  200 years ago if one was a slut one was most likely going to have a bastard eventually, and without others help there was no way to take care of the child.  200 years ago one couldn’t be an effective advocate of third world immigration because the speed of travel was limited and expensive and jobs were not built to accept fungible cogs.  The modern world present many choices not available to our predecessors.  A good question to ask is “is modern culture degenerate or do humans naturally degenerate to the lowest standards maintainable by technology”.  Is the Cathedral a grand press from above or a reflection of the cracks generated by a collapsing foundation?  As long as r-type strategies are possible there will be an incentive to cheat society.  This creates a societal/social freeloading issue.  The suppression of liberty on a cultural scale seems to be the only mechanism to maintain a k-type culture in a world of abundance.  Maybe in 1000 years we will ask ourselves not what is the best system of government but how to end the cycle of collapse of civilization.  That propaganda and conditioning must be so strong (in the media, public schools and news) and that the pace of the drift so slow despite this, suggests that society has some ability both to right itself and to resist degeneration though not indefinitely.  Maybe every social system given a long enough time will through natural selection produce an institution or idea which will utilize human nature to bring about systemic collapse?  How do we maintain inter generational memory of lessons in an institutional manner?

Let’s start with something small.  If we look at the family as a microcosm of society we see that when families acquire significant wealth they usually loose it over the course of a few generations.  However those same families which were once wealthy tend to be wealthy again after their collapse a few generations later.  The wealth they earned due to growing up in a K-type environment generates an r-type environment for their children, who gradually loose the values and virtues instilled by growing up knowing want.  There is limited entry-ism as families must have a k-type genes to begin with.  R-type families are the sort that if they won the lottery would blow it all in a decade while neglecting their children letting them go feral.  For a family capable of investing both in a monetary sense and in their children to maintain its wealth there must be someway to maintain the k-type environment even in times of plenty.  On a smaller scale this requires instilling responsibility and scarcity as values to the children.  To do this the family must reduce freeloading behavior as soon as possible.  This is not to say they should be cruel, but children should be responsible for growing the family wealth not blowing it.

On a nation wide scale this means increasing the cost of r-type strategies and reducing the rewards.  This means identifying both individual freeloaders and institutions of parasitism.  Freeloaders must be forced to be productive, silenced and if necessary exiled.  On a social level free loading behavior must be ostracized and given the lowest status possible.  Society must be able to resist the temptation to ride the wave of wealth when they become successful and must maintain the k-type upbringing and culture through both famine and feast.  The job of any quality culture involves investing in stability and pro-social behavior while maintaining and continually lowering time preference.

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