Talking with a fellow Christian recently about the current social state of America, or at least what we perceived in our local community. A sense of dread permeates our mind when we think of how people act and how they are behaving in this time and life, exasperated by the internet. Many will clamor to defend them saying that “it’s always been this way” and cite some attributed Greek quote to dismiss the claim that things are any different than they’ve ever been. Regardless of this claim, history and relativistic cultural has continued since the Greeks, and the ideologies that have grown the culture are also responsible for propagating degeneracy.
Taking a deeper look at society’s troubles will require a layman’s understanding of the ideologies that many subscribe to:
Tribalism – An institution where in each member of the tribe has a job, function, or role to the overall success of the tribe. This can take many different forms depending on the values of the tribe itself one stark example would be a tribe that cares for the elderly or not. It is a value of a specific tribe to do so or not.
Communism – Is a system in which every citizen of a nation, state, government, or locality is required to contribute their efforts to the success of the whole system. In return each member and contributor is rewarded their equitable pay which is fed back into the system once again when they make purchases.
Capitalism – Is a system in which every participant has (should have) the opportunity to contribute their efforts to the success of the system. In return the citizen is rewarded with equity proportional to their contributed effort.
As we look around at modern society and its follies we must understand that everything came to be, because of where it has come from. Which of course is true and redundant to say, but sometimes we forget the essential details or knowledge that brought it all about. An example of this is the lost technology of the arch, the Romans knew how to build one, but the British did not. What’s worse than society forgetting culturally important or relevant information is perhaps the nonexistent exposure to this knowledge. This is one reason why the senses of people are being shocked during their exploration of the culture that surrounds them. An example of this is being exposed to social groups on the internet. You may want to participate, but you also may ask “what’s wrong with these people?”
Even the briefest look at the trends published to social media, the news, or even within your communities will no doubt show some level of social or economic degeneracy: promiscuity in the youth, graffiti, mass littering, increased homelessness, and any number of other indicators of cultural status. Degeneracy of course happens to everything over time, but perhaps you may be one of few individuals that analyzes these things and asks “how did it even get to this point?” Taking a contextual look at history and modern life will lead us to a better understanding.
Frighteningly, this degeneracy is happening not out of choice, but out of necessity. This necessity is driven by the intersection of competing ideologies for which no one has built a defense against yet. The two competing ideologies are specifically capitalism and communism. Since Capitalism is the base economic system of America and Communism (at least Marxist teachings) a more recent introduction into the free market. We are witnessing a transformation across all social and political spectrums due to this intersection.
For some time now the students and previous generation of American’s has been subjected to a Marxist style of teaching which uses the application of “Critical Theory” to push forth its agenda. Critical Theory is a way of pointing the blame at some shadowy figure on baseless claims. In essence it is someone saying “The [system] is keeping me down” with no proof and since they have no definitive proof of this claim. Their attitude, drive, and motivations center around this shadowy “system” that seems to work systematically to keep them, and them alone, down.
Critical Theory’s application was a large portion of the Communist Revolution, and in this instance the system was the capitalists/industrialists with their will and policies were actively suppressing the proletariat (the worker). The only way to throw off the shackles of oppression was to remove the overlords permanently and by force. Here the rhetoric that was so often thrown around is that one could be free and elevated when everyone sacrificed personal autonomy for the development of the Communist system. Showing that the application of critical theory was pointed at industrialists saying “these are the men that keep you down” but the claims for such subjugation were baseless and formless. They could not be linked to anyone one individual, but it must be abstractly the system as a whole. Now is capitalism is not a perfect system it has its own issues; one of which is reducing the importance of culture within the system to a level in which it can be bought and sold.
This is not an argument for or against a capitalistic or communist society. Though, in one them extra bread is thrown away and in the other extra bread is non-existent. Rather we are seeking some tangible understanding why things are the way they are. Knowing that the circumstances of modern life are driven by the masses ideological understanding, and to better understand what we are witnessing we must recognize the historical influence of capitalism and of Marxist teachings. Neither system is perfect, but both are contributing to societies problems in one way or another. The point is to understand the intersection free market and critical theory and how it is driving societal issues we see today.
As each system is flawed a commonality must be found in order to tread new ground. The common aspect of both systems is that it requires human cooperation showing that at some level all humans are driven towards aspects of collectivism, whether represented in communism or free trade. Across the spectrum of societies we seem to know that working with others is a better way to do things than working around or in lieu of others. We may not agree on how the best policy looks and would work, but we agree that it’s better to have friends than enemies. When it comes to the application of collectivistic policies the path diverges quickly.
In each of these systems we must recognize that these are not perfectly closed systems meaning each is not a perfect reflection of itself. Communism would prefer a system where equity is paid out and back into the system, and at a glance Tribalism is a close approximation of this, but with an economic system built upon tribal values and not monetary values. A true Capitalistic society would trend toward disorder in the name of the free market. In each of these economic systems wealth, knowledge, experience, goods and services are traded to produce its continuation. However because none of these are closed systems a sort of leak can occur inevitably causing the breakdown of the system or its complete destruction.
Exploring these leaks we can walk through a brief thought experiment which looks at three separate tribes. Each has a variation on their values. Tribe A is open to trade, tribe B is open to trade, and tribe C is not. Individually these tribes may be able to operate under their own autonomy and self-sufficiency, if they were a closed system and no other tribes existed. Though because they are not in isolation let’s assume Tribes A and B regularly trade goods, services, ideas, and perhaps technologies. Allowing each tribe a way to increase the equity of their overall economy, and all they have to do is trade. Tribe C has an overarching policy to not trade with anyone else, as a result their economy becomes stagnate the crops frost over and a famine sets in causing disaster and death.
Now could all three tribes die off at the same time due to famine and poor economy? Yes of course, the point is that we take a small scale example and apply it to the modern world. Because Tribe A and B both were able to increase their equitable shares of goods and services, they ultimately would be able to reinvest those back into the development of further autonomy or new goods and services, which could again be traded. Tribe C had nothing to reinvest into it and it hungered and died.
Today many communities, Tribes, have adopted a “no trading allowed” policy. This is seen across all spectrums of online Tribal communities regardless of political, social, or economic views. A brief glance at any sub-Reddit, Tumblr page, Facebook group, or Twitter community will elicit a list of rules and responsibilities that the community members have to their specific Tribe. Underlying each of these rules is “no dissent allowed” which is somewhat understandable. If one chooses to participate in these Tribes they would prefer to see content that specifically aligns to their views, that of course makes sense. In each of these Tribes too violations of rules often result in shadow banning, banishment, or sometimes in extreme instances doxxing (the removal of internet anonymity). Now the best policy for each Tribe individually is not to immediately tear down their walls letting loose a flood of dissenters or opening the doors for opposition to freely express their dogma. No, that will not work either. However, if trade between these Tribes is not encouraged they will all continue to suffer from starvation of new or challenging ideas.
As each Tribal community adheres to their dogma, stances, and viewpoints, they fail to meet their obligations to the larger community, failing because their goal is generally to spread and influence others to think like them. Meaning they want to trade their ideas and viewpoints with the expressed purpose of increasing the equity of their own communities. Because if each of these communities is “correct” in their expressed beliefs. It should be able to stand in the sunlight made stronger by its exposure. This is the efficacy of the free market realized trading between groups is preferred because both can benefit from the trade.
What happens, partially influenced by the way a computer works, is the development of a feedback loop of epic proportion. The computer takes your ‘likes’ and feeds you back similar items for you to ‘like’ once again. It is relativistic, meaning it will show you things similar, not opposing, viewpoints. The computer being unable to “challenge” your viewpoint combined with each Tribe refusing to concede ground to dissenters or opposition. Means we have a disastrous inequitable amount of trade occurring regardless of which side of the spectrum one group aligns on.
This inability to trade ideology is in direct conflict with the systemic use of capitalism which bore it. Rather what we see instead is the propagation of dogma and ideology at the expense of critical thinking. It is occurring on every side of the political, social, or economic spectrum. Each side, refusing to concede ground on the basis of being “right” are not only doing a disservice to their communities, they are also reducing the overall equity in the national, global, or local communities they draw their ideological “wealth” from.
The same situation is applicable to a modern Communist state, which is again not a closed system; the people working in the system may at their own risk choose to leave. At that point they then take with them a portion of the overall equity draining the system. Slowly, this leak, along with many others may cause the system to collapse. The incentive for continuation of an equitable system is destroyed by the nature that bore it. A system that is more equitable to more people is far preferred than a system that reduces the equity of each individual to that of everyone else.
As this applies to social degeneracy we are living in a society that has acquired some of the best, but also some of the worst traits of each system previously described. The use of critical theory in the social sphere has created a market for an industry that previously never existed, identity politics, and a free market commodity being traded in excess. Capitalism’s free market has allowed this industry to become monetized, misappropriated, and misused. The tenants of capitalism and communism in conjunction are forcing people to revert to a form of tribalism in which they seek to cut off contact from anyone outside the tribe. This may not be the proposed end game of either. Society it is propagating this victimhood culture for a couple different reasons. The free market has allowed anyone with a computer and a cause to become a warrior for said cause. Critical theory has ensured that everyone has a cause to fight for; whether it is monetarily or socially wise use of time is a question that has yet to be answered.
Each of these “causes” worth fighting for is all rooted in one commonality, one’s identity. Since identity based values are the driving force of tribalism. Our identity becomes the basis for any choice we make. Your identity in this type of economy is ultimately what should drive your decisions economically, socially, politically or otherwise, and to make the wrong choice is a costly mistake. Identity, which is composed of race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or socio-economic status, should ultimately drive all your decisions. More specifically it should be driven by which part of your identity is the most victimized portion, because that is the most valuable part in a hybridized system of capitalism and communism. Critical theory ensures you have people willing to fight the unknown forces on your behalf, the free market ensures you can make a dollar by being the “face of the movement”.
This type of “economy” faces an overwhelming amount of problems never realized before. Anyone that has ever existed has at one point been mistreated by someone else who has caused the mistreated party to be offended. This idea of being offended has taken off like a rocket to new heights. Wherein each week people compete to become the most victimized person, the victimizer is of course the nameless system that keeps them oppressed; a direct application of critical theory. Whoever is the most oppressed, offended or victimized makes them front and center stage for people that should be “fought” for. People clamor to signal their intent at defending the rights of the victims, making their efforts a currency for the victims. This market, like all others has a supply and demand; the demand in this instance is for the labor hours of the masses (and their money) and the supply is an unending source of victimhood.
This hybridized system is cannibalistic though. As each person has the opportunity to stake their victimhood claim and rally the troops behind it. The justification for each claim is forcing people into box. It is forcing them to revert to a form of tribalism that being an economy based upon some abstract value rather than the basis of autonomy or self-sufficiency. It is causing stagnation in culture, even trending toward decline in culture. Some people, refusing to take a side, are being forced automatically into their own tribe themselves in order to protect the culture and identity they were born from. This result is the complete opposite of the intended result of either a communist or capitalist system. It is a betrayal of the ideals of both sides; the adherence to dogma on either ideological side is causing its very destruction. The true capitalist system would propagate the best ideas/products to the top, and a true communist system would ensure that everyone was advocated for equally. This is the opposite of what we are observing in modern context. The victims of the “system” are able to create a campaign and rally the troops, profiting from the efforts of many others, all pursued in the name of equality and justice; forgoing any sense of improvement or progress. Meaning no trade has occurred and no equity has increased. It has all been forsaken in the pursuit of destroying some unidentifiable system that oppresses anyone and everyone in some way.
The crux of this article is that we are living in a system that implores people to profit. At the same time we are coercing people to profit specifically from their misery. This is a self-defeating cycle; we must ask the question, how does one leave this system if they are profiting from it? The answer is they don’t. They will continue to seek profit from circumstance and champion their cause, demeaning anyone that doesn’t see it their way. In effect, they complete the cycle because at the end they become the systemic oppression they worked so vehemently to uproot and destroy. By and large the issue is lack of awareness that this system propagates itself, but as it does not increase the equity of any parties involved only taking from established sources of value. It slowly and surely eats itself in a cannibalistic display. The death throws for which we are watching on social media, the news and in our communities.
If we take a step back and ask ourselves what happened to the neighborhood? We need to look no further than the system that reminds us consistently of our differences and tragedies. Being a victim of circumstance means that no one can understand your pain, and for your unique experience you should be paid for it. This singular instance of self-propriety multiplied by the number of people looking to capitalize on it means that victimhood is a hot commodity.
Watching this unfold can be an exhausting use of time, and it unfortunately permeates our everyday lives from what we watch to what we buy. The number of products championing a social cause or personal philosophy is staggering. The consumer is told that the producer will solve whatever problem afflicts their product, but a betrayal of this ideal occurs when the profiting can continue long after the problem has been “solved”.
We know though, that society will always have problems, and will cyclically enter states of degeneracy for multiple different reasons. One which we are observing today is the hybridization of ideals from two separate competing systems. Both in tandem are creating a monstrous market that allows people to profit from their own, or other’s suffering in the perpetuation of the victimhood cycle. It reminds us that we cannot leave an abusive system so long as we are taking part in it. The only solution to this problem is simply not to play that type of game.
We live in a world that has been built largely upon Capitalism and Communism. Both systems built upon a collectivistic intent, often altruistic in nature. The evidence for or against any proposed system should be apparent in the historic examples we can draw wisdom from. As has been explored, it is more equitable than not for one group to trade with another. Along with that a true closed system is non-existent. Each system can leak its equity and will cause the system to collapse regardless. You cannot plant a tree upon a tree and expect both of them to thrive. The use of both these economic systems combined with identity politics has created a situation where identity, that which is in your control and that outside of your control, should rule every decision you make socially, economically, politically.
The overall obligation of this article is synthesize history and modern society in a way that can be understood by people on the sidelines asking, “What the hell is going?” which is a question that I often have. This rampant use of critical theory has caused people to point fingers all over the place. Sometimes at mere ghosts of apparitions, yes ghosts of ghosts, causing them to ignore any logic or basis for their claims. Meaning shots are being fired in every direction possible and it is difficult to contextualize this in modern life while you are in the throes of it. Observing, but with the inability to put words to it. It is important that we recognize the ideological institutions that have created the culture we are a part of. Presiding over that that is the ability to separate ideology, dogma, and orthodoxy from everyday life. If we didn’t have the daily reminder of some oppressive force in our lives, would it even exist? Today there are far too many celebrities, politicians, products, that exist only to point the finger at some unknown shadowy force, saying “I will fight for you”, but if that fight doesn’t end then when do you stop paying for their services?
Thanks for reading.