The Economics And Politics Of Race Under Empire And Urbanization

Claude Fischer is a sociologist at UC Berkeley who published a piece entitled “Angry Old White Men” in which he categorizes the Tea Party movement as a rural movement of old white men.

Mark Thoma, a left-leaning economist picked up the article and posted it on his blog The Economist’s View, where he adds: “Rural America senses that he represents a major shift in the political landscape, one that will no longer put the white male farmer at the center of the American political landscape.”   As if it’s a rural cause rather than a white cause.

To which others add:

“What we’ve got here is a real warning sign that something in our society just isn’t working.  It’s not just hand-wringing liberals and right-wing Christians anymore; when your educated upper-middle classes start lashing out, you know the regime’s days are numbered.”


“The hate directed at “white men” by so many members of leftist establishment(s) borders on blood lust. At their deep core is a burning anger that they focus on the “white man” taking delight in belittling, marginalizing, and taunting that demographic. Perhaps the “delicious irony” is that many of these folks proudly flaunt their fake “tolerance” and calls for “peace” while obviously unable to control their desire to stoke division and strife.”

and this:

“Did these [old white guys, especially affluent, Protestant ones] give ground or was it an enlightened choice? … My guess is the shift had more to do with U.S. government based public education, by mostly female primary school teachers, which gave children a sense of respect for all.  It still took many generations.

The last of which is actually the structural answer: our schools teach democratic secular humanism in an effort to replace our traditions and cultures with a state religion.  We do not have a separation of church and state.  We have a state religion and we send most of our children to the theocracy for education.

White Protestants lost political power, status and their culture due to “enlightened choice”.  There was no material reason why they HAD to lose power.  They chose to be ‘Christian’, which was the sentiment needed to unify a fragmented Europe.   They could just as easily have chosen to keep slavery, to keep control of government, to forbid immigrants political power, to maintain the requirement of protestantism.  In other words, they could have done what most civilizations have done.  What most civilizations still do. In fact, the entire purpose of nationalism was to give racial groups their own sovereignty after centuries of tribal distribution across monarchic Europe.

It Wasn’t Political Power, It Was Economic Power

Starting with the industrial revolution, the dominance of the HOUSEHOLD lost importance, and therefore the dominance of the MALE waned.  The decline has been not just among white men, but among men in particular.  Women’s entry into the workplace has not hurt high performing men, but since women have taken all the lower risk clerical functions in society, and seem to largely be better suited for it, this has moved men toward the edges – into the riskier professions.

They Gave Up Power Voluntarily

These voluntary abdicators of male political power were Christians. They tried the experiment.   It was a heady debate.  We have just wrapped class, race and cultural preference in a deep cloak of secular language instead of religious language.  But the underlying sentiments and logic are essentially the same.  We have a religion of democratic, secular humanism rather than paternal Christianity.  The difference is that the political myth of the ‘white man’s burden’ of Anglo exceptionalism in order to morally justify the empire, has become the myth of democratic secular humanism in order to justify the empire.

The Experiment Failed

What has happened is that these previously tolerant people believe that the experiment failed.  That their conservative sentiments (the belief that humans have immutable behaviors), have returned to precedence over their liberal sentiments (people can aspire to utopian behavior in the right environment) have changed.  White men in particular tolerated man-hating feminism because they felt it was somewhat justified, but that society would ‘settle back’ because people have ‘natural tendencies’.   White men felt that because of slavery and WW2, that they were wrong in their fantasy of exceptionalism – that they had betrayed their Christian sentiments, and so they tolerated criticism in the hope that society would settle down.  White men today no longer believe those egalitarian myths.  When you destroy a mythos you don’t destroy just the ‘bad parts’.  You destroy the entire system of myths. They no longer believe in their guilt.  They now feel equally wronged.

The Levant

Nassim Taleb in his book The Black Swan, describes how he and his fellow members of the Levant thought that they had solved the problem of heterogeneity, and that they were more civilized than the rest of the world.  But it was a myth.  That small civilization is now dead and gone, and gone within his lifetime.  People continue to murder each other in droves around the world.  And while capitalism decreases costs and increases quality of life, and since because of the prosperity, it decreases the incentive to devolve into violence, it is not a sufficient tool for altering the human perception of status, nor of the realities of cooperating in groups: tribes remain fixed in their cooperative networks even under capitalism. It’s just FRICTION that is less important because there is less scarcity of opportunity.

What Happens Next

The question becomes, a) whether white men will cease tolerating their denigration and become activists, – or b) whether they will do what men have in all other collapsed cultures, which is abandon the Fraternal Order, and become like Byzantines, Mediterraneans, or Africans, and simply pursue non-political localized self interest which will over time, simply erode the legitimacy of the state.  There is another option c) which is violence. But that is always a minority position because it is so costly.  And if history is a guide we will get all three of these factors.

Western Protestant Culture Is An Anomaly

The sentiments of white male culture are an anomaly.  It is the product of the fraternal order of city-defending soldiers who treat the ‘market’ (which they don’t differentiate from ‘society’) as if they were shareholders.  That sentiment is extremely rare.  If that sentiment ceases, we will not get the civilization that utopians aspire to. We have a lot of historically similar situations.  We might get something random. But history tells us what we will get will not likely be the ‘free society’ that we aspired to.

Urbanization Affects Social Institutions By Increasing Anonymity And Decreasing Economic Conformity

We are urbanizing, world wide.  And we must.  There are too many of us to return to farming.  We no longer live where we are self sustaining yet produce excess in order to participate in the market for the purpose of getting money with which to buy what we cannot produce.  Nearly all of us must participate in the market for our entire livelihood, trading our skills in manipulating someone else’s tools and materials for money so that we can buy ALL of our needs in the market.  We live in a world of perceived risk, surrounded by plenty.

But urbanization under market-centricity poses difficult problems.  The problem of ‘social order’ (conformity to law or convention) occurs when any civilization sufficiently urbanizes.  The human social tools of ostracization (economic exclusion) and fraternalism (economic inclusion) do not operate in dense populations where anonymity is common and therefore social ostracization alone cannot block people from opportunities.   There is no evidence that these social tools operate in the dense urban environment.  There is no evidence that Law or Religion can cause them to operate either.

The Shift To A Racial Minority

This is the last generation where white men will feel guilty about their position.  They feel disempowered.  They are soon to be a minority.  They dislike being ridiculed and having their status trampled upon, and are rapidly considering it RACISM against them. (Which they believe will give them the right in turn, to be racist).

The question is what will they do.  And if history is any indicator, most of them will do nothing but acquiesce.  But like any racial group they will likely form a disenfranchised but radical minority That is activist.  This is what is occurring today.  If the minority gains traction it gains followers from those who previously acquiesced – people follow a winning team.  White men are also developing the sentiment of racial persecution, and with it, the egalitarian christian sentiments, and their historical guilt are waning.

When a people are oppressed they revert to self serving behavior and abandon behaviors of social sacrifice.

The Forgone Opportunity Economy

Society is not paid for by taxes.  We pay for bureaucrats and soldiers with taxes.  Society, or social order, is paid for by refraining from seizing opportunities.  We create property by not stealing.  We create comfort and safety with manners.  We create prosperity and frictionless trade by non-corruption and ethical behavior.  We prevent ourselves from externalizing high costs to others, and often to ourselves by moral behavior.  We take on the burden of truth-telling.  We define the granularity of property, the rules of the market.  Each of us does ten thousand things a day to pay the tax for social order.  And that tax system of opportunity costs is what we call ‘culture’.  It is the highest cost of human capital a group can invest in.

Groups with different systems compete.  They get angry with one another because they ‘sense’ theft or fraud, not of money, but of the sacrifices that they made for their group’s benefit.  They get angry when their sacrifices (forgone opportunities) are wasted when another race or social class demeans them.  In this way, human groups conduct forgone-opportunity-funded warfare, but they largely do it peacefully.

This is the racial and cultural economy.  Money, Status, Forgone Opportunity, Access to Opportunity, and Access To Mates.   Money is the least of them.  Political power is simply the means by which to control the economy.  Not just the money economy, but the status, opportunity, and mating economy.

Institutions (self-perpetuating social habits) are the highest cost development for any civilization.  The people in the civilization know the costs.  They know the opportunities that they spent on building that cost.  They know the taxes that they paid.  They know what property is theirs that they earned.  And egalitarianism and charity are happily given as long as they are FRACTIONAL and do not allow one group to steal its institutional costs from another.

People are not having a simple emotional reaction.  They see usurpation of political power as THEFT.  They are ACTING like they see it as theft.

The Implications

For everyone else who is not a white male, it becomes the question how a society can be managed, or how it will operate without those sentiments of fraternalism.  We never get what we think we will.   The French and Russian revolutions were horrific both in process and outcome.  But most if not all civilizations simply decay once they urbanize, and their expansionist class of males surrenders to the sense of impotence, or the luxury of hedonism, by exporting the effort needed to maintain the social order to the bureaucracy.

The general assumption is that the democratic process will solve this problem of social integration and power distribution.  But there is no evidence in history that such a thing occurs but rarely, and almost exclusively in England.  Politics is a market, and people will circumvent the market when it no longer serves them.

No Longer A Nation But An Empire

The USA, thanks to Teddy Roosevelt and his ilk, is an empire in imitation the European model.   Empires consist of factions.  Factions are geographic (trade routes), racial (genetic), cultural (normative), and religious (legal).  But an empire over whom half the population feels oppressed and stolen from is simply fragile.

We are no longer a country contentiously dealing with a problem of integration caused by our need for population to complete the westward expansion of the continent.  Instead we are an empire over some number of smaller nations yearning to be free, and a disenfranchised geographic ex-majority that appears to be developing a new sentiment (acquiescence to failure), a political movement (tea party), and a radical movement (militias).  At least, that is where this appears to be going, if history is any indicator.

And men who no longer see the existing order as beneficial to them may not work to overthrow it, but they will not work to maintain it.  And that may be worse.

The Difference Between Methods

The difference between conservatives and progressives lies in the different assumptions we have of human nature.  Progressives are utopians that believe we are free to build whatever world we choose to – they err on the side of people ‘doing good’ which is why progressivism is a movement of the industrial period.  Conservatives err on the side of people ‘pursuing self interest’ which is why conservatism is an ancient sentiment, although conservatism as a political movement is a reaction to the English and French revolutions and the rise of socialism and communism.  It is a contemporary reaction to progressivism.  And like all conservative movements it is a reaction to the perception of theft of one’s assets by political means (even if those assets were unjustly acquired as in mercantilism or predatory banking or slavery).

Conservatives believe that human beings have innate sensibilities, biases and preferences that are immutable.  And because they are immutable we should develop institutions that take these immutable differences into account.  We should expect people to act with racial preferences because people almost always do act with racial preferences.  They do so because intra-racial status is more beneficial for the majority than is extra-racial status.  And status controls access to mates.  Except at the extremes where status can be increased by breaking racial barriers, status determines access to mates, determines access to opportunities, access to networks, in general, access to a better life.

The Economics Of Race And The Impact On Politics

So the question is, what will happen in a world where we have a white minority whose traditions create the opportunity for democracy and rotation of the elites, and most people have racial preferences, where there is no method of organization urban conformity, but we have a political system that allows democratic rotation of elites?   In general, at least in history, people tend to vote in what is called “Bonapartism” or a totalitarian who can forcibly resolve differences.  Bonapartism is democratic totalitarianism.

Our systemic answer to urbanization was credit.  Credit is more useful than laws because with record keeping it produces both positive and negative incentives.  We are likely going to continue to build the credit society instead of the religious and legal societies.  In fact, law is so technical it is largely immaterial, and most people are both isolated from it and ignorant of it.  We actually operate by credit and exchange instead of legal or religious conformity.  We live in the credit society.

But while credit solves the problem of anonymity and ostracization, it does not solve the problem of tribal and cultural sovereignty, which is a code-phrase for the system of status signals among people with racial and cultural similarities.

In a world of economic plenty and cheap debt and fiat money there is an inflationary impact upon status perceptions that like a tide floats all boats and reduces class and race friction.

But in a world of unemployment, which may be structural, permanent, and wherein opportunities are more scarce, and therefore racial status more advantageous, and in a society where there is a very large and disenfranchised minority that is government by an activist political system that they see as tyrannical and against their interest, it seems unlikely that people will support that government, that way of life, or even the assumption that the government and way of life are ‘goods’.

Race matters.  Race matters because ENOUGH people act with racial preferences, and MORE of them act with racial preferences under economic duress, because acting within racial preferences is economically rewarding for the majority of its members.

It’s just simple economics.

About Curt Doolittle

I am a philosopher of Natural Law, in the Western Aristocratic tradition, and I work for the Propertarian Institute.
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3 Responses to The Economics And Politics Of Race Under Empire And Urbanization

  1. jewamongyou says:

    Interesting post and congratulations for being the first non-jewamongyou to publish an original post!

  2. Thank you. Guest-posting is a good for everyone. And the quality of your writing on such a taboo subject is both insightful and digestable.

    Writing about framing and positioning as political deception is one thing (which you do well.) Writing about cognitive biases and errors is another. Writing about the underlying economics of those biases and framings as a way of explaining them as self-oriented reactions the theft and fraud is something else entirely, and is a complex problem in itself. But it adds dimension to your attempts at ‘correcting’ contemporary rhetoric.

    I hope I can do your work here justice.

    Thanks again

  3. curtd59 says:

    (I posted before editing, can you delete the previous comment and then edit this line out of this one? thanks.)

    Thank you. Guest-posting is a good for everyone. And the quality of your writing on such a taboo subject is appreciated because it’s both insightful and digestable.

    Writing about framing and positioning as political deception is one thing (which you do well.) Writing about cognitive biases and errors is another. Writing about the underlying economics of those biases and framings as a way of explaining them as self-oriented externalizations of costs, theft and fraud is something else entirely. It is a complex problem to communicate and is difficult to digest. But for those who can reach, I it adds dimension to your attempts at ‘correcting’ contemporary rhetoric.

    I hope I can do your work here justice.

    Thanks again

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