it’s time to build
Every Western institution was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic, despite many prior warnings. This monumental failure of institutional effectiveness will reverberate for the rest of the decade, but it’s not too early to ask why, and what we need to do about it.
Many of us would like to pin the cause on one political party or another, on one government or another. But the harsh reality is that it all failed — no Western country, or state, or city was prepared
— Marc Andreessen, “It’s Time to Build”, a16z Blog
In the 21st century, the main question in American social life is not “how do we make that happen?” but “how do we get management to take our side?” This is a learned response, and a culture which has internalized it will not be a culture that “builds.”
The real question is whether we will be able to rebuild a building culture. I believe it is possible; Silicon Valley has shown that building sub-cultures can persist even in the face of general malaise. I am afraid this is a long term project. It may involve wrenching cultural authority out of the hands of existing arbiters and pulling it towards places like Silicon Valley, where men and women have not forgotten how to get things done. This may require building up the sort of cultural, media, and political infrastructure that exists along the Acela Corridor, just divorced from the patronage networks that currently keep things anchored in Washington and New York.
— Tanner Greer, “On cultures that build”, The Scholar’s Stage
reality check / black pill
I would say that the chances of the US becoming “a culture that builds” is about the same as the present day municipality of Venice becoming a powerful trade and naval empire in the Adriatic and Bosphorus. The knowledge is gone. The cultural capital is gone; the society that produced those kinds of productive people hasn’t existed in decades. The physical ability to do this is gone; thanks to the globalization our genius economists told us was inevitable, the US lacks the factories, mines and shipyards required to build things. The human material who would actually do the building is gone: dimwit MBAs destroyed the skilled working classes, atomized their communities, continue to demonize and demoralize them and utterly destroyed the kind of basic low level education and social cohesion required to have a productive workforce.
Our technocrats (aka you lot and the morons you went to college with) themselves are typically not capable of working with matter any longer, preferring more profitable and more fashionable masturbatory financialized nonsense that doesn’t pollute the environment. Instead of building Project Pluto, modern american technocrat and managerial types prefer making dopamine rat mazes such as Facebook, imbecile glass bead games like “quantum information theory” or abstract quasi-religious bullshit such as… woke collitch culture and its sinister city-burning, cancel-culture Jacobin offspring.
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The more serious issue is the MBA types who think it’s just fine to ship middle class jobs to the third world, or import new helot worker classes to destroy the bargaining power of local labor because “muh free markets.” These people are sharks, they’re wreckers, and it is they who have weaponized the “woke culture” of the left to prevent the actual left (as opposed to numskulls who think overturning a statue helps anything) from raising their taxes.
None of them are interested in investing money in productive directions; they’re all about pyramid schemes and looting the remaining human and physical capital. These fuckers are burning the proverbial furniture to warm themselves. They’ll have to go, and they won’t go easy because they have all the loot and no loyalties beyond their bank accounts. That includes almost everyone in Andreessen’s shitty industry (reminder: “VC” means “toilet” in Russian): almost none of them are interested in investing in things involving innovation or matter. They’d rather invest in garbage which skirts hotel and taxi laws or become sneaker loan sharks, making everyone else more miserable in the process by socializing the costs.
I realized it was too late about 7-8 years ago, and organized my life around my exit strategy. The country is too far down kakistocracy, and the remaining decent people are too deluded about the root causes and their potential remedies to ever change things. If you’re still in the US, you live in an evil empire of chaos and destruction, and the best of you are probably serving the worst ends of it.
— Scott Locklin, “On cultures that build”, Locklin on Science