Friday Ephemera
Those Critical Faculties

When Your Opinions Are Social Jewellery

The TRIGGERnometry duo interview Rob Henderson, coiner of the term luxury beliefs:

Luxury beliefs I define as ideas and opinions that confer status on the upper class, while often inflicting costs on the lower classes… The way that people used to demonstrate their social class was through material goods, through expensive items… Today, it’s not necessarily the case… [Affluent] students will often downplay their wealth or even lie about how rich their parents are… [Now,] it’s luxury beliefs. It’s the unusual, novel viewpoints that they’re expressing to distinguish themselves. They crave distinction, that’s the key goal here…

An easy way to show that you’re not a member of the riff-raff, the masses, is to hold the opposite opinion, or a strange opinion that maybe doesn’t make sense, because it shows you’re not one of them. It’s not just the opinion itself, but the way that you express it. If you express it using vocabulary that no-one has ever heard of, for example… You often are not paying the price for your luxury beliefs, but even if you do, it’s still not nearly the same as the cost inflicted on the lower classes if they were to adopt those luxury beliefs too. […]

I talked to a friend of mine who was telling me, “When I set my Tinder radius to one mile, just around the university, and I see the bios of the women, a lot of their profiles say things like ‘poly’ or ‘keeping it casual’ – basically, they’re not interested in anything too serious.” He says something like half of them have something like that in their bio. And then he said, “But when I expand the radius on my Tinder to five miles, to include the rest of the city and the more run-down areas beyond the university bubble, half the women are single moms.” And basically, the luxury beliefs of the former group, the educated group, trickled down and ended up having this outsize effect on the people who are less fortunate, who don’t have the [social and] economic capital of the people who can afford that belief.

Several examples are given, along with their likely effects if enacted by the cash-strapped and credulous. One or two of them have of course been touched on here before. Indeed, we have a tag for such things, via which you can find one of Mr Henderson’s early articles on the subject.

Mr Henderson’s Substack can be found here.

Also, open thread.

Comments

David

Regarding the unspanked brats mentioned on Friday, a not-entirely-shocking twist:

Just Stop Oil damaged Constable’s masterpiece The Hay Wain in their latest stunt… One of the eco-vandals arrested at the National Gallery is a hypocrite yachtswoman who has racked up tens of thousands of air miles travelling the globe while lecturing on climate change. Brighton students Hannah Hunt, 23, and Eben Lazarus, 22, were held after sticking large sheets of paper over the 200-year-old painting’s Suffolk landscape, replacing it with a scene of scorched trees, polluted skies, and discarded household waste - and then gluing their hands to the frame. Hunt and Lazarus lectured the public on fossil fuels being a “death project” and warning of the “total collapse of society” yesterday, but Miss Hunt previously admitted she “impulse flew to the Canaries to escape chilly British weather.”

As one does, of course.

David

Also, Jim Geraghty on journalism as therapy:

It might be time to ask if a lot of modern journalism is meant to serve as a form of group therapy for liberals, too. Think about how much print, television, and web journalism features the subtext, “You are right, and your uncle who votes for Republicans is wrong. In fact, he’s racist. And sexist. And homophobic and transphobic. And selfish. And doesn’t care about the Earth. You are the good and righteous one, and you were right to scream at him and storm away from the Thanksgiving table.”

It’s not entirely implausible.

Malc

One or two of them have of course been touched on here before.

That's a really good post. Consider your tip jar hit. :-)

David

Consider your tip jar hit.

Bless you, sir. May you find it possible to postpone the hoovering much longer than previously thought.

Malc

LOL.

Can you point me to more posts on this Laurie Penny person?

David

Can you point me to more posts on this Laurie Penny person?

Ms Penny and her strange mental contortions have cropped up here many times. I tend to think of her as a kind of shorthand for a very common type of woke dysfunction. She seems to have most of the tics and affectations.

David

As noted before, more than once, Laurie’s worldview, so proudly announced, seems designed to degrade, and possibly ruin, the lives of anyone sufficiently neurotic and pretentious to ape it. Especially those whose background doesn’t include spells at Oxford and Harvard, and flitting around the world, from London to Los Angeles, while tweeting about how oppressed they are.

Malc

Thank you!

Tom

Luxury beliefs I define as ideas and opinions that confer status on the upper class, while often inflicting costs on the lower classes…

Not to take anything away from Mr. Henderson but isn't this basically one of the points of Charles Murray's Coming Apart? There was a good interview with Murray done by Peter Robinson on the Uncommon Knowledge podcast and I distinctly remember Murray discussing how the patricians of Belmont recommended behaviours (divorce/children out of wedlock) to the plebs of Fishtown that they would never, or rarely undertake themselves.

Jim Whyte

See you're new here, Malc. Avoid the sausage rolls.

Fred the Fourth

And whatever you do, don't spill the italics.

Fred the Fourth

Maybe David should have a FAQ

David

Lest there be doubt.

pst314

Here is a direct link to a transcript of Rob Henderson's interview. (Found via Assistant Village Idiot.)

pst314

Lest there be doubt.

That's right, Malc. [ Takes off shirt. Displays scars. ]

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Say, you remember the story of the 10 year old who allegedly was pregnant? I can see why the Indiana doctor made a natural mistake, Brazil and Ohio are often confused with each other.

ccscientist

Luxury beliefs: a classic is the demand to just shut down fossil fuels, by those who don't care how much gas costs. Or proclaiming that trans XY should be allowed in school bathrooms by people without kids in school.

David

Or well-heeled progressives who live in exclusive, very comfortable neighbourhoods demanding that people who live in places less fragrant and genteel should have their neighbourhoods degraded irretrievably. And never complain about it.

Because obviously, they, the little people, don’t count.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Speaking of odd beliefs and mental contortions, weather, especially mild heat, is transphobic.

As I am about to go outside in some outrageously colourful short shorts, and an even brighter crop-top, showing my hairy midriff, I prepare for the unwanted attention this may bring. I think about how it is not just trans and queer bodies that edits themselves outside but how, also, with the heat there are other people that may be having these fears and new anxieties.

Honestly, I can't imagine why other than raging transphobia this guy might get looks.

WTP

Just Stop Oil damaged Constable’s masterpiece The Hay Wain in their latest stunt…

Notice how these creatures do not attach themselves to any of that post-modern crap. But then people would just think they're part of the crap itself, I suppose. How would one know? Never mind...

Daniel Ream

It’s not entirely implausible.

I HATE YOU DAAAAAD/PAY ATTENTIO TO MEEEEE pretty much sums it up.

[ Takes off shirt. Displays scars. ]

[ checks watch ] What, St. Crispin's already?


luxury beliefs

Women are herd animals, they follow the highest status woman in the herd while trying to undercut her and take her place. Very attractive women will adopt fashion that makes them less attractive - like short hair, facial piercings, etc. - because they know men have a threshold: below a certain point on the 10-point scale, a woman is invisible to men. The very attractive women can afford to lose a point or two on that scale and still stay above that line. Most average women can't. By adopting these unflattering habits they they know lesser women will follow, they eliminate competition.

"Luxury beliefs" is the same thing. See also Sailer's Law of Female Journalism.

pst314

Palate cleanser.

Squires

...unspanked brats...

Speaking of...

Also, as I said last thread: Insanity is the ultimate positional good.

ccscientist

Luxury beliefs: my favorite is pols with body guards or rich people who live in gated communities telling people they should not defend themselves from criminals. Those poor oppressed criminals.

David

For those who missed it, on wokeness as a positional good, a self-ratcheting phenomenon:

And so the goal posts have to move, and keep moving, leading to ever greater contrivance and ever more absurd definitions of oppression. There’s an in-built neediness that leads to escalation and all manner of bizarre phenomena. From “social justice” activists fabricating ‘hate’ crimes for lack of any real ones, to agonised Guardian articles about the menace posed by heteronormative cupcakes and spellcheck software, and about how men discussing barbecues is not only “oppressively penetrating,” but about as “oppressively penetrating” as a thing can be.

Links a-plenty in the original.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

An idea so brilliant only a Californian could have thought of it.

Autry said they are still trying to work out many of the details such as where the boat will launch and how women would get to the ship.

Minor detail - super easy, barely an inconvenience.

WTP

my favorite is pols with body guards or rich people who live in gated communities

These people who work for these pols and such, do they not understand that if it is convenient for their masters that their masters will throw them under the bus? Sure, they'll try to defend their little protectors but if push comes to shove, out you people go. They won't care if you're an ex-Navy Seal or have some special forces experience. They will dump you like hot potato should you cause "unnecessary harm" to a BIPOC or such who threatens them. I vaguely knew one of these guys years ago. His wife was on a pool league team that I was on. He used to work security when the POTUS came to town and was considering/under consideration for joining the Secret Service. I would be very, very curious to speak with him today.

Steve E

For those who missed it, on wokeness as a positional good, a self-ratcheting phenomenon:

Related. Our New Antoinettes from Victor Davis Hanson.

h/t smalldeadanimals

ccscientist

Moving goalposts: this has happened before, usually with religious spasms. The end result of a purity spiral is a pogram, holy war, or witch trials. Today we have electronic and lawfare witch trials.

ccscientist

Of course, the ultimate purity spiral was the French Revolution. It went totally off the rails and thousands died. In the end they reverted to monarchy to counter the chaos. Yet today the Left praises that revolution. Even the French seem to miss the implications of it.

qmc

Aristocratic signals in the intellectual domain traditionally have very high barriers to entry - lifetime acquaintance with art and influential people, a French accent learned in summers at the chateau, etc. A Yale man in 1922 could be convincing in his enthusiasm for modernist poetry, somebody else might try too hard and betray his lesser pedigree, and 99% of people couldn't even try to pretend to appreciate modernist poetry. But these 2022 beliefs have few barriers to entry, apart from taking whatever is recommended by prudence and common sense and systematically and spitefully sabotaging it.

Veblen even goes so far as to say, “The chief use of servants is the evidence they afford of the master’s ability to pay.” For Veblen, butlers are status symbols, too.

Outsiders trying too hard to emulate the aristocracy is a source of comedy or pity: the declined-in-circumstances lady in furnished rooms putting on a show for her guests where she can't pick up a tea tray without ringing for her one overworked servant. But the aristocrats in country houses didn't have servants for the sake of making it hard for that poor lady to keep up appearances. The servants were for their own easy life, and they didn't give the lady any thought at all. But the fun and profit of the modern beliefs is to force them on the majority, to get the majority to adopt them against their own interests or suppress their doubts.

There's snobbery at work alright, but more than that it's spite. It's the resentment of the outsider or the misfit. The turning upside down of conventional morality isn't just a randomly-chosen arena for sophomoric novelty seeking and intellectual gymnastics, it's targeted against a majority being able to enforce its own standards.

Steve E

Of course, the ultimate purity spiral was the French Revolution.

Rousseau is at the heart of every authoritarian nightmare of the twentieth century.

Leftists are dishonest brokers. They choose the French model because all they really want is power. The most successful revolutionary model--The American Revolution--has been spurned despite its success because it recognizes the sovereignty of the individual. Such a power game is more difficult to play and win.

ccscientist

"Aristocratic signals in the intellectual domain traditionally have very high barriers to entry" the great thing about the new purity spiral is that anyone can play. You say something crazy ("destroy capitalism!" "men are women!" "BBQ is racist!" "wood paneling is oppressive!") preferably incoherently but emphatically, and you are in! A member of the elite! Or at least you think so. That insecurity leads to the need for constant pronouncements. The old elites could be comfortable on their boat or golfing in the Bahamas, and not spend much time impressing the masses. The "new money" are famous for trying too hard to impress. The current woke are "no money" trying to impress with fake french accents and fake designer purses, except online.

Fred the Fourth

"Rich people who live in gated communities telling people they should not defend themselves from criminals. "

In my area there's been an explosion of various forms of rough living, from the ordinary improvised tent encampments, to those who stash their belongings behind things in the muni parks, to entire streets occupied by broken down RVs.

Now is the time, I think, to revisit that mid-peninsula estate, to see if their fence is still festooned with art proclaiming support for such folks, and (naturally) open borders.

And then print up flyers with their address and their proclamations. Which might then be left in other nearby places. Just to see if anything happens.

WTP

In all of the hustle and bustle of politics and such, life does go on. Except, unfortunately, for this little girl's goldfish. Sad.

Uma Thurmond's Feet

isn't just a randomly-chosen arena for sophomoric novelty seeking and intellectual gymnastics, it's targeted against a majority being able to enforce its own standards.

Especially moral standards. While organized religions have a lot to answer for, their moral standards represent an existential threat to our betters who prefer flying to pedo island, abuse their help, dodge taxes, and rig the system to accumulate more.

Squires

They will dump you like hot potato should you cause "unnecessary harm" to a BIPOC or such who threatens them.

Nah, think of it as like sumptuary laws.

If a person of a Protected Class is harmed by a peasant for the sake of defending a peseant, it is an offense.

If a person of a Protected Class is harmed in order to protect one of the Ruling Class in order to defend a member of the latter, or their power and prestige, then it is no offense.

It isn't about the Protected Class. It is about the Ruling Class.

pst314

Except, unfortunately, for this little girl's goldfish.

Almost spit my drink.

ccscientist

I wonder what would happen to our border policy if you could truly convince the dems that POC immigrants are not guaranteed to vote for them...
Notice how fast they turned on Clarence Thomas and the latina repub congress winner (a dangerous right-winger now).

pst314

I wonder what would happen to our border policy if you could truly convince the dems that POC immigrants are not guaranteed to vote for them...

Victor Davis Hanson believes that Democrats are likely to reverse their support for massive immigration as they discover that immigrants are likely to vote increasingly conservatively. (He has, in earlier podcasts, related casual conversations with random Mexican immigrants in which they expressed anger at the Democratic Party.)

pst314

I'll bet that when the killers are caught we will learn that they all had criminal records that should have kept them in prison.

ccscientist

Prison serves two purposes: scare those with only a slight criminal tendency and keep the bad ones off the street. Catch and release emboldens especially the worst ones but also tells the marginal criminals "hey, no risk!".

pst314

Catch and Release emboldens especially the worst ones but also tells the marginal criminals "hey, no risk!".

Agreed. I think that is one of the left's goals. "Restorative justice" and "justice equity" are in large part merely cover stories for the true purposes.

pst314

Speaking of the left and law enforcement...
Juvenile Offender, 11, Charged with Attempted Vehicular Hijacking with a Firearm.
Eleven years old. Eleven. What are the odds that he doesn't know his daddy, and his mommy and granny are both "known to the police"?

Nikw211

Luxury beliefs I define as ideas and opinions that confer status on the upper class, while often inflicting costs on the lower classes…

Lost boy.

pst314

As the city of Atlanta spirals down the drain...

WTP

the city of Atlanta spirals down the drain...

That Exxon station is just outside The Fence. Not good but not really surprising.

pst314

The Fence?

Daniel Ream

I think that is one of the left's goals

Tactic, not goal. Remember the end goal is always destabilization leading to revolution. The foot soldiers don't need to be aware of this goal; the handlers are.

Jack Klompus

Eleven years old.

This Philadelphia ten year old invites you to hold his beer.

pst314

This Philadelphia ten year old invites you to hold his beer.

Various ruthless measures seem more attractive with each passing year.

pst314

Tactic, not goal.

Agreed. How should a sane society treat Marxists? Asking for a friend.

WTP

Fence?

I-285, the beltway around Atlanta. Locals call it The Fence because it has tended to keep this sort of behavior out of the outer suburbs. Though that situation seems to be changing lately, depending on whom you talk to.

Daniel Ream

How should a sane society treat Marxists?

whup whup whup whup whup

TomJ

@ccscientist: Not an exclusively Left-pondian phenomenon. Damian's been noting the reactions of the Good People(tm) to the many and varied non-white candidates for Tory leader.

Zionist Overlord #73

Luxury beliefs

I remember reading Paul Fussel's essay "Thank God for the Atom Bomb". One of the points he makes is that, generally speaking, it was the lower classes in the USA who went to fight overseas, and everybody knew that the grunts in the trenches were delighted the war was ended by dropping two bombs, rather than expending another million lives like theirs. By expressing the belief that the bombs should not have been dropped, one signaled that one belonged to the upper classes, who were never conscripted, and did not even know anybody who was.

Horace Dunn

Meanwhile, in Telford, a young woman speaks out on TV about the sexual abuse she suffered as a child. She expresses concern that the police in Telford failed to keep hundreds of children like her safe from rape gangs, and that the same police continue to turn a blind eye to the perpetrators of these crimes.

When she returns home, those same Telford police, who can’t summon the resources to investigate violent child sex-crime, manage to find time to track her down in order to intimidate her.

Oh come on. Surely not! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcM7T1shgXs&t=618s

Nikw211

By expressing the belief that the bombs should not have been dropped, one signaled that one belonged to the upper classes, who were never conscripted, and did not even know anybody who was.

While I understand the general point being made, I don't think that can be applied to the UK.

The mortality rates of the officer class in both world wars, though especially in the first, was notably higher than for other ranks and I think I'm right in saying that on the whole, the officer class generally drew from the better educated classes which tended to also be the more affluent classes in many (but not all) cases.

Actually, that reminds me of what I suspect is another myth promoted by the Socialists in the UK, which goes something like this:

The reason why Labour did so well after the war was that the working class had had their consciousness raised by the experience of fighting cheek-by-jowl with the men who, in peace time, were the leaders of their country, the managers of their factories, and so on.

This experience, so goes the myth, led them to realise their lives were being run by men who were less competent, less intelligent, less courageous and so on.

No doubt there was some class-based animosity between the ranks to support the myth, but the mere fact that it's so flattering to Socialist pretensions suggests that it's likely largely fallacious.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Meanwhile, another brawl in Atlanta Staffordshire.

pst314

Lost boy.

Context: Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. The police were serving a warrant for murder.

So toddlers hurl racist insults, and actually assault, the police. There can be no doubt that the children's family are all scum. Utter scum.

pst314

I-285, the beltway around Atlanta.

Thanks, appreciated.

Rich Rostrom

"And basically, the luxury beliefs of the former group, the educated group, trickled down and ended up having this outsize effect on the people who are less fortunate, who don’t have the [social and] economic capital of the people who can afford that belief."

It has been my belief for some time that the worst thing white Americans ever did to black Americans, not excluding slavery, was "the 60s". Until the 1960s, black Americans were, in spite of racist abuses, steadily improving their social and economic conditions. The abolition of those abuses climaxed in the 1960s.

Yet by numerous measures (crime, illegitimacy, drug use) black social conditions began declining immediately and have never recovered. IMO, this decline is directly traceable to "the 60s" elite glorification of destructive practices and rejection of traditional norms.

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