Our Rulers are Psychopaths
And Our Society is Dying
This is the seventh piece in my Effective Populism series. Read the introduction here. Read the previous piece here.
One of the more pernicious trends in recent years is the desire to be “seen”. The push for “representation”.
Let’s make something clear:
It does not matter what your rulers look like, just that they rule you well. And ruling you well has nothing to do with being your friend or being relatable and everything to do with materially improving your life in a meaningful way.
Our rulers are always distant. They cannot generate the kinds of community we get in more intimate networks and settings. And they shouldn’t try to.
Fueling this is a near total collapse in empathy: the idea is that in order to represent someone, to understand them, you must come from the same group/class as them, because otherwise you simply cannot understand them.
This is, of course, nonsense. No, I cannot truly understand what it is like to hold your newborn child in your arms, but I can at least empathize with new parents. I can take my own relationships and the closeness I feel with my family and use that as the basis to feel solidarity with others. Situations are not so distinct as to prevent us from doing this.
Ideology has locked our hearts up. Our empathy isn’t valid. Our sympathy means nothing. “You can only understand those who are in the same group that I assign you to be in.” No wonder our social fabric continues to deteriorate rapidly.
Case in Point: The Latest AOC Fustercluck
Following the events of J6, the national narrative has been absolutely hysterical. Middle-aged histrionics who barely hold any loyalty to America at all crying about how this was “worse than 9/11” and “an attack on democracy”. Or something. Frankly if you still watch the news there is no hope for you.
And so AOC recently had a livestream where she explained that she feared for her life during J6 and the reason she didn’t want to come out with this story was because she feared telling others about her trauma due to sexual assault.
Before going further, let us acknowledge that sexual assault is a major issue, and that I am in no way delegitimizing the trauma and pain that AOC has had to suffer due to this.
With that said, Michael Tracey decided to toss a molotov cocktail onto the sea of gasoline:
He got, as one might assume, attacked relentlessly.
But was he wrong? No.
As I said on Twitter, Anyone willing to treat Tracey's position with a modicum of charity would know he is not delegitimizing the sexual assault AOC faced. Rather, he is criticizing the public spectacle she is engaging in, furthering the absurdity of those who believe J6 was worse than 9/11.
But we are so wrapped up in these elite narratives, we see these elites who have no idea we exist beyond poll numbers and donations as somehow representing us. None of it is real. Representation is an idol, a false god. The only judgment that matters for rulers is if they meaningfully improve our lives. And it should be clear that the United States has been declining for a half century.
And of course, even worse, this leaves us open to manipulation. Our culture selects for narcissism and psychopathy, and those who are most able to manipulate the masses are best suited to rise up the social ladder.
Anna Khachiyan has been discussing the negative impact of story-telling on politics, but while she describes this as “the future”, I would describe it as the present (and the past for quite a while). Everyone loves stories. The most powerful stories move and inspire us. There is nothing inherently wrong with this.
The problem comes when you combine those stories with this narcissistic need for representation. Now our rulers are incentivized to make performative appeals to particular experiences or classes instead of actually ruling, actually governing. Something akin to “I’m not here to be your friend. I’m not someone you’d get a beer with. I’m here to get work done and I don’t give a fuck if you don’t like me.” would never be uttered of course. And this has only been made more and more of a problem by our media culture and infantilized society.
Look, we will always be caught up in narratives. We will reach out and want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Sometimes that means reaching out and literally touching a superstar, celebrating in your favorite sports team’s victory, etc. And these are important. They can be sense of community and of inspiration, and it would be foolish to toss that away.
The single greatest commercial I’ve seen for hockey (which is the best sport ever, no one is allowed to disagree):
But notice something: those stars are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They’re battling to win. Our rulers don’t do that. They are the equivalent of a player doing tricks on the side while their team gets destroyed. They might be the most talented player in the world. They still suck.
Let go of the delusion of representation, and focus on the substance of governance. The Elites will attempt to placeate the people with purely aesthetic changes to distract them from the fact nothing has materially changed and society continues to decline. Who cares if your rulers look like you if they oversee the impoverishment of you and your children and the destruction of everything you hold dear?
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Looking forward to continuing this series. Have some longer-form pieces I’m working on but I’m in the midst of company earnings season at work and 70-80hr weeks are no fun. I’ll get those longer pieces out when I have the time needed to give them the treatment they deserve.
“I’m not here to be your friend. I’m not someone you’d get a beer with. I’m here to get work done and I don’t give a fuck if you don’t like me.” Actually, that's essentially what Trump said continuously for five and half years straight. Worked pretty well, outside of a few well-placed, late-night ballot dumps.