Q&A: Japan

John Glanton has been wondering what’s up with Japan, and posed a question in this regard to several Neoreactionaries on ask.fm. I first had a quick answer, then a long answer, and before I knew it I was over the character limit. Then I remembered that I have a blog. The piece below represents my long answer to a short question on the matter.

Legitimate question and something I’ve been wondering, even though it’s understandable if you don’t have an opinion on it one way or another: what the hell is wrong with Japan?  John Glanton
Easy answer is low birth rates, diminishing male role, aging population, and weird porn. But how did those things come about?Here’s a personal theory: Part of this is probably rooted in the class system that dominated Japan for recent centuries. That sort of thing tends to isolate certain traits among castes (to the degree that such traits are influenced by genetics). Stick all the macho, aggressive, high-testosterone warriors in one caste, let that percolate for several hundred years, and you’ve got an entity that’s genetically different from the others in the country.What effect does this have on the other castes? Well, when a samurai can legally execute any peasant just for showing him “disrespect”, that’s a form of selection pressure that allows for impulsivity and aggression in one group and selects for deference and submission in the other.(If you have any interest in this time period and you enjoy historical fiction, I recommend the book “Shogun” by James Clavell)This doesn’t become an issue with the abolishment of the samurai caste in 1873 though, as many former samurai integrated into new roles in society (merchants, writers, officers in the new, western-style army…etc). The problem, I think, began to manifest itself when Japan became plunged into World War Two.

Then World War II comes along. I did some digging and I found these approximate numbers for the respective populations of the US versus Japan at the time: 133 million versus 73 million. That’s a big difference. Only way the little guy wins in that situation is to fight at least twice as hard.Fight the Japanese did, with tenacity and devotion. One problem. An old samurai ideal of “gyokusai” still held sway within the armed forces. What does gyokusai mean? Glorious death.As George S. Patton said, you don’t want to die for your country, you want to make the other guy die for his. Yet when you romanticize the idea of dying a glorious death, you tend to be the bastard that dies for your country. You do stupid things like bayonet charges and fly kamikaze missions. You tend not to surrender against 1000-to-1 odds and get slaughtered to the last man.And who is more likely to do such things? My money would be on the descendents of the samurai. I bet if one could find the right data, it would suggest that the sons and grandsons of samurai died in far higher numbers than the descendents of peasants or shopkeepers or otherwise. I would bet that the war had a selective effect that cut down the most aggressive and martial of the Japanese.Even this, though wouldn’t be sufficient to turn Japan into the broken society we see now. Other factors have to be at play here. Throw in two atomic bombs, and you have a nation that knows better than any other the horrors of modern warfare, making them more likely to value peace and harmony. Consider also the effects of the modern system that the US set up after the was, which focuses on working long hours and devoting yourself to your career (as well as basically being a colony of the United States).I think some of the blame lies here. The loss of the samurai warrior aristocracy weakened the nation, but did not send it on the path to hell. That descent began when the US rebuilt it after World War Two and instilled in it all the values and institutions of a western democracy.The devotion to working hard and getting ahead pushed the birth rates down, as people began waiting longer and longer to have children and some just never stopped waiting. This is also what has led to an aging population, in which 1 in 5 people are 65 or older. An aging nation is a stagnating and dying nation. It’s not hard to assume that a nation barreling headlong on its way to collective death might do some funny things.The lack of unique male roles might come in part from non-stop selection pressure for deference and submission (as well as, of course, the worker drone culture and the crushing of your ideas of masculinity by an invading foreign nation), which also means that one is less willing to rock the boat and engage in creative destruction like entrepreneurship or societal innovation. The male essence is fire and earth, but the fire of Japanese masculinity is dim indeed, leaving only the earth, which is solid and reliable, but will always be trod upon.

Throw in the psychological effects of the “Lost Decade” upon the Japanese psyche (long-term economic stagnation does terrible things to the mind), and it’s not hard to see that this is a country that has unconsciously accepted that it is going to die. In the end I’d say the root of the problem is that Japan has lost the will to live.

So what should Japan do about this? It’s an extreme predicament, and I don’t have any solutions that aren’t extreme themselves:

Reinstate conscription and reinvent the Samurai class.
Every male, once he hits the age of 18, has to serve two years in the military. The best and most dedicated soldiers are given the opportunity to pursue more advanced (and more brutal) training. Think something along the lines of BUD/S School or UK Special Forces Selection. Those that make it through are to be used to found a new warrior caste, a neo-samurai as it were. Repeat until you have a self-sustaining caste that can inspire Japan with martial zeal and instill in it the fire it has lost.

In other words, soft, positive eugenics to try to re-instill masculinity and and martial spirit back into the Japanese.

Encourage a culture of adventurousness, innovation, and baby-making
You can’t just change culture at whim (cue the howling of a million screaming progressives). Culture is a reflection of underlying societal dynamics and beliefs. You can, however, change a country’s beliefs, through philosophy and the arts. A Japan that believes that its country’s future is tied to birth rates and innovation, and that believes that it is the job of every citizen to contribute more to society than he or she will ever get out of it, is a Japan that has a fighting chance. Even this, though, is going to require dramatic changes in societal context, and I confess I can’t fathom what those changes might have to be.

Step out of the shadow of the US
In 1941, Japan awoke a sleeping giant and doomed itself to destruction. Now, if it fails to step out of the giant’s shadow, it will be crushed when it falls. The US isn’t going to be able to the referee in the region much longer. I give it 20 – 30 years at most before it will be unable to play the role of the world’s policeman. Japan is going to have to start flexing its muscles on its own. If it realizes this as a society, it will find the will to do what is necessary to pull itself back from the brink.

Kill all retirees and hikikomori and redistribute their assets
Okay, this is the one I think might be a bit controversial. Large-scale executions of innocent people sets a terrible, terrible precedent and cannot be defended on moral grounds in any way. None.

Yet, Japan has far too many elderly and far too many non-productive young people to be able to sustain the status quo especially with a shrinking population. I am skeptical of arguments that put the interests of the state above all, for it leads almost inevitably to atrocities (and make no mistake, this would be an atrocity of the highest order), but it would free up a significant degree of capital, remove hikikomori parasites from the teat of society, and remove a tightening financial noose from around the neck of the Japanese government. Every society has its problems, but I can’t support one of the largest mass killings in history as a solution to the woes facing the Japanese. Tumorous societies need to cut out the cancer, but which point is too far? I think it’s safe to say that this option goes to far, but what if too far is just as far as one needs to go?
That’s a question I don’t know how to answer, and I’ll be very surprised if I don’t have trouble getting to sleep tonight trying to grapple with it.
Go follow John on Twitter and read his pieces at Social Matter if you don’t already.
Update: Vulture of Critique elaborates on why some options are just horrible ideas.
Further Update: I shouldn’t have procrastinated on reading the latest “Dark Matter“. Related thoughts.

Gay Pride, Status Signaling, and Fetishes

Recently some sort of “gay pride” parade or something or other happened in DC. Given the number of people I’ve been interacting with, it was inevitable that at some point I would be asked if I had attended (the underlying question being whether or not I am “hip” and “progressive” and “not a homophobic bigot”).

I’ve been responding by saying “I’m afraid that I missed it. I was meeting up with an old friend‘ and I completely lost track of time” (an answer that is technically not dishonest and still earns me status points). This answer works because it implies I would have gone anyway and am thus attuned to liberal sensibilities, even though I am objectively saying nothing of the sort (people really are so easily fooled if you speak the magic words). Certain other reactionaries may not approve of these signaling games, but I find them a delight to play*, and if I look good and have high status, I can extend those perceptions to Neoreaction.

Moving on to the interesting stuff, of all the thousands of words currently extant in the English language, why did the LGBT rights movements choose “Pride” as their moniker? They are not asking that non-straight folks feel proud of themselves.

Well, not in a direct sort of way.  The movement is demanding pride, though they are going about it in a sort of roundabout way by asking that the government pander to them in such as way that they believe will make them feel proud about themselves.

Not only does this demonstrate that people heavily involved in the LGBT rights movement misunderstand the nature of pride (which stems from internal, not external, factors), it also unintentionally reveals an interesting dynamic in regard to the things we worship and the things we fetishize.

We mainly fetishize things for two reasons: we wish we have something but don’t, or we have something but deny we possess it. Consider that women (and especially feminists) fetishize agency to a greater degree than men because they have less of it in the first place. Men don’t nearly fantasize about agency the same way women do, but they do about tits and ass (or, to be more precise, the underlying power that those things symbolize…female reproductive capacity).

Gay “pride” is an example of the former. It has been noted that gays tend to have a greater prevalence of mental health disorders and other issues (whether this is due to innate, environmental or other factors is debatable, and is not my focus here). Personal anecdotal evidence seems to corroborate this idea, though one should always be careful how much one is willing to extrapolate from that.  They lack pride, so they fetishize it.

I do not wish to slander the entire LGBT movement here, but I must note that many of those individuals confused about their sexuality and suffering from mental issues (somatic, psychological, cognitive, or otherwise) turn to the movement in search of finding an external cure to heal their internal afflictions, not knowing that healing and wholeness can only come from the self. I’m willing to go so far as to say that a majority of those who support the movement do so as a way of externalizing their pain and taking revenge on a world they think has wronged them (this applies to all other hyper-progressive ideologies as well). That this usually isn’t the case is merely an inconvenient “hate-fact” that can be shouted-down.

The movement preys on these individuals as a source of manpower, but in a dramatic case of “you are what you eat”, it in turn becomes corrupted by this poor quality human capital and increasingly becomes more and more about pandering to them, which attracts more broken people, perpetuating a vicious cycle. There’s no way this pattern can continue without the movement become increasingly fractious and tumultuous (I would also say irrelevant were the “quest for gay rights” not a form of brahmin status signaling, which is a huge driver of societal trends). Pride goeth before the fall indeed.

Empty, broken people with no identity beyond their sexuality, which is such an innate part of human beings anyway one might as well develop an identity based on breathing or shitting. That is what is being incentivized with the LGBT movement. Everyone a victim. When all are victimized though, who is left to be the oppressor?

The future is not just a pink, liberal boot stamping on the face of a straight, white man forever. It is a bucket of crabs being filled with all manner of flaming destruction until the waste froths up and the bucket begins to spill over.

The only way to survive a bucket of crabs is to be something much stronger and much more terrifying than any crab. You need to be a hell of a lot higher up on the food chain. That means status, that means money, that means identity. It means having a tribe to back you up and using the right tactics to keep you alive.  Some of these can be done in near-immediate time frames, but many take time and effort to accrue.

Whether time is on our side or not, I don’t think anyone can say.


*Another really fun one I use is when people ask me what my political views are is: “I don’t think of myself as political so much as philosophical.” This move works to make people perceive me as some sort of wise owl who thinks deep and knows more than others. On top of this, it makes everyone think that I agree with them (since everyone with an IQ over 110 or so fancies him or herself as some kind of deep thinker). Status for me, and first blood drawn in case I deem it appropriate to administer a dosage of the NRx virus to a now-weakened memetic immune system.

Cognitive Supernova

Something happened to me today which has only happened to me twice before, and even then, in a less intense fashion than today. I was playing around with some ideas related to poverty and inequality, and I began intuitively making some connections, as I am naturally inclined to do. However, my pace grew faster and faster, and suddenly a vast hoard of ideas became flowing in and synchronizing with each other, new connections and patterns syncing up with electrifying speed.

I began writing furiously in my notebook, hoping to capture all the sensations and intuitions flowing through my mind before this burst of magnificent energy faded. 30 minutes later I put down my pen, breathing heavily and utterly spent, my parietal lobes burning from the effort.

Cognitive supernova.

It was not stardust and radiation that I was left with though, but a sparkling new idea, a singular end result that all the previous activity had been working towards. My mind was spent, and as I continued to work back up to full cognitive capacity over the next two hours, I began polishing this new idea a little more.

I already had plans/notes/outlines for probably 5 – 8 new posts before today. That number has essentially doubled now. I’m going to take a big chunk of this weekend and just write. Look forward to new posts coming back online soon.

In other news, I met up with Aimless Gromar last weekend and had an absolutely fantastic conversation. Topics of discussion included the future of Neoreaction, meme warfare, fascist aesthetics, and other cool stuff of which most people will never speak one word. It was pretty awesome. Be sure to help him out and check out Social Matter.

I will be in DC the rest of the summer, so if any other NRx guys want to meet up just send me an e-mail (whoisthelegionnaire@gmail.com) or a message on twitter or leave a comment or whatever.

That’s all I’ve got for the moment, save one last thing. I’d like to officially claim the term “Sigma Point” for memetic usage. I will expand upon this later.