Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fractal Dysfunction

I've recently taken to describing the two most important factions of "the Elites" (note: I did not say "major" factions) as "rationalists" and "realists."  I did not coin these two terms, but I've come to use them in a peculiar way.  In particular, I view "realists," as exemplified by modern realists in the tradition of Carl Schmitt (Hitler's lawyer) and F.A. Hayek (neoliberalism's primary architect) as power addicts, and I view "rationalists," as exemplified by pretty much every other intellectual as enablers of the power-addected realists ("he beats me because he loves me").  Applying the Pareto Principle, I'd argue that 10% of "the Elites" are realists, and almost all of the rest are rationalists.

Interestingly, if you look at the broader adult population, "the Elites" are probably only 10%, leaving almost everybody else-- who I've come to think of as the SSDD (Same Shit, Different Day) crowd.  By the way, I celebrate the SSDD crowd precisely because they are just normal folk trying to get along and enjoy life.  I'd love to be half as happy as the SSDD folks I know, who include the majority of my family.

If my ballpark estimates are correct, that means that no more than 1% of our population dictates how all of us live, which is consistent with economic data.  And I'm sure that we can drill down further and discover that the core power-a-holics that drive society represent only between 0.0001-0.1% of the entire population.

Does that make any sense?  Should the societal equivalent of a desparate heroin addict dictate society's mores and actions?  I don't think so.  The fact that people like me are instictively compelled to fill any perceived power vacuum does not mean that people like me should dictate how everybody else lives.  I am not superior to the SSDD crowd.  Indeed, I'm so far away from the mean that I should be classified as deviant, but people like me are elevated to leadership roles every day.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of people like me view "leadership" as an opportunity to prey upon the rest of society as opposed to an obligation to serve.