The 6 Levels of Conservative

To the untrained eye, there appears lately to be a lot of divisions within the political right wing. As New York progressives stare slack-jawed and Clintonites build laughably simplistic models, it’s become apparent to me that the divisions are not factional, but evolutionary. Like a classic role-playing game, each ideological “tier” represents a level-up that unlocks new abilities: new ways to think and reason about today’s economic and social ills, new defenses against the ideological indoctrination of the left and new techniques for going on the rhetorical offensive.

This isn’t a hierarchy. It’s not a way of saying that every Lv5 is a better person than any Lv2. It’s not a measure of overall intelligence, or authoritarianism, or even the precise location on the political compass. If anything, level-advancement brings heightened awareness of the irrelevancy of the left-right axis, at least anywhere to the right of classical liberalism. It’s a personal evolution, with each individual having their own unique set of attributes, ideas and tactics.

In other words, if you see yourself on Lv1 or Lv2, that’s not intended as a strike against your self-worth; only a sign that your political philosophy has some room to grow. Also: You do not level up by simply knowing about the different levels. You have to feel it on an instinctual level and be able to articulate it clearly, and that means fighting some (verbal) battles against average and midwit SJWs and neoliberals, not just the dumb shitlibs you see ranting on social media and in spin class. Trash mobs don’t give good experience or loot.

Level 1: Trad-Con, Neocon, Classical Liberal

Attributes:

  • Vague sense of unease that our freedoms are slipping away.
  • Desire to preserve some or most aspects of our current culture and lifestyle.
  • Belief in the value of dialogue and compromise. “We can work this out.”
  • Faith in the integrity and self-correcting nature of our public institutions.
  • Forward-looking, short-term. “Here we are; how can we slow things down?”

Abilities:

  • 🛡 Parry (negates half of incoming DMG)
  • ✨ Provoke (temporarily focus enemy attacks on you)
  • 💊 Sacrifice (HP goes to 0, allies are partially healed)
  • 👣 Run away

Level 2: Fiscal Conservative, Constitutionalist

Attributes:

  • Comprehension of how incentives drive behavior.
  • Desire to maximize human flourishing.
  • Disgust of Marxism, dislike of socialism and big-government programs.
  • Faith in the self-correcting nature of competition and constitutional democracy.
  • Forward-looking, medium-term. “Can we correct the incentive structure?”

Abilities:

  • ⚔️ Economic Argument (low DMG)
  • ✨ Call out Hypocrisy (enemy loses turn; no effect on bosses or SJWs)
  • ✨ Appeal to Profits (banish enemies; must be on Unconverged Business terrain)
  • ⚔️ Cite Legal Precedent (moderate DMG; no effect on lawyers or ferals)
  • 👣 Ragequit (low AoE DMG; lose 90% of HP)

Level 3: Libertarian, Objectivist, Originalist

Attributes:

  • Understanding of opportunity cost, time preference, and economic calculation.
  • Desire to maximize individual liberty.
  • Distrust of all coercive monopolism, including cronyism/regulatory capture.
  • Faith in the self-correcting nature of Sovereign Individuals.
  • Backward-looking, short-term. Rejection of “living constitution”, expansionism.

Abilities:

  • ⚔️ Non-Aggression Argument (moderate DMG, weak against Communists)
  • ✨ Confuse (enemy loses multiple turns, may attack other enemies)
  • ✨ Support Legal Marijuana (temporarily focus enemy attacks on others)
  • 🛡 Sperg Out (ally+enemy attacks negated for 1 turn; useful for recovering)
  • 🏳️ Vote Libertarian (10% chance of 1 enemy dying of laughter)

Level 4: Anarcho-Capitalist, Civic/Economic Nationalist, Alt-Lite

Attributes:

  • Recognition that the State is not and will never be a benevolent force.
  • Desire to minimize conflict through private property and/or shared values.
  • Invalidation of all State property, or 100% allocation to defense, law and order.
  • Awareness that nothing is self-correcting and physical removal may be required.
  • Backward-looking, medium-term. Rejection of egalitarianism, mass migration.

Abilities:

  • ⚔️ Rhetorical Argument (moderate-high DMG, lowers enemy DEF)
  • ✨ Intimidate (20% chance enemy leaves the battle, no effect on bosses)
  • 💊 Rally (allies recover HP, gain temporary ATK boost)
  • 💣 Dank Meme (random AoE DMG, 0.2x to 4x modifier)

Level 5: Neoreactionary, Paleocon

Attributes:

  • Recognition that politics is downstream from culture; democracy as a means of conflict-resolution is a beautiful lie.
  • Desire to completely eliminate left-wing institutions, values, and entryism.
  • Repudiation of compromise between right and left (the center cannot hold).
  • Realization that western traditions protected us, and we have still not matured.
  • Backward-looking, long-term. Rejection of federalism, imperialism, etc.

Abilities:

  • 💣 History Bomb (high AoE DMG, enemies may flee)
  • 💣 Troll (all enemies, moderate DMG, may become Triggered or Confused)
  • ✨ Reframe Narrative (raise ATK for all allies, lower ATK for all enemies)

Level 6: Ethnonationalist, Alt-Capitalist, Alt-Right

Attributes:

  • Knowledge of how heritable traits influence intelligence, behavior, and culture.
  • Desire to preserve western civilization above all other concerns.
  • Willingness to use any tactic or tool of the left (including the State) against it.
  • Acceptance that western tradition can only survive with western demographics.
  • Cyclical viewpoint (“either voluntary or violent change is historically inevitable”)

Abilities:

  • ⚔️ Genetic Argument (high DMG, high chance of stun, may hurt self/allies)
  • 🛡 High Ground Defense (temporary immunity from most attacks)
  • 🐸 Induce Paranoia (enemies see Hitlers everywhere, attack random targets)

In Closing…

Note how I don’t make explicit mention of any level’s ideal vision of society. This is about degrees of awareness, and persuasion techniques that one is able and willing to use. You can be a race realist, and still wish for a NAP-based solution. You can be anti-egalitarian and still hope that, some day, as Iain M. Banks imagined, people might legitimately be able to change their fundamental nature with technology. You can hyper-optimistically predict, as I do, that if we can make our species more intelligent, we’ll be able to come up with even better solutions that none of us can conceive of today.

That said, if you like western society exactly the way it is today and don’t want to see anything rolled back, then you’re either a neoliberal/progressive or not very good at this game. You might want to try an easier game, like pattycake or moving to Canada.

Advertisements

Why Oligopolies are Evil: The United Airlines Beatdown

United Airlines is in the news again, and as any reasonable person would predict, it’s not because of their extensive humanitarian efforts. For those who haven’t already heard the whole story or don’t want to slog through the New York Times article (or just don’t want to give them the clicks), here is the sequence of events in a nutshell:

  • UA overbooks a flight. Standard practice, usually no problem because passengers don’t show up.
  • The flight ends up being completely full. At this point, all passengers have already boarded.
  • Some low-level UA employees decide they belong on the plane, and some passengers who have already boarded will need to get off.
  • They offer a $400 pittance for people to give up their seats. No takers.
  • They offer an $800 voucher (negotiating lesson: always reject the first offer). Still no takers. Apparently – and this may surprise you – people traveling on business or who booked their vacations months in advance, spent 2+ hours at the airport and followed all of United’s draconian rules, are not too keen on giving up their professional and social lives in order to help some needy guitar exterminators.
  • They then announce that they will randomly boot 4 passengers off the plane.
  • The first 3 comply. The 4th, an Asian man, says he is a doctor who needs to get back to his patients and refuses to leave.
  • United staff decide that it is not worth the trouble and leave the man to enjoy a peaceful flight.
  • Hahahaha, of course they don’t do that. Instead, the doctor is dragged literally kicking and screaming out of his seat, and his face is smashed and bloodied on an armrest on the way out.
  • United makes a public statement indicating that they give zero fucks because the man was being “uncooperative” with their attempt to kick him off the flight for no reason at all.
  • United’s CEO, who just a few weeks earlier had been named Communicator of the Year, weighed in with another non-apology for “re-accommodating” the man whom they beat up.

This was all quite hilarious to watch play out, or infuriating if you’re wired that way. But here is the really depressing part:

UnitedStock

This is the kind of PR disaster that should, in a just world, sink a company, or at least give them a good spanking in the stock market. What actually happened was: crickets, because every single trader out there worth his salt knows that all US air travel is owned by just 4 companies. You basically can’t lose with these guys, and any sudden dip is just an opportunity to increase your holdings. Unlike Starbucks, you can’t really hurt United’s brand, because their brand is already worthless; expectations of shareholder returns are based on sheer necessity, not brand perception.

It was, of course, not always like this. You may remember when there were 10 airline companies. But I was curious to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes, so I looked this up. It turns out that there have been dozens of smaller to medium-sized airline companies since air travel became popular:

hs_airlines_snapshot_large

It’s astounding. Delta alone seems to have congealed from over 15 distinct airlines at various times.

Oligopolies are to monopolies what oligarchies are to monarchies. Having more than one player on the field doesn’t mean they’re on different teams, and certainly doesn’t mean they’re playing to win. Oligopolies stifle innovation, and while some kooks blame “deregulation” for what happened to the airline industry, the truth is that air travel is massively regulated, including for example pages upon pages dedicated to how non-pilots need to be certified. If detailed requirements for carry-on tubas are “deregulation”, you don’t want to know what the “regulated” version looks like.

It’s interesting how the people fretting about cost disease always seem to leave out air travel; airfares haven’t actually gone up that much relative to inflation since the golden age, but the quality of service fell off a cliff, hidden costs such as baggage fees are everywhere, and if the market was working properly then average airfare costs should have gone way down. How did an industry that provides an essential service for so many people manage to stagnate so badly and kill off any flickers of genuine innovation or entrepreneurship? (And no, shoving a smudge-covered TV screen with a credit card slot into the back of each seat is not “innovation” in an era when most passengers already have video-capable personal electronics.)

Theories on the sector’s slow decline no doubt abound, as they do with health care, college, and so on. From a macroeconomic point of view, however, it looks like just another casualty of neoliberal corporatism. For example, the airline industry received a massive bailout in 2001 – around the same time that the final wave of consolidation began and new players stopped appearing. But that’s small potatoes compared to the $155 billion in subsidies that carriers received prior to the bailout. Just as TARP gutted the small banks and credit unions by giving the Wall Street cartel an unfair advantage, the massive airline subsidies very likely gave airlines like United, Pan-Am and TWA unfair advantages over the smaller upstarts, which they then used to crush and subsequently buy out those upstarts. Those that they couldn’t buy, they regulated (via the feds) into oblivion. I am speculating, of course, but industry transparency is so pathetically low that I don’t think we can ever know for certain.

Correlation is not causation, but it’s hard not to notice the clear historical correlation between regulation, subsidies, and monopolization. Now let’s all sit back and enjoy the quality services of United Airlines, United Health, Comcast, Viacom, and Verizon.