Observations of the Middle Class
I think one problem with a lot of writing is that it has a thesis. Personally I don’t often see point to such a thing. Sometimes I do, and I try to be blunt about it, but this is treated as some kind of crime. If you are honest about your thesis, then you’re producing propaganda, but if you are manipulative about it, then you’re making an intellectual argument. It’s a bit bizarre in my opinion.
Even now, perhaps, I have a thesis, in how I don’t think theses are very important. But such a cheap paradox can be found in any larger epistemological criticism, so who cares right? Having no disposition is in itself a disposition, you got me.
But even so, I do think people perhaps are too excited about the prospect of being manipulated. Obviously there is always a merit to being convincing, but I think one can be convincing in a sincere manner. So what I wonder is what separates a good allegorical principle from a bad one.
And I think I know the answer, which I seek to explore further. One problem with allegorical nature is how it exists within deeply poisoned waters, namely, ideology. Not all ideology is bad, but examine the world we live in, and it becomes evident that bad ideology holds a great deal of prevalence.
So I think one way in which to identify good ideology is to examine whether it has radical content. If someone seeks to comfort you, then ask yourself why. Why would you want to be comforted when you’re trapped inside a burning building? This is no time to cope with one’s circumstance, it’s a time to start breaking windows and kicking doors down. It’s a time to perform a radical action.
So the allegorical nature of bad ideology is like a barbiturate, it does not ease the pain, it merely makes you helpless in its wake. Such ideology exists everywhere. Adverts, political campaigns, elections, newspapers, everywhere.
I find that many civilians have strange ideological superstitions about the law in particular. There is this notion that the law is a kind of solid structure, a series of walls and borders that you cannot cross. That they exist as a causality rather than a correlator. Especially the middle class.
And of course one thing middle class people love to do is to say “Oh yeah? How do you even identify the middle class?” and then give some postmodern routine about how their particular segment of society, in its infinitely nebulous sophistication and grandeur, goes beyond the ken of mere mortal epistemology and human sensory input. So I keep it simple: If you are vested in personal real estate, then you’re middle class.
If you’re at the lowest possible level of landownership, and you have vested interests in things like property values and land speculation, then you’re middle class. That’s when you start having a reason to call the police on homeless people, and come up with stupid excuses as to why that doesn’t make you a scumbag.
That’s when you’re trapped in the middle of the food chain, where yes, you’re being screwed over by the big banks, but you also have the opportunity to screw over poor people if you feel like it.
And that’s a social class, not a socioeconomic class, it’s a cultural phenomenon, but a vital one none the less, because the middle class are the zealots of society. The Lacanian perverts if you will.
They’re the ones who perform radical actions for authority. They’re the ones who join the Friekorps, form lynch mobs, enlist in the army, become police officers, go to college, work for the government etc. etc.
It’s the brood of functionaries in other words. Often quite powerful as a collective, but also completely clueless about it. They get the most aggressive indoctrination and as such, become very peculiar, and not to mention dangerous.
One wonderful lesson I learned as a thief is that the borders of law doesn’t actually exist, and that committing a crime is as easy as taking a breath, it is a mundane activity that holds no greater consequence. I also learned that more often than not, police are a very impotent and ineffective force. They are first and foremost brutes and thugs. I have been extorted by police and gangsters alike, and I would not be able to tell the difference had it not been for the uniforms.
Actually, gangsters are usually more open to reason. Police think themselves invincible, and always travel in numbers, so they’re happy to act upon even the smallest provocations. They always have a butcher’s stare in their eyes.
But even in situations of tension I found police to be little more than paper tigers, often relying on playground psychology and cheap coercion rather than any meaningful investigative skills. They don’t seem to know much about finding evidence beyond pathetic attempts to lure self-incrimination out of people.
My point is, this supposed thin blue line of elite forces who uphold the law appear to be entirely ideological. I find no such force among the brutes and dullards who would try to interfere with my work.
To this day, I have a spotless criminal record, and yet in my former life I was a very good thief. I think the true ontology of being a thief is when you’ve stolen so many things that you’ve lost count. That’s when you can call yourself a thief.
It was by no means a glamorous life, in fact it was miserable, but I am glad to have on some level been exposed to the reality behind the realism of what the law is.
That is of course only one example. Then there’s rights. Rights are another curious thing. People always think they have them until it’s time to exercise them. In my experience you usually only have about half the rights you think you do. Because bureaucrats and government functionaries are not trained legal professionals, and what they say goes.
Often I have experienced people from the government who make up their own rules, and if you attempt to redress their ignorance, you are met with yet another higher ranking bureaucrat who is also happy to make up their own rules.
This is of course because the state mechanism has a lot of blind spots, it exists to preserve its own allegory. The state is not aiming to improve, or perfect, or uphold, it is merely aiming to function.
And as it turns out, in many countries, a large portion of citizenry are redundant to the priority of functioning. Hence poverty, homelessness, war, crime, corruption and other such things.
Corruption is especially an amusing thing. Because people in western Europe and the former colonies have a strange delusion that they live in some kind of age of post-corruption. A lot of this religiousness with regards to police and law is of course common with the middle classes, who have often ridiculous adoration and reverence for such things. Which makes sense seeing as how they are completely detached from them.
Their entire relationship to the outside world exists in the form of newspapers and sociology. Even when they do travel, they get to visit these enclosed tourist locations that are designed to bolster their national ego, and reinforce their prejudices.
The only people who understand corruption are the rich and the poor, people in the middle are not exposed to it. Instead they watch films, and news, and other fiction, and they try to cobble together some kind of coherent worldview from this. And through a perverse emotional intuition, this worldview is generally assembled in such a way as to justify their own position and social roles.
Politicians love to pander to the middle class, and the middle class is more than happy to be pandered to. They think of themselves as morally pure, as the salt of the Earth, but I’ve never understood why. What exactly do they do that’s so heroic? More often than not they seem to just work, live in houses, and mind their own business. Most of them only look after themselves and their immediate family. This is not exactly immoral or wrong, but I fail to see what prestige one finds in being so mundane and inconsequential.
And there is a phrase for this, namely “I am a good person.” I hear middle class people say that, and I think this phrase sums up the doctrine quite well. It seems like the criteria for being a good person is to be as useless as is humanly possible. To stay indoors, to mind yourself, to become a passive observer in the relationship to authority. To believe in every lie, to follow every instruction, to abide by all conventions and to uphold the enmity and prejudices of contemporary exploitation doctrines.
As such, I have never found anyone who identifies as a good person to be particularly trustworthy. They are always the first to believe in gossip, and the last to do you a favour. They often obsess over strange and abstract notions about the world, and have no real understanding of material conditions. This becomes evident when they discuss politics.
Their political beliefs are usually grounded in ridiculous superstitions. They think everything comes down to meaningless and disgorganised personal habits akin to pagan rituals.
For example, they believe they can offset the entire petrochemical industry, in its large and dominating global span both within military and civil sectors, by separating paper from plastics. It’s profoundly stupid, but it’s not so much about actually resolving anything as it is about building some kind of personal narrative wherein you’re blameless for what’s to come.
Sadly it’s precisely that kind of lethargic thinking that dilapidates democracy. You are twice as much to blame if you indulge in such nonsense… or at least you would be if blaming people mattered.
Blame seems to be the social currency of the middle class, it’s not so much about solving problems, or even identifying problems, so much as it is to avoid blame for problems. Everyone needs to either be absolved or condemned. There’s no room for invention, or resolution, or determination, there’s only room for cheap moral leverage against one another.
This often happens when there is something on the news or some topic of controversy wherein they take their rehearsed positions as either conservatives or progressives — two worldviews that are almost entirely identical except for a handful of carefully manufactured wedge issues that you could count on one hand and still have enough fingers left to open a bottle — and then they proceed to exchange rationalities as to who is to blame and for what.
Often with bizarrely delusional prepositions such as “I can’t believe you are supporting the war!” for instance.
Who do you think you’re talking to? The CFO at Raytheon? You can have whatever stupid opinions you want, but without any actual power you’re not supporting anything. These people all think they’re captains of industry and high ranking civil administrators with the way they go on about supporting this and opposing that, as if they have executive authority. It’s like watching children playing pirates.
And the best part is that it’s all about the tension of blame, since they’re all such helplessly trained citizenry with nary a morsel of real authority, the blame only holds pure metaphysical value.
I always find it novel to accept this blame and then follow it with “And what are you going to do about it?” Suddenly their fun stops, and the argument is entirely deflated, as for a brief moment they realise that they’re obsessing over imaginary and meaningless things.
And I think this also shows a distinction between amorality and immorality. Middle class people are usually not immoral, but they are amoral. They do not do bad things, so much as they avoid doing good things. They’re morally passive. When someone is in danger, they expect other people to deal with it.
When there is some kind of problem, then they have excuses for it. They’re not bad people, they’re just meek and helpless in their circumstance, they don’t know how to navigate the world, and as such they are penned in to a kind of captivity.
And I think that unless they come to their senses, then they’re going to be in real trouble. The world is facing large contradictions at the moment, and they are probably the least prepared to deal with them.
As the domino effect of climate crisis worsens, as it becomes an economic crisis, a political crisis, a social crisis and a civic crisis, they will likely suffer the most as they will have no idea what to do. They’ll just obey the first voice that speaks the loudest, because that’s all they’ve ever known.