The End of American Greatness

With the election of Joe Biden, and the mass censorship of dissident thought by social media, America has entered into a new phase of its existence. It is no longer the land of the free. It is now a land of paternalistic tyranny, imposed by a corporate-state oligarchy.

Although America has been in decline for a long time, the effects of that decline have been mostly hidden. Now they are being revealed. For over 100 years, America was the leading country of the world. That era is over. America will no longer be a country of progress and achievement. Instead, it will be a country of mediocrity, conformity and decline.

America’s past greatness cannot be restored by purging a corrupt elite, renegotiating trade deals, or building a wall along the southern border. Those policies might have slowed down America’s decline, but they would not have made America great again.

American greatness came from the people who founded and built the country.

First came explorers, dreamers and religious heretics. They were individualistic and creative. They gave America its love of liberty, individualism and progress.

Next came the hard-workers: pioneers, railway builders, factory workers, etc. They were not particularly creative, but they were individualistic in another way. They were willing to work hard for rewards, and they expected others to do the same. They did not demand a free lunch. There was no safety net to protect them from failure. They came to America for the opportunity to succeed on their own merits. Some failed, and died or went home. Others prospered, and left many descendants.

The founding population of America came from Europe, but it was not a random sample of Europeans. Americans were selected to be more individualistic on average, in the two ways that I described above. They were also selected to be resilient and intelligent, because early America was a tough land, as well as a land of opportunity. It rewarded intelligence and hard work. It punished stupidity and laziness.

American greatness came from its two founding types: the creative weirdos and the hard-workers. The American love of liberty came from those people. The weirdos valued freedom of expression and association. The hard-workers valued the free market, as opposed to both inherited wealth and charity. America was founded by people who valued liberty and individualism, although in somewhat different forms. Their personality traits gave America its libertarian ethos: “the frontier spirit”. That libertarian ethos, combined with a creative and hard-working population, generated progress. That was the source of American greatness.

Once America was great, however, it began to attract normies.

The normies didn’t go to America because it was a land of freedom and opportunity. They went because it was a land of prosperity, safety and comfort. They went because they had relatives there, or a job offer with a big corporation, or just wanted an easier life. The new immigrants did not have the individualistic DNA that made America great. They had conformist DNA.

Normies are threatened by individualism, because they derive their status from conformity, not innovation. If you are a conformist, your claim to status is based on the status quo. If the status quo changes, you lose status. If you are a weirdo, your claim to status is based on opposing the status quo, and trying to overturn it. Weirdos try to change things, or create new things. Normies try to defend the status quo.

Normies don’t want freedom and meritocracy. They want a comfortable status quo. They don’t like intellectual freedom, because it is disruptive. They don’t like economic freedom, because it allows hard-working and intelligent people to rise above them.

As the population of America became more normal, its libertarian ethos declined. That has been happening for a long time. The libertarian ethos was not in the constitution or the institutions of the country. It was in the DNA of the people. As the DNA changed, the ethos changed. That ethos is now mostly gone. America is no longer a frontier country with a frontier population. It is a settled country with a normie population.

For a while, the weirdos could migrate to internal frontiers, such as the internet, to be creative and disruptive. However, anything that succeeds is eventually taken over by normies, who then impose conformity and mediocrity on it.

So, the era of American greatness has come to an end. America will no longer be the dynamic and creative society that it once was. It is no longer a land of creative weirdos and hard-working pragmatists. It is a land of normies.



    Seems relevant.

    Before there is a subculture, there is a scene. A scene is a small group of creators who invent an exciting New Thing—a musical genre, a religious sect, a film animation technique, a political theory. Riffing off each other, they produce examples and variants, and share them for mutual enjoyment, generating positive energy.

    The new scene draws fanatics. Fanatics don’t create, but they contribute energy (time, money, adulation, organization, analysis) to support the creators.

    Creators and fanatics are both geeks.2 They totally love the New Thing, they’re fascinated with all its esoteric ins and outs, and they spend all available time either doing it or talking about it.

    If the scene is sufficiently geeky, it remains a strictly geek thing; a weird hobby, not a subculture.

    If the scene is unusually exciting, and the New Thing can be appreciated without having to get utterly geeky about details, it draws mops.3 Mops are fans, but not rabid fans like the fanatics. They show up to have a good time, and contribute as little as they reasonably can in exchange.

    Fanatics want to share their obsession, and mops initially validate it for them too. However, as mop numbers grow, they become a headache. Fanatics do all the organizational work, initially just on behalf of geeks: out of generosity, and to enjoy a geeky subsociety. They put on events, build websites, tape up publicity fliers, and deal with accountants. Mops just passively soak up the good stuff.4 You may even have to push them around the floor; they have to be led to the drink. At best you can charge them admission or a subscription fee, but they’ll inevitably argue that this is wrong because capitalism is evil, and also because they forgot their wallet.

    Mops relate to each other in “normal” ways, like people do on TV, which the fanatics find repellent. During intermission, geeks want to talk about the New Thing, but mops blather about sportsball and celebrities. Also, the mops also seem increasingly entitled, treating the fanatics as service workers.


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