For progress there is no cure

Finally and, I believe, most importantly, prohibition of technology (invention and development, which are hardly separable from underlying scientific inquiry), is contrary to the whole ethos of the industrial age. It is irreconcilable with a major mode of intellectuality as our age understands it. It is hard to imagine such a restraint successfully imposed in our civilization. Only if those disasters that we fear had already occurred, only if humanity were already completely disillusioned about technological civilization, could such a step be taken. But not even the disasters of recent wars have produced that degree of disillusionment, as is proved by the phenomenal resiliency with which the industrial way of life recovered even—or particularly—in the worst-hit areas. The technological system retains enormous vitality, probably more than ever before, and the counsel of restraint is unlikely to be heeded.

[…]

For progress there is no cure. Any attempt to find automatically safe channels for the present explosive variety of progress must lead to frustration. The only safety possible is relative, and it lies in an intelligent exercise of day-to-day judgment

–from von Neumann’s CAN WE SURVIVE TECHNOLOGY?

The men who were most in life owned little or nothing

Revolutionaries, artists, and seers are content to be objective, merely objective: they know that desire clasps life in its powerfully productive embrace, and reproduces it in a way that is all the more intense because it has few needs. And never mind those who believe that this is very easy to say, or that it is the sort of idea to be found in books. “From the little reading I had done I had observed that the men who were most in life, who were moulding life, who were life itself, ate little, slept little, owned little or nothing. They had no illusions about duty, or the perpetuation of their kith and kin, or the preservation of the State. . . . The phantasmal world is the world which has never been fully conquered over. It is the world of the past, never of the future. To move forward clinging to the past is like dragging a ball and chain.”

–Deleuze & Guattari, Anti-Oedipus

They are quoting Henry Miller here, from his Sexus: The Rosy Crucifixion I, which disappointingly has not been uploaded to the web beyond this slightly longer snippet:

From the little reading I had done I had observed that the men who were most in life, who were molding life, who were life itself, ate little, slept little, owned little or nothing. They had no illusions about duty, or the perpetuation of their kith and kin, or the preservation of the State. They were interested in truth and in truth alone. They recognized only one kind of activity – creation.

Bukowski’s Park Bench

They call it “9 to 5.” It’s never 9 to 5, there’s no free lunch break at those places, in fact, at many of them in order to keep your job you don’t take lunch. Then there’s OVERTIME and the books never seem to get the overtime right and if you complain about that, there’s another sucker to take your place.

You know my old saying, “Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”

And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.

As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can’t believe it. What do they do it for? Sex? TV? An automobile on monthly payments? Or children? Children who are just going to do the same things that they did?

Early on, when I was quite young and going from job to job I was foolish enough to sometimes speak to my fellow workers: “Hey, the boss can come in here at any moment and lay all of us off, just like that, don’t you realize that?”

They would just look at me. I was posing something that they didn’t want to enter their minds.

[…]

They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work. I could see all this. Why couldn’t they? I figured the park bench was just as good or being a barfly was just as good. Why not get there first before they put me there? Why wait?

–Charles Bukowski, letter to John Martin

Hazlitt’s Monster

If it were indeed true that the introduction of labor-saving machinery is a cause of constantly mounting unemployment and misery, the logical conclusions to be drawn would be revolutionary, not only in the technical field but for our whole concept of civilization. Not only should we have to regard all further technical progress as a calamity; we should have to regard all past technical progress with equal horror.

–Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson

The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.

–Ted Kaczynski, “Industrial Society and Its Future”

The American Dream in 1776

In our North American colonies, where uncultivated land is still to be had upon easy terms, no manufactures for distant sale have ever yet been established in any of their towns. When an artificer has acquired a little more stock than is necessary for carrying on his own business in supplying the neighbouring country, he does not, in North America, attempt to establish with it a manufacture for more distant sale, but employs it in the purchase and improvement of uncultivated land. From artificer he becomes planter, and neither the large wages nor the easy subsistence which that country affords to artificers, can bribe him rather to work for other people than for himself. He feels that an artificer is the servant of his customers, from whom he derives his subsistence; but that a planter who cultivates his own land, and derives his necessary subsistence from the labour of his own family, is really a master, and independent of all the world.

–Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

Spengler’s Man & Technics (1931)

In reality, however, it is out of the power either of heads or of hands to alter in any way the destiny of machine-technics, for this has developed out of inward spiritual necessities and is now correspondingly maturing towards its fulfilment and end. Today we stand on the summit, at the point when the fifth act is beginning. The last decisions are taking place, the tragedy is closing.

Every high Culture is a tragedy. The history of mankind as a whole is tragic. But the sacrilege and the catastrophe of the Faustian are greater than all others, greater than anything Æschylus or Shakespeare ever imagined. The creature is rising up against its creator. As once the microcosm Man against Nature, so now the microcosm Machine is revolting against Nordic Man. The lord of the World is becoming the slave of the Machine, which is forcing him — forcing us all, whether we are aware of it or not — to follow its course. The victor, crashed, is dragged to death by the team.

[…]

All things organic are dying in the grip of organization. An artificial world is permeating and poisoning the natural. The Civilization itself has become a machine that does, or tries to do, everything in mechanical fashion. We think only in horsepower now; we cannot look at a waterfall without mentally turning it into electric power; we cannot survey a countryside full of pasturing cattle without thinking of its exploitation as a source of meat-supply; we cannot look at the beautiful old handwork of an unspoilt primitive people without wishing to replace it by a modern technical process.

[…]

But all this is changing in the last decades, in all the countries where large-scale industry is of old standing. The Faustian thought begins to be sick of machines. A weariness is spreading, a sort of pacifism of the battle with Nature. Men are returning to forms of life simpler and nearer to Nature; they are spending their time in sport instead of technical experiments. The great cities are becoming hateful to them, and they would fain get away from the pressure of soulless facts and the clear cold atmosphere of technical organization. And it is precisely the strong and creative talents that are turning away from practical problems and sciences and towards pure speculation. Occultism and Spiritualism, Hindu philosophies, metaphysical inquisitiveness under Christian or pagan colouring, all of which were despised in the Darwinian period, are coming up again. It is the spirit of Rome in the Age of Augustus. Out of satiety of life, men take refuge from civilization in the more primitive parts of the earth, in vagabondage, in suicide. The flight of the born leader from the Machine is beginning.

–Oswald Spengler, Man & Technics

How Much Will That Baby Cost?

Between $12,350 and $13,900 per year, in the USA, on average, according to the government’s data. Here’s more from the 2017 report, “Expenditures On Children By Families”:

  • The estimated expense to raise a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610 (in 2015 dollars) for a middle-income (before-tax income between $59,200 and $107,400), married-couple family with two children.
  • Expenditures on a child in married-couple families were generally lower in the younger age categories and higher in the older age categories, as shown in figure 3 for families in the middle-income group. This relationship was consistent across income groups.
  • Expenditures by married-couple households with only one child averaged 27 percent more than expenditures per child in a two-child, married-couple family. Expenditures by married-couple households with three or more children averaged 24 percent less per child than expenditures on each child in a two-child, married-couple family.
  • Overall, married-couple families in the urban Northeast had the highest child-rearing expenses, followed by similar families in the urban West and urban South. Married-couple families in the urban Midwest and rural areas had the lowest child-rearing expenses.

Industrialists Then, Industrialists Now

1867

The industrial bourgeoisie foamed with sullen rage at the denunciations of the factory system by the landed aristocracy, at the pretended sympathy with the woes of the factory operatives, of those utterly corrupt, heartless, and genteel loafers, and at their “diplomatic zeal” for factory legislation.

–Karl Marx, Capital (Vol. I)

2019

Neal Stephenson made the point about the vast gulf between SF (speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy,etc.) and literary writers. The distinction he drew was that even though often the subject matter overlapped Margaret Atwood and other literary writers write about near future dystopias and mad scientists producing new technologies while Stephenson wrote an entire series about the philosophical movements of the 1600s. But Stephenson draws his income from actual book sales while “literary writers” draw their income from teaching posts and endowments and institutional patronage. And the different values inherent in works reflect that.

But whereas Stephenson lets it go with a OK some writers has a career path like Dante (patronage) and some have a career path like Dickens (popular sales), the New Right draws a different conclusion:

the Patronage writers are utterly corrupt. Their funding entirely comes from either tax dollars or the corrupt buying political influence ( ie. tax dollars with extra steps), their work is utterly worthless being unable to withstand any market test, their values are corrupted by their funding apparatus preferring wishy subjective postmodern political takes because any hard or hot take on politics or anything remotely political would upset their patronage, and their values and control over the education apparatus is an IQ shredder diverting the most promising creative minds into pointless academic status games. How many Shakespeares, Dumas, and Heinleins have we lost to the postmodern academic industrial complex.

There is only one solution! SF writers need to drive their Mechs into Harvard Yard drag out the literary writers and toss them in the sarlacc pit. And furthermore we are of the opinion that the New York Times Review of Books must be destroyed!

/u/KulakRevolt

Wages Then, Wages Now

1867

It would be easier, where property is well secured, to live without money than without poor; for who would do the work? … As they [the poor] ought to be kept from starving, so they should receive nothing worth saving. If here and there one of the lowest class by uncommon industry, and pinching his belly, lifts himself above the condition he was brought up in, nobody ought to hinder him; nay, it is undeniably the wisest course for every person in the society, and for every private family to be frugal; but it is the interest of all rich nations, that the greatest part of the poor should almost never be idle, and yet continually spend what they get…. Those that get their living by their daily labour … have nothing to stir them up to be serviceable but their wants which it is prudence to relieve, but folly to cure. The only thing then that can render the labouring man industrious, is a moderate quantity of money, for as too little will, according as his temper is, either dispirit or make him desperate, so too much will make him insolent and lazy…. From what has been said, it is manifest, that, in a free nation, where slaves are not allowed of, the surest wealth consists in a multitude of laborious poor; for besides, that they are the never-failing nursery of fleets and armies, without them there could be no enjoyment, and no product of any country could be valuable. “To make the society” [which of course consists of non-workers] “happy and people easier under the meanest circumstances, it is requisite that great numbers of them should be ignorant as well as poor; knowledge both enlarges and multiplies our desires, and the fewer things a man wishes for, the more easily his necessities may be supplied.

–quoted in Capital (Vol. I)

Work, Work Never Changes

Within the capitalist system all methods for raising the social productiveness of labour are brought about at the cost of the individual labourer; all means for the development of production transform themselves into means of domination over, and exploitation of, the producers; they mutilate the labourer into a fragment of a man, degrade him to the level of an appendage of a machine, destroy every remnant of charm in his work and turn it into a hated toil; they estrange from him the intellectual potentialities of the labour process in the same proportion as science is incorporated in it as an independent power; they distort the conditions under which he works, subject him during the labour process to a despotism the more hateful for its meanness; they transform his life-time into working-time, and drag his wife and child beneath the wheels of the Juggernaut of capital.

–Karl Marx, Capital (Vol. I)