How to tell if you’re middle class.

Let’s say that you require – absolutely and unequivocally – a day job to feed yourselfi and provide you with the mental lebensraum that you need to survive the insanities of USAschwitz or similar NATO Orclandia. Let’s also say that you’re not up for the broomstick treatment and feel like a woebegone middle class wage slave as a result of this.

Well, I’m here to tell you that your seemingly unending fight for survival and your present region of residence matter far less than one thing : whether or not you swear in public. This is actually a more complex behaviour than it superficially appears to be. Allow me to explain.

First, a bit from Herr Talebii :

Risk takers can be socially unpredictable people. Freedom is always associated with risk taking, whether it led to it or came from it. You take risks, you feel part of history. And risk takers take risks because it is in their nature to be wild animals.

Note the linguistic dimension – and why, in addition to sartorial considerations, [stock and commodity] traders needed to be put away from the rest of nonfree, nonrisktaking people.[In] my days, nobody cursed in public except for gang members and those who wanted to signal that they were not slaves: traders cursed like sailors and I have kept the habit of strategic foul language, used only outside of my writings and family life.

Those who use foul language on social networks (such as Twitter) are sending an expensive signal that they are free – and, ironically, competent.iii You don’t signal competence if you don’t take risks for it – there are few such low risk strategies. So cursing today is a status symbol, just as oligarchs in Moscow wear blue jeans at special events to signal their power. Even in banks, traders were shown to customers on tours of the firm as you would with animals in a zoo and the site of a trader cursing on a phone while in a shouting match with a broker is something that was part of the scenery.

So while cursing and bad language can be a sign of [being a] dog – like status and total ignorance – the “canaille” which etymologically relates these people to dogs ; ironically [bears] the highest status, that of free-man, is usually indicated by voluntarily adopting the mores of the lowest class. Consider that the English “manners” isn’t something that applies to the aristocracyiv ; it is a middle class thing and the entire manners of the English are meant for the domestication of those who need to be domesticated.

Taleb, being the remarkable aggregator and distiller of ancient wisdom that he is, would be unsurprised to find that Mr. Doolittle, Eliza’s father in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, makes the same observation in this early-20th-century play. The following is actually a quote from the play that I admittedly didn’t fully grasp while listening to the audiobook aboard the 787 this past spring, but such near-misses of intellectual insight have a way of being particularly sticky. Now, with the context of Taleb’s observation vis-a-vis traders and the freedom to swear, it makes considerably more sense :

I have to live for others and not for myself: that’s middle class morality.

What it boils down to is this : living for others is the definition of slavery. Remember this the next time someone calls you “grossly egotistical” or “unwarrantedly self-important” or tells you that you have a “superiority complex.” What they’re actually saying is that your behaviour is unfair – that is, they’re offended primarily by your staunch refusal to be a slave like them, to grovel for your meals like them, and to put your faith in bovine consensus like them. That’s what it is.v

As far as their middle class morality is concerned, you should be modest, well-behaved, considerate of others’ feelings and gracious with your time, and NEVER SWEAR IN PUBLIC,vi especially not at or even in the vicinity of complete strangers. Tighter shackles no blacksmith could forge, and it’s this social taxation – the original social media, if you will – that keeps the classes divided and fixedly so generation after generation. Sure, there’s some measure of abilityvii and rarity of skills involved in distinguishing the upper crust of society from its inferiors, and so too its inferiors, and so on and so forth all the way down to the gutter, but by far the most significant advantage that the upper class has over the middle class, certainly in the digital age, is the self-grantedviii freedom to run our mouths, the freedom to tell a random idiot : “you really ought to punch that dumb mother of yours right in the kisser for raising you to be so fucking stupid, she deserves it,” as the case may be. Note that this is something that the middle class can’t even comprehend, so interwoven into its DNA is self-regulating subservience.ix

Now it’s no mystery that I consider myself both free of mind, free of mouth, and free of crayon, but let’s see if we can find similarly expensive behaviour from men who don’t have such pretenses of grandeur, men who call themselves “slaves” despite showing the aforementioned hallmarks thereof. Who knows, we might even learn something about x86 CPUs along the way :

asciilifeform: Phun phakt: Intel’s recent (few yrs) CPUs have a countdown which cuts power in 30 min. If the MEx firmware doesn’t execute (to prevent you from cutting it out of the BIOSxi image) otherwise the FWxii is RSA-signed (2048b iirc).

And gotta love the crock of shit where x86 == Intel. There is literally 1 paragraph devoted to AMD : “But is the situation much different on AMD-based x86 platforms? It doesn’t seem so! The problems related to boot security seem to be similar to those we discussed in this paper. And it seems AMD has an equivalent of Intel ME also, just disguised as Platform Security Processor (PSP).” This is not untrue, but there is a key difference – FOR FUCKS SAKE AMD DOESN’T FORCE IT TO BE ON ! You can ignore it. (Deprive it of firmware, switch it off.)

But I suppose this is when I say a bit about WHY we have these idiocies. There are at least two independent political pressures for the ‘trusted’ separate CPU-in-a-CPU thingies. One is the Microshit/Palladium/Fritzchip/treacherous computing (see RMS essay by same name) totalitarian batshit. The other is the entirely sane hunger of pretty much everyone with half a brain to escape from Winblowz, or, failing that, at least not have his private keys touched by Winblowz. This keeps in perfect fitting with the “computing industry”-as-a-protection racket business model of the last 20+ yrs, where it “solves” exclusively those problems which it, itself, creates. And chumps beg for moar.xiii

How’s CPU-in-CPU thingies related to escape from Winblowz? Sane people understand enough to wish for their RSA modular exponentiations to NOT HAPPEN UNDER WINBLOWZ. They will say : literally ~anywhere else please~ and USG is happy to oblige, “here have a clipperchip.” It is a classical ‘good-cop/bad-cop’ symbiosis. As for the batshit element, there is a stable of folks, working (publicly known since at the earliest 2001, but likely earlier) to “undo the mistake” of the general-purpose computer. The “mistake” being that smart kidz can reverse-engineer, do the unanticipated, cause problems for “their betters.” They approached the problem, in classic USG style, from a dozen angles at once. One approach was “you open the box but there is nothing to be learned or modified because IT’S ALL IN TEH CLOUDZ!!11.” Another was “you open the box and the gasenwagen comes ten minutes later.” This was at one point considered practical but the proliferation of cheap hardware retired it.xiv What’s left is “you open the box and there is a mess of 16nm tamper-resistant undocumented silicon, have fun.” (Incidentally, for Chinese aficionadosxv : NO WORKSTATION-GRADE CPU IS OR HAS EVER BEEN MADE in Cn). They’re 100% NATO. Intel, AMD both.

Incidentally, the “crypto chip as unprincipled exception” is long-standing policy in USG internally. (They will publicly proclaim, to an audience gagging from suppressed laughter, that “MS-Win is the only certified OS for Top Secret XYZ” while at the same time being sure to carry out private key ops ONLY in Mykotronx/Safenet’s silicon) : and this since 1991 or so !

Back to Rutkowska’s paper, for some perverse reason the irony of using mechanisms like IOMMU to somehow defend the bits in your NICxvi from anal rogering by your GPU – at the cost of creating yet another all-seeing Hitler in the boxxvii – is lost on her. This is the problem with mats-style “mitigations” thinking. If you are unwilling to treat the problem as something to be abolished AS A LOGICAL CLASS – you are stuck with idiot epicycles. And are part of the problem in the fullest possible sense of this phrase. For n00bz, I will point out that is is possible to build a computer where, e.g., buffer overruns, is PHYSICALLY impossible. Ditto “Rowhammer” and related idiocies. (How to abolish “Rowhammer” ? a) Don’t use DDR3, why does a Tetris-playing accountant need 128GB of RAM?? b) Use RAM that is wired as a hash table, where n+1 is NOT physically adjacent or otherwise predictably distant from n. —- BUTBUTBUT I want 128GB! But I want burst readwrite! FUCKYOU. See also

So alf’s certainly not middle class, and since he doesn’t line up at Walmart at 11:45pm on the last day of every month just before government benefits tick over, he’s certainly not lower class either, but the question remains : what the hell are you?

___ ___ ___

  1. That is, to feed yourself real food, not the corn-based junk they feed to moo-eyed morons. []
  2. This quote and more – though clearly in draft form, as much square brackets indicate – are available here in PDF. []
  3. Fuck Twitter. Seriously. But the point remains : whether you’re in an elevator in a hotel, on the ferry to Vancouver Island, or in the comments section on a (not so) random car blog, swearing is signal. Much like speaking Latin, really. []
  4. As even a quick visit to #bitcoin-assets readily corroborates ! []
  5. “Living for others” and “putting others first” are also the core mantras of the massively popular and incredibly slavish doctrines of Buddhism and Christianity, just to pick two. This is of some interest in and of itself, but the more telling observation is that it’s this built-in domination that’s made them endure the centuries. After all, 99% of humans, possibly more (but possibly just slightly less), are happiest when they’re told what to do and how to do it. As much as anything, it’s this trait that’s so enduring in mankind, regardless of what particular brand of golden-robed barnacles rest atop it. []
  6. “Because swearing offends people and offending people is worse than death mkay.” If you agree with this statement, you’re middle class. And I hate you. It’s YOUR pretenses to personhood that make rogue states out of empires. You fucking suck. []
  7. The ability to financially crush idiots is particularly powerful. So too is the confidence to unabashedly bare all in front of them. []
  8. “Self-granted” is herein understood to include being parented by people who are, well, just that : people – that is, not mouth-breathing sycophantic etatist shills dead-set on sewering their own fleisch und blut, whether they understand themselves to be doing such or not. A rock is a rock even if it thinks itself a daisy and a brilliant ballet dancer. []
  9. This being said, it’s of considerable anthropological interest that refugees of fallen regimes – or even those who’ve stayed in place and watched governments and their ideologies dissolve in real-time, even if they were approximately middle class before – tend to be the most successful businessmen and businesswomen. Why ? Because they see the charade of rules governing a given time and place as the arbitrary and ephemeral echafaudage that they are – providing them with an immense advantage in finding loopholes and leverage opportunities over sheep who’ve never known anything other than the tender ebbs and flows of the status quo, particularly if such lambs were “educated” in the state-run exam-centric school system that must by necessity support the values and ideals of those in control of it. It could be no other way.

    Another point is that, arguably, it’s this sense of placelessness, this yeshivic approach to learning that takes place in parallel with whatever happens “in school,” as well as the multi-layered and ever-undefined essence of Torah that makes the “Wandering Jew” such a force to be reckoned with – a force that, at least as much as rampant materialism, was the cause of so much ire 80 years ago. Germans love their rules, you know. []

  10. ME = Management Engine, a baked-in backdoor that allows remote access to your computer. Because reasons. []
  11. BIOS = Basic Input Output System, software stored on the motherboard that instructs your computer on how to perform operations such as booting and keyboard control, as well as identifying and configuring the hardware hard drives, optical drives, CPU, memory, etc. []
  12. Firmware. []
  13. I don’t see this “chumps beg for more” thing myself. Computers are so commodified nowadays and the demands placed on them are so mundane that as long as they play Netflix and YouTube and don’t crash when watching porn, no one is going to make a stink. That is, until Bitcoin. []
  14. Arguably, the realisation of exponential costs made door-to-door shakedowns impossible. Economics FTW !!1 []
  15. Ie. those with more than a glimpse into, or more than a superficial curiousity towards, the Chinese blackbox. []
  16. NIC = Network Interface Controller. []
  17. What’s wrong with Hitler ? He’s who you wanted all along. []

32 thoughts on “How to tell if you’re middle class.

  1. funkenstein says:

    If you don’t mind a bit of going astray with the crayon, this is an opportunity to point out that if indeed slavery is living for others, then this is true both if said living is to make the others comfortable or if it is to make them uncomfortable . This is the great irony of O’brien:

    If one’s goal in torture, violence, fearmongery, or otherwise is solely to make others suffer: then there is no personal intent and hence the petty tyrant is truly powerless. Swearing or not, that’s some low class shit right there.

    • Your logic, it’s br0ken.

      i) Living for others means making them more comfortable at your expense. You’re trying to twist what the master does, ie. use violence as a means of educating his slaves, into a selfless and powerless act, which it plainly isn’t. Living for others flows upwards. Living for yourself flows downwards.

      ii) How would you know that there’s no personal intent in making others suffer ?

      iii) The tyrant isn’t powerless unless he’s Diocletian. Or the 44th President of the United States. And even then he’s not completely impotent, just a pallid shadow compared to his virile forebears, but this still doesn’t make him low class.

  2. funkenstein_the_dwarf says:

    Aha, well perhaps I didn’t make myself clear then. As you say: “means of educating..” therefore, intent to educate is implied. Not exactly violence / discomforting for its own sake is it.

    Of course it’s quite easy to tell with a bit of thought for a given case if the tyrant in question has a plan or is just a broken butthurt dangerous nobody. But in this case it was assumed, as I said “if the motivation is solely to make others suffer…”.

  3. […] can produce everything, it seems, but it can’t seem to design its ~own~ workstation CPU. It’s almost as if it’s too smart for that. What, and give the proles […]

  4. Adlai says:

    “You” could also just be a spoiled brat.

  5. Adlai says:

    It’s an equally if not more likely cause for public swearing.

    • If you’re 8 years old, sure. If you’re 38, not so much.

    • mhj says:

      Why is it “OK” to swear “at home” and not “in public”. Doesn’t make sense, unless, the reasons why you don’t want to swear “in public” is because you care what other people think. You are lacking self-esteem. This whole swarm of political correctness is largely due to said lack.

    • Being middle class isn’t about making sense, it’s about making the best of a modest outcome. In a sense, being middle class is not unlike being the 3rd-grader who scored a B- in English class but an “E” for “Effort.” For the observer, this phenomenon starts to make a lot more sense when viewed through the lens of psychological protectiveness and compensatory blinders.

  6. […] isn’t bad per se – at least not unless you’re wrapping it up in your detestably middle class “carbon” banner, in which case it’s entirely reprehensible – so I’m […]

  7. […] too old or too entrenched in “the system” to do anything about it ; and thus was born the middle class. Pretty neat trick, innit? […]

  8. […] sheltered most of my day-to-day interactions with meatspace are. This entire city is essentially middle class – even the multi-millionaires shop at Walmart alongside the welfare moms and the […]

  9. […] breath, is that he’s not a particularly wealthy man – in fact, he’s firmly in the middle class, if perhaps as high as the 85th percentile and therefore at the threshold between the top 15% he […]

  10. […] anyone either of us had ever been with before – her with me because being even a hair above middle class sticks out around here – me with her because… well, what counterfactual ? I’d […]

  11. […] Tinder which in turn invented sluts. If modernity invented anything, it’s the “educated, middle-class woman,” which is obviously a label being thrown around a bit too liberally to be […]

  12. Flosss says:

    You break a serious mental wall with this realization. It’s like Gordon Gekko. Greed is fucking good. I swear (sorry bad pun) man every time I have ever done something generous for somebody, whether it cost me anything or not, all it does is invites people to shit on you. Actually, I used to just be generous, but you get so tired of not only never getting ahead, but actually having people basically start stealing from you… That’s a recipe for deep seated hatred.

    I’ve always wondered what would happen if people collectively, purely by their own individual motivations, just up and quit their jobs and started starving and freezing themselves because they’d rather die than enrich some asshat they hate while living as a slave. I think either the rule of law would have to be re-established, or wages would skyrocket to the $5000/ hour range.

    For better or for worse, it’s never going to happen. so. might as well take advantage of the desperate masses. You can either be the bully, or you can be bullied. You choose.

    • Flosss, no one wants to feel like a sucker, that’s for sure, but your fantasy about a mass slave rebellion needs some refinement. Firstly, the “collective” impetus is always and everywhere towards preservation, which is also what makes it a fundamentally feminine behaviour. It’s for this reason and by this mechanism that “the people” choose to create slavish empires where everyone is equal mkay and therefore everyone is a slave and yet everyone is called “free.” It’s behind this constructed veneer of calling things other than as they are (see how “nigger” became “coloured” became “black” became “young man wearing a red hoodie”) that they hope to hide their individual inadequacies, even at the expense of any and all human flourishing, or even functioning.

      Fortunately, biology is a lot smarter, over the long-term, than the equalitarian hordes ; so even if a bunch of them try to huddle together for warmth in the hopes that they can all sell each other lattes and hair cuts and still pat themselves on the back and call their little circlejerk “an economy,” you can be sure that there will always be someone, somewhere, who’s hungrier, more risk-tolerant, and more willing to die for a shot at a better fate.

      So if this one particular group of slaves is too good to eat, good riddance to ‘em ! It’s a big world out there, travel’s never been easier, the Internet flattens a lot of job markets, and there are plenty of fungible workers waiting in the wings waiting to take the place of the “proud” ones who “couldn’t possibly make do on $20 a day.” After all, biology is nothing if not a fertile producer of meat ready to serve, and serve it shall.

      So the only way you’re going to see $5`000/hr salaries for slaves is if a loaf of bread costs $2`000. But if we’re talking sound money, most workers aren’t worth 0.1 BTC over their lifetimes. ‘Tis just the way the cookie crumbles whether we, or they, like it or not.

  13. Flosss says:

    “… in the hopes that they can all sell each other lattes and hair cuts and still pat themselves on the back and call their little circlejerk “an economy,”

    That’s astute. Basically everything would have to be re-valued, including consumer goods, BTC, and other securities.

    “It’s behind this constructed veneer of calling things other than as they are (see how “nigger” became “coloured” became “black” became “young man wearing a red hoodie”) that they hope to hide their individual inadequacies, even at the expense of any and all human flourishing, or even functioning.”

    There is literally a Russell Peters sketch done on this subject. -.- >

    But yeah, I forgot the whole minor detail of ‘self-preservation’. I guess genetic extinction is a pretty serious punishment in the big scheme of things.

    • LOL! Hadn’t seen that clip before, but as a Russell Peters fan ever since his ’04 breakout, he nails it.

      As to self-preservation in the face of extinction, this is naturally the path of least resistance, but only for those so inclined and only where economically feasible. This former condition is chiefly why those with a greater sense of self-preservation (ie. women and children) are traditionally sold into slavery following a military defeat (see Ancient Rome and Greece for vivid accounts), while those with less sense of self-preservation (ie. men 18-60 years-old, give or take) are executed on the spot if they’re unlucky enough to lose the war.

      This practical law of campaign resolution exists because self-preservation is highly correlated with adaptability and submissiveness, which makes for relatively inexpensive retraining, whereas a lack of self-preservation is highly correlated with stubbornness, which makes for relatively expensive retraining. Added to which was the fact that new money had to be coined into being up until the Mongols spread the use of paper currency in the 1200s, and minting coins was a much more resource-intensive process than printing paper was, which was itself a much more resource-intensive process than the latter day “keystroking” of new currency into the economy. With the more rigid financial constraints of the ancient world, and even of the Middle Ages, no one could even pretend to pay prison guards’ salaries much less the infrastructure development costs needed to take male POWs and house them in anything other than death/work camps for any period of time. So it was off with their heads.

      Economics… it’s deadly stuff.

  14. […] it’s typically the middle-upper set that takes such aspirational pains to censor their “foul language” in public. […]

  15. […] somewhat recent comment that’s well worth knocking up a notch into the footnotes (and perhaps one day into the body!) […]

  16. […] didn’t know this about me – that I’m quick with both praise and criticism, and don’t readily hold my tongue – so when he offered to not only reimburse me for the contested “service” part of […]

  17. […] one gives a shit about the American middle class, nor should they, nor could they even if they wanted to for some bleeding-heart reason. The US is […]

  18. […] There’s your run-of-the-mill Soviet stupidity and associated tragedy on the one hand – the sort that communitarially robs capitalist human inventiveness from the productive class – and then there’s the exceptionally vapid, and historically unprecedented in scale, brand of puritanical Soviet stupidity and associated tragedy on the other hand – the sort that communitarially robs masculine human independence from the middle class. […]

  19. […] reasons, but because you’re not good enough ?viii Anyways, it should be plainly obvious that middle class cuckoldry is nothing new. That you didn’t call the delivery guy from the flower shop a “fucking […]

  20. […] Evidently, it’s not just that there’s no such thing as rape, but in the exact same way and for the exact same reasons, there’s no such thing as collective security. It’s not a thing to have or a thing to be because “collective security” in praxis reduces either to i) a series of unenforceable military pacts,ii or ii) a series of successively more degrading and more debauched efforts to attention-whore.iii To the student of history, biology, or even taxi driving, that the passive desire nothing more than the mercy and more importantly the attention of the active should come as no surprise. But hey, lotsa flotsam “whent too unavericity” and now think themselves some measure too cultured and refined to notice the nigger under the red hoodie. […]

  21. […] to the theory that married men per definitio cannot be alphas. But perhaps this only applies to middle classmen given the number of Kings of England who’ve been married (and divorced!). […]

  22. […] That anyone would continue to feed this two-bit palm reader, much less fund his circus act, is a testament to the poisoned mind and poverty of intellect of the average man. That, and the sorry predicament that the whore of a state finds herself in… All because of you. You and your expectations. You and your “evidence-based medicine.” You and your despicable earthly aspirations. […]

  23. […] you just did what you do amirite, it’s not at all evident how much you thought those poor middle class white folks could take of your patronising verbal abuse,iv sexual discrimination,v and outright […]

  24. […] and uneducated life. Du temps libre is more often a burden than a blessing, particularly for the middle and lower classes. That extraction machines of various descriptions must be erected to keep them […]

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