Alt-Bot Politics

Recently, the government has seen fit to dump a collection of hobos into my part of the ghetto. For a long time we were bum free, then one day we had four or five camping in shrubbery, behind buildings and so forth. One was completely insane, running into the street screaming at people. The others just look like men down on their luck, as we used to say. They stay out of the way and they don’t panhandle, at least as far as I can tell.

The one guy I see, on my way to and from the office, never seems to move from the clump of bushes he now calls home. It was raining today and he had an umbrella, so he could guard his camp, I suppose. The bum’s life is a mystery to me, but my hunch is the sheer boredom of it alters them psychologically, assuming they are something close to sane before they hit the streets. This one looks like a drunk to me, but that’s a guess.

Still, imagine what it must be like to wake up every day knowing you have no reason to exist. The crazy ones are probably lucky in that regard. The drunks and drug addicts sober up long enough to realize they are just extra people that have no purpose and the world has no use for them. Presumably, their addictions are what landed them on the streets, but that realization is probably what keeps them there. What’s the point?

Once in my life, I was out of work for an extended period. The career I was in had run its course so I was in need of a course correction. I had some money put away that I could use to take some time off to figure out my next move. The first month was great. I enjoyed all the things I never had time to do when working. Then it got boring and my sleep started getting weird. I realized that I was not built for retirement or extended unemployment.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not one of the “work sets you free” types. I like goofing off as much as anyone. It’s just that I need a reason to get up in the morning. I need a purpose and it does not need to be a grand purpose. Even a job stocking shelves would be enough, just as long as I know I’m part of the world. I don’t think I’m an outlier. My general impression is most people have the itch that is best scratched by having a job.

Fear of the robot revolution mostly focuses on the economics of a world without work, but there is that other side and it may be more important. Let’s pretend the robots figure out how to keep us in material goods beyond any reasonable expectation. Without some purpose, lots of people will get bored and then go a little crazy. Crazy bums are a manageable problem. Crazy bored smart people may not be manageable.

That’s the other thing about the robot revolution. It’s assumed that the laboring classes will be hit first. That may not be the case. I was talking with a friend over the holiday and he is fairly sure he will be out of a career soon. He is in the money business and much of what he does is being taken over by software. The algorithms are so good there is no need for the smart guy who trades on math, rather than emotion or experience.

It’s not just that the machines are replacing people. What automation often does is reduce the skills required of certain jobs. In the industrial age, automation replaced the skilled craftsman with a local yokel, who would work cheap. Similarly, smart experienced people in the investment game are being replaced with younger, cheaper people who will push the green button when it flashes and the red button when it flashes, like bond traders do now.

The robot revolution is not going to happen overnight, but a lot of smart people in their middle years, see the writing on the wall. Baby Boomers have not prepared adequately for their retirement, but at least they had a job until retirement. The next generation is facing a great dislocation in the second half of their prime working years. If “greedy geezers” are warping our politics, just imagine what a wave of pissed off middle-aged people will do.

We may be getting a glimpse of it with the alt-right. It’s hard not to notice that the movement is mostly young males. There are plenty Gen-X people, but they are the geezers of the movement. The irreverence and subversiveness are only partially driven by youth. There’s a healthy disdain for the culture too. The alt-right is a rejection of the modern American culture, by people who think the culture has rejected them.

As the middle-aged people begin to wonder what’s the point, many will do like the hobos at the start of this post. They will find ways to lose themselves in drugs, booze and despondency. Some will get into the sort of dissident politics we see with the alt-right, while others may even find more radical ways to find purpose in their lives. Men need a purpose, a reason to get up in the morning. If work is not it, then something else will fill the void. The robot masters may learn that idle hands do the devil’s work.

75 thoughts on “Alt-Bot Politics

  1. Excellent post. Was out of work for 6 months or so during a period of depression 3 years ago. My road back to full employment started with working at the local Salvation Army thrift store loading bags of clothes and furniture. People don’t realize how important work is psychologically.

  2. Seems to be a little confusion here as to the purpose of work. Because that is not clarified, things seem dire. There are two conflicting goals you describe for work: one, earning some sustenance; two, giving you something to do with your time. Only by refusing to separate out these two things will you get confused. Robots come in because of reason one. That’s just fine, let them do all the work they want to, as long as there is some income stream to humans. For reason two, you can do whatever you want, especially things which pay nothing, because robots are going to feed and clothe you. So, instead of the economy failing and people going all Camus on us, they will simply go do whatever they damn well prefer to do. Life will be great. We just need to get the governance to arrange for the income stream to be properly distributed.

  3. Having a criminal record which restricts employment options has kept plenty of people on the straight and narrow. It has also kept plenty of smart people from making some of the more extreme ideas becoming reality. People don’t want to be seen as unemployable. So when we are rendered unemployable because of automation, we are going to see more DUI convictions, drug arrests, illegal weapon possessions, parking/speeding tickets will be ignored, driver’s license/car registrations will be thrown in the trash, rents go unpaid, local council regulations will be trashed etc. I was laid off recently and jobs in my field are basically finished so I’m back at school hoping that my new career choice will see me back in the workforce. I did consider at the time that if a lot of guys like me who like to be busy, have above average IQ and no longer give a shit about being fired – things could get very interesting.

  4. “Fear of the robot revolution mostly focuses on the economics of a world without work, but there is that other side and it may be more important.”

    But the world with robots will not be “I, Robot” where the robots make and repair themselves. Not even close.

    Learn to make and repair the robots, I did that 20+ years ago. Pays really well too.

    The ones who will suffer are the lower half of the Bell Curve (normal distribution). The half that is below average. You do know that half of the people are below average, right?

  5. Those “idle hands” may end up doing the work of the angels. The robot masters remind me of those heartless puritan factory owners so well described by Charles Dickens.

  6. Seems that technological revolutions inevitably bring wars and destractions. Late bronze age collapse happened when humanity started using iron and thus entered long agricultural age.

    Industrial revolution coincided with Civil War in US and WWI in Europe.
    We are going thru Computer and Information Revolution presently, and seismic waves of this creative distraction are already quite strong and probably will intensify.
    Whats the advice we can give the young ones besides getting their STEM degrees? Who is better suited to survive times of huge technological changes? Probably IQ alone is not the answer.

    • Teach the kids how to adapt. Make them read “Who Moved My Cheese?” Talk to successful people, and they’ll tell you a winding and twisting tale of their “career”. Few people go soup to nuts as just one thing, outside of certain professions like medical specialties or lawyers. My CPA owns and runs a large firm today. He was a biologist at one point in his life.

  7. To your bigger point some men need a purpose. It was the one factor that made a difference with criminal recidivism.

    To your bum observation, huffing. It is huffing that makes the truly crazy ones. Outside those that are already crazy of course.

  8. “To put one brick upon another,
    then a third and then a forth,
    leaves no time to wonder whether what you do has any worth.
    but to sit with bricks all around you
    while the winds of heaven bawl
    weighing what you should or could do,
    leaves no doubt at all.”

  9. Every time I read the leftists lauding the UBI and how it will allow all to become poets and artists as they follow their dreams, I think of the reality of most unemployed young people, drugs, violence, in basements playing games, and cry for their future.

  10. I was out of work for 18 months during the tech bust. I used to watch the cars go by and wish that I had a job to go to. Took a call center job just to get back to work. I did Toastmasters and took another worthless community college class, while looking for a job.

    I’ve been around a lot of people that would rather scam than work. Sometimes the scam requires more effort than a job, like the guy I knew that had a hard rock iron mine claim. I’ve also done a lot of seasonal work, so I’ve dealt with short periods of down time. And I am ready to retire. I would like to research early American history, possibly write a book if I find something interesting. And I want to garden and knit. I can find things to do and I won’t miss having to keep up with the latest version of Windows and Mac OS at all. I will need to make connections for the day that my husband passes away, since I don’t have kids and I don’t expect to hear from his son. But everyone should plan for that day. It’s a lot like that John Prine song “Hello in There”.

  11. Re red button, green button algorithm-driven nanosecond trading: I wonder how well it will work when everybody’s doing it. No longer will there be ‘market information’ provided by myriad individual actors available for the taking. IOW, the bots may destroy the commons that their makers assumed to be theirs for their profitable taking.

    One big difference is that trading is in what we used to call the ‘strategic realm’ vs the ‘natural realm’: Meaning your plans and actions are opposed by other intelligent beings and not just the forces of nature. A river will not widen itself to impede your bridging it but an opposed river crossing is among the most dangerous of military operations, for example.

    Now, one may answer that trading becomes ‘the battle of the bots’ (more properly algorithms). If/when that happens, aren’t we pretty close to being back to square one_? Old and busted: The algorithm’s in your brain from years of experience and you get pretty close to realtime feedback on how it’s working. New and hot: The algorithm’s in your portable device and you have no idea what’s happening in anywhere close to the new nanosecond long realtime. That sets you up nicely for an Algorithm Ambush, coming to a trading ‘floor’ near you_(?!)

  12. I guess drink, drugs, video games, and sporadic violence are the way of the future. We could re-open all the monasteries and convents that the Reformation and Age of Enlightenment burned to the ground so that these people could do something more productive with their lives (i.e, ora et labora), but “The West” has to rediscover Christendom before that could happen on a large scale

  13. Now add in yesterday’s discussion.
    Women without family and men without jobs.
    I can’t imagine what is next…?

  14. “What about the current opiod problem with middle aged and older white workers? Left out and redundant with no hope, go on SSI and live nominally along with depression. Depression triggers physical pain and the need for more of the Demerol.”

    And, I might add, deliberately stripped of hope by the Democrat party which laughs at the staggering rates of suicide among white men and blatantly crows that they ought to die, the sooner the better. A smart GOP (I know, redundancy) could shatter the Dems to smithereens just by pointing out, again and again, that the Democrat party wants white people to die.

    But that would presume the GOP actually wanted to govern, rather than survive on the left’s table scraps.

    • We’ve seen middle aged people “have enough” One those guys, 68! shot Rep. Steve Scalise and no doubt plenty more would be assassins are out there on both sides.

      The US reached another gun sales record this year. we are probably outnumbered by our firearms by now

      The only thing ironically keeping this society together is Libertarian Individualism , basically the US is a terminally ill man dying of cancer (Leftism) kept alive by self administered strychnine (Individualism) which will kill him anyway.

      However many memes I’ve been seeing God Emperor Trump, White Sharia , End Women Suffrage and others are collectivist which is a very good thing, well not for the Republic or the Empire but for the necessary interregnum if we are to save society

      Everyone wants to solve the problem with votes but between the Lib Tards, Leftists, Looter-Cucks in the GOP and the stuck on stupid people its damned hard and I’m note sure it works

      It may be TINVOWOOT all the way down.

  15. Purpose is everything. When my brother was in the depths of depression, had lost his job (he simply stopped going to work one day…for 6 months), one of the ways I helped him out of that hole was bringing him out to live with my family and helping me get my new business off the ground. Being around a not-dysfunctional family affects you in good ways. When my extended family would ask what I was doing, I would tell them I had a plan, and that plan was to give him a purpose. As he slowly recovered (you never fully recover from depression), he found a job in the mountains, figured out how to relocate there, and started over. By all accounts, he’s doing better now.

    But he hasn’t talked to me in a year, and I suspect he won’t. He got what he needed out of us, so he’s on to other people who can give him what he needs. He’s basically now the person we use to talk to our kids about the dangers of isolation, inability to talk to others, depression, etc. “Don’t be like Uncle X.”

    There has been talk of taxing the robots’ labor in the same way we tax human labor. This, in order to finance the increasing burdens of the welfare state. A solution waiting in the wings is where citizens essentially adopt a robot which works on their behalf, and their earnings are derived from it.

    Society is going to whittle down to people who do absolutely nothing of value at all, people who work for the government, people who work in the trades. Trades are where people can find purpose – electricians, painters, landscapers, plumbers, stuff that cannot be automated or which requires Rube Goldberg levels of automation to pull it off (yeah, you “could” build a robot to tar the roof, but think about the complexity involved, drywall, plumbing, too). Finally, a very small percentage of people who are like those sent to “the island” in Brave New World…people who just don’t fit in, and who simply want to live on their own terms. They’ll be subsidized just like everybody else, but will be viewed as counterculture eccentrics who compost and grow their own food, build and maintain their own homes, are well read in the classics, and generally DGAF who is in charge as long as they are left alone to do their own thing.

    The X-factor is a big technological revolution that gets us off-planet. The basic premise of Star Trek is that society nearly drove itself to extinction in a global war. The few who were left were blessed with advanced post-war technology, lots of land, little conflict, and plenty of spare time…so they started exploring the galaxy mainly to give themselves something to do…a purpose.

    I don’t think we can rule that out…basically the Cabin Fever Principle of Interplanetary Space Travel.

  16. Very timely post – I was wondering the same thing this week; what motivates hobos like this to not off themselves, since from my perspective, they don’t seem to have much to live for.

    Then I got to wondering if billionaire celebrities feel the same way about people like me…

    • The survival instinct is biology.

      There are always class differences in societies. Our class mobility makes us somewhat unique, but not the differences. I was out 4-wheeling in my truck when I was an AF officer station in Wyoming. At that level of rank, you could think of me as upper middle class. Single, no family, etc. So I get my truck centered on some deep snow, and I’m digging it out when a truck load of good old boys drives up behind me in two trucks with four men and 3-4 young boys. They dragged my truck out, and we spent the next hour drinking beers over the bed of their pickup. Next thing you know, they handed me a .22 and we went squirrel hunting for a couple of hours. This mostly consisted of shooting the guns into empty nests and the hillsides. It was great fun.

      As we headed back to the truck, one of them invited to me their regular bar/haunt to meet the rest of the clan, and one of his friends politely shook him off. There are differences, and those differences cut both ways, and that is not a bad thing.

        • My first and only experience, sadly. Let’s just hope Bob Mueller doesn’t sweep me up in his Russia investigation as he desperately seeks to prosecute somebody, ANYBODY!!! I don’t want to get Scooter Libby’d …

      • Reminded me of an Senior NCO who asked me, a young officer, if I knew why there was separate housing for Officers and NCOs. I confessed I hadn’t thought about it. He told me, “So we can get away from each other and relax.”

  17. I used live in Los Angeles – that’s a destination city for the smart bums. Why deal with East Coast weather and unpleasant seasons when you can set yourself up in a comfortable park in Santa Monica?

  18. I just turned 51. Can’t imagine doing the same rat-race crap I’m doing for another decade and a half, but also can’t imagine being idle for too long.

    My vision of a perfect retirement would a small farm somewhere remote. Plenty of mostly enjoyable work to do each day, but no stress (assuming I saved enough).

    • If you get a chance to get a small farm grab on with both hands and don’t let go. Your children and grandchildren will thank you. As long as you don’t let them sell it out from under you.

  19. At a company I follow, I noticed the recently retired baby boomer ceo had started out at the ground floor (think cashier). Carly fiorna (whatever you think of her) started out as a secretary.

    Moving up in the company from the bottom, which baby boomers were able to do based on hard work and talent, is something that does not exist any more. In fact if you start out at a low place it will hold you back. To get to the top you have to start there which means that you have to have connections or make them.

    What I am saying is that a lot of talented people are finding themselves with no possibility of advancement because they did not ‘do the right thing’ at precisely the right time in the right way. And many of the people who did do the right thing are uncreative and spoiled even if they do have technical skills.

    • You really need to separate claptrap from reality. Carly Fiorina did not start out as a secretary in any meaningful sense of the phrase. Her father was a law professor and Federal Judge on the 9th Circuit. She studied history and philosophy at Stanford, then went to law school at UCLA.

      She quit law school after one semester and then worked briefly as a receptionist at a commercial real estate firm before getting married and flitting off to Italy to teach English. She went to business school when she returned to the US where she got pulled into the Management Track program at AT&T. Anyone who has worked at a telecom knows precisely how political the “Management Track” gig is–the telcos practically invented the Cloud People model.

      After AT&T Fiorina went to Lucent, where she was instrumental in destroying the company by stuffing the sales channel on shaky credit and then went on to destroy HP, getting filthy rich in the process.

      • Good to know – I admit to not knowing much about her. Still she did apparently work in a low level job for a little while, even if it’s kind of a mythical one. People on the management fast track now would never have worked such a job or would be ashamed of it if they would have.

      • Fiorina totally screwed HP. I think Locheed Martin is in the same boat. I wondered what was wrong with them and found a Women who used to run a brad company running the place. I don’t think modern executives have the technical knowledge to run a lot of our tech business so they buy stuff from Japan with their name stamped on it. Over time Japan and now China take over the business they refused to learn.

  20. You can make choices. There are still a few stone age hunters running around (let’s call that Economy sub 0). There are many more late iron age farmers and from the view from my backyard, they seem to be growing (Amish, E sub 1). Why not a parallel analog/machine economy (E sub 2)? I think that most of those living off the grid are really saying that they want to live in E sub 2.

    Or if you want to live in the information economy (E sub 3), learn Boolean algebra and machine logic. Understanding algorithms isn’t that hard. As I always say, you use one every time you come to a stop sign along with multiple other cars. Many of the ones that are being celebrated now are brute force number crunchers that lack the elegance and simplicity of the ones that make Ethernet work, for example. So there’s room for improvement. I am not really excited about being part of E sub 3, and would much rather live in E sub 2. But in the end, I’m going to do what I need to survive.

    I hope that the robot overlords will prove to be as tolerant of analog machine users as American analog machine users have been of late iron age farmers. My caution to you all would be that other polities (European, Soviet Union, China, etc) have not been particularly accepting of E sub 1, which is why the Amish all came here and the Old Believers were persecuted and scattered. Keep your powder dry.

  21. When we speak about the meaning of life, we tend to use cliches that have been around longer than we have. So, here’s more cliches! You are exactly where you are supposed to be at all times. The end was seen from the beginning. Focus on something to distract yourself from letting your mind wander to places it shouldn’t. Your function is to be an “atom” in the fabric of space-time. That space-time would not exist without your “atom”. There is good and evil. Choose good. There is life and death. Choose life. Death will choose you soon enough.

  22. Being in a unique situation that can’t be reproduced I am in no position to give advice. All I can say is that my family is my job now. Sure, I have other interests and am planning for the long slow decline of old age, but there are a few things that can be done to counter it some. Added 20 lbs to my dead lift recently; no idea where that came from. Every workout without an injury makes me feel like I’ve gotten away with something. New deer blinds in new positions. Planning on selling some property next year. Changing up the crops in the food plots. Just keeping things up. Having friends over to try out their new rifle, or fish.
    I miss work like I miss having both legs broken by a gangster.

  23. In this post, you are describing the fertile soil in which tyranny arises and then eventually leads to war, which history shows is the most effective means of eliminating boredom in a society.

  24. That’s why we need a spiritual revolution in the West. I’m not flogging any particular doctrine; Buddhism will do. Anything that preaches self-control as a means to transcendence. Because the Robot Revolution is exactly what happened to upper middle class kids in the Sixties. They grew up on tales of hardship, but they themselves were completely superfluous. Life was charted for them. They had no reason to exist, no identity, so they got political religion. Whatever we develop, it’s got to emphasize **individual** salvation — hot yoga, not virtue signaling about the (formerly) working man.

    • Actually we need a government willing to corral the machines and the way they are used or the public good. Tax policy will do the job quite well along with necessary capital controls.

      And note the old capital flight canard does not apply, Letters of Marque and Reprisal exist for just this purpose as does a proper state intelligence agency . The Russians are very good at this kind of thing as are the Norks

      In any case the world will be smaller but and to survive we go medieval and favor Stability over progress

      As for Gates and Zuckerberg touting Basic Income,, well yeah. After seeing the Google Bus stoned a few times by angry people they kind of get that its only the veneer of civilization that’s remaining and some good luck that keep some group of people from knocking that bus over and subjecting the inhabitants to a Cambodian tire shock massage

      Right now the US Left is stuck on stupid but that is subject to change and if they go old school, the elite have a huge problem. Imagine a capable , violent sane AntiFa who are fixated on economic issues instead of cultural Marxism

      The BI peopel figure we pay people off with legal weed, V.R. and video games and the basics and the safety factor get s a lot higher and hopefully enough money will remain to keep a police state afloat for some time.

      After they die, they won’t care

      Long term of course, its a behavioral sink and the low fertility rate will simply result in elimination of the society since no one will be around to fix it or if its self repairing to want or use it.

  25. Even if the robot revolution means that work won’t be necessary to eat, many of us are knee deep in debt so do need an income. A wave of personal bankruptcies seems likely. Maybe one more reason to avoid banking stocks.

  26. I think what is sadly missing in America is that one has to have a paying job or career to have self-worth. Sure, one needs to work to live, but one should not think paid work is all there is to living. Get involved in your church or community to perform volunteer service. Nothing gives purpose and meaning to one’s life than to help others. A study I once read concluded that people will work harder, more creatively, and feel more satisfied for free than for pay, if the they find a niche where they feel they can make a positive difference. The Savior was right that to find oneself, you must lose yourself in serving others. You don’t have to be a martyr and devote your entire life like Mother Theresa working in the black hole of Calcutta. Just find a place where you can use your talents and experience to lift someone’s burden. Do random acts of kindness for friends and neighbors. Visit the sick and elderly. Clean up litter at a park or beach, even if it will be messed up the next day. I know I must sound Pollyannish with such talk, but doing something good makes me feel good, and takes my mind off about myself.

  27. Don’t think people fully appreciate what is coming. I’m one of those guys putting the bots to work in finance and it scares the shit out of me. Not for myself, but for my children. We’re looking at the classic Gates proposition, everyone overestimates the impact in next couple years, but grossly underestimates what the next ten or twenty will look like. Have told one of my kids who is finance/business in school, you have a choice, you can be one eliminated by technology or you can be the one who applies it. The first is a certainty, the second an honest roll of the dice. So best learn all you can about both sides. The other, thankfully, is getting his degrees in an insanely difficult engineering field that produces very few grads that are all snapped up by the time they are juniors. But our society is potentially fucked here. Just finished a transaction where, by simply applying simple rules based algorithms and automating some informational processes, we’ll eliminate close to 175 of the 225 jobs associated with this particular business. Within two years….just for starters. Expect with some rudimentary machine learning that number will go down to 25-40 (mostly front office) that can support 8-10% growth on a fixed employee base. These are all middle class professional and para-professional positions. Those are hard numbers. And everyone can’t be an Uber driver giving rides to other Uber drivers.

    • I would argue that finance is uniquely subject to automation at this point in time because Fed policy since 2008 has all but eliminated the alpha that professional money mangers were supposed to be seeking. Stated otherwise, professional money managers no longer add value. Hence, it makes perfect sense to automate that function. In the unlikely event that we return to something that approximates “normal” monetary policy then professional money managers may have a role again. I don’t believe this will happen in my lifetime.

      As to your other son, make sure he understand that engineering is a career with a limited life span of 5-10 years, unless he is in the defense industry. There are few people more miserable in Corporate America than engineers in their 50s.

  28. Here’s the honest truth, guys: unless you have some religion, there is no grand purpose or meaning to life. nada. sorry. soooo, in order to maintain some semblance of mental health, we must invent one. a common one is other people, find some other person who needs you.

      • oppps. mistake. “what would be thy happiness, without those, for whom, thou shinest”. first from memory, second, after i looked it up.

  29. …but at least they (boomers) had a job until retirement.

    Well, for the very earliest ones, perhaps. The Big Slide started in 2001 and if you retired at 55 and was born in 1945 you technically made it. There were a lot of plant closures in the 00’s and I knew a lot of 50-60 somethings back then who were pounding the streets trying to find something to work at. Most everybody took big pay cuts even if they found something. You are very accurate about what not working does to you. I knew several who gave up entirely and many are dead or crazy now.

  30. I would have guessed that a jobless Zman would work on a full-length book every day, and regularly go to a gym or bar or other gathering-place for the dose of social interaction that we need for sanity.

    Another reason that people can end up jobless is personal irritability that leads to conflicts with bosses and co-workers. This problem is totally distinct from addiction (to begin with, at least) and laziness, although inability to fit into a social structure can lead to self-medication and addiction.

  31. Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep. Ecclesiastes 5:12

  32. Automation does tie in to your last post, about feminism. Read the articles or books by women like that harpy yenta Hannah Rosin and the impression you quickly get is that their fantasy of “the end of men” (the actual title of her book) is something that can be hastened by automation. I think feminists secretly know they provide no useful function, and the crude working class white men they hate keep the roads paved, food on the table, and the lights on. Imagine if you could get apolitical robots to do the work now done by men you hate who also happen to be men you need. That’s my prediction: that feminism and automation will complement each other in an ugly fusion reaction to make the deplorables obsolete at a faster rate, which will result in feelings of meaningless among these males. That lead to more opioid and heroin deaths in Appalachia and the Rust Belt. Black Jesus Obama put a lot of time and energy into r & d for self-driving over-the-road trucking, which is the number one job for males with only a high-school education. The death of manual trucking will leave a lot of men feeling meaningless.

    I think one of the reasons the Cloud People want the border open is that they want to make sure there’s a steady, uninterrupted supply of heroin with which the white working class can euthanize itself. I don’t have a solution, but I do have a start: more young men need to get involved with sports (playing them, not watching them). Boxing has always been an important building block of masculinity formation, from the time of antiquity to the days of Teddy Roosevelt.

    • Marxist feminist affirmative action memes operate at the level of stereotype, not archetype. Like the quota admission in higher academia, they can’t compete, so they disrupt. They take their glass ceiling with them wherever they go, as it is their genetic reality. The graffiti this woman calls a book will not change the world.

  33. What will be interesting in the coming algorithmication of the economy will be how the future leaders of companies (medium to large, mostly), law firms, consulting firms, etc will have developed the necessary experience of hands-on work as junior associates. From floor sweeping to filing, working with customers, reading balance sheets and the rest of the basic skills you develop as a entry level person, these are quickly becoming jobs performed by machines. How the future leaders learn the nuts and bolts of their company and industry is beyond me.

    • Alex – One thing I have seen in the industry I work in is that TPTB (managerial class) are moving to make all tasks into formulae. Recipe driven to a mindless degree. That is so the less than average may have ‘work’. The issue is that the industry is also driven by specifications tightly controlled under an Engineering Change Notice (ECN) system.

      I am firmly convinced this is driven by the fact that the young’uns are mostly unable to reason at the most basic level because the “education” system works this way. They can perform ‘tasks’ but have NO idea of why they may be doing the task. Even engineers are now credentialed not educated with some rare exceptions.

  34. I hate work, but one has to eat and keep a roof over their head.

    Hit the lottery = lots of toys and plenty of time to enjoy them.

    Jay Leno looks pretty happy 🙂

    • Leno had a reputation as a workaholic during his late night hosting career – spending tons of time working with writers on every single show. I’m sure this personality has carried over into his retirement so that even though it looks from the outside like he just owns a bunch of cars, he’s probably doing a lot with them.

  35. As I told my grandsons recently: If you want to be employed in twenty years, soldier or software, take your pick. Anything else is rolling the dice.

  36. Before old age, chop wood and carry water. After old age, chop wood and carry water.

  37. “They will find ways to lose themselves in drugs, booze
    and despondency.”

    When the formerly rich man was asked what happen to his fortune he replied, “Well, I spent half of it on wine, women and song.” When asked what happened to the other half he sighed, “Oh, the other half I wasted.”

    “Similarly, smart experienced people in the investment game are being replaced with younger, cheaper people who will push the green button when it flashes and the red button when it flashes”

  38. The first month was great. I enjoyed all the things I never had time to do when working. Then it got boring and my sleep started getting weird. I realized that I was not built for retirement or extended unemployment.

    Yup. I once had 6 months of unemployment. Within weeks I was so incredibly lazy even sending an email seemed like too much effort and I’d put it off for days. If you’re unemployed, you have to get out of bed at 7am and dress for work treat looking for work as a full time job, or you just become a useless bum.

    • I have heard it said that in the depths of the Russian Revolution, the ones who survived made themselves get up and do things, however trivial. The ones who perished were those who lay in bed all day trying to stay warm.

      Of course, surviving that stain on humanity’s history only to face what came next was a whole different matter.

  39. Still, imagine what it must be like to wake up every day knowing you have no reason to exist.

    I’m currently reading a rather obscure book called The Longest Mile by Rena Gazaway about life in an Appalachian “hollow” in the 1960s. The subjects of the study live in appalling poverty and squalor and fit the description of people who have little or no reasn to exist, and yes, it does alter them psychologically – quite considerably. But exist they do. Adaptable, resilient folk, humans.

  40. I’m one of the geezers in the movement. I don’t have feminism, my children & grandchildren don’t need me, I’m self employed, but only a few days a month, and I’m, (not so slowly), going crazy.
    This is not a good way to live life, at 50.
    I can’t see most people handling this monotonous and empty lifestyle well. I hear all this talk of the basic incomes, a robot future & people just sitting at home, docile, just fiddling with gadgets, but I’m not buying it.
    The future looks bloody to me.

    • I’m partially disabled after being wounded in one of our sandbox conflicts (I won’t dox myself by giving too many details). I’m in consistent (if not constant) physical pain, have PTSD, and I’m prescribed Percocet (which has killed more than a couple of my battle buddies from the war) and I’ve never come close to killing myself or losing my mind. My honest advice to you is to recognize it’s not hyperbole at this point to view the USA as a large repressive gulag run by the left, and in order to not only survive, but thrive, you should read some of the great “camp” literature to see how to overcome physical reality (including pain) with your mind. If you haven’t read it, start with “To Build a Castle” by Vladimir Bukovsky. Even in the hardest gulags, it was quickly discovered that intellectuals could survive longer than peasants and workers, because they could use their minds to overcome the boredom and agony of their trials. Don’t become an American version of the “Muselmann” (as Primo Levi called them) who become resigned to their fate. I remember how the neocons pushed for these disastrous wars, and I remember how they railed against Trump, and I remember going to the polling station at 3:30 in the morning on election day and waiting to vote until the polls opened at 6 am. And I remember my minor victory, my revenge for my friends. Trump’s not perfect, but he’s hated by all the people I hate, and every day of his presidency has given me that minor joy.

      The war’s not over, there’s no “end of history” or “right side of history”, and nothing is inevitable, especially not the left’s victory.

      • “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
        Blaine Pascal
        “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
        Alexander Solzhenitsyn
        If unemployment somehow gained in social status, people would be tearing each other up to be unemployed. Status is a powerful motivator.

      • @Joey Junger, have you considered writing your memoirs? You’ve obviously reflected a lot on your experience, and I can tell you as a historian that “ordinary guy” memoirs of wars are *very* valuable, because very rare. Self-publishing is a snap these days, I hear, and while you probably won’t get rich, you could change some minds….

      • Great advice to everyone, I should think, not just people like me.
        I do read quite a lot, it is a saving grace. Thanks for the suggestion.
        You’re right, the war is never over.

      • Hi, Joey: My reading list is similar to yours, for the same reasons. Next read: “Gulag Archipelago.” I have been waiting for years for the “right” time read it. The time has arrived.

    • there isn’t anything you are interested in learning, or doing?! why not try a few new things, take some classes, just get out of the house and experiment?

  41. What about the current opiod problem with middle aged and older white workers? Left out and redundant with no hope, go on SSI and live nominally along with depression. Depression triggers physical pain and the need for more of the Demerol.
    It won’t be just working class, like you said.

    Why is Zuckerberg pushing constantly for a guaranteed income? This is probably a seminal platform plank for his future bid for the White House.
    What does he know and what’s his part in it.

    • What Zuckerberg sees is the endgame of this round of automation and he and the bulk of the people in Silicon Valley have no idea what is behind it. But it makes them their fortunes and now they are trying to figure out how to keep them. As stated above, I’ve been waist deep in this particular futuring exercise (and spent a lot of time in the “Valley”) it is like staring into the abyss once you get over the bright shiny wonkiness of it all.

      • At some point, I came to realize that my life is very specific to a place and time. In 30 years or so, I will be well in my 80s and the world will probably be not at all the one I have lived in. I will be ready to check out, most likely, and the younger people will get to find their place in it.

        • Hi, Dutch: I am in the same place, age-wise. Some aspects of today’s world annoy me or anger me. Sometimes, I fight back. Other times, I just get away from what I do not like.

  42. Isolation is a factor in the decline of mental health. Joblessness, homelessness and dependence on welfare alter perspective – perception is reality. People sometimes get into situations due to circumstances beyond their control. Inaction leads to inertia, a powerful force that is hard to escape once it takes hold. If stocking shelves staves off that force, then so be it.

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