bowling alone in tolerant networks, drinking the kool-aid in conformist castles, and kodokushi

CF wrote:

One more question, aimed mostly at JR, that seems to summarize alot of the discussion here about inclusion and community types:
Are multiculturalism and resilience compatible?
Is it possible to create a tribal identity purely out of the idea of material security, self-reliance and localism, irrespective of other cultural inclusion/exclusion categories like religion and race? I say this because tribalism and group identity are difficult to engender without historical memory, as is creating a whole new ethos without bootstrapping existing identities/tribalisms.
It seems many readers of this site favor incorporating an Resilience ethos into their existing group affinities.

I think Kievsky has already addressed this in his various writings, but I’ll follow his lead.

I think if you get a community truly focused on material security, self-reliance, and localism, you’re imposing about as much cognitive and behavioral hegemony as a standard religion. Maybe you don’t call it a “religion,” and certainly you don’t have to chant incantations, but you’re forming a tribe and drawing a border around them.

Tom Chittum wisely said that as soon as a community draws a border around itself, it has asserted local authority. If you start a group that believes in localism, you are necessarily building a castle wall and shutting out the globalists.

Even if you have a totally diverse network, if it’s localized, it’s a network inside a castle wall – a walled city, if you will.

If you are unambiguously part of a tightly-knit group, you can’t pick and choose. You’re part of the tribe. Your fellows might annoy you – but you can’t get rid of them, and they can’t get rid of you. When you get old and grey, you’ll still be part of the tribe.

CF wrote:

However, many of us have lived among multiple ethnic/religious communities through their life and genuinely value diversity; is such a worldview doomed amid increased social fragmentation?
Personally, I think the liberal/libertarian ideal of social tolerance/acceptance is something worth preserving; it seems to me that Resilience is more of a socio-economic arrangement than a cultural one.
Many of the people I know would jump on the chance to live a more localized life, but have no interest in joining some in-group that will enforce some rigid and binding standard of identity; it subverts the very spirit of individualism that makes open societies great.

Let’s take homosexuality as an example.

If the community is exclusively pro-gay, then that’s rigid; if the community is exclusively anti-gay, that’s also rigid.

Can you really have a small community that tolerates both pro-gay and anti-gay elements? I don’t think it’s possible.

You might be able to enforce “don’t ask, don’t tell” and insist that gays stay in the closet and gay-haters refrain from identifiable acts of anti-gay violence.

You might be able to get a group of people that truly doesn’t care about homosexual rights – i.e., they won’t lift a finger to help gays, but they also won’t bother to hurt them.

The homosexuality example can be extended to just about any divisive issue.

I don’t think genuine tolerance of diversity is compatible with any small or tightly-knit community.

Genuine tolerance seems to be awfully close to indifference. You might have a network of people who tolerate each other because they don’t have to pay attention to each other, but as soon as people notice each other, they will start judging each other.

If you have lived in large, anonymous communities, you have probably experienced a lot of tolerance, because there’s a lot of anonymity and indifference. In a big network like that, no one is important to anyone else; everyone is “Bowling Alone” as Putnam would have it.

If everyone is tolerant, then everyone can choose whatever he likes best. And that means that no one is obligated to be close to you. They might tolerate you, but they don’t have to make you part of their tribe.

When you get old and grey, will tolerant people still choose to like you? Will your tolerant children come and visit? Will you even have children if you tolerated childlessness as a lifestyle choice?

CF wrote:

Additionally, pulling back into some cloistered racially/culturally homogenous seems in direct contradiction to the spirit of expansive social networking upon which resilience will almost sure be built. In fact, I think this distinction between networks and fortresses is important, and could represent the difference between success and failure in this century.

I doubt very much that “expansive social networking” relates to resilience much. A farming village, where each household takes care to treat its neighbors well, is resilient. It’s not expansive; it’s conformist. People all have compatible world-views; they tend to “drink the Kool-Aid” of a common belief system.

So long as Chicago is getting shipments of food and energy, Chicago can afford to support an overclass of organized coercers. These coercers can give every ethnic group its own neighborhood. Those ethnic groups can be little closed castles ideologically, but can buy food from outsiders without any real emotional contact. Periodically, every little ethnic group can have a little parade, and everyone will talk about how lucky they are to live in a diverse, multicultural city with lots of ethnic restaurants. And if the people in the Irish neighborhood notice that the people in the Somali neighborhood are cutting the clitorises off their girls, the Irish don’t form a vigilante street gang – the Irish call the organized coercers, who might send Child Protective Services.

If Kievsky is correct, multiculturalism is a very expensive form of organized coercion. If the modern world were to collapse, perhaps postapocalyptic Chicago could not afford to maintain organized coercionists, with specialized Child Protective Services units. Perhaps the postapocalyptic Irish would form street gangs and shoot at the postapocalyptic Somali street gangs.

At this point, I would like to review the movie Prayer of the Rollerboys, but I find that film so remarkably repulsive that I still can’t watch more than a few minutes of it at a stretch.

Just to prove that I am a repulsive weeaboo, I’m going to tie this into Japan.

Japan is and has been in a rut for the past decade. Between the slowly aging population, economic stagnation, high levels of public debt, and the ever growing NEET problem, it feels like Japan is experiencing a torrent of problems that aren’t really getting any better. The general population hasn’t turned a blind eye to it either, and they definitely perceive one of the biggest problems to be the rising number of NEETs in Japan. With around 90% of the population saying that it’s a serious problem,
…This last year, the total number of NEETs grew again to something like 620,000, and although the problem has been overshadowed by the economic crisis, it’s still a very real concern. There’s a wide variety of opinions out there, but the debate is ongoing as to why this problem exists in Japan, and exactly what can be done to stop it.

Don’t read that article if you don’t want to be “spoiled” for a bunch of anime.

Kodokushi is Japanese for “lonely death.”

Statistics suggest that already more than 20,000 people a year die alone in Japan — 2 percent of all deaths.

This figure is expected to rise as the number of senior citizens living alone soars in Japan, the world’s fastest ageing society. In 2055, around 40 percent of the population will be aged 65 and over.

“Those who live alone and have no friends tend to be isolated from society,” said Katsuhiko Fujimori, manager and chief research associate of social policy at Mizuho Information and Research Institute.
“A lot of young people, especially men, came to big cities to work during the period of postwar economic growth, and now they are old and alone” because they are unmarried or their partner died, he said. “They might have wanted a free lifestyle, escaping from a close-knit community. But now that they’re old, they can’t live alone, especially if they need nursing care.”

Long hours on the job prevented men from attaining a work-life balance, and this has led to isolation after they retire, he said.

So there you have the modern world in a nutshell. Japan, a country favored with some of the smartest humans on the planet, has abandoned its young people to poverty, and allows the old to grow old alone. If a hundred people die in Tokyo, two of them will be dying alone, forgotten by the community. (And frankly, that sounds pretty good, so long as they’ve got plenty of painkillers. Who wants to die in a crowded house full of screaming kids, or a boring nursing home?)

Tolerance is glamorous as long as you’re young and horny and good-looking. That might last five years or fifteen years.

If you survive youth without dying violently, you get to live a long time, getting uglier as you go. Even if your community tolerates various colors and religions, does it tolerate ugly septuagenarians?

The natural end of tolerance is kodokushi, dying alone, childless, socially irrelevant.

What’s the alternative? I turn to Kievsky:

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