The Decadence of the Elites
To know the measure of everything and the value of nothing, to be blindly impressed by the grandiose, the popular, the famous, the official while failing to understand the inevitable, long term consequences of particular actions is testament to the myopia or literally sensationally nearsightedness of our current culture.
The obsession with sports and fame seem the two most pervasive deformations and perversions of the measurable and of recognition, amounting to little more than a glorified version of bread, circus and vulgarity for the people. Where engineering, exercise and philosophical insights (such as those of law and praxaeology) stand before us as high knowledge and virtues the exaggerated excesses of fame, sports and politics show themselves as the growing dough of overcompensation and obsessive repetitiveness by the insecure that is fed with the yeast of the vanity of the superficial and easily impressed masses.
Since the times of the Greeks and Romans the socioeconomically superior castes have for the most part betrayed the spotlight by engaging in the vulgarity of the pasionate, the trendy and the spectacular. The best illustration I can think of is the habitual use of drugs by the high classes.
Being against prohibition and being well versed in economic theory is to know that whatever is subsidized will tend to increase while whatever is taxed will tend to decrease. The lower availability of an economic good contributing to its higher cost of purchase and the clandestine nature of the drug market all lead to drugs becoming an extremely and artificially, which is to say by state intervention, expensive economic item.
As a libertarian anarchist I have nothing against whatever
a person casually and privately puts into their own body as long as they cause no harm to anyone. The very basis of anarcholibertarianism is that non-aggression principle that says one is free to do as one wishes as long as one doesn’t make use of a person’s body or property without their consent.
Yet from the point of view of virtue ethics it is obvious that what ensues from the open, habitual and recreational use of drugs by the rich and famous or worse the high bourgeois is the social transformation of these being simply artificially high cost goods (as a state subsidy to crime and to justify their own monopoly on policing) to becoming Giffen goods or economic items whose demand increases with its cost because they are perceived as prestigious and of the elite. A Rolex watch or a Porsche being perfect examples.
Thus decadence is promoted in two ways, one is that habitual, open use of drugs is made not only “ok” but “cool” which is the province of social conformists and social-acceptance seekers.
In light of the fact that thanks to the settled, permanent criminals of the state, it is the more petty, stupid and evil criminals who naturally attracted by the easy profits caused by prohibition are drawn to the drug business and are currently in charge of distribution, to make demand for these services high and socially acceptable under the current context of state intervention only increases the frequency and risk of victimization of persons at the hands of drug financed criminals.
Finally, a degree of carelessness (by the user about their own health) ensues from prohibition so that as with all socially acceptable vices the the lack of solutions that entrepreneurs would over time develop to the problem of undesirable side effects makes itself felt. Thus where tobacco was known to be harmful to health the market created the healthier alternatives of nicotine patches and nicotine vaporizers which absent combustion contained nearly none of the associated carcinogens. The premium or cost to be paid for being careful about one’s health and choosing the healthier alternative to nicotine consumption being higher thus discouraging, constant, habitual use. Absent prohibition there would probably be less marijuana smoking, which involving combustion includes the associated dangers of carcinogens and the availability of products such as marijuana butter would put it in the price range where it belongs, namely that of sub-cultural aficionados and infrequent users.
Yet this is only one aspect of the ever present, sensationalist pleasure and stimulation seeking fueled by the vulgar culture of statism where exaggeration, vain glory, fame, overcompensating for insecurities and impassioned escapism from the laws that determine the consequences of things prevail.
The great Argentine writer, Jorge Luis Borges is said to have made the statement “Soccer is popular because stupidity is popular”, I would say the same is true of all the distractions of competitive sports whose measure, in goals, seconds, pounds, points is to me the essence of aggregated interpersonal stupidity. Now that even the intellect has been perverted into a number, the infamous I.Q. we are one step farther away from the essence of wisdom being the embodiment of virtue as a modus operandi or way of acting, a qualitative and not quantitative aspect of a person’s action.