Robber Baron Lyfe

Capitalism appears to favor the Robber Baron archetype above all which, in hindsight, seems less surprising when one realizes it was largely architected by individuals who shared this same basic worldview: of strong social Darwinism, of wolves and sheep, and of the accumulation of wealth as the highest calling -- an end in itself, and in some deeply profound sense, the very birthright of Men (by which was meant "civilized" men of European descent, aka white dudes) as handed down, distantly, from God Himself.

Over time, if optimized for in society, selection for Robber Baron traits can produce strange anomalies like the 2016 US presidential election, which pits arguably the world's most qualified and well-connected public servant against a brash, blowhard billionaire who is attempting to pass off a political platform based on the size of his balls as a legitimate bid for command of the supposed free world. And winning, until rather recently when the GOP leadership has started to wake up in various stages of cold sweats -- not unlike a number of Britons who awoke this morning with a sudden seizure of panic and regret.

Perhaps the Robber Baron is no longer the best archetype to aspire to; to encourage our children to aspire to. There are almost as many other modes of great talent, intellect, and insight as there are people -- that have been overshadowed for decades by the cruel, detached worldview we assume should be primary despite no particular reason to think so: unless what we really deep down want for civilization to provide is a neverending series of roller coaster rides in which Main Street is taken upside down and shaken for loot with periodic regularity by speculators, financial wizards, a zany cast of rich old coots with nothing but time and bizarre grudges on their hands, trust fund bitches, bored celebrities, batshit insane techno-libertarian sociopaths, and other vile creatures who have long-abandoned the civic contract the rest of us poor sods have been glamoured into believing still presides.

Which, if you are a member of any of those classes, probably sounds like the very best way to keep fomenting enough monumentally colossal risks against which you can hedge bets and make off like a bandit regardless of the outcome.

But if you're not a member of the elitist elite, by now you might be thinking it could just possibly be time to start optimizing for some other dimensions of human nature besides raw, unadulterated, unregulated, sans liability, greed. If I remember correctly, we occasionally have exhibited some other traits.



in no small part inspired by the reading (ongoing) of this: