I've heard it passed around some reactionary circles that Singapore is apparently some sort of reactionary paradise. It usually expresses itself as such:
Step 1: (varies)
Step 2: (varies)
Step 3: ?????
Step 4: Singapore.
I know most of these people are generally much smarter than I am, but to hold up Singapore as some sort of reactionary ideal is well, misinformed. Take it from me, I've lived here for more than two decades.
To recap, the following arms of neoreaction are summed up by Nick B. Steves in the following diagram (click to expand):
While techno-commercialists are depicted here as not concerning themselves with tribe, an alternative offered by some of them is that shared pursuit of economic growth constitutes tribe and identity, and Singapore is held up as some kind of ultimate proof of concept for that.
Which I would like to contend, having lived on the ground: a) does the pursuit of economic growth really promote tribe - is it the only reason Singapore's situation came about? b) if so, then is it sustainable?
Is it the main cause?
Let's start off by me admitting that it would be foolish to claim that economic growth didn't play some part in pacifying the masses. Without the soma drip of materialism to constantly fire off the dopamine receptors of the average Singaporean back in the day, let's just say the other social control and engineering programs might not have worked as well, or at all.
And there have been plenty, as I've previously covered.
I'm sure there're more pieces I've written that I can't recall off the top of my head (forgive me for that), but my point is that during the same time period as Singapore was enjoying double-digit GDP growth, there was a massive push to uproot people from their original ethno-nationalistic identities and transplant them into an artificial state identity and culture. To attribute the placidity of Singaporeans merely to the soma drip is an oversimplification - the natural subservience and deference to authority that asians exhibit, especially those of north-east asian stock, the tight grip of the government's historical narrative over all other narratives (which frankly, isn't surprising or even out of the ordinary when you look at, say, the narratives on the US civil war)...
I suppose I'm not especially equipped to comment on the efficacy of such efforts - I'd like to think I've always been a somewhat cynical and contrary kind and not one to fall to Wal-Mart chants or Japanese morning exercises and company songs. And yet when I think back to my school days, I don't think any of my peers actually believed in the national anthem and the pledge, despite us reciting it every day. We did it because we feared punishment, not because we actually believed in what it was supposed to mean. The same went for all national education and social studies programs - today, we even have kids openly saying it's propaganda.
It's no surprise that the government-imposed culture is beginning to fail, with external meddling by the Cathedral, younger generations becoming inured to social engineering and the global economy looking set to implode. Let's see how much tribal and community spirit we truly have when SHTF, yes?
Is it sustainable?
I would say not. Let me explain my reasoning:
Here, Spandrell posits that envy is the main driving force behind leftist egalitarianism:
As it turns out, the optimal engine for leftism is egalitarianism. The physical properties of DNA itself mean that individuals from the same species can never be equal, so egalitarianism is necessarily unattainable. But millions of years of hunting in small bands mean half of the human brain is optimized for envy and hating those who attempt to be better than you. Actually is even worse than that, envy is hard wired deep in the brain since we were monkeys.Sounds awfully familiar to the Singaporean Cult of Meritocracy, doesn't it? I have mentioned before that said cult is starting to crack under the pressures of reality, and if envy is inherent as Spandrell posits, then the threat is always there.
So egalitarianism is both appealing and impossible. There is always space further on the left. The perfect match for a subversive ideology.
But of course the Chinese government, as the target of all this resentment, tries to deflect it with all their (quite substantial) means, so officially it is taught that envy is not a good thing. People are exhorted not to fall into 仇富 (hostility to wealth), and have a positive attitude towards money and entrepreneurship, that with effort and conscientiousness anyone can become gloriously rich.
It certainly doesn't help the case, either, when we have the Cathedral's presence busy corrupting everything it touches. Yes, Singapore may not be directly under its baleful gaze, but its tentacles are everywhere - if I hear one more fool extol the virtues of Nordic countries without acknowledging the huge pots of North Sea Oil and the attendant hilarity of their progressive policies, I will barf.
And so what we get is this sort of filth polluting the local online communities:
Seems like envy is still well and alive despite a whole culture dedicated to quashing it.
"Equality". Like "love". How can you be against love? How can you be against equality? Well yes, I can be against equality when the only way to achieve "equality" is Harrison Bergeron, and please be reminded that Handicapper-General Diana Moon-Clampers is oddly enough, devoid of any weights on her arms or loud-screeching-noise devices.
The inherent nature of trying to build a tribe off unified commitment to economic growth is that an economy, by its very nature, will enter booms and busts. While things may go smoothly during a boom and everyone is shut up by the illusion of advancement and having more stuff to...well, stuff into their gaping maws, let the economy slip for one moment and envy will set in, along with demands for redistribution and welfare in the name of "equality".
Also, do remember that trying to build tribe via economic growth necessitates the destruction of other tribes - I have mentioned before in my postings how it was necessary to destroy the extended and nuclear families via housing size, the Stop at Two campaign, and other gears and levers of social engineering in order to push women out of the home and into the workplace where they could become good little units of production. The original ethnic communities had to be smashed, and then replaced by state-sanctioned groups and bodies, and even languages and culture re-engineered to fit the economic growth narrative.
And as I've mentioned before, the resulting society is one big ugly fucking Frankenstein's monster that looks fit to fall apart.
After World War Two, Japan abandoned Bushido and turned itself to economic excellence as its national identity. Well, now that that's gone, what is the Japan of today? Hentai? Anime? Grass-eaters? Tengu eggs? Karoshi? Pissing matches with China?
As I see it, the way of GDP produces neither identity nor tribe nor functional society, but atomisation and consumer goods. The people are pliant so long as the soma flows, but it is impossible to make that last forever.
The Changing of the Guard
I've mentioned it before, but I'll mention it again: the old guard of Singaporean politicians is succumbing to the ravages of time. Even the greatest cannot defy death, and we haven't gotten to the point where we can upload ourselves into computers or mechanical bodies, so this was inevitable anyway.
This is important because a reactionary society is going to need to have strong leadership, hierarchy, legislation and guts, especially when dealing with the underclass. If all it takes are a few grumbles from the Free Shit Army to send their rulers into full supplication and appeasement mode, like, I don't know, promising free train rides at peak hours, then those rulers certainly deserve to have their asses thrown out of office.
For all my criticism of the leaders of yesteryear Singapore, I will reiterate that they indeed had guts. Enough to slam down all the changes and policies that transformed Singaporean society into the walking freak that it is today. Crushing entire dialects and languages? Overriding the sensibilities of the major ethnic communities? Peddling sterilisations and abortions door to door? Openly saying that smarter women had a duty to breed?
Now, our newer politicians tiptoe around certain issues and claim with mealy mouths that oh hey, genetics has nothing to do with intelligence, it's really that kids with intelligent parents have a more conducive environment, ha ha.
They've lost their guts.
But was it ever a surprise, considering the Gen Xers and millenials that grew up in this freak society with the Cathedral's tentacles stretching and worming their way in at every opportunity? When they were coddled at every turn, and yet told everyone was really equal deep down inside? Singapore is held up as a bastion of reactionary thought and policy, and yet it is not immune to corruption by the Cathedral; the long-standing debate on the nation's 1.2 fertility rate is a perfect example of that. The only real solution that could actually solve the problem is admit that yes, we were wrong in the 1970s, yes, we were wrong to break up families and treat everyone as units of production, and begin pushing for women to get out of cubicle hell where they themselves are increasingly unhappy and back into the home.
Not that the men of Singapore are much better these days, mind you.
Of course, since wage depression and the soma drip have necessitated the two-income household to pay for ballet lessons, foreign maids and holidays, no one - man or woman - is ever going to support that even if the government were to actually have the guts to admit it was wrong to throw all that social capital upon the grand altar of GDP. So round and round we go, from blaming men for not doing enough housework to wanting more daycares to making employers even less willing to hire fertile-aged women by mandating all sorts of maternity leave and anti-discrimination packages to paying people to have kids -
-All while the white elephant sits in the room behind a curtain provided by the Cathedral. So much for an ideal reactionary society. The old guard might have torn away the curtain and said "fuck you" to the populace, the new generation of politicians...well, one only needs to look at a certain airheaded MP who had our dear Minister Mentor walk out on her the moment she began addressing Parliament to get a measure of them.