It's hard not to come to this conclusion nowadays.
When I was eight or thereabouts, rattan canes were commonplace throughout Singapore. Every mom-and-pop grocery store within the void decks of apartment buildings would have a bin of the things - dried and toughened strips of the woody liana, each about as thick as my pinky finger is now and adorned with a bright plastic handle.
Rattan is a wonderful material, light, flexible and strong, but somehow even as a kid I didn't get the impression that the strips of cane in the bins were there because people wanted to do some furniture weaving on their own time. It's also the same material used in those scarring caning sessions Singapore and Malaysia are so famous for, only the prison service uses canes about one-and-a-half times as thick as one's thumb to do the caning.
Some of use still cling to this, especially in the sacred cow institutions of education and law. Public canings in schools, corporal punishment in prisons. I still remember the outcry from the US and old Clinton's personal intervention when we wanted to whip Michael Fay's ass, and then the good old incumbent government gave the US the finger, said "my country, my rules", and whipped him good.
As a society, we understood that children had to be kept in line with the threat of corporal punishment, because they did not yet possess the faculties of reason to be...well, reasoned with. And sometimes we get children in the bodies of adults, because either through inherent or circumstantial causes, they never get sufficient shocks to the amygdala needed for one to be able to recognise deprivation and danger.
So we've got to whip them in line, too. Does it offend modern progressive sensibilities? Why, but of course.
At the conclusion of The Way of Kings, Dalinar comes to the realisation that he's been going around the task of trying to win over the highprinces of Alethkar to his side in a completely half-assed fashion; that his goodwill, trust and hand extended in friendship to the other highprinces in the hopes that they will see the benefits and virtues of following the Codes is completely and utterly wasted because they are too corrupt and degenerate to take his kindness for anything but weakness.
And he makes this observation thus: that when a child is young, you don't explain to him why these rules are in place and expect him to follow them because of his understanding - you require him to obey the rules until he has gained enough maturity and experience to understand the reason for the existence of said rules. Dalinar's son Adolin chafes at the seemingly nonsensical restrictions his father places upon him in accordance with the Codes: no frivolous duelling in times of war, a standard of dress and decorum to be expected of officers, and so forth. All this flies in the face of the degenerate culture of Alethkar, all with little explanation other than "so long as you live under my roof, you will obey the Codes." and his father's request that he trust in him.
And at the end of the novel, especially after Sadeas' betrayal, Adolin realises the reason his father was so insistent he follow the Codes to the letter, and embraces them of his own accord when he realises how much following the Codes has elevated him from the muck his peers wallow in.
The Codes, Dalinar realises, were written for a people who were already civilised, once again, either through habit, social pressure - or innate predisposition, what we on the Alt-Right call the natural aristocracy, and my guess as to why Dalinar believes in the Codes despite almost no one on the face of his world doing so any more. That while he can believe in righteousness, honour and integrity - and indeed does behave that way towards Kaladin, who has acted as such - the rest of Alethkar needs to be bitchslapped into submission and then after they're united and civilised can he start treating them as such.
Aurini has discussed this subject before, and does so once more in the frame of Logos and Agape, in which he reiterates:
Maybe this is all too obvious. Let’s look at how the left behaves, instead.Whether Brandon Sanderson has realised it or not while penning The Way of Kings, this is exactly what Alethkar high society has devolved into, so much that even Dalinar believes in Agape before Logos: that if he loves the other highprinces enough and proves his benevolent intentions, they will come to their senses. The if he loves and respects his nephew the Highking enough, he will eventually obtain the Highking's trust.
Their version of selfless love is White Guilt. A perpetual mea culpa, opening their arms wide and refusing to judge any of the masses who rush in. Did somebody murder your daughter? Forgive them – even if they didn’t plead guilty, or make any effort to apologize. Hand over your economy, your country, your physical body for their usage-
Let them kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Because you love them.
Love yourself, too, and take whatever is needed for your benefit – after all, isn’t mankind one big happy family? Is this word a giant pot-luck? Eat whatever you want, protest whatever you want, sue whomever you want, and fuck whomever you want – with no regard for yourself, for your children, for your country, or for what the future consequences are.
Don’t judge, just live!
And always be true to yourself.
All of reality boils down to a simple theological distinction – which came first? Truth – or Love?
Those who answer Love turn the world into their oyster – no action is questionable, no lust immoral. “Do what thou wilt, and that shall be the whole of the law.” Inevitably, every society is infested by a few such creatures, but seldom before has an entire civilization embraced such a system.
The early adopters get 1969, and never suffer for it; the single mothers get to blame patriarchy, the AIDS patients get to blame homophobia – and besides isn’t pain just a different perspective? But over time, when the whole society rejects Truth and Natural Law (whether it be morality or economics), degeneration is inevitable.
That’s the world we live in, Men of the West; a rampant orgy of violence and drug addiction, mortgaging the future to pay for the present. A world without reason – a feminized world – a world of feelings.
This, naturally, does not happen, and at the end of the novel he realises that Logos must come before Agape.
And thus the saying: "I'm beating you because I love you."
The high society of Alethkar live only for the moment, squabbling, duelling at the drop of a hat during wartime, holding feasts in their warcamps, treating the whole conflict with the Parshendi as a huge game in which notches are to be scored.
No thought for the future.
There will always be a degenerate underclass; the best we can do is to keep it down. But not only have the barriers to sinking low been removed, but sinking has actually been encouraged and even made mandatory. The Free Shit Army and omega degenerates proliferate unchecked, and as the canes vanish from the mom-and-pop stores of Singapore, the number of kids who demand to only drink mineral water increases.
You can use the soft stick of social shaming, or the hard stick of corporal punishment. But that's the bottom line: the natural aristocracy is highly limited, and people need civilisation beaten into them. Sure, Confucius once wrote that it's better that people not commit evil because it's shameful, rather than out of fear of punishment. But that doesn't take into account human nature, which has only been made worse by modern society.