May 31, 2022Liked by Mike Solana

Mike, Another reliably interesting but even moreso, "new" view on the current class issues. To make this perfect, seven paragraphs from the end you are missing an "is" in a pivotal point in the final sentence: "elite civil war IS certain". Might as well have no errors...lol.

This is actually one of those rare encouraging pieces in a mostly morbid world -- so gets double props. Many thanks.

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Hey Mike, another great post—this one incorporating an unusual “It was the worst of times, it is the best of times” structure which is unexpected and welcome. You hint you’re going to reverse Dickens in your comment:

“But every now and then a scapegoat inspires broader countercultural movement, weirdos win the status game of thrones, and all the markers associated with power change. This is how the Baby Boomers won the 1960s, which in turn reshaped America. Today, with new influence and wealth never before so easy to attain, and a small but growing crop of elite Americans challenging authority from within the class, it seems we’re on the precipice of another cultural paradigm shift.”

I’m wondering whether your reference to a “scapegoat” indicates an awareness of the thought of René Girard. Pardon me if by any chance I’ve missed previous Girardian references in your earlier posts.

Either way, you might be interested to know that it just so happens that a brilliant lecture on Girard was published this week on YouTube by David Perell and Jonathan Bi. They’re both elites by your definition, and they discuss the existential suffering that led them to thought of Girard, a sentiment that is also all over Twitter and Discord: “make money you don’t need to buy things you don’t want to impress people you don’t like . . . just despair and hollowness.”

In your hopeful, looking-forward section “The War of Cool” your examples of Ryan Peterson and Elon Musk (and, I would argue yourself and people like Peter Thiel) point to the virtuous functioning of Girard’s notion of “mimetic desire”. This is a concept with the profound explanatory power of “natural selection”, and its negative functioning has produced the world of Covid hysteria, the summer of 2020, BLM, CRT and ESG—and so on. These dynamics are fast generating popular longing for the scapegoat event shown by Girard to be a recurring event in human history.

But “mimetic desire” is also positive, and when operating within a smoothly functioning system like capitalism and the nation state (before both institutions were corrupted by the negative functioning of mimetic desire), the positive functioning of mimetic desire generates a ratchet mechanism that channels aggressive, selfish and violent urges into a safer, wealthier, more peaceful and freer world for all.

You may already know all about René Girard—that seems fairly clear in your latest post. But if not, here is Jonathan and David’s lecture, and I’ve selected the moment late in the lecture where Jonathan describes how love, truth, innovation and violence all acquire new meaning in the context of mimetic desire: https://youtu.be/5Qu6vBebwwg?t=4177

Even if you’re an expert on Girard (and I’ve read all his works), I’m confident you’ll enjoy the entire lecture and find it, as I do, to be an excellent and apposite gloss on your outstanding post about elites and the hope-inspiring “War of Cool”.

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Jun 19, 2022Liked by Mike Solana

Just paid $80 so I could write a comment, but I imagine I will be staying around here for a while.

This was a great article. I just finished my first year at Harvard, and looking back, what strikes me is how utterly incapable my classmates are at recognizing that they are part of the "elite." There's a lot of talk about improving the lives of the disadvantaged, but many are vehemently against methods of upward mobility such as capitalism, which is viewed as evil, and school choice, which some of my classmates claim was invented to perpetuate white supremacy. Additionally, despite administrators supposedly recognizing the virtue of ideological diversity, their actions clearly indicate otherwise. Harvard placed Roland Fryer, a professor whose lab was materially improving educational outcomes for poor black children, on administrative leave and permanently shut down his lab effectively because his research challenged the world views of top administrators (there's a fantastic short doc on this titled "Harvard Canceled its Best Black Professor. Why?").

I hope that your prediction is correct, and I am optimistic that things will get better. I'm just interested to see how many legacy institutions will have to topple along the way, including the one I'll be receiving an expensive piece of paper from in a few years.

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Jun 14, 2022Liked by Mike Solana

What a great fucking article.

I think it cost me $80 a year to tell you that, and you’re rich enough, but like I just said, what a great fucking article.

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Jun 1, 2022Liked by Mike Solana

I so badly want you to be right.

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Fantastic piece. Love your writing. I hope you are right about the newly ascendant elites... the current elites are boring, predictable, and incompetent... can it get any worse??

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