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Age Without Grace

[1]2,237 words

Here’s an uncomfortable truth: You are going to die. Not right now, probably not all that soon, but you will.

Here’s an even less comfortable one: Before you die, you’ll get old. Not all of you, but most will. Your skin will lose its luster, your hair will go gray or fall out, your strength, vitality, and energy will leave you. Your worst enemy will be your stomach. Your organs will show signs of imminent failure. You’ll become slower, remembering will be a chore, and you’ll be crankier. The world will be one big unruly child bebopping and skedaddling across your lawn and all you’ll be able to do is shake your cane at it, powerless to stop the inevitable march of time. And make no mistake, time will march on you and ravage you like a steppe nomad bursting into a late-stage degenerate civilization’s repository of gold and women.

Well, you can take action to mitigate the effects of time and live your golden years in relative comfort. You need to work out, eat right, and above all, have a family, have children and grandchildren who will give you purpose into your old age. And still time will run you down like yonder savage horseman.

Time has done a number on Joe Biden. He has hairy legs [2] and they turn blond in the sun, so he learned about roaches and children jumping on his lap. He loves children jumping on his lap.

A major candidate for President of the United States of America is having an extended senior moment while African Americans in Wilmington, Delaware, laugh at his garrulity. Moments like this make you appreciate being young and in full command of your faculties. My grandfather, God rest his soul, couldn’t walk for the last two weeks of his life, found it difficult to move in the last 6 months, but God be praised, remained sane and his speech made sense until the end. Joe Biden is a source of amusement to us, but let’s not forget that this guy has a serious shot at the presidency. This doddering old pantaloon is gonna have access to the nuclear football. For eight years, he was one prep overdose away from the presidency.

The rest of the presidential field is similarly wizened. The four people likeliest to become the next president, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, are all septuagenarians. Michael Bloomberg, a late joiner who might just be the sanest choice in the Democratic field, is 78. Rounding out the Boomer Brigade is Bill Weld, whose pitiful attempt to primary Donald Trump doesn’t even evoke the satirical aspect of a Vermin Supreme campaign. Then it’s a drop down to Marianne Williamson who’ll be a spry whippersnapper of 68 [3] come Inauguration Day 2020.

It’s interesting that the Dissident Right got really excited about Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang, who at ages 38 and 44 are some of the youngest in the field. Make of that what you will.

Between Sloppy Joe’s hairy legs and roaches and Bernie’s heart attack [4], this raises serious questions about the quality of leadership America’s ruling class has to offer. I won’t jump on the Trump health scaremongering train, but I will point out that even a relatively healthy 74-year-old man doesn’t have the same energy he did when he was 54. Even if he does, indeed, have a young wife. Maybe that’s why he delegates everything to Kushner.

Time grinds everything down, every man is eventually conquered by time. Gerontocracy is rule by men who are either defeated or are about to be. It is also the hallmark of dying regimes – before they go tits up, countries are ruled by the old. The old usually lack the energy to fight the entrenched interests. Inertia and sclerosis are the rule. Plunderers move in to strip-mine the realm as wizened Fisher-Kings resign themselves to their fate and maybe shake their canes impotently at the plunderers. Sometimes they tweet about how they’re monitoring the situation.

The problem with the political class is reflective of a broader problem in the West, where wealth inequality between the old and the young is becoming scary. Now, nobody in their right mind would argue for intergenerational redistribution of wealth to achieve equality between the generations. The old have been around for longer and they therefore have more – this is very natural. There is however a difference between the old having more than the young and the old having everything and the young nothing. Especially if the young are being priced out of the housing market [5]. No house means no roots means no family. We in the Dissident Right like to speak of a traditional family, where the husband is the breadwinner and the wife is the homemaker, but in reality, young people cannot afford to live like this, nor can they afford a house even on two incomes. Living in a pod is a necessity of modernity.

Now, the lack of upward mobility is not entirely the fault of the old – the political elites have their own reasons for keeping the young impoverished and on the edge of poverty [6]). Yet it’s helpful to think of labor-driven wealth generation not only as the leveraging of skill/knowledge inputs for money in the market, but also as securing market access for oneself, in order to leverage those skills and knowledge. Imagine the world’s greatest computer scientist magically teleported to the 16th century, or a desert island with no internet connection. His skill is now useless. If we cannot access the market, it might as well not exist.

The flipside of securing market access, the ugly side if you will, is erecting barriers to entry for people who would access the market once you’re on the inside. To not do so is to risk dilution of one’s market power through the laws of supply and demand. Those who are out want in, those who are in want to keep others out. However, those who are in want new people to come in, preferably through them, to do their bidding and enhance their status within the market by being part of their patronage network. Those out want in, but they want to guard their insider status once they’re in.

A consensus, therefore, arises of a semi-permeable barrier to entry in the market, and the way in was “the old boys’ network.” The problem with admitting new kids through the old boys’ network for the older boys, however, is that new kids are always a threat to old men – those young whippersnappers are faster on their feet, have more energy and are hungrier (which should never be underestimated as a motivator). They are a threat to your position, their ambition is boundless – some of them succeed in reaching the top through shortcuts and do not honor the pecking order.

In the olden days, the old made peace with their eventual replacement by the young by engineering the rise of their young, so that at least the guy taking your job is your son. The problem, as usual, is individualism. You can always slam the door shut or only admit relative incompetents (nonwhites) in order to protect your status against the encroachment of youth. Once you start guarding market access for yourself and start defining “me” as not “me and my people,” where people can mean anything from your nation to your family, but as actually “me,” well, then, you’re enriching yourself at the expense of the next generation’s market access. You’re pulling up the ladder behind you; you’re devouring the future of the young for your own narrow, shortsighted, hedonic interests.

I am always shaken to the core by the tales of the old men who would “go hunting” in the dead of winter, when food was scarce, in order to increase, if even by a tiny margin, the likelihood of their family’s survival. Our lives are our most precious possessions, to give them away is the ultimate sacrifice. To judge oneself too weak to contribute, to humble oneself to the reality of hunger and cold is the ultimate humility. To take the step away from the hearth and into the frozen wilderness, to give oneself entirely over to the darkness of deep, cold winter is a kind of heroism.

As the snows close in on Europe and North America, I think to myself, what is the exact opposite of this sacrifice? And the answer barges in with the social graces of a scantily clad 63-year-old cougar on the prowl for man-flesh: the reverse mortgage [7]. I can think of no bigger fuck-you to the next generation than devouring one’s accumulated property to have one last piss-soaked hurrah before croaking, instead of bequeathing them an inheritance. After all, the proverbial 63-year-old cougar needs money for her plastic surgery, her trashy clothes, and her travels to poorer climes where young men are willing to overlook a dearth of fertility markers for a wad of American currency, and I doubt that Social Security covers those expenses. And who cares if your children resent you for your callousness and profligacy? You can always hire Mexicans to swap out your bedpan in hospice care.

Oh, and you’ll of course keep voting for and donating to yesterday’s politicians and boost yesterday’s ideas, crowding out the politics and ideas of the young. Baby Boomers hurl shovelfuls of money at Ben Shapiro and TPUSA in order to relive their Reaganite glory days, thereby preventing the rise of serious alternatives in both the political and ideas realm – we had the Groyper Wars in part due to this. One can hardly bring up any form of state intervention in the economic system, even if only to reassert sovereignty in the economic sense without loud harrumphs about “soshulism [8].” And good luck getting these stubborn oldsters to admit that the old boy networks they used to get in and then dismantled were actually good things.

The internet has more than enough bitter denunciations of boomers and boomerism. I don’t want this to be the takeaway from this article.

Personally, I have been lucky. My elders have been, on the whole, fair to me. My other grandfather, who is still alive, is one of those oldsters who rages against the dying of the light, but not in a futile and vainglorious revolt against aging, but in fighting like a lion for the prosperity of his children and grandchildren. As we walk through town, those old eyes still twinkle when they see “for sale” signs – grandpa’s always had a nose for real estate. We go to his orchard to pick apples, and I bring a friend to help – and to assess the viability of setting up a cider brewing operation. Grandpa already has a general idea on how to do it – he doesn’t even know what cider is, but he knows growing, he knows producing, he knows buying and he knows selling.

He says to me, “I will be gone in 10 years, most likely.” My heart sinks and I bow my head. He grabs my hand. No, Nicky, listen to me. I will be gone in 10 years, but you can run this property. I don’t think your mother is interested. The land over here is good, but back home it’s no good for agriculture, you might want to develop it. We were talking about the foot path, you should get the city to pay for it, even if you do build it yourself. Your brother and cousins are still young, you’ll have to help them. He pauses. He gets lost deep in thought. If you don’t know him, it looks like a senior moment, but it’s not. I too sometimes stop mid-sentence to think. I feel the weight of the land pressing down on me. Our people lived here. My grandpa’s grandpa was headman of this village.

So, instead of the usual “well, I’m a baby Boomer and I am nothing like that” in the comments, how about you oldsters do something for the youth. It doesn’t have to be much. Often, what the youth craves more than resources, or even market access is respect. For God’s sake, don’t do the reverse mortgage thing – if you really do have to mortgage your property, take out a loan to help your children start a business (which is what my grandfather did for my mother). Transfer knowledge and essential skill, transfer your invaluable experience. Accept the fact that you’ll probably be gone from the world sooner rather than later and set your affairs accordingly – think about how your estate can be used [9] to further ideas which will protect your progeny.

Stop thinking of yourself as “me,” but as us. You are your children, your grandchildren, and your extended genetic group – your nation. This is good general advice for the young, as well. Seek out your elders, especially those worthy of respect and reverence and learn from them. Loneliness is a scourge characteristic of our age – none are worse affected by it than elders.

Most importantly, for elders, understand that at some point you have to make way for the youth. Not only because it’s their turn, but you’ll also save yourself some embarrassment. The last thing anyone needs is to be caught on video talking about their hairy legs and children on their lap. Have the decency to age gracefully and not get too deep into politics – it is, after all, a young man’s game.