turin

The Line Must Be Drawn Here

There's one very critical element of any community which has to be established early on, and that is precisely what it is you stand against.

Oh, don't get me wrong, you definitely need to stand for something. But standing for something is not enough. Standing for something gives you an "us."

But you cannot create a long-term sustainable group without also having a "them." Someone else whose values do not match yours, and indeed are antithetical; someone whose viewpoint is not only different, but actively wrong. You need a group which stands against you, and all you stand for, so you have something to fight.

Nobody actually wants to be for something, especially some hippie fag bullshit like peace and love or even the old standards company, Corps, God, and country. (That's a USMC thing. While I myself was not a US Marine, I am a veteran and I have the greatest of respect for them and their values.) Even hippies get into peace and love to fight the man, just like the Marines once recruited primarily to fight the commies. Everybody wants to fight the good fight.

So no matter what your cause, no matter what your raison d'être, there has got to be an enemy at the gates. Nothing unites people like an enemy. At a bare minimum, the enemy distracts people from the logical incoherence of your own platform, if there is any. (There isn't, right? I mean, you stand for something that makes sense... don't you?)

The enemy doesn't have to be a person. Indeed, it's better if it isn't - if the enemy is a concept, ideally something of which everyone may be guilty from time to time. The Jewish faith has nonobservance as an enemy; the christian faith, sin; Islam, failure to submit. The United States has a war on crime, a war on terror, a war on drugs, a war on violence... honestly, we declare war on everything. I wouldn't be surprised to hear about the war on war. (Probably as part of the phrase "hot war-on-war action!" if I know my fellow Americans.)  And while these are often criticised as wars we cannot possibly win... that is rather the point.

Remember when I was talking about problems, and how you fix problem #1 and then promote problem #2? It's the same with enemies. If you're fighting (say) Don Lapre because you bought his "Tiny Classified Ads" product in 1993 and are still angry over that $30, then when he kills himself in an Arizona jail cell (as he did on 2 October, 2011) you're kind of stuck, because seriously dude? That just becomes in total bad taste.

There are additional issues with selecting someone in particular, as well. Consider Kelly Felix, "The Rich Jerk." Kelly went on to do a whole new thing called "Bring The Fresh," and it's nothing like the old stuff. Which was a parody anyway. If you were bitching about his Rich Jerk stuff, what are you going to do now that he's changed?

But let's say you decide to rally against "infomercial crap that doesn't work." Or against "the cocky fake persona some people use to insult their customers." Even if one of your examples changes, or dies, or goes away, or whatever... the concept lives forever.

There's definitely someone selling stuff with infomercials, or calling people losers and idiots if they don't use his stuff. You can fight the concept forever. You never win. It never goes away. It's even better if you fight some basic element of human nature, like greed or hypocrisy.

Let's say you are concentrating on mapping the abandoned railways of the midwest. You can't say you're fighting the lack of a map, because eventually the map will be done. Then you'll have nothing to fight. You have to fight something like "the loss of our nation's railway heritage."

When the map is done, there will still be people who need to see the map, and places the map needs to be filed or displayed, and children who need to be taken to various places on the map so they can see for themselves. This can go on forever. The children can fight this, as can their children, and even their children's children.

There always has to be a battle to fight, and it needs to be worth fighting. Our monkey brains demand this, because they intuitively understand war. And by directing the aggression away from the group, you prevent some of the infighting, and channel the mean impulses of your dog-brain members.

Now, next week, we'll start getting to the human element.