nydwracu niþgrim, nihtbealwa mæst

signals, signals everywhere / and not a thought to think

Juggalos and the American caste system

with 12 comments

(Update: If you don’t care about Moldbug’s caste system but still want an analysis of juggalos, you’ll probably want to go here.)

I suppose it was inevitable that the alt-right blogosphere would discover juggalos eventually. Unfortunately, they come no closer to a proper analysis than anyone else.

Not all decay comes from the lower class; some comes from the middle, but due to the nature of the decay they bring about, they are never portrayed as such. It should go without saying that there is no cohesive society in much of America, but a patch to that bug has been found: to fill that alienating void, subcultures (more properly, sub-societies, although that is unfortunately not the established term) have been formed, which offer at least some of the benefits—institutions, shared culture, sense of identity, self-esteem—of a proper society. Mangan comes close to admitting this point:

One of the most repellant aspects of the Juggalos is the way they have themselves convinced that they comprise some sort of brotherhood, that they receive a form of acceptance from each other that “normal” society has somehow denied them

However, this is not a proper solution, for two reasons: that it increases cultural diversity, and that it is not available to everyone. Every ingroup is an outgroup to everyone else, and outgroups are commonly demonized on any available pretense. Subculture membership carries a significant social stigma, which rules it out to all but those who have nothing to lose and those who have no worries about losing anything; for everyone else, joining a subculture would be simply trading one form of alienation for another form whose consequences are, if not worse, at least far more visible. To put this problem in terms of Mencius Moldbug’s caste analysis, subcultures are a viable option to Dalits and some Brahmins, but not to Vaisyas or Optimates. (Helots, of course, have no need for a subculture.)

But, you ask, why “any available pretense”? Surely there must be a clear reason to demonize the juggalos? As Mangan says:

The video on the Juggalos shows us a motley, highly unappealing collection of the most idiotic, most pierced morons that one could imagine. None of them seem to be able to use any other adjective but f**kin’ or m*****f**kin’, nor to say anything that makes much sense. All of them appear to be on massive quantities of drugs and/or alcohol.

I will not dispute those points, but can someone point me to any negative aspect of the juggalo subculture that does not appear to a far greater degree in Brahmin subcultures? (And no, the fact that juggalos are encouraged to be alpha and Brahmins are encouraged to be beta does not count.) Brahmins are notorious for such behavior, and yet they hardly ever draw criticism for it, even in blatantly Vaisya circles. (Also, those traits, in and of themselves, are not negative; it is only when they are taken to extremes that they become negative. But an inability to grasp the concept of moderation is pervasive in America, so that does not complicate the analysis.)

In fact, these traits appear across the caste system, but some groups draw more criticism than others. Examination of those patterns of criticism reveal some interesting patterns: it is well-known that BDH institutions criticize negative traits of OV groups and vice versa, but BDH institutions also frequently criticize some Dalits; specifically, the white ones, commonly known as ‘rednecks’.

Mencius Moldbug’s caste system cannot explain this without an addition: the Antyaja caste, covered by Jim Goad in his Redneck Manifesto. Their exclusion from the original model is understandable, since, whether due to their status as a monkey wrench into prevailing Brahmin theology or out of honest ignorance, Brahmins almost never acknowledge their existence, and commonly confuse them with Vaisyas. (I have experienced this firsthand; my mother is a Brahmin from a vaguely Optimate background, but the rest of my family and many of my friends are Vaisyas, so I was raised somewhat between castes. I made the mistake of believing I was a Brahmin, going to a very strongly Brahmin college, and maintaining some Vaisya ideals, so I was treated as an Antyaja, by which I mean I was accused of being a member of the KKK, told that America and the world would be better off without people like me, and forced out after one semester.)

Another possible reason for their exclusion is that they severely complicate the model. They cannot be said to be allied with either side of the BDH-OV conflict; although they clearly fall on the OV side, OV have about as negative an opinion of them as they do of BDH. In addition, they pattern with BDH on some issues: they tend to be Democrats despite their generally Republican political views, and they, unlike Optimates and Vaisyas, can form subcultures, as exemplified by the thoroughly Antyaja phenomenon of juggalos.

Which brings us back to the original point. Although subculture formation results in higher cultural diversity and therefore higher levels of alienation, lack of effective subculture formation usually means even higher levels of alienation; the underclass (Dalits, Helots, and Antjayas) are better off in this regard than many Brahmins and even Vaisyas, as Van Jones pointed out, although those without a solution to the problem are far harder to criticize, due to their lack of identification with any specific group. But the worst possible scenario, I think, is ineffective subculture formation, which provides none of the benefits of subculture formation but all of the drawbacks. In other words, hipsters.

And as for the charge that Insane Clown Posse “sounds no different than the usual black rap”… well, I’d like to see Soulja Boy do this. Or even this.

Written by nydwracu

October 3, 2011 at 03:05

12 Responses

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  1. Amazingly, it was the PBS Frontline documentary “Merchants of Cool” that gave me a much more sympathetic view of the juggalos. Their interpretation was that the fans of Insane Clown Posse desperately wanted to belong to a subculture that would not be corporatized, homogenized, put on MTV, marketed, and sold to millions. Since it is the specific strategy of big media companies to find edgy, trendy bands, give them hunks of cash and make them big, the only way to guarantee this could not happen is to gather around a band that was so inaccessible, so f-bomb laced, so extreme that no mainstream media company could touch it. It is disturbing that there is so little subculture formation among Vaisya’s and Brhamins, and that the only subcultures that can form have to intentionally self-sabotage themselves.

    I don’t see how you can classify wiggers as Brahmins. Wiggers strike me as imitation Dalits, and are pretty much looked down upon by everyone.

    ” I made the mistake of believing I was a Brahmin, going to a very strongly Brahmin college, and maintaining some Vaisya ideals, so I was treated as an Antyaja, by which I mean I was accused of being a member of the KKK, told that America and the world would be better off without people like me, and forced out after one semester.)”

    Have you written up a post on what exactly happened? I would be very interested in reading it.

    Devin Finbarr

    October 3, 2011 at 09:21

    • I don’t see how you can classify wiggers as Brahmins. Wiggers strike me as imitation Dalits, and are pretty much looked down upon by everyone.

      Wiggerism got absorbed in a very diluted form into the stoner subculture, which got absorbed into the strongly Brahmin hipster subculture. Brahmins aren’t anywhere as bad about it as Antjayas, but when I was in Brahmintopia, I was probably the only one who didn’t listen to Kanye West or Dr. Dre, and a lot of the richest, palest hipsters (almost always male) put far too much effort into trying to sound black.

      Have you written up a post on what exactly happened? I would be very interested in reading it.

      Not yet, but I’ve been meaning to for a long time. I should probably do a series on fun things that have happened to me in the education system; it started screwing me over in preschool and only recently let up.


      October 3, 2011 at 12:39

  2. Insightful analysis and good link-examples…mostly. Still, I must quibble: fraternities are not really a brahmin thing anymore, they’re vaisya. My classmates from prep school in the heart of New England brahmindom did not go on to join fraternities in college, nor would it ever occur to them to do so. Most went to institutions where greek life is marginal or nonexistent. The few exceptions I can think of were black, working class, or from the south.

    I agree with Devin that wiggerism is not a very big thing amongst brahmin youth. I think it’s more prevalent among vaisya–though I may in this case be guilty of that vaisya-antyaja conflation.

    Kalim Kassam (@kalimkassam)

    October 3, 2011 at 09:54

    • Good point. I do know some Brahmins in frats, but the frat bit is mostly in there because I keep forgetting I’m in a strongly Vaisya college. I think our Brahmins (mostly imported from New York, although the college itself is very Southern) are mostly in frats, but as far as I can tell, it’s next to impossible to have a social life without them, so it could just be that they’re picking up Vaisya traits out of necessity. I guess I’ll have to wait and see what my Brahmin friends from elsewhere do as they go through college.


      October 3, 2011 at 12:44

    • I waited and saw, and a lot of them did join frats. Anecdotal, but there you go.


      February 12, 2014 at 23:31

  3. Aside: Brahmins think individualism implies atomism, but they’re wrong. It seems plausible but isn’t logical.

    I find the implied solution provides a useful perspective on the problem analysis. I want to ask about yours but I’m having trouble focusing the question right…bear that in mind.

    It seems you’re saying it would be good if one or a small number of subcultures grew to cover the entire culture. To stop being a sub, basically. Is that right?


    October 3, 2011 at 19:03

    • Something like that, although my main point is that underclass subcultures have positive features that are frequently overlooked and that do not exist in other subcultures. The absence of a majority culture is a problem, and I suspect that a probably effective solution to that problem would be the expansion of a subculture, although I don’t know how realistically possible that is without first removing the tendency in American culture (different meaning of the word here: a collection of shared tendencies as opposed to group identity) toward rebellion for the sake of rebellion. I’m not aware of any precedent, anyway.


      October 8, 2011 at 05:53

      • That answers my question. Thanks.

        Because I like high risk, high reward…I wonder if that rebellion instinct could be hacked by directing toward self-rebellion. Rebelling against one’s own worse instincts. It’s an invincible enemy, against which struggles is nevertheless productive, that everyone faces. Heck…why not rally a rebel group against rebellion? Unite in a shared rejection of unconsidered rejection? It works out logically, but I don’t know if it works out psychologically.


        October 8, 2011 at 12:10

  4. […] Here’s a Moldbuggian analysis of Juggalos. […]

    Randoms « Foseti

    October 5, 2011 at 19:52

  5. […] the topic of bad relations between the town and the college in general. A liberal arts college in AV country is in trouble no matter what, but it turns out that the college has a decades-long record […]

  6. […] Something doesn’t add up.  This article is a sub-par effort by even Salon’s Vaisya standards…  Salon may not be The New York Times or The Atlantic, but neither is it […]

  7. […] post I will present my own take on the current social classification model advanced by Moldbug, Nydwracu, Graaaaaagh, and […]

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