YANG GANG BANG

Or Don’t Spend Your UBI On VR Porn!

Being British, the only stake I can reasonably hold in American politics is as a bemused observer (or perhaps a dissatisfied subject of a soft-power empire). Regardless, I have been keeping an eye on one Democratic candidate, Andrew Yang, for the past half year or so. I always had a hunch that his radical stance on UBI would make waves, but the way in which this happened has surprised even me. Who could have predicted that the same grassroots online base of young men who helped buoy Donald Trump to power would now rally behind a Democrat whose policies appear to border socialism?

If one is to look at the wave of pop-art that has been produced at a fever pitch in the past few weeks, the first impression one might have is of an essentially nihilistic impetus; ‘the world is going to shit no matter what we do, Trump has failed to be the change he said he’d be, might as well get a grand a month for my troubles’. The blackpill philosophy has been spreading among young men like mould across a rotting fruit, as we cling to a world that all available evidence indicates is choking on our excess and the only means of supporting oneself is in working for one of those responsible for that excess.

What is remarkable, however, is that these ostensibly hopeless young men are finding a home in support for a candidate whose entire platform appears to be built around a message of hope. Not hope in the sense that Obama projected, platitudinous and vague, nor hope in the sense Trump projected, spectacular and focused on past glories; but hope in the sense of a tangible change in how the state is organized to confront the problems that are knocking on the door, and the ones waiting in line behind them.

Consider his campaign slogan; Humanity First.

Evident and obvious are the humanist underpinnings, but First? First against what? Other animals, plants, the wind? No, we should understand the more foreboding element here, something scarcely thought about in the minds of voters; humanity must be first in its relationship with technology. Less subtle references to this theme have led other political movements to be seen as Luddites (a group laden with an entirely unfair reputation) or ecoterrorists in the vein of Ted Kaczynski. What is different about Yang? Other than an amenable character, an attempt to broach realistic solutions to the problems that technological advance represents.

In this we can say there is a dialectic between Yang and his supporters. His supporters have the pretence of hopelessness and pure self-interest as primary motive for supporting him. He runs on a platform of providing hope by creating an actively altruistic state. The resultant synthesis will be interesting to see, utilizing the selfish nature of the base to divert their actions towards selfless goals — but the essential question is whether this synthesis will weaken his campaign in the long run.

We must remember; the partisan politics of the USA, especially in presidential elections, have anathema towards any candidate who proposes radical change, especially when that candidate appears to lack outward ego drive. Couple this with the easily weaponized threats which could come from both within and without. The Democrats who have an interest in maintaining the status quo of party structure to protect their own careers will be quick to leap upon this newfound voter base as evidence that Yang is nothing more than a soft-spoken Trump. The Republicans will likely compare his UBI plan to welfare (despite it being a far more tenable plan, long-term), and make character judgements on those invested in it as lazy and useless. However, there is a way around this.

Build meaning! Self-actualize!

A boon of $1000 a month, regularly, could make a huge difference in who you are and how you live. Hopelessness is tempting but recognize the opportunity you may be afforded. Work towards doing something useful with this, and I don’t just mean materially, but spiritually and communally also. A group of ten young men, saving just half of this money a month, could rent the space for a community centre, using the financial independence it engenders to self-direct the course and running of that centre. Far from fostering dependence on the state, the savvy mind could utilize this as a step away from dependence.

On the individual level, one could purchase creative equipment or patronize independent artists, one could purchase exercise equipment, one could save the money to travel to new places in a capacity beyond a vacation — one could use this opportunity to enrich their soul.

If you want that $1000, you need to make it worthwhile. You need to prove the detractors and naysayers wrong in thinking this would be merely fund a lifestyle of pornography, uselessness, and rank hedonism. It needs to be shown that this is an opportunity to raise the cultural standards and quality of life of people across the country.

I must admit, though I would like Yang to win, I am currently doubtful of his chances. What is needed is a willingness of the support base to change; to recognize that nothing can be built on foundations of sand, that nihil is the enemy. Show the world what you’re made of! Do not waste this golden opportunity!

Bring to life the words of the eternal Australian prophet Zyzz; the mantra must come true — ” We’re all gonna make it brah.”

Call to action!

By H.E Donist.
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