When times are bad, you tend to ally yourself with a group of people to stay strong. For example, during war you band together with your fellow soldiers or militiamen or whatever to fight off a common enemy. During a storm, you might collectivize resources with your neighbor so that you both can wait out the danger together.
But when times are good, there is less of a motivation to ally yourself to any particular group or group identity. If you don’t need help in getting a reward (because everything is so plentiful) then why willingly share that reward with others? This is the psychological essence of laissez faire capitalism. Everyone is their own man, to go out and make something of themselves, by themselves.
While this sounds great for the Andrew Ryan’s of the world, the problem is that, in this environment of individuality, loyalty wanes due to the greater financial incentive of doing it alone. Loyalty is a virtue that applies to group dynamics. To be loyal is to put someone else’s needs or the group’s needs above your own. It means you follow the rules and don’t stab anyone in the back for the good of The Order, whatever Order that might be. Loyalty might require you to step aside and let someone else go before you, or that you step down entirely. You do this not for yourself, but for the benefit of the whole.
Without loyalty, the climate of radical individualism creates a psychological condition of hyper-competitiveness as each person vies for their slot at the top. The economy itself might not be a zero-sum game, but that promotion only has one open seat, and you deserve it. The greater the competition and the more everyone is out for themselves, the more passive aggressiveness becomes active aggressiveness, and covert fighting becomes overt fighting. This creates a crab pot scenario – everyone is climbing to the top whilst pulling down everyone else so that no one actually gets out.
The elites in the media, political, and academic spheres have engaged in this same individualist hyper-competition against each other for years. It isn’t a competition of wealth accumulation or career status per se, but of who can be the most Progressive, who can advocate the most for equality, diversity, and other people’s rights.
The negative consequences from some of these experiments have created a dangerous world that now incentivizes group-orientation to survive. If you want a perfect example of this, see the refugee crisis in Germany. The elites brought in Muslim refugees as a display of Diversity advocacy despite the populace wishing otherwise, which created a hostile environment for the natives, which facilitated the populace to band-together for safety, which now increases the ranks of the dissent. The more the elites push this agenda, the greater the retaliatory force grows, which, eventually, will overpower the elites themselves. However, the elites are not in-tune with the life of the common man to understand their defense mechanism; they just think people are racist.
The elites are going to be several decades behind the populous in becoming more group-centered because they are insulated from the problems that create group-collectiveness. They have the resources to construct little bubbles away from the storms and wars that unite the rest of mankind. They still live in a world of relative plenty, which incentivizes them to engage in hyper-competitiveness over politics, or social justice, or wealth accumulation even while orcs storm the gates. What recourse do the elites have against this scenario? None.
“A house divided cannot stand” is solid wisdom, but what of a house in which every member is divided against the other? There is no house, only a crater. Group collective action is always going to be more powerful than a loose collection of individualistic status-strivers precisely because the group is loyal enough not to stab each other in the back for personal gains. They not only have strength in numbers, but also strength in unity.
The competitive elite don’t just have an enemy in the Populi, which is stronger than them due to in-group loyalty, but they also have an enemy in every other elite that is working for their own, personal ends, who isn’t afraid to throw another under the bus to get ahead, or blowup the whole goddamn artifice if they don’t get their way. In short, they cannot collectivize an effective counter-attack. For as soon as one elite says, “just send in the army already”, another elite will slink away and ally with the populous to ensure their own safety.
Our job, as the populace, is to ensure that we don’t break ourselves apart due to moderates, entryists, saboteurs, and most importantly – ourselves. There are many divisions to mankind – racially, culturally, and ideologically – but so long as there’s a greater enemy then all those things are secondary. While it may seem like the elites have far more power in this day and age, the truth is that all their plans are coming together to cut off their own legs. Remember that the cycles of elitism and populism are cycles for a reason.