Over the last decade, but especially in the years since 2015, consumption as a form of identity has grown exponentially. People no longer base identity on productive behaviors such as being an artist or an athlete. Instead, people now base identity on which Netflix shows they watch, the particular brand of clothes they wear, or even the kind of vaccine they receive. Seemingly, there is no end to what sort of consumptive identity the modern individual will adopt. Moreover, since these identities are formed on fleeting consumer trends and a vacuous popular culture, these identities are fluid. One day, an individual’s identity solely revolves around his usage of Apple products, and the next it is about his obsession with the Marvel movie franchise. This appetite for consumption is varied and insatiable.
However, another property that can be observed of these consumptive individuals is their willingness to comply. In fact, if you examine compliant individuals on the whole, they tend to be very consumption focused. Moreover, it appears that the characteristics of consumption and compliance have emerged simultaneously in our society. Consider as an example a class of men who have been colloquially labeled as, “Bugmen.” Bugmen tend to be of the Millenial generation -though they are not limited strictly to Millenials- and base a substantial, or total part of their identity around a collection of trinkets which are typically attached to some kind of pop-cultural phenomenon (e.g. Marvel Movies and Netflix Specials). The key point is that their product consumption is tied directly to popular media. The conditions that brought about the ethnogenesis of bugmen was an environment of heightened consumerism, the normalization of the internet among the public, and the lack of individuals’ ability to distinguish themselves from the crowd. The bugman differentiates himself from the, “nerd,” of prior generations via his desire for social status as a result of his consumption. The, “nerd,” of prior generations was largely a social outcast and usually had no desire for his consumption to gain him status among the broader public -to the extent that his, “nerd-ness,” was even tied to consumption at all. In many ways, the emergence of the bugman is a result of the path of least resistance to acquire status in our degenerated society.
In 2016 – 2020, we saw most bugmen demonstrate their compliance via vehement anti-Trumpism. This was likely a result of the entire media establishment taking a firm anti-Trump stance -the same media that these people likely watched every day. Consequently, an obvious way for bugmen to acquire status within their interest-communities was to express an anti-Trump position. Furthermore, if you did not express these views, you not only failed to advance your status, but you were also castigated by these interest-communities. As a result of the 2020 election, the media narrative has changed, and thus the focus on compliance of this demographic has changed. The current status-signaling avenue for bugmen is anything that reinforces the establishment media narrative about Coronavirus. These are people who will happily comply with whatever measure is brought down to them, regardless of its absurdity. In many ways, the bugman has become the Stasi agent of our day.
While the bugman is an example of consumptive and compliant behavior on the male side, we have also seen a type of woman emerge from nearly identical conditions, who expresses similar behavior. For women, a culture has emerged around social media influencers; women who usually market some kind of beauty product on websites like Tik Tok and Instagram. Women will clamor to purchase the products that are put out by these influencers. Additionally, these influencers will reinforce whatever the current media narrative is to their followers. These women who are highly active on social media will also donate to politically motivated organizations for the sole purpose of sharing their donation on social media. Additionally, they will scour their network to see if others did or did not share a donation to the same or a similar organization. Interestingly enough in the case of women, the consumption is more directly connected to the compliance through these donations.
I believe it is not coincidental that both of these populations are simultaneosly some of the most compliant and consumptive groups. Consider the prerequisites to be a habitual consumer in our current society. Many times, this involves taking out loans -whether in the form of a credit card or a loan from a bank. If you want to keep up with whatever the current consumerist trend is -like purchasing a new electric car- you will need to take out a loan. Since you are now saddled with debt, you need to keep a steady job so that you can continue to make your payments. Consequently, this makes you compliant; you must follow every social norm and rule precisely -no matter how immoral or depraved it might be- so that you do not lose your job. If you happen to disagree with the prevailing social norm for whatever reason, you need to keep your mouth shut, as any minor infraction could lead you to lose your job and thus; your access to consumption.
Furthermore, if you consume primarily mainstream media products, you are voluntarily subjecting yourself to compliance brainwashing. Look at all of those mixed race couples in the shows. Maybe I should get a girlfriend of a different race. Look at how much they make fun of White people in the late night show. Maybe White people are bad. Someone who is not compliant will likely not even be able to stand five minutes of watching any recent TV program. However, over-socialized and consumptive groups can spend months immersing themselves in this compliance indoctrination.
Even more so, we can examine this interaction between consumption and compliance on a bit more of a meta level. Consumption itself -saddling yourself with debt, watching all of the new TV programs and movies- is a metric by which our current system measures your compliance. If your consumption drops, or you stop consuming altogether, the system will look at you as a threat. Their reaction is justified because by not engaging in consumptive behavior, you can be a threat to them. Consider a man who buys a used car with cash as opposed to a brand new one with a loan. If his job is particularly horrendous and wants him to comply with all sorts of egregious requirements, he is more able to quit his job and go somewhere else because of his more frugal purchasing decision. He does not have the Sword of Damocles hanging over his head in the form of a loan. Similarly, if a man refuses to watch all of the latest Netflix specials, it is more likely that he is able to think in a way that is contrary to whatever the current media narratives are.
Consumption is compliance.
Consumption -particularly of the variety that I have detailed in this essay- is the self-imposed imprisonment that we are expected to carry out every single day. You must consume, lest you break free of your shackles and wrestle back control over your life. Consumption is a way to domesticate you into doing what the system wants you to do. Through consumption, you become a controlled variable.
We need to break free from materialism. Materialism is one of the primary aspects by which our society is rotting. Our fixation with fruitless consumption detracts from man’s relationship with his family, his community, and his race. We all must consume to a certain degree; we all need to eat food, likely need a car for transportation at some point, and need some kind of roof over our heads; however, we must not consume to the extent that our consumption is our identity. Our identity should transcend the material. If we ground our souls to the material, they become material as well, subject to the decay and death that plagues all material things.
I will end this essay by asking you to contemplate the following excerpt from The Burning Souls by Leon Degrelle (emphasis my own):
There is a great hatred between men, between classes, between peoples, because everyone is bent on the pursuit of material goods which ultimately avail nothing.
But all abandon the goods, proffered to all, of the moral universe and the eternity of the soul.
We run madly, bloody our foreheads beating our heads against the walls, on paths of hatred, or of abjection, or of madness, shouting our passions, throwing ourselves wildly at everything, desiring to gain that which we can never have.