Localism, at least localism in the material world, is an extinct concept. There no longer is a culture of people bound together by material necessity in industrialized nations. What little there is left of a community is defined predominantly by carry over obligations and emotional attachments, but not necessity and interdependence. Because of this, there has been a breakdown in autonomy and political effect in favor of more centralized, globalistic cultures.
Localism: What it was.
Culture is the information and stories a society generates and expresses to itself for self-regulation, self-preservation, and expression of ideals. Localism is the concept of culture coming to a person through the most immediate physical channels. Church, family, guilds, and business relationships would all be channels of information in such a society.
On a societal scale, Localism is the expressed particularities of a specific region’s information, rather that information be moral, artistic, or factual, to itself and others with minimal external influence.
In contrast to localism, globalism (in a cultural context), is the imprinting of culture from the top down. It is the transmission of information, primarily ideals, morals, and facts, from a source external to the local environment. While localistic cultures speak to themselves about facts, globalistic cultures speak from the top down to the locale about facts.
Globalistic cultures, unlike localistic cultures, are therefore not bound by the constraints of a locale. While a locale may derive moral teachings, rules, tastes, and stories from experienced, material reality, globalistic cultures imprint moral tastes upon a civilization that do not align with the condition lived in a locale.
For example, a locale may shun eating pork greatly as pork has a high chance of containing parasites and disease. The locale, in pursuit of preservation, has created some narrative about the evil of eating pork because of this. This is a set of rules bound by the experienced reality of a locale.
The globalistic culture does not need to take these facts into account and instead can impose whatever beliefs it wants upon other peoples. If eating pork is disgusting to a locale, but the globalistic culture praises it highly (perhaps it is seen as food for the wealthy), the globalistic culture can override the moral teachings of the locale in favor of their own if they are powerful enough.
A contemporary example of this would be the question of sexuality. Materially, sexual promiscuity and strangeness has been punished by venereal diseases and the creation of unfit children (if there are children at all). In times before condoms and modern medicine, the best way to not get STDs was to not have sex, so, temperance with sex was codified into most cultures. However, given that industrialization has brought about contraception and medication for STDs, a new, globalistic culture praising sex can finally take root.
Sex is materially good, even unproductive sex, because of its natural ability to give pleasure. Because of that, (direct) consequence free sex becomes desirable and praised because, given a personal cost-benefit analysis, there is little risk and good reward. From this, a sex culture can be established that spreads to anywhere that contraceptions and modern medicine can spread. Material arguments about the dangers of sex also breakdown given these tools. So long as the globalistic culture has a technological advantage with contraception and modern medicine, it can impose its will on the anti-sex locale using this prowess of power.
Institutional Information Dependence and Breakdowns in local wisdom
Globalistic cultures predominantly operate by holding power. Changing the rules of reality (as with sex), is one expression of that power, particularly technological and medical power. However, other forms of power may grant globalistic cultures an upper hand too.
Much of the United States buys food from companies that operate in a non-local way. Walmart operates globally and Target operates nationally. Other grocers, even small ones, import from the global market. Stores like these provide convenience and choice, and those two things are viable in a market. Dominating in a market is a very quick road to power. The locale used to produce everything for itself, but that was time-consuming and expensive, so these days they outsource their work of providing goods and food to the grocer conglomerates.
This activity lessens the necessity of the locale, eroding its material pull, and therefore its cultural pull. There is no reason to get information from the local businessmen if there aren’t local businessmen. This lack of material independence creates a vacuum of cultural power, which can be satiated by the globalistic culture’s other institutions. That is to say, since your town can’t tell you what’s good, the globalistic cultures will.
As people become less involved in direct material production, and therefore the sustenance of their own life, they are permitted to tolerate more anti-natal and anti-survival behavior. Since the locale, and the individual, is not involved with his own survival (and may even assume that his survival is gurannteed so long as he plays within the system), non-survival orientated behavior can be adopted.
Gluttony is a great example: People are permitted to torture their body with luxury food as luxury food is plentiful. There is no reason to save food for later if you can guarantee food will come later. For most people, they can guarantee food will come later because of their dependence on the globalistic culture’s food institutions. Because of this disassociation, temperance on consumption can be rejected in favor of pleasurable feasting until a new wall is hit (heart disease and obesity being the next big one).
This type of dependence works for more than just material consumption. It also works for informational consumption. If experience-based truths cannot be distilled by using family, friends, workmates, and other institutions, then a new source of distilling will be found. People both want to know things and need to know things to survive. Gossip alone is important for social relationships, and some news can directly effect your safety. So, people will pursue news no matter what.
Globalistic culutres, yet again, are out of touch with the locale. Even if you put angels and perfect people in charge of globalistic cultures for news who are always right (which is not the case in reality, and never will be), there still lies some problems: The distilling of truth in news using the local method isn’t necessarily the most accurate, but it is the most relevant.
The aspects of information that are most important to a people will be shared and distributed, especially among similar people. Similar people have similar concerns. A rural farming town in the Appalachian mountains will spread information about egg prices going up when prices go up, but not share information about pineapple prices going up given the same information. Is the story that egg prices going up inaccurate? Yes, it’s missing information, making is effectively a lie by omission, but, it is more relevant to the families of Appalachia, who don’t grow or care about pineapples, and focus on chicken eggs instead.
Globalistic cultures ignore this, and provide a view of the world suited to itself. If a globalistic culture for news is operated and owned by progressive minds, then the concerns of the progressive minds will be announced to the world more, especially if there’s some fishy power dynamics at play. If the locale is weak, or non-existent, then, effectively, the only voice in the room that’s “truthful” is the globalistic one. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right voice, or relevant voice, but it is a voice, it’s loud, and it’s powerful. People will hear it because there’s nothing else to hear.
A new hope in digital localism?
Given that centralization of infomration is the direct concern of permeation of globalistic cultures, it may be tempting to state that decentralizing, or even localizing, the stream of information may, in some way, fix the situation. Often, the mode of attack for achieving this, at least in the modern era, is to use the internet to promote alternative voices. This tactic, on its surface seems to solve the problem, but is ultimately ineffectual given the lack of commitment and economic cohesion the internet has.
Given that the internet is a communication medium where identities can be created and destroyed with little cost, and leaving a community has little cost, there is no punishment for leaving a group or behaving poorly in it. Because of this lack of negative incentive for good behavior, only positive incentive for good behavior remains. This is unlike real communities, where leaving them or behaving badly in them can destroy your ability to eat or do business.
The incentive for good behaviors are weak too and, given the internet’s immaterial nature, direct contributions of food and housing are impossible. Social relationships are harsh too given that all medium of transmitting information are simulations of reality, or entirely absent. An image of a friend isn’t actually seeing one, a friend’s voice isn’t actually hearing it, and you’ll likely never do something physical with a friend (such as construct something). While this may be satisfactory for some relationships, such as business partnerships or acquaintanceships, anything deeper is nigh impossible without, in some way, grafting that interdependence of normal social structures into an internet-based relationship.
This makes internet-based relationships, at best, an augmenter of material relationships, rather those be relationships with globalistic cultures or localistic ones. More often than not, internet-based relationships are mediated on tools controlled by globalistic cultures. Chatting with a friend takes place on a proprietary and often politicized platform, and payments are done through pro-establishment payment processors. Even in good situations where globalistic cultures and institutions do not own internet-based communication, true interdependence can only be created through monetary methods (I.e, paying a contract worker or doing remote work). These monetary methods largely can only have their value redeemed through the use of material institutions, and more often than not, those institutions are in the control of globalistic cultures rather than localistic ones, meaning that, even if an internet community breaks off and forms its own localistic culture, shielded from external influence, it will eventually answer and benefit globalistic cultures through using their institutions to convert their profits into goods and services.
Therefore, for digital localism to work, material localism is necessary. The digital works as a magnifier of our situation. If localistic cultures reign supreme, then the internet would be much more localistic and work to benefit said cultures. If globalistic cultures reign supreme, then the internet will work to benefit globalism.
Localism is a rotting corpse.
For most people living in an industrialized nation, it’s evidently clear we operate in a society dominated by globalistic culture. Most, if not all, aspects of life are owned and operated by groups external to our own. Those in our immediate area likely are not the ones employing us, feeding us, building our homes, or entertaining us, but rather a global super-culture and spectre, depending on where you live. For most English speakers, that’s the spectre of the cultural Cathedral, which marches towards moral permissiveness, social atomization, and elevated conglomerate consumption, all in a decentralized manner.
So long as the counter-culture isn’t real and material, there is no way to defeat this beast. So long as this beast exists, there is no way to establish material counter-culture. So long as this problem exists, the march to hell continues and there is no telling how far the system can march without imploding.
So, unless magic can happen and spawn a strong, meaningful, material, local counter-culture from the void that can somehow kill the globalistic cultures and free everyone to become localist again, there is nothing to be done while the beast still exists. The condition is absurd: Doing nothing means losing, doing something is pointless. So, the reaction to it should be as absurd, but a calculated absurdity:
So long as the system marches itself towards hell, it also marches itself towards instability. Eventually, the problem will solve itself unless the globalistic culture is immortal. It’s unlikely to be immortal given that its made out of mortal beings with limited resources. Because of this fact, localism must resist as much as it can, and force itself into society as much as it can, to make it. There must be some ounce of localism left to build on when this thing collapses, that way, the transition to local dominance will be smoother.
Practically, this means start a garden, to employ your loved ones, and to do as much as possible to carve anything local out of this globalistic nightmare, whatever that thing may be. Even digital localism is worth pursuing if it can give rise to material localism. Whatever the case may be, doing something rather than nothing will increase the chances of survival when the globalistic beast finally collapses.