Thermidor

© 2017 Thermidor Magazine.

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Social Organization Beyond Liberalism and Populism

"Diversity" is the most ubiquitous word in the entire ritual vocabulary of what passes for public religion today; at best eye-rollingly tiresome in its endless repetition in mission statements, public address and writing, and formal rules, regulations and policies, at worst utterly odious in the political uses to which it is so often put. Nonetheless, it covers a defining feature of any conceivable society and a central existential problem that any society must solve. No society exists, or can possibly exist, whose social, technical, and economic functions can be carried out interchangeably by just anyone; and no society can exist whose members are altogether interchangeable. The two orders of diversity, social and biological, are elementally and indispensably given at once in the primordial fact of sexual reproduction, which furnishes both the biological raw material of society- the individual- and the most elemental social organization of that raw material into a social unit, namely the family, which in turn provides the elementary means of formatting the raw material into somebody capable of being further organized as a member of the wider social unities of tribe, caste, Nation, State, and Church, each of which are functionally specialized and differentiated both internally and relative to one another.

A society, then, is less like a bag of marbles and more like a jigsaw puzzle, or better yet, the inside of any differentiated mechanism with all its moving parts. These parts, though, do not always show the sort of lock-step functional integration of one of our Man-made machines, for the parts of the social machine have ends, agendas, wants, and interests all their own. The social machine always runs with a certain amount of noise, discord, and disorder. This would be true even in a non-lapsarian state of Man, for no system that exists in the Natural world is friction-free and lossless in its workings, especially complex vital systems such as the biological organism, and least of all a human society- a complex vital system made of biological organisms organized into social sub-systems that are then at a plenary level organized into a society, which represents the very apex of vital complexity.

At this summit of vital complexity, things teeter precariously up the whole dizzying height of the structure. The cat claws the dog, who bites the kid, who defies his Mom, who yells at his Dad, who subverts the boss, who supports some factional interest within a political party, which in the Legislature fights against another party and against the Executive, which quarrels with the Church, which...it keeps going like that.

It is thus a most urgent order of business for a society to try to keep the friction caused by the dissymmetry and diversity of its parts from getting out of hand. In our Western societies, the social solution to this problem is Liberalism. Liberalism deals with the enormous social differentiation Modern society, with its intense technical specialization and economic division of labour, necessarily entails by striving to erase it, or simply by pretending to. Individuals in their biological and social diversity are reduced to generic juridical abstractions formally free and equal before the law, with the particulars of their diversity deemed a mere matter of private choice of no importance to the State or, more recently, important only as grounds for various types of compensation for real or imagined past injustices held to have resulted from the State's dereliction of its duty to be indifferent to those very particularities.

This legal standardization is accompanied by an unrelenting long-standing process of social standardization carried out for the most part by the very system of compulsory education responsible for the techno-economic differentiation of the population into the National labour force. This education constantly and somewhat paradoxically exhorts the intensely technically and economically specialized worker-in-training that he is nonetheless free to assume whatever social status, role, and "identity" he wants, and that he can and should renounce all particular ties , obligations, and loyalties (especially sex, family, religion if Christian, and race if White), since they stifle and oppress his unique individuality as a member of a blankly generic "human family" who is different, just like everybody else. Hence "diversity", in the aforementioned ritual sense. This standardized snowflake consumes, by way of culture, standardized cultural products (mass-market music, film, news, books, etc.). Finally, he is exhorted from cradle to grave that equality levels and effaces the difference between ruler and ruled along with every other hierarchical relation, and thus as a "citizen" he has both the right and duty to "participate" and "get involved" in "democratic" politics by voting in elections, joining special-interest groups, etc.

Liberalism boasts in Latin on every American quarter-dollar coin that the theory and practice of "pluralism" and "civic Nationalism" melts down differences and forges them into a mighty civic unity, banishing class, caste, and other particularistic friction and conflict to a Feudal past best forgotten. There is no longer, it claims, an unsocialized mob shut out of decision-making and beating at the gates of the polity closed before it like so many barbarians, and no monolithic giant class blocs confronting each other and/or the State in terrible social showdowns, but rather dispersed and decentralized interest groups able to legitimately voice their grievances and thus make their wishes known in a lawful and civil manner.

It would be frivolous to be altogether dismissive of the argument; one of the best sociologists in this tradition predicted, on its basis, not only that the Soviet system would abruptly collapse decades before it did, but just exactly how. It is also undeniably true, as this Liberal tradition points out, that capitalist economics based on constant innovation would be inoperable without at least some minimal loosening and leveling of particularistic ties, and the attending ascription system that rigidly allocates places in the division of labour according to e.g. sex, race, family background, etc.

Fair enough. But pretending to make vertical and asymmetrical social organization altogether go away, and the leveling efforts of homogenization and standardization intended to make the boast a reality, nonetheless have not entirely succeeded or come close. Children are not the same as adults, and generally remain under the legal tutelage of their parents- even though they can be snatched away by child-protective services with alarming ease. Women are not the same as men, and the vast majority heterosexual- although they have the right to murder their children in the womb and desert their husbands and families, or better yet stay single and move from one abusive lover to the next until they get too decrepit to go on and die alone surrounded by cats. Both sexes have the right to surgically disfigure themselves to unconvincingly resemble the other- and in so doing condemn themselves to involuntary celibacy among other poor outcomes including suicide.

Blacks and in Canada, First Nations in the mass remain socially degraded (unjustly and sometimes shockingly so) with little to show for civil-rights legislation, hate-speech codes, and groveling ritualistic apologies other than devastating social disorganization caused by the steep decline in traditional values and social controls that Liberalism brought to their communities. Meanwhile, class/caste friction amongst Whites didn't disappear either. Far from it. A tiny ruling elite with historically unprecedented amounts of wealth accrued through State capitalism while middle-class incomes stagnate and the working class slides into structural unemployment and cultures of poverty has become aloof and rather astonishingly arrogant, attempting to position itself as something very much like an aristocracy- not in spite of formal equality and democracy, but in their very name. This elite styles itself, at once, as a superlative "meritocracy" made up of the best and brightest, Natural superiors of the rest, and as made up of oppressed peoples who are only rectifying the inegalitarian injustice of "white male privilege" as they not only abandon the White middle and working classes to a fate of structural unemployment and social oblivion they are supposed to deserve, but in ominous word and deed seek to obliterate the latter groups in the interest of realizing George Soros' "open society".

Liberalism, then doesn't destroy diversity, differences, and the hierarchies that obtain between them; nobody can, for they inhere in the very idea of society and thus cannot be said to owe their existence to it, as Liberals do when they claim on misplaced sociological grounds that these relations are mere "social constructs" that can be abolished by human fiat. The contrary is true. The fact that society exists at all means that children are still being cared for and socialized, that men and women continue to enter into matrimonial relations accordingly, that economic and other tasks are being organized under authority, disputes between individuals authoritatively settled, crimes against person and property punished, the country not conquered by foreign armies, and that other logically necessary conditions of society's existence are in place.

What Liberalism does do, though, is to severely erode or destroy the norms, rules, and customs given in religion and tradition that hitherto ordered and regulated the hierarchical relations between the unit parts of the social system while trying to replace them with intended functional equivalents in the form of positive law and an infinity of administrative regulations- not always very successfully. Hence what Emile Durkheim famously identified as "anomie": a pathological state of social dysregulation and dysfunction that is a generic feature of modern Liberal society. The correct aspect of "social constructionism" is that the norms and rules governing social relations are made by Man and can be altered or abolished by Man, not the relations themselves, which follow with iron necessity (within a range of possible variation, to be sure) from the rational Nature of men and things. If those norms and rules are redrawn and re-implemented badly- or not at all- then friction and loss of functionality of a greater or lesser degree of severity is sure to follow.

One morbid and self-defeating aspect of Liberalism, as the discussion above has suggested already, is that any recrudescence of elitism under Liberalism will be pitiless, merciless, and ruthless in an unmitigated and uncontrolled way. Thanks to egalitarianism, the new elite is liable to see the lower orders, not as a Third Estate that, while socially subordinate, is an indispensable member of the social body (the "backbone of society") with rights all its own that the elite must respect and protect (noblesse oblige), but rather as the losers in an egalitarian contest fought inter pares, and thus deserving nothing but contempt, degradation, and humiliation. For the so-called "Conservatives", Blacks and Aboriginals have earned the world of poverty, family breakdown, addiction, and criminality in which the rank-and-file must live; for the so-called "Left", the White middle and working-classes deserve all that and much more. The Left's attitude towards Blacks and Aboriginals is tempered by a sort of paternalism, and moreover by a more purely cynical appreciation of the political uses to which those groups can be put; but their attitudes towards non-elite Whites are those of a conquering army towards soldiers of the army it has just defeated, or dreams of defeating.

Thus Liberalism ends up eating away at one of the few good ideas it really had, namely defusing serious social conflict by incorporating all the Estates of society into civic-political life, which in the 20th c. spared the USA and Canada from going down roads traveled by countries like Russia and Germany. The White middle and working classes are actually and deliberately being disincorporated, excreted from the social body in both theory and practice as a new defiled and polluted social out-caste. (Blacks and First Nations, by contrast are far too ideologically and politically valuable to the ends of Liberalism to be categorically shut out as groups the same way; the subject cannot be treated, but only indicated, in this space).

Over the past several years there has been a process of an aggressive demonization in ideology, and delegitimation at law, of the White middle and working-classes along with their rights and privileges, their institutions and social relations, and the formal and values norms and values that regulate the latter. Again, this is carried out in the name of "liberating" the individual from the stifling, oppressive, and harmful social bands of a contemptibly backwards and pathological way of life. The Feminist sub-genre of Liberal ideology, and the closely aligned phenomena of child-welfare and gay-rights, along with a withering critique of "bourgeois" and/or "redneck" manners and morals produced by the intellectuals, are the chief vectors of ideological demonization. Delegitimation at law, implemented under the advice of the "expert" intellectuals, assumes the principal forms of:

  • family law allowing no-fault divorce, under which moreover custody over children escheats or defaults to the mother except in rare cases, and that otherwise incentivize women to desert their families

  • child-protective services with the police power of the State behind them, which can legally kidnap children and break up families on an arbitrary administrative basis without the inconvenience of procedural rights getting in the way.

  • strict gun control frankly designed to destroy "patriarchy" by disarming men and thus preventing them from discharging their protective duties towards their families.

  • punitive taxation and regulatory regimes that operate as a sort of low-level but chronic campaign of psychological warfare against those kulaks who own and operate small businesses.

  • Finally, treaties and policies promoting globalism have the effect of exporting working class jobs, while importing migrants on an uncontrolled and open-door basis, and which migrants end up living in the same geographical locales as the White working class.

The latter group, in particular, ends up desocialized and socially disorganized as a result of all this by definition to the extent that families break down, the economic interests of the ex-working man no longer organized and represented in the political process by unions, and the neighborhood become a congeries of heterogeneous and socially-incompatible elements that do not speak the same language or even remotely share any religious or cultural heritage, and thus no longer capable of sustaining the infrastructure in terms of shared values and institutions that organizes a neighborhood into a genuine community. Already many of these socially-disorganized former White communities are starting to resemble those of long-disorganized Black ghettoes and Indian reservations on such indicators of social pathology as unemployment, marital instability, criminality, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide- all textbook and tell-tale sociological signs of social disorganization and anomie.

The Natural and normal response to this sort of radical degradation, exclusion and desocialization-disorganization is populism. Pseudo-sociological Liberal rhetoric derides populism as a pathology that "bitterly clings to religion and guns". The reality is that populism is a perfectly normal and healthy response to abnormal and morbid social stress caused by the irresponsible and pathogenic actions of abnormal and morbid social elites acting under the influence of abnormal and morbid social philosophies such as Liberalism.

In any civilization hierarchically divided into social strata, the lower orders, under provocation of being backed into a corner and despoiled of their rights, will assert those rights with a manifestation of class power that is half-rebellion, half-theatre. These disorders, while often dramatic normally aren't genuinely destructive of society and fact do the very opposite of that: they strive to heal a damaged social fabric in much the same way as the corrective physiological mechanisms of the human body respond to injury. For that reason, and to the extent that they serve as an instrument of collective redress for outrages against the rights of the lower orders, a fortiori threats to the structural-functional integrity of the social body as a whole, they were extolled by no less a doyen of Statecraft than Machiavelli as salutary and indeed indispensable. Thomas Jefferson even famously said that he doubted that the American State could survive more than twenty years without substantial populist manifestations.

The contours of populism under the Liberal State and social order are as follows. First of all, any populist manifestation, in asserting its grievances, appeals to some Divine, Natural, or other law held to be basic to the social order as a whole and thus the criterion of the legitimacy of elite power. In China this meant the "mandate of Heaven"; in the USA, the Constitution and associated legal concepts such as individual rights, the "rule of law", and the original Sovereignty of "the People". This law is held to both originate with and guarantee either an eternal Cosmic order or a venerable historic tradition in their legitimacy and continuity, representing the will of ancestral patriarchs (Heaven, the Founding Fathers, etc.) to which human relations must conform.

This means that North American populism, by itself and without external intervention, cannot help but reproduce the categories of Liberal ideology in its discourse and thus remain a Liberal prisoner. We will return to this; for the time being, the punch-line is that populism is not inherently demotic and egalitarian, but rather must in some circumstances express itself through the language and categories of a demotic dominant ideology. Recall that any populism seeks to restore a set of traditional norms that have become disordered or altogether obliterated- something true by definition to the extent that populism demands the restoration of popular rights, without which demand it would not be "populism" at all!

Populism is thus intrinsically Reactionary- something Marx understood well when he derided it as the irrational and counter-revolutionary ideology of classes he scorned as mentally retarded and already condemned by History to a richly-deserved fate of irrelevance, degradation, and oblivion (compare e.g. Marx's category of lumpenproletariat, or his characterization of rural life as "idiocy", to Hillary Clinton's "deplorables").

We should thus not make too much of the typical paradox whereby the likes of Constitutionalists advocate, a propos the urgent and real problem of restoring the traditional and right ordering of society, the false solution of more representative democracy, more equality, and more Lockean individual rights- i.e. more of what eroded the normative order in the first place. Once the communications distortion and noise of the Liberal carrier-wave are filtered out, the original intent of the populist message is uncovered: the equality being demanded is really equality inter pares, and the democratic self-government and individual rights being demanded are really the corporate rights of a caste, and of its sub-units (e.g. the family), in a hierarchical social body composed of relatively-autonomous castes, as all caste systems are. It cannot be otherwise; populism and anarchism are two very different phenomena, as recent bitter contests between the two make abundantly clear.

The populist style always assumes the form of a spectacle of transgression and a theatrics of lawlessness. It transgresses the polite and "civilized" manners of the Cathedral and scandalizes the latter's profs, bureaucrats, society ladies, and hygienists with studied vulgarity, coarseness, humour of the most puerile sort, and all manner of obscene and forbidden utterances. It celebrates raw virtu in the form of exhibitions of physical strength and martial prowess, and unrestrained physical violence in opposition to the "rule of law" imposed by weak and unfit elites in order to hide behind it. All of this can be seen in such standing genres of popular culture as punk rock, metal, professional wrestling, and more recently, the memes of the alt-Right, which in place of traditional obscenity and blasphemy irreverently take liberties with the both the taboos and the obligatory public pieties of the Liberal religion-surrogate.

Populism is a theatrics, a type of performance art; hence the emphasis on showmanship in the likes of metal and wrestling. There are several transparent social symbolizations being acted out in this theatrics. Transgression obviously acts out the defiled and polluted chandala status of those subjected to desocialization, disorganization, and social exclusion. Again, this is a response to, and a social warning-signal of, anomie and social pathology.

Meanwhile, the populist adulation of strength, virtu, and prowess unrestrained by law reflects the Natural orientations and interests of youth and the working classes, whose function in any society is to do the physical heavy lifting and to fight when it is required of them. That these exhibitions and exertions ostentatiously challenge law and order and always come across as all the more convincing to the extent that they succeed does not mean that they are the visible tip of an iceberg of anarchy and total depravity, as Puritans fear.

First of all, this genre of populist showmanship sets itself up in defiance of authority that is at once weak and overbearing, and which thus robs of the people of their rights because it is unable to command respect, and corrupt and otherwise unfit.

Second, the studied affectation of lawlessness, recklessness, impulsivity, etc. all comprise a public acknowledgment that the plebes are intrinsically incapable of organizing and ordering themselves, and thus fit for action only under authority (as the riots that sometimes follow punk/metal shows and sporting events go to show all too clearly). Populist antics thus reinforce the social pecking order in the very act of challenging it- something that was evidently quite clear to our ancestors, who saw fit to ritualize temporary populist inversions of the status order on various holidays, of which Mardi Gras travesties, trick-or-treat on Halloween, and Boxing Day (in name only) still survive in our day.

Populist manifestations, then, far from stemming from an egalitarian or leveling impulse, are an effect of internally-differentiated hierarchy, whose existence is both presumed by and reinforced in their theatrics. These manifestations do more to draw attention to the presence of weak or otherwise defective authority than they do to give dangerous expression to some Dionysian spirit of anarchy or demotic spirit of usurpation. Far from seeking to destroy society, hierarchy, and all authority, populism demands that they be restored by withdrawing legitimacy from their pathological forms. Populism is thus a ready-made means for solving the infamous "bad-leader problem" that dogs Reactionary theory, a Natural remedy for diseases of authority. The populist withdrawal of legitimacy happens Naturally and spontaneously, and thus need not proceed from intrinsically destructive formal juridical doctrines of the "consent of the governed" a la John Locke. It functions as an early-warning detection-system alerting responsible elites that something has gone wrong and requires elite attention, and unlike the toxic Lockean doctrine does not in and of itself terminate with the erection of democracy.

On the contrary, populism always contains an authoritarian cult of hero-worship in it. The likes of the charismatic band frontman, the virtuoso instrumentalist, and the triumphant athlete strip authority of its juridical vestments to lay bare the elemental and pre-legal essence of authority in some singularly personal excellence that dazzles the crowd into willing submission. The women want to bear his children, the kids want to become like him- and the men want to take up his cause and fight for him. With respect to the latter point, those of a certain age will recall a widespread custom whereby it was a serious insult to bad-mouth a given Metal band to the face of somebody wearing that band's T-shirt or patches, which would often lead to a fist-fight; we can immediately recognize the spontaneous rudiments of the social organization of violence around collective honour embodied in a figurehead- in short, the rudiments of Sovereignty. (No doubt, much of the street disorder that used to immediately follow big rock/metal shows was the expression of youth socially and biologically primed to fight on behalf of a band that had wittingly or not stepped into the place of an absent King).

The figure of the populist champion serves as a powerful reminder to established authority- especially when weak, overbearing, or otherwise derelict and incompetent- that there is more to leadership than the juridico-bureaucratic rituals and procedures that invest one with formal authority of whatever sort; that men obey persons, not paper legal forms, notwithstanding certain cherished but misleading Liberal platitudes about the "rule of law not men"; and that men who want to lead must be at least minimally fit to do so and risk being deserted by their followers if they aren't.

N.B. none of this, considered rigorously, has anything to do with "democracy" as known in the USA/Canada. In the latter, the so-called people appoint their leaders. In the case of the populist champion, legitimacy is secured by charisma as defined by Max Weber; the followers do not appoint but rather recognize the champion as their Natural superior on the grounds of the display of excellence that proves he is their leader by Grace. In other words, he leads by a type of Divine right.

Finally, populist disorders are only potentially dangerous in a really serious way when exploited by fractions of the elite in various high-low games and alliances. Absent this elite exploitation, even when pozzed up the ying-yang with Leftist ideology their inherently mercurial and episodic character imposes a ceiling on the amount of lasting damage they can do, as does the overall lack of agency of the subaltern orders of any society. Again, these manifestations involve a temporary withdrawal of legitimacy designed to draw attention to grievances more than any definite long-run scheme for restructuring the social order radically. A strike, as Marx knew, is not the same thing as a revolution; a strike aims for restorative and not revolutionary justice, and goes on until either the striker’s demands are met or the whole thing fizzles out with or without the intervention of the State.

The foregoing analysis gives the lie to so-called "Conservatives" who neurotically see, in any popular disorder no matter how trivial, an index of total depravity and an omen of imminent descent into a Hobbesian state of Nature. This species of snobbery despises the common people, confuses popular culture with decadence, and confuses the wholesome exuberance and effervescence of youth- which tends to a little disorder and tumultuousness, as well it should, and indeed must, if differentiated social hierarchies are to be maintained and society capable of functioning- with anarchy and degeneracy.

This discourse and its producers often like to style themselves "elitist". But you don’t have to look very hard to see the ironic egalitarianism in an "elitist" mentality that refuses the traditional wisdom to “let boys be boys”, and in all seriousness expects teenagers and working men to have the same sobriety of manners as professors and bankers in their fifties- and you also don’t have to look very hard to see the potential for social catastrophe that would obtain if they did. Who fights the Nation’s wars exactly: senior professors and bankers, or young working-class guys interested in physical aggression? Who is more likely to make fit and authoritative patriarchs and leaders in their maturity: betas too cowed and pusillanimous in their youth to break a few rules, or those with enough verve, charisma, and thymos to rebel a little? Which is more likely to attract and win a woman?

This so-called "Conservatism" is hardly better than Liberalism in its desire to standardize Man, abolish Natural human diversity and (intentionally or not) social relations based on that diversity, and carelessly endanger the functioning of society in so doing. It is, in fact, properly thought of as Puritan in its ironic leveling egalitarianism, its disdain for traditional common-sense thinking about social relations, and its grim humourlessness, all grounded in characteristically Gnostic contempt for the body, a fortiori, life itself. Living systems individual and social alike strive, thrive, and surge- and they sometimes make a mess, and don't always jump when told to, or as high. To seriously expect otherwise isn't authoritarianism, but a dehumanizing totalitarianism that wants to turn living men into automatons and replace the Natural system of society with the mechanized apparatus of the police-State.

Make no mistake, though: the present line of argument does not propose that the reins of the State be handed over to the plebes- and least of all to populist demagogues no less plebeian than their followers. Perish the thought! It would be like proposing to run a heater without a thermostat, with the predictable result of burning the house down if the heater didn't melt down and become unusable first. This was the error of Fascism, whose fatal defect was that the dictator's organic connection to the people assumed the form of his embodying the general will immediately instead of mediately. The result was that the dictator did not transcend the figure of the populist champion, and thus was given to exactly the sort of reckless braggadocio, impulsivity, and foolhardiness that theatrically prove the champion of populist drama to be unfit for supreme power; and disaster cannot fail to follow when such a fellow is given that power. Fascism was a catastrophically pathological hybrid of Authoritarianism and Liberalism, a monster to be avoided like plague.

The permanently valid insights of both Fascism and Liberalism may be expressed as follows:

  • there can be no patricians without plebeians, no King without subjects, and no leaders without followers.

  • there can be no followers if those followers are not socially organized into sui generis caste organs further organized and incorporated into the State and the wider social body (analogous to the physiological levels of organization of the human body) instead of being reduced to the sub-social level of scattered, isolate, and anomic outcasts and outlaws of that body. There is a big difference between peasant and pauper, working man and criminal, Sudra and Chandala. The latter term of each pair have no place, and thus cannot possibly be followers- for to follow is to have a recognized and rightful place, however humble, and participate vicariously in the honour and dignity of the Sovereign by serving him, and society as a whole.

  • there can be no social organization of followers if the latter cannot recognize their legitimate concerns, interests, and rights in the overarching social philosophy that guarantees the legitimacy of rule and the warp and woof of the social order as a whole. The people are certainly not Sovereign, but as subjects of the Sovereign and members of society just as certainly do have rights that must be respected- for once again, a social outcast or a slave is not a subject, as Aristotle already pointed out. No Liberty, no Sovereign!

It is to Hegel, not Fascism or Liberalism, to which we must look for guidance on how to think all of this through. Hegel's reflections on the Great Man in his Philosophy of Right are exemplary in both their treatment of the optimal organic relationship between the Sovereign and the popular masses, and the relationship between the formal social philosophy to attend Restoration and the spontaneous populist folk-theories and other forms of rudimentary political consciousness expressed in popular opinion:

Public opinion...deserves to be respected as well as despised– despised for its concrete consciousness, and respected for its essential basis, which appears in that concrete consciousness only in a more or less obscure manner. Since it contains no criterion of discrimination and lacks the ability to raise its own substantial aspect to determinate knowledge, the first formal condition of achieving anything great or rational, in actuality or in theory, is to be independent of public opinion. Great achievement may in turn be assured that public opinion will subsequently accept it, recognize it, and adopt it as it one of its prejudices.

Every kind of falsehood and truth is present in public opinion, but it is the business of the great man to discover the truth within it. He who expresses the will of his age, tells it what its will is, and accomplishes this will, is the great man of the age. What he does is the essence and inner content of the age, and he gives the latter actuality; and no one can achieve anything great, unless he is able to despise public opinion as he here and there encounters it.

Hegel's way of thinking resolves the dilemma between populism and elitism that dogs so much Rightist theory and political praxis by transcending the dilemma at a higher unifying level, a synthesis that preserves the best from each while rejecting the worst, and rises above both.

For Right-populism, the leader is no more than the first among plebeian equals and the mouthpiece of the masses. At best, in Liberal societies this will mean, since the spontaneous folk-philosophy of the masses is pozzed up and down with Liberalism, that the people's champion, once elected into office, will be promptly swallowed whole by the machinery of the Liberal State and Cathedral whose legitimacy neither he nor his followers are in a position to seriously contest, and business continue more or less as usual. (The already-disappointing experience of Trumpism is typical).

At worst, should Right-Populism actually succeed in dismantling the Liberal State (as it did in Germany and Italy in the 20th c.), the ghost of Liberalism will have the last laugh in that, as we have seen, the dictator will not be able to complete the ascension from people's champion to mature Sovereign (due to the avowedly plebiscitary and implicitly egalitarian Nature of Fascism, which inherits both features from Rousseau's theories of the "general will" grounded in the Liberal doctrine of popular sovereignty). We know just what kind of utter disaster-area results.

Right-Elitism, meanwhile, goes too far in the opposite direction; it maintains a principled aloofness (Nietzsche's "pathos of distance") salted with a good deal of open contempt for the plebeian masses ("aristocratic individualism"). The doors of the State are slammed shut in the face of the people and their concerns, interests, and rights- which, as the very best Liberal tradition warned, reduces the people not only to a de-socialized rabble, but sometimes a dangerously disaffected rabble, one that in such a state is vulnerable to exploitation by Jewish, Socialist, and other rabble-rousing predators who know just how to play the populist schtick and milk it for all it's worth. Even in the Liberal State, this can have far-reaching effects e.g. in Canada where the pioneering Neocons of the old Progressive Conservative brand were eventually confronted both by the upstart Right-populist Reform Party and by a Liberal Party with Left-populist affectations, and subsequently wiped off the political map and then formally disbanded. In the non-Liberal State, the Estado Novo Dr. Salazar heroically built in Portugal met with the same fate after his death, and apparently for much the same reason.

In the Hegelian synthesis, the people and their popular thoughts and opinions are neither to be given immediate pandering expression in the State nor dismissed and ignored as a matter of principle. They are rather taken as raw material that awaits being organized, formatted, and brought to maturity by being subsumed under the higher-order levels of organization of the social system, and integrated into its hierarchies of control. The raw social matter does not possess the wherewithal to ascend to its own maturational destiny by itself, and thus indispensably must be completed by a Great Man whose agency supplies the means of its growth and becoming, in the same way that the mechanisms of growth in the biological organism re-organize the existing structures of the organism throughout its levels of organization (tissular, cellular, molecular, etc.).

At the level of social philosophy, he must make the inarticulate articulate as a formal system that is logically consistent and coherent, tying up the loose ends of popular sentiment, stripping it of extraneous elements, and raising it from folk-theory to the level of science. He distinguishes, in these folk-theories, truths, falsehoods, and notions that are false as they stand but can be corrected and reformulated with precision and thus rehabilitated. Thus he purifies and unifies the pozzed and fractured populist philosophy of the masses, forging it into an invincibly steelmanned foundational philosophy of the State that also organically expresses the true sense and soul of the people.

This work must necessarily be done from a position that can self-sufficiently define criteria of validity vis-a-vis the body of discourse that it holds to critical scrutiny- which means that critical judgment stands in relation to public opinion as Sovereign to subject. Hence the task can never be complete until the Sovereign carries it to full fruition, since only the Sovereign self-sufficiently stands in judgment of everyone without being himself subject to judgment by anyone, and thus alone can authoritatively discriminate between truth and error. This isn't to say that the Sovereign is a philosopher-King who does the whole work unassisted, but rather that the many men of learning who must assist him are just that- assistants and help-meets- for the opinions of every philosopher in the world put together are still mere private opinions, and do not by simple quantitative aggregation and agreement make the qualitative leap to objective Truth binding on all. The qualitative difference between opinion and truth is rather a difference of levels of social organization; the Sovereign alone decides what is true and necessary for the lower levels of organization and their constitutive units, since he alone organizes and commands the leading means of social organization, namely power. He endows scientific and other abstractions, by themselves immaterial and thus, in this life, impotent, with substantive social existence and efficacy. The ineffable vital principle (the "emergent property" of biological and social science) thus finds concrete existence in an actually-existing social system.

This leads us from the purely abstract and philosophical to questions of the social organization of power, and of society as a whole.

The permanently valid insight of "methodological individualism" in social science from Max Weber to Hayek is that it is as manifestly absurd to speak of State and society as existing independently of their lower-level constituent units (individual, family, corporation, etc.) as it would be to speak of the biological organism existing independently of organs, cells, and organic chemicals. In both the biological and social system, the vital principle is a ghost at best and a non-entity at worst unless and until realized in the positive organization of biological and social matter. It would be a grievous positivist and Liberal error to assert that State and society are nothing more than associations of individuals (as the "methodological individualists" typically do). But they nonetheless can exist only as such associations.

This raises the problem of individual participation in the life of the State; the Liberal tradition will forever have the honour of having drawn attention to its importance, however sub-optimal the Liberal solution in terms of voting in elections and so on may have been. There is no question of trying to comprehensively solve it here. I shall focus on just one area: the right to keep and bear arms expressed in the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

The idea, I know, must seem jarringly preposterous to anyone who has been following American politics for a long time. The right to bear arms, the very jewel in the crown of Lockean-Libertarian Constitutionalism from the inception of the American Republic and indeed, the mother country long before that, the object of a veritable fundamentalist cult within the Liberal tradition, and almost a religious fetish for American populism, long despised by elitist Liberalism as both a symptom of, and force for, anomie, alienation, and insurrectionism. But we must think dialectically here. We must accept Hegel’s challenge to both despise and respect this populist staple (among others) at once so as to realize the potentiality within it and help it to arrive at the destiny of its own maturity in a post-Liberal social philosophy and socio-political order. We can transform this force for disorganization into a means of organization. What has hitherto been the flagship of a pozzed populism desperately asserting Lockean individual rights against the State can be made into an instrument for freemen to exercise their rights within and for the State, organized under Sovereign authority.

I do not mean that the Lockean RKBA as known now, under which private individuals arm themselves as individuals, here and there loosely associating themselves on a purely informal and voluntary basis with a few others in private clubs, should give way to a National conscript army, or otherwise to re-open hackneyed partisan debates on whether or not the RKBA should understood as an “individual” or as a “collective” right. The well-regulated militia is certainly not a branch of the US Army at law right now and should not become one under Restoration.

Rather, the dialectic of realizing the destiny of the RKBA will involve restoring it to its pre-Liberal and pre-Modern origins in the ancient Anglo-Saxon institute of the fyrd formally codified at common law in the Assize of Arms in the 12th century. We can thus think of the task of re-casting the RKBA on non-Liberal foundations as an effort to discover a specifically Reactionary right to bear arms, one that cannot be understood in terms of the Modern public-private dichotomy that has hitherto confounded academic efforts to grasp the historical meaning of the right (e.g. the categories of “individual” and “collective” rights are utterly inapplicable to it).

The sort of militia organization in question belongs to a social order that self-consciously thought of itself as an organically differentiated and organically unified body politic, one not founded on the Lockean theory of social contract, or its attending dichotomy between an impersonal “public” State Leviathan and a faceless mass of equal and interchangeable “private” juridical atoms with individual rights at once guaranteed and threatened by the public power. It is neither a conscript army in the Modern sense nor a bunch of enthusiasts running around with CCWs. It is rather:

  • based on a personal obligation of one flesh-and-blood man of authority (a legally free subject) to another, superior, such man (the Sovereign) bound by an oath of service that unites their autonomous wills- a relationship very different from that of the "private" juridical atom-abstraction who is either a (fictively) Sovereign citizen with a Lockean individual right to arm, or else an (actual) slave of the Lockean State impressed into military service and subject to military law.

  • based on a recognition of biological and social diversity instead of the leveling egalitarianism of both the Modern right of the private individual to arm himself with any weapon not monopolized by the public power and the Modern and National army that is a privileged instrument of democratic standardization-homogenization, and indeed inconceivable absent Modern democracy, no matter how rigidly hierarchical its formal organization. In the National army, one is issued a standard weapon, in the traditional militia, one must furnish one's own at muster- and the arm in question is one, according to an ancient common-law phrase, "suitable to the condition and degree" of its owner.

  • a local organization, or more precisely set of local organizations, under local control that reflects the organic differentiation of the Estates in its organization (e.g. the aristocrats give the orders, lesser freemen take them) that in turn is subsumed by the authority of the Sovereign. This physiological organization is most like unlike the absolutely centralized National army, aptly described as a "war machine", with a chain of command extending from the Commander-in-Chief right down to the lowliest private without independent intermediation (everyone in it at any level is supposed to be nothing but the pure creature and tool of the State and projection of its will- which explains the hyper-rationalist regulation of every detail of the soldier's being that can possibly be regulated, unlike the much looser discipline of the militia, which must respect the social status of each free man).

The militia is thus a truly intermediate structure. It is subsumed by the State, summoned by the State, but not the pure creature of the State (e.g. the likes of the Assize of Arms formalizes an ancient custom, and inscribes the existing organic structure of society in its formal organization, unlike the National army created from nothing by Executive rules and regulations precisely in order to standardize the population and erase social diversity). At the same time, the militia certainly cannot be understood in terms of Liberal notions of "civil society", considered as the Lockean residue of a "Natural society" that pre-dates the State and reserves individual-private rights against it in the course of creating and submitting to it.

Neither variant of the positivist cause-and-effect image according to which the State creates society or the other way around are applicable to the militia; it can only be understood in terms of levels of organization and hierarchies of control that are always contemporaneous and consubstantial. It socializes individual rights and individualizes social rights at the very same time.

The militia thus solves the problem of individual participation justly posed by Liberalism, but without the false and demotist Liberal solution in terms of voting in elections, interest-group activism, or other exercises of so-called "citizenship" grounded in the pernicious Lockean idea of popular sovereignty. Instead of devolving Sovereignty downwards to the people, it forces the people to evolve upwards and towards Sovereignty, and under the authority of the Sovereign mature from a disorganized and disorderly rabble to organized members of the State and participates of the social totality. It mobilizes and gives organized expression to Man's instincts to collectively rally round a figurehead, recognize him as their superior, gladly submit to his will, and freely take up his cause, all in a way that makes his honour and glory theirs.

As we have seen, these instincts are among the very rudiments of Man's social being, with only the instinct to form families more elemental. These social instincts cannot be destroyed by Liberalism, which can only disrupt and disorganize their institutional means of expression- and again, these primitive instincts are inarticulately and incoherently but clearly present in the spontaneous Populist corrective response to the anti-Natural disruptions and disturbances of Natural hierarchy induced by Liberalism.

The germ form of both religious and politico-military organization, for example, can be seen in any street-level gang of young Metalheads forced to look to various virtuoso musicians and athletes in order to find the symbols of their own social unity (the germ form of religion), and personal champions to protect and be protected by (the germ form of Kingship), that the Liberal order denies them. This raw social matter craves being suitably formatted and made to discharge its Natural purpose as the retinue of a real Sovereign, and to have the profound religious and martial longings it spontaneously expresses in the abstract fantasy worlds of its artistic productions become a substantive social reality.

The militia serves not only to forge a deep bond between Sovereign and subject at a level much more primordially human than voting in faceless democratic elections and the like, but also serves to unite the diversity of ranks and orders of society in personal bonds. The privileged few in the higher walks of life will be made to engage the many in the lower not as statistics or social stereotypes negative or positive, but as actual people. The few will learn to neither regard the many as equals, nor as deplorables, but to lead the many in a way that earns their respect, obedience, and loyalty. The many, for their part, will likewise be brought into direct contact with the few and thus see them, too, in their substantive existence as people as opposed to "the bourgeoisie" or some other partisan abstraction. They will see with their own eyes that it is no easy business to be in charge of an organization, populist rhetoric about trust-fund kids and corporate fat cats notwithstanding. All orders of life will have the opportunity to learn how to deal with one another through direct feedback. In any case, aside from the kinship tie nothing is more powerful to bind men together in subjection than service mutually rendered to their Sovereign.

Is this all just LARPing? While reviving the militia would be a decidedly ambitious reform, at the policy level we already have the wherewithal in terms of raw material to see it through- and already existing policy developments are at least partially trending in that direction.

First, the Constitutional wherewithal already exists by name in the text of the basic law of both the Federal power and most of the several States in the USA, and would require only ordinary legislative acts to implement it. N.B. the well-regulated militia cannot and should not replace the National army. In keeping with traditional Anglo-American reflection on its Nature, the militia ought to be a domestic and civilian force. What the militia should replace is the likes of the National Guard, as well as local police services except for the most indispensably specialized. (Those already employed by those services could be early-retired, taken on as administrators, training or other consultants, or some other capacity at the same pay etc. as per existing practices)

For quite some time now, crime-control policy has been trending towards blurring the once-strict line between public and private, with private individuals being encouraged and sometimes even required to do their fair share to learn how to avoid being victimized, becoming in the process a sort of satellite of the formal policing apparatus. The rise of CCWs since the 1990s is clearly part of this trend; proponents explicitly tout the aggregate of permit-holders as a sort of distributed informal militia/police force guided by Adam Smith's invisible hand. A concerted campaign emanating from the Right could critique this as anomic, anarchic, and socially disorganized. It could stress the need to socialize and regulate the phenomenon in order to make it more rational and efficient, which should please the technocratic Left, and also stress that the militia system would put the bulk of law-enforcement directly in the hands of local communities- which would please both race militants and cut an impossible Gordian knot that ties the hands of harried legislators who presently have to try to please both race militants and police unions at once, of course without pleasing either.

Gun-rights advocacy groups could be brought on board with the implicit or explicit promise that there'd be something concrete in it for them, e.g. being brought in on the training and organizing end. For that matter, the National Rifle Association could plausibly lay claim to being the Natural corporation overseeing the militia's day-to-day workings (and it is hard to see a special-interest group turning down a chance to gain actual corporate powers and privileges).

Finally, concerned citizens and stakeholders would get a chance to personally play a part in laying down the law on various rioting anarchists and students, unlawful migrants, terrorists, and other miscreants without descending to the level of a mere mob no better in the eyes of the law than the miscreants.

In order to incentivize participation, the State could tie all CCW, FFL, and other gun permitting to active militia membership (which should please anti-gun advocates), as well as eligibility for student loans and government subsidies and employment for all able-bodied male citizens. (Conscientious objection and other exemptions from these legal disabilities could be dealt with on a case-by-case basis as per existing standards and practices with respect to military duty).

We'll see what happens. In any case, the main takeaway from the entire analysis is that Reactionaries ought to support the populist tendency that found expression in the election of Trump. Again, there can be no leaders without followers. Germinating right now on various margins of the established order are the soldiers and heavy-lifters of Restoration. They will prove a Natural and indispensable social support base once the time comes for Reaction to play some high-low games of its own, as real power sooner or later must, instead of just lamenting the existing game.

It would quite properly be called a shame to abandon, by default of inattention, the popular masses to predation at the hands of the emerging epidemic of pandering opportunists of the "alt-lite", the cuckservative rear-garde, or, for that matter, a reconstituted neo-Socialist populist Left (it not only could happen, but is clearly emerging).

This isn't just a matter of expediency, but of right. The great mass of White people (and, for that matter, upright Blacks and First Nations willing to have certain adult conversations about social issues) deserve a much better deal than they're getting- a New Deal that the new Right all too often neglects to clearly propose to them. The task of reconstructing society on foundations more in agreement with the Nature of men and things than the Liberal order is incomplete by definition until ordinary men can see themselves, vigorously protected in the enjoyment of their rights, in the image of the new, post-Liberal order of things.

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