We all want an enemy that we can seize, squeeze, and exterminate. We all want to find the root of what went wrong in the West, rip it out of the ground, and stomp on it like a weed. If we could just get our fingers around its throat… we would unlimber all of the rage with which nature has instilled us.
However, we fight ghosts in an invisible order. We stalk a misconception in a virtual reality of ideas. We wander a wasteland landscape of concepts, some of which connect to their source, and some of which are echoes of the human mind, amplified by social approval.
How do you spear a number? How do you club a word? How do you strangle a conceptual structure, or exterminate a texture of synaptic sparks? We can only do what humans have always done: compile learning, explaining the good and bad alike, and coming out with a clearer vision of what works.
Per the definition of conservatism (realism + the transcendent) we need not just a minimum adaptation, but something which inspires us to excellence (arete). This cannot be found in the present image of how the world works which floats in the minds of modern people.
This means that killing an idea cannot even be in our agenda in the first place; we need a substitute idea, a better idea, and to aim toward that so that we can bypass the stumbles and pitfalls caused by a lack of direction, a desultory place in which illusions take root and become religious.
Mainstream conservatives hamper us because they promote ideas which are irrelevant. The conservative ideal has become equal parts compensatory logic and armchair activism. “There, there… your society died. Now just pile up some money, go to church, join the military, work hard at your job and, uh, well, pay the taxes to the parasites which have taken over the rotting carcass.”
I grew up detesting conservatives because I thought that they were morons. A few months of the Clinton presidency was enough to have me second-guessing running to the other side, so I opted for a middle path, which is not a compromise or average but recognition that people tend toward extremes and the truth is found of elements from all over, taken to their logical conclusions.
This leads us to what one might call basic-level gut instinct conservatism, or the idea that instead of talking about symbolic ideology (equality) we need to talk about what works. Having achieved that, we need to get past the utilitarian minimum and focus on what works best, since many things “work” if you adjust the quality slider to the left.
From there, the path to the Old Right opens up. For those who never got taught this in school — that is probably all of us — the Old Right are the people who wanted the order before Leftism (which we can pursue in a modern form in order to restore Western Civilization through continuity between future and ancient past).
The Old Right resembles modern American, European, and Antipodean (Canada, New Zealand, Australia) conservatism about as much as an egg resembles the Eiffel Tower. Conservatives in our modern world are modern first and conservative second, so they basically adopt Libertarianism and graft onto it some socially conservative principles, then fail to achieve any of this because they do not have the power to transform our market socialist and civil rights based state into a functional one. Who will stake his career on repealing Medicare, EMTALA, Social Security, public schooling, and civil rights?
While the Libertarians are odious as a political movement since they adapt the Leftist ideal of egalitarianism into freedom and free markets, they are not wrong, at least in the field of economics. Even more, they provide a handy stepping stone out of Leftist to liberalism and maybe beyond. Lots of people, saturated in guilt and equality propaganda, find their first primitive steps out of that mental ghetto by adopting the idea of naturalistic Social Darwinism sensu Rand, Peterson, Heinlein, Moldbug, or Hoppe.
In my view, “capitalism” is another word for “economics.” It simply describes how markets work. All alternatives to it consist of government mediating markets in the socialist style, and all face the same problem, which is that government cannot react precisely and quickly enough to avoid having tolerances expand in its structure, eventually causing collapse.
My support for capitalism comes more from rejecting everything else because they are forms of centralized control that do not work than from any metaphysical or philosophical love of capitalism. It is how money, sales, investments, and currency rates function, and since nothing else works, it serves as a good starting point.
However, here comes the Iron Rule: everything acts only in its own self-interest alone, and that applies also to economies. Without the rest of society — culture, leadership, laws — everything falls apart because economies of scale will turn society into Costco and then crash when people give up in misery at a life with few options.
In this way, capitalism serves as part of the bundle of things we need to make a society work. We need a functional economic system, although when the influences that the Old Right wants are in place, it would barely resemble the present system any more than the Old Right resembles the Republicans.
Other things fit in this bundle. Nationalism is important, but alone it cannot solve our problems; same with religion and culture. The only possible exception is monarchy, since kings tend to like clean aesthetics and clear out the neurotic clutter, leaving behind something like traditional society.
Libertarians are like the guys telling us that our society is rotten and everyone needs to get Jesus. Then what? Jesus left little political theory, and even less of it that we can apply. We may need Jesus, but we need the rest of the bundle too.
I like capitalism because it is natural. People make contracts for goods and services, those compete, the laws of supply and demand regulate, and we generally end up with better quality at lower costs unless government intervenes, which it has done relentlessly for the past century.
Like anything else, capitalism needs guidance. Monopolies form, whether Standard Oil or Google, and over time those companies become bloated and abusive. You can wait for new market entrants to compete with them, which will eventually happen, or take action.
Kings for example used to hand over monopolies to trusted lords as a kind of test. If the lord was able to run the firm in a way that benefited the citizens and did not destroy anything, then he was able to keep it, which kept costs low but not so low that workers were paid starvation wages.
Consider the effects of this on playing cards, one of the monopolies that kings assigned. They would be more expensive than they are now, probably better quality, but you would always have a playing card industry without the ups and downs that unrestricted competition tends to create.
A savvy king, and most of them were, would assign monopolies based on region. If your English playing cards are too expensive, try the Welsh kind which are coming in over the border. They have sheep on them but they are good quality and less expensive. Market competition still exists with these granted monopolies.
Another area where capitalism needs restriction comes from what we allow to be produced. After all, there is a market for pornography and meth; do we simply let it happen? Heck no: a good king keeps the bad stuff away from his people, unless needed for natural selection.
For example, there is a good argument that we should simply make meth free and then remove addicts as they become dysfunctional. In a few generations, you will have many fewer people who have whatever gene or character trait causes people to think meth is a good idea.
Generally, however, we tend to acknowledge human weakness, and keep away traps that slam shut quickly. We allow legal alcohol, and if we are intelligent make it cheap, so that the despairing can exit quietly and cheaply. Since it brings out the inner yahoo in some people, it lets us know on whom to keep an eye.
Pornography on the other hand subverts an inner human weakness, probably more a sense of loneliness and powerlessness than anything directly sexual. The kings had a solution here, which was that they allowed erotica in art and displayed it in places away from where children were. Put some sawdust on the floor and everything should be OK.
This approach is different from socialism and egalitarianism. Those are “reward first,” meaning that instead of waiting for an action and then rating the result, we hand people money and status simply for being human and assume that they are good. You do not need to be a bitter basement misanthrope to see the flaw in that reasoning.
These notions — socialism, unions, entitlements, egalitarianism — hide what they are actually doing, which is creating a mass mobilization culture based in political values which replaces organic culture. To distribute money, you need a distributor, and that entity quickly becomes all-powerful.
Right now the Dissident Right finds itself flirting with socialism because it is frustrated with what it knows as “capitalism”:
I’ve noticed recently that many of my most fervent “God Emperor Trump” friends have started warming up to socialism. “Ocasio-Cortez may be dumb as a brick, but she’s onto something!” “Protect Maduro from the evils of the free market!” This line of thinking has even made its way up the ladder to top-level talking heads like Tucker Carlson. Indeed, the normally nimble Carlson recently struck out while trying to cozy up to a far-left socialist who flummoxed the host to the point where Carlson used an expletive and called off the interview. Why? Because the socialist had a consistent worldview, whereas Carlson, in trying to be kinda capitalist and kinda anti-capitalist, had birthed a thalidomide baby of an ideology, a malformed mess that couldn’t live outside the womb.
The pro-Trump socialist sympathizers have arrived at their position because they’ve taken Trump’s incessant (and not wholly unwarranted) swipes against “globalists” as a call to “soak the rich!” “The globalists are the enemy! Let’s tax them into oblivion.” This myopic view of economics misses a key point, which is that it’s never about who you’re soaking, but where the [expletive deleted] money is going. Stop looking at who’s losing, and start looking at who’s gaining. All the money “soaked” from the rich will go to the things the Trump base supposedly hates—foreign wars, the welfare state, and a larger and more powerful federal bureaucracy.
Hey, far-rightists…when has big government ever favored you? If your dream is to live on yer land with yer hounds and a thousand guns, why exactly do you want to feed the federal-government beast? Ask Randy Weaver how that “big government” thing worked out for him.
What we call “capitalism” today consists of many things. It is how markets work and have since the dawn of time, when people traded and later relied on money as a handy (and smaller) medium of exchange. It is also our financial system, which allows for selling of debt and giving of absurd loans. A thoughtful king might discourage some of that activity.
Our kings were driven bankrupt by the European wars brought on by religion and territory, and foolishly adopted some of these instruments in the past. Future kings will know better; sometimes, you have to try something to realize how deep the abyss goes, and they never intended these things for mass consumption.
Most of what we complain about in “capitalism” arises from the intervention of government. Pump priming by paying out entitlements to the underclass, for example, results in the crass consumerism we have seen that values the lowest common denominator at the lowest price.
Consider how much affirmative action distorts our markets, or government-guaranteed college loans. High taxes make high prices, because everything “trickles down” to the last guy in the chain, the consumer. We are supporting a corporation of several million people, the government, that mostly just hurts us.
Even public education should come under the knife. Those free government schools are not responsive to market choices because you pay for them in advance or the government confiscates your home. You can complain after that, sure, but only if you get a third of your community to agree will something change.
Voters love social security, but what does it really do? Since they do not need to save for retirement and no longer have pensions factored into their salaries, people spend their money recklessly, which creates a market for disposable novelty gadgets and junk.
Under the kings, after all, most people had little disposable income that they could accumulate. They had plenty of money to go to the pub, but not enough to open a Twenty-Four Hour Porn And Bondage Emporium (With Live Dancers). This probably was a saner order, all things told.
In any case, the big point is that capitalism works while everything else fails, and socialism fails hard because it makes government take over from culture, so we need to avoid those things. Capitalism is not perfect, but in the right context, it can do what we need better than the other options.