Those who are making money from the present system are fighting this idea tooth and nail, as are the people who are afraid of change, but the world is undergoing a massive change in consciousness. For the last two centuries, we have believed that “equality” means “good” and anything else is bad.
A shift like this begins, like most great things, in the details. Few people will be blunt and come out saying that a society based on equality is a terrible thing; instead, they will chip away at the surface, then go to the layer beneath that, and then one after, until they get to the core far later.
Initial tremors of the metamorphosis appear already in the political and cultural destabilization of the West. Its economic stability faces challenges as well, resting on the dual false markets of the fading dot-com boom (v3.0) and globalism, which promised wealth but delivered wealth transfer.
Politically, the West finds itself shifting on two levels: toward Austrian economics on the fiscal side, and toward identity politics — the idea that unique culture, people, and beliefs must come before profit and ideology — on the social side.
While the future losers of the Democratic primary bandy about their notions of how to divide up the free stuff they give away, the more serious thinkers are looking toward a time when entitlements spending will not be the only activity of the Left:
The reigning metaphors of political punditry are “polarization” and “partisan gridlock,” but among the people there exists a hidden consensus, waiting for some enterprising Democrat to discover and articulate it.
That consensus encompasses easily 60% of the electorate and has three facets. The first is economic populism…Nearly all miss the centrality of populism: the depth of public anger over political corruption and the distribution of wealth, income and opportunity. When such pundits warn Democrats not to drift left, they’re mostly warning them off Warren and Sanders.
Bluntly put, they are slowly recognizing the fact that there is no more free money. When white Americans were a solid majority, they did not mind the extra taxes in order to right historical wrongs and fix massive disparities in wealth.
Now that white Americans are headed toward minority status, the debt is $22tn, and we still have inequality riots and racial problems, white Americans are no longer interested in being “the bank” for Leftist policies that have clearly not worked and never will.
Across the first world, every country has spending problems. They have deferred payments to important future-oriented projects in order to instead spend the money on entitlements and diversity programs. As the money dries up, so does support for expanding those programs.
Lack of expansion means that the programs die as the population swells because the payout to each individual must get smaller. Large staffs of bureaucrats, especially the $200k+/year “elites,” must fall, but those will go last; first, people will find that they can no longer rely on handouts.
This in turn crushes the utility of these programs and means that they are on their way to death. Even more, since the “yellow vests” protests, ire at the unelected and overpaid bureaucrat caste in Brussels and Washington has ignited rage at the process of government itself.
Everywhere, we see populism as a mixture of Austrian economics, strong identity politics, and traditionalist social conservatism, mainly because there is no longer any room to go farther Left and Leftism has failed. Even lonely Mexico is leading this charge:
A leftist, he has been more fiscally conservative than any of his predecessors since the 1950s. He has cut the size of government so dramatically it has drawn protests. He has been more openly religious than most Mexican presidents in recent memory.
“There is no going back on this process, not one step back, no hesitating or halfway measures,” he said, referring to his anti-corruption drive. “We are authentic, transformers, pacifists, but at the same time in defending the causes of honesty, justice and democracy, we are not moderates, we are radicals!”
Now that is fascinating: “We are radicals!” he said, while implementing a hybrid policy.
Since Mexico does not have a consistent racial identity, being comprised of Asians, Caucasians, and Africans, it has a strong religious basis to its cultural identity. His public religiosity is not just pro-Jesus, but in favor of the Mexican view of Catholicism, which makes it pro-Mexico.
In addition, he seems to have started cutting back on the dysfunctional government. He has realized that Mexico cannot afford this government.
If he went to the Right, he would abolish even more of it and reduce taxes in order to become a business hub, as Bolsonaro wants Brazil to be. Austrian economics work; demand-side economics (Obama, Clinton, Carter) provide short-term stimulus and long-term economic instability.
Politics breaks down into social, fiscal, ideological, and international politics levels. One source describes Left-wing populism this way:
The reigning metaphors of political punditry are “polarization” and “partisan gridlock,” but among the people there exists a hidden consensus, waiting for some enterprising Democrat to discover and articulate it.
That consensus encompasses easily 60% of the electorate and has three facets. The first is economic populism. The second might be called frugal pragmatism. The third, social liberalism, has the weakest hold, but as the silent generation passes on and millennials and centennials swell the voting lists, it grows ever stronger.
Economic populism is the glue that binds the consensus.
I used to say people want Democratic ends by Republican means: I meant that they want clean air and water, good schools, safe streets and fair wages from the least expensive, least intrusive, most efficient government possible. No one wants their pocket picked. Everyone wants a government that works well and on occasion even makes them proud.
The problem they face is that when you make things good for “everyone,” soon the group of “everyone” expands. Demand is infinite, supply — time, energy, effort, mental focus, resources, wealth, space — will always be limited.
Populism at its heart represents a return to realism from what we might call “ideologism,” or the idea that ideology — a conjectural, prescriptive theory about how life “should” be in lieu of how it is — can be a sensible basis for society. Populism says “no.”
We have been living in an ideological empire for over a century, mainly because we forced ourselves into ideological wars with the Civil War and then first world war. Our government directed by ideology has dominated all political thinking for over a century:
Wilson’s vision continues to infect American foreign policy to this day. From the war with Imperial Germany to Saddam’s Iraq, America’s foreign policy maintains an enduring Wilsonian influence. Within mainstream political opinion, democracy is considered an unquestionable and universal good that should be forcibly spread to foreign countries for their benefit and ours. In international relations theory this strategy of democratizing nations is known as liberal hegemony.
The American public initially did not want to intervene in European affairs but opinion changed after news of German war atrocities and the killing of American citizens by German U-boats was sensationalized by the press. The so called atrocities of barbaric Hunnic German soldiers butchering and eating Belgium children were entirely fabricated by the Entente powers to influence the American public. The infamous sinking of the RMS Lusitania by a U-boat, killing over a hundred American citizens was propagated by the press not mentioning the ammunitions stored on board or that the ship had deliberately sailed into a declared war zone. The final straw that would sway American opinion was the Zimmerman Telegraph where Germany offered a conditional alliance with Mexico if the United States entered the war. The telegraph was viewed by the public as an underhanded tactic despite the fact that the United States had already threatened war with Germany.
The monarchal Houses of Hohenzollern in Germany and Hapsburg in Austria proposed an armistice which could have saved the lives of thousands, but Wilson rejected the proposal. For peace was not Wilson’s primary objective, but the forced democratization of Europe. The unnecessary prolonging of the conflict caused the monarchies who had ruled Europe for centuries to collapse.
We see the pattern that exists to this day: a media blitz, calls for spreading the “good news” of democracy, and a war whose actual motivations are to destroy any who have not adopted the Leftist style of not just democracy, but the ideological state.
America formalized its ideological state in the 1860s with Lincoln’s calls for equality and eventually, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and Fourteen Amendment. Both called for government to intervene in every human interaction.
When you write law that says government must make everyone equal, that gives government license and obligation to interfere in every business. You must bake that gay cake; you must rent to the black guy, even if he is also on drugs; you must have 50% women on your corporate board (coming soon).
While the voters celebrate their new “rights,” what this has really done is the creation of a Soviet-style ideological state. Reality does not matter, especially not bad results; what matters is symbolic victory over the inequality of life.
Statements like that reduce the population to bickering monkeys. They get an ego-charge out of thinking that they are fighting back against the factors of life that hold them back, not realizing that their own poor decisions and low abilities hold them back.
They could accept reality as it is, and serve in the roles that fit them by nature, but instead, they want to play the lottery. After all, they might be king! This behaviors is entirely predictable based on their lower intelligence and moral character.
For this reason, mob rule automatically leads to ideological government, which quickly becomes tyranny, and then — big point here — destroys civilization and leaves behind a third-world wasteland.
Ideology serves as a distraction from reality that like alcohol, drugs, and lotteries, makes people feel more powerful even as they grow less powerful, mainly because living in a failing civilization is less powerful than living in a thriving one.
The quest for ideological government leads us away from health and creates an opportunity for populists to reinvent the West:
The other reason Republicans are probably pleased with the Democratic debates is that, except for healthcare, very few topics were seriously discussed that could challenge Republicans in the heartland or mobilize Democratic voters outside of the traditional progressive base. The debate barely touched on the opioid crisis, for example, and the issue was largely reduced to punishment of big pharma rather than discussion of how to help addicts and their families. It is depressing to see the Democratic party once again ignoring this clearly progressive issue, which affects almost half of all Americans in a personal way.
There was also no serious discussion of America’s crumbling infrastructure – a particularly ripe issue for big-government Democrats like Sanders and a huge missed opportunity, given that it is an election promise on which Trump has clearly failed to deliver. More generally, neither moderators nor candidates really addressed the broader issue of work, from the threat of automation (only Andrew Yang) through the highly salient issue of minimum wage to the explosion of the precariat in the wake of the Great Recession.
Finally, with the exception of Ohio congressman Tim Ryan’s pseudo-populist appeal to Trump voters in the rust belt, there was no discussion of the ever-growing urban-rural divide and the plight of rural America.
In this we see the death of Left-wing populism: it is a paradox. You cannot have a government dedicated to ideology and also have populism; populism is dedicated to the real, organic, and specific to each society. Ideology is dedicated to the universal, or that which all humans have in common, which turns out to be nothing more than a monkey brain hidden behind our complex language and behavior which devolves to the same stupid pattern again and again:
This is how every civilization on Earth has died, at least the ones that have succeeded and not remained in a primitive subsistence state.
We who exist today find ourselves in the second-to-last stage of this cycle, by which we are being conveyed into a socialist, mixed-race, and consumer society which resembles a hybrid of Fascism, National Socialist, Communism, and Libertarianism.
It adopts any method it needs to control us. Free market forces work as well as centralized command economies and totalitarian secret police. It will continue to accumulate power until it has total control, at which point it will collapse.
Burroughs points out the nature of control:
Control needs time in which to exercise control. Because control also needs opposition or acquiescence; otherwise, it ceases to be control. I control a hypnotized subject (at least partially); I control a slave, a dog, a worker; but if I establish complete control somehow, as by implanting electrodes in the brain, then my subject is little more than a tape recorder, a camera, a robot. You don’t control a tape recorder – you use it. Consider the distinction, and the impasse implicit here. All control systems try to make control as tight as possible, but at the same time, if they succeeded completely there would be nothing left to control. Suppose for example a control system installed electrodes in the brains of all prospective workers at birth. Control is now complete. Even the thought of rebellion is neurologically impossible. No police force is necessary. No psychological control is necessary, other than pressing buttons to achieve certain activations and operations.
When there is no more opposition, control becomes a meaningless proposition. It is highly questionable whether a human organism could survive complete control. There would be nothing there. No persons there. Life is will (motivation) and the workers would no longer be alive, perhaps literally. The concept of suggestion as a complete technique presupposes that control is partial and not complete. You do not have to give suggestions to your tape recorder nor subject it to pain and coercion or persuasion.
Control requires an object because, in a relative universe, it only knows itself through the Other. That means that the controller must exert influence on the Other, and when it has total authority, it ceases to derive a sense of power from the relationship, which was always the goal.
This tells us that seeking power for its own sake is a type of zombie pathology, or a human urge like over-eating, promiscuity, gambling, and cutting where the person associates an act with a sensation of goodness, even though it does not achieve good results.
Our analysis shows us that these zombie pathologies are the flip side to neurosis, or confusion as to the cause of an event which creates a behavioral trigger in the human being. A neurotic drank coffee once and feels good, so now he pathologically drinks coffee in the hopes of recapturing that feeling, despite its cause being the context and situation he was in at the time and not the coffee itself. Runaway symbolism, where people confuse the symbol with the underlying reality, forms a similar pathology, or behavior that is repeated independent of its results.
This resembles the Nietzsche riff on master and slave morality:
Nietzsche articulated the view that there are two broad moral views or moral frames of mind, that of master morality and of slave morality. Slave morality is concerned with issues of justice, fairness and protection of the weak. It is called slave morality because its emphasis and focus is on those who are powerless, controlled or in positions of minority…slave morality can really be thought of as “horizontal”, red line, or affiliative-love morality. The emphasis is on placed on equality, sensitivity and connection.
However, what Nietzsche realized is that this is not enough to encapsulate all of morality. There must also be a vertical dimension to morality, one that emphasizes strength, courage, accomplishment, virtue and merit. This relates deeply to what honor cultures emphasize and certainly is a strong element in Aristotle’s virtue ethics. This Nietzsche called master morality, because it referred to individuals who were in a position to rise above the herd of society and be judged on their own terms.
In the actual master morality, someone seeks to rise above the reaction of others; a stunted master morality, however, requires the others to react to what is done, so that the stunted master moralist can feel a sense of power and control from their enmity.
For good examples of stunted master morality, look no further than White Nationalist 1.0s or Antifa. Both groups depend on negative media attention and outrage in order to feel a sense of power. Similarly, sadists and masochists form two sides of the master-slave coin.
Those who seek control as an end in itself, versus power as a means to an end, are stunted master moralists. Captain Ahab, Sauron, the Lydian Gyges, and even Adam at the Fall are all examples of stunted master morality, as is Odysseus when taunting the Cyclops.
Controllers, therefore, have a messy organic sadism to their activity.
Not surprisingly, we are in grip of a false elite who enjoys destroying normal life and normal people because those who are stunted master moralists can never participate in such things, and thus envy those who can.
Civilizations are killed by this type of ideological zombie pathology.
Our immediate future consists of the Left attempting to repeat its zombie ideology from the past. The Democratic debates have unnerved people because they showed us nothing but more of the same: every candidate repeated basically the same message.
They want more of the failing Leftist policies of the past fifty years, namely Keynesian consumerist socialism. In that system, we tax the productive and give to the unproductive so that they can buy junk and thus keep money ricocheting around our economy.
The fusion of demand-based economics and the consumer economy has proven the only way, so far, to keep the egalitarian dream of socialism, libertinism, and mob rule alive. These three things share a utilitarian premise, which is that whatever the largest number of people think is good is in fact good.
Hybridizing conservative methods and Leftist goals in this way proves popular, but it is causing defections on the growing edge of the Left, namely its intellectuals who realize that we are going down the same path that destroyed the Soviet Union and Rome: central control.
In central control, citizens defer autonomy to the group and its proxies, such as tyrants, in order to gain social approval. This over time produces citizens who cannot direct themselves and are dependent on constant entertainment to keep from seeing the existential void yawning beneath them.
Reliance on more of the same old Leftist program has caused defections of some intellectuals from the Left, starting with its leading lights. They are trying, like Mexico, to keep it alive by infusing it with Libertarianism, which is ultimately also a utilitarian philosophy, therefore an easy merger.
We know this path; conservatives did the same thing with William F. Buckley’s “American New Right” fusionism, in which conservatism abandoned the idea of civilization in order to focus on bourgeois autonomy through rights and free markets.
This backfires because, at the end of the day, it goes down the same path. People become unable to have values except those which are exerted by reacting to the centralized authority, much as control needs them to react in order to feel a sense of its power.
Monarchists might point out that this coincides with the warning issued by those who were skeptical of democracy, namely that without the kings, every activity in our society would become an exercise in fighting for power, dominance, and influence. In other words: control.
We can see the early signs of Leftist collapse in the spate of media bankruptcies upon us. Not only conservatives, but the effective people on the Left, have abandoned the media as a voice of authority and reason. As a result, media finds itself advertising to people with no power and influence, which means that its advertising is falling in value, just like internet advertising.
The Left continues to double down by soliciting to its hardcore audience, who it will easily use as a means-to-the-end of its goal, sacrificing them as necessary. To please them, it must play out the revenge fantasy of crushing normalcy, resulting in Leftist hatred for normal Americans:
Towns like Lexington and the people who live there make up middle America, but the great American middle is more than a geography. It is the heart of our society—the farmers and teachers, mechanics and tradesmen who forged the character of this country.
These are the people who explored a continent, who built the railroads, who opened the West. These are the workers whose labor launched the Industrial Revolution and whose ingenuity made the American economy the marvel of the world. These are the families that have rallied to this country’s flag at every hour of danger, and who shoulder the burden of defending our nation even now.
But the great middle who made this country hasn’t been respected by its leadership class for too long.
If you want the source of the divide in the West, this is it:
The world finds itself changing again. From the above, we can see that Leftism has failed and is being replaced with a Libertarian hybrid, but true to form for Libertarianism, it does not address the question of civilization, which middle civilizationers find essential.
This group no longer cares about ideology or the international environment. They want to break away, not be drowned in the many impoverished and malcontent people produced by modernity, and start focusing on building autonomous, healthy, sane, normal, balanced, and stable civilizations.
Populism shows the start of this movement, but it will gain speed as it eventually targets the utilitarianism that underpins society. Like populists, this new group will look for those who can channel the “spirit” of a people, rather than a popular vote, product, and trend.
We find ourselves in the midst of a sea change that will leave the world transformed. Already faith has fallen in the old way; now we need merely pick up a thread of the new, and follow where it leads us, proliferating in complexity and reward as it goes.