Contra Libertarians, A Post-Liberal Critique

Arrus Kacchi

Ch.I | The Individual

This piece will serve as a sweeping critique of Libertarianism, with a diverse mixture of viewpoints ー all the way from anarchists such as David Graeber to reactionaries such as Julius Evola. The key influence here is C.A. Bond, specifically his recent work, ‘Nemesis’. This piece can also be read as a critique of Liberalism more broadly after all, and consequently of Neoliberalism/Economic Liberalism, as Libertarianism is just Liberalism but harder, in a manner more historically inimical to Power than Neoliberalism. However, I wrote this specifically in response to Libertarians, and so hence the title of this piece. Mind you I was a Libertarian for many years, so this will in a sense also serve as an autopsy of a previous version of me.

The central premise of Libertarianism, the “non-aggression principle” (or NAP), which holds that one may do whatever one pleases with their own property so long as said person respects other people’s rights to do as they please with their own is simple yet rests upon many, many presuppositions, which themselves are not only loaded with other assumptions but also lead to various other places, which we shall endeavour to explore. To give a brief snapshot of what we are dealing withーHenry Olson, from the now-defunct site socialmatter.net provides some good insight;

“Since the boundaries on what it means to encroach on someone else’s property rights are not always clear, the NAP was typically understood as a prohibition on the initiation of force. If, for instance, I put a statue of Mussolini in my front yard, it might “affect” my neighbors by driving down the resale values of their homes. But since I had not used force against their property and only used objects (statue and lawn) that I justly own, they would have no recourse against me. On the other hand, if they lobbied the town government to impose zoning restrictions that would prevent me from putting statutes in my yard, then they would be initiating force against my property and violate the NAP.

Some of the more abstract extensions of libertarian theory were certainly strange. Murray Rothbard deduced that the government could not force parents to feed their children[1]. Walter Block spun justifications for blackmail and littering[2]. Today, if you search the ultra-libertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute website for the term “Ebenezer Scrooge,” you will find at least a half dozen independent results on how Scrooge’s miserliness[3] from A Christmas Carol was actually admirable.”[4]

Weird but ok, let’s go deeper. The Libertarian tells us; You own yourself. This is the beginning of your being from which you freely contract with others. This is your domain, your autonomy which no one but yourself has the right to do with. This is the individual, of whom is the most fundamental unit of society. F.A. Hayek writes;

“[The] basic contention is quite a different one; it is that there is no other way toward an understanding of social phenomena but through our understanding of individual actions directed toward other people and guided by their expected behavior.”[5]

To begin with, “self-ownership” is Cartesian dualism. To “own” is a transitive verb, which requires a distinct object to have, body distinct from mindーCartesian dualism. Hayek is keenly aware of this fact in his text ‘Individualism and Economic Order’, and prescribes this effect of Descartes upon the individualism of Rousseau to deflect this accusation ー going as far as to assert that the French Cartesian individualism itself leads collectivism, unlike the British Liberalism which he, and the rest of the Libertarian project at large, inherits. While Hayek is correct in illustrating that the British tradition loses much of the baggage from Descartes, it never actually escapes the notion of self-ownership because the very British tradition from Locke, that Hayek inherits, posits that;

“Though the earth and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person; this nobody has any right to but himself.”[6]

Man’s ‘person’ being his property establishes dualismーthe thinking ‘I’ distinct from the body. A marketised Cogito. St. Thomas objects;

“Some, however, tried to maintain that the intellect is united to the body as its motor; and hence that the intellect and body form one thing so that the act of the intellect could be attributed to the whole. This is, however, absurd for many reasons.

First, because the intellect does not move the body except through the appetite, the movement of which presupposes the operation of the intellect. The reason therefore why Socrates understands is not because he is moved by his intellect, but rather, contrariwise, he is moved by his intellect because he understands.

Secondly, because since Socrates is an individual in a nature of one essence composed of matter and form, if the intellect be not the form, it follows that it must be outside the essence, and then the intellect is the whole Socrates as a motor to the thing moved. Whereas the act of intellect remains in the agent, and does not pass into something else, as does the action of heating. Therefore the action of understanding cannot be attributed to Socrates for the reason that he is moved by his intellect.

Thirdly, because the action of a motor is never attributed to the thing moved, except as to an instrument; as the action of a carpenter to a saw. Therefore if understanding is attributed to Socrates, as the action of what moves him, it follows that it is attributed to him as to an instrument. This is contrary to the teaching of the [Aristotle], who holds that understanding is not possible through a corporeal instrument (De Anima iii, 4).

Fourthly, because, although the action of a part be attributed to the whole, as the action of the eye is attributed to a man; yet it is never attributed to another part, except perhaps indirectly; for we do not say that the hand sees because the eye sees. Therefore if the intellect and Socrates are united in the above manner, the action of the intellect cannot be attributed to Socrates. If, however, Socrates be a whole composed of a union of the intellect with whatever else belongs to Socrates, and still the intellect be united to those other things only as a motor, it follows that Socrates is not one absolutely, and consequently neither a being absolutely, for a thing is a being according as it is one.

There remains, therefore, no other explanation than that given by Aristotle—namely, that this particular man understands, because the intellectual principle is his form. Thus from the very operation of the intellect it is made clear that the intellectual principle is united to the body as its form.”[7]

Unlike say a vehicle and its driver, the ‘you’ reading the words on the screen and sensing, understanding the words involves the body. And so it follows that your body is not separate from you; your body with its biological design is you. This is the Aristotelian view of hylemorphism (hyle, “matter”; morphe, “form”) that you are not only your soul, nor only your body, but you are of both body and soul. Your identity does not exist in one of the two particulars but in their unity. But then, the transitive verb of “owning” cannot take a distinct object without violating the law of identity. Therefore said dualism is nonsense and the formulation of “self-ownership” is rendered as such. Julius Evola elaborates that the unit of the “individual” isn’t even a worthy point of discourse as it is categorically substanceless;

“For all practical purposes, the pure individual belongs to the inorganic rather than to the organic dimension. In reality, the law of progressive differentiation rules supreme. In virtue of this law, the lower degrees of reality are differentiated from the higher ones because in the lower degrees a whole can be broken down into many parts, all of which retain the same quality (as in the case of the parts of a noncrystallised mineral, or those parts of some plants and animals that reproduce themselves by parthenogenesis); in the higher degrees of reality this is no longer possible, as there is a higher organic unity in them that does not allow itself to be split without being compromised and without its parts entirely losing the quality, meaning, and function they had in it. Therefore the atomic, unrestricted (solutus), “free” individual is under the aegis of inorganic matter, and belongs, analogically, to the lowest degrees of reality.

An equality may exist on the plane of a mere social aggregate or of a primordial, almost animal-like promiscuity; moreover, it may be recognised wherever we consider not the individual but the overall dimension; not the person but the species; not the “form” but “matter” (in the Aristotelian sense of these two terms). I will not deny that there are in human beings some aspects under which they are approximately equal, and yet these aspects, in every normal and traditional view, represent not the “plus” but the “minus”; in other words, they correspond to the lowest degree of reality, and to that which is least interesting in every being. Again, these aspects fall into an order that is not yet that of “form,” or of personality, in the proper sense. To value these aspects and to emphasize them as those that truly matter is the same as regarding as paramount the bronze found in many statues, rather than seeing each one as the expression of distinct ideas, to which bronze (in our case, the generic human quality) has supplied the working matter.”[8]

Your ousia means nothing without its relationship to eidos. The identity of a given individual is itself made intelligible by its participation in social identities. In this sense, the person (I will henceforth be contrasting the non-liberal conception of the individual with the Libertarian concept by calling the former, “the person” instead of “the individual”), in his  Geworfenheit, always has some kind of being-in-the-world which paints him with various social colours. Social identities, of which the individual is really posterior to. Hayek does contest that every individual has a social existence, but because his Liberal anthropological assumptions lead him to believe that we contract into social orders, which we shall explore as nonsense later, there can be for him one that exits it. But as we never entered into society from pre-society, we always have social eidos. Are truly always ‘thrown’ into the world. We are always of some colour. The individual that is pure ousia not only does not exist but has never has existed and will most likely never exist, which makes individualisation all the more corrosive as we shall explore.

Ludwig von Mises writes;

“Imagine a state of affairs in which governments are devoted exclusively to the task of protecting the individual’s life, health, and property against violent and fraudulent aggression. In such a world the frontiers are drawn on the maps, but they do not hinder anybody from the pursuit of what he thinks will make him more prosperous.”[9]

However, as C.A. Bond goes to great lengths exploring, the individualisation of society only has resulted from and results in further centralisation of authority. Fundamentally, human social orders are not dualisticーof the ruler and ruled, but rather of;

  • The Centre which occupies Power: Occupied by an institution (or a network of them) or perhaps something metaphysical; The ruling office, Monarch or God(s) etc.
  • The Subsidiary: seen as the appendages of the Centre; Nobility, Church etc.
  • The Periphery: Governed by the Subsidiaries.

Following the work of Bertrand De Jouvenel, Bond illustrates how this essentially centralised mode of human orders results in situations whereby, to increase its domain of authority, to centralise, the centre will raise the periphery against its subsidiaries often through appeals to the common good, or otherwise try to circumvent them. Both Marxists and Liberals have made the mistake of identifying subsidiaries with the centre as a cohesive ruling class, when in reality the development of money (as will be later explored), but for our immediate concerns, the “individual”, was a historical product of the centre in an antagonistic orientation towards its subsidiaries.

To illustrate;

“The reader should bear in mind that to be a freeman in medieval England required that the person was under no feudal obligation to a local lord and was in the authority of the king alone. Here we have a clear example of the king empowering a section of society at the expense of the subsidiary centres of power, and the act being labelled a grant of freedom. To be free in this conception, therefore, meant to be free of local obligations only, and not of obligations to the king, and so not free simpliciter.10

[The modern individual] is instead a subject, and a subject-individual is premised on a disregard for his ability to maintain his individuality separate from the king’s or the government’s, enforcement of his rights as an individual.”[11]

In short, we see that the efforts of Power strips away eidos, of the local influences of subsidiaries, in favour of ousia. You, having less dispersed identities and obligations, makes you a better footsoldier for the centralising state. Bond goes on to track the development of both centralising power and the development of “the individual” as Power levels the Catholic ChurchーDuke of Lancaster promoting John Wycliffe, Bohemian royalty promoting the Hussites, Elector of Saxony, Frederick III promoting Martin Luther and Michael of Cesena promoting William of Ockham ー the centre promoting the periphery against the subsidiaries. Each case we see that this is always within the gestalt of the individual being liberated from the tyranny of ecclesiastical power. This was a development in response to Plenitudo Potestatis, which is what made secular power more inimical to the Catholic Church, yet the process of levelling the Church ended up developing Divine Right as a justification for the rule of secular princes, of which then to be breached by the Papacy to regain strength. In response, the Papacy promoted the likes of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine who asserted the consensual nature of monarchy. First, Divine Law was to be discovered within an understanding of authority as natural and anagogically instantiated, then it was consecrated as the justification for an authority which was otherwise unnatural ー in Divine Right, and then man became “free” and subject to no one save God with Christian Voluntarism ー authority’s unnatural character taken to its end save the overturning of God’s own authority.

This process is also what proceeds the idea of there being a “consent of the governed” which shall be explored later on. But it suffices to say that the notion of the free individual as Libertarianism views it was a product of power, seeking to “emancipate” the periphery from immediate authority to expand its domain. You first didn’t need the Apostolic Church, nor the nobles in other contexts, then you didn’t need the king, then you were “free”. All the while, Power exploited the ability to pull the wool over the eyes of the atomised, increasingly dependent “individual”. This continued to produce the very grandfather of Liberalism and consequently of Libertarianism; John Locke, who saw promotion from the oligarchic Whigs;

“The term ‘Whig Oligarchy’ is appropriate in at least two senses. In the first place, after the Tory dismissals of 1716 one-party monopoly of all central offices of government and Household and one-party control of the main institutions of county administration remained unbroken until the death of George II. At the height of Walpole’s power few appointments of state were made, however minor, that did not meet with his approval; the first criterion applied, whether filling Cabinet posts or the humblest clerkships, was loyalty. Tories were ruthlessly excluded from the reckoning on automatic suspicion of Jacobitism, unless, like Winnington, Henry Legge or the Fox brothers they had already plainly signalled their conversion to Whiggery from the old family creed.”[12]

And in the Anglican Church’s support from the Whig Oligarchy, we see there that Walpole’s Lockean Liberalism comes to spread through the Church itself;

“It was a more debilitating malaise in the age of Walpole and the Pelhams than at any time since the Reformation, and while one can sympathise with a state church forced to accommodate itself to a Whig Oligarchy determined to depress clerical pretensions as never before, the feeling remains that the clergy could have struggled harder to resist the muzzle. That said, there are important aspects of Church-State relations in this period which have frequently been misunderstood. It is clear that after 1720 there was a deliberate attempt to subject the Church to the Whig patronage machine.[13]

Thus it was that the Church that took Tillotson for its model, and for which Locke became almost a second Bible, came to insist in its practice as well as in its preaching on rationality and restraint, on a basic decency and seemliness.”[14]

To counter the Tories and Sir Robert Filmer, as well as the other more conservative Anglican vestiges of Britian, it is quite the irony that the proliferation of Locke’s ideas was not at all due to winning in the “free marketplace of ideas”, a notion we shall tackle in further depth later on, but rather their proliferation not only makes perfect sense but was historically so a product of oligarchic Whig centralisation.

“At this point, the idea presents itself that in any situation where we see the success of individualising or equalising accounts of society, we will also see the fingerprints of conflict between various centres.”[15]

“If we accept that this individual is a product of the Jouvenelian dynamic then, by this act, philosophy in its modern form assumes, and thus by default demands, a political order of centralisation.”[16]

Curiously, the negative rights scheme of Libertarianism also presents itself as a potentially extreme expansion of Power. Adam Katz writes regarding this paradoxical nature of rights[17];

“If there are to be rights, they must be enforced, by some agency large enough to enforce them without hindrance. The state, naturally. The more rights we discover, acknowledge, and demand enforcement of, the more powerful and unhindered the state must be. If we are talking about “international human rights,” we must therefore be speaking of a state, or states, capable of exercising imperial control over other states: to compel other states to enforce the rights in question, and to remove their governments if they can’t or won’t.”

Libertarians would like to tell us that ‘negative rights’ exist in the absence of authority. Yet human orders have never been as such for there to be pre-society, one of pure unobstructed “rights”.

“If rights need to be defended, they need to be defended against someone. When we posit a right, or advocate for one, then, we are imagining a state willing and ready to act against specific people assumed to be potential violators of that right.”

The Libertarian responds that; property rights are defended by the property holder. Yet in a social order with no central order intervening, there is nothing stopping someone with more coercive capital from violating your NAP.  The NAP is a pure Stirerian spook. And that rests upon the absurd assumption that there can be a social order with no centre. Katz continues;

“I have not forgotten that the first calls for rights were for rights against the state. There is something paradoxical in the first consistent articulation of rights that exist separate from and prior to the state, that of Hobbes: the most basic right, that of life, and therefore of self-defense, so that one has the right to defend one’s life even against the state (so, the prisoner on death row being taken to execution has no obligation to go peacefully), leads to the first argument for a state to which nothing is forbidden, except perhaps disregard for its own survival, which really just means the right to self-defense of the sovereign himself. If the individual is to surrender all rights (except self-defense in the last, hopeless, resort) in order to have his most fundamental right defended more effectively by the sovereign, he must accept a sovereign that is capable of doing anything, anytime, to anyone.”

Ok sure, says the Libertarian, but what about those who aren’t NAP purist anarcho-capitalists? What’s so inherently flawed with the concept of a state enforcing a bare-minimum set of rules?

“Hobbes was at least consistent enough to realize that you cannot have rights against the state. The “laborist” argument for rights introduced by Locke initiated the tradition of positing rights against the state, limiting its powers. This is the argument that has, of course, been institutionalized and venerated in the United States, and we still see significant vestiges of this argument among American conservatives, and more than vestiges when it comes to the defense of gun rights. So, it might appear as if this original, “classical liberal” understanding of rights has been distorted by later victimary rights claims: this distinction is what the argument over “equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcomes” and “negative vs. positive rights” comes down to. But it’s not really the case that advocates of these rights stood outside of any entanglements with the state, and just wanted to be left alone to add their labor to various pieces of nature surrounding them.

They wanted the state (first of all a liberalising monarchy) to be deployed against the Church, aristocracy and other privileged groups, such as corporations chartered by the state, independent towns, banks, and guilds. It’s easy for us to overlook this, since the most formidable of those entities either no longer exist (or exist in a thoroughly neutered form), and few today could muster any historical sympathy for them. But that just means that we identify with the state that swept them into the dustbin of history, or broke and trained them. The history of the United States, meanwhile, the first modern society with neither a monarchy or aristocracy, has been the history of different groups trying to influence the state so as to defend their rights against some other, “privileged” group. Meanwhile, defending rights of free speech and bearing arms generally involve trying to bring the state into your quarrel with some local public authority, and whichever groups support it. So, even the most “natural” of rights involve using the state against one’s enemies.”

So the Libertarian is stuck in recursivity. Libertarianism identifies negative rights, of which aren’t to be infringed upon and are prior to the social orderーonly made intelligible through the state of nature argument of which’s intellectual vacuity we shall explore in full later. But it suffices to say that if “rights” can only exist through their enforcement, are only really exercised as tools for centralisation they have historically operated as so, the paradox of the NAP would on the contrary to Libertarianism, require a very managerial, bureaucratic, bloated central authority. Coming back to the idea of the individual of pure ousia, Adam Katz goes even further[18] to say that the creation of the individual, as its creation was a historical artefact for the purposes of levelling social orders, is consequently extremely antisocial ー anti-eidosーpsychopathically so;

“To see yourself as an “individual” is to see yourself as a center of attention, with as many qualifications (titles, formal associations, histories) as possible obscured—the more stripped of qualifications, the more individualised. Liberalism projects the denuded individual back to the founding of society, but that individual is obviously a result of liberalism. In other words, liberalism’s self-legitimating misconception doesn’t detract from the reality of such an individual—but it has to change our assessment of its meaning. Individuals can be removed from their supporting and defining institutional dependencies, which means that the individual is defined against those institutions and dependencies. (Eric Gans sees this self-definition as the project of romanticism.) To be an individual is to be in a perpetual state of mutiny against whatever form of order most directly threatens to define one. Don’t look at me as a “_____,” the individual demands, look at me as… the other of “_____.” Individualism is a kind of negative gnostic theology.”

The individual is a perpetual revolt of the ousia against the eidos.

“David Graeber’s discussion in Debt: the First 5,000 Years emphasizes the violence intrinsic to this abstraction of individuals from their dependencies. Humanism posits the “human” as the highest value, and what makes anything a “value” is its commensurability and exchangeability with other values—and against what can human value be defined other than against other humans? Gans sees the romantic production of the individual as a means of enabling humans to participate in the market—the creation of an “anti-social” self-representation is a way of achieving value within society (Gans calls this the “constitutive hypocrisy of romanticism”). But in that case it is humans, rather than things, that are circulating on the market. We may not readily see or feel the violence of this competitive self-valuing, habituated as we are to it, but it becomes easier if we imagine removing the (also unnoticed) limits upon individualisation that must still exist. What if we were actually to define ourselves constantly, indiscriminately, against every social dependency—friends, families, colleagues, acquaintances, etc.? Such behavior would be psychopathic. Moreover, defining yourself against dependencies don’t leave those dependencies unaffected—rather, it has a deeply corrosive effect. Our mutinies always target specific dependencies, and are aimed at extracting specific concessions—hence, they are best described as hostage taking. Not the market itself, but the “market economy,” is a system of hostage exchange, of more and less direct kinds. It is promoted by those with the most to gain by sowing discord and disorder.”

And what’s even worse, as Mark Fisher illustrates, is that the Cartesian dualism that sets ousia against the dependencies of eidos allows for capitalism, the very hostage-taking process, to blame you for your mental illness and then exploit this condition it creates;

“It is telling, in this context of rising rates of mental illness, that… The current ruling ontology denies any possibility of a social causation of mental illness. The chemico-biologisation of mental illness is of course strictly commensurate with its de-politicisation. Considering mental illness as a chemico-biological problem has enormous benefits for capitalism. First, it reinforces Capital’s drive towards atomistic individualisation (you are sick because of your brain chemistry). Second, it provides an enormously lucrative market in which multinational pharmaceutical companies can peddle their pharmaceuticals (we can cure you with our SSRIs). It goes without saying that all mental illnesses are neurologically instantiated. But this says nothing about their causation. If it is true, for instance, that depression is constituted by low serotonin levels, what still needs to be explained is why particular individuals have low levels of serotonin. This requires a social and political explanation; and the task of re-politicising mental health is an urgent one if the left wants to challenge capitalist realism. It does not seem fanciful to  see parallels between the rising incidence of mental distress and new patterns of assessing worker’s performance.”[19]

In short, the disordered nature of capitalism creates the schizoprenitisation it uses to excuse itself for exploiting for the conditions of which you are now inculcated in. This is made possible due to a fundamental memetic virus, which Libertarianism holds at its very essence in its understanding of the “individual”, that has spread through the ages from the Rationalist project, principally from Descartes in the West, promoted for centralisation purposes, and has created a psychopathic ethos within which we are now confined within. Yet this individual at the centre of our inquiry, in its corrosive and futile attempts at emancipation from itself, ends up creating the very opportunities for itself to be further predated upon. The new managerial examinations of the worker only accelerate his schizophrenitisation as he is forced to wade neck-deep in the sign-exchange marination of the ever examining hypermarket;

“At the deepest level, another kind of work is at issue here, the work of acculturation, of confrontation, of examination, of the social code, and of the verdict: people go there to find and to select objects – responses to all the questions they may ask themselves; or, rather, they themselves come in response to the functional and directed question that the objects constitute. The objects are no longer commodities: they are no longer even signs whose meaning and message one could decipher and appropriate for oneself, they are tests, they are the ones that interrogate us, and we are summoned to answer them, and the answer is included in the question. Thus all the messages in the media function in a similar fashion: neither information nor communication, but referendum, perpetual test, circular response, verification of the code.”[20]

This subordination of the increasingly denuded individual to perpetually interrogative object relations isn’t even the only issue that will keep him up at night and chip away at his psyche, but that of his employability in face of the Dire Problem[21];

“Dire Problem is that there is a line of productive competence beneath which a human being is a liability, not an asset, to the society including him. This calculation is made in terms of the marginal human—does California gain or lose by adding one person just like this person? For millions, the answer is surely the latter.

Worse, with the steady advance of technology, this line rises. That is: the demand for low-skilled human labor shrinks. Abstract economics provides no guarantee whatsoever that the marginal able-bodied man with an IQ of 80 can feed himself by his own labors. If you doubt this line, simply lower it until you doubt it no more. At least logically, there is a biological continuum between humans and chimpanzees, and the latter are surely liabilities.

Why does this matter? It matters because either (a) a man can feed himself, or (b) he dies horribly of starvation, or (c) someone else feeds him. If (a), he is an asset. If (c), he is a liability—to someone. If (b), he makes a horrible mess and fuss while dying, and is thus in that sense a liability. Moreover, the presence of the poor becomes extremely unpleasant well before the starvation point.”

The house divided does not fall immediately but becomes a field within which all are collateral to the competitive levelling of the field. The centralisation process itself deludes the person into thinking that they are being emancipated, consequently dividing the self which becomes a frenzied flesh-puppet for further centralisation.

~ • ~

Ch.II | Ethics and Justice

The Libertarian tells us; Who are you to judge what someone else does with their property (implicitly also their body), insofar as it doesn’t infringe upon another?

Nozick states that  if the world were wholly just the only people entitled to hold anything, that is to appropriate it for use as they alone wished, would be those who had justly acquired what they held[22]. Friedman writes that;

“The consumer is protected from being exploited by one seller by the existence of another seller from whom he can buy and who is eager to sell to him.”[23]

Aside from the fact that this notion already presupposes “self-ownership”, there are further problems with this sentiment ー with the NAP. When someone engages in a socially destructive manner ー in the privations of reason that are the vices, but they are permitted insofar as they do not “infringe upon others”, we are presented with what we call negligence. Apathy is a vice. Libertarian morality is such that there is a fundamentally negligent ethos coded into a system of morality ー a fundamentally vice-ridden scheme. Libertarianism venerates Mao’s 8th type of Liberal that;

“…see[s] someone harming the interests of the masses and yet [does] not feel indignant, or dissuade or stop him or reason with him, but to allow him to continue.”[24]

Evidently, by “dissuade”, Mao doesn’t mean solely through polite argument, but with force or the threat of it as well, which is another thing; the exercise of force isn’t an evil in and of itself. It has its place beyond mere self-preservation and of the defence of property rights as we shall explore later. The fundamental problem, however, is the lack of reference to moral desert inherent in a scheme predicated upon negative rights. A (perhaps our mentally ill modern from Fisher’s example) enters into a contract, willingly with B (perhaps our predatory pharmaceutical companies from Fisher’s example) in which B is allowed to exploit him in some manner ー even in scenarios where A is aware of such exploitation. This is perfectly fine under the libertarian conception morality, and no punitive measure is to be taken for the objective wrong being done to A. A acted purely voluntarily.

It’s not about A’s feeling of approval of what B does to him or her that makes such a contractual, yet exploitative relationship right, which is the fairly recursive Emotivist view, but rather it is about the objective good and as to whether this relationship actualises or robs either of them of this. There must be poena (punity) in response to culpa (evil) for there to be dikaiosune (justice). But it is worse than just that.

Goodness itself is a perfection in some manner, evil a privation ー privatio boni.

“The perfection of the human being is the end to which every healthy social institution must be subordinated, and it must be promoted as much as possible.”[25]

The Libertarian social order is one that is at best apathetic to the cultivation of human perfection and at worst antithetical to the achievement of eudaimonia. Desiring one’s perfection is intrinsic to human nature but perfection cannot come about through the self-actualisation of the individual by itself, from itself. For A to become more than A, A cannot rely merely on A. A must know how to become perfected, which presupposes being taught. Being taught presupposes a teacher ー some authority. To perfect a society it naturally follows you must have some authority to capture the attention of the entire populace and to be able to organise it as such that it may begin to even grasp this perfection ー a socially harmonious and healthy centre. Though, because humans are not without privations, we are not perfect (to be as such would be to be God) the closest one might get is thus in the eudaimonia of theosisーintimacy with and knowing of the perfect divine. Per Plotinus’s formulation of divine simplicity;

“I. There must be a first principle of all if there is to be an explanation of why the world exists.

II. If the first principle of all were composed of parts, then those parts would be ontologically prior to it.

III. But in that case it would not be the first principle of all.

IV. So the first principle is not composed of parts, but is absolutely simple.

V. If there were a distinction between what the first principle is and the fact that it is, then there could be more than one first principle.

VI. But in order for there to be more than one, there would have to be some attribute that distinguished them.

VII. But since a first principle is absolutely simple, there can be no such attribute.

VIII. So there cannot be more than one first principle.

IX. So there is no distinction in the first principle between what it is and the fact that it is.

X. So the first principle is not only absolutely simple but utterly unique: the One.”[26]

As this first principle per privatio boni is purely simple, it lacks privations and is thus purely good. Lacking in privations it is lacking in limits, and is thus unbounded. Yet, as so above, so below ー we should then see that achieving unity with God is in the cultivation of a unity of human goodness, a full capturing and blossoming of which must encompass the life of the person. Quite the opposite formulation of libertarianism, which not only refuses to see the unity of such a lifeーfocusing in on the atomised individualーbut also cares not for requisites for theosis, and consequently of ultimate human happiness or eudaimonia. Libertarianism is actively opposed to the subordination of institutions to the ideal of perfection because it would appropriately require coordination from a central authority which would mean the exercise of force. However, authority is not entirely constituted by the capacity to exercise force as we shall explore later. Note that this order aimed at human perfection doesn’t require levelling centralisation, the circumventing or destruction of intermediaries/subsidiaries, but of their cooperation rather than competition. As St. Thomas writes, this human perfection that culminates in eudaimonia is the highest good;

“Final and perfect happiness can consist in nothing else than the vision of the Divine Essence. To make this clear, two points must be observed. First, that man is not perfectly happy, so long as something remains for him to desire and seek: secondly, that the perfection of any power is determined by the nature of its object. Now the object of the intellect is “what a thing is,” i.e. the essence of a thing, according to De Anima iii, 6. Wherefore the intellect attains perfection, in so far as it knows the essence of a thing. If therefore an intellect knows the essence of some effect, whereby it is not possible to know the essence of the cause, i.e. to know of the cause “what it is”; that intellect cannot be said to reach that cause simply, although it may be able to gather from the effect the knowledge of that the cause is. Consequently, when man knows an effect, and knows that it has a cause, there naturally remains in the man the desire to know about the cause, “what it is.” And this desire is one of wonder, and causes inquiry, as is stated in the beginning of the Metaphysics (i, 2). For instance, if a man, knowing the eclipse of the sun, consider that it must be due to some cause, and know not what that cause is, he wonders about it, and from wondering proceeds to inquire. Nor does this inquiry cease until he arrive at a knowledge of the essence of the cause.

If therefore the human intellect, knowing the essence of some created effect, knows no more of God than “that He is”; the perfection of that intellect does not yet reach simply the First Cause, but there remains in it the natural desire to seek the cause. Wherefore it is not yet perfectly happy. Consequently, for perfect happiness the intellect needs to reach the very Essence of the First Cause. And thus it will have its perfection through union with God as with that object, in which alone man’s happiness consists, as stated above (Articles 1 and 7; I-II:2:8).”[27]

We can only be satiated in coming to know what is itself truly unlimited; in participation in and knowing pure goodness, through faith and the exercise of the virtues in works, culminating in the vision of, and unity with, the Divine Essence. As this is purely good in and of itself, it is appropriate to not only exercise influence, but force as appropriate to cultivate a social order conducive to the realisation of our respective telos. However, this isn’t merely to prepare us for some external existence to that of the world you currently inhabit. I must stress that there is a reflective aspect to eudaimonia. For our highest perfection to be theosis, we must first participate in the fullness of our possible being in goodness as we live in the world. We must play the game of life as best as possible, in the most perfect manner. This is the role of the virtues. There is no guarantee for our theosis as such, and so our worldly existence must be of virtue for the fulfilment of our telos ー enabling the person to pass from a present state to a true end;

“We thus have a threefold scheme in which human-nature-as-it-happens-to-be (human nature in its untutored state) is initially discrepant and discordant with the precepts of ethics and needs to be transformed by the instruction of practical reason and experience into human-nature-as-it-could-be-if-it-realized-its-telos. Each of the three elements of the schemeーthe conception of untutored human nature, the conception of the precepts of rational ethics and the conception of human-nature-as-it-could-be-if-it-realized-its-telosーrequires reference to the other two if its status and function are to be intelligible.”[28]

To assert the goodness of something then is not merely reducible to an assertion of personal approval, but rather it is an evaluative term as it relates to the ergon or function of a thing, which is dependent on social context which ordains the manner of the fulfilment of goods. Another essential problem with this entire scheme predicated on free choice in this regard is a Schmittian one. Liberalism is fundamentally an eternal injunction against anyone ever making a final decision as to what is most sacred and valuable, in favour of perpetual and thus an ultimately pointless conversation about it, which can never reach these goods, either internal to practices for which virtues are cultivated for, or in our final end (or does so only incidentally for a few select people independent of said decision). I’m sure you’d rather our conversations to be fruitful, you would want the best for other people and want a functioning political order that mediates resentments instead of selecting for their acceleration ー all of which means that at the end of the day, we need to have a shared understanding of the good, and the goods that allow participation in higher goods ー an ordering of the goods that we can all agree upon. To draw together our previous discussion on centralisation’s creation of the individual and the vacancy of decision, I present you some ancient Chinese wisdom as a dash of irony considering our favourable dealings with elements of Maoist thought;

“When the ruler’s seat is insecure, the great ministers revolt and the smaller ones pilfer. Punishments are then made severe, laws become irregular, rules of ceremony uncertain. Then the people do not turn to what is right.”[29]

To return to Mao and the discussion of force, setting aside his aversion to anything other than scientific materialism, this shared good, homonoia, from which a just social order may be built upon is exactly what should be defended with force ー and because social orders and their unity are never contracted into as we shall later explore, this view of the moral use of force transcends the use seen appropriate by the NAP. Force in poena also has its place in defence of, and employment for, the cultivation of higher goods as we shall now see.

The Libertarian tells us; Justice is only possible when we consider the individual in and of himself and his acts from self-interest. The individual is the smallest minority and is also the truest, most fundamental measure of humanity.

To make the subject of political justice the individual abstracts away from all the identities that comprise an individual identity itself. Again, you’re left with matter without form, ousia without eidos. A just social order requires social harmony, social unity ー homonoia. The Libertarian forces you into a gestalt that renders these very identities which would allow for the cultivation of a just polis, invisible. This gestalt bears similarities to the Rawlsian veil of ignorance in trying to grasp a kind of noumenal individual-in-itself. However, the veil of ignorance is also deficient in conceptualising justice as the veil of ignorance could never actually be operated within. As Alasdair MacIntyre argues, if the rational actor behind the veil of ignorance neither knew;

“…whether and how his needs would be met or what his entitlements would be, ought rationally to prefer a principle which respects needs to one which respects entitlements…, the immediate answer must be [that] we are never behind such a veil of ignorance.”[30]

Operating in a contextual vacuum, one has denied the necessary social contextualisation needed to be able to decide whether the capitalist or the worker, the trans person or the conservative, the white man or the black man, is more deserving of compensation for a given injustice, as what is just must first be informed by inquiry into moral desert ー the lack of which, coupled with individualistic premises being what Nozick and Rawls both share.

The truth is in the whole, fulfilled in its result, but the result cannot yet be reached in denial of that which comprises the whole. A deprivation of context frustrates any fulfilment of justice by denying an adequately informed assessment of desert. Thus the project of justifying morality from an “original position”, from an attempt at evaluating the “the individual” fails, and by extension, so does Libertarian attempts at formulating a conception of justice as they both preclude critical components for the attainment of truth itself. As MacIntyre illustrates in his exploration of the two;

“Nozick is less explicit, but his scheme of justice being based exclusively on entitlements can allow no place for desert. He does at one point discuss the possibility of a principle for the rectification of injustice, but what he writes on that point is so tentative and cryptic that it affords no guidance for amending his general view point. It is in any case clear that for both Nozick and Rawls a society is composed of individuals, each with his or her own interest, who then have to come together to formulate common rules of life. In Nozick’s case there is the additional negative constraint of a basic set of rights.

In Nozick’s argument too, the concept of community required for the notion of desert to have application is simply absent.

It is, from both standpoints, as though we had been shipwrecked on an uninhabited island with a group of other individuals, each of whom is a stranger to me and to all the others. Nozick’s premise concerning rights introduces a strong set of constraints; we do know that certain types of interference with each other are absolutely prohibited. But there is a limit to the bonds between us, a limit set by our private and competing interests. This individualistic view has of course…, distinguished ancestry: Hobbes, Locke…

Thus Rawls and Nozick articulate with great power a shared view which envisages entry into social life as – at least ideally – the voluntary act of at least potentially rational individuals with prior interests who have to ask the question ‘What kind of social contract with others is it reasonable for me to enter into?’ Not surprisingly it is a consequence of this that their views exclude any account of human community in which the notion of desert in relation to contributions to the common tasks of that community in pursuing shared goods could provide the basis for judgements about virtue and injustice.”[31]

Ah, so both Nozick and Rawls are back to being premised on the idea of the individual as prior to social existence. The ghost of Locke walks their pages. In counter to the Libertarian position, Aristotle illustrates that the virtue of friendship, of the shared good and social willing of goodness which Libertarianism is made inimical to, is the foundation of a functioning polis, preceding justice;

“Friendship seems too to hold states together, and lawgivers to care more for it than justice; for unanimity seems to be something like friendship, and this they aim at most of all and expel faction as their worst enemy; and when men are friends they have no need of justice, while when they are just they need friendship as well, and the truest form of justice is thought to be a friendly quality.”[32]

It is unity, homonoia, through agreement that constitutes the healthy polis. The reason for Aristotle’s assertion is that justice is the virtue of rewarding desert within an existing social order. The rewarding of desert also implicates the social distribution of poena. Friendship, which homonoia is treated as the political expression of in a shared conception of ‘the good’, is required for this civil constitution. Threats to this unity should be placed at the end of the barrel of a gun in order to preserve justice.  We also have overwhelming empirical verification as to the detriments that the decline of homonoia, and its causes bears[33]. Population heterogeneity decreases social cohesion. As homonoia is the necessary prerequisite to justice, unrestricted movement of labour, of individuals ー immigration which would lead to population significant heterogeneity, threatens the very basis of justice within the polis. Given an already unified polis, population heterogeneity decreases cooperation substantially, in other words compromising the necessary social constitution of friendship from which justice proceeds.

After all, you are more inclined to will the good of another that you know, that you share a common social existence with, than someone totally alien to such social existence and shared understandings. Here we see quite clearly the moral imperative for the state to obstruct the free movement of labour with force to uphold immigration laws and border enforcement in the preservation of homonoia.

Katz’s accusation of individualism as “gnostic theology” is in full viewーthe psychopathy of individualism is in revolting against an ill-perceived evil ー against the unity of the social order of which is a fundamental political goodーfor something beyond that, which cannot exist, namely the sovereignty of the individual. Moreover, it becomes clear how a competitive social order of the minorities of individuals against each other in their self-interest would be inimical to the kind of ethical life that Aristotle correctly proposes; that of a decision and affirmation of shared goods. Imperium in imperio[34] itself;  what Aristotle calls ‘faction’, the checks and balances of countervailing power, implicitly the competition between power centres, is intrinsically hostile to the social cooperation homonoia demands. The social virtue of friendship, human perfection and man’s attainment of eudaimonia has been repeatedly compromised and frustrated by divided power & centralisation of which the futile ideological exercise of Libertarianism only serves to exacerbate in both its minarchist and nonsensical anarchistic forms.

~ • ~

Ch.III | Authority and Human Orders

The Libertarian tells us; When we speak of authority, of authoritarianism, we mean the ability to coerce, and the actual exercise of force.

I answer that authority is more than just the ability to exercise force or exercise the threat of it. Imagine that I am a public figure. My ability to capture the shared attention of thousands, if not millions of people allows me to draw the shared gaze of these people towards ideas and objects in manner begotten from my inclinations. In this sense, I am an authority, without exercising coercion, much like schools & academia, the media. If I were wealthy I could likewise fund proponents of my ideas, like NGOs/Think Tanks/Foundations do, who need not exercise coercion to do so.

The Cathedral does not need to exercise martial authority to spread its malaise.

The Libertarian tells us; But woke capitalism, just like any cultural trend, is a consequence of consumer shifts in preference, not the other way round. Politics is downstream from culture. F.A. Hayek writes;

“Adam Ferguson expressed it, “nations stumble upon establishments, which are indeed the result of human action but not the result of human design”; and that the spontaneous collaboration of free men often creates things which are greater than their individual minds can ever fully comprehend.”[35]

The reality is that spontaneous order does not exist. Here is where we can finally tackle the idea of there being a pre-society from which social orders emerge ー the state-of-nature. The very nature of language precludes such spontaneous manners of organisation. To illustrate; to understand the language, words/phrases/ideas we utilise in thinking and speaking, and as language is a mode of intentional discipline, we must posit an intentional agent(s) who is/are directing or has directed the forms of language we are using[36], of which we have acquired through socialisation with said intentional agent(s).

The ideas, words and phrases you are using to think and speak with are not your own creations as such, but in so far as they can be said to exhibit originality, you can only really explain what they are and mean by appealing to the meaning of its related words, concepts and phrases of which you inherited from elsewhere. Perhaps you inherited these linguistic forms from your family, and they inherited it from somewhere else. Perhaps you learned it in school or university. From work, or television. From some tradition of thought that has imparted it upon them and perhaps then unto you, external from yourself. Someone must have been the first to use these words, thoughts and phrases because it would be impossible for them to just causelessly manifest in our minds and if they did, they would be meaningless because they lack necessary anterior intention which makes them intelligible. Linguistic forms are diachronic[37], that is to say, that a given idea has a history which makes it intelligible in its use.

A given agent’s use of the word “liberty” for an example, not only means you must understand his or her inclination in using the word, but for it to be fully intelligible you need to know of other words it is related to such as “tyranny”, “dictatorship”, “freedom”, “democracy”, “rights” as well as to know how liberty has been fought forth, or as we have seen, how it has been used as the post hoc justification for the levelling of social orders. For you to have come across those words related to liberty, say word/phrase/idea ‘X’, someone must have directed your attention towards ‘X’, and likewise for your intentional director’s encounter with ‘X’ and so on, recursing back to an originary moment whereby one is confronted with the sublime and newーexternal to themselves and must grapple with communicating it in some mode. An originary scene[38] from which language itself arises, we could say.

So how is this relevant? Well as we see, market demand, as well as political desire, is thus a product not of purely economic factors, or biological factors, of rational individuals reaching a conclusion through discussion, or through the competition of said ideas. Desire/demand for a given social object is a product from whoever is able to capture the shared attention of a given population to direct their collective attention towards said social object, and thus is a construct of some authority. So it follows that spontaneous order in all senses is also nonsensical because it violates the basic relationship between act and potency of communicative acts. A given social order does not spring up from nowhere ー no society has contracted into existence, no cultural form is generated outside of inherited traditions which are themselves, sometimes created but often merely perpetuated by some authority, that being how they get their proliferation, nor do they get proliferation without the sponsorship of authority and “wokeness” is no exception. Woke capitalism is thus a product of authority, capturing those who seek social emancipation within its own processes. Similarly, as Adam Curtis explored in his BBC documentary, ‘The Century of the Self’, the consumer as we know it today is a very recent development and was entirely a product of authority in this same manner thanks to the likes of Edward Bernays who pioneered Public Relations.[39]

Further down the line we also see that progressivism, the strains that have been successfulーespecially in displacing working-class movements in favour of identity-based movements, have been selected for by power;

“Not all foundations adopted the cause of social change, of course; but the overwhelmingly “progressive” large foundations set the tone for the entire sector—especially such giants as Ford, which got radicalized in the sixties, and Rockefeller and Carnegie, which followed suit in the seventies. Such foundations wield enormous financial might: a mere 2 percent of all foundations (or 1,020) provide more than half of the approximately $10 billion that foundations now give away each year, and in 1992 the 50 largest foundations accounted for more than one-quarter of all foundation spending.

When McGeorge Bundy, former White House national security advisor, became Ford’s president in 1966, the foundation’s activism switched into high gear. Bundy reallocated Ford’s resources from education to minority rights, which in 1960 had accounted for 2.5 percent of Ford’s giving but by 1970 would soar to 40 percent. Under Bundy’s leadership, Ford created a host of new advocacy groups, such as the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (a prime mover behind bilingual education) and the Native American Rights Fund, that still wreak havoc on public policy today. Ford’s support for a radical Hispanic youth group in San Antonio led even liberal congressman Henry B. Gonzales to charge that Ford had fostered the “emergence of reverse racism in Texas.”

The notion that the 1960s represented a “populist upsurge,” or that New Left values bubbled up from the American grassroots rather than being actively disseminated by precisely such rich, elite institutions as the Ford Foundation, could only be a product of foundation thinking.”[40]

We see a similar case for the similarly bourgeois notion of ‘human rights’;

“[The UN’s Declaration of Human Rights] was drawn up for the UN in the wake of WWII by a transnational elite with clear aspirations to world governance. That it should appeal to all of humanity and should deign to grant to all equality as well as a newly minted collective identity, seems much like the repetition of James Madison’s invention of the “American people” [previously discussed in the text as the pretext to centralise the US government in spite of the subsidiaries that were the states]. In this case, it is not the sovereignty of individual continental states being targeted but rather that of nation-states.

Finally, a much less recognised development of human rights occurred in the early 1970s. This last development is of special importance as it is not widely known beyond specialised histories of human rights, and only clearly comes to light upon recognising the connection between conflict and the expansion of individualising culture.”[41]

“At this time, elites in the UN, and specific elements of the American power structure, began to focus on the concept of human rights as a means to undermine the legitimacy of Latin dictatorships, communist regimes, and most importantly, the foreign policies of the Republican presidency of Richard Nixon. This final point of conflict is central, and well within the Jouvenelian dynamic of rival centres engaging in conflict over political centralisation. Human rights were not first devised and then implemented; they were raised to prominence by the needs of particular actors in the midst of conflict. As Clair Apodaca writes of structural conflict’s importance to the adoption of human rights in the 1970s American foreign policy in Understanding U.S. Human Rights Policy: A Paradoxical Legacy:

“U.S. human rights policy was not an intentionally planned strategy. Congress saddled presidential foreign and domestic policy initiatives with human rights mandates in order to restrain the immoral, if not illegal, behavior of an imperial president. (p.23)”

To this end, Congress dominated by the Democratic Party, voted to withhold funds for foreign assistance programsーsomething which had never been done beforeーand began congressional hearings in the Subcommittee on International Organisations. These hearings, led by Democratic Party congressman Donald Fraser, were justified on the basis of concerns over “rampant violations of human rights and the need for a more effective response from both the United States and the world community”. The result of these hearings was a report entitled Human rights in the World Community: A Call for U.S. Leadership, which led to the State Department creating the Office of Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs. This report also called for greater promotion of the concept of human rights in the UN, and beyond, something which was evidently achieved.”[42]

“These human rights organisations, funded by the Ford Foundation in conjunction with other influential foundations, were then put to use in undermining not only the latin dictatorships but also towards the end of the 1970s, the communist regimes of Eastern Europe by way of the Helsinki accord. Soviet acceptance of the presence of human rights watch groups with this accord would prove to be a disastrous mistake, one which effectively allowed subversive American institutions to develop and operate within Soviet territories.”[43]

More of this is documented in Bond’s book and his Journal of Neoabsolutism including the promotion of Neoliberal Chilean dictator Augusto-Pinochet and his victims both by competing U.S. power centres, the further promotion of Human Rights and their development by various interconnected NGOs, the development of radical Islam, as well the rise of Behaviourism and modern International Relations as Foundation led projects just to mention a few. To wrap up the small case study on Human Rights;

“These various developments of rights that we have chartered up until the present now appear to have a systematic nature, even if proponents do not fully appreciate it. By developing human rights or the individual as concepts, the thinkers of modernity have been providing the intellectual justifications for a specific structure of authority. That there were, and are, advocates who have not understood themselves as doing so is irrelevant to the result. Indeed we could argue that the less aware the thinkers are of this relationship between the individual and a centralised structure, the more earnest and effective the intellectual disguise for it will be. Disturbingly, this charge can be levelled across vast areas of modern thought. There is scarcely any aspect of modern thought which does not, in some way, depend on, or imply, the individual that has followed in the wake of political conflicts.”[44]

With Human Rights as just one prominent example of an idea that has captured the totality of political discourse for the purpose of centralisation, there is no such marketplace of ideas. Human sociality is fundamentally not conducted through a transactional or contractual mode of intellectual competition, but rather as the drawings of authority to social objects for a variety of other reasons prior to the creation of any space within which disciplinary inquiry is undertaken. Human Rights did not “win” through competition. It won through patronage. Sure, but Libertarianism is not predicated on Human Rights as such. So let us take a look at how a diachronic and intentionally directed understanding of language can explain Descartes as they have previously explained Walpole and Locke;

“From biographical information, we know that Descartes spent his adult life moving between France, Holland, Central Europe and Germany where he fought in the Thirty years’ War, finally ending his days in Sweden at the court of Queen Christina. The regions where in Descartes lived, the reader may note, were among those that had been heavily marked by the expansion of protestant bodies of thought, and by the centralisation that brought them into prominence. While Descartes was, admittedly, a Catholic, this makes little difference, since much of the thought of his time and place, even in Catholic regions, was following the same pattern as Protestant thought, as evidenced by Jansenism. The overall structures of authority made this all but inevitable.”[45]

Descartes was operating in modes of thought, inherited from social orders which had been conditioned in a certain manner by centralising Power, from which we derive the individual ー his relationship with the Swedish royal court having served as his patronage. This process of centralisation is quite the vicious positive-feedback loop.

The Libertarian tells us; The government can only govern insofar as it has the consent of the governed. John Locke writes;

“‘Tis true, in land that is common in England, or any other country where there is plenty of people under government, who have money and commerce, no one can enclose or appropriate any part without the consent of all his fellow-commoners; because this is left common by compact, i.e., by the law of the land, which is not to be violated.”[46]

The idea that the President/Prime Minister (government institutions etc.) derive their authority from “the people through the democratic process” isn’t one unique to Libertarianism but one that is very much in its contractual character. This is the bedrock of the idea of democracy from which it derives its supposed legitimacy. Our previously explored intentionally directed understanding of diachronic linguistic forms renders the idea of a social contract null and void.

How?

No voter votes in an absence of intention, even those who spoil their ballot. Voters come to understand and formulate judgements about who it is they should vote for through ways about thinking, about say policies and other political problems, that they did not create, yet inherited in some form (perhaps through the previously discussed lenses of “human rights” or “individualism”, or perhaps of Democratic Socialism, Neoconservatism and so on and so forth) and receive information concerning, candidates, parties, ideologies and relevant events etc., from media they did, not themselves create (ie. Academia which produces ideologies, NGOs which perpetuate political ideologies and media companies who distribute political information, current event news and propaganda). Inevitably, we see that the voter is conditioned in such a manner to select for centralisation, given the dominant strains of political thought and understanding lending themselves to this.

Naturally in line with the thinking of both Vilfredo Paredo and Robert Michels, when we trace back the flow of intention and discipline we will find only a specific few, who are responsible for who should be elected President. The democratic process, just as with the generation of culture and market demand, are run by unelected, highly influential, intentional agents. They are themselves anterior to elections and the like, transcending term limits and are thus potentially more influential than democratically elected leaders. To take the Italian Elitist conclusion further, we might also note that the idea of spontaneous collective decision making is refuted on St. Thomas’s note that;

“Every natural governance is governance by one. In the multitude of bodily members there is one which is the principal mover.”[47]

We know this to hold true considering that the direction of attention proceeds from a unified agent. So for any given decision, as there is at any given point a most influential agent in any oligarchy, perhaps Walpole as previously explored, there is a singular agent most responsible for said decision. Albeit, since the inauguration of liberalism, these decisions never truly are of any anagogic finality. In this sense, the “consent of the governed” is  inherently manufactured, yet the very notion of consent is beside the point because we never contracted into social orders, to begin with. Any scheme that posits the individual as prior to the social order, the “state of nature” vis-a-vis Locke, Hobbes Rousseau et al., is a model of anthropological minecraft ー whereby individuals spawn into existence and contract into anti-griefing rules or something as equally absurd for real-life application. There is absolutely no historical record for the existence of such a state of human affairs because there is always a centre ー someone or something that holds the most influence, the most shared attention.

But can’t we revolt against the system?

Sure, ok. How and with what means?

To be effective, revolutions need to be;

  • Organised in some fashion
  • Sponsored

There has to be a revolutionary vanguard as such, but also some kind of sponsorship to get off the ground in the first place.

“Without the assistance of a centre of power, any action by the periphery is, by virtue of lacking institutional embodiment and political protection, at best sporadic and ineffective. A popular protest, rebellion or any other form of dissenting action by the periphery, if it has no support from an element in the power structure, will quickly fade into irrelevance; if it does have this support, it will find itself supplied with the resources, exposure, protection, and institutional embodiment.”[48]

As such, revolutionary bodies must be organised into an authority, in a manner that is congenial with an existing authority of their own much as we have described earlier whereby the political desire for a given social outcome is created through direction by an intentional agent already capable of capturing the shared attention of enough people, or perhaps of merely the right people, to realise said political aim. In practical terms, this means an intentional agent more capable of galvanising the masses than the mainstream media, academia, the intelligence community, most NGOs and corporations all combined, or of capturing other power centres such as the Military Industrial Complex, if it is supposed to truly counter the prevailing order. After all, no matter how ephemerally, whether it be a monarch, a network of institutions, or perhaps for an “egalitarian” pre-civilisation order ー the Gods and a metaphysical hierarchy, someone, something, always occupies the centre. Evidently, curtailing the influence of the network of private NGOs who have been instrumental in the process of 20th-21st Century centralisation efforts would not be very libertarian, and neither would the curtailing of corporations in their subversive PR psychological operations. Looks like we have quite the hurdle to subvert or jump over somehow or another but either way, authority is inextricable.

The Libertarian tells us; Rule of law is the most desirable mode of political operation for the state as it allows the subordination of men to a neutral order and a government limited from exercising abuse. So a government ruled by law is thus a just government. Ludwig von Mises writes that;

“The contractual order of society is an order of right and law. It is a government under the rule of law (Rechtsstaat) as differentiated from the welfare state (Wohlfahrtsstaat) or paternal state. Right or law is the complex of rules determining the orbit in which individuals are free to act.”[49]

Carl Schmitt proved that rule of law is also a spook as sovereignty ー he who decides the exception, is always conserved ー but we already know this because we know of the centrality inherent to human orders. Moreover, rule of law, as is rule of science, are both rule by formula. Sir Robert Filmer writes;

“Whereas being subject to the Higher Powers, some have strained these Words to signifie the Laws of the Land, or else to mean the Highest Power, as well Aristocratical and Democratical, as Regal: It seems St. Paul looked for such Interpretation, and therefore thought fit to be his own Expositor, and to let it be known, that by Power he understood a Monarch that carried a Sword: Wilt thou not be afraid of the Power? that is, the Ruler that carrieth the Sword, for he is the Minister of God to thee — for he beareth not the Sword in vain. It is not the Law that is the Minister of God, or that carries the Sword, but the Ruler or Magistrate; so they that say the Law governs the Kingdom, may as well say that the Carpenters Rule builds an House, and not the Carpenter; for the Law is but the Rule or Instrument of the Ruler.”[50]

The application of  political formula necessitates an actor to actualise its operation and is inextricably coloured by the human action of said application. In the fallacy of “rule by law,” and the fallacy of “rule by science,” we see a common thread: the fallacy of “rule by formula,” in which it is pretended that a government can be conducted by some mechanical process, in which the human character of the governors is irrelevant.[51]

Therefore there is no rule of law, only rule of men. Do you want these men & women to be wise, to be virtuous? To exercise phronesis? You probably know what I’m getting at already.

~ • ~

Ch.IV | The Economy

The following critique of Libertarian economics is also implicitly a further critique of Neoliberalismーof Economic Liberalism at large; its presuppositions, its conclusions, it’s after-the-fact justifications.

The Libertarian tells us; Capitalism is the most natural economic system because markets and the like are just the default mode of human economic interaction. Contradicting this nature produces inefficiencies hence why Capitalism is the most desirable system and has produced the most wealth.

Murray Rothbard writes;

“What we need is for government to get out of the way, remove its incubus of taxation and expenditures from the economy, and allow productive and technical resources once again to devote themselves fully to increasing the wellbeing of the mass of consumers. We need growth, higher living standards, and a technology and capital equipment that meet consumer wants and demands; but we can only achieve these by removing the incubus of statism and allowing the energies of all of the population to express themselves in the free-market economy.”[52]

Capitalist markets are an emergent phenomenon and not spontaneous. The “state of nature” and likewise for Adam Smith’s “land of barter”, are both historical fictions and refuted by very cursory anthropological evidence ー the earliest records of the development of money is as a debt system for the accounting bureaucracy for the Sumerians. Money is a product of a given authority looking to centralise, and as we have already explored, the demand for a given object is a product of a given authority itself, in all senses beyond perhaps mimetic desire. Geoffrey Hodgson argues that a key factor in the development of Capitalism was a powerful and sophisticated state apparatus able to protect property and trade;

“John Kenneth Galbraith (1987, 299) wrote: “The separation of economics from politics and political motivation is a sterile thing. It is also a cover for the reality of economic power and motivation. And it is a prime source of misjudgement and error in economic policy”. Similarly, Douglass C. North, John J. Wallis, and Barry R. Weingast (2009, 269) argued: “The seeming independence of economic and political systems on the surface is apparent, not real. In fact, these systems are deeply intertwined.”  I also concur with Bruce R. Scott (2009, 4) in his claim that capitalism is both “a political phenomenon” and “an economic one” and that “specifically it requires the visible hands of political actors exercising power through political institutions.” Capitalism always involves legal and political institutions: pure “anarcho-capitalism” is an unrealisable fantasy.”[53]

“A key factor [in the emergence of capitalism] was the development  of a new and sophisticated state machine that was strong enough to protect property and trade, but adequately restrained by checks, balances [etc.,] to protect a relatively autonomous legal system and to allow the development of self-governing organisational forms that could engage in productive activity and reap the rewards of innovation.

Once a merchant class became well established in [European nations], it became a political lobby to defend its interests, reinforce countervailing power, and enable the development of a relatively autonomous system of law. In countries where merchants had greater power and autonomy (contrast England with Spain) the rewards of global trade made this class even more powerful and led to institutional changes that further checked the arbitrary power of the state. Access to emerging Atlantic trade routes enhanced this process of positive feedback between commerce and countervailing power.”[54]

Note Hodgson’s illustration of ‘countervailing power’ leading to further checks of state power, which we should recognise immediately now as imperium in imperio. In other words, capitalism is an inherently deterritorialising process, it emerges and exists within prevailing positive-feedback loop systems of insecure power, selecting for more of itself and is contingent upon such processes. The state isn’t dependent on capital, and capitalism cannot exist within every type of statist order, but instead is contingent upon a very specific kind of statist order ー of divided power, one that historically self-selected, and continued to select for the levelling process ad nauseum. The conclusion that must be drawn then is that capitalism is a direct development of centralisation under insecure power, and could not otherwise exist with formal sovereignty. Furthermore, as David Graeber exploresーmoney itself is a product of bureaucratic centralisation;

“Credit Theorists insisted that money is not a commodity but an accounting tool. In other words, it is not a “thing” at all. You can no more touch a dollar or a deutschmark than you can touch an hour or a cubic centimeter. Units of currency are merely abstract units of measurement, and as the credit theorists correctly noted, historically, such abstract systems of accounting emerged long before the use of any particular token of exchange.

The obvious next question is: If money is just a yardstick, what then does it measure? The answer was simple: debt. A coin is, effectively, an IOU. Whereas conventional wisdom holds that a banknote is, or should be, a promise to pay a certain amount of “real money” (gold, silver, whatever that might be taken to mean), Credit Theorists argued that a banknote is simply the promise to pay something of the same value as an ounce of gold. But that’s all that money ever is. There’s no fundamental difference in this respect between a silver dollar, a Susan B. Anthony dollar coin made of a copper-nickel alloy designed to look vaguely like gold, a green piece of paper with a picture of George Washington on it, or a digital blip on some bank’s computer. Conceptually, the idea that a piece of gold is really just an IOU is always rather difficult to wrap one’s head around, but something like this must be true, because even when gold and silver coins were in use, they almost never circulated at their bullion value.”[55]

For an example;

“The Sumerian economy was dominated by vast temple and palace complexes. These were often staffed by thousands: priests and ocials, craftspeople who worked in their industrial workshops, farmers and shepherds who worked their considerable estates. Even though ancient Sumer was usually divided into a large number of independent city-states, by the time the curtain goes up on Mesopotamian civilization around 3500, temple administrators already appear to have developed a single, uniform system of accountancy—one that is in some ways still with us, actually, because it’s to the Sumerians that we owe such things as the dozen or the 24-hour day. The basic monetary unit was the silver shekel. One shekel’s weight in silver was established as the equivalent of one gur, or bushel of barley. A shekel was subdivided into 60 minas, corresponding to one portion of barley—on the principle that there were 30 days in a month, and Temple workers received two rations of barley every day. It’s easy to see that “money” in this sense is in no way the product of commercial transactions. It was actually created by bureaucrats in order to keep track of resources and move things back and forth between departments. Temple bureaucrats used the system to calculate debts (rents, fees, loans …) in silver. Silver was, effectively, money.”[56]

The money is thus in no way as spontaneous or “natural” to human social life in the manner that Libertarians like to think it is, but a bureaucratic, one could say statist, creation whose legal enforcements are vital for its modern, Liberal existence. The Liberal social order, divided power, preceded the much later development of Liberal Capitalism. A specific political configuration was required for the generation of capitalism, not the other way around. On the development of money as a product of centralisation, Bond writes;

“With the arrival of the Germanic kingdoms, we find that the Roman taxation system and the circulation of coinage inherited by these kingdoms seem to have all but disappeared. These non-monetary kingdoms operated on a system of land dispersal, where land was granted to vassals from whom they could provision their own forces. It appears that a similar process occurred in the Near East, where land reforms were instigated as a means to maintain an army following the collapse of the Byzantine coinage system. In the West, such an arrangement required a substantial devolution of power to the local lords, who were granted the land to maintain. The monarchs had to rely on the lords agreeing to supply men and resources under the lord’s immediate control, which presents a case of subsidiary power centres having a great deal of leverage vis-à-vis the primary Power centre.

This first stirrings of the centralisation of monarchy become apparent with attempts by monarchs to reintroduce coinage on a large scale. This may seem somewhat surprising given that the modern economic assumption that money is both natural and an extension of barter, but this is erroneous. To understand why monarchs would wish to implement a coinage system, we need to understand that a monetary system is not a natural and spontaneous affair, but, rather one that requires a demand which itself is not spontaneous.”[57]

Well, this should all seem fairly familiar to you by now dear reader. Demand for a given social object of attention is a construct of some intentional agent ー in the case Bond is illustrating it is for the purposes of undermining local lords, whilst in Graeber’s case, it was for bureaucratic administrative purposes. Both are essentially two strains of centralisation. Bond continues;

“All of these aspects of a monetary system have to be created with great effort, but despite this effort, the benefits are great for centralising power. We must consider that a coinage system bestows on the minting authority a source of profit in the form of reminitng and debasement, a form of monetary manipulation which also weakens subsidiaries by making their wealth depreciate in comparison to those who are miniting coins. The coinage system also allows the central Power to engage in disintermediated relationships with elements it would previously have been unable to engage. Money, for example, allows the purchase of mercenaries who can be used in lieu of the nobility, thereby offering the central Power access to a body of men directly loyal to itself. In addition, once this system is widespread, the possibility of transferring wealth over long distances becomes feasible. Discharging feudal dues in the form of produce is an inherently localised system; discharging it in coinage is not. The implementation of a wide spread taxation system premised on coin the makes it possible for a kings court to reside in one place indefinitely, and so we see the development of capital cities following the  establishment of coinage systems.”[58]

What we consequently see is that money, that the Libertarian takes for granted as spontaneous and natural, is not only an emergent product of central authority but also is precisely what makes the Libertarian’s nightmare, taxation, possible in a widespread manner. A strange irony. Conversely, is the abolishment of money possible? Maybe it is? Good question. Is it a desirable thing to abolish it? Perhaps, but this is definitely worth exploring, as is market consciousness itself, which I will endeavour to do at a later time. To continue, another of the economic liberal’s sacred cows to slaughter is free trade. Milton Friedman writes;

“In the economic jargon coined more than 150 years ago, that is the principle of comparative advantage. Even if we were more efficient than the Japanese at producing everything, it would not pay us to produce everything. We should concentrate on doing those things we do best, those things where our superiority is the greatest.”[59]

However, Ricardo’s Principle of Comparative Advantage is rendered defective in exploring a few key underlying presuppositions;

“(1) Domestic capital or factors of production like capital goods and skilled labour are not internationally mobile, and instead will be re-employed in the sector/sectors in which the country’s comparative advantage lies;

(2) Workers are fungible, and will be re-trained easily and moved to the new sectors where comparative advantage lies.

(3) It does not matter what you produce (e.g., you could produce pottery), as long as you do it in a way that gives you comparative advantage;

(4) Technology is essentially unchanging and uniform; and

(5) There are no returns to scale.

Assumption (1) doesn’t hold today and what happens is movement of capital under the principle of absolute advantage (Lavoie 2014: 508). This results in a type of race to the bottom for industrialised countries that do not protect their industries. (2) is of course highly questionable. (3), (4) and (5) are utter nonsense. Abstract pro-free trade arguments often seem to make the implicit assumption of full employment, or the effective tendency to full employment, in all nations as well, which is yet another mad and unrealistic assumption (Lavoie 2014: 508).”[60]

Of course, as we can intuit, (2) relies on a very malleable, denuded individual, which a liberal like Ricardo takes as natural, but is actually as we know a product of centralisation. Moreover, protectionism is better for economic development, so much so that the industrial revolution would not have happened without Walpole’s protectionism (a strange irony). Despite its widening technological lead over other countries, Britain continued its policies of industrial promotion until the mid-nineteenth century. Britain had very high tariffs on manufacturing products even as late as the 1820s, some two generations after the start of its Industrial Revolution. Ha Joon Chang also points out, the industrial revolution might not have even happened in Britain as it did, in absence of the policies that were promoted by previous governments at the protection of infant sectors which perpetuated their industrialisation;

“Symbolic as the repeal of the Corn Law may have been, it was only after 1860 that most tariffs were abolished. However, the era of free trade did not last very long. It ended when Britain finally acknowledged that it had lost its manufacturing eminence and re-introduced tariffs on a large scale in 1932 (Bairoch, 1993, pp. 27–8). Thus seen, contrary to the popular belief, Britain’s technological lead that enabled this shift to a free trade regime had been achieved “behind high and long-lasting tariff barriers” (Bairoch, 1993, p. 46).”[61]

Chang’s argument generally follows the idea that the initial explosion of industrialisation, the industrial revolution itself which predates this period and easily had a much larger scale and proportion of development than that of the 1860s to 1910s, was propelled by the likes of Walpole’s interventionist policy reforms of 1721 and its continuation through the first half of the 1800s. To be kind of reductionistic about it for clarity’s sake, the process for many European nations generally went:

Adoption Protectionism  → Technological development  → Adoption of Economic Liberalism.

Chang, in addition to illustrating in detail the Walpolean parallels with Hamiltonian U.S. policy, interrupted by only a brief interlude, 1913-1929 until impinged by the  GATT in the 1950s;

“[The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, portrayed by free-trade economists such as Jadish Bhagwadi] as a radical departure from a historic free-trade stance, only marginally (if at all) increased the degree of protectionism in the U.S. economy. As we can see from table 1, the average tariff rate for manufactured goods that resulted from this bill was 48%, and it still falls within the range of the average rates that had prevailed in the United States since the Civil War, albeit in the upper region of this range. It is only in relation to the brief “liberal” interlude of 1913–1929 that the 1930 tariff bill can be interpreted as increasing protectionism, although even then it was not by very much (from 37% in 1925 to 48% in 1931, see table 1).”[62]

(Table 1)63

Because it wasn’t until the 50s, after the 1947 establishment of the GATT that the US truly liberalised trade ー that is after it was able to establish itself as a political and economic superpower. Chang also cites that post-war economic development followed a model similar to Walpole’s protectionism and moderate regulatory intervention citing Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, however, their interventionism was more sophisticated than Walpole’s.

“They used more substantial and better-designed export subsidies (both direct and indirect) and much less export taxes than in the earlier experiences (Luedde-Neurath, 1986; Amsden, 1989). Tariff rebates for imported raw materials and machinery for export industries were much more systematically used than in, for example, eighteenth-century Britain (Lueede-Neurath, 1986). Coordination of complementary investments, which had been previously done in a rather haphazard way (if at all), was systematized through indicative planning and government investment programs (Chang, 1993 and 1994). Regulations of firm entry, exit, investments, and pricing intended to “manage competition” were a lot more aware of the dangers of monopolistic abuses and more sensitive to its impact on export market performance, when compared to their historical counterparts, namely, the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century cartel policies (Amsden & Singh, 1994; Chang, forthcoming).  The East Asian states also integrated human capital and learning-related policies into their industrial policy framework more tightly than their predecessors had done, through “manpower planning” (You & Chang, 1993). Regulations on technology licensing and foreign direct investments were much more sophisticated and comprehensive than in the earlier experiences (Chang, 1998). Subsidies to (and public provision of) education, training, and R&D were also much more systematic and extensive than their historical counterparts (Lall & Teubal, 1998).”[64]

At this point I anticipate that the Libertarian will be foaming at the mouth, ready to eject the words; “SINGAPORE, HONG KONG, DUBAI”. But on very cursory examination, it wasn’t the free market, rule of law or any such liberal platitude that made them as lucrative as they became, rather it was the fact that they were administered personally[65], where Lee Kuan Yew, Sir John Cowperwaithe and Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, respectively, had and exercised near-total executive authority, which allowed for the cultivation of their material prosperity.

In summary, Libertarianism is either fatally incorrect or advocating for impossibilities regarding nearly everything it purportedly stands for. Where it is wrong, it is corrosive, perpetuating that which would frustrate your telos, would rob you, and does rob you, of your happiness and is merely apologetic for a predatory system it cannot change. It is inimical to that which is purely good, goodness itself, and your intimacy with such goodness ー ideologically setting itself against moral social ordering. It tries to justify itself with what might frankly be called spooks. It doesn’t even understand the enemies ー authority and coercion, that it sets up for itself, and even when it falls back on the most base economic justifications, it still fails as it starts out with historical absurdities as key presuppositions. It is then further refuted in regards to “economic prosperity” compared to other economic systems. This isn’t necessarily to praise the industrial revolution and its consequences however, as it is also in part to blame for our schizophrenitisation and for the acceleration of capitalism which compounds this process after all. Rather, it is to illustrate that the justifications Libertarianism presents for itself are equally as easy to shoot down. Nonetheless, the various strains of the Liberal tradition that Libertarianism largely participates in, that have successfully inculcated modern man, have proven to be destructive at the most fundamental levels in the perpetuation of social orders inimical to the cultivation of perfection and the execution of justice. Baseless and corrosive, this ideological malaise must be handled by a cooperation of anti-capitalists and social conservatives, a Post-Liberal unity that goes beyond the petty left and right, and should be dealt with extreme prejudice.

Republished from sympoiesis.net

~ • ~

Notes & References

[Ch.I Notes]

[1] The way Rothbard manages to justify such a thing is in invalidating legislature as “coercive” and thus evil, which we shall explore as erroneous later on.

Applying our theory to parents and children, this means that a parent does not have the right to aggress against his children, but also that the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights. The parent therefore may not murder or mutilate his child, and the law properly outlaws a parent from doing so. But the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die. The law, therefore, may not properly compel the parent to feed a child or to keep it alive. (Again, whether or not a parent has a moral rather than a legally enforceable obligation to keep his child alive is a completely separate question.) This rule allows us to solve such vexing questions as: should a parent have the right to allow a deformed baby to die (e.g., by not feeding it)? The answer is of course yes, following a fortiori from the larger right to allow any baby, whether deformed or not, to die. (Though, as we shall see below, in a libertarian society the existence of a free baby market will bring such “neglect” down to a minimum.)

Rothbard, Murray Newton. The Ethics of Liberty. New York: New York Univ. Press, 2002, 100.

He then assumes that humans would spontaneously form, in a marketised manner, in modes such that neglect would be reduced. This is quite unabashedly the enshrining of an order that takes the market hostage-taking process Graeber and Katz explore to its extreme.

[2] From Walter Block;

What, exactly, is blackmail? Blackmail is the offer of trade. It is the offer to trade something, usually silence, for some other good, usually money. If the offer of the trade is accepted, the blackmailer then maintains his silence and the blackmailee pays the agreed-upon price. If the blackmail offer is rejected, the blackmailer may exercise his rights of free speech and publicize the secret. There is nothing amiss here. All that is happening is that an offer to maintain silence is being made. If the offer is rejected, the blackmailer does no more than exercise his right of free speech.

Block, Walter. Defending the Undefendable: the Pimp, Prostitute, Scab, Slumlord, Libeler, Moneylender, and Other Scapegoats in the Rogue’s Gallery of American Society. Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 2018, 41.

[3] At the time of writing this piece, there are 9 current entries concerning Scrooge from the Mises Institute website:

https://mises.org/library/scrooge-defended

https://mises.org/library/defense-scrooge

https://mises.org/wire/more-scrooge

https://mises.org/wire/christmas-lets-celebrate-different-scrooge-scrooge-mcduck

https://mises.org/wire/was-scrooge-victim-christmas-carol

https://mises.org/library/correcting-scrooges-economics

https://mises.org/wire/ebenezer-scrooge-humanitarian

https://mises.org/wire/defence-ebenezer-scrooge

https://mises.org/wire/ebenezer-scrooges-tiresome-crusade-against-consumerism

[4] Olson, Henry. “The Death And Tragic Rebirth Of Libertarianism.” Social Matter, September 25, 2018. https://archive.is/qr7BL#selection-603.0-603.46.

[5] Hayek, Friedrich A. von. Individualism and Economic Order. London: Routledge, 2016, 6.

[6] Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Government ; and, A Letter Concerning Toleration. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2002. Ch.V, §. 27, 12.

[7] Aquinas, Thomas, and Timothy MacDermott. Summa Theologiæ: A Concise Translation. Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1989. Prima Pars, Q:76:1, 114.

[8] Evola, Julius, Guido Stucco, and Michael Moynihan. Men among the Ruins: Postwar Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist. Inner Traditions International, 2002, 135.

[9] Mises, Ludwig Von, and Bettina Bien. Greaves. Human Action. a Treatise on Economics. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007, 685.

[10]  Bond, C. A. Nemesis: The Jouvenelian vs. the Liberal Model of Human Orders. Imperium Press, 2019, 15.

[11] ibid., 12.

[12] Holmes, Geoffrey, and Daniel Szechi. Age of Oligarchy: Pre-Industrial Britain 1722-1783. London: Routledge, 2016, 27.

[13] ibid., 103.

[14] ibid., 114.

[15] Bond, Nemesis, 47.

[16] ibid., 60.

[17] Katz, Adam. “Power and Paradox.” Anthropoetics 23, no. 2 (2018). http://anthropoetics.ucla.edu/ap2302/2302katz/

[18] Katz, Adam. “Sovereign as Onomastician-in-Chief.” GABlog (blog), July 13, 2017. http://gablog.cdh.ucla.edu/2017/07/sovereign-as-onomastician-in-chief/

[19] Fisher, Mark. Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? Zero Books, 2010, 38-39

[20] Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2018, 75.

[21] The horrifying reality then is that it is more economically efficient to just eliminate the swathes of the labour force that, in being made redundant by techno-capital, are now economic drains on the system;

That is, as machine intelligence increases, economic demand for human intelligence at every level goes to zero. Oops!

As both a good Carlylean and a good Misesian, the King condemns economism—the theory that any economic indicator can measure human happiness. His goal is a fulfilled and dignified society, not maximum production of widgets. Is it better that teenagers get work experience during the summer, or that gas costs five cents a gallon less? The question is not a function of any mathematical formula. It is a question of judgment and taste. All that free-market economics will tell you is that, if you prohibit self service, there will be more jobs for gas-station attendants, and gas will cost more. It cannot tell you whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Moldbug, Mencius. “The Dire Problem and the Virtual Option.” Unqualified Reservations (blog), November 12, 2009. https://www.unqualified-reservations.org/2009/11/dire-problem-and-virtual-option/.

Albeit, as we have explored and shall continue to explore, Mises is still operating upon quite disastrous premises, and so he too needs surgical removal from Moldbug’s scheme for a healthy social order.

[Ch.II Notes]

[22] Nozick, Robert. Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Oxford: Blackwell, 2017, 151.

[23] Friedman, Milton, and Rose D. Friedman. Free to Choose: a Personal Statement. Paw Prints, 2008, 228.

[24] Mao, Zedong. Mao Tŝe-Tung’s Quotations; the Red Guard’s Handbook. Nashville: International Center, George Peabody College for Teachers, 1967, Combat Liberalism, Selected Works, Vol. II, 31-32.

[25] Evola, Julius, Guido Stucco, and Michael Moynihan. Men among the Ruins: Postwar Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist. Inner Traditions International, 2002, 139.

[26] Feser, Edward. “Plotinus on Divine Simplicity, Part I.” Plotinus on Divine Simplicity, Part I (blog), January 15, 2010. https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/01/plotinus-on-divine-simplicity-part-i.html.

[27] Aquinas, Thomas, and Timothy MacDermott. Summa Theologiæ: A Concise Translation. Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1989. Prima Secundæ Partis, Q:3:8, 178.

[28] MacIntyre, Alasdair C. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. Bloomsbury Academic, 2014, p.53.

[29] Max F. Muller. Sacred Books of the East. London: Routledge, 2004, Li Ki, Lî Yun, 2.11.

[30] MacIntyre, After Virtue, p.288-289

[31]  ibid., p.298-290, 291

[32] Aristotle, and Jonathan Barnes. The Complete Works of Aristotle: the Revised Oxford Translation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995, Nicomachean Ethics, Bk.VIII.I, 1154b20-28, 1825.

[33] Quite a few resources linked here but here are some choice selections. On the micro-scale;

In this article we tested whether ethnic diversity in one’s immediate residential surroundings has an impact on social trust. Using survey data merged with data from the national Danish registers, our results show that ethnic diversity of the micro-context— measured within a radius of 80 meters of a Downloaded from asr.sagepub.com at University of Otago Library on April 23, 2015 16 American Sociological Review person—has a statistically significant negative impact on social trust, controlling for a large number of potentially confounding variables. When expanding the size of the context, the effect of ethnic diversity is diluted, and we take this as an indication that interethnic exposure—which is inevitable in the micro-context, but not in more aggregate contexts—is the mechanism underlying the negative relationship between residential ethnic diversity and trust.

Dinesen, Peter Thisted, and Kim Mannemar Sønderskov. “Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust.” American Sociological Review 80, no. 3 (2015): 550–73. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003122415577989, 15-16.

On the macro-scale;

Our analysis shows that peace does not depend on integrated coexistence, but rather on well defined topographical and political boundaries separating groups, allowing for partial autonomy within a single country. In Switzerland, mountains and lakes are an important part of the boundaries between sharply defined linguistic areas. Political canton and circle (sub-canton) boundaries often separate religious groups. Where such boundaries do not appear to be sufficient, we find that specific aspects of the population distribution guarantee either sufficient separation or sufficient mixing to inhibit intergroup violence according to the quantitative theory of conflict. In exactly one region, a porous mountain range does not adequately separate linguistic groups and that region has experienced significant violent conflict, leading to the recent creation of the canton of Jura. Our analysis supports the hypothesis that violence between groups can be inhibited by physical and political boundaries. A similar analysis of the area of the former Yugoslavia shows that during widespread ethnic violence existing political boundaries did not coincide with the boundaries of distinct groups, but peace prevailed in specific areas where they did coincide. The success of peace in Switzerland may serve as a model to resolve conflict in other ethnically diverse countries and regions of the world.

Rutherford, Alex, Dion Harmon, Justin Werfel, Alexander S. Gard-Murray, Shlomiya Bar-Yam, Andreas Gros, Ramon Xulvi-Brunet, and Yaneer Bar-Yam. “Good Fences: The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Peaceful Coexistence.” PLoS ONE 9, no. 5 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0095660.

Why does violence erupt in some ethnic conflicts but not in others? To answer this question, I introduced a theory of ethnic war called the theory of indivisible territory. I argued that the likelihood of ethnic violence rests on how a conflict’s principal antagonists—a state and its dissatisfied ethnic minority—think about or value a disputed territory. Attempts to negotiate a resolution short of war will fail when, [1.] the ethnic minority demands sovereignty over the territory it occupies, and, [2. the state views that territory as indivisible. Ethnic war is less likely to break out if one condition only is met, and very unlikely if neither condition is met.

Toft, Monica Duffy. Geography of Ethnic Violence. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010, 127.

  1. As we shall explore later, such demands are only truly spurred by political patronage, irrespective of Toft’s categorisation of them as ‘charismatic demagogues’ or ‘representative statesmen’, which is made accessible for, and actively selected by, centralising power in situations of power insecurity.
  2. A centralising authority would never, and does not ever delegate territory to subsidiaries in such a manner that make territory divisible.

Liberalism has various mechanisms at its disposal to keep civil conflict from emerging, namely the fact that the demands of the periphery are conditioned and directed by centralising authority, and of course various technological developments, from money to surveillance, which make this easier. Nonetheless, it follows that population heterogeneity could be and, as Toft explores, is exploited repeatedly for centralisation.

[34] Here is Bond’s elaboration upon imperium in imperio, and power security;

In categorising unsecure power and secure power Mencius Moldbug correctly identified that the primary motivations for power centers to engage in leveling conflict were the insecurity of their positions and the blocks they faced, they simply could not, and cannot, govern in a direct and concise manner. This has many further ramifications which we shall cover later, but for now it suffices to note that as these power centers were placed in positions of chronic conflict within society. The centers were unable to engage in actual direct conflict to resolve the tension, so the alternative option was, and still is, to pursue that of advancing their attempts at centralisation and conflict against competing power centers by appeal to greater societal good.

Secure power in contrast is power which is not placed in a position of conflict. This conflict can take the form of either the balancing of institutions against one another, such as with the republican structure and the balance of power it enshrines, or by claims of law or human rights being bounding, thereby placing the judiciary as a competing institution – there are many variants of imperium in imperio.

In pursuing this line of investigation over a number of years, an extremely accurate and effective model of the current liberal power structure was developed on the Unqualified Reservations blog which managed to trace the development of power by virtue of ignoring the frames of analysis which current political theories take as relevant. This analysis neither took the human individual as the relevant point of analysis, nor did it take current political institutions such as nation states as relevant. Instead, by placing the analysis on the manner in which internal institutions have been allowed to operate in a state of permanent surreptitious conflict, a picture emerged of a strange governing entity which centred around the Ivy League universities, media, the civil service and additionally non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society foundations in a systemically logical conflict against all other intermediary structure which have been under sustained and continued destruction. The key point to note is that the systemic conflict provides all of these centers with the context within which their decisions are enacted, rendering their actions predictable to a large degree. This is why we can see all the progressive institutions acting in a similar manner without need of a central governing body. Unsecure Power is then definable as power acting in a system designed on (or degraded to) internal conflict.

Secure Power in contrast is Power acting within a system in which institutions are complementary and not conflicting. Authority flows down only. Similar entities are seen in the form of corporations, the very same entities which actors in governance have been engaging on ever greater levels as a means to provide effective and efficient services, something which the national governance structure of the modern state has been unable to maintain. The great expansion of private military companies and privatisation in everyday walks of life are premised on the idea that the profit motive is a strong driving force for competence, but fails to take into account that the profit driven companies are first and foremost driven on a model of governance which is a rejection of imperium in imperio, thus ensuring a means of management which allows for clear and effective action. No one creates a business with an imperium in imperio design.

The modern system has managed to ingrain imperium in imperio not as a solecism, but as an unalloyed good. Institutions in unceasing conflict are assumed to balance out society and ensure no center in particular may hold total power…., Jouvenel’s great observation [was that] this division of power has led to continual and unceasing conflict between internal institutions using the concept of equality as a means of undermining competitors.

Bond, Chris A. “The Patron Theory of Politics.” The Journal of Neoabsolutism (blog), May 2, 2017. https://thejournalofneoabsolutism.wordpress.com/2017/05/02/36/.

[Ch.III Notes]

[35] Hayek, Friedrich A. von. Individualism and Economic Order. London: Routledge, 2016, 7.

[36] Here’s a further elaboration on the intentional character of communicative acts from Knapp & Benn Michaels;

John Searle, for example, asserts that “there is no getting away from intentionality,” and he and others have advanced arguments to support this claim. Our purpose here is not to add another such argument but to show how radically counterintuitive the alternative would be. We can begin to get a sense of this simply by noticing how difficult it is to imagine a case of intentionless meaning. Suppose that you’re walking along a beach and you come upon a curious sequence of squiggles in the sand. You step back a few paces and notice that they spell out the following words:

A slumber did my spirit seal;

I had no human fears:

She seemed a thing that could not feel

The touch of earthly years.

This would seem to be a good case of intentionless meaning: you recognize the writing as writing, you understand what the words mean, you may even identify them as constituting a rhymed poetic stanza-and all this without knowing anything about the author and indeed without needing to connect the words to any notion of an author at all. You can do all these things without thinking of anyone’s intention. But now suppose that, as you stand gazing at this pattern in the sand, a wave washes up and recedes, leaving in its wake (written below what you now realize was only the first stanza) the following words:

No motion has she now, no force;

She neither hears nor sees;

Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,

With rocks, and stones, and trees.

One might ask whether the question of intention still seems as irrelevant as it did seconds before. You  will now, we suspect, feel compelled to explain what you have just seen. Are these marks mere accidents, produced by the mechanical operation of the waves on the sand (through some subtle and unprecedented process of erosion, percolation, etc.)? Or is the sea alive and striving to express its pantheistic faith? Or has Wordsworth, since his death, become a sort of genius of the shore who inhabits the waves and periodically inscribes on the sand his elegiac sentiments? You might go on extending the list of explanations indefinitely, but you would find, we think, that all the explanations fall into two categories. You will either be ascribing these marks to some agent capable of intentions (the living sea, the haunting Wordsworth, etc.), or you will count them as nonintentional effects of mechanical processes (erosion, percolation, etc.). But in the second case-where the marks now seem to be accidents-will they still seem to be words? Clearly not. They will merely seem to resemble words.

Knapp, Steven, and Walter Benn Michaels. “Against Theory.” Critical Inquiry 8, no. 4 (1982): 723-42, 727-728.

[37] Ferdinand de Saussure on diachronic linguistics;

Diachronic linguistics studies the relations which hold not between coexisting terms of a linguistic state, but between successive terms substituted one for another over a period of time.

Immediately, we see the parallels within the historical process of individualisation and its relationship to centralisation – the process replaces the previous form(s) employed for centralisation with a new form(s) over the course of history as the political problematic that centralisation itself faces; from Divine Right, all the way down to Human Rights. Each one not coexisting but successive, and often in conflict with each other, in their employment by Power. There is a Heraclitean element here as Saussure continues;

Absolute stability in language is never found. All parts of the language are subject to change, and any period of time will see evolution of a greater or smaller extent. It may vary in rapidity or intensity. But the principle admits no exceptions. The linguistic river never stops flowing. Whether its course is smooth or uneven is a consideration of secondary importance.

The paragraph that follows concerning literary language is of specific interest to our enquiry concerning the hierarchy of intentionally directed linguistic forms within a given field of shared attention;

It is true that this uninterrupted evolution is often hidden from us by the attention paid to the corresponding literary language. A literary language (cf. p [267] ff.) is superimposed upon the vernacular, which is the natural form a language takes, and it is subject to different conditions of existence. Once a literary language is established, it usually remains fairly stable, and tends to perpetuate itself unaltered.

Saussure, Ferdinand de, and Roy Harris. Course in General Linguistics. London: Bloomsbury, 2016, 167.

[38] The origin of language, the first sign, emerges from the mimetic crisis of the originary event;

According to the originary hypothesis, the first occurrence of language was in the originary event or scene of language. The birth of representation within the mimetic triangle involves a new form of consciousness. Not only is mimesis of the human other not essentially conscious, it essentially excludes language. (The game of Simon Says exploits the fact that language interferes with rather than aids imitation.) In contrast, in the case of mimesis of the object, or representation, my sign imitates not the object’s actions but its formal closure, to which I must be attentive in a new way.

But although the mimetic triangle contains all the elements necessary for the emergence of the sign as the solution of the mimetic paradox, language as the foundation of the human community can only have arisen in a collective event, where the multiplicity of the participants multiplies mimetic tension. The object desired by all members of the group becomes the center of a circle surrounded by peripheral individuals all mediating each other’s desire. The aborted gesture of appropriation occurs as the solution to an originary mimetic crisis in which the group’s existence is menaced by the potential violence of mimetic rivalry over the object. Animal hierarchy that previously prevented general conflict by limiting rivalry to one-on-one relationships breaks down in the intensity of this crisis. The emission of the first sign is the originary event that founds the human community.

“A Brief Introduction to Generative Anthropology.” Anthropoetics, May, 2017, http://anthropoetics.ucla.edu/gaintro/.

[39] Essentially, Freud’s theories concerning the self became widespread in the ruling class, the centre, largely at the behest of his nephew Edwards Bernays who was extremely well connected. He assisted with President Woodrow Wilson’s WWI propaganda efforts, President Calvin Coolidge’s PR, and went on to spread his theories through Hollywood, most of marketing in the earlier parts of the 20th Century, and became quite influential with the likes of Goldman Sachs. The goal was to produce ‘happiness machines’, denude and individualise the person to such extreme degrees so that “in an age of mass democracy”, per the Freudian paranoia that was in vogue, the masses and their “underlying dark forces of desire” could be subdued and managed in such manners to produce high volumes of economic output. This meant that advertising became a kind of psychological warfare against the general public, to break down their various limitations on their desires and demands for consumption, so they would consume for consumption’s sake.

The Century of the Self. BBC. United Kingdom, 2002. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ3RzGoQC4s.

[40] Another curious note is how even though many of the Foundation personnel may have at one point been leftists, or even Marxists;

Schrank, a former Communist, recalls the “secret anti-capitalist orientation” of his fellow program officers. “People were influenced by the horror stories we Marxists had put out about the capitalist system,” he says; “it became their guidance.”

By the 1990s, anti-capitalism had all but taken a back seat.

Today, the full-blown liberal foundation worldview looks like this:

First, white racism is the cause of black and Hispanic social problems. In 1982, for example, Carnegie’s Alan Pifer absurdly accused the country of tolerating a return to “legalized segregation of the races.” The same note still sounds in Rockefeller president Peter C. Goldmark Jr.’s assertion, in his 1995 annual report, that we “urgently need . . . a national conversation about race . . . to talk with candor about the implications of personal and institutional racism.”

Second, Americans discriminate widely on the basis not just of race but also of gender, “sexual orientation,” class, and ethnicity. As a consequence, victim groups need financial support to fight the petty-mindedness of the majority.

Third, Americans are a selfish lot. Without the creation of court-enforced entitlement, the poor will be abused and ignored. Without continuous litigation, government will be unresponsive to social needs.

Fourth, only government can effectively ameliorate social problems. Should government cut welfare spending, disaster will follow, which no amount of philanthropy can cure.

Notice how the enframing of the latent foundation led flavour of anti-capitalism is entirely within that of narrative led by racial periphery grievances rather than economic grievances themselves? By the time Kimberlé Crenshaw’s “Intersectionality” and Critical Race Theory is rolled out by the Rockefeller Foundation in the form of the Bellagio project, the diachronic nature of centralising forms is all but painful as the new form of racial and sexual equality replaces that of economic justice for the purposes of centralisation.

MacDonald, Heather. “The Billions of Dollars That Made Things Worse.” City Journal, 1996.

[41] The most significant upswing in the use of the term is dated around the mid 1970s by Google’s Ngram Viewer.

Bond, C. A. Nemesis: The Jouvenelian vs. the Liberal Model of Human Orders. Imperium Press, 2019, 48.

[42] ibid., 49.

[43] ibid., 51.

[44] ibid., 54.

[45] Footnote;

Jasenists, despite being Catholics, adhered to many doctrines shared by Calvinists, such as predestination and justification by faith.

ibid., 58.

[46] Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Government ; and, A Letter Concerning Toleration. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2002. Ch.V §. 35, 15.

[47] Aquinas, Thomas, Gerald B. Phelan, Joseph Kenny, and Ignatius Theodore Eschmann. De Regno: Ad Regem Cypri. Bismarck, ND: Divine Providence Press, 2014, Ch.III:XIX.

[48] Bond, Nemesis, 7.

[49] Mises, Ludwig Von, and Bettina Bien. Greaves. Human Action. a Treatise on Economics. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007, 198.

[50] Filmer, Robert, and Peter Laslett. Patriarcha and Other Political Works of Sir Robert Filmer. The Legal Classics Library, Division of Gryphon Corporation, 2013, Ch.III, II, §. 4.

[51]  Moldbug, Mencius. “Three Homeworks for Professor Hanson.” Unqualified Reservations (blog), June 27, 2010. https://www.unqualified-reservations.org/2010/06/three-homeworks-for-professor-hanson/

[Ch.IV Notes]

[52] Rothbard, Murray Newton. The Ethics of Liberty. New York: New York Univ. Press, 2002, 252.

[53] Hodgson, Geoffrey Martin. Conceptualizing Capitalism: Institutions, Evolution, Future. University of Chicago Press, 2016, 11-12.

[54] ibid., 17.

[55] Graeber, David. Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Melville House, 2014, 46.

[56] ibid., 39.

[57] Bond, C. A. Nemesis: The Jouvenelian vs. the Liberal Model of Human Orders. Imperium Press, 2019, 11.

[58] ibid., 12.

[59] Friedman, Milton, and Rose D. Friedman. Free to Choose: a Personal Statement. Paw Prints, 2008, 43.

[60] Keynes, Lord. “The Cult of Free Trade in a Nutshell.” Heterodox Economics Blogs, July 4, 2016. https://heterodox.economicblogs.org/socialdemocracy21stcentury/2016/keynes-cult-trade-nutshell.

[61] Chang, Ha Joon. Kicking Away the Ladder. Cambridge: FPIF, 2003, 5.

[62] ibid., 6.

[63] ibid., 2.

[64] ibid., 11.

[65] In response to this Foundation for Economic Education piece Bond writes;

Whoah, whoah, whoah… hang on a second.

Hong Kong had a competent government, pursuing market economics under the rule of law.

But;

Cowperthwaite had almost complete control of Hong Kong government finances and used it to implement his policy of “positive nonintervention.”

Eh? So which is it? Rule of law made this possible, or someone with” almost complete control of Hong Kong government finances” am I missing something here? Is this making any sense?

Bond, Chris A. “Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai: Classical Liberal Paradises” reactionaryfuture (blog), June 14, 2016, https://reactionaryfuture.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/hong-kong-singapore-and-dubai-classical-liberal-paradises/.

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