Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Disappearance of Natural Elites

Today, after less than one century of mass democracy, there exists no such natural elites and social hierarchies to which one could immediately turn for protection. Natural elites and hierarchical social orders and organizations, that is people and institutions commanding an authority and respect independent of the State, are even more intolerable and unacceptable to a democrat and more incompatible with the democratic spirit of egalitarianism than they were a threat to any king or to any prince. And because of that, under the democratic rules of the game, all independent authorities, all independent institutions have been systematically wiped or diminished through economic measures to insignificance. Today, no one person or institution outside of government itself possesses genuine national or even regional authority. Rather than people of independent authority we now merely have an abundance of people who are prominent: sports and movie stars, pop stars, and of course politicians. But these people, while they may be able to set trends and shape fashions, do not possess any such thing as natural personal social authority.

  This is true in particular of politicians: they may be great stars now, every day they are on TV and the subject of public debate, but this is almost entirely due to the fact that they are a part of the current State apparatus with its monopolistic powers. Once this monopoly was dissolved, these “stars” of politics would become non-entities, because in real life they are mostly nothings, hacks, and half-wits. And only democracy allows them to rise to these elevated positions. Left to their own devices, left to their own personal achievements, they are, with almost no exception, complete nobodies. Put bluntly, once the democratic government—Congress—had declared that from now on everyone would be free to choose his own judge and protector, such that he still can but no longer must choose the government for protection, who in his right mind would ever choose them?! That is, the current members of Congress and the federal government: who would choose them voluntarily as their judge and protector?! To raise this question is to answer it. Kings and princes possessed real authority; there was coercion involved, no question whatsoever, but they received a significant amount of voluntary support.

  In contrast, democratic politicians are generally held in contempt, even by their own mob constituency. But then there is also no one else to whom one might turn for protection. Local and regional politicians are basically posing the same sort of problem, and with the abolition of their monopoly powers, they obviously do not offer an attractive alternative to this problem either. Nor are there any great entrepreneurial personalities standing in the wings, and insurance companies in particular, have become almost entirely creatures of the egalitarian democratic state, and thus appear as little trustworthy as anybody else to take over this particularly important task of protection and justice.

  Thus, if one did today what the king could have done a hundred years ago, there would be the immediate danger of having in fact social chaos, or of “anarchy” in the bad sense. People would indeed at least temporarily become highly vulnerable and defenseless. So then the question becomes: is there no way out? Let me sum up the answer in advance: Yes, but rather than by means of the top-down reform, one’s strategy must now be that of a bottom-up revolution. And instead of one battle, on a single front, a liberal-libertarian revolution now will have to involve many battles on many fronts. That is, we want guerrilla warfare rather than conventional warfare.

What Must Be Done - Digital Book

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