One of most common laments from the American Right is that American society seems to be falling apart. Typically, this is attributed (rightly) to some combination of secularisation and godlessness, multicultural diversity, and woke progressive subversion. Regardless, it cannot be denied that modern day America – with its corrupt politics, crime, and racial division – has virtually no social cohesion at all. As America continues its descent into Third World status, social trust will continue to plummet.
This isn’t a recent phenomenon, sadly. America hasn’t been a high trust society for a while. Symptoms of this decline can be seen from top to bottom. The obvious signs of it are…well…obvious. But we can see it even in less obvious things. For instance, there is the decades-long decline in church attendance (even among those who would still profess to be Christians but believe you can be “spiritual out on the lake”), which in addition to the obvious spiritual deficiencies indicated by it, also shows the decay of social and community attachments. Among a vast swathe of the American people, even matters of everyday dependability have fallen by the wayside – things like being where you say you’ll be when you say you will, keeping promises that you’ve made to others, and so forth. This state of affairs is both symptom and cause – yes, being undependable and irregular in social obligations causes lack of trust, but is also the result of this same lack of trust, operating in a perverse feedback loop. Old timers often lament that all it used to take to seal a deal was a handshake, whereas now even a signed and legally binding contract barely compels faithfulness. But part of the reason for that was because in our formerly high trust, high cohesion society the rest of the community enforced social standards that discouraged cheating and oathbreaking. If Bob and Joe shook on a deal but Bob then reneged, nobody else would do business with Bob because of his social stigma. Without that stigma, many don’t see a reason to be faithful to their obligations.
It’s common for those on the Right to observe that the family is the foundation of a stable society. However, we should keep in mind that higher level organisations and institutions within our communities are the superstructure – built upon the foundation – out of which a high social cohesion polity is built. The strength of the family is vital, but healthy social systems don’t stop at the family level. If you have a society in which the family/sept/clan are the only sources of organising cohesion, you end up with the Balkans or Afghanistan.
As I’ve written about earlier, healthy, high trust societies feature interlocking layers of these higher level institutions such as churches (and yes, this means organised religion), männerbund, and militias, to name a few. These serve as mediating associations that socially regulate the interactions between families and their individual members with others in the community. It is through institutions such as these that human beings in society learn to trust each other and then pass on that sense of trust to subsequent generations. When these break down and disappear, so does your high trust society.
The one thing that these all have in common is that they rely on local, face to face connexions. You are dealing with and organising with people in your community, county, and neighbourhood. You’re not relying on some faceless person behind a computer screen thousands of miles away. These local institutions then coordinate with each other organically, building larger aggregates that eventually result in the cohesion of an entire nation. Think of social cohesion in a biological systems sense – your local cooperational groups are like cells, which then fit into a larger schema to produce organs, which then produce systems, which then produce the body. A body, however, can’t function without cohesive cells or if its cells are deficient or sick.
What this all boils down to in a healthy, high trust commonwealth is the need for localism and decentralisation of power. People naturally trust others who they can see and deal with face to face more than they do someone thousands of miles away who may or may not share their interests, or even care for that matter. Localism builds social trust, while mass culture destroys it. Decentralisation goes hand in hand with localism, and conversely centralisation correlates with massivism and the deracinisation of culture and society.
It probably comes as little surprise to the reader that one of the primary goals of the modern transnational “democratic” oligarchy and all of its organs in media, the academy, politics, and the rest is the destruction of local organisational structures (including culture production) and their replacement with neoliberal monoculture and political centralisation into the various national seats of power like Washington DC. Every policy seems designed to discourage the maintenance of the family and local organisation and institutions. Even official, governmental sources of local legitimacy such as policing and lawmaking are being undermined.
The goal is ultimately the complete solvation of all localised loyalties and power bases outside of the system being set up by The Powers That Be. Economically, this means the destruction of local business and centralisation of all economic activity into the WalMart/Amazon/Big Tech axis. Politically, it means the erosion of the ability of local communities and states to make their own laws outside of the Washington oligarchy’s approval. Socially, it means the replacement of meaningful, cohesion-creating local organisations with completely atomised individuals whose primary purpose is to consume products and produce taxes for Washington, DC to spend. What they want is for you to feel like you can’t trust anyone except your tribe’s politicians off in the distant capital.
Now, one might argue that this sort of social atomisation is “the ultimate localism.” Ironically, this really isn’t the case because completely atomised individuals have no support networks to fall back upon other than almighty Leviathan. Social atomisation, which of course entails the complete destruction of social trust, is actually the transnational oligarchical tyrant’s best friend. Localism, on the other hand, creates interlocking networks of intermediary institutions (which operate both horizontally and vertically) between the individual and the supreme power that acts as a brake on the excessive intervention of that power. This is why, despite America’s obsession with “rugged individualism,” what built America was actually local communities of rugged pioneers who collaborated to work together to subdue dangers and the elements, something that’s actually quite common to pioneer/frontier type societies in general.
At the point we are in the USA, there will probably be no soon restoration of national social cohesion such as we had even 80 years ago. There has been too much division, too much progressive destruction of the national ideology and mediating institutions that allowed local American communities to “translate upward” into a unifying high trust society. As such, what needs to be done is for Heritage Americans to set aside the obsession with “rugged individualism” (which often masks a mere social laziness or selfishness in the sense of the Greek term idios) and to begin to organise again at the local level. Churches, neighbourhood organisations, local government, charitable bodies, gun clubs, even local militias should become the norm for our people again. It may be a good long while before we have anything approximating high trust and cohesion at a national level, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to build these within our local communities.
At the same time, we must organise locally to resist the impositions of the woke progressive interlopers inside and outside of the current regime in Washington, which is much more valuable than anything that can be done over social media. Now, there are a lot of folks I’ve met on social media that I like and respect. But this environment is simply not the same as being able to organise locally with people you can actually see and hear (and with whom you can communicate without Big Tech spying on you…). The key to building social trust and cohesion for the next cycle is to return to our local roots and rebuild those institutions.