One of the greatest flaws in modern democratic and republican societies is the lack of a true and genuine aristocracy. While aristocracy has been much maligned since the rise of the revolutionary spirit engendered by the Enlightenment (and exemplified in the American and French revolutions), historically the rule of the best has been one of the anchors of stable and successful civil and moral society. The replacement of aristocracy by popular, democratically-oriented regimes is one of the long-term causes of the inverted and dissociative trends which have become the norm in nearly all Western cultures.
One the most basic things that anyone who hopes to have a rational view of human civilisation must understand is that hierarchy is the natural state of affairs within human society. In practice, there is no human society which has not had some form of social hierarchy, however “primitive.” Even though many ancient societies were not organised into the rigid and distinct castes into which many traditional Indo-European groups were, either in tripartite (priest-warrior-commoner) or quadripartite (brahman-kshatriya-vaishya-sudra) form, virtually every society which humanity has ever produced within the past 6-10,000 years has had some form of hierarchy. Even systems (such as communism) which seek in theory to destroy hierarchy end up in practice simply reinstituting a new system of hierarchy to replace the old.
Since hierarchy is natural in human society, the obvious corollary is that aristocracy is also natural and right (when genuinely aristocratic men occupy the apex of their nations). There must and will always be a class within any society which makes up the “top men.” This is true even within liberal and democratic regimes, though the bases for the elevation of the leaders in such societies generally are not truly “aristocratic,” but are based on retrograde and degenerate reasons such as mere wealth, technocratic skill, or political subterfuge. In more Traditional and well-ordered societies, the leadership caste is made up of warriors and regality, those who inherently possess superior traits through blood and spirit, and who subsequently apply themselves toward developing those traits through religion, service to the king and nation, and the perfection of their minds.
Here at the Times, I have previously discussed ethnonationalism and even applied it to the American situation. Essentially, ethnonationalism posits that nations – defined as people sharing common culture, heritage, traditions, language, religion, mores, and so forth (and thus, by extension, nearly always sharing a common genetic descent as well) – should be free to self-associate rather than being forced into supranational or globalistic schemas which dilute and destroy their unique national inheritances. But let’s say that this sort of schema were actually to become a reality to a much greater degree than it currently is – what would such a world look like? Would the world be divided among tens of thousands of different nations – each with its own well-defined territorial expanse – consisting of anywhere from tens of millions of people down to merely a few thousand? I don’t necessarily see how that would be advantageous, and would indeed be a very chaotic sort of situation – exactly the opposite of the type of orderly system that traditionalists and reactionaries seek to restore.
Instead, I believe that an ethnonationalist world order should include the element of aristocladism. Essentially, aristocladism may be defined as the division of national groups into hierarchies based on a variety of metrics having to do with their relative power and capacities, including many intangibles such as national spirit, courage, and so forth. Some nations, even when compared to their close relatives and neighbours, seem to “have it together” more than the others. It’s only natural that these nations should stand out as natural leaders and protectors for those around them. However, before expanding on this idea, I’d like to discuss a few foundational concepts.
About three months ago, I wrote a post which asked (and hopefully answered in a not completely superficial fashion) the question of what constitutes the natural aristocracy, that body of men who will rise above their fellows and who would, if in a rational system, obtain to positions of power and influence, guiding their societies in a superior fashion. This subject has actually been one which I’ve mulled for the better part of two decades, long before I made the journey from normiedom to neoreaction. For a while, I had set the concept of a superior group of people aside because I bought into the false churchianity teaching that “all people are equal” (which is actually never once taught in the Bible) and that it’s “unchristian” to suggest otherwise. Of course, what the Bible actually teaches is that while spiritual salvation may be open to all, positionally there are strict and unequal gender roles, positions of authority within the churches, positions of authority established by God in society, and even inequalities between different national groups. So my return to a proper understanding of inequality and the rightness, and indeed the naturalness, of it was like a reunion with a long-lost acquaintance.
The simple fact is that equality is a farce. People, both at the individual and at the national levels, are unequal. These inequalities occur partly because of genetic and other “hardwired” differences and partly because of choices which those individuals and nations make which have long-term ramifications for their success or failure down the road. While the question of inequality may seem on the surface to be something that pertains more to the nationalism and patriarchy circles within the broader alt-Right, I think it’s definitely something neoreactionaries ought to be concerned with as well. After all, the Moldbugian watchwords for passivism are: Become worthy – accept power – rule. Identifying and inculcating the natural aristocracy is intimately tied in with the first of these steps – becoming worthy. Without a natural aristocracy which has consciously prepared itself to step into the vacuum created by the Great Reset (which has not been averted by the election of Donald Trump, but only postponed for a few years at most), the best men will not rule when the time for it comes.
My purpose with this post is to delve more deeply into what is entailed in the notion of a “natural aristocracy” and how it is enhanced. The process must begin with the recognition that man is a tripartite being – spirit (pneuma), soul (psyche), and body (soma). This is an important point because the tendency on the part of many is to focus on one or two of these to the exclusion of the other(s), which necessarily creates an imbalanced person. Becoming the superior person, Confucius’ “gentleman,” requires the cultivation of all three. As noted above, there are many genetically inborn differences – some people are simply smarter, more athletic, etc. than others. However, the development of the triune being of man can overcome many natural deficiencies, and indeed demonstrates a superiority of will and purpose when this is done. I will cover each part separately in detail below, though keep in mind that each works coactively with the others.
One of the most commonly observed natural phenomena around us is that of turbulence. We experience turbulence everywhere that we see fluid flow – in the air which airplanes pass through, in the wakes of boats traveling in the water, in the rising of smoke and the movement of clouds, and many other everyday things. Yet, for all of its commonness, turbulence is still little understood and is difficult to control or predict. Turbulence is a chaotic phenomenon, in the “chaos theory” sense of the term. Most commonly, a chaotic system is one which exhibits the property of sensitivity to initial conditions. Essentially, chaotic systems are deterministic, meaning that given their current conditions, their evolution can (in theory) be completely predicted. However, in practice, chaotic systems (such as those exhibiting turbulent flow) will diverge from the expected evolution because of this sensitivity to the initial conditions. Any arbitrarily small perturbation of the system will result in significantly divergent future behaviour. In essence, while one *could* completely predict the evolution of a chaotic system, because of our inability to measure and control with sufficient precision, even extremely small differences from “theory” will lead to large changes in the system from what we thought we would observe, based on determinism alone. There are other properties which must be present for a dynamical system to be classified as chaotic, but these tend to be more highly technical and will not be discussed here.
Turbulence will begin to occur in a dynamic fluid flow system when a threshold in flow energy and velocity is reached which leads to chaotic changes in localised flow velocity and fluid pressure. Once a certain amount of energy (typically represented by velocity, which is related to kinetic energy in the system) is reached in a flow system, it transitions from laminar flow (smooth, even flow characterised by parallel layers of fluid which lack lateral mixing) to turbulent. As a result, the eddies and vortices which identify a turbulent system become apparent in the system. The more energy you add to a flowing fluid system, the closer you get to that threshold for turbulent behaviour until you eventually cross it.
Turbulent flows demonstrate several characteristics.
The word “meritocracy” is one which we’ve seen thrown around a lot in recent years. In theory, the word would describe the rule by those with the most “merit” (which would, on its face, seem to make it a synonym for aristocracy, but in practice this is most certainly not the case). As it is popularly used in the media and other outlets, it tends to take on a very narrow definition, with “merit” appearing to be used synonymously with “bureaucrat” or “public policy wonk.” In other words, those which our society considers to have merit are those who would more properly be classified as “experts.”
The problem with this is that being “an expert” (however this is defined) is not the same as being a meritorious person.
Indeed, “experts” tend to be those whose range of knowledge and experience are very narrowly circumscribed, focusing intently on one extremely restricted area of study to the exclusion of most everything else. John Glanton provided a very good example of this in his discussion of meritocracy and gameability, when he noted the difference between students who are good spellers because they are widely read versus students in the national spelling bee competitions who are good spellers only because of their, frankly, aberrant devotion to memorising pre-determined lists of words,
One of the supreme guiding principles of Tradition and neoreaction is that of the restoration of right order within society. We live in an age in which far too many ideologies and political movements are seeking to “immanentise their eschatons.” Unfortunately, since you can only have one utopia at a time, this struggle of theories leads to a great deal of social disorder. This is especially the case when many of these ideologies refuse to bring themselves into accord with fundamental realities about the way societies, and even human beings, really work. Those of us on the reactionary Right desire to obviate the obvious results of all of this confusion by seeking a return back to hierarchy and order.
As a result, we reject the innovations which have arisen out of the Enlightenment and its revolutionary bastard children. The social disorder introduced by the false god of “Liberty” leads to revolution, passes through democracy, and results in the entropic heat death of a society addicted to equalitarianism and radicalised individualism. It is toward this end that all of the children of Whiggery – whether modern liberalism or modern conservatism/libertarianism – inevitably regress.
Yet, what will really restore order? A partial answer to this question, at least, will be provided by gaining a right understanding of the relationship between power, authority, and legitimacy within a society. These three concepts are often conflated in modern writing. Yet, they are not the same. However, they are related in that they form a three step ladder ascending toward good governance and right social order.
In previous posts, I have mentioned something which I refer to as the “natural aristocracy,” which should form the leadership caste within a well-ordered polity. My views on social order demand the rejection of democracy and allied systems which “spread around” authority within a society, leading to increased social entropy and an unnatural, increasingly non-functional social system. Instead, authority and power should be concentrated in the hands of that “wise few” whose energies and abilities are used to provide guidance and direction to a society so that it may be provided with competent, good government and that it may retain rational social structures which are in line with the natural order of things.
Typically in human history, aristocracies have consisted of those who are considered nobles by birth (hereditary aristocracy) or else who gain and keep power through their access to wealth and other resources (plutocracy). While these do not always coincide completely with the natural aristocracy of which I’ll be writing, there is a great deal of consequential overlap, which I will discuss below.
When we talk about an aristocracy being “natural,” what we don’t (or at least shouldn’t) mean is that there is some group of people who are “inherently” superior to their fellows in society, as through genetics or some other deterministic means. Rather, we should understand the term to be describing those who make the effort to adopt, cultivate, and perfect certain traits and capabilities in their own lives that will “naturally” make them stand out from and excel the general run of the masses, simply because the possession of these derived traits will make one superior to those who lack them. In other words, it is not an aristocracy that exists through no merit of its own. Rather, it is an aristocracy that rises to the top as the cream does from the milk, through nourishing their inborn traits by self-discipline while fostering new ones through effort and activity.
One of the great misconceptions that many people hold about the Middle Ages in Europe is that they were a time uniformly devoted to royalism and monarchy. The typical picture is that of a king, attended by his retinue, waging war against other kings, each surrounded by servile knights willing to fight to the death for the honour and welfare of His Royal Majesty. Such a picture, however, presents a woefully inadequate image of the rich tapestry that was medieval government. Monarchy varied in its strength, and was sometimes even elective. Quite often, aristocrats were masters in their domain and waged wars with each other upon their own authority. Free cities abounded across the continent, many with decidedly un-monarchical governments.
More commonly than many realise, aristocratic republics of various types (designed so as to distinguish them from post-1789 “democratic republics” on the model of the French Revolution) existed at various points in medieval and early modern European history, at various places on the continent. While varying in their details and traditions, these republics generally shared one thing in common – stable administration provided by a process in which the best men in their polities were brought to the fore and included in sharing power within their oligarchic systems. These republics were not in any sense “democratic” as we now generally think of “republics” as being – they were neither communist shams like the “People’s Democratic Republic” of North Korea nor democratic shams like the United States of America and others around the world today. Within them the franchise – the exercise of political authority – was held by the leading men and was generally restricted to those who had either proven themselves in battle or through political wisdom or who were successful in the (sometimes quite literally) cutthroat world of medieval commerce.
However, when considering the histories of these medieval and renaissance republics, it is striking that their existence follows a definite pattern. Almost invariably, we find these republics existing among populations which fulfill two qualifications – high average national IQs and Germanic in culture and ethnicity. The medieval and early modern republics which we can identify consist of the following:
I am not a friend of democracy. Indeed, I believe that democracy is one of the intrinsically worst forms of government that has ever been conceived by man. Democracy is the enemy of genuine human liberty, of the rights of freemen to live and conduct their affairs without the interference of those who envy them and seek to destroy them to please the shiftless masses of humanity who refuse to follow the pursuit of arete, of excellence, seeking to better themselves for the good of their community. Democracy always eventually results in the dragging down of the natural aristocrats and their replacement with demagogues and rent-seekers.
In place of democracy, I advocate for aristocratic republicanism, in which the power in society – what we call “the franchise” (which may or may not include actual voting) – is held by a relatively small group of aristocrats. Citizenship would be extended to members of the nation (ethnos), and those not in the aristocracy would still be able to enjoy traditional rights and liberties that would involve reciprocal responsibilities between the two classes. The aristocrats would have the responsibility to the plebeian class of guiding the ship of state aright, of not involving the nation is disastrous foreign policy or invoking financial insolvency upon the state, and to refrain from interfering in the lives of the plebeians beyond what is necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of the national life. The plebeians, in their turn, would have the responsibility to assist in defending the state both from external enemies and from internal sedition and revolution.
What I’ve outlined above describes (in rough terms, with acknowledged local variances through their evolutionary histories) such historic republican states as pre-Marian Rome, the Dutch Republic, and the Venetian (after her early flirtation with democracy) and other Italian republics, among others. One institution which existed in all of these states, and which helped to secure their independence from their enemies for centuries in each case, was that of the citizen militia.
One of the biggest idols in modern American democracy† is the “right to vote.” Both neoliberals and neo-conservatives/cuckservatives make a fetish out of making sure that as many American citizens as humanly possible “get out and vote.” One of the most pervasive arguments against common sense ways to safeguard the technical integrity of the franchise, such as voter ID laws, is that these “discourage people from voting.” Voting is more sacrosanct in modern America than are actual constitutional provisions such as the the right to keep and bear arms, or even such basic requirements as that the President must be a natural-born citizen.
Yet, is voting really a “right”?
The answer to that question is a qualified “yes,” but not in any sense in the way that we usually hear it to be asserted as such.
What needs to be understood from the start is that voting is a right that only stems from the possession of sovereignty. There is not such thing as a “natural right to vote,” because voting is a wholly artificial concept that can only exist within the context of some sort of decision-making body, i.e. a government. Without government, in the so-called “state of nature” which many Enlightenment political philosophers conceptualised, there is no place for voting. It can only exist when people come together in some form of government. And really, each of the three general types of government – monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy – involve “voting” in the sense of the exercise of sovereign power. In a monarchy, there is one voter. In an aristocracy, a small percentage of the total population gets a vote. In any system, there is somebody exercising sovereign power over the direction which the nation takes.