In the previous piece I described how the absence of a mandate to say no, which is inbuilt into Liberalism’s fabric, carries over into the economic sphere to promote free market chaos. In the case of immigration it was seen how Liberalism’s individualism was an innate driver of exploitative economic practice.
Another example which captures this very well is that of the Liberal case against unions which was upheld by the US Supreme Court in the American “Gilded Age” of the late-19th Century.
There and then unions were persecuted on the basis that they threatened the freedom of an individual worker to negotiate his own wage with his employer. Liberalism’s economic manifestation is clear cut here, the rights of the individual scab are held above the collective obligations and rights of the trade or labour union, with the end result facilitating a race to the bottom and exacerbated economic exploitation.
I concluded by saying that only we on the Dissident Right remained as the sole viable alternative to this system. But I can already hear the objection; “What about the Left? Aren’t they at the forefront of demanding the restraint, and even in some cases the abolition of the free market and its exploitations?”
The Left or at least the overwhelming part of it never was, is not, and never will be a true and valid opposition to Liberalism.
Liberalism justifies its permission for immoral and exploitative economics on the grounds of individual freedoms. But when “Leftists” demand the overhaul or abolition of these economics they also do so in the name of individual freedoms. The argument generally runs that the wage-labour system, or the institution of private property must be abolished because they represents constraints on the freedom of the worker.
They try to outflank neoliberalism by criticising it for not living up to its own principles, like a smug child who catches their parents telling a white lie after being told by them that lying is wrong. Like Babeuf, one of the first men of our age to try and instigate a revolution which would abolish private property, they are all ultimately disgruntled children of French Revolution. Leftists turn on the regime of “Liberty, Egality, Fraternity” because they don’t think it is liberal, egalitarian, or fraternal enough!
I am reminded of arguments with a Marxist I once knew. He must have assumed I was a mainline Liberal “conservative”, and back then he probably wasn’t far off.
He would often try to appeal to the Liberal priors he assumed I held, explaining how I was on the right track, but only Marxism could offer people “true” freedoms and liberty. He would also try to appeal to my then free-marketeer beliefs by explaining how Marx developed his economic views on the basis of David Ricardo’s and Adam Smith’s own systems. And while there is in this there a great critique to be levelled at Marx it will have to be left for today, other than to say that in even the most supposedly radical Leftism there is really nothing but a very radical Liberalism.
The consequence of this is that the history of Leftism is a history of co-optation. The first blunt reality that needs to be admitted is that Liberal-Capitalism has to date been simply better than Leftism at creating material prosperity, or at least better at creating a semblance of it through mass industrial consumerism. Leftism can’t beat or counter this in the last resort because like the Liberals they too are materialist utilitarians in their hearts. When you don’t believe in God or a higher cause, what justification can you invoke to demand that the masses relinquish their creature comforts?
Instead, as we have seen most prominently in the Post-War era, they divert their discontented energy into social revolutions. They justify this to themselves by tying each new degeneracy they call for to the greater class struggle by claiming that since both concern “liberation” or “emancipation” they are inextricably tied up with each other. Freeing the worker up from the evils of vulnerable wage-slavery is one and the same as freeing people from their obligations to their family, or from the constraints of their born sex.
However, each new “liberation” just opens up a new market or avenue for Liberal-Capitalism. Liberate women from the home and into the workplace? Fantastic, a greater pool of labour and competition, a brilliant opportunity to stagnate and lower wages, and as families dwindle so too does the pool grow of employees with nothing to look after but themselves. Sexual Liberation?
Brilliant, an opportunity to ruthlessly broadcast sex across the airwaves, preying on people’s insecurity and need for intimacy, all to sell even more product. Liberation of the self? Liberation of self-expression through style and outfit? Perhaps best of all, now products can be sold not as necessary functional commodities, but instead the clothes, food, and lifestyle you purchase will define who you are.
In this perverse way Leftism always succeeds in bringing about an even more radical Liberalism by enlarging its domain of chaos, lawlessness, and narcissism.
Instead, let us ask then what it really means to be Socialist.
To repeat, Capitalism is Liberalism in the economic sphere. The permitted supremacy of the profit-motive, of money-making by nearly any means necessary in the marketplace is the only economic manifestation of the supremacy of the individual in society.
Socialism is a much broader term. It has gone through many changes since it appeared in the early 19th Century. But the spirit of the idea is the recognition of the necessity for the profit-motive and marketplace dynamics to be made subservient to higher ideals and considerations. The total appropriation of the term by Marxists, to the point that for many the two words are now nearly synonymous, has been one of Liberal-Capitalism’s greatest boons for the past century.
When one tries to make the profit-motive subservient to the “higher” ideal of individual liberty, one is trying to make it subservient to the very thing which created it. As a consequence you then either end up at exactly the place you started, or in a total contradiction with disastrous consequences.
The Liberals we today oppose were once themselves the opposition, but against who and what?
From the heady days of the French Revolution, sitting on the Left side of National Assembly (this is where we get the term from) and carrying on through the 19th Century, they patiently and systematically dismantled and deconstructed the traditional structures which once constrained and often directed the market forces. Much attention is often paid to how the forces and the offspring of the French Revolution toppled monarchies across Europe, but very little to how they abolished ancient institutions such as the Guilds and the innumerable other local authorities and administrations. That is arguably their greater legacy.
The original men who opposed Liberalism and its free-marketeerism were men of the Right. They did so by drawing on principles of religion, of divine and traditional order, of monarchy, and later of the nation.
Today many are under the impression that to be a Rightist or, more accurately a Conservative, one must support the free market, but this is totally false. The entire modern Right-Left dichotomy is a red herring. It is nothing but newer revolutionaries demanding market subordination in the name of a greater individual liberty, fighting against older revolutionaries upholding market supremacy also in the name of individual liberty.
And as described the activities of the former inevitably ends up facilitating the bourgeois goals of the latter. Writing from Bolshevik Hungary in 1919, Tormay described the correspondence between the Marxist dictator of Hungary and the “conservative” French prime minister like this; “Béla Kun, the Communist of 1919, thus answered M. Clemenceau, the Communist of 1871”. Little has changed since.
Instead the true Rightist recognises the need for market subordination, and that is must be done in the name of higher ideals which stand above the transient individual. It is this which truly strikes fear into the both Liberal and Radical Liberal. We were the first anti-Capitalists, and we will be the last.
Coming from the same philosophical roots as liberals, and having its ultimate basis in materialism and individualism, Left-socialism, which is really just radical Liberalism, will never manage to summon the moral authority to truly challenge capitalism and its praxis. The prerogative solely is that of the Right, which can summon legitimation to action from transcendental sources, ones that lie beyond individualism and even utilitarianism.
Marxists dogmatically cling to an analysis wherein human life and history revolve around relations to property, specifically the means of production. The Right is capable of perceiving the great complexities that direct society, those of belief and culture, of hierarchy, of shame and honour. However, the Right must also absorb the Left’s analysis in order to move forward, taking means-of-production relations into account as a vital factor that sits with great prominence among others.
The state must mediate the trouble these relations throw up for society, and likewise the state must receive its legitimation and moral authority from higher sources which transcend the both the state and the conflicts it mediates.
In this way a new dissident Rightist outlook which is highly critical of capitalism, represents a more advanced stage in politics, proceeding from and incorporating earlier materialist-socialist views, and not merely a reacting against them.
Leftism by contrast represents a stagnation, self-consumption, and return back into Liberalism. It is the appropriation of valid anti-Capitalist and anti-Liberal sentiments by Liberalism itself, to be directed towards Liberal ends. As such, even the very word “Leftism” hides this dynamic, making it seem like a real alternative to Liberalism rather than its servant. For this reason, as often as possible, don’t call them Leftists, call them Radlibs!