“They have many cries and various modes of conduct; but they have only one object—the establishment of an oligarchy in this free and equal land.”
“While they aim at oligarchical rule, they apparently advocate popular rights.”
“We find . . . a powerful section of the great nobles ever at war with the national institutions.”
Benjamin Disraeli, The Letters of Runnymede (1836)
Whatever fictions it may employ to conceal the fact, every society is governed by a minority or ruling elite. All government is therefore oligarchical in the simple etymological sense of rule by the few. But rule by the few is not the true essence of oligarchy, since that would make the title of oligarchical government redundant. The true essence of oligarchy is, rather, rule by a rapacious few, and a concomitant and barely disguised hostility of these rapacious robber-barons for the nation of rubes over which they so rapaciously rule.
Oligarchs may attempt to conceal their hostility for the nation of rubes by having a front-man photographed stuffing a hot dog into his mouth, or wiping a tear as he ganders the flag, or even cheering from the grandstand at a ball game, auto race, or rodeo; but these demotic displays are as heartfelt and convincing as a politician’s prayer.
An oligarchy is a hostile elite that sometimes feigns, but never feels, affection for the nation that it rules.
The ancient political philosophers say that oligarchs are plutocrats, men of great wealth who take control of the state and use it as an instrument of their greed. This is only partly true and does not fully explain the behavior of an oligarchy. We must understand that wealth is not the only down with which oligarchs feather their nest. An oligarchy is a successful conspiracy to monopolize power by the destruction or evisceration of all opposing powers, and oligarchs seek a monopoly of power because a perfectly feathered nest is a world that is free of every power that can oppose the oligarchy.
Throughout history, oligarchies have destroyed and eviscerated opposing powers by “liberating” “the people” from “oppression” by those opposing powers. This is why oligarchs are popularly known as liberals, and why liberals are always so friendly with radicals and fanatics. In seventeenth-century Britain, for instance, the liberal oligarchs set religious fanatics loose to destroy the independent power of the Crown and the established church. Two hundred years later, liberal oligarchs in the United States set abolitionist fanatics loose to destroy the independent power of the Southern planters and the state governments. In recent years, liberal oligarchs in the United States have set racial and sexual minorities loose to destroy the independent power of institutions as varied as the universities, the Boy Scouts, and the United States Army.
As a young Benjamin Disraeli put it in 1836,
“This union of oligarchical wealth and mob poverty is the very essence of the ‘Spirit of Whiggism.’”
This union is nowadays often described as the liberal pincer attack of top and bottom against the middle. The terms top, bottom and middle are unfortunate, however, because they suggest that the conflict is a class conflict, when the fact is that the “middle” contains plenty of people who are, in strictly economic terms, “top” and “bottom.” The “top” and “bottom” likewise contain plenty of people who are, again in strictly economic terms, squarely in the “middle.” The true way to understand the union of oligarchical wealth and mob poverty is as,
An attack of oligarchs and their alien allies against the institutions of the historic nation.
Aliens hate the institutions of the historic nation because these institutions are alien to the aliens. These aliens include unassimilated foreigners and natives who are, for whatever reason, alienated from the nation. The oligarchs hate the institutions of the historic nation because these institutions have an independent power to oppose the oligarchy.
Hence oligarchs and aliens attack the institutions of the historic nation under the banner of liberation. They seek to liberate people from these institutions because an institution from which people have been liberated is no longer an institution. It is either destroyed or left as an eviscerated shell.
Consider, for example, the liberal evisceration of the institution of the family. We still have associations, partly affectionate and partly economic, that we call families. These associations still have a member who goes by the archaic title of father. But these are eviscerated shells—fake families, if you like, and also fake fathers—because the oligarchs and their alien allies liberated the individuals in these “families” from the power that they called “patriarchy.”
The oligarchy hates the historic nation because the historic nation has a tough and recalcitrant constitution. The historical nation is constituted of innumerable institutions that have developed together over time, but that nevertheless remain distinct and semi-autonomous. These institutions possess rights that are recognized in law, or by convention, and it is in these rights, and not individual rights, that ordinary citizens find shelter from the rapacious oligarchy and its imperial will to power.
Here is Disraeli:
“A nation is a work of art and a work of time. A nation is gradually created by a variety of influences . . . . These influences create the nation—these form the national mind, and produce in the course of centuries a high degree of civilization. If you destroy the political institutions which these influences have called into force, and which are the machinery by which they constantly act, you destroy the nation.”
And destroying the nation is precisely what our oligarchs and their mobs of alien allies are presently doing and have done.