On Oligarchs and Their Alien Allies

“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.

19 thoughts on “On Oligarchs and Their Alien Allies

  1. I think we ought to be wary of this kind of secular social analysis, now that we can so clearly perceive the spiritual war of evil against good that lies behind analysis by class or power.

    For example, the Christian family is (or properly aspires to become) an affiliation based on mutual love, rather than a structural institution.

    And understanding in terms of competing rights seems superseded by the motivations alliance with God’s creation, or Satan’s value-inversion.

    I realize the above seems simplistic, but believe the truth is genuinely simple – ever more obviously so.

    • I know that secular analysis can reduce everything to a sordid scramble for dollars and status, and I agree with what you have said about our institutions being deeply and perhaps fatally corrupted. I still think it is good for us to understand that “liberation” was the excuse for constructing this iron cage of totalitarian bureaucracy, and that tyranny and anarchy are two sides of the same coin. To put this in somewhat spiritual terms, we are trapped between Beelzebub and Old Scratch, each one trying to scare us into the arms of the other. You are right that the stakes of the test are simple, but the test itself will be hard.

    • I agree with what you have said but for one minor quibble. I would say that the Christian family is indeed a structural institution, but that it also, without losing its nature as a structural institution, aspires to go beyond that to be an affiliation based on mutual love.

      • It is certainly possible for a family to in large degree replicate the older form, but it is obviously far more fragile with the legal and social reinforcements removed. In some ways the surrounding society stands poised to help a child or spouse that wishes to escape from the family, and under these conditions the institution would not seem to function in the same way. I think young couples in particular labor under a heavy burden of fear that their family could disintegrate before their eyes, and that nothing besides themselves will try to hold it together.

      • I think the “mutual love” part is easily perverted, such that two homosexual men adopting multi-racial children are as every bit Family as, say, Prince William’s and Princess Kate’s.

        The Family is like a ready-made social club/tribe/army. And all you had to do to merit it is be born.

      • Adding to my previous comment, and to mix in some stuff from Steve Sailer, I’d say your Family is not special so much because of mutual love, but because it’s yours. I do not deny that those bonds can, even should, be broken from abuse, pathological behavior, etc.

      • Love is part of what a family is all about, but those who say that love=family have never had a family. You may have noticed the recent revival of Love as a leftist slogan. Relevant to your moniker, these people are Manicheans who think that the universe is an eternal struggle between Love and Hate, and that Love is the divine spark. It’s clearly Gnostic.

    • Ulpian says in the Digest that the term “family” applies to those who “either by nature or by law subjected to the power of one; for example, the father of a family, the mother of a family, and a son and a daughter under paternal control, as well as their descendants; for instance, grandsons, granddaughters, and their successors. He is designated the father of a family who has authority over the household, and he is properly so called even if he has no son, for we do not merely consider his person, but also his right.” (Dig. 50.16.195.2 Ulpianus 46 ad ed.

      He says “either by nature or by law” [ aut natura aut iure] to distinguish it from a voluntary or contractual association. It is a unit of common descent and blood and not of voluntary adherence and association; membership is neither revocable nor is it attainable at will.

      It is this subjection to “the power of one” [sub unius potestate… subiectae] that distinguishes the family from other associations or groups.

      He adds that “We say that the family of all the agnates is a common one, because even though the head of the household may be dead, and each of them has a separate family, still, all who were under the control of him alone are properly said to belong to the same family, as they have sprung from the same house and race.”

      Agnates are those, male or female, descended from the same male ancestor through males and who would be subject to his patria potestas were he still alive.

    • I am surprised that we have yet to receive a stern email from the university president deploring this act of lèse-maj·es·té. Students not terrified of covid, a large majority, deeply resent what covid restrictions have done to their college experience. Despite heavy propaganda, mask wearing among students is 1:10 at most.

      • Though I find the public use of profanity to be distasteful, regardless of the target, I am deeply relieved to see that a semblance of sanity persists among the young students at my alma mater. The culture at Texas A&M, though greatly degraded, still seems to retain a real streak of tradition and conservatism running through it. God preserve it.

      • I have mixed feelings about the vulgar chant. I share your dislike of the coarsening of our culture, but I approve of the student’s spirit and must expect that spirit to be expressed in the idiom of the times. I try to respect Presidents I did not vote for, but am finding this hard with this President who disrespects me.

  2. One recalls the traditional suspicion and hostility of classical liberalism towards corporations of any kind: churches, guilds, religious orders, universities, orders of chivalry and the rest.

    Witness the French National Assembly’s famous declaration of August 18, 1792: “A State that is truly free ought not to suffer within its bosom any corporation, not even such as, being dedicated to public instruction, have merited well of the country.” As with the corporations, so also with the communes, the towns and villages. Village property—there was a great deal of village property in France—was exposed to the dilemma: it belongs to the State, or else it belongs to the now existing villagers. So, too, of voluntary associations of all kinds.

    The only type of association that aroused no suspicion was the trading partnership or company. F W Maitland has noted the paradox that the liberal state, “saw no harm in the selfish people who wanted dividends, while it had an intense dread of the comparatively unselfish people who would combine with some religious, charitable, literary, scientific, artistic purpose in view” and subjected them to a strict regime of licensing and surveillance, when it did not suppress them altogether.

    As Lord Acton explains, “It condemns, as a State within the State, every inner group and community, class or corporation, administering its own affairs; and, by proclaiming the abolition of privileges, it emancipates the subjects of every such authority in order to transfer them exclusively to its own.”

    Thus, Le Chapelier, in proposing his Law of 14 July 1792 abolishing guilds, said “The guild no longer exists in the state. There exist only the particular interests of each individual and the general interest. No one is permitted to encourage an intermediate interest that separates citizens from the common interest through a corporate spirit”

    That is the authentic voice of liberalism; “no intermediary body can stand between the individual –armed with his natural rights – and the nation –the guarantor of those natural rights.”

    • You are right that Le Chapelier speaks the pure language of liberalism in that quote. The American sociologist Robert Nisbet described this as intense hostility to all intermediate institutions. I don’t honestly know how they rationalized the exception for profit-seeking companies and corporations, although it may have been a very narrow understanding of the word unprofitable.

      • “I don’t honestly know how they rationalized the exception for profit-seeking companies and corporations…”

        Because they can be would up by the partners or members and the assets distribted; in contrast to a cathedral chapter, a college in a University or a guild.

        Thomas Jefferson was very much of the same mind: I don’t honestly know how they rationalized the exception for profit-seeking companies and corporations: “This principle, that the earth belongs to the living and not to the dead, is of very extensive application and consequences in every country, and most especially in France. It enters into the resolution of the questions, whether the nation may change the descent of lands holden in tail; whether they may change the appropriation of lands given anciently to the church, to hospitals, colleges, orders of chivalry, and otherwise in perpetuity; whether they may abolish the charges and privileges attached on lands, including the whole catalogue, ecclesiastical and feudal; it goes to hereditary offices, authorities and jurisdictions, to hereditary orders, distinctions and appellations, to perpetual monopolies in commerce, the arts or sciences, with a long train of et ceteras.”

        He was equally hostile to family property. He was an extravagant hater of tailzies (to X and the heirs of his body”) that rendered estates impartible and inalienable and prevailed on the Virginia legislature to abolish them

      • Speaking of Virginia, Virginia courts have just struck a blow against mortmain in their decision to allow removal of the Robert E. Lee statue from Monument Boulevard in Richmond. It’s an interesting question because it would seem to discourage endowments and bequests. Why should I endow an institution if the living can turn it to their own odious uses as soon as my body is cold? I long sat on a committee that vetted artwork offered for donation to the University, its purpose partly being to prevent the University’s being encumbered with warehouses full of dreck. But there was also the understanding that the gifts we accepted were accepted in trust.

  3. The animal kingdom presents the right model of human behavior, to the extent that human beings, without what we call divinity or divine inspiration or transcendent imagination, are animal beings. I recall the documentary on baboons that sparked my understanding of human behavior: the alpha baboon terrorized the pack, took its best food, aggrandized the females, killed the male competition, especially the immature spawn of other males. Human beings do this, all the while spinning tall tales…

    • That is the zoological level to which we are always being recalled. Mating behavior is a particularly good indicator of the degree to which we have advanced or regressed relative to our primate forebears.

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