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Tradition Isn’t Socialism

[1]2,589 words

Suppose you’re out there on social media and you’re arguing for nationalism. Suppose you make the argument that the activities of transnational gigacorporations undermine the health, security, and welfare of independent nations. Suppose you put forth an argument for state intervention on behalf of the health, security, and welfare of that nation against said gigacorporations. You’ll probably be hit with a barrage of cuckservative claptrap decrying “socialism.”

For reasons not quite clear to myself, I maintain among my social media contacts a good deal of normie-con Boomer and Gen-X Americans (the latter group insists on making the distinction). As a result, my feed is full of cringeworthy attempts at memeing, mostly revolving around the themes of “Hillary lies,” “Orange Man Good,” and “Democrats are un-American anti-Semites.” One particular type that annoys me to no end is the “AOC is dumb [2]” type, probably because the Boomers posting it actually believe they’ve pwned Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Say what you will about AOC, but she is not dumb. Even if she is lacking in raw processing power, she has that kind of practical intelligence that gets you elected to Congress and makes you the face of the rising Woke Coalition at age 30. My own big three-oh is looming ever closer, and I’m starting to think that raw processing power ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be, especially compared to AOC-style demagoguery.

It’s bad, and it’s gonna get worse. Boss Boomer (you may know him as Donald Trump) himself successfully pivoted to anti-socialism as the chief plank of his platform after the Swamp proclaimed that it is mighty miffed by attempts to drain it. People aren’t sure if Orange Man is drinking the cuckservative Kool-Aid, or if it is a Machiavellian move in a political world where old people vastly outstrip youngsters in voter turnout – but then again, it doesn’t really matter. Ironically, he is the only Right-winger currently in America who has made headway on economic policy which puts nation over GDP and sovereignty over wealth. By imposing tariffs on America’s trading “partners,” he’s shaken up the underlying assumptions of the global order and won the beginning of a victory for America.

Tariffs, import quotas, restrictions – these are all methods of limiting foreign entities’ access to a nation’s domestic market. Employing them to deny an enemy – or even just rival entities – the ability to generate wealth for themselves on the domestic market is a step in the right direction, especially if such wealth is generated at the expense of domestic wealth generation, or worse yet, at the expense of the nation’s health (sometimes in a literal sense, as with fentanyl imports). Likewise, border security is another tool in the sovereign’s kit, and indeed, we can conceptualize lax border security as an in-kind subsidy to smugglers of all goods (and labor).

However, state borders aren’t the only dividing lines in our world. Most financial and economic literature only deals with market access as a phenomenon of international trade, but this is, I suppose, based on the wrongheaded assumption that trade is limited (or limitable) only between states. Internally, market access is assumed. Okay, not really. For example, if you want to work as a barber, you need a license from the state, which is to say that access to the hairstyling market is restricted from the supply side. Restrictions on the demand side are seen in vehicles, weapons, and similar – chiefly dangerous – goods (dangerous here in the sense of posing a threat to the regime; I am not allowed to purchase these 54 books from Amazon [3], and I believe they’re deliberately delaying delivery of one tome I bought way back in August). But this does not quite reflect the nature of market access limitations, as the process is ostensibly merit-based, and whoever fulfills the requirements can obtain that license. In reality, this is a perversion of market barriers to entry.

If there is one thing you’ll take away from this article, let it be this: People make economic decisions for non-economic reasons. This is the core red pill on economics. If we marry this to the Hegelian notion of “if it exists, it is reasonable” (which is to say that there is a reason for it, even if it is not necessarily a good one), we have developed an insight into economics that brings it into alignment as a field with the various strands of Dissident Right thought. Rather than make a fetish out of wealth and efficiency as the cuckservatives and lolbertarians, we take the (ironically Misesian) position that value is subjective and that what people want out of economic activity isn’t necessarily greater wealth, greater efficiency, or consumer goods.

For example, my current employment makes zero to negative economic sense. Despite (or maybe because) of my intellect, I am a bad worker. I am often late for work, and when I do arrive, I arrive with the insomniac’s world-contemptuous scowl overlaid against a stubbled jowl. I resolve office politics with threats of violence, and I’ve been known to disappear for hours on end, only to return in a state of mild inebriation. I write monograph-length critiques of TV shows from ten years ago [4] during office hours. What value I do produce is mercilessly exploited, and my successes are due more to innate charisma and an ability to charm people into forgiving my worst offenses rather than effort or passion. You have to be either crazy or my mother to hire me – in fact, the latter is my employer. The poor woman’s business slaves on with a Nicholas R. Jeelvy-shaped elephant strapped to its back for one simple reason: Anything else means ceding control of the concern to a genetic line different from the one for whose upkeep the business was established. Without me and my brother, my mother’s business has no reason to exist, and for this reason, it will sacrifice its efficiency in order to keep us employed, and hopefully give us the necessary skills and experience to one day operate it. We do not make a fetish of profit, but rather, the business’ interests are subordinated to the family’s. Meritocracy is, in a sense, a morally bankrupt method of economic activity, paling in comparison with the sheer power of nepotism.

Gradually, genetic lines which are cohesive and which put kin before ability, insofar as they allow exceptionally talented non-kin to enter (someone has to do the actual work, after all) triumph. Take the Jews, for example. Much has been made of their in-group preference. In reality, I think that Jews mostly engage in nepotism, and that this nepotism looks like in-group preference as seen from the outside due to their low numbers and high degree of inbreeding. Every Jew is the genetic equivalent of third cousin to every other Jew – and most of the time, they really are cousins, nephews, and nieces to each other. I don’t believe the tales of exceptional Ashkenazi IQ. I do believe that nepotism is sufficient to explain their overrepresentation among the wealthiest and most powerful in the West.

Scaling up from the basic model of nepotism, we can see that familial and pseudo-familial links, as per J. Philippe Rushton’s genetic similarity theory [5], scale up to vast patronage networks, which are mostly based on kin- or pseudo-kin selection for entrance and advancement. These patronage networks straddle entire markets and industries. In many ways, these informal yet iron associations are the real economic superpowers of today. My essay on woke capital’s free option [6] deals with one such example of a patronage network, based on woke ideology but coalesced around the Jewish Wojcicki family, which aside from having an interest in the Wikimedia foundation also managed to marry into Google’s management and ownership structure. The patronage network protects YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and will make sure she is taken care of even if she nosedives the video-sharing platform. She therefore doesn’t have to make decisions with economics in mind, but rather can focus on what she really wants. From YouTube’s behavior, we can see that they want power for Leftism and the corporatization of the Internet. Economically, this is insane, as Styxhexenhammer will tell you in every other video, but it makes sense when viewed from other perspectives.

One thing that has to be understood if we’re going forward that this is, as the kids say, the absolute state of human economic activity. We win by strategically denying and granting access to markets we control depending on loyalty to ourselves. This is good advice for microeconomic behavior (as a general rule, loyalty is more valuable than ability) and a good way of looking at things at the macro level. Human economic life consists of a vast mesh of overlapping, competing, intersecting, cooperating, and ever-expanding patronage networks. To various degrees, they’re all a combination of the familial and ideological. They’re all concerned with limiting and granting access to various markets, or market segments that they control. Only once you’ve got your foot in the door and have entered the market does your ability to perform begin to matter. Libertarian cringe aside, the free market does indeed provide the best and most efficient solution among those on offer, and it will reward the best from those allowed to compete, but concerns relating to loyalty behoove us to disallow some from competing, even – and especially – if they’re liable to defeat the loyal in competition. Protectionism merely means valuing loyalty over ability and efficiency, given that it is a scaled-up version of nepotism.

The cuckservative-lolbertarian trope of “muh gubment interference in the economy” is therefore a dead end. Traditional society did not have a public sphere as we understand it. There was a King or an aristocrat who owned the land, there were yeomen who owned land, there was the church which owned land, and city-states – whether aristocratic as per the Ragusa model, or nominally subject to an Emperor, as those of the Hanseatic League – which owned land. Everyone else was their tenant, and economic life was entirely private. Disputes were resolved privately. The most hardcore of traditionalists decry the peace of Westphalia, which concentrated violence in the hands of the state and asserted their right to wage private war as lords, yeomen, Church, guild, or city-state. Yes, guilds. Yes, armed hanse. Yes, recreational McBattleships [7]. Project Management Consultants are only the beginning.

The Hanseatic League could conquer market access for itself by force of arms. Minor medieval guilds could do that, too, and even though they operated under royal writ, many of them were more or less sovereign entities, especially in light of royal and noble disinterest in commercial matters (war and farming being the two professions fit for an aristocrat). A guild is a formalized patronage network seeking to restrict market access to insiders. More often than not, guilds would coalesce around familial cores.

We live in a degenerate phase of our civilizations. Following the Treaty of Westphalia, the power to compel was monopolized by the state as an entity. Guilds, hanses, and churches lost their military edge, and still the need to bar outsiders from protected markets persisted. Trade unions seek to restrict entry into specific labor markets on the supply side for the benefit of insiders. In days of yore, they might have used their own muscle; today, they have to rely on the government’s muscle (or take a blind eye to their own flexing). Chamber-like organizations are trade unions for yuppies. For example, I am a member of the Macedonian Bar Association. It means I am better than you, in the sense that better means “has the right to represent others in a court of law in the Republic of Macedonia, unlike you stinking peasants.” It also means that I kissed the right asses and paid the right fees (or rather, my mother did), and that gives me the right to enter that very lucrative market on the supply side. If you threaten my privileged position in this market by attempting to force your way into it without the guild’s stamp of approval, rough men in blue uniforms will give you a good going-over with billy clubs and boots, and cart you off to a prison for further humiliation. In better days, the bar would have had its own cadre of leg-breakers (although we would have probably called them lictors). In this degenerate age, we have to make do with cops and bailiffs.

Since the state has reserved violence solely for itself, it now has to do violence on behalf of the various guilds, unions, aristocrats, and yeomen jockeying for power, who persist. This is true despite the fact that their positions may have ended. But if a position is abolished, it does not follow that the concept it signified is abolished as well. What has happened is not the end of patronage or economically-motivated violence, but rather a frantic competition between the aforementioned groups to capture the state for the purpose of controlling market access.

In this sense, the state is now forced to interfere in economics, even though previously, a King would not have concerned himself with the bickering of merchants. Instead, the state has to play an active role in economics in order to protect its sovereign interests and the interests of the nation it rules over, given that it has an inherent interest in its health for military reasons [8] first and foremost.

However, rational state intervention in economic matters is conflated with socialist utopianism in the mind of the Boomer, and this is merely due to ignorance. America is ultimately a child of Enlightenment liberalism, and tradition is as much an enemy to it as is socialism. The Boomer mind has collapsed the entire “enemy” category into “socialism” (pronounced: soshulism), mostly because the feel-good liberal ideology doesn’t brook the idea of “enemy” – it only recognizes unreconstructed, toothless reactionaries to educate. In their eerily honest Twitter cringe, Boomers will equate monarchism and socialism.

[9]

We like to make fun of the Boomer here, but it’s good to understand ourselves as well. We are not socialists in the sense that we want the nationalization of industries (well, not across the board at least), but in the sense that we recognize that some compulsion is necessary in the market, and that whereas once this compulsion would have been handled by private actors, in this degenerate age, the state is the only one which can swing the big club to control market access.

For this reason, I am greatly intrigued by Third Positionism. I do not want the state to be ideologically beholden to either free markets or economic control, but rather to see the two as tools which can be used for achieving certain goals. Third Positionism is morally neutral: It supports that which is useful and leaves the ruler to determine the ontological direction of policy.

To summarize, what they call socialism isn’t really socialism. The contemporary American – and American-style liberal – cannot conceive of a world outside his own limited model, and will act and speak accordingly. Insofar as we want (or can) to convert these normies to our cause, we have to explain to them that the world is much bigger (and much older) than they believe. The normie conservative deceives himself if he lumps tradition in with socialism. He mustn’t believe that you belong in the same box as AOC. Rather, you’ll have to patiently appeal to his social instincts and – hopefully – any vestige of understanding that men aren’t, as Thomas Carlyle put it, beavers whose end-all-and-be-all is labor, labor, and more damned labor.