GABlog Generative Anthropology in the Public Sphere

July 11, 2016

The High-Low Alliance: Toward a Middlist Absolutist Politics

Filed under: GA — adam @ 1:53 pm

Steve Sailer speaks often of the alliance of the wealthiest and most powerful with the poor and marginalized against the middle—what he calls the high-low alliance (and sometimes “the coalition of the fringes”—what we could call the victimocracy). The Reactionary Futures blog, which argues for what we might call a kind of political absolutism (in both the sense that it prioritizes power in analyzing social relations and considers centralization and certainty of sovereignty the only means of social stability) also argues strenuously in favor of this analytic framework—indeed, Reactionary Futures takes this very literally, making a case for seeing the foundations (Ford, Carnegie, etc.) as the central political agents of the past 100 years. The power and relevance of this framework is pretty obvious, but the reasons for it, and the best way of accounting for it, is not immediately clear. Why would the “highs” (the billionaires, the corporations, Wall Street, the media) prefer an alliance with the lows rather than the middle? On the surface, it looks like the SJWs are driving the agenda—the corporations seem to be scrambling to figure out how to avoid boycotts and protests—but the theory of the high-low alliance complicates this picture considerably. Indeed, Reactionary Futures argues, fairly convincingly I think, that the civil rights movement was not some spontaneous demand for justice, or an inevitable step in the path of social progress but, rather, instigated and funded by the foundations (the blogger makes a similar case for the leading intellectual movements of the later 20th century, from left to right—differences between which RF considers virtually irrelevant). Even so, why would the foundations support these social movements? Why not get behind the segregationists? Some kind of somewhat objective analysis of the interests of the founders must lie behind these choices. Also, we must be able to distinguish between intended and unintended consequences of the foundations’, or the “highs” in general, historical interventions—unless we want to attribute omniscience and omnipotence to them, which is always just a way of making it easier to get to the conclusions you want. Are the highs against the middle—do they consider the middle a threat or obstacle (to what?)—or do they simply bypass or ignore it for some other reason?

RF seems to see the funding of the lows by the highs as a means of promoting disorder so as to create the need for order—a need the elite can then satisfy, thereby accumulating more power. For RF, this kind of strategy is necessary because modern society has produced a separation between actual power and formal power—real economic and cultural power is not directly recognized as political power, and so economic and cultural (ultimately, according to RF, also political) power has to operate indirectly to reach its actual level of power. A more absolutist approach would eliminate the difference between economic, cultural and political power (making it all directly political), thereby making power coherent and also requiring that those with power also take responsibility for their exercise thereof. Of course, the best example of such singular sovereignty was the absolute monarchy of the late Middle Ages/early modern period. All property belongs to the monarchy, and all private property is, in fact, “lent” by the monarch (this is ultimately, if extremely indirectly and disingenuously, the case today as well, despite the furious attempts of liberal ideology to deny it—think for a few minutes of all the ways the state could take your property if it found a “compelling,” i.e., any, reason to do so). It was the rise of modern property, liberalism and capitalism that multifurcated property, thereby producing the competing power centers.

That the relatively autonomous power centers are competing with each other is the key to the solution of the problem—the power center (the progressive billionaire, the media conglomerate, the corporation) that is furthest in advance of generating disorder is also the one most likely to present itself as the most credible candidate to lead the reordering. The highs, then, are recruiting foot soldiers from among the lows to gain an edge against their rivals. To that extent, the “middle” is incidental. But the middle is a problem because the middle is comprised of the participants of the originary nomos, or land apportionment, their descendants, and those who have bought into later reapportionments. Even if we grant RF’s absolutism, the sovereign power will (I may very well be departing from RF here) rely upon the middle: the sovereign’s orders must be conveyed, the sovereign must be kept apprised of where his attention is most needed, and, above all, the sovereign must not be lured into governing any more intrusively than absolutely necessary (because that allows it to be captured by various fractional interests)—for all of these lines of political power to remain open, a middle of property owners, intelligently loyal to the sovereign, that disciplines itself far more than it requires external discipline, is indispensable. A stable, secure sovereign would realize this, and nurture the middle. But for rivals for power among the highs in a decentered system, the middle is an unwelcome hindrance, a drag, because catering to the middle allows some other section of the elite to plug directly into the more volatile and manipulable lows and fringes.

Meanwhile, if the middle is not the center of the sovereign’s attention—if there is not a relation of reciprocal deference between them—and the model to which at least the better of the lows seek to assimilate, the middle itself is bereft and adrift, pulled apart by the more exciting lifestyles of the highs and lows (is white guilt more a fear of not adhering to norms of equality adequately, or envy of the freedom and presumed authenticity of the lows and fringes?). RF’s political hopes lie in the emergence of great men, or perhaps an enlightened section of the elites, who can seize sovereignty and initiate a process of restoration. One can laugh at these ideas, or call them fascist, but such responses would just be the last gasps of a dying consumerism and can be disregarded. My own disagreement with RF is that I think the process would have to work the other way: a restored middle would generate the imperative for sovereign certainty—depending upon what would be involved in the restoration of the middle (an eventuality I really have no more right to be confident in than RF does in his preferred scenario), I can easily imagine a middle that is tired of the endless BS and sh*t tests that pass for democracy, liberalism, republicanism, equality, human rights and all the rest, and is ready for some absolutism. Maybe the often touted “non-partisanship” of the “radical center” should be taken seriously—it could very well be that the middle just wants reasonable and necessary laws, applied and enforced reliably, fairly, and consistently, and the order that would follow, and doesn’t care so much about the process by which this is accomplished.

From a pedagogical, rhetorical and propagandistic standpoint, “absolutism” has a lot to recommend itself in the middlistic struggle against the high-low alliance. In response to just about any complaint of the left it is possible to simply ask whether the laws governing the case are clear, are they—can they be—enforced with transparency and regularity, will proposed reforms increase or diminish such clarity, regularity and transparency, and so on. There are good laws, the need for which is easily understood and which are therefore easily enforced, in which case officials who fail to do so are derelict; and there are bad laws, which are bad because they can’t be easily understood and enforced. A determined absolutism could demonstrate systematically that what the victimocrats want is lawlessness and disorder. That’s all—not equality, not fairness, not reciprocity, not truth, not recognition, not justice. The attacks on white patriarchal Western heterosexual bourgeoisness are concentrated attacks on everything that stands for order, which is to say a nomos that has proven more capable than others of transmitting and enhancing its founding order. The lows who are dragged in as cannon fodder in the rivalries of the elites can’t, of course, know what they want to result from their endless agitation; but the truth is the highs really don’t either—the convergence of all forms of power among the globalizing ruling class is actually tending towards absolutism (a perfect symbol of that being Mark Zuckerberg’s eagerly assenting to Angela Merkel’s plea that he do something about all that anti-migrant sentiment on Facebook) while, paradoxically, undermining any possibility for sovereignty by building that power on massive infusions of dyscivilizational elements to the societies they wish to rule.

1 Comment »

  1. […] curiosity in neoreaction (or rather Moldbug) and now GA has a fantastic intellectual engagement via this blog (must read).  Of course, there is also the odd link with Thiel (a Girardian) as […]

    Pingback by A question of anthropology – reactionaryfuture — August 27, 2016 @ 5:51 am

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