If you think that being able to buy cell phones and iPods and surviving on fast food does not somehow mean that the poor are treated fairly, that free trade is inherently unfair, and that modern capitalism is a force of alienation and class tension, then you may have more in common with some of us old-school rightists than you think. There’s a sense in which we ourselves could be called socialists.
You’ll notice something that nearly every self-described sovereign socialist organization has in common, however: they’ve failed to provide a sustainable alternative to capitalism. Our understanding is that this has been due to their phantasmic belief in human “equality” and “freedom”, which became a major force in society as soon as capitalism did. Classical liberalism and Marxism have the same pedigree, you know; it all goes back to the likes of John Locke, through Smith and Rousseau. So of course socialism tends to fail — when it retains the most basic assumptions of capitalist ideology!
Freedom and equality, in the absolute sense, are profoundly retarded ideas. Anything which gives you lasting happiness — certain people, or a certain place, or some idea — is a limit on your freedom. Committing to X means you’re no longer free to have Y the same way. Equality, too, is a fiction — can we not agree that Marcus Aurelius and Ashley Tisdale were not interchangeable as babies? Could Nigerians or Hmong have gone to the Moon? It’s a piss-poor reflection on what’s left of Western culture that a concept so absurd could be taken seriously. If we want something other than a consumerist waste-market, we must consider as waste the ideas it sells to survive.
Meeting the needs of everyone in our society will require taking attitudes and enacting policies which are far older than capitalism. Slavery and serfdom were in fact far fairer to all involved than free labor. If you’re American, it’s likely there’s a racial issue involved in your conception of slavery — but let’s maintain a broader historical perspective here. Slavery between and within the various human races is entirely common throughout recorded time — Epictetus, for example, was born a slave. With that in mind, we are going to hear from a pro-slavery thinker of the American South: the essential reactionary, George Fitzhugh. He argues against economic liberalism in his 1854 Sociology for the South:
The dissociation of labor and disintegration of society, which liberty and free competition occasion, is especially injurious to the poorer class; for besides the labor necessary to support the family, the poor man is burdened with the care of finding a home, and procuring employment, and attending to all domestic wants and concerns. Slavery relieves our slaves of these cares altogether, and slavery is a form, and the very best form, of socialism.
The development of capitalism was not itself the problem; it was the abolition of feudalism and slavery in the first place. The only sustainable socialism is inegalitarian, hierarchical, aristocratic; the very word represents a reconfiguration of pre-capitalist concerns.
Socialism proposes to do away with free competition; to afford protection and support at all times to the laboring class; to bring about, at least, a qualified community of property, and to associate labor. All these purposes, slavery fully and perfectly attains.
Thus we do not want a democratic socialism. To guard against the excesses of capitalism, nondemocracy is a minimum requirement. Mass democracy led to mass consumerism, and for both the justification is essentially the same: bad leaders are simply “what the people asked for”; cheap, tasteless products are just “what people are willing to buy”. Edward Bernays developed modern marketing and public relations methods by building on the inculcation of this mentality. Universal suffrage and unlimited freedom of information, unlike hereditary hierarchy which has lasted ages, are actually outdated — tried and untrue. A few notable statesmen over the last several decades have figured this out — Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, for example. His approach to government makes clear what any radical libertarian will tell you: that the relationship between a State and its subjects/citizens amounts to slavery writ large; unlike such libertarians, however, we reactionaries do not take this to be an indictment. If people require government, then it is reasonable to think that some of them require slavery.
How alien is the nature of slavery to you, anyway? If you’ve ever had a child or a younger sibling, or if you’ve ever owned a pet or a computer, you have felt — in part — what it means to be a slavemaster. You have the power to kill them. But you don’t. You care for them for no other reason than that they are yours. There are feelings of duty, as well as love, on both sides.
Slavery protects the infants, the aged and the sick; nay, takes far better care of them than of the healthy, the middle-aged and the strong. They are part of the family, and self-interest and domestic affection combine to shelter, shield and foster them. A man loves not only his horses and his cattle, which are useful to him, but he loves his dog, which is of no use. He loves them because they are his. What a wise and beneficent provision of Heaven, that makes the selfishness of man’s nature a protecting aegis to shield and defend wife and children, slaves and even dumb animals. The Socialists propose to reach this result too, but they never can if they refuse to march in the only road Providence has pointed out.
It’s obvious that many millions of people would benefit from such guaranteed care. People who today only survive thanks to welfare programs and half-corrupt charities — not to mention unhealthy food — would have guaranteed employment and benefits under slavery as well as a healthy sense of productive domestic order which they would not have otherwise. Slavery provides the true living wage. Some are meant to be masters; others, slaves. Nature knows not equality. This leads us to where Fitzhugh also had the balls to explain an even deeper fact of — for lack of a less-abused phrase — human nature:
Man is born a member of society, and does not form society. Nature, as in the cases of bees and ants, has it ready formed for him. He and society are congenital. Society is the being — he one of the members of that being. He has no rights whatever, as opposed to the interests of society and that society may very properly make any use of him that will redound to the public good. Whatever rights he has are subordinate to the good of the whole; and he has never ceded rights to it, for he was born its slave, and had no rights to cede.
All men submit; only a beast is free. From the very beginning, we are cells within a larger organism. If we want this organism to be healthy, we must be assigned functions based on an honest understanding of our differences. Otherwise, we are simply deluding ourselves, and are all the same enslaved by society. It will always be so. There will be ownership. There will be hierarchy. There will not be freedom. The choice is between mutual honor and mutual deceit. We reactionaries will take the former: rule worthy of might, and a proper place for all. That is our socialism.