The New Nobility and the Restoration of the Ancien Regime
The stench of excess and decay emanating from Washington is so quintessentially aristocratic in odor, one wonders if the president should declare absolutist rule, wave an effeminate hand, and be done with it. At least that way the new peasantry, the producers, would finally realize what they are up against: the restoration of a neofeudal order where the privileged few dine out at the expense of the lumpenproletariat many.
Perhaps that is the greatest irony of progressive policies – they return us right back to the state-dominated era the country was designed to escape. What the Sun King may have lacked in actual power, he made up in hubris; he languished in self-indulgence as the peasants toiled, and there seemed to be a reassuring natural order to it all. That was the way of the world, and until the voluminous exposition of the Encyclopedists, there was no reason to imagine anything different.
When market capitalism began eating into the control of the French nobility, the threatened sought solace in the decadent courts of Versailles. And when it became evident that the king was impotent to stem back the tides of history, the disillusioned found fertile ground for sowing discontent in the salons of Paris. How to co-opt capitalism and use it to vault into the seat of power became the pressing question. While the policy to allow the landed aristocracy to purchase their way into the royal ranks temporarily quelled their impetus to remove the legal and formal boundaries to market activity, enhanced profits, and political power, the effect was like putting new wine in old bottles – at some indeterminate time, bound to burst.
The minds of Turgot, Voltaire, and even bloody Robespierre spearheaded the opposition to the Ancien Regime. And when the status quo-inclined King Louis XVI feebly took the scepter in 1774, he could scarce sit upon his velvet throne waving it furiously in order to coax the cresting ocean to recede. He would be washed out into the currents and promptly engulfed in them. Terror and upheaval followed quick upon his macabre removal and that of his notoriously indifferent bride, as it took generations for the enfranchised peasantry to reap the rewards of capitalistic progress, by which time they had already soured to the ideology’s more radical implications. They were not quite peasants, not quite freemen. And so they would remain in mentality, always nestled under the wings of the paternalistic class that purported to shelter them from capitalism’s harsher realities.
But America is different, or at least that’s what we keep telling ourselves. The country was colonized, or rather, settled by disgruntled religious fanatics and roguish criminals who bent nature to their will with their bare hands, while fighting off disease-carrying mosquitos and hatchet-wielding natives. Extremes of weather, blight, starvation and even self-imposed religious persecution meant no pussy-footing around when it came to preserving one’s own life and safeguarding the community. Rigorous discipline, determination, and a code of honor within a fairly small, close-knit band meant character counted for something. If you ripped someone off, people would inevitably find out about it. And the courts did not stand in the people’s way as much as they ratified their swift and just vengeance. Further heightening authority was the fact that people needed one another. Escaping into the wilderness did not seem quite the tempting proposition as it does today.
In contemporary times, our politicians hide behind the courts, along with the police apparatus that enforces its edicts, precisely in order to deviate from character, honor, and integrity. Just as the lawyers were indispensable for providing the French royalty a rationale for continued existence in an ascending Age of Reason, today our jurists fulfill the same role for the massive bureaucratic state, the impenetrable fortress where all manner of unconstitutional functions and decisions are carried out under dubious legalistic pretenses. Within this sheltered court, a new nobility has taken shape; one that seeks to live easy on the foundation of real labor. A recent New York Times article effectively admits as much:
All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.
As was elaborated upon earlier, the former are the burgeoning aristocrats and bon vivants who seek to reap the rewards of the working man’s sweat, whether here in the United States or abroad in labor-intensive countries. They enjoy fine dining, buy pristine luxury vehicles, delight in the latest innovations produced by the remnant capitalist market, right before they condemn it, even as they are assured guaranteed benefits and pensions for life, while relishing the prestige of engaging in “compassionate” occupations.
These are revolutionary conditions, my friends, and don’t think the state hasn’t taken notice. The free communication of the exploited and disenfranchised, not the trademarked minorities whose greatest enemies are themselves, but rather the producers, the innovators, and the doers is foisting immense pressure on the new nobility, whose only reaction is to lash out, smear, and seek to disenfranchise. After giving lip service to democracy for decades, they now find themselves befuddled at seeing democracy turn against them; thus the rush to import more persons of the peasant mentality, whose states they flee from are excellent evidence of their pliability to heavy-handedness and corrupt rule.
We must marshal our forces in time before the decadent state is allowed to rot us to the core; and this entails the cultural replenishment, or even regeneration, of those animating ideals that once imbued our country with a brave, noble spirit. We must be a leader on the frontier of progress, rather than a follower of the fallen and defunct regimes our nation sought remove from. We must venture to lead our countrymen, rather than follow the government into the abyss.