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Socialism and Grand Narratives of Victimhood
the two pronged attack upon civilization by the wicked and incompetent
Murray Rothbard’s Power and Market is a fantastic treatise on the fundamental difference between the free market/voluntary exchange and the systematic interjection of legitimized coercion via the state apparatus. Mao Zedong was right when he said government comes out of the barrel of a gun. It is essential for westerners to consider the full implications of this, especially in light of all of our rhetoric about so called “free markets.” But the attack upon the free market by socialists of all stripes, including those who appropriate the term inappropriately, is only the more obvious and clear cut sortie of the two being fought in defense of civilization. The other attack, often being conflated with the first, is the attempt to integrate grand narratives of victimhood and oppression into the ongoing battle for cultural and political dominance in the post-West. The first step towards mounting an effective resistance is understanding the difference between these two attacks, what they hope to accomplish, and why.
The Free Market and Socialism
So what is the free market? Frankly, it is an abstraction. A notional ideal that describes a system where people interact on a voluntary basis, that is, cooperatively. Of course, it is an integral part of the human condition to use coercion to achieve our ends when it suits us, but it is also part of that same nature to see such transgressions as inherently immoral and illegitimate. That is, unless such coercion is wrapped in the cloak of self-serving myths, lies and obfuscations. The various forms of socialism all fit nicely within this characterization, and are also diametrically opposed to the free market. At the end of the day, property can either belong to individuals or the collective. How the collective is defined determines what brand of socialism we’re talking about. The managerial liberals, communists, and fascists all have their own views on what this collective is and how the final say on ownership of property ought to be adjudicated. Within those large branches there is much to differentiate as well, but they are all nevertheless unified in a confidence that the rights of individuals to property are inherently subordinate to that of a collective they seek to define in the manner that best suits them.
If ideology is ultimately a formalized attempt to moralize self-interest, what function does this collectivization of property ownership serve for the socialists? I argue it serves to increase aggregate illegibility between the guilty and the innocent in any conflict involving property. If it isn’t clear who owns what and why, then when property is stolen, misallocated, or handled inappropriately it can be very difficult to hold anyone accountable for these crimes against civilization. It is for this reason that the materially incompetent of the world are perpetually drawn to socialism of one variety or another. The truly competent and capable invite accountability. Indeed, they tend to demand it as it is the only objective means by which such competence can be tested. Mutually satisfying trade, astute speculation, and efficiency provide intrinsic rewards that the incompetent recognize on some level they will only ever enjoy in relative scarcity. If society offers the Faustian bargain of socialism on a silver platter to the midwits that infect once noble western institutions, many will grasp the devil’s hand if only to escape the truth of their mediocrity. The delusion necessary for them to see themselves as paragons can only be enabled by the property illegibility offered by collectivism.
Victimhood, Oppression, and Truth
The property illegibility of socialism isn’t enough to satisfy the wicked and incompetent that comprise the preponderance of the professional managerial class in the modern West. Under conditions of socialism, many jobs exist only as the result of some long chain of fraud. Fractional reserve banking, quantitative easing, regulation written by industry and passed by legislators seduced by a beltway apparatus evolved to fulfill that exact purpose have not been without consequence. These and countless other means by which the parasites extract wealth from and turn the screws upon the ever shrinking productive class have created a vast interconnected system that could never emerge under conditions of individual property ownership. The resulting sinecures offer easy work with generous pay and benefits to those who can claim them.
The meritocratic rhetoric that still sometimes accompanies managerial liberalism makes outright naked coercion and cronyism more difficult to execute for the midwit masses, however. Even though the jobs might be bullshit, those selecting people to fill them might still be tempted to pick the best and the brightest to fill such positions. Grand narratives of victimhood and oppression are the perfect weapons to be wielded against the would be benefactors of man in such circumstances. The tags “victim” and “oppressor” are not without consequence. People systematically discount the morality of an individual who wears the badge of oppression, while those who enjoy a patina of victimhood are widely seen as more virtuous, in spite of this often being the opposite of the truth. These narratives seek to undermine an honest and candid accounting of the reality as it is. Just like collectivization of property serves the socialists, collectivization of victimhood and oppression serves those within certain groups who seek to take advantage of other groups.1
Status, Responsibility, and Accountability
Wealth isn’t a zero sum game. Wealthy societies can have people in the bottom quartile enjoying a higher standard of living than the top quartile in others. Social status is a zero sum game, however. By rejecting socialism and the coercion facilitated by its property illegibility we embrace cooperation and the rising tide that it brings. This rising tide lifts all ships, but social status being relative, hierarchy/social inequality will persist to exactly the same extent. Such wealth will also tend to concentrate into the hands of those who risk the most and prove their judgement sound doing so. Such risk taking and the reward of astute speculation benefits all of society, but only when the speculator is risking their own capital. The drive to enjoy such rewards while eliminating risk is natural, but not compatible with reality or a stable civilization. It takes no widely applicable competence or character to risk another’s skin. It requires no special mastery over some domain of knowledge to employ the coercive apparatus of the state to modify someone else’s behavior. To risk your own skin and be proven right is to be worthy of reward. To persuade someone to do something that results in a good outcome is to demonstrate some special knowledge of the world that is useful to your fellow man.
Absent moralizing narratives meant to systematically distort the reality of what is, it is impossible to obtain power without responsibility. You act upon the world and are forced to accept the consequences. Without the distortions of socialism and collective guilt, it becomes impossible to escape accountability. The greater your power, the greater impact you are capable of, and hence the more dramatic the potential consequences. The socialists want power in their own hands while responsibility is diffused across the collective. People want to strive for ever greater status while deflecting the responsibility that must accompany prestige with vague notions of victimhood.2 The competence crisis isn’t so much about the civil rights act or loss of implicit knowledge as it is about the systematic attempt to divorce power from responsibility. Clearly delineated property rights and a realist accounting of our self-interested nature as human beings is the only way complex and affluent civilization can be maintained in the face of such predation. It is under these conditions that prestige, power, and wealth flow into the hands of people based on what they can provide. It is under socialism and moralizing tales of group victimhood that the direction of this flow is reversed into the hand of those based on what they can take.
The Earning of Status
Nothing should be so detestable as unearned status, for it is the hallmark of those who seek to take from the world more than they can provide. Dominance based social status can be earned through strength and applied in contexts where strength grants authority, and authority comes with accountability, such as the military. Prestige based social status can be earned through excellence and the ability to provide for others without taking it out of anyone else’s hide. Such prestige must be able to fluctuate based on real world results, a sort of daily renewable contract whereby failure accompanies a proportional loss of status. Status that is seized via narratives that only hide the truth can be known by its fruit. The failures of those who enjoy such status never seem to face any consequence, and this lack of consequence is all you need to know to be sure that such status was seized and not earned.
The Inversion of Status and The Circulation of the Elite
Socialism and grand narratives of victimhood and oppression have allowed the natural order of social status and wealth to be inverted. This is why the ruling elite have become so universally incompetent, wicked, and detestable. For the rightful earning of status to be realigned, such narratives must be discarded with alacrity along with the delusions of all flavors of socialism. We must be confident in our ownership of ourselves and our property and we must be thought of based on what we bring to the table above group loyalties if we’re to share together in a civilization. This means on some level that those who seek to collectivize property and systematically favor their groups above others must be held to account for these actions given the gravity of the consequences of such behavior. If such can be achieved, the growth and renewal of civilization will be our reward. If not, continued decay will be our punishment.
How this works is pretty obvious for everyone except for affluent male Anglos. These types benefit as a logical consequence of eliminating competition arising among the working class. The push to eliminate need based scholarship among Ivy league schools in the 1990s is a reflection of this impulse.
AWFLs are particularly fond of this strategy.