“Enlightened Despotism” versus Society: An Episode in the History of Progressive Government

What do you get when you take a pitcher full of 18th. century European police-State and stir in some vintage Enlightenment ideology all the rage in fashionable high-society circles at the time? You get what was called “Enlightened despotism”– an especially toxic cocktail in which the inflamed self-aggrandizing hubris of modern Statism at its worst combines with the technocratic and Utopian wish-fulfillment beliefs of modern intellectuals atĀ theirĀ worst to create a new kind of sociological poison, which I rigorously term a sociolytic. Read more

Epistocracy: The Wrong Case against Democracy

The principle that “the wise shall govern the strong” is a law of Nature so basic that human society is inoperable and indeed altogether inconceivable without it. Democracy as such is an illogical Utopian fiction that doesn’t exist anywhere and cannot. In human society anywhere we find it, men in the physical flower of their youth allow themselves to be bossed around by senior men they could easily overwhelm, and legitimate authority assumes the form of a pyramid such that positions of authority, by definition, are fewer to the extent that the scope of authority attached to them is greater. These arrangements are universally justified, one way or another, by the mutual belief that the seniors and the few are more knowledgeable in important respects than the juniors and the many, and therefore rightfully direct the action of the social whole. Read more

The Alt-Right considered in light of Hegel

The alt-right hardly needs introduction; by this point, its reputation precedes it. Notorious for its transgressive (and uproariously funny) online humour, its crudely insolent and crass populism, its over-wrought conspiracy theories, its facile opinions on race and nation, and its often puerile notions concerning the relationship between the sexes, it is, for all that, a fully-fledged political force right now. While an absolutely unorganized congeries internally, it has nonetheless come to be represented at the level of American national politics by Donald Trump, who in his public style, if not exactly his policy preferences, appears to be its organic political embodiment- and who, it so happens, is the Presidential candidate for one of the two historic governing parties in that country. It has accordingly, if unintentionally, been explicitly acknowledged by the opposition and its propagandists, with the result that the alt-right now has presence in the national consciousness as a household word in ordinary political discourse alongside established categories like “progressive” or “conservative”. Read more