Post-Liberal thought at the present state of its art is a heterogeneous mess, a jumble of scattered critiques, arguments, analyses, and insights that seem to lack inner coherence; a crowd of particulars that await being gathered in a formal synthesis under a set of explicit and general abstract principles and thus given rigorous systematic unity comparable to that of a body of law (juridical or scientific; law is law). In some ways this is perfectly fitting for a movement that, after all, is congenitally suspicious of legalism and extols the virtue of traditional ways of living governed by a multiplicity of local manners, customs, and usages whose origins nobody can remember (cf. Max Weber’s “eternal yesterday”), time-honoured conventions and treaties, and unspoken gentlemen’s agreements which constitute the etiquette that keeps the peace between potentially belligerent men and institutes a usual way of doing things that strikes everybody as reasonable and fair. These customary laws are, for the most part, followed unreflexively and by habit, without anybody putting a whole lot of conscious thought into it. Such laws, just like Heidegger’s hammer, become objects of explicit conscious reflection and rational examination only when they are broken; and one of the reasons why the likes of feuds, duels, and judicial combats are so important as means of dispute resolution in the traditional society is that it is difficult for anybody to authoritatively or explicitly pronounce just what the rules are, even though everybody is sure that at least one of the parties to the dispute must have broken them. (Much the same can be observed of recent controversies over alleged sexual misconduct in the workplace, but this is a digression).
Thus traditional society, content to just sort of let life go through its paces without thinking too much and to let men, when they can’t agree on the score, settle the score by duking it out, has no more need of a formal science of right than the average native English speaker needs grammarians to lay down formal rules for constructing sentences that nobody can remember once they leave school and in any case don’t have to, since they can speak their own mother tongue just fine without constantly reciting formal grammar rules as they do it.
Likewise, of the three great forms of human authority identified by the father of post-Liberal social science, Karl Ludwig von Haller– territorial, military, and spiritual (a category that encompasses both religion and more purely secular scientific and philosophical learning)- the first two don’t, other things equal, need a philosophy of right either. A territorial lord need only acquire enough property to attract tenants, employees, and other dependents, and an emperor need only overwhelm a land and its inhabitants by force. In the ordinary course of affairs, neither territorial lords nor conquering emperors bother themselves about first principles of right, but simply take the existing framework for granted; and if they see fit to overhaul that framework, for better or worse they rely on literati to work out all the whys and wherefores.
Obviously, the literati themselves do not have the same luxury. Spiritual authority- which governs men by acting on their minds and not their physical bodies, by explicating the laws and rules of life as opposed to providing the material means of their bodily existence, or threatening to end that existence, does need systematic doctrine, since it is the very means of exercising spiritual authority in the first place.
And make no mistake: post-Liberalism is a spiritual movement, and cannot possibly be realized as anything else. After all, it doesn’t have vast provinces anywhere or an army, and won’t ever be in a position to unless it can talk the propertied and governing classes into getting with the programme- so that kind of narrows it down. We will return to this; for now, the point is that the philosophy of right is to post-Liberalism what land is to a landlord and guns to an army. How can anyone get with the post-Liberal programme if there’s no way for them to learn what it is- for that matter if the Post-Liberals don’t even know themselves?
Several centuries worth of materialist, atheist, and Philistine indoctrination have convinced Modern man that Sovereignty is exclusively a matter of territorial and military authority. This doctrine proclaims the paramount importance of indoctrinating men into believing that there is nothing less important than doctrine; that man is a machine programmed for physical self-preservation by a play of unconscious biological processes and the non-thinking physical environment that takes place prior to, and beneath the threshold of, conscious awareness; that Man, pace Jeremy Bentham, has been placed under the jurisdiction of two Sovereign masters, pain and pleasure, and that the real motive force of all action is the satisfaction of physical appetite and the fear of physical punishment, with the moderating role of the soul dismissed as a ridiculous pre-scientific myth and the intellect accordingly deprecated as the mere slave of the passions where every other age, race, and civilization of Man said the exact opposite. Man, in this conception, is an animal with a huge stomach, a faint heart, and no head. Sociologically, none of this comes as a surprise in a decadent post-civilization in which everything is ruled by money and State-monopolized physical violence, and by a shadow spiritual power that is nowhere named as such except by its opponents: the Cathedral.
Notwithstanding this Modernist propaganda, there is a mode of exercise of Sovereignty that is indispensably, irreducibly, and entirely intellectual, and which cannot be reduced to the false Marxist category of “ideology”- and our materialists (surreptitiously and disingenuously, as always) exercise this mode of Sovereignty in the very course of trying to denigrate and deny its existence.
This form of Sovereign power is exercised wholly in thought; it entails the construction, on the basis of a priori first principles subsequently validated by experience, of a unified theoretical system that, striving towards as much logical integration and closure as possible, unites a disparate and heterogeneous crowd of particulars by resolving them into universals. The theoretical system uncovers, in the messy and chaotic flux of particulars, invariant, necessary, and universal formal properties and modes of relation. In other words, it spells out, for the particulars, the essential and unchanging attributes that define the Nature they share in common, and the accompanying ensemble of laws that govern their being.
It is clear that this purely intellectual endeavour does exactly the same thing in thought as the proclamation of a common law or civil code does in a territorial-military realm, namely unite a crowd of subjects under the unitary will and jurisdiction of a Sovereign by establishing a body of law for all the subjects, which places each subject in its order and directs men and things to suitable ends. In both cases, the laws are backed up with irresistible force. The positive laws of the temporal State are backed up by force of arms; the laws of Nature explicated by science are backed up by logical force of necessity that irresistibly imposes itself on any reasoning intellect, and also by Natural and Divine punishments in this life and the next that attend any human dereliction of those laws.
Intellectual and territorial-military Sovereignty, however, do not constitute two non-overlapping kingdoms. The first supervenes over the second in right and in fact. In any complex system, information controls energy; thus, to the extent that biological and social systems aren’t corrupted or pathological, the body obeys the brain, reason controls the passions, and the Church subsumes the State in its order (and, where the Church has been ousted, the Cathedral quickly takes its place). Divine and Natural law trump positive or human law, and, as a corollary, the strong are destined by God and Nature to be directed by the wise.
The history of the State as we know it today is very suggestive here. The temporal power, from the late Middle Age, proclaimed itself the sole and final source of authority on Earth, subject to no outside guidance, instruction, or correction by the Church, and directed in its actions only by its own calculus of its own, strictly this-worldly power interests.
Even as the temporal power began to make good on these boasts in earnest, though, shady secular intellectuals were already on the scene and with audacious self-confidence authoritatively telling the Prince just what those interests were and how to go about pursuing them. Right under the Crown’s nose- indeed, before its very eyes– these same intellectuals constructed philosophical theories of public right that purported to demonstrate, with scientific rigour, that a true Monarchy, as opposed to a mere despotism, has the formal properties of a Republic, and that the optimal way for a Prince to secure his interests is to acknowledge that all Sovereignty originates in the will of “the People”, cede legislative power to Parliament, and learn to see himself as a sort of civil servant of his own government and trustee of his own estate. The predictable result was that Parliament soon came, as Montesquieu candidly put it, to “stand in for wisdom on the part of the King”, who was reduced to the mere executor of instructions given him by Parliament. And Parliament itself, in turn, went on to become the mere executor of instructions given it by a chorus of know-it-all professors, shyster lawyers, yellow journalists, finger-wagging scolds, holy lunatics, and opportunistic carpetbaggers that together make up what we call “the Cathedral”.
This unfortunate history goes to show that the State, no less than a woman, is fitted by Nature to receive instruction and to receive it willingly and gladly. And, in the absence of responsible instructors to provide proper guidance, the State, just like a woman, will allow itself to be seduced and bamboozled by various fast-talking charlatans and quacks, with more or less catastrophic consequences in the long run.
These impostors, in all fairness, did not ascend to social paramountcy by mere default, or by simply demanding to be recognized and obeyed. Far from it: they became the new spiritual emperors by the exercise of hard-won intellectual sovereignty, by way of an empire of the mind that made subjects of the mightiest States and Statesmen of the West.
This Liberal imperium over the territorial-military power was established the same way as any empire, namely by the annexation of one sovereign power by another, which subsumes the first under its jurisdiction and thus reduces it to the status of a vassal. The difference lay in the means of annexation. Force of arms is not the only way of circumscribing the independence of a lawmaking authority and making a mere province of it. Liberalism accomplished this by means of comprehensive and highly formalized philosophies of right, elaborated from the late Middle Age onward, and which came to full flower in the works of Hobbes, Pufendorf, Locke, Rousseau, Beccaria, Montesquieu, Blackstone, Hegel, and others. That all of these authors remain part of the Western canon to this day, are universally recognized as comprising the cornerstone of modern philosophies of law and social sciences, and that anyone with any exposure to post-secondary education or otherwise interested in law and politics will have at least heard of them, vividly attests to their influence.
Drawing on Classical learning and the enormous prestige attached thereto, and on an often formidable and encyclopedic knowledge of law, history, and the inner mechanics of various States past and present, this literature, starting from postulates purporting to be grounded in right Reason and the Nature of men and things, proceeded to derive, in the abstract, the necessary, invariant, and universal formal properties of law and the State, and, on those constant and invariant grounds, defined the set of possible types of State. It furnished an ontology of law and Sovereignty, and an account of the genesis and Natural history of the origin, rise, and fall of the State across each of its different types. It distinguished between normal and pathological, between legal and political forms conformable to Nature and those that deviate from the order of Nature: between just laws as against the “arbitrary will” of men (which isn’t law at all, but mere violence), and between the public power of the well-ordered Commonwealth, which rules by law and with the consent of the governed, as against the “despotic” personal rule of a King (to wit, an intrinsically defective non-State and anti-State that may be legitimately overthrown by anyone.
In other words, these theorists did nothing less than lay down the law of laws and lawgivers to the lawgivers, and thus brought the latter under their jurisdiction. Since the laws explicated by the science of right are immutable laws of Nature sanctioned by their Divine author, it follows that they necessarily subsume and trump merely man-made or positive laws. Since the putative laws of Nature are uncovered and made explicit by the application of the rules of right Reason and validated by historical experience, and thus impress themselves on the mind with irresistible necessity and on the senses with incontrovertible evidence, it follows that they are objectively valid for every rational person. By definition, then, anyone who dissents is mentally deranged, gone mad with power, as such dangerous to himself and others and unfit to govern- and, if in a position of public authority, may be forcibly removed from office by more eminently rational men.
In times and places where it usually wasn’t a good idea to second-guess authority figures, the philosophers of right audaciously took it upon themselves to tell the Prince his business, and indeed to lecture the Prince about his duties. An 18th c. author in the employ of various absolute Monarchs actually (and not at all atypically, for this genre) had the nerve to protest against their failure to implement his pet system of public health law as follows:
I just don’t know how most decision-makers can continue to defend certain grave errors in judgment that offend against the article on general security regulations concerning the life and health of citizens […] I just can’t think of anything more important than the will of a people that submits to one man; this people unquestionably possesses the right to demand from its Sovereign the fulfillment of certain paternal duties, which are not restricted solely to defending borders from invasion by predatory neighbours, or perhaps additionally hanging a dozen thieves each year. (trans. mine).
The philosophers of public right thus took it upon themselves to hold up the State’s laws to scrutiny in light of Natural law and find them wanting, as though so many self-appointed judges reviewing legislative and executive acts against the standard of a basic law that existed nowhere outside their theories, and prescribed to the State the form of its own Constitutions, and its rights, duties, ends, and limits in much the same way that the State itself might prescribe the form of corporate governance to a town or company it creates- no mere metaphor where the doctrine of “social contract” is concerned. The doctrine of social contract located the original right of Sovereignty in the so-called “people”, which ostensibly delegated its original right of Sovereignty to the State when it “created” it in the act of social contract; hence the science of right proved that the State has no inherent Sovereignty of its own (even when, it was freely acknowledged, the State existed already and attained to Sovereignty quite independently of an original contract that, as was also freely acknowledged, never actually took place, or needed to). Since Sovereignty was something the State held in trust on behalf of “the People”, the State was reduced to the level of a police force, so many civil servants hired to protect and serve their employers, We the People.
Finally, it goes without saying that these very same theorists, along with other self-styled representatives of so-called “civil society” (i.e. elite non-state and quasi-State actors: intellectuals, professional associations, Universities, fashionable philanthropists, self-starting moral crusaders and reformers of all sorts, etc.) had to take upon themselves the burden of making the “sense of the people” explicit when it could not or would not do so itself, and of speaking the truth of the People to the power of the State while at once telling this People just what it wills. And it was thus that the intellectual sovereignty of Liberal juridico-political theory established itself a Church- what we now call “the Cathedral”. The rest, as they say, is history.
This same historical experience incontrovertibly discloses a key principle of the eternal order of Nature: The strong rule the weak- but the wise rule strong and weak alike. If no authentic spiritual authority is available then, we have said already, various hucksters and con-men rush in to take its place; human Nature abhors a spiritual vacuum.
Thus the human female, left without appropriate guidance, instruction, and supervision exercised by a responsible male, gets seduced and bamboozled by charismatic exercise instructors and licensed or unlicensed quack healers peddling phony-baloney mystical platitudes and panacea in the form of some organic vegan gluten-free paleolithic raw juice diet that holds the key to all physical and psychological health. Mutatis mutandis, the very men who own the property and wield the sword, left without appropriate guidance, instruction, and supervision exercised by responsible clergy and men of understanding, get seduced and bamboozled by duplicitous literati peddling false juridico-political doctrines that hold the key to all matters concerning the health of the State.
Both types of hustlers work their respective marks by purporting to possess a special and superior wisdom which is at once an esoteric mystery, a Gnosis revealed to an elect, but at the same time not only can, but should and indeed must be apprehended by everybody once the Gnosis has been given the explicit determinate form of a Logos: a system that, from a foundation in clear and distinct principles, discloses all the answers to life’s questions, subsumes in its unifying synthesis the sum total of everything there is to know about anything, and uncovers an immutable order of things to which all must conform, while showing everyone their respective place and role in that order and how they must act within it.
Once again, this is nothing less than the principle of absolute political power exercised in thought; hence any spiritual-intellectual doctrine whether true or false, and of whatever sort (theological or Naturalistic) is of necessity a theory of Divine omnipotence, whether that omnipotence assumes the form of a personal Father and aboriginal supreme Lawgiver of all being (as for Christian religion, and also the aforementioned secular theory of social contract predicated on Natural right) or an anonymous pantheist-immanentist principle that subsumes all being in its order inasmuch as, ontologically, it is that order itself as opposed to its personal Creator (e.g. Hegelian idealism, Marxist-Darwinist and other “scientific” materialism, and last but not least the faux-Buddhist hogwash peddled by yoga instructors and other lowlife that lives to cuck other men and steal their girls’ credit-card numbers).
This doctrine, then, always gives rise to a body of knowledge that claims the status of science. These sciences are at once premised upon the idea of the singular and absolute power of the Divine and prove that Divine power is singular and absolute. This tautological discourse assumes the form of a jurisprudence devoted to codifying and explicating the laws of the (Divine) Sovereign. To reiterate, this is carried out by first deriving, from the (implicit or explicit) basic premise of absolute Divine power, and with the assistance of secondary premises, the formal laws by means of which God governs Creation (the theory side of Modern science) and then by demonstrating that all Creation is in fact governed by those laws (the experimental side of Modern science, in which the still-hypothetical and provisional laws arrived at in theory are validated by their ability to explain the facts observed through the senses).
The trick works as well on Statesmen and the captains of finance and industry as it does on somebody’s gullible hippie girlfriend because false doctrines no less than true ones- we owe the insight to the genius of the immortal von Haller- satisfy the need, inscribed in the Nature of human beings as a condition of their individual and social existence, to have somebody authoritatively furnish answers to all life’s questions and prescribe the laws of life, and to do so by claiming to formally explicate and codify the will of a transcendent (implicitly or explicitly, Divine) authority as manifested in an order that subsumes and goes far beyond all merely human authority- be it that of husbands and fathers, territorial lords, or military emperors.
This fact is what led State and society in the West to their present state of morbidity and turpitude, but it also holds the key to leading them back to their former heights. It is the proverbial ace in the hole for a dissident movement with no money and no arms, but one hell of a lot of brainpower. Before getting to that, a few observations on Liberalism in the stages of its life-course: the flower of its strength, its ongoing pathetic decadence, and its coming fall.
The Liberal juridico-political doctrine, while false and fatally flawed, in serving as the unifying and generative principle of the powers and practices of the modern State and in providing the foundations and master organizing principle of its laws and legal system (all most notably, and by far the most successfully, in the written Constitution of the USA), comprised nothing less than the operating system of the mightiest political machinery ever devised by Mankind.
This Liberal philosophy of right stands out in that it directly conjoined spiritual to temporal authority. The traditional State legitimated its authority in a Divine right indifferent to the forms of earthly law and government and the affairs of rulers (since earthly government of whatever sort was held to enjoy Divine sanction so long as it did not command idolatry), and as the defender of a faith and doctrine far removed from temporal concerns and in any case institutionally distinct from and self-sufficient with respect to the State. The theory of Natural right, while grounded in Divine supremacy, addressed itself directly to law and the State and nothing else. While theology addressed itself to questions far removed from politics, the Liberal philosophies gave rational and systematic form to civil laws and to the Constitution of the State, and gave the State that would conform to these parameters a mission and purpose that was absolutely central to human affairs as opposed to merely transient or incidental. Where the traditional Christian conception saw the State as little more than a sort of bus station for those awaiting the trip to the next life, the philosophy of right extolled the well-ordered (i.e. Liberal) State as nothing less than the force that heroically and single-handedly put the bloody horror of the Hobbesian “state of Nature” to an end, raised men from a condition of sub-human brutality and made rational and fully-human beings out of them (Hegelian aufhebung), subjugates selfish “private” ends and directs men to the highest of all rational ends (“the public good”), and over and above that is uniquely competent to lead Mankind on its march of Progress down the road to its glorious Eschatological destiny in a Schlaraffenland of eternal peace and plenty (“the end of history” however conceived: Communism, neo-Liberalism, whatever).
In short, in the case of Liberalism a spiritual doctrine grounded in the Transcendent, in the immutable laws of Nature ordained by their supreme Author, from its premises brought forth a set of blueprints for an institution that certainly isn’t a Church, but just as assuredly not just another temporal power in a world full of them either. Loosely following von Haller, we could call this a “philosophical State”. The (Liberal) philosophical State is not, as the State in general was for Augustine, a necessary evil, a product of congenitally disordered desire (libido dominandi) that has the Providential consequence, strictly unintended by the State’s own founders, of being handy for the Church to have around; and nor is the (Liberal) State something that merely conforms, more or less, to the laws of Nature and the will of their Author. On the contrary: since the spiritual doctrine is consubstantial with the very Constitutional anatomy of the philosophical State, the (Liberal) State is exalted as the incarnation of the laws of Nature, of pure Reason, and indeed, Hegel dared argue, the Divine itself. The (Liberal) State isn’t a power that imposes itself on human freedom; it is that which frees men from the predations of power (“equality”, “civil rights”, and so on). It is not the expression of the deformation of human Nature in original sin- but that which restores corrupted Man to his true Nature with its secularized salvific efficacy. (Cf. Voegelin’s immanentized Eschaton).
The unity of the spiritual and the political that results from e.g. the effort to give systematic rational order to the collected civil laws of a State and ground them in the law of Nature (as Blackstone did for the laws of England) makes the State into something that has the character of a Republic and a theocracy at once. The combination of the civic and the religious (cf. “American civil religion”) through the union-set of a philosophy of right that has a foot in both spheres is an unstoppable combination if there ever was one, since it conjoins Republican virtues of patriotism and civic duty with religious zeal; the phenomena of the Puritan Commonwealthmen of the 17th c. and the messianic pretensions of the American State today speak for themselves here.
This doctrine itself, though- the very foundation of the most formidable States ever seen on this green Earth- is presently and rapidly deteriorating into a pitiable congeries of nonsense, in fact undergoing a seeming tendency towards complete disintegration of its systematic unity akin to the degenerative neurological disorders that lead to dementia and ultimately, death at the biological level. This subject really needs treatment in a dedicated essay, but very schematically we can cite three principle causes of this collapse right here:
1) The rise of specialized and professionalized social movement organizations, which sees the various items of the Liberal agenda parceled out to dedicated single-issue advocacy groups who pursue their particular pet cause the way a lawyer represents a client and a capitalist markets a product, and raise donations and subsidies in the same way a company tries to raise capital. These advocates are typically recruited from the ranks of journalism, the profession of law, and from the capitalist managerial-executive class, and most assuredly are not doctors in any sense; instead of propagating the Liberal doctrine, they advance on behalf of the interests of their cause a set of ad-hoc and opportunistic shyster arguments, marketing angles, and sales pitches based on the techniques of court-room rhetoric and commercial advertising, and all selected on the basis of a utilitarian assessment of their tactical efficacy in getting political or fundraising results rather than sound doctrinal form. Liberal philosophy in its systematic unity is decomposed into- and replaced by– a heterogeneous, fragmented, and mutually-contradictory mass of disingenuous propaganda written by full-time movement organization functionaries who aren’t being paid to curate doctrine and couldn’t care less about orthodoxy. Even in the University, the academic output of what are supposed to be the titular doctors of Liberalism has become infiltrated with this propaganda and indeed overwhelmed by it.
2) The avowed and aggressive atheism of late Liberalism makes self-deconstructing nonsense out of any philosophy of right. The founding doctors of Liberalism, although often decidedly irreligious, were nonetheless sophisticated enough to recognize that they had to keep at least a Deistic conception of God in their system as an indispensable theoretical fiction, a postulate without which the whole thing would collapse into a rubble of meaninglessness, since absent a supreme Author of the laws of Nature there would neither be Natural rights nor any reason for anybody to respect them.
But the proponents of late, rotted Liberalism, in their unrelenting hostility to Christianity and purity-spiraling drive to hunt down and abolish any idea related to theistic thinking, not only oust the Creator, but go as far to oust teleology. And in doing so, they comically paint themselves into a corner- for the idea of a non-teleological conception of right doesn’t even make any sense. To speak of the difference between right and wrong is to judge what men actually do against some standard of what they ought to be doing, but may or may not do. Fact and right, to be sure, coincide to a greater or lesser extent, but can’t be thought of identical; any theory of right must stand prepared to negate the facts in the name of right, e.g. and above all through the idea that men depart from their own Nature when they do wrong. Obviously this is a non-starter in any non-teleological frame of reference, in which is there is no aspect of the Nature of things not immediately given in positive fact, in the data studied by positivist empirical science. Hence the rigorous and sincere proponents of scientific positivism avowedly disclaim any competence on the part of their theories to weigh in on matters of right (“value-neutral science”). But late Liberals, as we just observed, are neither rigorous nor sincere, and like to pretend that they can extract ethical blood from positivist stone.
They try to torture right from “evolutionary” fact- although, in the Darwinian universe, by precept of the Darwinian general hypothesis any biological or behavioural trait that exists long enough to be observed is adaptive to some environment; the task of the evolutionary scientist is to discover how, not if. Thus the fashionable late-Liberal idea of an atheist ethics grounded on the postulate that we should prefer the adaptive to the maladaptive for some undefined reason, and that the difference suffices to found a theory of right without any reference to “metaphysics”, is rigorously speaking moot, irrelevant, redundant, and superfluous in the Darwinian universe. For, in that universe, anything anybody does, no matter how manifestly and even catastrophically maladaptive, is adaptive in some occult way, or at least once was- and if it was once adaptive but no longer is, then the stupid mechanism of Darwinian natural selection will put a stop to it regardless of what any philosophy has to say, and is in fact doing so already. In any case, the theory predicts that we already do prefer the adaptive to the maladaptive- not because fedora-wearers think we should, but because of a game of chance our genetic material plays with the physical environment prior to whatever it is people think, which is so much impotent and irrelevant “ideology”.
Or the late-Liberals try to torture right from utilitarianism- seemingly oblivious to the fact that utilitarianism, which unlike rotted Liberalism is serious about its positivism, avowedly takes human ends and values as given data that can never be rank-ordered on scientific grounds and in any case never be arrived at from the theory of utility itself.
Finally, postmodernism, with much more rationalistic rigour than our soi-disant “rationalists”, takes atheism to its logical reductio ad absurdum conclusion and embraces flamboyant irrationalism- since after all, in a Darwinian universe all thoughts and actions are but expressions of unconscious biological drives and the physical properties of physical objects. What counts is that they are adaptive, not that they are “rational”. Indeed, there can be no such thing as Reason strictly so-called in the Darwinian universe. Since each biological and cultural trait is tailor-fitted to a local ecological niche, there can be no Universal; it turns out radical historicism and relativism were right all along. Again it befell the Darwinists’ own self-identified mortal enemies- the postmodernists- to reach this logically inescapable conclusion; the deconstructionists proved more rational than the rationalists. If the supreme Legislator- whose jurisdiction is universal because he is omnipotent- is dead, then the laws of right Reason are without force, and the unity of the Universal fragments into an intellectual version of the Hobbesian state of Nature. (Hence the fragmentation of the Academy into micro-specialities with no intellectual unity or mutual coherence even when they co-exist in the same discipline, and that nobody pays any attention to, since no one of them is more authoritative than the other).
3) As the organic unity of the Liberal doctrine disintegrates into the entropy of decadence and death, late-Liberals no longer even seem to understand it; all most of them have ever been exposed to by way of indoctrination are insincere and duplicitous apologetics for the doctrine that, as we have seen, have replaced the doctrine itself. Indeed, they now openly reject that doctrine’s core precepts. Notoriously, they now argue that an accusation ought to not only suffice for, but comprise a conviction in serious criminal cases- a sledgehammer-blow to the very foundations of the political house Liberalism built, viz. the idea of the “rule of law” and individual-private rights that are supposed to define the very shape of the law that rules.
Late-Liberals, increasingly unable to explain (to give just a few examples) exactly why restricting abortion is an outrage against women’s rights, how political street violence squares away with the Liberal State’s dearly-held monopoly of legitimate violence, etc. now turn like never before to censorship or even direct personal assault and mob actions to give their arguments a force those arguments cannot provide on their own power- and forfeit any spiritual authority they had the second they do it, since by definition the authority is now military, grounded in temporal physical coercion as opposed to an appeal to faith and/or rational precept.
Thus the operating system of the present State has become corrupt, and will become more corrupt and eventually, totally dysfunctional. Soon the philosophical State will be shopping for a new philosophy in what will be the first truly post-Liberal moment in the history of the near future.
And it urgently befalls those literati who, ahead of the curve, already think in a post-Liberal frame of reference to develop that, philosophy, that operating system, and pitch it to the State.
The true purpose and calling of the post-Liberal Right is to exercise its innate spiritual authority and produce and then propagate the philosophy of Right that will comprise the rational soul of the next great philosophical State in the West in the post-Liberal period.
There has been endless discussion in dissident circles concerning the question of “what can I do” to hasten the collapse of Liberalism, and save Christian religion, the White family, higher learning and letters, the State, and Western civilization in general.
Last summer we all had a vivid demonstration of the sort of man-made disaster-area premature and futile “activism” must create. So much for that. What can I do?
Help develop and propagate the new philosophy of right- that’s what. The mere fact that you read a blog like this one, and an article like this one this far into it, shows you’re just the right guy for the job.
The law of comparative advantage is on call here. A man and a State alike have to play on their strengths. We’ve seen that are three forms of authority by which those destined by Nature to lead other men: territorial, military, and spiritual. You read things like Thermidor; you probably test well above the norm, especially in abstract reasoning and linguistic ability; you probably have several years worth of post-secondary ed and/or are a well-read gentleman amateur; you are, will be, or have been a STEM worker, an academic, a writer, a lawyer, and so on; and you’re interested in all the whys and wherefore concerning the Nature of Man, his relation to other men, to politics, and to his ultimate end and purpose. Guess which one of the three great forms of authority you’re destined for. Because if it was territorial or military authority- you likely wouldn’t read Thermidor or bother yourself about all the whys and wherefores. You would just take the existing Liberal order as an inevitable fact of life without putting too much thought into it, as you would the weather; you’d stick your finger into the social and political wind and adjust your plans to whatever way you thought it was blowing. And Nature itself, we have seen, sees to it that this sort of person receives instruction and direction from the good or bad guy who decides which way the wind blows. For Hobbes has said that “laws without swords, are but wind”- but, as somebody once rejoined, swords without laws are but bits of iron.
The capitalist, the soldier, and the Statesman do not, need not, and arguably, to the extent that the Natural caste order of precedence between Brahmin, Kshatriya, and Vaisya persists, should not concern themselves with the big questions concerning foundational matters of doctrine too much, but rather attend to their own proper affairs- namely executing the doctrine into which they have been indoctrinated, or otherwise conforming themselves to it in their day-to-day business. But upright scientists and other intellectuals who know themselves and discern the true role laid out for them by Nature in relation to their fellow beings, viz. to answer life’s great questions and clarify the laws and rules of life for other men unable or unwilling to do so for themselves, have a duty to pitch in and help prepare the means to re-format the State before a new breed of Freemasons and Illuminists does so the way their forebears did with the first great philosophical States (USA, etc.).
Away, then, with all Marxist-social Darwinist “materialist” balderdash that would reduce the philosophy of right and all doctrine to the status of mere “ideology”! When Leftists tell you that history is driven exclusively by “material” factors”, by unconscious biological processes and the physical properties of physical objects, and that doctrines are so much spurious “ideology” of no causal import in history- they mean your doctrine. Not theirs. (N.B. that indoctrination into their philosophy, such as it is, is actually mandated by public law, and the ability to subsequently recite it by rote a condition of social, economic, and political participation. There’s a reason for that.)
The Marxist-social Darwinist derogation of right as nothing but a spurious and superfluous ex post facto “ideology”, the mere afterthought of an ontologically primordial and self-sufficient irruption of pure power that has no real need of it, is a monstrosity. Information controls energy in any complex system, and intentional action never takes place independently of thought. And a rational animal doomed by Nature to think and to speak, and to do so incessantly, can realize his will only by way of linguistic signs, symbols, and propositions communicated to others; power can only be realized in, through, and as right. Power that is mute is mere violence. If some clown jumps you from behind on the street without saying a word, that isn’t power, but a mugging, a crime; whereas the Sovereign will have one of his officers order you to “stop in the name of the law.” And the chances are good that, once so ordered, you will. That is power. It follows that any State content to rest solely on force of arms, and that fails to find a foundation for its authority in rigorous systematic juridical science, in a comprehensive philosophy of right which grounds the will of the Sovereign in ordinances of Reason that flow from the Nature of things and are objectively and necessarily true for any thinking mind, stands in the same relation to one that doesn’t fail to do so as a neighbourhood street gang to the modern philosophical State, and for that very reason. Liberalism triumphed because it furnished its State with precisely such a doctrine- and the post-Liberal movement will prove fruitless and impotent without one.
The scientists and men of learning and letters, the “intellectuals”, have hitherto abused themselves greatly by getting themselves mixed up with atheism, materialism, Marxism, social Darwinism, and utilitarianism.
No doubt, doing so is what at first enabled the secular literati to successfully usurp the paramount place of the Church, the mother of the modern University and original imperatrice of secular learning. The intellectuals, trying to play lower against higher, exalted some other caste inferior to the clergy- and their own- as the rightful paramount caste: capitalists and technological innovators for the laissez-faire Liberals and Libertarians, blue-collar workers and later, racial minorities and deviant subcultures for the Socialists, soldiers and political strongmen for the Rightists. All of these secular ideologues simply assumed, as Brahmins by Nature do, that as an inexorable matter of course they themselves obviously would direct the rule of their pet subaltern caste discretely from behind the scenes.
But this strategy could not for obvious reasons end up in anything but utter self-defeat for the soi-disant intelligentsia, since the materialist doctrine professed by latter heralded and helped usher in a despotism of irreligion, Philistinism, and pragmatist anti-intellectualism in which “truth” is nothing but that which with tangible immediacy inflates the capitalist bottom line, the killing power of the State, and the political success of the NGO agenda. The intelligentsia itself is accordingly and ever-increasingly demoted from the exalted status of spiritual authority to that of so many under-paid and under-appreciated public and private subaltern employees and adjuncts of the State and the private corporation: various bean-counters, technicians, ad-men, copywriters, and mercenary propagandists, marketing consultants, hack writers of pulp fiction and comic books, and babysitters of students at Universities that have been re-purposed as day-care centres for young adults complete with toys and quiet time, and in any case increasingly left to rot and be devoured by a plague of self-serving administrators in much the same way as a swarm of termites eats up the rotting foundations of a decrepit old house. The bourgeoisie, meanwhile, outsources its need for spiritual authority to a crowd of strong independent women of colour, shrill undergraduates, HR officers and despots of the workplace, transvestites, and ultraviolent street trash, to whom the bourgeois entrust their morality, and who fiercely compete to prove their fitness for spiritual authority in holiness spirals. The holiness spirals grow more and more bizarre by the day, since their participants refuse as a matter of principle to allow Reason to serve in any kind of regulatory role with respect to either the contests or the new obligatory standards of public morality that issue from them- all thanks to the atheist and materialist doctrines that render all real doctors socially devalued, degraded, and ultimately, irrelevant.
The Devil is the father of all lies, and it follows that atheism and materialism are ultimately false consciousness for the caste of secular literati, no matter how much these false doctrines may advance its (illegitimate) ambitions in the short term. The true caste interest of this literati lies in the restoration of the Church to her rightful place of social paramountcy in an organic social order- a body in which the State is the head, the men of learning and letters the brain, soldiers the heart, the bourgeoisie the backbone, the broad masses the limbs, and the Church the vital principle that animates this body, integrates its sub-structures, and co-ordinates its functions, assembling its disparate and heterogeneous parts into the articulated unity of a vital system, a living organism writ large.
Post-Liberalism has to be understood as a religious turn in politics speaking to religious people first of all- a category that includes people who are inherently religious but don’t know it, i.e. the modern intellectual in general, every one of whom is, at heart, a spiritual authority, a Brahmin. But this doesn’t mean that everybody who is a scientist, writer, academic, etc. right now is called to become a priest and should rush off to enroll in seminary immediately. On the contrary. A secular intellectual isn’t the same thing as a clergyman, and the two have distinct and indispensable social parts to play in the coming post-Liberal period and the preparatory work to be done in the anticipation of its arrival.
The new philosophy of right may, in a certain sense, be thought of as the genetic code of the abovementioned new social super-organism, and secular intellectuals are, by dint of their place in the social structure, uniquely qualified to develop and propagate it. For the task of the new intellectuals, the new juridico-political theorists, is to look at secular events through religious eyes, and addresses secular affairs in a way that the Church per se cannot. The job of the Church, after all, is to administer rituals and sacraments, govern and administer the organization, tend to the flock, authoritatively interpret and explicate Divine law and propagate the Christian doctrine, and so on. At another end of things the job of politicians and businessmen is to secure the material conditions in which the Church can do its job, to see to it that the members of the flock are materially fed and protected, and to do so according to a strictly this-worldly orientation- one that, as we have seen, takes all the whys and wherefores as given. The post-Liberal movement is an intermediary level between the two and reducible to neither. It addresses itself to the secular-civic life at the level of its foundations. This enterprise is couched in a space of intersection between religion and the political, with its head in the sky and its feet on the ground so-to-say.
The job of the new post-Liberal intellectuals, then, is to develop and subsequently to propagate a discourse that is neither theology, nor policy wonkery, nor commentary on affairs of the day, nor academic historical and social science studies carried out for their own sake, but a protocol for implementing and operating a political apparatus and a legal system- one that is heterogeneous and self-sufficient with respect to Liberalism (which is not to say absolutely non-overlapping; not everything the Liberal tradition ever said and did was insane or depraved).
This new protocol must be fully conformable to Divine law and the Nature of men and things, but must also be fully competitive with, and indeed superior to, Liberalism at its very strongest- for the post-Liberal moment would all come to nought if any nascent post-Liberal State were simply overwhelmed and obliterated by holdout Liberal States, as certain hopeful alternative regimes of the 20th century were. The new scheme of things must also be workable, and need not and indeed should not aspire to be anything more than that- for post-Liberalism must avoid the error of its predecessor in seeing positive law and the State as the immanentization of Divine and Natural law (the phrase is von Haller’s) rather than as informed by the latter, and the concomitant descent into Utopian wishful thinking that the State can somehow abolish all human vice and imperfection in this life.
This labour of formation will be an enormous effort that will have to draw upon and synthesize material from all the extant specialized bodies of knowledge pertaining to Man. It will be a collective, distributed, and cumulative effort that will grow and mature over time, a fully-fledged tradition rather than the work of any one man. Thus probably the most important contribution anyone can make to bringing about a new and more fully human way of life to replace the dilapidated and moribund Liberal order is to have a direct hand in the process of laying down its foundations by studying, thinking, and then writing down what you’ve learned and what you think and communicating it to likeminded men for discussion, debate, and critique. For reasons demonstrated already, the new philosophy becomes a fully-fledged intellectual sovereignty and empire of the mind when disparate particulars are gathered together under general laws and principles that give them the unity of a kingdom of subjects united a Monarch; so if you have a talent for system building, and above all for synthesizing the competing ideas of others into such unified systems (by showing how they complement rather than conflict with one another, for example), then please please please put those skills to work in this endeavour.
Liberalism has already ran out of ideas and answers to its own big questions; the Liberal State continues to exist and to function, more or less, but it functions in an almost zombie-like and brainless fashion, as though reduced to automatism like a sleepwalker; and a philosophical Republic like the USA, unlike a purely territorial or military State, cannot simply generate legitimacy with money and arms alone. And the scatterbrained rants diverse SJWs and holy bubbleheads post on the likes of Tumblr and yell at passers-by in the streets, relying on the enforcement power of various censors and policemen to fill in missing premises and proofs when their absence is pointed out, cannot credibly surrogate for the likes of Leviathan, Two Treatises of Government, On Crimes and Punishments, The Spirit of the Laws, the Federalist Papers and their rejoinders, On Liberty, or The Philosophy of Right. If we can furnish the sort of rigorous, systematic, and encyclopedic answers to questions of right that this old Liberal tradition had, but which are presently condemned to obscurity and desuetude, and which loose-brained SJWs, shyster lawyers and rent-seeking grifters, half-literate journalists and political speech-writers recruited from their ranks, and spinelessly unprincipled politicians of either Party all cannot possibly provide- then the spiritual authority over the Republic escheats to us, and the people look to us for their guidance. This becomes more likely to happen to the extent that the budding new philosophy of right pervades online media. (Done with enough tact, class, and erudition, at least some of it could conceivably even get past the censor in normie opinion magazines and academic journals)
I am, however, by no means exhorting anyone to make a full-time job out of this to their own detriment. Man’s gotta eat and all. But existing moments of leisure are perhaps more edifyingly spent studying old books on law and the State (Liberal or otherwise) and thinking of and writing about alternatives to the present Satanic bugworld than it would be eating chips in front of the TV or playing video games. For what higher- indeed, what other- purpose could an intellectual possibly serve at this moment in the history of the West?
In a follow-up to the foregoing post I’ll try to suggest some starting points of my own for such a doctrine.
[This essay cross posted at Thermidor Magazine as “Moving towards a post-Liberal Theory of Right”.]