Sunday, October 22, 2023

The Rise Of The Middle American Radicals (MARS)

About forty years ago the hard-right columnist and political theorist Sam Francis began to devise a new framework for understanding power in modern America. Francis accepted as true James Burnham’s argument that a “managerial revolution” had superseded the old class struggle between labor and capital and resulted in a new human type, the “managerial class.” To this Francis added an idea borrowed from the sociologist Donald Warren, who in The Radical Center: Middle Americans and the Politics of Alienation (1976) described men and women who might today be called “populists” (or “deplorables”) as “Middle American Radicals,” or mars. Francis recognized them as the population left behind and disenfranchised by the accumulation of power in the hands of the managerial elite. The class conflict of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, as he saw it, was between the mars and the managers.

"Managers" have mutated into Bureaucrats and the Administrative State. 

The article goes through a some attenuated history of how we moved from monarchy to "Democratic Oligarchy" over the last couple hundred years. It is worth reading. 

The new capitalist class that rose to prominence in society beginning in the nineteenth century was itself informed by Christianity—many of the great industrialists came from Dissenting Protestant backgrounds—and recognized the value of religion for instilling habits of hard work and honesty among the laboring masses. That Christianity promised a heavenly reward that would more than compensate for economic disappointments in this life also helped to defuse any revolutionary resentments among the masses.

Yet one element in the new industrial society was acutely uncomfortable with all of this. These were the heirs to the Enlightenment philosophes who had hated the Church for its moral authority over their lives. John Stuart Mill, perhaps the most important of these nineteenth-century spiritual revolutionaries, wished to be free not only of the Church’s power but also of its prestige.

Christianity worked to create a productive cohesive society, but it had those pesky morals! Mill and others figured out that the way to win was via "education" ... they needed to make Christianity and Conservatism "stupid" -- and they did. 

Conservatism from Peel and Disraeli to Thatcher and Reagan rested on three social foundations: the patriotism of the masses, the enduring cultural hegemony of Christianity, and the business community’s need for mass-based conservatism as a protection against the threat of socialism. Today the business community feels little threatened by socialism; economic nationalism and Christian morality are a greater nuisance as much of corporate America is concerned. Christianity’s cultural hegemony is over. And the national masses no longer exist. In their place, business interests and political progressives now import multinational immigrant populations. The educational establishment, meanwhile, encourages immigrants to see themselves as members of victim groups who should feel aggrieved rather than grateful toward the nation that has accepted them.

America has had many divisions in the past, but even in the Civil War both sides read the same Scripture and spoke the same language. Immigrants in earlier times were encouraged to identify with the nation’s history and its Christian, English-speaking majority. And in the epoch of the industrial masses, there were economic interests that could unify whole regions and classes, if not quite every region and class at once. Shared economic interests now tend to be more diffuse, with great divides between the educated and uneducated and between the financial elite and the educated but not very wealthy sub-elite.

Four types of "conservatives" are identified.   

  • The Restorationists - believe in a return to the industrial economy and a Christian culture is possible. 
  • The Nihilists - They don't have a plan, they just hate where we are. 
  • The Withdrawalists - Essentially "The Benedict Option
  • The Accomodationalists - They live in the suburbs, worship success and Wokeism 

The author goes with the Restorationalists as the most likely path forward, with DeSantis and Trump being the best available leadership for this ilk. As the county chair for DeSantis, that is where I am. I voted for Trump twice, but believe "he fought the swamp, and the swamp won". He is the walking dead politically, and likely physically if the Administrative State believes they can get away with it. They see him as a "clear and present danger", which he would be if the Administrative State was not as dominant as it is. 

To some degree, sitting here in total fly over Iowa, I'm praying for Restoration, but suspecting Benedict. 


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