The general political and economic history we are taught focuses on forms of society over the functions that form represents. It teaches economic and political structures are primary and the forces they actually represent are secondary at best.
This creates a history and a politics that are at best really only a series of snapshots strung together in the semblance of a storyboard, or at worse a single blurred image, the import of which we endlessly haggle over with no hope of ever coming to a clear resolution.
If we accept this fragmentation of history and politics the best insight we can hope for is the pyramidal model of society that the ‘left’ and ‘right’ use.
The understanding we have of history and politics is not the result of unknowable abstractions, it is the concrete result of the most powerful forces in the society we live in. A fragmented and disintegrated political/ economic system inevitably produces a fragmented and disintegrated understanding of history and politics.
The disintegration of capitalist society we experience can be sourced to an elite – traditionally seen as the ‘top of the pyramid’, effectively drawing off a vector of wealth and power from society but not redistributing any of that wealth and power back.
Capitalism did not always do this, nor is it necessarily forced to this, but it has the tendency to do this. The potential to systematically and permanently vector wealth away from society to a specific elite differentiates Capitalism from all the other forms of society, contemporary and historical. It is what makes capitalism special.
Capitalism is a form of society where economics really can be separate from politics -an observation the left vehemently denies and the right celebrates but refuses to acknowledge the consequences of. But why does the ‘left’ deny this simple observation? Understand this and you understand the relationship between War, Welfare and Whiteism.
In the Divergent Split Stream Model the capitalist elite draws off wealth and power through the capitalist vector . (shown here). This wealth and power becomes increasingly INVISIBLE and UNKNOWABLE to the remaindered feudal integrated vector. For mainstream economics and politics (which are the province of feudalism), more or less the whole purpose of existence has become to try to understand what your elite is doing at any given time and hopefully to influence it.
Understanding the process of disintegration can give us historical insights into the motivations of the elite and their consequences for society as a whole.
At a crucial stage in its development, a capitalist elite is no longer automatically obliged to organise or defend the society they benefit from, symbolised by the moving out of military uniform that all capitalist elites eagerly undertake when they are able. I pointed out that kings and barons rise and fall with the redistribution systems they service. This is as true for contemporary feudal/integrated societies as for those that existed 500 years ago.
Capitalists are consciously ‘Independent’ when they no longer go to war to defend the society that protects and benefits them. Think about George Washington and the American War of Independence in this context. Think also about Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
At the time of George Washington, nascent Anglo Saxon capitalists in America were in the process of creating a new separate system of wealth accumulation and redistribution based on the wholesale theft of that continent.
If anything distinguished the emerging Saxon American system from its European counterparts it was the fact that it sought to be pure and whole. The Anglo Saxon American process was entirely one of transferring a territory and its wealth from one racial cultural group to another; there was literally nothing else happening in America at that time. Proto America understood itself to be entirely a redistribution system.
And everyone who benefitted agreed that the process had great potential. It became the American Anglo Saxon evangelical project to demonstrate to the world that such a thing as a society running with only a capitalist vector was actually possible!
Here is America’s specific claim to moral, political, and historical uniqueness in the world; Germanic Land Democracy that you can successfully run a society without a feudal/integrated vector. Damn the Pope! Damn the European hierarchy of Church, Nobility and Society! And Double Damn Noblesse Oblige!
Just as ‘The King’ is the personification of the feudal/integrated system so ‘The Individual’ is the personification of this Capitalist vector. Summed up in the truly bizarre Saxon cri de coueur : ‘The Englishman’s Home Is His Castle’. Feudalism and Capitalism fused together; Germanic land Democracy.
At the precise historical moment of Americas birth, two imperatives clashed in the person of George Washington. One moment he was required to act as feudal king fighting a war as guarantor and defender of a uniquely American redistribution system. The next moment he was President; a mere elected functionary.
Washington hovered between these two states of public (and internal!), being. As feudal king his purpose was to integrate American society, as President he was representing the interests of forces that were striving to create the first permanently disintegrated society.
If you doubt the feudal personification of Washington and the American elite, remember that they named America’s capital city after this single man. And they did it with straight faces and no hint of irony. Isn’t this the very essence of ‘primitive’ feudalism?
Now compare the American Continental War with the First World War which was the last time a significant section of European, (in particular continental German), capitalists were willing to actually fight and die for the society they were beneficiaries of. After the Somme there were to be no more trenches for the young men of these elites. It was this change in society more than any other that gave the Second World War its own character twenty years later.
In a bizarre mix of comedy and tragedy, German corporate bosses decided to hire a replacement mock-feudal military caste to stand in for them in the form of the Nazis, led by the corporal Hitler! Has there ever been such a catastrophic bungle by any social group in history?
The burgher market trader instincts of German capitalists gave birth to the most deadly set of consequences imaginable. Most horribly ironic of all, Germans clearly recognise their propensity for this kind of stupidity in the classic tale of the ‘Pied Piper of Hamlyn’. But they are doomed to go ahead and relive it anyway…over and over again.
So here are two Germanic elites and two very different stories. American Anglo Saxon and Continental German had to adapt to and adopt the necessities of feudal integration and both did so in very different ways. These were two nations at different times under existential threat from outside. The Anglo Saxon American revolutionaries took feudalism on wholesale, the Continental Germans tried to buy a ready made version of it off the shelf. The Anglo Saxons in America succeeded wildly and the Germans failed catastrophically. Neither outcome was happenstance.
The historical lesson here is that CAPITALISM ALWAYS NEEDS FEUDALISM to survive and develop. If Capitalism fails to harness the power of feudalism, it risks its own existence. You can‘t fake it as the German bourgeoisie found out to its cost…
Most exactly of all, Capitalism needs to construct a feudalist distribution sub system if the capitalist elite is to successfully disintegrate itself from society.
Who will administer society if the capitalist elite is off pursuing its own interests? On what basis, with what justification, will this administering body operate? Its only viable justification is the integration of society; the essence of feudalism
A bureaucracy must be formed representing a new relationship between oppressed and oppressor. Instead of paying money to the King who distributes it to his enforcers, you must pay the enforcers directly!
But this capitalist/feudal bureaucracy is different because of a third consequence of disintegration; the emergence of ‘social science’.
Social science is only possible and necessary when you want exact scientific knowledge of the ‘mass’ of people as a separate grouping. Enter the new capitalist disciplines of Sociology, Anthropology etc. In the universities and the colleges of the 18th and C19th the foundations of a new priesthood is being created.
By the time that the Split Stream Welfare Model is implemented the capitalist elite has effectively reproduced the pre-capitalist system but excluded the itself from it. In other words the elite has become truly ‘modern’ and ‘scientific’ by means of ensuring that the remainder of society is ‘primitive’. And every capitalist society since then is objectively judged to be successful to the extent that it manages to recreate a feudal system and visibly exclude itself from it.
Of course, we need a name for this new relationship between bureaucracy and society. We can hardly directly admit it is feudalism- that the brave new future we are building is fundamentally dependent on the past. So we give this state of affairs a new name to reflect its ‘social’ nature ; we will call it ‘Socialism’.
Now we can see where Germanic ‘class’ politics springs from- a concoction of feudalism, welfare and socialism (or War, Welfare and Whiteism if you prefer). This is the political structure that will support and illuminate the new redistribution system.
And so along with Washington and Hitler, vector history brings Karl Marx into focus.
Somewhat vain and self important but also brilliant, Marx was a rogue operator in the new emerging social sciences. Like an insufferably precocious pupil Marx constantly disrupts and irritates the lecturer with startling insights, speculations and guesses called out from the back of the class. Some of these catcalls were pinpoint accurate and some were horribly wrong.
But by effectively second guessing a whole raft of developments in the emergence of social science, rogue student Marx managed to disrupt the entire inaugural lecture. The carefully planned unveiling of ‘Social Science’ collapsed into chaos!
And it has never recovered..Is it any wonder the establishment regards him as they do?
It’s hard not to see young Marx as something of a Victor Frankenstein character (as in Prometheus), seeking forbidden knowledge, failing to heed the warnings of his teachers and ultimately heading for disaster.
And while we are about it; seeking to raise what was dead through the newly acquired power of science… Given what we know about young Mary Wollstonecraft and her antecedents, I think I can make an argument that the Frankenstein story itself is a metaphor precisely for the emergent scientific capitalist class bringing feudalism back from the dead.
This is Not America…
By the time America invaded Vietnam in the 1960’s none of its national elite or their children went to die in wars. And nobody seriously expected them to. This certainly gave the Vietnam war its very own peculiar nature. American society at large was well aware of the extent this change even if it did not understand the full significance of it. What this meant was that America and its elite, despite its peculiar development path was becoming more like the European states.
The documentary film ‘Best of Enemies’ records the televised debates in 1968 between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley Jr. and it happens to capture perfectly this moment of America’s final transition from ‘capitalist+’ to ‘capitalist-‘ society. As the publicity blurb for the documentary has it:
‘ Intended as commentary on the issues of their day, these vitriolic and explosive encounters came to define the modern era of public discourse in the media, marking the big bang moment of our contemporary media landscape when spectacle trumped content and argument replaced substance’
To make it absolutely clear: The Nixonian/ Neo Con movement as espoused by William F Buckley jr that emerged in the late 1960’s is a welfare system just as its liberal counterpart espoused by Gore Vidal was. It’s specific argument is that welfare should be constructed in such a way as to benefit white Anglo Saxon society and particularly white working class Anglo Saxons at the expense of other sections of American society. In other words it seeks to exclude some sections of society to more clearly cohere the remainder around a specific identity.
It is no coincidence that Nixonian welfare centered on the Moral Majority emerges precisely when the elite begins to very consciously disengage (as in the Vietnam war) from American society. The project is to then put in place a comprehensive new welfare system that society will rely on to maintain cohesion. Buckley and Vidal are arguing over what the nature of the new sub system feudal welfare system, (LBJ’s The Great Society), will be.
It is every bit as consciously redistributive as so called liberal or socialist opponents. Its difference centres on who qualifies. And who qualifies will be decided by which version of the history of America becomes the dominant narrative.
From this perspective the animus between the two antagonists comes into clear focus. It is no accident that both are populist disseminators of American history. It is no accident that their central argument revolves around what the content and meaning of American history is.
If Thine Eye Offend Thee..
And now we can finally move towards a rational explanation for what seems totally irrational oxymoronic Neo Conservatism: It is America’s admission that it needs feudalism in some form if the elite is to successfully disengage. But in this admission America’s previous strength is revealed as a weakness because it has no feudal backstory to hang its welfare state on. It is going to have to invent one.
This is the opportunity for ‘right wing’ public intellectuals like Buckley and Irving Kristol to prove their worth. We can explain how Neo Conservatism can draw together an establishment WASP like Buckley and an ex ‘Trotskyist’ like Kristol within the context of American politics. On the surface their political trajectories would appear to be irreconcilable. But if we understand that their shared struggle is not to re-formulate the future but the past, many of the apparent contradictions evaporate.
Both Kristol and Buckley realised that in the creation of Neo Conservatism, their shared purpose was to try to find a way to create a vision of the past and to present it as the future; feudalism as welfare. The inspiration of Neo Conservatism is to accept the practical reality of the need for feudalism, while publically denying it with all your might. In a moment of clarity Kristol realised that feudalism/integration was essentially what his Trotskyist Socialism had been about all along.
From this perspective we can see that the Cold War arguments over whether communist Russia was more advanced than USA is really an internal argument about the future of America. America is projecting its hopes and anxieties onto Russia and later Japan and China. Because now the American elite continually gazes upon feudalism with fear and a kind of sick desire. They are painted into a corner. They are all turned around.
This has reached some kind of crisis point with Islamism. The modern Protestant welfare society finds itself powerless to launch an all out attack on feudalism. How can it? It will be cutting its own throat. No matter how much it is offended it cannot put its own eye out or cut off its own hand.
Disintegrated history and politics experiences its dislocation and confusion through the medium of past, present and future. Whenever the West tries to describe an alien society it does so in terms of primitive or advanced etc. The West is permanently confused as to whether China is modern or backwards. Or modern and backwards. Or whether it is going forwards or forwards and backwards at the same time.
The West looks for markers of ‘modernity’ like mobile phones or gay marriage. If you have a modern mobile phone network but not gay marriage is your society modern or backwards? Was Iran becoming more modern or less modern when it overthrew the Shah of Iran? Is the Arab Spring a leap forward or backward? Was Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood progressive or regressive? Confusion multiplies and reigns.
Something like this happened with astronomy. Retrograde motion is an observed phenomenon in astronomy in which planets appear to move ‘backward’ across the night sky. Of course, this is impossible, planets can no more move backward in space than societies can move backwards in time. Retrograde movement is the consequence of planets with relative trajectories seeming to accelerate at different speeds. They are all going forward in perfect order, it is just that from one point of view it can seem as though they are not.
When a model of the solar system was put forward that more accurately mirrored reality, all the confusion disappeared. Soon astronomers were able to predict the whereabouts of any given planet at any given time. It happened when they realised they could not calculate correctly with the earth as the centre of the system. The same thing must happen now with Anglo Saxon societies. The world does not revolve around them. History does not revolve around them.
Societies can appear to move backwards but of course they don’t really. They are all progressing forwards we just have to find a model to explain how. Vector history can do that. The key is to identify or restate a problem in a way no one has before and offer a solution. That is what I have done here.