Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The classic political theories of socialism, capitalism, and anarchism are unrealizable

By Denis G. Rancourt

Three brilliant political theories on how to optimally organize and maintain society's economic and power structures were described by Karl Marx, Adam Smith, and anarchists such as Michael Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin, which are, respectively:
None of these models can result in a stable large-scale society because spontaneous creation and growth of dominance hierarchies will always occur, and the resulting dominance hierarchies continuously consume or destroy all the groups, associations and institutions that might enable democratic frameworks and islands of liberty.

The classic models can never be permanently implanted. At best, these political theories serve solely to provide tentative guiding principles to organize and actuate the constant push-back against the dominance hierarchy's always-increasing attacks that target individual freedoms, communities, and free associations.

The same political theories (including anarchism) also serve to construct the useful illusion -- maintained by the institutions, the service intellectuals* and the propaganda -- that a fair system is achievable, and that we are not simply played in a violent and oppressive hierarchy of dominance.

If we understand that there is no ultimate victory, that there will be constant assaults against the individual and community, and that political theories are merely potentially useful conceptual aids in combat against the voracious monster that is the occupying dominance hierarchy, then we can best choose how to utilize elements of the classic models in our active struggle for freedom and meaning.

But the most useful model of all is the realization that there is a constant systemic driving force towards a more authoritarian and more powerful societal hierarchy of dominance, and that its target is the individual (and authentic communities) precisely because the essential element of push-back against hierarchical encroachment is that very individual, which naturally seeks liberation and meaning.**

That is why, from the perspective of the rulers, the individual must be incapacitated [see video, below, and note**]. The main project of the occupying hierarchy of dominance is to constantly neuter and align individuals, and not allow authentic communities or competing internal hierarchies to arise. The education and wage-employment systems are the main components of this control, with the law-and-order instruments as the main "corrective" apparatus.

Freedom seekers would benefit from not limiting themselves to any particular textbook ideology, in favour of a realistic understanding of the nature of human societies, which always proliferate dominance hierarchies, to the limit of available technologies. The undeniable reality on the ground must inform our actions, rather than any particular theoretical idealization. Ideals and values, yes, but canned invented systems of wishful idealism, no.

*The meaning of the term "service intellectual" was introduced here: "Gradual Change is not Progress" by Denis G. Rancourt, Global Research, May 3, 2006, http://www.globalresearch.ca/gradual-change-is-not-progress/2377
**Rancourt, Denis G., "Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism", Stairway Press, 2013. https://fightagainstracismbook.wordpress.com/


Levantine said...

As I finished reading the text, I imagined walking to the nearby university, walking to the nearest service intellectual and telling him:
A canned invented system of wishful idealism is what you promote.

The service intellectual responded like this: What do you mean by that? You said those theoretical models are brilliant.* Now…

Me: I prefer a realistic understanding of the nature of human societies.

The SI: As opposed to Marx’s “unrealistic imaginings about socialism"? (Of which he scarcely wrote anything?) Is that what you call ‘brilliant’? …. What is your _point_, actually?

Me: Well, this is just an exercise of my personal creative powers. I’m pretty sure that experience is a far more robust teacher than books, tutors and educational institutions can ever be.

The SI: I’d say that the rate of human progress through history corresponds with the progress made in _communicating_ experiences. It looks as if the former was largely influenced by the latter.

(I’m ending the imagined talk now.)**

Reading your article, I also notice the phrase “hierarchy of dominance,” at once so abstract and often repeated, gives the text an air of ideology.

Thanks for your friendly criticism of well-meaning works. It’s oh-so-rare.

(* the starting words of the article)
(** What I had in mind is well articulated by what I wrote. As is the dialogue unresolved and ambiguous, so are my thoughts, so are usually all people's thoughts.)

Denis Rancourt said...


Hahaha, finally, proof that at least one person read my article. I thought the title would be an attention-getter but turns out it's a turn off. Oh well.

Ya, I struggle with the best way to communicate "hierarchy of dominance"...? Class structure? Power structure? It's more that those relatively limited concepts... It relies on inter-strata connections both up and down the hierarchical pyramid... I develop this in my book in several directions...

Thanks for the comment.