Warning: this article lies on a metapolitical and ideal level, and not on a programmatic and political level. It was first published on « Counter-Currents Publishing. »
The obsession of liberals [libertarians, either “classical liberals” or “anarcho-capitalists”] with condemning economic or cultural Marxism is a dead end. Saving Western civilization requires the wisdom to identify, the courage to name, the true contemporary enemy of the West: cosmopolitanism. Cultural Marxism is a sluggish expression, which may at best designate Gramsci’s doctrine that Marxists must, before attempting the Revolution, achieve cultural hegemony; as for economic Marxism, which is only a way of designating communism and planning, it subsists at the margin. Cosmopolitanism is the ideology promoted by the “global superclass,” according to the expression popularized (if not initiated) by Samuel Huntington: the world superclass consists of a transnational network of uprooted and denationalized people, whose gestation dates back at least to the beginning of the 20th century and whose constitution accelerated with the fall of the Soviet bloc. This article aims to elucidate the conceptual relations between liberalism [libertarianism] and cosmopolitanism; and will outline the contours of a new variety of liberalism: a liberalism simultaneously directed against bourgeois nationalism and against cosmopolitanism.
Definition of cosmopolitism
By cosmopolitan ideology, one must understand, here, the ideology that rejects humanity divided into nations. As such, cosmopolitanism condemns the particular mode of organization that characterizes a nation, which confers on a group of individuals the identity and the unity of a nation. That mode of organization is the following: a relative genetic homogeneity, as well as cultural; a chain of social and juridical ranks that goes back to a sovereign political authority (i.e., the supreme authority within the government); a territory that is covered by, and which limits, this hierarchical and homogeneous organization. Cosmopolitanism attacks the sense of territory and therefore borders, by forbidding governments to defend nations against indiscriminate free trade or free immigration. It also attacks the juridico-political hierarchy of a nation, in advocating the sole income and occupation inequalities, or in defending a world government. Finally, cosmopolitanism condemns the genetic and cultural differences between nations: not content with advocating the relativism of values within each nation—the abolition of moral boundaries enacted within them—it praises the leveling of races and cultures.
It is a mistake to believe that the cosmopolitan elite cultivates the ideal of a humanity reduced to its animality. The ideology of the world superclass abhors, very precisely, these fundamental instincts of human nature that are the territory and the domination, the identity and the adventure, which are so many distinct expressions of the aggressiveness coded in our genome. The ideal that cosmopolitanism cultivates is actually that of a humanity in which the instincts of territory and identity, and thus the attachment to frontiers, are no more expressed; and of a humanity in which the instincts of adventure and domination, and thus the taste for competition and war, are no more expressed. A humanity deprived of its national and cultural rooting, but also, more fundamentally, of its biological rooting, that is the horizon of cosmopolitan ideology. In the field of values and moral boundaries, let us point out that the cosmopolitanism of the world superclass diverges from the pur et dur cosmopolitanism, in that the ideology of the world superclass counterbalances the call to ignore moral boundaries (on behalf of individual emancipation) with the concern for preserving and establishing the typically bourgeois values.
Although the concept of “cosmopolitanism” was brandished for the first time by the Cynic philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, it is far from being evident that Diogenes (and in his wake, the Stoic philosophers) understood cosmopolitanism in its current sense of an ideology preaching the relativism of values and the leveling of races and nations. It may well be that cosmopolitanism in its classical sense was only the philosophy that everyone belongs—on a moral and bio-cultural level—to a given nation, and in a “spiritual” sense, belongs to the entire humanity as well: such a conception does not mean the rejection of nations. Be that as it may, what will concern us here will be cosmopolitanism as it is understood (and set up) by the world superclass; and it will be liberalism envisaged in its relation to the cosmopolitanism of the world superclass: a cosmopolitanism that advocates bio-cultural leveling and a certain moral relativism, but which remains attached to these properly bourgeois values that are the hegemony of economy, contempt for virility, the materialist approach of reality, and puritanical or feminist moralism.
The three faces of the equalitarian utopia
For the overwhelming majority of them, liberals (be they academics or simply followers of the liberal philosophy) refrain from denouncing cosmopolitanism and envision Marxism as the only enemy to fight: what is more, they indulge in cosmopolitanism at various levels, whether or not they use the term cosmopolitanism; and whether that ideological rally is conscious on their part or is so natural that it goes unnoticed in their own eyes. Is that situation the sign that liberalism is culminating into cosmopolitanism: in other words, that cosmopolitanism constitutes the logical outcome of liberalism; and that the endorsement of cosmopolitanism among liberals is, therefore, neither accidental nor contingent (but responds to a conceptual necessity)?
Before we answer, it is not useless to highlight the kinship of liberalism, socialism, and cosmopolitanism: those three ideologies (or philosophies) are ultimately the three distinct manifestations of the same egalitarian ideal. Indeed, liberals, socialists, and cosmopolitans are enemy brothers, animated by a common passion for equality; even though it is a faith, an ideal, that they decline in three distinct ways: universality of law for liberals, equality of incomes for socialists, the leveling of races and nations for cosmopolitans. Let us add that liberalism, socialism, and cosmopolitanism—as they have unfolded since the French Revolution—also converge in their common adherence to the hegemony of economy in the scale of values. Such hegemony is not a wishful vow on the part of egalitarian ideals: as rank inequalities were dissipating (in accordance with the liberal ideal of equality in law), economy has gradually lifted itself—since the Revolution of 1789—at the summit of Western values; on the same token, the welfare state has gained ground (in accordance with the socialist ideal of economic equality), and cosmopolitanism itself has finally contaminated the intra-national mores and the relations between nations.
Let us be clear about what makes the singularity of each of the three heads of the equalitarian hydra. The universality of law—or the equality of human beings with regard to the rules of law that must apply to them—serves as the fundamental value of liberalism: the essential propositions of that philosophy always boil down to some justification or affirmation of the value of equality, understood in its legal sense of the equal freedom of all and of the equal escape of all from coercion (towards their life and their goods). For socialism, it is equality in an economic sense, income equality and central planning, which serves as a fundamental value; and for cosmopolitanism, it is equality taken in a biological, cultural, and “communitarian” sense: the equality of men in the sense of their biological and cultural indifferentiation, and in the sense of their non-belonging to another collective than Humanity. That everyone be culturally and racially identical, and that no one be a member of a nation within Humanity; that everyone be a member of Humanity considered as a collective in its own right (and that he be a member of that collective only), and that the individual be released from the values and moral boundaries that his affiliation to one or other nation assigns to him; that be lifted everything which “thwarts” and separates individuals, that is the egalitarian creed of cosmopolitanism.
From classical liberalism to anarcho-capitalist cosmopolitanism
In its chemically pure form, so to speak, liberalism merges with an anarchism that respects private property—and, in particular, the private ownership of the means of production. Knowing whether the “truth” of a doctrine lies in the extremist, radical branch of that doctrine or in its moderate, “pragmatic” branch, is an insoluble problem: it is a matter of arbitrary consideration, of “subjective preference,” to decide whether the authentic meaning of a doctrine lies in what its radical branch affirms (instead of what its moderate branch affirms). Therefore, it would be futile that we ask whether anarcho-capitalist liberalism is “truer,” more “authentic,” than so-called classical liberalism. But it is not vain to determine whether integral liberalism, in addition of being anarchist, is also a cosmopolitanism (out of logical and conceptual necessity). We will see that anarcho-capitalism only makes to exacerbate the cosmopolitanism already present in classical liberalism.
The classical liberalism, that of John Locke, Adam Smith, JB. Say, Mill father and son, Robert Torrens, Frederic Bastiat, Yves Guyot, Ludwig von Mises, or Friedrich A. von Hayek, does not only affirm its attachment to equality in law, or universality of the rules of law: it promotes an extended division of labor and praises the entrepreneur as the one who coordinates the division of labor (on the basis of his anticipation of the fluctuations in demand), spurring the allocation of factors in anticipation and in the direction of the long-term equilibrium (where capital is allocated in such a way that entrepreneurial decisions have correctly anticipated the priorities now displayed by the demand for consumption or investment). Anarcho-capitalism lies in the vein of classical liberalism, except that it rejects the “minimal state” promoted by classical liberals; and that it calls for privatizing (and opening up to competition) the regalian functions, to put an end to the state’s legal monopoly on the use of force to sanction the rule of law.
The greatness of classical liberalism (that culminates into anarcho-capitalism) lies in its double demonstration of the superior productivity of the extended division of labor; and of the need for the free market—and a fortiori the free market for capital goods, in the absence of which there can be no anticipation and no calculation on the profitability of allocation decisions—to coordinate the division of labor in the direction and in anticipation of the optimal satisfaction of the demands for consumption and investment. The mediocrity of classical liberalism lies in its contempt for the warlike spirit, and in its pacifist ideal which degrades human nature, as it is true, as Hegel knew so well, that “the movement of the winds preserves the waters of the lakes from the danger of putrefaction, which would plunge them into a lasting calm, as would do for the peoples a lasting peace and a fortiori a perpetual peace.” Let us note that the pacifism of classical liberalism has remained a wishful thinking to this day; and that the West after the Revolution of 1789 did not see war disappearing, but only the warrior spirit: we will return to this subject later.
As much anarcho-capitalists as classical liberals, by the very necessity of their doctrine, indulge into cosmopolitanism, which, let us recall, is defined (in its complete form) as follows: it advocates the inversion (or the abolition) of moral boundaries, the abolition of political boundaries, the leveling of races and nations. While classical liberalism merges with a relative cosmopolitanism, anarcho-capitalism merges with a more pronounced cosmopolitanism. While classical liberalism affirms the existence of nations, and nonetheless promotes the indiscriminate opening of borders to goods and to migrants (in the name of the ideal of a division of labor whose scope transcends political boundaries), anarcho-capitalism denies or condemns the existence of nations themselves. The reason for that animosity lies in the fact that anarcho-capitalism draws all the implications of equality in law, which is tantamount to saying that it aspires to an equality in law that be perfect, “die-hard.”
Classical liberalism, as it accepts the state, accepts a first infringement of equality in law: officials and taxpayers, indeed, do not see themselves judged by the same rules of law (in the sense that the former are exceptionally empowered to live on coercion and to enjoy privileges such as, for example, the more extended right to strike, very advantageous pensions and health care mutuals, or guaranteed employment). However, classical liberalism does not only accept the state, it accepts the state within a national framework: it accepts the state as it covers the territory of a given nation, federated by a relative cultural and genetic homogeneity; in spite of notable exceptions, including that of Mises, classical liberalism does not promote the disappearance of national states in favor of a world state. As such, in addition of accepting the inequality in law between civil servants and taxpayers, classical liberalism accepts the inequality in law between domestic residents and foreigners. Anarcho-capitalism does not even want those two infringements of equality in law: the only inequalities that it considers legitimate are the inequalities of income and profession, any inequality in law becoming ipso facto guilty in his eyes—including the distinction between the official and the taxpayer, and that between the national resident and the foreigner.
Concerning the relative cosmopolitanism that characterizes classical liberalism, and the adherence to a world government that makes the originality of Ludwig von Mises within classical liberalism, this passage from his treatise Liberalism is quite clear. “The metaphysical theory of the state declares—approaching, in this respect, the vanity and presumption of the absolute monarchs—that each individual state is sovereign, i.e., that it represents the last and highest court of appeals. But, for the liberal, the world does not end at the borders of the state. In his eyes, whatever significance national boundaries have is only incidental and subordinate. His political thinking encompasses the whole of mankind. The starting-point of his entire political philosophy is the conviction that the division of labor is international and not merely national. He realizes from the very first that it is not sufficient to establish peace within each country, that it is much more important that all nations live at peace with one another. The liberal therefore demands that the political organization of society be extended until it reaches its culmination in a world state that unites all nations on an equal basis. For this reason he sees the law of each nation as subordinate to international law, and that is why he demands supranational tribunals and administrative authorities to assure peace among nations in the same way that the judicial and executive organs of each country are charged with the maintenance of peace within its own territory.”
Anarcho-capitalism condemns the distinction between the official and the taxpayer, as well as the distinction between the national resident and the foreigner; without being integrally cosmopolitan (and favorable to moral relativism or bio-cultural leveling), anarcho-capitalist cosmopolitanism is therefore a much more asserted, much more radical cosmopolitanism than is classical-liberal cosmopolitanism. In practice, one cannot but notice that there exists—in addition to those cosmopolitan tendencies that flow from a conceptual necessity—a very strong propensity of anarcho-capitalists to deny the existence of aggressive instincts, as well as that of races and cultures; and to condone, or even encourage, cultural leveling and miscegenation. And this on the grounds that there would only exist “individuals”—to understand: individuals who are not only born tabula rasa and undifferentiated, but who have no other social link than the division of labor and trade, the genetic and cultural links of the nation being denied in particular. Such an approach deserves, in our opinion, the qualifier of “liberal Lysenkoism” [“libertarian Lysenkoism”]; it is found among anarcho-capitalist but also hybrid liberals: those rallied to the minimal state (or minarchy) of classical liberalism and nevertheless seduced—like anarcho-capitalists—by the ideal of the racial and cultural leveling.
From the national-liberalism of 1789 to pseudo-nationalist anarcho-capitalism
It is allowed to conceive of “chemically pure,” radical liberalism as an egalitarianism which recognizes as legitimate the sole economic inequalities, i.e., income and occupation inequalities. Some, among anarcho-capitalists, however claim to defend the nation and to develop a system that reconciles the preservation of nations with the universality of law: such is the case of Murray Rothbard, Hans Hermann Hoppe, or Bertrand Lemennicier. We will witness that those claims are null, and that such a version of anarcho-capitalism is only a pseudo-nationalism. Nevertheless, there is indeed a liberalism that reconciles the ideal of the nation, the rejection of all forms of cosmopolitanism, with equality in law, or universality of the rules of law; and that liberalism is none other than that having inspired the Revolution of 1789 and the posterior European nationalisms.
We have seen that classical liberalism affirms the existence of nations and advocates that they cultivate pacifism and free trade: that they reject warmongering for the benefit, not only of peace, but of a division of labor that nothing limits and which extends beyond the frontiers; where men and capital circulate without the slightest restriction. The national-liberalism (or nationalist liberalism) of 1789, which serves as the matrix of the various European nationalisms of the 19th century, differs from classical liberalism on the question of free trade and free immigration: it does not intend, unlike classical liberalism, to open borders to goods and people without any discrimination. It is also distinguished from classical liberalism on the question of pacifism: Napoleonic imperialism and the conflict of 1914-1918 constitute the purple epiphany of the warmongering inherent in bourgeois nationalism.
The national liberalism of 1789 combines the ideal of free enterprise with that of a perfectly unified nation, i.e., deprived of its intermediary bodies and of its rank inequalities. It intends to exacerbate the national sentiment so that the feeling of belonging to some nation henceforth arouse a greater pride than that of belonging to some caste or class within that nation; it also intends to erode the traditional inequalities of status so that the nation only know inequalities in income and in profession, and that individuals be reduced to mere cogs in the division of labor. Besides, the national-liberalism of 1789 promotes a greater cultural homogenization: for example, in combating regional dialects and in imposing the use of a single “national language;” it can even promote the unification (into a single nation) of a geographical area being composed of culturally and genetically related nations, Italy and Germany offer us two eminent examples of such unification.
On all those points, apart from the forced unification of a region (into a single nation), and from the forced cultural homogenization, the national-liberalism of 1789 lies in perfect convergence with classical liberalism; their model of the nation is rigorously the same: namely, that of a bourgeois nation. The disagreement deals, let us recall, with the question of free trade and of free immigration, as well as the question of pacifism. As Vilfredo Pareto invites us to do, it is always worthwhile to distinguish between the “residue” and the “derivation,” the feelings that an ideology expresses and the supposedly logico-experimental varnish that covers them (often in disguising them). In fact, the national-liberalism of 1789, which claims its attachment to equality in law, comes to legitimize a society that does not ignore inequality in law, but only intermediate bodies (between the government and the individual); and where inequality in law takes such a form that the dominant class, juridically and politically, is henceforth the bourgeoisie—by reason of the erasure of the intermediate inequalities in rank in favor of the sole economic inequalities. The national liberalism of 1789—like classical liberalism and even anarcho-capitalism—proposes to defend the bourgeois order, the commercial society, under the guise of a mysticism of equality.
There exists a version of anarcho-capitalism, qualified above as pseudo-nationalist, which claims to be a liberalism taking into account the nations and intending to preserve them. The anarcho-capitalists of that kind are, in truth, just as hallucinated on that question as those, among anarcho-capitalists, who openly claim to reject the nation. The anarcho-capitalism à la Hoppe conceives, in more or less explicit terms, of the nation as an association based on property right—and on the basis of property right only—; in other words, it envisions the nation as a vast co-ownership on which the state would be grafted at hoc. The sympathy of nationalist liberals—in the sense of the national-liberalism of 1789—towards that variant of anarcho-capitalism stems from the condemnation of free-immigration formulated by the authors who adhere to the argumentation of Hoppe. While supporting free trade, the indiscriminate opening of national borders to goods, they claim that the indiscriminate opening of those same borders to human flows violates property right.
The inanity of such a conception of the nation cannot be overestimated: in the real world, national boundaries are not enshrined by the owners themselves, but by the governments; and the nation, still in the real world, is no more a fantasy used by governments (to legitimize their authority over a given territory) than it is a private association of co-owners. Getting out of the anarcho-capitalist chimeras, it is very largely to hold the nation for what it is: a space federated by a given pecking order, thus a certain juridico-political order; by a territorial instinct which is expressed as much among the owners “at the bottom of the social ladder” as among those—bourgeois or aristocrats—who compose the ruling class and the state administration; by a relative genetic homogeneity; and by a relative cultural homogeneity: a common worldview, a certain canvas of memes. In fine, wanting to rebuild nations on the basis of property right constitutes a modality of cosmopolitanism.
For an introduction to the theory of pecking orders, one may consult Howard Bloom’s interview for the Gatestone Institute: “Research on pecking orders—known technically as dominance hierarchies—has gone on now for roughly a hundred years. Schjelderup‑Ebbe, the naturalist who observed this “dominance hierarchy” in a Norwegian farmyard, called it the key to despotism. Schjelderup-Ebbe had discovered that in the world of chickens there is a social hierarchy, a division into aristocrats and commoners—a lower, middle and upper class. Pecking orders also exist among men, monkeys, lobsters, and lizards. And the struggle for position in a pecking order is not restricted to individuals. It also hits social groups.”
For an introduction to meme theory, Howard Bloom’s interview is also worth the detour: “As genes are to the individual organism, so memes are to the social organism, or superorganism, pulling together millions of individuals into a collective creature of awesome size. Memes stretch their tendrils through the fabric of each human brain, driving us to coagulate in the cooperative masses of family, tribe and nation. […] In law, politics, and economics, individualism is a personal credo of great importance. I, for one, am a passionate believer in free speech, democracy, and capitalism. But to scientists, the obsession to place emphasis on the individual has been a chimera leading them down a dead‑end path. History, either natural or human, has never been the sole province of the selfish individual, essentially preoccupied with preserving his genes. For history is the playfield of the superorganism—and of its recent step-child, the meme.”
Concerning the argument that a free immigration policy is incompatible with respect for property rights, and therefore incompatible with anarcho-capitalism, that argument constitutes more a rhetorical trick, a “derivation,” than a logico-experimental reasoning. Indeed, it implicitly assumes that the nation constitutes a club or a co-ownership, where the decision to authorize (or refuse) the entry of migrants is made by the coalesced owners (or the gathered members of the club). Yet that is a manifestly false conception of the nation (which is no more a club than it is a co-ownership); and on the basis of such a premise, one could just as easily argue that free trade violates property rights and therefore anarcho-capitalism, on the grounds that a policy opening up the nation’s frontiers to goods denies the right of the owners to decree which goods are allowed or not to cross the boundaries of their properties.
Free immigration and free trade must be limited, not in the name of a properly understood anarcho-capitalism, but in the name of the rejection of the cosmopolitanism inherent in classical liberalism and in all forms of anarcho-capitalism. Liberalism must be counterbalanced, limited by “civilizational” and geopolitical considerations: in this respect, it should be reminded that the invasion of cosmopolitanism in Western nations is only the culmination of a process of subversion of the civilization which began with the abandonment of the warrior and sacerdotal culture—and with the advent of the commercial (or bourgeois) society. Classical liberalism has been involved in the march of cosmopolitanism, in the sense that it has accompanied free trade and free immigration; for its part, the national-liberalism of 1789 has been involved in the march of the commercial society (without neither classical liberalism nor anarcho-capitalism coming to intellectually oppose bourgeois society, and to take the defense of the Indo-European tradition).
The national-liberalism of 1789 in the face of the Indo-European tradition
The Indo-European tradition, which some people present as Tradition tout court, is the tradition of a tripartite and hierarchical organization of society, where the sovereign function (which relates to the spiritual sovereignty of the priesthood and to the political sovereignty of the sovereign) takes precedence over the military function, which takes precedence over the productive and reproductive function. The authority to decide on “spiritual” and otherworldly issues is up to the magi (who compose the sacerdotal aristocracy); and it is always with the sole magi that this authority lies. As for political power—which includes the power of command and decision, as well as the authority to decide on secular issues—it always lies with the sovereign and with a warlike aristocracy; warriors sometimes share the political power with magi, but the supreme authority (on a political and potentially spiritual level) is always up to the sole sovereign—by reason of his presumed deity and wisdom. For their part, merchants and workers find themselves subservient—by their inferior position in the tiering of ranks—to the warlike and sacerdotal aristocracy; it is worth specifying that depending on the society envisaged (within the Indo-European world), the castes prove more or less interpenetrated: thus the Italy of the Renaissance saw noble-bankers and priest-soldiers emerging.
The juridico-political enfeoffment of the economic caste to the magus and to the warrior is traditionally accompanied with a twin primacy of sacerdotal and warlike values (or functions). The national liberalism of 1789 set up a reversal of the Indo-European tradition by placing the productive function at the top: it follows from it the enfeoffment of the warrior and of the magus to the bourgeois; the marginalization of the sense of honor (in favor of a sacrificial conception of heroism); and the advent of a materialistic way of life, which denatures the human being. The overthrow of the Indo-European triad (in favor of economy) means, not the decrease of self-sacrifice, but actually the replacement of the Indo-European warlike ethos (i.e., singling out oneself and fulfilling oneself through war) with the sacrificial ethos of the bourgeois nations (i.e., anonymizing oneself within the mass of soldiers dead for mother country). Besides, far from encouraging the global outburst of instincts, the hegemony of economy thwarts these basic instincts that are territory and identity, domination and adventure; and requires the hypertrophy of the economic instinct, that which leads us to seize opportunities of trade and production. Such hypertrophy goes against the instinctive behavior of man, for whom identity and territory, adventure and domination matter—naturally—more than material enjoyment.
Nowadays, the defense of warlike heroism is most often accompanied by a sacrificial conception of the heroic ideal: the “hero” is perceived as the one who is ready to die for society (the nation, the fatherland, the Republic); and who forgets, denies his individuality, standing aloof from any selfishness in his conduct. That conception, stemming from Christianity and celebrated in bourgeois democracies (as well as in totalitarian regimes), diverges completely from the idea that “pagans” had of heroism in the ancient world. Far from sacrificing himself for society, the hero, the warrior, composed the ruling and dominant class: it was the society that sacrificed itself for the hero, and not the other way around, in the sense that the social organization was designed for the benefit of the warlike and sacerdotal aristocracy. Besides, war was valued and perceived, not as a way of self-denial, but quite the contrary, the way of a supernatural fulfillment for the individual: a way for him to divinize himself in the eyes of other men and to see his exploits sung in an eternal glory. The clairvoyance and the sorcery of the magus were regarded as another modality of the supernatural fulfillment: another mode of deification of the individual. Bourgeois materialism—by which one must understand a state of mind mocking and refusing the warlike spirit (or warlike ethos), and denying the reality of magic and that of suprasensible intuition—has won the spirits as bourgeois nationalism was extending its grip over the Western world.
Not content with rejecting (intermediate) inequalities of law, and advocating the sole income and occupation inequalities (under the aegis of the state), the national-liberalism of 1789 indeed advocates a materialist and sacrificial conception of existence, according to which the individual must renounce an honorable life—i.e., his heroic accomplishment—and devote himself to the sole enrichment, his own and that of the nation; besides, the individual is allowed, and even encouraged, to satisfy his “personal interest” on an economic level—the well-understood economic interest of individuals being supposed to coincide with “the interest of the nation”—but he must also be in a position to set his life at stake on a military level. While war in a traditional society is either the work of the warlike nobility and of mercenaries, or that of a conscript army that respects and incorporates rank divisions, conscription is an inevitable trait of the bourgeois nation. As bourgeoisie dethrones the sacerdotal and warlike aristocracy, and rank inequalities dissipate (in favor of the sole economic inequalities), war becomes the business of all: on the same token, the heroic ideal, the supernatural self-affirmation through war or clairvoyance, is devalued; and it is expected from war that it will henceforth be the path of a self-denial, the path of sacrifice “in the interest of the nation.”
The mediocrity of classical liberalism, as seen above, consists in its pacifism: the mediocrity of the national-liberalism of 1789, which has nothing to do with a pacifism, stems from its sacrificial conception of heroism. The transition from a warlike and sacerdotal order, such as the France of the Old Regime, to a bourgeois order does not mean that bellicosity dissipates, but that the warrior is now subordinated politically and morally to the bourgeois—even in the specific case where the sovereign authority lies with a personality stemming from the army—; and that the warlike function is devalued in favor of the productive and reproductive function. In other words, warlike heroism henceforth comes as sacrificial heroism; and the sense of honor, the chivalrous spirit, of the warlike aristocracy is abandoned in favor of the materialistic moralism of bourgeoisie. The Napoleonic wars, far from giving rise to an ultimate resurgence of the warlike culture of traditional France, have precisely enshrined the bourgeois order and the abandonment of the warlike ethos (in favor of the cult of self-sacrifice for the Nation): they have enshrined the bourgeois-democratic culture. Let us remember what Carl Schmitt wrote on this subject, in The Nomos of the Earth: the Jacobins “decried the classic interstate war, purely military, of the 18th century as a cabinet war of the Old Regime and […] rejected as a matter of tyrants and despots the liquidation of the civil war and the limitation of the external war accomplished by the state. They replaced the purely state war with the people’s war and the democratic mass uprising.”
The national-liberalism of 1789 is therefore a nationalism which breaks with the Indo-European tradition, and which subverts the traditional hierarchy of functions and ranks. It combines the ideal of free enterprise and of an extended division of labor with the ideal of a bourgeois nation: in other words, a nation where inequalities of law and income take such a form that the so-called bourgeois class (i.e., the “merchants” in the broad sense: entrepreneurs, capitalists, executives, consultants, bankers…) is now the dominant class; and where the moralism—Vilfredo Pareto proposed the phrase “virtuism”—and the materialism associated with the bourgeois class serve as reference values. Italian Futurism, which culminated into Fascism, was certainly revolted against bourgeois society and its moralism: “We want to demolish museums and libraries, fight moralism, feminism, and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice,” wrote Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. To the extent that Soviet nationalism and Hitlerian nationalism—but also Fascist nationalism in its definitive form—will, in turn, subordinate the warlike function to the productive and reproductive function, those nationalist socialisms lie in the lineage of the nationalist liberalism of 1789. They combine the ideal of the collective ownership of the means of production, and of central planning, with the ideal of a proletarian nation: it is no longer the bourgeois, but the proletarian, who subdues the warrior (at least on a symbolic and moral level).
Nazism is certainly a socialism, but it is a socialism where class consciousness is dissolved in favor of race consciousness; and where the mystique of the proletariat blends into a larger mystique of work. The moral (if not juridico-political) allegiance of the warrior to the proletarian remains incontestable, and shows how the socialism of Nazi Germany was a socialism of the rupture with the Indo-European tradition. The subordination—in Hitlerian imperialism—of the warlike function to the productive and reproductive function was announced and described in these terms by Ernst Jünger, in The Worker. “The armed defense of the country is no longer the obligation and the privilege of the sole professional soldiers, it becomes the task of all those who are likely to bear arms. […] On the same token, the image of the war, which represents it as an armed action, is blurred more and more in favor of the much broader representation which conceives of it as a gigantic process of work. In addition to the armies fighting on the battlefield, new kinds of armies are emerging: the army in charge of communications, the one responsible for the supply, the one that supports the equipment industry—the army of labor in general.”
Further precisions on heroism and bourgeois society
With regard to the precise symptoms of the hegemony of the productive function in contemporary Western society, it has been commonly argued that this hegemony implied the predominance of the “utilitarian” lifestyle associated with the merchant; and the dissipation of the “heroic” way of life associated with the warrior. To begin, the distinction between the hero (seen as the one who is ready to die for others) and the merchant (seen as selfish and calculating), developed by Werner Sombart, does not stand up to scrutiny. The traditional hero is the one who performs exploits, i.e., exceptional deeds singling him out; and who exhibits a territorial and adventurous, identity and domineering will that he proves able to accomplish and channel. Only the hero in the modern sense, the hero as defined in bourgeois nations, is the one who dies for others: Achilles is ready to die, but for the singularization of his existence and the immortality of his name. Whether in fiction or in History, many heroes have been merchants, the emblematic example remaining to this day Cosmo de Medici: the noble who rose to the top of Florence by virtue of his skill in finance; and who founded a dynasty of Tuscan rulers. It goes without saying that in defending heroism in the traditional and pagan sense, we do not intend to discredit acts of generosity in society, including the devotion of the saint and that of the mother.
At first sight, it may seem paradoxical to denounce the virtuism of bourgeoisie, while celebrating the warlike spirit of the great captains of industry: in fact, the “bourgeois” who applies a chivalrous code is bourgeois only on an economic level; morally and psychologically, he is a warrior, a kshatriya. The soap opera “The Young and The Restless,” very popular in France, features a businessman cultivating a warlike (or Nietzschean) morality, Victor Newman, in the puritanical and sententious environment of Protestant America. It cannot be denied that the “will to power,” understood as the simple act of aspiring to hegemony in society, is common to bourgeois and warriors; on the other hand, the “will to power,” understood as the will, and the capacity, to set up an assertive and fighting character and to exhibit a conquering and virtuous intelligence—virtuous in the sense of the Machiavellian virtù—is proper to warriors (and to the “bourgeois” who have a warlike soul). The hegemony of merchants in contemporary Western society means the hegemony of a class whose will to power cannot be denied if taken in its first sense; but who lack manliness and the sense of honor: in other words, the will to power taken in its second sense.
In bourgeois society, the primacy of economy over sovereignty and war does not mean that a strictly utilitarian way of life (i.e., unconcerned with the idea of dying for someone or something) predominates; that primacy does not mean, either, that the instincts of human nature are unleashed, and that man regresses to the animal stage. As economy takes over, a way of life impervious to the warlike ethos (i.e., the ethos consisting in accomplishing oneself and singling oneself out in war) becomes predominant, which does not mean that this mode of life becomes utilitarian; and that war disappears accordingly. Besides, the economic instinct (i.e., the instinct that leads us to seize opportunities of trade and of production) is indeed solicited as economy becomes hegemonic; but it is solicited against the aggressive instincts (i.e., territorial and domineering, adventurous and identity), so much so that it is a properly counter-instinctive way of life which is finally solicited—the human animal privileging naturally and instinctively the satisfaction of his aggressive inclinations (for dominance and territory, identity and adventure) rather than of his “peaceful” inclination for economy. Those are the true symptoms of the hegemony acquired by the productive function in the contemporary Western world.
It is to the anthropologist and philosopher Robert Ardrey that we owe the remarkable elucidation of man’s prioritized needs: territory and domination, but also identity (i.e., knowing and proving who we are, experimenting and seeing recognized the uniqueness of our personality) and adventure (i.e., leading an exhilarating life, a meaningful life). It is true that those aggressive instincts very largely dictate our consumption choices—for the good reason that in the enjoyment of material goods itself, aggression matters more than material comfort (i.e., the comfort of a roof and of a supplying in food and in clothes). It is true that Promethean growth (i.e., based on the domestication of nature through coal and nuclear industries) and modern capitalism (i.e., entrepreneurial, financialized, and globalized) have allowed consumer goods to satisfy the aggressiveness of the masses as never before: let one think of the social status afforded by the only possession of an iPhone or of a luxury watch; or the adventure offered by an opus of the video-game saga “The Legend of Zelda.” The fact still remains that as such, economic life—and a fortiori consumption—can only in an unfinished and indirect manner satisfy the aggressive instincts of man; and that those instincts (i.e., territory and domination, adventure and identity) actually prove thwarted, not answered, as economy takes the ascendant in the scale of values.
Besides, the hegemony of economy towards war does not only mean that on the battlefield, the warlike ethos (which does not fail to resurface among soldiers) is scorned; the primacy of economy means that the warlike ethos is despised in the realm of war literally, but also in the field of economics—and in these softened and derivative forms of war that are entrepreneurial or financial competition. A society that has become completely hostile to heroism does not praise more the business Kshatriya than it admires and protects the soldier who lives according to a warlike ethos: from the soldier, it expects that he be ready to die for the homeland (instead of singling himself out and looking for the thrill of blood and adventure); and from the entrepreneur, that he make profits (instead of “dreaming” himself as heir to Alexander the Great). The contempt for military and economic heroism characterizes the hegemony of economy; and that contempt culminates into the importance taken by diplomas in the contemporary Western society, the culture of the diploma ensuring the access of devirilized individuals to key positions in companies, governments, and state armies. It can be argued that the culture of the diploma has enshrined the spiritual and moral hegemony of the Vaishya towards the Kshatriya.
Some people welcome the decline of violence that—despite the Terror and the Great War—accompanied the rise of bourgeoisie and the break with the Indo-European tradition: the pacification of Western society would be the gift of bourgeoisie to the world. Yet the consubstantial violence of traditional Indo-European societies was a sign of their vitality—the sign that the circulation of elites was ongoing, and that the struggle for life (of which the struggle for pre-eminence is only a derivative form) was doing well. The gradual pacification of the white world after coming out of the Renaissance should not be interpreted as progress in every respect. To a large extent, the decline of intra-Western violence means the decline of the white world’s elites, for it means the decline of these traditional ways of ascent that are war and the Florentine virtù; it means the highlighting of the diploma and of entrepreneurship among the processes of selection of elites. As the circulation of elites is pacified, the selected elites emerge more and more emasculated and less and less heroic—for our greatest misfortune in front of the invaders from Africa and the Middle East. When it is not simply humanitarian cowardice that motivates the elites of Western nations to let terrorists and non-indigenous settlers prosper with impunity on European and American soil, they behave as emissaries of the world superclass: for whom the “great replacement” of the white man (i.e., the European or American Caucasoid) is a clearly established goal.
Towards a new national-liberalism: territorial-aristocratic liberalism
May one conceive a nationalism that combines the ideal of free enterprise and of an extended division of labor with the warlike and sacerdotal order on which Tradition is built? We will try to show that yes, such a nationalism is conceivable; and we will outline the contours of that radically new doctrine. Beforehand, we must specify that we make ours the distinction of Julius Evola between an aristocratic nationalism (based on the warlike-sacerdotal aristocracy and on a heroic and supernatural conception of existence) and a plebeian nationalism (based on equality and materialism). Within national-liberalism, we believe that the same distinction declines itself between a national-liberalism of the plebeian kind, that of the French Revolution, and a national-liberalism of the aristocratic kind: the one we defend and which is biding its time. Under the common category of national-socialism, Soviet and Maoist nationalism can be subsumed as well as Hitlerian nationalism; and national-socialism itself is only a modality of plebeian nationalism.
In its new and aristocratic version, national-liberalism approves the prosperity and the “recognition” of merchants, while rejecting their juridico-political and moral hegemony: it rejects the enfeoffment of the warlike function to the productive and reproductive function; and intends to restore the primacy of warlike and sacerdotal values in society, as well as the juridico-political hegemony of magi and warriors. In addition, it defends property right and modern capitalism, of an entrepreneurial, globalized, financialized, and “digitized” kind: it intends to preserve the forms of Tradition in the context of modern capitalism. Such nationalism rejects any form of egalitarianism, including the universality of law (which serves, let us recall, as the fundamental value of liberalism); to the extent that this nationalism affirms its attachment to free enterprise and to the extended division of labor, and recognizes the true value of the coordinating role of the entrepreneur (who adjusts the division of labor in an optimal direction), it is all the same allowed to consider that doctrine as a liberalism—a borderline case of liberalism. Since that liberalism defends the nation, therefore the territorial instinct, and defends the rank inequalities constitutive of the Tradition, therefore the warrior-sacerdotal aristocracy and the instinct of domination, it is permissible to baptize that doctrine: territorial-aristocratic liberalism.
While the national-liberalism of 1789 combines the ideal of free enterprise with the rejection of castes (intermediate between the state and the individual), and with a materialistic and egalitarian conception of human life (which rejects the supernatural ends and which devalues the magus and the warrior for the benefit of the merchant), territorial-aristocratic liberalism simultaneously preaches free-enterprise and the return to castes and to a “traditional” system of values. Far from denying race, the national-liberalism of 1789 recognizes the bonds of blood on which the nation is built; more precisely, it rejects the distinctions of rank within the nation, and thus rejects caste consciousness in favor of mere race consciousness. That state of mind culminates into the “racism” of 1789 towards warlike nobility, who sees itself conveniently likened to a foreign race. For its part, territorial-aristocratic liberalism advocates race consciousness, but also caste consciousness and the restoration of a sacerdotal and warlike nobility; nevertheless, it remains attached—like the national-liberalism of 1789—to free enterprise and to the extended division of labor. Besides, it denounces hard ecologism and promotes Promethean growth: that which does not rest only on the extension of the division of labor, but on the emancipation of human productive powers towards the cycles of nature—an emancipation which is the work of the exploitation of fossil and nuclear energies.
Man as territorial-aristocratic liberalism envisions him is not this puppet of the theory of a Hume or a Hayek, who pursues his “private interest” (an expression which, in their theoretical framework, insidiously designates the pursuit of material well-being), in deliberately and calmly cooperating with others in the framework of universal rules of law. Man as territorial-aristocratic liberalism envisions him is fundamentally aggressive: first and foremost, he is territorial and domineering, adventurous and identity-minded, and not concerned with his material well-being. Besides, that new liberalism sees man, not as a calculating agent whose conduct is deliberate at every moment and peaceful, but as an agent most often taking decisions under the effect of impulsions of emotional (or residual) origin; and only giving a rational appearance to his actions, through non-logico-experimental derivations. In accordance with such an anthropology, territorial-aristocratic liberalism cannot hold society for this famous “spontaneous order” dear to the heart of Friedrich A. von Hayek: that muddy expression refers, in fact, to a juridically egalitarian order, where the struggle for the status is eclipsed in favor of the sole economic competition.
Society as envisaged by the new liberalism is necessarily organized around a pecking order, a hierarchy of castes—be it a hierarchy which ignores the intermediate ranks—; and never around universal rules of law. But while rejecting formal egalitarianism, the universality of law, territorial-aristocratic liberalism does not accept castes without social mobility: without a system of free competition for status. Besides, it intends to preserve the identity of the peoples, and does not forget that a relative genetic and cultural homogeneity, as well as a common territory, are an integral part of the social link; and that one cannot boil down everything to the division of labor and to commerce. If so many anarcho-capitalists indulge into “multiculturalism,” it seems that this is due to the fact that conversely, they represent to themselves the division of labor as the cement of society; and that they consider that genetic and cultural proximity plays a secondary, or even insignificant, role in socialization processes. Besides, they deny the territorial instinct; they therefore imagine that all kinds of heterogeneous races and cultures can cohabit peacefully within the division of labor established on a given space.
Let’s talk about the state. Its vocation in territorial-aristocratic liberalism is not to guarantee an egalitarian right (i.e., universal freedom), nor is it to administer economy or to redistribute incomes. The state, as territorial-aristocratic liberalism wants it, presents itself as the guardian and the summit of a hierarchy of castes opened to social mobility; that hierarchy subordinates (on a juridico-political level) merchants to warriors and to magi, while warriors and the sovereign (unless he himself stems from the sacerdotal caste) are “spiritually” subordinated to magi. In this way, the state brings form and harmony, “a differentiated and hierarchical order of dignities” (according to the formula of Julius Evola), to a multitude which pre-exists it; and that proves relatively homogeneous on a genetic and cultural level. In this way, too, the state puts into practice the two laws (dear to Robert Ardrey) that life in society renders necessary in all vertebrate species: the inequality of ranks (in favor of the juridico-political domination of the “alphas:” warriors, magi, and the sovereign); and free competition for status—instead of an automatically hereditary perpetuation of ranks.
Besides, territorial-aristocratic liberalism is fully open to consumerism and to technological innovations. It envisions the cosmos as an active entity, striving relentlessly towards order and complexity, and the human being as a catalyst for cosmic creation; it believes that the cosmos mandates man to perpetuate and multiply the creative gesture of nature—and this notably through the accumulation of capital and the provision of new goods and services for the masses. Territorial-aristocratic liberalism considers that a nation can prove both “consumerist” (in the sense that it pursues the enjoyment of consumer goods) and faithful to Tradition; cultivator of virile and supernatural values; anxious to maintain the connection with the spiritual realm. While defending traditional heroism (or pagan heroism) against sacrificial heroism, it sees in heroism an attribute of the productive function, and not only of the warlike function: it believes that it may from time to time emerge an entrepreneur who possesses the warrior spirit. Not content with praising the men who build a commercial or financial empire, it promotes the enthronement of the great samurais of finance and of the great captains of industry among the ranks of warlike aristocracy.
Further precisions on territorial-aristocratic liberalism
In the end, our liberalism is archeofuturist in the sense that it conciliates warlike society and consumer society; hegemony of the magus and prosperity of the merchant. With the overthrow of the Indo-European triad, the magus lost his spiritual authority for the benefit of the bourgeois; the moral authority henceforth lies with bourgeoisie, who seeks advice from the magus, soliciting his gifts of clairvoyance for the smooth running of business. Our liberalism, which re-engages with the spiritual order and breaks with bourgeois materialism, is a liberalism of the Indo-European tradition; it intends to restore the traditional aristocracy, which consecrates the moral and juridico-political primacy of the magus and of the warrior over the merchant. Our liberalism also prohibits itself from intervening in the choices of individuals with regard to pensions and health care, with the sole exception of exceptional prophylactic measures to be taken in the case of a serious pandemic; besides, it believes that education must respond to warlike and aristocratic values while leaving the bosom of the state, at least in its funding.
Some additional clarifications deserve to be brought on globalization. The inequalities of law associated with the society prior to 1789 amounted to exceptional laws for the benefit of the warlike and sacerdotal nobility, which existed within nations and sustained links of solidarity beyond nations. The contemporary inequalities of law amount to exceptional laws for the benefit of the bourgeoisie (who has taken control of governments through the dissipation of intermediate rank inequalities); but also, for the benefit of a small number of companies and banks, whose executives compose what has been judiciously called a world superclass: a class that sits above the nations. It would be wrong, however, to conceive of those inequalities of law (in favor of the world superclass) as consubstantial with the phenomenon of globalization: the grip of the world superclass is an accidental feature of the globalization as we live it; and not its necessary visage. Territorial-aristocratic liberalism intends to restore the traditional inequalities of law and to couple them to globalization: it is not a question of restoring those inequalities against globalization.
Quite often, the denunciation of “globalism” and of the “reign of merchants” proceeds from the vilest petit-bourgeois resentment: behind the moralizing speeches against Starbucks, KFC, Volkswagen, Sony, Amazon, or Apple, one can guess the second-class entrepreneur jealous of the power of multinationals. In reality, multinationals represent a danger—for the nation—so long as they behave as the agents of influence of cosmopolitanism; but they are by no means harmful in the cold pursuit of their economic interests. It is sound, and even imperative, to counter the cosmopolitan lobbying of multinationals; it is insane to denounce the strategy of multinationals to apportion activities on a global scale: specializing the regions of the world according to the comparative advantages does not harm, but benefits, the prosperity of nations. Far from deploring the power of multinationals, territorial-aristocratic liberalism knows that the power of a nation implies a hegemony that be economic not less than military and cultural: it is hardy outraged that the firms an ambitious nation gives birth to conquer an international market; implement subsidiaries around the world; grant favors from foreign governments.
Concerning protectionism, territorial-aristocratic liberalism recognizes that the facilitation of trade between nations, which amounts to facilitating the extension of the division of labor (across borders), as well as the coordination of the division of labor (via the entrepreneurial reallocation of capital across borders), necessarily benefits consumers. It recognizes that this advantaged situation of the consumer means the mutual enrichment of nations engaged in free trade; nevertheless, it knows that it is not true that this mutual enrichment implies that the gains of free trade are also mutual on a geopolitical level. If openness to free trade allows the enterprises of a foreign nation to gain the upper hand over the enterprises of the nation adopting free trade, or the foreign labor force to replace the labor force of this same nation, then there is actually a balance of power which is established. Free trade is always a positive-sum game from the point of view of consumer enrichment; it is very often a zero-sum game from the point of view of the hegemony of the nation. A wise government must seek the right balance between free trade and protectionism: it must ensure the enrichment of the consumer without losing sight of economic hegemony. It is quite legitimate to quote the wording of Voltaire: “To be a good patriot is to wish that one’s own community should enrich itself by trade and acquire power by arms; it is obvious that a country cannot profit but at the expense of another and that it cannot conquer without inflicting harm on other people.”
A word on currency. Applying the teachings of the Austrian School of Economics, territorial-aristocratic liberalism abstains from entrusting the monopoly of the issuance of money to a single organ such as the central bank in its present sense. It ensures the free competition and circulation of currencies in a strict concern for respect for property right; it can nonetheless entitle the state to ban the currencies disrespectful from private property, which unveil purchasing power, distort the production structure, and generate dysgenic behaviors. It can also entitle the state to mark of its seal the currencies allowed to circulate, without the state having to intervene in the process of production, exchange, and circulation. For this reason, territorial-aristocratic liberalism favors any currency such as gold or silver (without introducing a bimetallic system) in order to clarify in the mind of the nation that money, by reason of its character as a means of exchange and store of value, must be of a very particular and ethical nature because it coordinates production, exchanges, and the temporal preferences of individuals; for this reason, it must obey a principle of relative rarity and of very high quality. The practice of the fractional reserve by the banking institutions will be prohibited; banking regulations will be abolished to return to commercial law and to private law in the strictest respect for private property; counterfeiting will be severely punished by law.Bas du formulaire
The enterprise of subversion of the city, which began with the overthrow of the Indo-European tradition (in favor of the advent of the commercial society), finds its apogee in contemporary cosmopolitanism. Classical liberalism has genuinely encouraged that cosmopolitanism, while the bourgeois takeover has accompanied the implementation of the ideals of 1789. Saving the identity of the West, and of France in particular, is through edifying a new national-liberalism: a national-liberalism which is not limited to defending the nation against cosmopolitanism; but that, besides, reconciles free enterprise and the extended division of labor, as well as “Promethean growth,” with the defense of the traditional nation, its warlike and sacerdotal order, against bourgeois society and against the modern nation. Some paths were submitted.
An independent scholar, Grégoire Canlorbe has conducted numerous interviews with economists and social scientists—for academic journals such as Man and the Economy, founded by Nobel-Prize winning economist Ronald Coase—; and with a wide range of renowned personalities like Yves-Saint Laurent’s co-founder and former president Pierre Bergé, Greenpeace’s co-founder and former president Patrick Moore, or former Czech head of state Václav Klaus. Canlorbe also works on a conversation book with sociologist and philosopher Howard Bloom about mass behavior in the universe, from quarks to humans.