MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Not an Election, a Plebiscite on the Social Order – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on October 29, 2020

Even if the “something else” were to conquer electoral politics, the last institution on their long march, and regain power in 2021, the result would not be a New World Order, but chaos. There would be no reigning ideology to replace the traditional principles of God, law, nature, and rights.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/10/mark-sunwall/not-an-election-a-plebiscite-on-the-social-order/

By Mark Sunwall

In 2020, there is no excuse not to vote. I completely understand the Anarcho-libertarian view that all politics is corrupt and voting corrupts even the voter. However 2020 is something more than a political choice, it is a plebiscite on the direction which society will be taking henceforth. A plebiscite is a referendum on the fundamental unit which will comprise the body politic. For example, a colony may vote to federate with its motherland, or to strike out as an independent nation. The etymology of the term is interesting, for it indicates a broad electorate is required to legitimately found or abolish a state. While special issues might be decided by a restricted electorate, even the “plebs” (a Roman word for “the deplorables”) should have the right to decide what country they will be obliged to live in.

This would all be clearer if the American people were being offered a referendum worded: “Should the United States surrender its sovereignty to a New World Order.” But of course this would be putting too fine a point on the matter, and one would instantly get called out as a “conspiracy theorist”…as if there were something wrong in theorizing about conspiracies. The reality is more complex than geographical aggregation can describe, but the choice remains stark. It is a choice between two quite distinct principles of social ordering, as embodied in two increasingly polarized constellations of institutions and ideologies. I would like to say that it was a choice between two religions, but here again the complexity and asymmetry of the conflict precludes equivalent terms.

Let us just say this is a conflict between the remnant of all the old traditions and values of humanity and a “something else.” To paraphrase Yeats, this “something else” is “slouching towards Bethlehem” and desperately wants to be born as a new and reigning religion, yet remains thwarted by its own internal contradictions. It thinks it has already conquered its adversaries, that it has completed its long march through all the institutions, and furthermore any resistance to it is treason since for decades it has legitimized itself through a “living constitution.” Now in 2020, as in 2016, a penultimate barrier has been thrown up to its progress by insouciant plebs and their quaint notions of electoral politics.

Even if the “something else” were to conquer electoral politics, the last institution on their long march, and regain power in 2021, the result would not be a New World Order, but chaos. There would be no reigning ideology to replace the traditional principles of God, law, nature, and rights. This is not because they lack ideas. Ideas and ideologists abound, but there is no common denominator. What do technocrats and Marxists, let alone their allied tribal and utopian cults, have in common except a common enemy? Unfortunately for the non-religion of “something else” the common enemy is reason itself, which would make their victory even more bitter than their defeat. In place of of the Socratic dialectic of truth-seeking and common accord, that staple of liberal Western society, they espouse a neo-Hegelian dialectic of force, futurity, and forgetting. Possibly, these titans of tomorrow might feign coherence if their discordant intersectionality could be papered over using a strong unifying label. Yet strictly speaking, “progressive” denotes little more than forward motion in time, a condition which hardly requires consensus. A better fit for the “something else” would be “fascist” which originally conveyed the image of rods bound together with nothing but constricting bonds of force. Unfortunately the devotees of “something else” have already, and quite unjustly, projected that term on to their adversaries.

Against the tantalizing transcendence of the “something else” the best the traditionalists have to offer can be summarized in Dr. Michael Savage’s phrase, “Borders, language, and culture.” I will be the first to admit a degree of dissatisfaction with this slogan. It doesn’t quite “immanetize the eschaton” to my fondest fancy. Taken as first principles, the trinity of borders, language and culture seem overly restrictive and rather lacking in imagination. Yet they are the notes of a concrete social life such as anthropologists have observed over the course of human history. They may not be the final end of life, in this world or beyond, but they are a solid foundation to build on. To the extent that they can be preserved, hopefully we can muddle on to better and brighter things. However if we reject them, we also reject “nature and nature’s God.” The alternative is unlikely to involve finding a new religion, a “something else”…rather it means stepping into the abyss of an unknown futurity.

So please do consider voting, even if you have to bend a few libertarian scruples.

The Best of Mark Sunwall

Mark Sunwall [send him email] studied Austrian economics at George Mason University and now teaches Rhetoric and Social Science at the University of Hyogo. He is an Adjunct Scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

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