My fundamental thesis is that the history of the last 500 years is the shift in rule of most societies from rule by a hereditary military aristocracy and their descendants to a commercial elite and their descendants. We are told this has been the transition from superstition, ignorance and arrogance to enlightened, rational rule and the partial truth of this is what has allowed it to go on for so long. How much longer can this last?
The hereditary military aristocracy had a fairly long run as systems go. It lasted from around the 700’s (not coincidentally, the rise of Islam) to around the 1600’s. It was based on the military value of the mounted knight, who needed years of training and huge amounts of money to buy and maintain armor, weapons and horses. In the feudal system, the king gave control over some land and the right to the income derived from it so he would have time and money to train and equip himself. In return for this he pledged to the king a certain number of days per year of military service, maybe a month or so. Usually this position would be passed along to his son.
The professional warriors would spend their days riding, hunting, jousting, possibly in some other sports that would improve and maintain their fighting skills. The peasants worked in the fields. If you were a peasant this wouldn’t seem like such a good deal. There were many peasants and few knights, so theoretically a revolution was possible. But the poor never lead revolutions. They are too tired. The knights made the situation more palatable by behaving well (chivalry) and occasionally dying gory deaths. An idea that the nobility were smarter and better than the small middle class, who were smarter and better than the peasants, was promoted everywhere. The bumbling peasant who needs wise leadership from a gentleman warrior is a figure of drama and literature from Shakespeare to Kurosawa.
The end of the mounted knight is credited largely to gunpowder but also to the revival of the phalanx by the Swiss and others. The Swiss became a powerful military force with their disciplined phalanxes of foot soldiers wearing no armor and carrying 21-foot long pikes. The point and ferrule were three feet long, so anyone approaching the phalanx would be skewered before he could cut off the head with a sword, so as long as the pikemen stayed on their feet and in ranks they were invulnerable to attacks by horsemen and most foot soldiers. The Swiss were so successful with this they became in high demand as mercenaries, the origin of the Vatican’s Swiss Guard. Gunpowder made the phalanx as well as the knight obsolete, but Switzerland is today as independent as it is possible for a country to be in the global system. The phalanx is a powerful image of unity, adopted as a symbol of such by Spanish nationalists in the 1930’s, just as Italian nationalists of the era adopted the better-know symbol of the fasces.
The pikemen didn’t need armor, which is very expensive, or horses, which are very expensive not only to buy but to feed. They didn’t need the extensive training necessary to effectively use a sword or lance on horseback. They didn’t the possibly theatrical individual bravery of the single combat warrior. What they needed was iron discipline to stand shoulder to shoulder. If they could maintain that no one with edged weapons could defeat them and they even had a chance against single-shot firearms.
The Swiss pikemen didn’t need professional warriors trained from boyhood by their fathers and others on estates supplying them with the income for armor, horses and swords to lead and fight for them. They led and fought themselves. As the Reformation came to Switzerland, a clergy trained from boyhood in ancient and esoteric languages and texts became optional as well- you could buy the book yourself and read it in your own language.
The Swiss phalanx then is superficially an image of democracy. Superficially, because you can’t take a random selection of humans and make a phalanx out of them. Nevertheless, the idea that bravery and discipline were limited to a certain class had been dispelled. If common men could defeat men of status and pedigree in battle, what else could they do?
This process picked up steam in the Industrial Revolution. Non-aristocratic but intelligent without the authority of the nobility or clergy discovered many new things. Common men could perform many functions beyond simple farm labor. The future seemed to belong to nations that could use the great mass of their people, not just the few. Napoleon created the first great nationalist army in France. The Royal Navy took middle-class men and made captains out of them, and grabbed men off the streets or out of the fields and made sailors out of them, and took control of the world’s oceans. The Dutch created a huge trading empire ranging all the way to Indonesia. Manufacturing went from a process conducted in small family-operated shops by craftsmen who jealously guarded their knowledge and skill to a mass activity employing a larger and larger portion of the population.
The nations of southern and eastern Europe did not participate in this process to the same extent, although ironically some made it possible. Other than Spain and Portugal, they did not have access to the Atlantic and thus world trade. They were debilitated by the fight against Islam. Northern and western Europeans were free of this scourge because southern and eastern Europeans had stopped its advance and driven it back in Spain and Austria. The world trade that enriched England and the Netherlands was made possible by the voyages of Vasco de Gama, who found a sea route to Asia around the southern tip of Africa, broke the monopoly of Arabs on trade between Europe and Asia and made the Arab world economically irrelevant until the discovery of oil there. Germany was late to the game as well, not uniting politically until 1870, but pursuing nationalism aggressively in the 19th century.
Nevertheless the English- in America as well as England- developed a sense of superiority, centered largely around the non-conformist Protestant fear and contempt for Catholic and Orthodox religion. The idea that “Nordics” were inherently superior became especially current in the immigration debates in the late 19th and early 20th century in the US. (As we know now from genetic studies, the English are mostly Celtic and only have Germanic ancestry in small numbers in the male line.)
Certain ideas that had reigned for hundreds of years by the late 19th century reached a tipping point at that time. For a long time the ideas that science and reason were better guides than tradition, that the old nobility had little or limited credibility to lead, and that the common peasant could be transformed into something greater with education had paid great dividends to those who practiced them. Tradition and the nobility lost their last bit of prestige in World War I, and the progressives were firmly in control. The idea that any subset of people were superior seemed to be gone forever. The doctrine of what Moldbug calls “Human Neurological Uniformity”, as opposed to the Sailerian concept of “Human Biodiversity”.
Because these ideas are the basis of progressive rule, rather than traditionalist or nationalist rule, to question them is to question the legitimacy of our government, and this is not permissible. Questioning things is of course the basis of scientific and rational rule, but this paradox is one of the things you aren’t supposed to notice. The shock conservatives have expressed over the Richwine affair is that the guy was a Harvard PhD, for crying out loud, and his ascension was approved by high-level Harvard professors. His dissertation was a separate thing from the Heritage Foundation study and the material within only part of its assertions, but it certainly provided the intellectual foundation for it. Harvard is the Vatican of the Cathedral. Its intellectual imprimatur validates almost everything the system thinks and commands.
The early progressive skepticism about southern and eastern Europeans is used to attack any current application of HBD. Ta-Nehisi Coates does this using quotes from such progressives as Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard. These men were clearly and obviously wrong. By any measure of technology, art, and usually science, the Italians were and are superior to the English. The genius of the English was military but above all in business.
But because HBD is wrong about Europeans, that does not mean it is wrong about Africans and Amerindians.
Human neurological uniformity is true- if you are talking about Europeans. Mass education will provide common people with skills for a better society- if you are talking about Europeans. The common man can with minimal guidance be depended on to behave in a pro-social manner and do the right thing- if you are talking about Europeans.
The progressives took the credibility of HNU developed through the demise of the armored knight, the rise of nationalism and the Industrial Revolution to create the voodoo sciences, the social sciences of sociology, psychology, anthropology and economics- all based on the idea, in their progressive forms at least, that there is no difference between races, no differences between genders, all forms of sexual behavior are healthy and positive, and that the human character is infinitely malleable to be formed for their purposes. This was obviously not true as early as the 1960’s, but people were paid well enough to keep their mouths shut. That arrangement seems to be running out of both money and credibility.
The trouble with beating someone with a stick is that if you do it long and hard enough, eventually it will break. Progressivism is an elitist ideology, and logically would reject HNU, as it initially did. Then almost as soon as it adopted it, it tried to apply it places it did not work. And yet it can’t abandon HNU. Moldbug has said words to the effect (You try finding it, in his impenetrable forest) that he wishes the Cathedral would just declare victory, realizing all its real opponents are long dead. Foseti seems to want the same thing- the system we have now, just acknowledging reality. But the system depends on HNU because it can’t admit the existence of any elite other than its own moral elite or priesthood. Neoreaction in general looks to a technocratic elite that seems to overlap substantially with the people running things now.
The trouble the elite has is the people won’t follow a priest, only a warrior- unless the priest is also a warrior, as may have been the case in the Crusades. A warm handshake between the traditional classes is their worst nightmare. All forms of leftism- from Bolshevik communism to Victorian capitalism- depend on official equality, but with a moral elite controlling all- in other words unofficial equality.
Nationalism recognizes there are differences between people, even in the nation, and sets about trying to unite the classes rather putting one in power over the other.