Sarah Hoyt, sometimes PJM contributor, has a piece up today on her own blog that I think is important.
She makes a pretty good argument that there is, in reality, three competing world views in operation today.
One derives from the Roman Empire, which is essentially based on aristocratic plutocracy: keep the plebeians under control; take their wealth and redistribute it to buy support; and make sure that the aristocracy — which we now call the bureaucracy, but which fulfills the same role of a self-selected elite that uses political and social control to enrich and aggrandize themselves. (Even Communism in Russia and the Russian slave states eventually turned into this.)
The second, an ultraconservative world view, largely promoted now by some sects of Islam, which idolizes an idealized social order of obedience and strictly controlled morality. (Of course, this is the idealized world of a Marxist too.)
And third, the individualist view of humanity that appeared during the Enlightenment: Jefferson’s, Franklin’s, Voltaire’s idea of free people making free decisions, relatively unconstrained by a coercive State.
[T]hey have no clue what makes us work, not really. They don’t know why we innovate more than they do. They don’t know why our consumer society is what is softening their politics advancement into the rest of the world. They know it, but they resent it.
We are of them, but we are also the others. And being the others, we must be absorbed, and we must be brought in line. There can be no competing mental furniture, as Europe takes over the rest of the world.
Which brings us to where we are. Since the early twentieth century, they’ve been conquering our intellectuals, our universities, convincing them the European way is better. (And look, they’ve changed from monarchy to “democracies” of various kinds, but the same people are in charge. The bureaucrats that have the real power are the same people – often from the same families.) They’ve been telling them about the soft power of redistribution, of socialism, of an entrenched bureaucracy, set to encompass the world.
Intellectuals – and bureaucrats – like that. It’s the sort of power they understand and the sort of power they crave.