The Fall of the Roman Republic: A Narrative and Analytical Comparison with the Contemporary Conditions of the United States of America — (Part 6 of a Series)
Derek Suszko is the associate editor for The St. Croix Review.
In the previous installments of this essay we discussed the second cause of the collapse of the Roman republic: the apathy and criminality of the Roman aristocratic elite. We introduced a framework for discussing political elites and their influence on factional composition, and proceeded to apply this framework to the American republic. All dominant factional coalitions are led by an elite minority faction (EMF), the slim portion of the population with determinative cultural and political power over a state. An EMF is characterized by its unique factional motive of retaining determinative power. An EMF retains power by assembling a compliant coalition of factions that accept the immutability of its claims to sovereign legitimacy. In functioning republican states, this coalition must be majoritarian (that is, the compliant factions must make up a plurality of the electorate) because otherwise it would not have the votes needed to attain power. We proceeded to apply this framework to a discussion of the future politics of the American republic. In the United States, the reigning EMF represents the left-wing coalition that holds dominion over the bureaucracies, media, public institutions, cities and (at present) federal administration. The American EMF leads a coalition with strong pluralities of racial minority voters, white voters proximate to EMF inclusion, and single women of all races. In order for an effective right-wing opposition movement to usurp majoritarian status in national elections, it must induce a sizable number of supporters of the established power to alter allegiances. We asserted that this was most likely in the event of establishment policy failure, but that incentivizing or reversing certain social trends (such as the falling marriage rates) might reduce the margins of EMF primacy. In Part VI we aim to expand our discussions of factions by describing the phenomenon of necessary factions. The plan for this portion of the essay is as follows: firstly, we define necessary factions in the general terms of political theory. We then proceed to examine the necessary factions of the late Roman republic, particularly the legionaries and their role in the collapse of republican government. Finally, we explore which necessary factions might exist or emerge in the American republic, and consider how they might influence the course of future politics.
Cause III: Neglect of the Necessary Faction of the Soldiership
The Uniqueness of Necessary Factions and Their Effect on Factional Equilibrium
We have mentioned already in previous installments that the power and influence of political factions may be measured in several ways. In non-representative political systems, the mere number of persons within a given faction is rarely relevant to determining its degree of power. This is because numerical superiority only has authority in systems that accept the results of voting and the legitimacy of elections. It is far more useful to consider factions in non-representative political systems by their ability to organize and enforce their aims. All Communist governments, for instance, rise by force, and persist to the degree that the single-party state can continue to enforce its authority over the majoritarian populace.1 For states maintaining republican equilibrium however, it is natural to treat the power of factions as closely proportional to their numbers because this is the measure of how many potential voters they contain. But even within legitimate republican systems there will emerge factions with influence out of proportion to their numbers. The most obvious instance of this is in the case of the EMF itself, which is numerically small but which wields determinative power and easily accrues disproportionate resources and accolades to its individual members. But there are other factions which, for a variety of reasons, are politically favored out of proportion to their numbers. While some of the reasons for disproportionate factional influence are trivial and idiosyncratic, most instances of outsized factional power emanate from perceived necessities to the state. Thus, two factions of the populace that have always wielded disproportionate influence in the history of states have been those members who produce the food (farmers) and those who defend the state (soldiers).2 We call these necessary factions because their functions and activities are compulsory if the state is to persist. Farmers and soldiers are necessary factions in almost every historical state, and are perhaps the only groups for which this distinction is inarguable, but there are a number of other groups, such as child-bearing women, bureaucrats, financiers and health workers that could also justifiably claim the status. While many private economic workers (such as truck drivers, airline pilots, service employees, etc.) act as necessary neurons in an economy, we do not say that they represent cohesive factions in normal conditions because they do not work for the government and their political advocacy is not primarily based on the associations of their employment. However, in special cases, such as that of an industry-specific workers strike, such groups may become necessary factions in the period in which their grievances are paramount.
Necessary factions naturally pose special problems for a reigning EMF. In modern politics EMFs nearly always assemble their coalitions on the basis of ideological values, and desire to reward factions in a state on the basis of their ideological adherence or desirability. But they cannot ignore the necessities of food, security, and administration, and should their ideological proclivities interfere with the maintenance of these necessities, the EMF risks being supplanted. We might cite as an example the recent “Defund the Police” movement in numerous American cities. The city administrations are obliged to view the necessary faction of the police as an oppressive force according to the leftist ideologies that brought them to power; but should they act on the full implications of the ideologies and curtail the police, the cities would face rising crime and reduced safety for residents. Such a circumstance would inevitably jeopardize the administration’s prospects for maintaining power. The impasse might be surmounted by replacing the members of necessary factions with ideologically compliant members, and this has been the strategic tendency of all tenuous EMFs throughout history.3 But this strategy is laborious and often fights against the natural inclinations of the factions to loathe the instruments of their perceived grievances (i.e., not many of the protestors chanting “Defund the Police” are inclined to join any police force, even an ideologically cleansed one).4 More sensibly, political movements might attempt to incorporate the factional claims of long-standing necessary factions into their ideological worldviews. This can be effective, but too precise an emphasis on the specific concerns of necessary factions can be fatal since (at least in modern states) they rarely represent more than a small fraction of the factions as a whole. A third strategy, which we shall address in detail below, is to generate, by policy means, new necessary factions. This is the most complex and also the soundest means for an enduring political order, and we will reserve our consideration of it for the discussion of the Roman and American political situations below.
A regime which neglects the grievances of a necessary faction, or actively works to undermine it, plays a very dangerous game, and is not likely to retain power unless it can do so by brute force. The persuasive power of ideology (especially ethnic nationalism) can often do much to blunt or redirect dissatisfaction over a diminishment in living standards caused by the persecution of a necessary faction, but this can often be achieved only by relentless propaganda efforts and cannot permanently shield a regime from scrutiny.5 In the ancient world, persistent persecution or neglect of a necessary faction without the reservation of force, and without appropriate ideological gloss, effectively guaranteed regime collapse. This is because the number of ancient citizens who belonged to necessary factions was far greater than in the modern world, and in many ancient states even numbered a plurality of the citizens. But the scope of the membership of necessary factions also produced complications in ancient societies. Individual members were politically far weaker than in modern states and generally could not promote a radical platform except in the safety of large numbers (i.e. since so many Roman citizens were farmers they were dispensable on an individual and even local basis). Compliance with the established power could often lead to meager concessions that nonetheless proved tempting for citizens persisting close to destitution. Thus, we may state for both ancient and modern states, it is only when a necessary faction firmly disentangles itself from a reliance on the established power that the conditions may emerge to induce the overthrow of a ruling EMF.
The Roman Legionaries as a Necessary Faction in the Late Roman Republic
For the entire expansionary period of the Roman republic (350-27 BC) the Roman legionary faction was by far the most necessary to the survival and prosperity of the state, and therefore also to the maintenance of the reigning EMF. The legionaries made up the citizen-soldiers of the Roman army and fought wars of subjugation under the command of propraetors, proconsuls and other former magistrates. In the later imperial period, when the army was largely a defensive force stationed permanently on the frontiers, it was common for Roman citizens to spend whole careers in the military; during the republican period however, soldiers were generally recruited only for a fixed term and returned to their previous professional occupations after the duration of their service. The time fixed for the military service of an individual citizen fluctuated over the course of the republic based on the conditions of Roman foreign policy and the number of simultaneous wars. The vast territorial expansion of the Roman state over the course of the 2nd century BC produced tremendous demand for more soldiers and longer periods of service. This caused considerable havoc for traditional Roman ways of life; most rural citizens especially could ill afford to be away from their farms for long periods of time, and were forced to go into debt to fund the upkeep of their lands for the duration of their service. Naturally, the aristocratic farms held competitive advantages, both because their owners could purchase slaves (who were exempt from military service) and because their own required military service was reserved for lucrative command roles. For the rural citizens the double grievance of forced conscription and debt bondage was intolerable, and, as we have seen, it generated the Gracchan reform movement of the 130-120’s BC. The eventual failure of Gracchan populism can be interpreted as a failure of the reform movement to consolidate the support of a necessary faction among the Roman populace. The aristocrats retained many advantages among their factional coalition that allowed them to suppress the rural smallholders (the leading Gracchan faction) with impunity. For the duration of their service, Roman legionaries were wholly reliant for pay and provisions on their aristocratic commanders, and many soldiers were hesitant to support a populist movement that had no real administrative capability to enforce its legislation. Furthermore, due to the compulsory service requirement for all Roman citizens, the legionary faction was a mix of the rural middle and lower class landholders, and the largely lower class urban tradesmen and skills workers. The urban factions relied on the aristocrats not only as purchasers of their goods but also as overseers of grain distribution and water supply in the city.6 The agitations of the populist movement caused disruptions to these crucial administrative functions and alienated most of the urban citizens. While the legionaries undoubtedly represented a necessary faction, the divisions among them and the lack of cohesive political motives enabled the aristocratic EMF to retain its dominance.
In order to make the legionaries a truly anti-establishment faction it was necessary to disentangle them from a reliance on the establishment dominated administration. This, however, could only be done through the erection of a parallel authority independent of senatorial sanction and oversight. After the failure of the Gracchan reform movement, the Roman state confronted a succession of crises that created just such conditions for the populist consolidation of the legionary faction. The first of these crises was the Jugurthine War. After a period of bungling and ineffective attempts at quelling the uprising of the vassal king Jugurtha in the province of North Africa, the Roman senate gave Gaius Marius sole command of the campaign. As proconsul Marius was authorized to recruit legions but, instead of recruiting them from the body of Roman citizens (who overwhelmingly resented the prospects of conscription), Marius recruited from among the capite censi, the large population of non-citizens living on Roman territory. While Marius could not yet offer citizenship to members of this group, he could offer plunder and enticing wages. With this step, Marius was responsible for perhaps the most pivotal reform in the entire history of the late republic. The implications of the policy only became evident with the immediate advent of a greater crisis. After a speedy triumph in the Jugurthine War, Marius was tasked with confronting the massive invasion of Germanic tribes into northern Italy that began in 107 BC, and reached a potentially lethal mass in 104 BC. The sheer numbers of the invaders meant that a swift recruitment of Roman citizens was out of the question and so Marius once again recruited from the capite censi. Assembling a massive force largely recruited from among the Italian allies (tribes subject to Rome but without citizenship), Marius gradually expelled the invaders from Roman territory. The imminent danger of the Germanic tribes forced Marius to offer his legionaries not only wages but also land, and it soon became clear in the aftermath of the Germanic War just how radically Marius had altered the factional alignments of the state. Marius had effectively created a necessary faction of non-citizen legionaries, and though the members of this faction had no vote they did have the means to enforce their claims by threats of force. Taking up their cause, the radical tribune Saturninus advocated not only for fulfilling the promises of land grants but also for granting citizenship to all veterans. His strident advocacy for these causes led to his murder by the senatorial EMF in 100 BC.
In the span of less than a decade, the necessary faction of the legionaries had supplanted the aristocrats as the determinative faction of the state. This was made evident when the allies revolted after the murder of the pro-veteran tribune Livius Drusus and initiated the War of the Allies. In order to ensure the survival of the republic, the senate was forced to give concessions to the rebels in the form of land and citizenship. It soon became clear how drastically the emergent political order had obliterated the hegemony of the senatorial EMF. When the senate attempted to disband the legionaries under the command of Sulla, Sulla entered Rome by force and flatly informed the senate that he would dictate policy as he saw fit. Marius replicated this unprecedented behavior and entered Rome with his own legions in 86 BC. Taking control of the city he eradicated all his prominent opponents and declared himself consul. The senatorial faction recognized that it was now too weak to enforce its own demands with impunity and reconciled with Sulla. When Sulla defeated the remnants of the Marian coalition in 83 BC and reconquered Rome, the senate dutifully awarded him the title of dictator. Though the determinative power of the old aristocratic EMF had collapsed, the senate still believed it could advance its claims (and forestall the claims of the populists) by subordinating itself to a reactionary, pro-establishment commander. If this failed, they could still retain influence as a powerbroker by setting up rival strongmen against each other, and attempt to ensure that no single commander gained too much individual authority. After the death of Sulla in 78 BC, this was the primary strategy adopted by the senate. It was inevitable, however, that the full expression of the populist agenda of the legionaries would triumph, and that fortune would favor the individual commander who gave himself most wholeheartedly to the task of promoting it. Thus, it was left for Julius Caesar to take the final step and bury the well-rotted carcass of senatorial power. As a populist, Caesar had the fanatic support of his legionaries, and his efforts in distributing loot to the citizens of Rome and funding lavish games endeared him to the urban populace that had once been a bedrock of republican loyalty. The assassination of Caesar represented the last effort by the old senatorial elite to wield determinative power, but it was doomed from the moment Caesar’s spirit vacated the earth. The new political order of Caesar was simply too momentous and factionally sound to fail. The military EMF that supplanted the senate and terminated republican government was to last essentially intact for four centuries.7
The collapse of the Roman republic can thus be viewed as the untethering of the necessary faction of the Roman legions from EMF dependence and subjection. The development was not inevitable, and any number of timely concessions on the part of the EMF might have prevented or acutely forestalled the rise of the legionary dictatorship. While the factional clarification achieved by the Gracchi brothers was vital for the ultimate success of the populist movement, it was not sufficient in itself to topple the power of the EMF. The rural smallholders were neither numerous nor necessary enough to head a factional coalition of insurgent politics, and mere legislative methods were too feeble to guarantee sustained reforms. Only the legionaries represented a faction formidable enough to overthrow the regime, but so long as they remained a divided and dependent group they could not develop the cohesion to accede to such a role. The unwitting insight of Marius was to recognize, if obliquely, that a movement on the outskirts of power will sometimes have the means to generate a previously non-existent necessary faction (i.e. the non-citizen legionaries) by policy incentives so long as it can acquire some measure of administrative credibility.8 Though the advancement of the non-citizen legionaries might be analyzed as an instance of an alien faction attaining power over a native established power (similar to the fate that ultimately befell the Roman empire), it is far more accurate to view both the citizens and non-citizens of the Italian peninsula as the “common folk” of the Roman heartland, coerced into serving the interests of an urban-centered cosmopolitan state without the accrual of political benefits. With this framework, it is easy to perceive similarities with the present politics of the United States. While the specific circumstances of the American republic differ considerably from the Roman, the general imperative for the success of a populist opposition movement remains the same: create and consolidate the support of a grievance faction that is necessary to the function of the state as a whole. Conversely, the abiding power of an EMF depends on its ability to marginalize those opposing factions which might imperil its capacity to maintain hegemony. With this framework as a basis, we shall now turn to an analysis of the American republic.
Necessary Factions and the American Republic
The most straightforward question we might ask about the American republic, in light of the foregoing discussion, is whether there exists any necessary faction comparable to the legionaries of the Roman republic as a potential spearhead faction for the overthrow of the American EMF. On first inquiry the answer appears to be unfavorable. None of the indisputably necessary factions listed above as naturally applicable to any state (soldiers, food producers, administrators) represent plausible candidates for such a role because they do not contain the numbers needed for an overriding political influence. Traditionally, the American soldiership has represented a decidedly conservative faction, and it remains so at the present time despite crude attempts by the EMF to promote leftist ideology in military training and recruitment strategy. Should the ruling EMF ever instruct the US military to operate against American citizens, it remains an open question as to what degree the individual members would defect or mutiny. But the greatest power of the EMF is not martial, or even ideological, but institutional. The federal bureaucracy and the major public and private institutions of American society (i.e. universities, NGOs, denominational churches etc.) represent the cornerstones of EMF power, and their formidableness is due to their intimacy with the implementation and execution of policy measures. The bureaucratic faction is by far the most powerful individual faction in American politics (more powerful, at this stage, than any constitutionally sanctioned authority except the presidency), and amounts to the greatest obstacle for the success of an insurgent right-wing populist movement. So much for the “inarguably” necessary factions. Let us take up a broader and more creative view of the “necessary faction” question.
The essential ideological basis for the factional coalition of the American EMF is the claim of oppression. This ideological claim undergirds all of its theoretical paradigms and policy initiatives, and is the decisive factor in the overwhelming success of its propaganda efforts in the last four decades of American politics. To hold such a coalition together, it is necessary that all component factions have a common oppressor though it is not necessary that the nature of the oppression be the same for all factions.9 Fundamentally, the ideological destination is to establish a revolutionary social order in which previously oppressed factions are favored on the basis of their oppressed status. Such an ideology has a narcotic effect on the human imagination, but there is an obvious paradox: How can a majoritarian coalition of the oppressed remain oppressed if they come to wield determinative power? The EMF offers an answer in the idea of “embedded systemic oppression,” whereby the systems and structures of a society remain in force despite lacking the outward identifications of power. But this is merely prudent propaganda gloss to shield the established power from scrutiny. The true reasons for any shortcomings or delays in the fulfillment of EMF promises to its coalition interests has to do with the delicacy with which the EMF must balance objectively deleterious consequences with extreme ideological imperatives (i.e. the aforementioned impossibility of actually disbanding an urban police force as demanded by leftist activists). Like the constant “counter-revolutionary conspiracies” of Bolshevik propaganda, the American EMF hopes it can dangle the permanently nebulous bogeyman of “structural oppression” before its coalition and thereby retain its support. Despite these obfuscations, the EMF cannot (and does not) neglect the demands of its constituent factions, and every acquiescence to these demands moves the nation incrementally leftwards.
We listed above the major plurality factions of the EMF coalition: racial minority voters of all classes, affluent white members of the EMF or proximate to it, and unmarried women of all classes and races.10 All the policy goals of the Democrat Party can be understood as catering to the demands of one or more of these factions.11 In a more strategic sense, the EMF desires to augment the numbers of these groups, and so fosters conditions favorable for such augmentations (i.e. promoting abortion and promiscuity for women that results in single-mother homes, native population decline, and spinsterhood, and opening the border to increase the non-white minority population). The ideologies of the American EMF and the grievances of their major factions can rightly be derided as parasitic, because they emanate from subjective ideological claims of “moral equity,” and not from dispassionate assessments of which factions are most productive or desirable for the nation’s stability and prosperity. The ideological factions of the EMF have no special productive or necessary functions. Thus, though the EMF has assembled a powerful coalition on the potency of ideology, it must rely on excluded productive factions which it can continually plunder to fulfill the remedial demands of its supporters. If we exempt the obvious “plunder of the future” demonstrated by inflation and debt policy, we can readily identify two intersecting present groups that have been singled out for special exploitation by the ruling EMF:
1) the American middle class: The EMF tax, trade and immigration policies are all designed to siphon as much wealth, independence, and productive capacity from the independent middle (i.e., the 40-80 percentile of wealth) class population as possible; and secondly: 2) American whites: the EMF policy and propaganda emphasis on “diversity, equity and inclusion” has led to institutionalized discriminatory and predatory policies directed at the majoritarian ethnic group of the nation. These two groups, the American middle class and American whites, share considerable overlap, and policies directed against one may be regarded by proxy as policies directed against the other. It would seem natural to conclude that a political movement designed to displace the ruling EMF must consolidate a factional coalition among these two groups. But such a course, taken too overtly, is fraught with special difficulties.
The discomfort felt by American whites in advancing explicitly racial claims had considerable historical precedence prior to the emergence of the present leftist EMF, and has only exacerbated with the torrents of EMF propaganda.12 There is a persistent desire among conservatives to deny the essentially racial division of American politics, most likely out of lingering multicultural idealism. The truth of the matter is that an impartial observer, viewing the factional breakdown of the American electorate and with no familiarity of American political culture, would readily conclude that the Republican Party is, in aggregate, the party of American whites with special defections and the Democrat Party is that of non-white minorities.13 This division comes about exactly as the leftist EMF intended, for “whites” are the dwindling racial majority and the oppressor class of their ideological paradigms. The propaganda of “white guilt” has proven particularly effective for affluent “urban” whites who have strong desires to identify with the ideologically elite class, even to the point of personal debasement.14 The other major white faction in the EMF coalition is unmarried white women. The allegiance of this group to the EMF can usually be explained by two reasons: 1) A desire for ease of abortion and contraceptive access to allow for a sexually promiscuous or career-oriented lifestyle and, 2) A susceptibility to the sympathetic victim propaganda of the EMF, sometimes regarded as a misapplied exercise of maternal instinct in the absence of children. Of these, only the first reason produces a tangible benefit to the voter, but this benefit evaporates if the woman marries or desires to bear children. In every other sense the EMF is hostile to the tangible interests of white women, and, generally speaking, no white woman voting out of the interests of her children will have any plausible motive for supporting the EMF. This observation is confirmed by the entrenched support among married white mothers for the Republican Party.
We mentioned in the previous installment the need for a right-wing populist movement to incentivize conditions that promote marriage and child-bearing. This is true in the practical sense, as a means of broadening the coalition, but it is also an imminent strategic necessity. For it is here that the movement can create the appropriate necessary faction of right-wing populism. Recall that a necessary faction which is divided in its political motivation will always serve to the advantage of a ruling EMF. It is therefore the prerogative of an insurgent movement to consolidate a faction on the double basis of its necessity to the state and its dissatisfaction with the established power. In the political situation of the Roman republic, the citizen-legionaries represented a necessary faction but they were divided in political allegiance out of a partial dependence on the aristocratic EMF. With the onset of crisis conditions, the non-citizen legionaries emerged as a faction that fulfilled both prerogatives. Shut out of all political power, the non-citizen legionaries had no allegiance whatsoever to the EMF and were wholly invested in the insurgent populist movement as the sole means for the achievement of their political demands. In the present American situation, both “whites” and the “middle class” represent strong parallels with the citizen-legionaries: each represents a faction exploited for the benefit of the American EMF. But neither is specified enough to represent the consequential necessary faction of an insurgent politics. A purely racial basis for a right-wing factional coalition is insupportable for the specific contours of American political culture. The American “middle class” is divided, both on a racial basis (the non-white “middle” class strongly supports the EMF) and on a dependency basis (i.e. many “middle” class whites wish to enter the ranks of the ideological elite class and move into the “EMF dependent” professions of administrators, academics and social workers), and is therefore too unstable to take such on a determinative role.
One more layer of factional specification is required, and for American politics, our distinction must be between the population of the independent middle class which is child-bearing and that which is not. Just like the specification of the non-citizen legionaries produced the necessary faction that toppled the Roman EMF, the specification of economically independent bearers of productive (i.e. future taxpaying) children represents the necessary faction most likely to usurp determinative power from the leftist EMF. Why is this? Because the greatest crisis of the American republic (comparable to the Germanic invasions of the Roman republic) is the catastrophic decline in the birth rate among productive citizens. The entire ideological consequence of the American EMF has been to reward unproductive (i.e. net cost negative, but ideologically favored) populations with the prosperity generated by productive (i.e. net cost positive) citizens. The EMF is not unaware of the problems caused by such an imbalance, and hopes to keep the nation economically viable within ideological lines by importing a foreign labor force. But most of this immigrant population joins the swelling ranks of the unproductive, dependent factions. Simply put, the EMF cannot fulfill the demands of its factional coalition without increasing the size of the productive population, but its propaganda loses considerable force among productive citizens no longer dependent on EMF favors. The fragility of such a coalition is evident, but no effective right-wing populism has yet risen to take advantage of its fatal weakness. This is because the muddled policies of the Republican Party have served to suppress rather than engender the consolidation of such a new faction. Without the consolidation of the necessary faction of child-bearers of productive children, no political movement will emerge to challenge the EMF even at its most incompetent, and the Republican Party will continue as a plodding, inconsequential foil for EMF hegemony. Let us inquire into the platform that might generate such a consolidation.
Manufacturing the Consequential Necessary Faction of a Right-Wing Populist Movement
We emphasize the caveat of productive in our specification of our preferred necessary faction because, as is obvious, there exists a large faction of child-bearers actually enlarging the population of unproductive citizens and EMF dependents. This is entirely a consequence of the warped incentives produced by current social welfare policy, and works to the advantage of the EMF in numerical, if not sustainable, terms.15 The political platform of a right-wing populist movement must eliminate the perverse incentives that inspire dependents to bear children, and instead provide highly favorable conditions for the independent population to do so instead. At present, the Republican Party is highly dominated by its older generational factions, and as such its platform has produced none of the requisite social reforms that would consolidate the necessary faction of child-bearing taxpayers. But the population crisis is so grave that there is no issue more important than incentivizing child-bearing, and naturally, this means that the pivotal factions within an emergent populist coalition are the younger factions capable of reproducing. The entire armory of the welfare state must be directed towards incentive policy for reproduction among young, non-dependent citizens.
But how might social policy screen for productivity? Simply by making welfare subsidies contingent on optimal social behavior such as marriage and a stable employment status.16 But the matter is not so straightforward. This radical reorientation of social welfare policy is caught in a vast web of currents and countercurrents plaguing the young generations. The decline in the marriage rate has been attributed with a fair deal of accuracy to two previously trivial factors: 1) The generational rise of a substantial portion of women essentially “hypergamous” in outlook for the duration of their “reproductive primes”; and 2) a large number of young men fearful of the consequences of commitment in light of divorce law. Both of these factors warrant some examination. The proliferation of lifestyle exposure and abundance of options offered by social media has conditioned women in their twenties to disdain early marriage in the hopes of securing the best possible mates; frequently, young women will offer sexual access to men perceived as valuable who will not commit to them, or they will lead a promiscuous life for enjoyment. These behaviors create immense resentment among young men “excluded” from sexual access. As women age, they may be willing to accept men as partners they had formally rejected in order to have children. But men are wary of accepting such women because of past promiscuity and the fear of divorce. This fear is not without foundation; the legal system is highly favorable to women in divorce settlements and child custody disputes. The result of these developments has been the fomenting of great distrust between the sexes, and a rise in embittered casualties of “modern dating” unlikely to ever form stable partnerships (mostly women discarded by poor long-term mate choices and men ignored by women totally).17 These social outcomes are the result of the corrosive influence of EMF ideologies but also a natural consequence of technological progress. Thus, it cannot be expected that any right-wing political movement will be able to remedy all of these problems by policy means. Nonetheless, we offer the following suggestions as a forecast of a possible social platform for an effective populist platform:
1) The elimination of no-fault divorce: like abortion, most divorce is a matter of convenience. Women initiate at far greater rates than men, and many young men are highly reluctant to marry if no safeguards are placed on the solidity of marriages. The elimination of no-fault divorce (i.e. arbitrary) would induce some portion of them to reconsider. However, the women have their claims too. Thus, we suggest:
2) The institution of a bachelor tax for men within a wealth threshold. We will not venture into the details of such a policy proposal at present. Despite the assertions of feminist ideology most women desire very much to be married (whether to the same husband indefinitely is, as we have noted, a rather different proposition). Under current social conditions there is a rapidly expanding population of involuntarily single women entering middle age, many of whom are lonely and embittered. Some of these women engaged, no doubt, in sub-optimal behaviors in their twenties, and perhaps squandered viable opportunities for attachment (or were the victims of long non-marital relationships suddenly broken off), but their factional claims cannot be ignored, especially if they remain marginally fertile. Simply put, no right-wing movement can reach a plurality of these women unless it helps them to marry. Thus, a negative incentive applied to eligible (i.e. desirable) men is probably compulsory.
3) Homeownership for young couples. Any married couple that has three children before the mother reaches the age of 25 is to be awarded a single-family house. Specific conditions may be subject to debate, but the incentivization of early child-bearing is abundantly clear. Few women in the United States are bearing children at the age of maximum fertility. Much of this has to do not with the effectiveness of anti-natal EMF propaganda, but to grave economic anxiety on the part of the younger generations. Many believe they will never have the wealth to own a home, and do not want to raise children in morbid rental conditions. Naturally, this policy remedies these concerns.
4) Permanent tax credit (or universal basic income) for married couples with children. For the rejuvenation of American social cohesion there is a need not only to encourage marriages, but to sustain them. In contrast to the adverse incentives generated by current social welfare policy, this proposal would provide a deterrence to spouses looking to divorce for trivial reasons and encourage a more rigorous cultural devotion to family sustainability.
5) Guaranteed family leave and childcare benefits for married mothers. Ideally, for the recovery of the population growth rate, fertile women would be disinclined to work at all.18 But the modern world cannot be peeled back, and provisions must be offered for those women who desire to work and raise children simultaneously. It is in this measure that our suggestions are applicable to current political discourse, though it is the progressives who are most eagerly promoting it. From the EMF standpoint, the preservation of women in the workforce is vital to the maintenance of their coalition. Women are strongly represented in administrative, medical, and bureaucratic jobs that depend on government funding, and the EMF desires to keep them dependent. Thus, we offer the caveat of married mothers. Such women may work, but they are less likely to be so wholly dependent on establishment policy that they cannot sever their allegiance to the EMF.19
With these suggestions, we offer a preliminary forecast of the social incentives requisite to vivify and consolidate the necessary faction of non-dependent, middle class child-bearers. A shrewd digester of our essay might note that, in offering vast welfare and incentives to a population hitherto deprived of them, we are, in fact, making them dependent. But this is a faulty assertion. It is rather the nation that is dependent on them. This faction should be understood as vital to the survival of the American state in much the same way the non-citizen legionaries were vital for the Roman state. It is no exaggeration to say that the demographic issue is the only issue, the one that has the greatest possibility to supersede all others. The ruling EMF has built up a powerful coalition on the basis of ideological resentment, but the economic untenability of this coalition will obliterate the future prosperity of the United States unless enough children are born to overcome the cultural damage and surmount the inevitable economic fallout. Such children will not come from immigrants, or vengeful ideologues but from the folk of the American middle class heartland, who have, in any case, always been most fundamental to the core American cultural identity. The elevation of this faction must be done quickly, for the political circumstances of the American nation are acutely ripe for reversal. All the consequential political movements of history have incubated in an “accumulation of the unsaid,” and no group of Americans of this generation has had to bear such silent plunder as the heartland “middle.” Such a group has the future viability of the nation in its hands, for no other group can solve the crisis of population decline. It is the duty of the American Right to consolidate and sharpen such a pivotal faction, and lead it to wrest determinative power from a parasitic and emboldened elite.
(This essay will be continued in the next issue).
- There has never been a truly Communist government in history that has been voted into power by republican process. This is in contrast to “fascistic” or theocratic authoritarianisms, which have frequently emerged from fair voting.
- In the United States farmers make up less than 2 percent of the American electorate while soldiers and veterans (including National Guard and inactive personnel, though not including spouses of veterans) make up around 7 percent. Subsidies to farmers and agricultural production have never gone out of fashion with either major party. Veterans are eligible for federal and state financial and health benefits that (theoretically) go well beyond what is available for the general public.
- It was no accident that all Communist movements ascended to power through the formation of a fighting force, and a secret police, and then proceeded to forcibly bring agriculture under state control, thus bringing the two indisputably necessary factions firmly under their authority.
- We should note that this problem is not confined to leftist ideological movements. A successful populist right-wing movement in the United States will have to confront the necessary faction of the federal bureaucracy, a faction which is solidly leftist in orientation, and which cannot be dislodged without temporary shockwaves to administrative function.
- There is a long history of persecutions of minority ethnic groups representing proxy persecutions of necessary factions. Two examples will suffice to demonstrate the complications caused by ethnic minority domination of necessary functions: over the course of the Middle Ages many European states expelled Jews due to pressures of popular prejudice. Because Jews were the only group engaged in interest finance they operated highly successful banking syndicates that gave flexibility to national economies. After their expulsions, the economies of the expelling countries generally retracted to a more primitive feudal state, to the detriment of gross production (though, perhaps, to the modest benefit of the large peasant faction). During the colonial era, the British had a practice of bringing south Asians to Africa to staff the civil service of their African colonies. After independence these upper middle class bureaucrats were viewed with contempt by the native Africans and the new regimes expelled them, with detrimental consequences to their economies and administrative efficiencies.
- After the Roman conquest of North Africa, the urban population began to rely heavily on cheap grain exports from this province and not from the farms of the Italian peninsula. While in times of stability this led to more affordable grain, the necessity of moving the supply across the Mediterranean made Roman transport ships susceptible to piracy and impresses. During the civil wars numerous belligerents deployed these tactics in an effort to destabilize conditions in major cities.
- The upheavals and alterations of the military EMF throughout the history of the empire is beyond the scope of this essay. However, we might mention three pivotal changes in imperial orientation over the course of the empire’s history: the year 69 AD witnessed the first breakdown in ordered succession established by Augustus and the nation descended into civil war. The commander Vespasian (ruled 69-79 AD) emerged victorious from this war and became the first emperor who was of middle class plebeian, and not aristocratic, origins. In 193 AD a similar civil war followed the death of the emperor Commodus. The winner of this conflict was Septimius Severus (ruled 193-211 AD), of Carthaginian ethnicity, who became the first provincial (non-Italian) emperor. Another series of civil wars followed the abdication of the emperor Diocletian in 305 AD. In this protracted conflict the ultimate victor was Constantine (ruled 308-337 AD), who became sole emperor after decades of divided rule. He established Christianity as the dominant religion of the empire and was baptized shortly before his death.
- Note that this does not necessarily mean that proponents of the movement must actually have administrative authority, only that the members of a factional coalition believe they can plausibly get it. While Marius, as proconsul, had no independent authority to fulfill land grants for his legionaries, he represented a far more credible conduit for such demands than the Gracchi.
- In leftist ideological jargon, the term intersectionality refers to the overlap of two or more oppressed conditions within a single person. Thus, while a white woman has only to deal with the oppressions of patriarchy, a black woman has to deal with the double oppressions of patriarchy and white supremacy, while a transgender black “woman” has to deal with the triple oppressions of patriarchy, white supremacy and “heteronormativity”. This game of stacking intersectional oppression may be played ad nauseam, and a great many “academics” have done little else for many decades.
- For the purposes of our discussion we are classing the influential American Jewish faction with “whites proximate to/part of the EMF.” The Israeli war has opened up a schism in the EMF coalition between Jews (over 80 percent of whom voted for Biden in 2020 and many of whom are direct members of the EMF) and immigrant minorities. We do not have the space to dissect this intriguing development in detail, but we will note that the fundamental discrepancy relates to non-white minorities viewing Jews as white (and thus as oppressors) and Jews viewing themselves as a separate minority with oppressed status (most likely because of historical memory and the Holocaust and despite the fact that Jews are disproportionately represented in positions of power and prestige).
- The old bastion of the mid-20th century Democrat factional coalition was the “common working man” of all races, but Democrats began losing white male working voters after the Civil Rights era and now retain virtually none of their “rural labor” support.
- The question “who is white?” is an obsession for leftist ideologues. For the purposes of this essay, “white” refers to anyone who is of ethnic European heritage, or who could claim to be a member of the “European diaspora.”
- The statistic that bears this out most plainly is that nearly 90 pecent of Trump voters in 2020 were white.
- The transgender movement is a hugely white phenomenon, and can easily be explained as an attempt by leftist whites to make up for their status in the EMF victim hierarchy by joining an oppressed group.
- It should be observed that, though the EMF benefits from a population increase in dependents from a voting perspective, it remains ambivalent over too great an increase in dependent population. Witness, for instance, its success in keeping the size of the urban black population stagnant through widespread abortion access. The ambivalence comes from a recognition that too strong of an acquiescence to the demands of inherently unproductive or solipsistic factions risks destabilizing the nation to such a degree that the EMF forfeits its claims to credibility. Ultimately, an EMF is always motivated by its desire to retain power, and this motive supersedes all purely ideological motives of constituent groups. Nonetheless, the shrewd operators within the EMF have learned how to advance even extreme factional demands covertly and less abruptly. Consider, for instance, Obama’s deployment of Attorney General Eric Holder in “civil rights” investigations of police departments by a series of executive orders. Holder’s “investigations” produced considerable ideological advances over the resistant law enforcement faction, but these were almost entirely out of the public eye.
- Ideally, the husband would be employed. Such an assertion is controversial under the feminist ideological paradigms of the EMF, but there is nothing more catastrophic to the birth rate than the near universal employment of fertile women. It must be understood that married women who bear children and do not work represent the most necessary sub-faction in all American politics (not only because they have children but also because their absence from an over-employed white-collar workforce will raise wages for remaining employees), and every measure should be taken to encourage the expansion of such a population, including direct subsidization.
- This entire cluster of social issues has been treated ad nauseam by the “RedPill” internet movement and other manifestations of the “manosphere.” Much of the discourse centers around personal improvements for young men and only peripherally on social reform, and mostly fails to amount to a coherent political philosophy.
- A number of pro-natalist promoters, among them Elon Musk, have touted the emergence of new reproductive technologies and practices like artificial wombs, surrogacy and “work daycare,” largely in an effort to convince career-oriented women to bear children (Musk himself has conceived children by surrogacy). From many religious perspectives, only natural birth methods are morally permissible. We will only say that any method which violates the sanctity of the bond between the child and its natural parent is not to be promoted, though the severity of the discouragement fluctuates based on circumstances. Thus, a surrogate pregnancy of traditional parents unable to bear children in any other way is not ideal, but should not be prohibited. But the handing over of surrogate children (especially boys) to homosexuals is an abomination; “non-traditional” households represent such statistical spikes in child abuse, neglect, and sexual exploitation that only depraved societies would even countenance allowing them to “adopt” children.
- It is fair to pose the question of where the money will come from for these policies given the dire state of the federal budget. We do not have space to probe this question in detail but we offer two basic arguments to justify our position: 1) There are vast reserves of funding that can be reallocated from leftist institutions and initiatives by a right-wing administration. Foremost, the elite universities, which have been perhaps the most destructive forces in American society of the last 40 years, possess endowments that ought to be appropriated and redistributed; 2) there is no viable factional coalition for a platform of fiscal conservatism. The decline in living standards of the conservative voter is impossible to ignore, and anyone who thinks a right-wing platform can emphasize “fiscal responsibility” at the expense of raising up its supporters by tangible means is entirely oblivious of the times. *