Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Peasant Mindset

To open, a brief summary of the following post would be this: Most people are inclined to be followers, live within the collective rules of the herd under the control of a strong man leader, rather than be free thinking individuals. I call this the peasant mindset. For as Gaius Sallustius Crispus is quoted as having said "Few men desire liberty, most men wish only for a just master".

The original Americans of the colonial period were exceptions with a nearly half the population being free thinking, I don't want to obey anyone, individuals. This is why such a substantial percentage of the colonists were such people, 40% to 45% of whom actively supported or actually fought the American revolution, were here to get away from the strictures of the old world. But subsequent waves of immigration brought more of the average population of the peasant mindset into play and this is, to some extent, responsible for the size and power of our present managerial state.

I would correct Sallust in that most men wish only for a just master but cannot imagine their existence without one and will demand to be ruled by any master, just or not.

The original Americans, who can be thought of as ethnic Americans (mostly WASPs) differed from their more servile British Isles and continental European cousins in one crucial way more so than their ethnic differences. It was his independent, non serviam attitude. The sort of people who could not tolerate a master to obey or betters to grovel before even if they were an ocean away and fought a war of independence to have nothing to do with the old world and its strong man monarchies.

However, after gaining independence from Britain, the ethnic Americans, mostly WASPs, though, in the early to mid nineteenth century needed more people to settle the frontiers as the United States expanded under the imperative of manifest destiny and more low-skilled workers to fill the factories springing up as a result of the industrial revolution. And although the WASP ethnic Americans may have wrinkled their noses in disgust (perhaps arguably with good reason) at the waves of German, Irish Catholics and later Southern European, mostly Italian Catholic and Eastern European Jews, the WASPs couldn't get enough of them. What they perhaps had no way of knowing was that the immigrants they imported were more different from them than appearances or language would suggest. Not simply ethnically although that is a significant difference, but more that the large majority of immigrants were of the peasant mindset and could never be (or even want to be) the go-it-alone, leave me alone, non serviam individualists that generally characterized the ethnic Americans.

These newly arrived and minted Americans would live together in their own ethnic enclaves and even after generations and most would move out of their ghettos but many would still cling to the "old country ways" and refer to themselves as hyphenated Americans. This might be a survivable problem as mostly they at least adopted a veneer of ethnic American WASP culture, work ethic and sensibilities yet they were still of the peasant mindset. Them and most of their descendants. This would eventually break the American experiment in self-governance and a constitutionally limited republic, concepts for which the peasant minded had no use for.

So these new Americans wanted and needed a master and could not imagine a world where they did not cower before their betters. If a strong man ruler and his court was not provided, they would select masters from among their own ranks. From here arose machine politics and identity politics with all its attendant corruption and the unaccountable to any law ruling class who we now see today. This does not trouble much the peasant minded then as now as long as master is of their hyphenated American or whatever identity group, gives them a pat on the head once in a while or an extra crust of bread now and again.

Of course, this was with the full cooperation with the ethnic Americans, especially the northeastern blueblood establishment types, who in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, saw this as a vehicle to protect their power and interests from the socially mobile and the nouveau riche upstart plebs (whom they smeared as Robber Barons) with the progressive era and the New Deal. In effect, jumping out in front of the immigrant imported socialist parade and leading it themselves. In doing so, the Blueblood Masters began eroding wealth creation in favor of wealth redistribution and free enterprise gradually replaced with centrally planned managerialism. Liberties and natural rights were gradually curtailed while the U.S. Constitution was stood on it's head where the Bill of Rights are not restrictions on the power of government but privileges grudgingly doled out to the pleb masses by the federal government. Throughout it all, the peasants neither noticed nor cared. They had their strong Master to watch over them.

If the peasants wanted a strong master in return for meager entitlements and doled out privileges, the self-appointed blueblood WASP overlords and later the hyphenated American machine politicians who supplanted them would be more than happy to crack the whip.

But in their zeal to embrace various shades of Marxism, both the WASPs and hyphenated American machine bosses failed to realize that in the aftermath of the 1965 Hart Cellar Act, they themselves could become the target of the new waves of peasant mind immigrants that they championed. They once again used their old tried and true trick of jumping out in front of the latest My Nation of Immigrants parade in the hopes of leading it. It would become the identity politics parade.

Through all this, those loyal peasants of European descent are increasingly being discarded in favor of  more pliable third world peasants more accustomed to strong man dictatorships. It has always escaped the notice of the peasant minded that when the master finds better slaves or the old slaves are no longer of any use, then the master will dispose of the old slave with not a single care or concern.
It will not, however, diminish the loyalty of the descendants of earlier waves of European immigrants. They will never learn.

So here we stand today with a managerial state growing in power inevitably from authoritarianism into totalitarianism, run by a ruling class increasingly socially and culturally isolated from the plebs over which they govern. All with the consent and full approval of the peasant minded majority. However, with identity politics gaining more power, supplanting the old left-right paradigm, the old, white democrat party leaders will be increasingly pushed aside in favor of the new Identity/Grievance Masters. These new Masters will denounce new identity enemies- judged by the color of their skins, not by the content of their character and further discard wealth creation in favor of even more wealth redistribution and wealth extraction all to benefit their own identity group. Blissfully unaware of, or incapable of understanding the dangers of destroying opportunity for the competent and productive, punishing success and the danger of ever growing public debt and fiat currency. That their policies will cause the jobs of the working class and middle class to be lost to other countries is of no concern to them. Somebody will have money they can leech off of and the enemy must be destroyed. The concept of fishing out the pond never occurs to them.

They will also grant a series of special rights and privileges for the benefit of and to placate various identity/grievance groups and set them on disfavored identity groups. The European descended peasants will desperately try to virtue signal and try to keep up with the ever shifting narrative to show their continuing fealty to the new ruling class with spaniel like fidelity but to no avail. The old enemy, the bourgeois entrepreneurs, have been long destroyed and their descendants, the crony capitalists are servile, tithe paying vassals (the managerial state always needs a rich source of other people's money) so it's on to destroy the new enemies: The middle class and working class of European descent.

An enemy class against which to struggle is a necessity of any Marxian ideology. It's divide and conquer to maintain ruling class hegemony. But yesterday's noble heroes will be morphed into tomorrow's implacable villains and the pattern later repeated yet still, the peasant minded will never learn. They will continue to play the new Master's game, never realizing he could be next for the block as the Master tries to evade the consequences of his foolish and greedy policies which will eventually cause the downfall of us all.

We are heading for interesting times indeed.

Donald Cavaioli

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