Societarium is published today, in paper and epub format. This book brings together sociology and politics articles published on this blog, organized around the two main ones: A universal political system and Can we do without hierarchy? The whole is a manifesto argued against a blind participatory democracy and for an inclusive social re-hierarchization, which puts an end to the depersonalizing notion of the “masses”.
Enticed? Here is an excerpt from the conclusion, to give you a taste of the sauce:
Will we raise the ladder that has fallen?
Let us make a final synthesis of all this starting from Proudhon’s apt observation: A government, even democratic or populist, annihilates individual freedom, reducing its power to a tiny portion of that of the collective, which decides on so many aspects of our life. An omnipresent observation that we all share. For this elementary principle, freedom to act, all government must be rejected or reduced to a minimum. Indeed, the slightest collective measure has indecent power because it annihilates millions of individual powers.
Where does this principle take us? To no longer cooperate, no longer teach, no longer categorize, choose. In short, if this principle had guided our species alone, humans would never have built a civilization. Another is fortunately added to it: the principle of belonging, based on a marked empathy for fellow human beings. Belonging to something greater than yourself means delegating a part of your individual freedom to it. How much? This is where things get bad. The TD setting, between soliTary and soliDarity power, varies terribly among individuals. This is the main source of all our stories, filled with alpha males and born slaves.
Property is robbery [!]
Proudhon unwittingly illustrated the TD conflict by saying in 1840: “What is property? It’s robbery.” ‘Property’ for T is ‘robbery’ for D. Irreducible contradiction to be managed. Again, our brain can handle it for a few dozen individuals, not millions. Only a government can take care of it, and only an extensive hierarchy can support it. Whatever it takes? Is a hierarchy really so costly if we are all its functionaries?
Proudhon probably knew that solidarity is needed to build a world, but he was naive enough to believe that everyone can freely give up the necessary share of power. I have honestly searched within myself and invite you to do the same, without having found much incentive to freely give up power. This abandonment must benefit me in the end, that is to say, I can trace its future down to some personal repercussions. In other words, the interest of the collective matters to me because I am part of it and am supposed to benefit from it too. If I lose sight of the connection between the collective interest and my own, my solidarity is reduced to nothing, or to the surplus that I do not need. I’m programmed for tribal empathy, not to extend it to millions of strangers.
The small is great in nothing
What Proudhon did not understand is that tiny power is impossible to cede. There are so few left! How can we show solidarity with millions of people without a government to impose it? It’s impossible. We are programmed so that this is forbidden. Already, internally it is impossible for us to be united with all our thoughts. Our freedom is to decide, to favor one act to the detriment of others, because it corresponds better to our identity, to the detriment of others that we could have endorsed. Our mind is an internal government.
Inside and out, a human only relinquishes power to a higher authority. If she is herself in a position of authority, and she assists a fellow creature, she gains power over her. Selflessness is an idealistic legend. There is always a target for our interest, if only the image that others have of us.
What we are missing today
Understanding these intimate mechanisms is essential. It leads to the need for a close hierarchy between humans, a transfer of power whose interest is clearly established. The more the number of humans increases in society, the more the number of circles which encompass them must expand, as well as the hierarchy attached to them. A hierarchy is only respected if one feels included in it, that the delegated power is still within reach.
The role of hierarchy ultimately boils down to this: on the one hand it must inflexibly protect individual power in its most intimate circle, which is freedom of thought. It must on the other hand protect with the same inflexibility the most collective power, at the level of the entire species, which does not obey the multitude of individual rules but common rules, subject to consensus. How can we protect these conflicting interests at the same time? By separating them by levels of representation, and multiplying these so that they leave no anonymous individual power in a mass. This is what we are missing today.
The Sun is warm… when we experience its radiance
Renovating the hierarchy is not reconnecting with the reign of the Sun-King, but avoiding its replacement by the reign of the Donkey’s Hat. After unequal and necessary programming in the egg —you never know what might come out of the egg— the destiny of humans is not to see society encyst their personal algorithm but on the contrary to integrate it into the common organization, in a hierarchy fluid and extensive enough for it to become invisible.