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Influence, Institution and Incrementalism

CulturePolitics

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John Cavalier
Written by John

3 min read

The piece below was originally written by John for publication by the Mallard in their January 2022 Issue

There exists today, as perhaps has always existed, the extreme notion that all is lost. That what we have, the society and social order in which we live, is so comprehensively broken, that these things can only be rectified by a tearing asunder, or a total destruction, of the existing order. That these things, which have been handed down to us by our ancestors, we must now find offensive. This is twinned with the optimistic idea that what will follow is a revival, as if from the ashes, of some golden phoenix, wrought in the image of the righteous.

Perhaps more perversely there persists the beguiling belief that by adopting the enemies own means; those of the total state, we can create a society in which we can all peacefully coexist under the kid-skinned boot of a benevolent dictatorship. Just so long as it is a total state that is sensitive to our morality, and not ‘theirs’, whoever ‘they’ may be.

Channelling the great spirit of Edmund Burke, I would suggest to you that there is no sense that what ‘we’ would erect in place of the current order, by way of revolution, would be objectively better. History is littered with innumerable examples of just this.

The idea that an ever increasing government, so long as it will enforce a morality agreeable to you, is aspirational is a fallacy that only serves to create an arms-race to the bottom, a positive incentive for our ideological opposition to always be willing to one up us. It is the road to the total state and, as a result, total serfdom, a path to insecurity, instability and insensibility.

Smaller government, not bigger, is the means by which the individual obtains freedom. If you accept the premise that individuals are inherently ‘conservative’ to a greater or lesser degree, what do you fear from their liberation? The obvious choice for ‘the right’ is not to sully themselves in a mortal struggle to lead the most authoritarian state, such that the majority of people can be compelled to live in a way they would live if given a choice anyway. Instead ‘the right’ should seek to peel back the layers of senseless interference, to reduce, not increase, the state’s coercive and parasitical influence on the individual.

This has a two-fold benefit; most obvious is a reduction in the oppressive overreach which is so keenly resisted by the individual, thereby removing a source of conflict between the individual and, what minarchists might consider to be, the ‘necessary’ state. Less obvious is that a reduction in the power of the state also has the effect of reducing the incentive that exists for clandestine groups and individuals (the billionaire oligarchs and NGOs of this world) to seek to wield it. Instead of petitioning our masters to enact their fringe ideologies at our expense, this would force them to rely on what might be seen as a truer form of democracy; dialogue with individuals themselves.

It is this reasoning which causes me to believe that the most important objectives ‘the right’ should focus on are as follows:

  • Influence
  • Institutions, and
  • Incrementalism

We should seek to obtain influence in the existing political order and in organisations which wield power such that we gain control of pre-existing institutions. We will do this with a view to systematically and incrementally dismantling the strangling apparatus of state which has gradually developed and sequestered power to the Commons and away from the Monarch and the Lords and, ultimately, the individual.

This is not blue sky thinking with a yawning chasm of reality stretching between us and our utopia. Instead it is down to earth and practical. It will require some effort on our part, which may not be so appealing to the recalcitrant revolutionary, however, by ennobling this cause, it engenders real and actionable steps for each of us, regardless of our existing social standing. As we build our little platoons and incorporate within them our elected representatives and others with power or influence (or indeed as we begin to occupy positions of power and influence ourselves), we can begin to exercise that power and influence to our own ends. As a result, we will gradually begin to fulfil our responsibility in the contract between the past, the present and the future.


 

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