Leftism as a Cult? Part 1: Natural Human Instincts and A Short History of Pre-Industrial Leftism

In my exploration of my hypothesis that leftism is a cult, I first wish to touch upon the history of leftism in human culture, starting in the pre-industrial world. As a note, this history I present is all very truncated.

Four questions occur at this point: 1. What is leftism? 2. Why desires drive people to embrace leftism? 3. Where do these desires come from? and 4. What was leftism like in the pre-industrial, but post-civilization world?


1. What is leftism?

Leftism is the belief that the power to make all decisions should be taken out of every individual’s hands and vested in a small group of people; see also totalitarianism.

2. What drives people to embrace leftism?

There are three driving desires in making a person a leftist.

The first is the desire by certain folks to have a Big Chief make their lives easier. These are the stupid people, who, having limited ability to understand the world, merely want to live without the burden of deciding how to live their lives. So they embrace an ideal where an all-knowing, parental-figure like person will save them from the stress of decision-making. When a person or group of people appear promising to make the stupid’s life better and give them things, and that person appears intelligent and likeable, the stupid people rally around their new Big Chief and gladly trade their liberty for promised safety. There is also the desire that if they are a good soldier and promote the leftist-Big Chief takeover hard enough, they may be rewarded with spoils. The more leftist the society, the less worry these people endure, as they do not have to tax themselves with thinking of the future, as Big Chief has promised to run their lives.

The second is for those people who desire increased power and are good at social climbing. These folks are smarter. They have talents lie in social interaction, saying the right thing at the right time, and being able to work behind the scenes to gain power. They, too, like the stupid, might believe in the idea of the Big Chief who will save them all, but also want power by getting close to the Big Chief being able to advise him or manipulate him, and enjoy a greater standard of living and power through merely being good at social jockeying. They may also desire to be a Big Chief themselves, thinking themselves worthy. The more a leftist society, the more riches and power these people can gain.

The third is preservation of existing wealth and power. As Milton Friedman pointed out, established businesses are no more in favor of free markets than communists; the former want to limit or eliminate any newcomers in the area via law, just like the latter. Whether people acquired wealth and power through war or business, once established, they seek to limit entrants who could dispossess them of their wealth and power, so they become fervent proponents of heavy government regulation (too keep start up costs and growth costs for competitors too high) and government support of existing business (e.g., bailouts, too big too fail etc.).

3. Where do these desires for leftism come from?

These desires are rooted in animalistic, instinctive tendencies.

Animal societies closest to us are also founded on Big Chief philosophy. Chimps, apes, and other mammals in packs have the males fight for dominance. Some animals only allow one male per group; others have multiple males, but one Big Chief male is lord and leader, and gets the majority (if not all) of the procreative sex. The group falls easily in line behind the Big Chief alpha chimp (or lion or whatever). Those rare times the group doesn’t follow the old alpha Big Chief is when another male challenges Big Chief to a duel—to see if the old lion (or chimp r whatever) can still beat the younger blood to remain Big Chief. But it’s not a change in how the group is ruled, merely a replacement of one official with another.

If you believe in evolution, you believe this is our history. And these animal group dynamics worked for much of our evolution; they kept us safe from harm and kept us breeding. The lesser members of a pack saw Big Chief as almost a god; the more intelligent and stronger members saw him as a rival, but also saw a power structure that they could exploit—whether by challenging Big Chief to a duel, or kissing up to him to be rewarded with spoils. As we evolved larger brains, these animalistic rationalizations became instinctual in nature. After all, those pre-society ancestors who bucked the Big Chief’s ways and the group’s conformity….ended up dead.

The human desire for Big Chief government comes from our pack-monkey past.

4. What was leftism like the pre-industrial, but post-civilization world?

In short, it was worship of a lone ruler—whether it be a king, emperor, or some other title.

The genius and genesis of human society occurred when Big Chief’s stopped demanding all property and women from lesser men. Somehow, some Big Chief’s realized that a Big Chief who got everything (i.e. totalitarian) actually got less than if he allowed non-Big Chief men to have some property–or at least if it appeared that the non-Big Chiefs got property.

This incredible logical leap—the Big Chief’s quantum leap of granting property to non-Big Chiefs—laid the foundation of civilization today: property rights.

Big Chief saw that if he gave men some property, they would do more for him—-like organizing into armies, toiling on a farm to feed everyone, or treating the sick. Suddenly, a Big Chief didn’t just come and take a woman from you and keep you from breeding, or steal your food from you; he might demand your daughter as a concubine, or a tenth of your grain, or free checkups, but not everything you owned. Of course, lesser men didn’t fully trust Big Chief’s promise not to take, so they demanded some sort of assurance. Out of this distrust of Big Chief’s final actions came laws and courts of law, which established for all those interested the promises of Big Chief and penalties against him.

Those non-Big Chief men, when assured that Big Chief would allow them their rationed bit, worked hard to build society better, since they could now keep a portion of the world. Incentives matter.

Of course, many animal packs are not complete totalitarian regimes. But it took a Big Chief to consciously limit a property grab from other men—not merely to instinctively back off a beta male’s fruits. It was he Big Chief’s rational thought to not do an act for future gain that started civilization.

But despite this conscious, logical leap at the dawn of civilization—roughly 10,000 years ago—we still had millions of years of evolution behind that where Big Chief instinct reigned. Millions of years of Big Chief-ness versus only 10,000 years of learned, conscious contradiction of Big Chief-ness—well, it seems pretty obvious that a knee-jerk Big Chief-ness is going to still be around today, barring massive mutation.

So people naturally have an affinity for Big Chief government. So various governments throughout history that are established as firmly decentralizing powers—i.e. anti-Big Chief governments—nonetheless slowly, over time, fall into Big Chief governments. As they do, they erode the gains made by anti-Big Chief governments, as people become less willing to produce more and support the nation more, since Big Chief government takes more and more of their fruits. These nations do one of three things: 1) fall back into barbarism, as Big Chief mentality fully takes over; 2) they are conquered by other nations and become almost complete slaves; or 3) citizens revolt and re-establish some sort of anti-Big Chief government.

A good example of this is the Roman Empire. Founded as a weak kingship, the kings gradually usurped power to become intolerable totalitarians. The Romans revolted and established the republic, with lots of checks, balances, and dispersal of power. But gradually, power became concentrated in fewer positions of government, whilst others became ceremonial. This whittling away of sovereignty became so apparent that Julius Caesar wanted to, in one fell swoop, declare himself emperor and remove the old republican ways. The Romans killed him for it, but shortly thereafter, his adopted son Octavian did just that, only with the veneer of the old republican positions still around, just with no power. Several emperors later, the farce of pretending Rome was a Republic was over, and the emperor barely noticed or paid heed to the idea of being checked by any institution–Big Chief government had returned in full force. It is here you can trace the decline of the Western Roman Empire—to a withering husk easily conquered by barbarians in 476 A.D.

Now, every generation, nation, race, and time period has produced intellectuals to justify Big Chief government, despite all logic being against it. These Squealers serve the local Big Chiefs, trying to become the favored pets of an almighty ruling class. Whether it be the intellectuals and artists who glorified Caesar and Augustus’s totalitarianism (notably, Virgil); to the philosophers of the Ottoman Empire, who argued for a world-wide caliphate; or Catholic philosophers working under various power-hungry popes (such as the enormously influential Innocent III), Big Chief Squealers have always been around to justify absolute dictatorships with glee and illogic. And they have been necessary, as it is quite contrary to all observation that a dictatorial government will save us all; naturally, the people must be convinced that it is correct, and their natural instincts towards Big Chief government will take over after being properly “pushed” by the Squealers.

As concerns our present moment in the U.S., we must look to the immediate pre-American revolution Squealer-philosophy prevalent in Western (especially English) thought, as it is one step removed from the present Squealer philosophy. That is to say that the Divine Right of Kings philosophy was the precursor to our current mode of Big Chief philosophy. I want to detail a bit of it and its failings, because this will greatly illustrate where our current Big Chief philosophy came from, and also to demonstrate how vapid Big Chief philosophy is in retrospect.

In the Renaissance period in Western Europe, local kings broke away from the Catholic Church’s powerful influence, (an influence largely brought about by Innocent III’s machinations, but that’s another tale). In England, Henry VIII broke cleanly off from the church, despite having previously been named “Defender of the Faith” by the same church. Much of Northern Europe followed suit. Meanwhile, those strong nations closer to Rome such as Spain and France, instead of breaking off, took turns invading Papal Lands and controlling papal administration.

These Renaissance kings, after gaining power lost by the papacy, in turn, sought to strengthen and protect their power. So their Squealer-Philosophers, soaked in religion, came up with the idea of the divine right of kings. Previously (such as in the Middle Ages) , such an idea had been ludicrous; officials, not God, crowned kings, so kings were not divinely inspired, but their powers were granted them by other lords. What is more, kings had been, in many countries, elected, not born. Finally, European kings in the Middle Ages were merely “firsts among equals“, not dominating figures; many local dukes and lords openly rivaled their king in power. It was only in the Renaissance that suddenly opposing the king became an act of religious apostasy.

Under this philosophy, kings sought greater command of greater power in their regions. Their excuse was their divine right to do so, and, because God had chosen them, they were uniquely qualified to run the country better than whomever held the power previously. This all went swimmingly—until you got a guy who wasn’t perfect.

For Americans, two most important histories of this Divine Right of Kings period are England and France; the former, because it controlled America and influenced all of its law; the latter because most intellectuals of America and England looked to France for the majority of their non-native influence at this time.

England experienced the full force of bad divine right of kings in the 16th and 17th Century, resulting in numerous overthrows of the so-called “divine rulers.” This may seem odd from a modern Anglo-American perspective, where the propaganda dictates that the English monarchy is the unchanging soul of British patriotism; that, whilst its powers have been eclipsed by the Westminster system, England’s monarchy is permanent and traditional.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I can skip over the War of the Roses, as that occurred before the Divine Right of Kings philosophy took hold; though its very existence shows the English monarchy was anything but permanent or “divine.” But when Henry VIII separated his country from the church and started a divine right administration, what followed was a hundred and fifty years of England’s constant overthrow or near-overthrow of reigning, supremely powerful monarchs:

Mary I (aka Bloody Mary)—a strict Catholic, Mary I sought to re-establish the religion her father zealously, with mass executions. Her subjects revolted and plotted against her.

Elizabeth I—Whilst Hollywood and English propaganda like to portray her as a beloved, great leader, she was anything but. A slut who never married or produced an heir, her subjects constantly plotted against her, and, if not for a fortuitous storm in April 1588 and that a great commander replaced by a lousy one, she would have been deposed by a combined force of Spanish troops and Catholic British loyalists. She was disliked for being seemingly indecisive in her actions. There were constant plots against her.

Charles I—his ascension to the kingship of England sent all three kingdoms of the U.K. into bloody conflicts. Ultimately, he was deposed and beheaded by his subjects.

Oliver Cromwell—You would think after deposing an unpopular ruler, the very next guy installed as dictator would at least work hard to be well liked. Wrong. Cromwell, a vicious and brutal man, dealt with uprisings until his death.

Richard Cromwell–Oliver’s weak son, deposed in less than a year after his father’s death…restoring the monarchy to the son of the beheaded Charles I, a man known as Charles II.

James II–following the restoration, perfidious Albion lived up to her reputation and deposed the very next ruler, James II, in favor of Dutch king and his Scottish-English queen, William and Mary.

Thus, for a hundred and fifty years, whilst operating under a “Divine Right of Kings” philosophy, England was murdering or exiling its kings, appointing new ones, and, for sixteen years, operating without a king at all—just a dictator with a different title. Bear in mind this period also included the founding of Jamestown, the founding of Plymouth colony, and the founding of Boston—i.e. American colonists abroad were constantly having their Big Chiefs removed, with little or no say so, but also whilst operating under the Divine Right of Kings philosophy. America was not immune to the hypocrisy of the Big Chief philosophers of the time.

As such, the Big Chief philosophy in the English-speaking world was under serious pressure.

Things seemed to fairing quite a bit better in France, the closest non-English speaking culture to the Anglo world. Despite the French Wars of Religion and the Mad War, the French had continued to heavily centralize their state, concentrating more and more power in the hands of its king and his retinue. Then, to the great delight of Big Chief philosophers, there came the emergence in the 17th Century of the great French king Louis XIV, the Sun King.

Louis XIV was everything that contemporary Big Chief philosophers promised a Big Chief would be: a certified genius in several areas, Louis XIV won military battles, beautified the country, a great statesman and speaker, and sponsored artists of high artistic caliber (as I will explain later, this latter accomplishment is very key to his (and any ruler’s) celebration by Big Chief philosophers and historians). Picture what a left-winger says Obama is, but in reality—you know, with accomplishments to back it up. ” “L’État, c’est moi”— “I am the state”— he is supposed to have said.

So Big Chief philosophers of the Anglosphere tended to ignore or downplay the English troubles with Big Chiefs (“Hey, they restored the monarchy, didn’t they?”) and highlight France’s success with the system. The English monarch, though weakened by the Parliamentary advances, still claimed a large swath of absolute power, especially in colonial relations (important later). Meanwhile, the French monarchy saw no reason to reduce it’s tyrannous kingship’s power following the death of Louis XIV—if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Yes, the Divine Right of Kings philosophy was teetering, but govern time, people would have forgotten its failures if only a few more geniuses took over (hoped the Squealers).

But in the 18th Century, Anglo-Divine Right of Kings-Big Chief philosophy would suffer three final, fatal, revolutionary blows–1) the American Revolution; 2) the French Revolution; and 3) the Industrial Revolution. These three events would utterly destroy the Divine Right of Kings as the major Big Chief philosophy in the Anglo-West, and force the Squealers back underground to compose a new Big Chief philosophy in order to bring everyone under the glorious yoke of dictatorship.

One Response to “Leftism as a Cult? Part 1: Natural Human Instincts and A Short History of Pre-Industrial Leftism”

  1. SOBL1 Says:

    Outstanding post. It is the new religion.

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