This is the brief email I just sent off to an intellectually-curious Brazilian physician who writes to me from time to time about the condition of the West:
Frankly, I think the West is on a flawed course at this point in its history. But (forgive the flagrant self-promotion) as I have outlined in The Great Divide, and elsewhere, what I call “Libertarian-socialism” (not perfectly either, but a fusion of these two ideologies), is now the main regime-type of the Western world.
This was a type that had to be created by the West to resolve the deep contradiction into which it had fallen by embracing two conflicting political philosophies at the same time: classical liberalism, and egalitarianism. You can’t put these two ideologies – the most freedom, and the most public control – together, without eventual doctrinal confusion and collapse.
The confusion was avoided by fission and fusion: by splitting our former unified body-politic into two new bodies: a private body, and a public body – to produce libertarianism of the private body; and socialism of the public body, then fusing them in what I call “libertarian-socialism.”
This fusion satisfies all parties: our mass publics, because they get the a broad range of once-forbidden sexual and bodily pleasures and acts (free-love, homo-sex; easy divorce; abortion; pornography; easy access to drugs; transgendering; etc); and also our egalitarian-type social-engineers, because once such publics are stupefied by their own pleasures and bodily liberties, political reality can be manipulated with minimal protest, coast-to-coast.
This type is has never been seen before in human history. It was not possible in the past because our two clashing public ideologies did not exist, and in any case there was not enough wealth to provide states with sufficient tax harvests to bring about such regimes. But the rapidly-increasing wealth of the West over the past hundred years (and still rising fast), is sufficient to provide immense tax-harvesting to fund all achievable quasi-socialistic programs. When understood in this way, you might say the publics of the West have lulled themselves into a kind of statist-passivity by way of indulgence of their own once-forbidden appetites.
What can be done about the vastly-increased top-down control now so visible in these regimes?
Nothing much. This is far too vast, deep, and novel a movement, combining three powerful and natural things: the human desire for sexual and bodily self-indulgence (never before permitted to such a degree); the equally-powerful human desire to be free of all external control of these aspects of private life; and finally, the egalitarian idealism and desire to control others (the libido-dominandi) of the bureaucratic classes of these regimes – all floated thanks to enormous tax harvests unprecedented in human history.
As long as Western publics continue to accept the Faustian deal: to surrender so many of their former ideals of personal, and family, and political, economic, and property rights and principles of self-reliance, and responsibility to their own governments, in exchange for their new sexual and bodily liberties, libertarian-socialism is here to stay!