FORWARD BASE B

"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

Tag Archives: aristocrats

The Ruling Class: Why Changing Rulers Doesn’t Change Society

The first job of the ruler isn’t to rule well or make anybody happy.
First they have to keep themselves in power.
Next is to keep some kind of society going from day to day even if it’s a shithole, so they have something to rule over.
Finally, they have to worry about competition from other rulers.
The other stuff is mostly optional extras.

From this point of view, most rulers are actually pretty good at what they do and are on top of the pyramid for a reason.
When discontented members of the upper middle class have a successful revolution, they always try to focus on the optional extras first but find that the three fundamentals of being a ruler are deceptively difficult to achieve.
They get way ahead of themselves trying to bring about their ideal world of peace and equality but are smacked in the face with reality when they can’t keep a currency solvent, can’t settle on a stable form of government, counter-revolutionary movements start springing up within the country, and the state’s neighbors eagerly mass armies on the border to take advantage of the chaos.

The American Revolution is a remarkable exception, because it wasn’t started by jealous skilled professionals.  It was begun by a ruling class.
Because of the distance between the American colonies and Britain, a de facto ruling class rose up in the colonies.  Of course, no place can have two bodies of rulers.  The American Revolution was the conflict that resolved this contradiction.
Guys like Washington and Jefferson weren’t well-paid slaves, they were aristocrats.  They already had the experience, broad education, and mentality of mastery required to actually run a place.
We see a lot of crossroads in the early American state where unsuitable rulers would have careened from one excess to another.
Fractured into 13 weak governments, surrounded by hostile Indian nations, all the European nations circling like sharks, faced with internal revolts such as the Whiskey Rebellion and Shays’ Rebellion, with no clear center of government or finance…
They faced all the classic problems that confront yuppie revolutionaries but with their wider wisdom avoided, or at least managed to mitigate the damage of making the same mistakes.
Already aristocrats of their local regions, they were within a couple decades able to figure out what needed to be done to establish a viable state.
They even went further once they had most of the basics under control and made an attempt at fulfilling their ideological goals.
A glimpse at the dismal history of states tells us they didn’t do so bad.  They sailed through reefs riddled with wrecks and survived.

Rulers cannot wield power wantonly.  They’re forced to tread carefully and react to the realities of the world around them appropriately or they don’t stay in charge for long.
Their struggle is not to chafe under a boss, but to work against the limitations of nature.  It’s them against the world.  They can’t call the police if they have a problem, the police call them with their problems.
Ironically, the unsheltered life of the ruling class shares much in common with underclass gangsters.
While wage earners can’t comprehend the life of rulers and idolize the upper middle class, gangsters dream instead of ruling. Indeed, gangsters are opportunists always trying to set up their own shadow state right underneath the ruler’s nose.

Because rulers just do a few simple things and react to their environment to achieve those goals.  It’s up to the people to achieve those goals.
If a population is ignorant, unorganized, and easily ruled by violence, a violent state results.
If you or I rose to power in such a state, we’d do no differently out of necessity.
The USA discovered the hard way that Saddam actually governed Iraq pretty much as it ought to be governed to hold it together as one state.
If we tried to govern through softer methods when violence is more effective, someone would soon come along with no compunctions and quickly depose us.
If a population is smart, conscientious, and organized, the ruler has to drastically change his strategy to stay in power.  He encourages a relatively affluent society instead of a brutal kleptocracy not out the goodness of his heart—sentimental rulers don’t stay alive very long—but because it is more beneficial to him to have a stable, wealthy society that keeps most people content.
If we imagine the ruler as a man in the wilderness, we can suppose the weather represents the people.  The ruler merely reacts to the climate, staying in when there’s a storm or traveling when it’s sunny.  In the largest sense, every government is representative.
Peoples truly do get the government they deserve.

The problem with mass governments, is each of us is just a drop in the ocean, unable to exert any sizable influence.  But for the fear of bigger organizations, it makes a lot more sense for people to organize on a much smaller scale so the nature of their society better moves rulers to act in their interests.

The problem with revolutionaries is they try to change a people by changing the government.  The key to any real change is not the rulers, but the composition of a population.

%d bloggers like this: