The first section of Joel Kotkin’s book The Coming of Neo Feudalism (2020) shows us how the medieval socio-economic system that ruled the world for over 1,000 years is making a comeback. Chapter 1 (The Feudal Revival) explains the regressive trajectory we’ve taken and how modern elites are “bending the arc of history”. Chapter 2 (The Enduring Allure of Feudalism) explores feudalism’s benefits. It came about for a reason, which helps explain its return. Chapter 3 (The Rise of and Decline of Liberal Capitalism) shows how modern technology is accelerating social divisions and severely limiting upward mobility.
Kotkin’s book is great because while provocative to some it is indisputable. His thesis is cold, hard, uncomfortable for many, brutal fact. It confirms that while current rigid economic stratification is a disappointment for the majority, a small upper middle class is being cemented into a solid wealth position for generations, the only threat to which is what Kotkin warns us of. That upsets many of the resentful writers I cite here but, as we’ll see in the coming weeks, there is really nothing anyone can do about it (short of violent revolution or global catastrophe as we saw in the last book that we examined).
It all comes down to values and beliefs. Modern oligarchs and their advocates/legitimizers hold radically different values and beliefs, which they confidently assert are superior to ours. The ongoing culture war is defending our values against the forcible imposition of their values [globalism, environmentalism and the redress of never ending social grievances] onto us. They seek the destruction of our “bourgeois” values [self-determination, hard work, family, community service and patriotism]. And that’s the overarching point of the book. The Oligarchs and their legitimizers are a menacing existential threat to us (the upper middle class).
Next week, we move to part 2 and the sanctimonious, twisted belief system of the Oligarchs. What do they want? …For our wealth and values not to exist. Stay tuned. The book gets better and better with each new section.
P.S. Slate Star Codex is still down! The New York Times continues to embarrass itself (the historically inaccurate 1619 project, Tom Cotton article, Bari Weiss resignation, Tucker Carlson’s family address, etc., etc.). That paper is not an objective news source, it’s a propaganda factory. The Petition not to de-anonymize Scott so he can restore his important work now has over 7,000 signatures – including mine.