Every form of government derives its legitimacy in the eyes of the people it governs from somewhere. And the source of legitimacy is always different.
Take feudalism, for example. The feudal baron protects the serfs from endless conquests by neighboring barons. The source of his legitimacy is his army.
In absolutism, the monarch is invested with power by God. The source of his legitimacy is divine in nature. Once the people he rules stop believing this, they’ll snip the monarch’s head off or shoot him and his family in a bloody chamber in Yekaterinburg. (True story).
The nation-state derives legitimacy from providing the people with the best standard of living it can. That’s why “nation-state” equals welfare in the broad sense.
So here’s an important question. Where does the post-nation-state get its legitimacy? It doesn’t pretend to be God-given. It aggressively brings down our standard of living. What’s its source of legitimacy?
The post-nation-state saves us. It’s similar to the feudal system in that way. But while feudal barons saved their serfs from external threats, the post-nation-state saves us from ourselves.
The post-nation-state tells us that we are deeply flawed. So flawed that if we aren’t constantly, painstakingly, excruciatingly monitored and managed, we’ll destroy ourselves.
And what are our tragic flaws?
- We are dirty, unclean and diseased (the pandemic threat).
- We are racist, sexist, and multi-phobic, always on the verge of genociding each other (the fascist threat).
- We are voracious, too needy, and our very existence is incompatible with life (the climate threat).
Nasty, deplorable creatures like that don’t deserve any particular conveniences. We should be grateful we are kept alive at all by our kindly and long-suffering protectors.
The beauty of the scheme is that if the threat resides inside of us, its existence is impossible to prove or disprove. The feudal baron had to go into actual battle against real enemies. The serfs could see the enemies approach the village. They could see the overlord fight or even get wounded.
But our viruses, our phobias, and our vices aren’t visible to the naked eye. We find out whether they exist and how dangerous they are from our overlords. They derive their legitimacy from their power to diagnose us as virtuous or evil, clean or unclean.
For some reason people only read the posts that are published at 3 am but this one is important and I hope people see it.