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The Big Answer


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The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class

a book by Joel Kotkin

(our site's book review)

We Are Returning to a More Feudal Era

The Amazon blurb says that Following a remarkable epoch of greater dispersion of wealth and opportunity, we are inexorably returning towards a more feudal era marked by greater concentration of wealth and property, reduced upward mobility, demographic stagnation, and increased dogmatism. If the last seventy years saw a massive expansion of the middle class, not only in America but in much of the developed world, today that class is declining and a new, more hierarchical society is emerging.

History doesn't merely progress and improve—it also regresses and degenerates; political, economic, cultural and demographic decline follows; technology kings waste no time in jumping at the chance to exploit all this and become royalty in castles as we sink into serfdom
History doesn't merely progress and improve—it also regresses and degenerates; political, economic, cultural and demographic decline follows; technology kings waste no time in jumping at the chance to exploit all this and become royalty in castles as we sink into serfdom


Ascendant for much of modern history, the middle class is in decline while those below them, the new Serfs, grow in numbers—a vast, expanding property-less population; they'll be the ones carrying the royalty (Bezos, Gates, Zuckerberg, Buffett, Page, Musk)
Ascendant for much of modern history, the middle class is in decline while those below them, the new Serfs, grow in numbers—a vast, expanding property-less population; they'll be the ones carrying the royalty (Bezos, Gates, Zuckerberg, Buffett, Page, Musk)

The new class structure resembles that of Medieval times. At the apex of the new order are two classes—a reborn clerical elite, the clerisy, which dominates the upper part of the professional ranks, universities, media and culture, and a new aristocracy led by tech oligarchs with unprecedented wealth and growing control of information. These two classes correspond to the old French First and Second Estates.

Below these two classes lies what was once called the Third Estate. This includes the yeomanry, which is made up largely of small businesspeople, minor property owners, skilled workers and private-sector oriented professionals. Ascendant for much of modern history, this class is in decline while those below them, the new Serfs, grow in numbers—a vast, expanding property-less population.

The trends are mounting, but we can still reverse them—if people understand what is actually occurring and have the capability to oppose them.

The ladder of class mobility has been rigged so as to be unclimbable—massive expansion of the middle class has been replaced by massive contraction of the middle class
The ladder of class mobility has been rigged so as to be unclimbable—massive expansion of the middle class has been replaced by massive contraction of the middle class

As Kotkin says, history doesn't merely progress and improve—it also regresses and degenerates. Political, economic, cultural and demographic decline follows. The technology kings waste no time in jumping at the chance to exploit all this and become royalty as we sink into serfdom.


Liberal Elites Seek to Replace the Values of Self-Determination, Family, Community, and Nation with 'Progressive' Ideas Like Identity Politics and Political Correctness

As Kotkin also says, "These technocratic elites are the twenty-tirst-century realization of what Daniel Bell prophetically labeled 'a new priesthood of power' based on scientific expertise.' The future of politics, in the high-income countries at least, will revolve around the ability of the dominant estates to secure the submission of the Third Estate. As in the Middle Ages, this requires imposing an orthodoxy that can normalize and justify a rigid class structure. The power of the nobility in the feudal order was justified through the agencies of religion and custom, blessed by the church. The modern clerisy often claim science as the basis of their doctrines and tout academic credentials as the key to status and authority. They seek to replace the bourgeois values of self-determination, family, community, and nation with 'progressive' ideas about globalism, environmental sustainability, redefined gender roles, and the authority of experts. These values are inculcated through the clerisy's dominance over the institutions of learning and media, aided by the oligarchy's control of information technology and the channels of culture."

The young are valuing democracy far less than their parents and especially their grandparents, says Kotkin; and the young are much more open to authoritarian forms of government
The young are valuing democracy far less than their parents and especially their grandparents, says Kotkin; and the young are much more open to authoritarian forms of government

Kotkin goes on, "Reversing the slide into a neo-feudal order will require the development of a new political paradigm. The current 'progressive' approach to 'social justice,' with its attachment to a powerful central government, will only strengthen the clerisy by vesting more authority in the 'expert' class. On the other hand, the devotees of market fundamentalism, refusing to acknowledge the dangers of oligarchic power and the harm being done to the middle and working classes, might further a political trajectory that threatens the viability of capitalism itself."

As Obama progressed in what many have called his Imperial Presidency, the tons of executive orders he issued to try to bring about his Liberal Utopia served to function like Kingly edicts; he had no patience for democracy—in his mind he was the king
As Obama progressed in what many have called his Imperial Presidency, the tons of executive orders he issued to try to bring about his Liberal Utopia served to function like Kingly edicts; he had no patience for democracy—in his mind he was the king

Today the Primary Institutions—Academy and Media—Reject Most of the Basic American Ideals Like Family, Community, Patriotism, and Democracy

Kotkin continues that a civilization can survive only if its members, especially those with the greatest influence, believe in its basic values. Today the primary institutions—academy and media—reject most of the basic ideals that have long defined the parameters of what Western culture is truly about. Instead of emphasizing what binds our democracy together, the liberal narrative plays identity politics with the various identifiable racial and ethnic groups in our culture, playing them all against each other and especially the white males, who are viewed as an ugly group of greedy subhumans which should be loathed by all other groups, especially the blacks they spend their time victimizing. This racism is systemic and part of the genetic makeup of these degenerate whites. Or so the ugly, racist liberal narrative goes. It asks us to bemoan our horrid American history which no one should be proud of and everyone should be ashamed of. All this butchering of history is a classic case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

The shift towards identity politics threatens to fragment society by dividing people into zealous tribes, and the natives are restless
The shift towards identity politics threatens to fragment society by dividing people into zealous tribes, and the natives are restless


Liberals want us to bemoan our horrid American history which no one should be proud of and everyone should be ashamed of. All this butchering of history is a classic case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater
Liberals want us to bemoan our horrid American history which no one should be proud of and everyone should be ashamed of. All this butchering of history is a classic case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater

The Conservatives Plan to Stay Patriotic and Loyal to the U.S., Respecting Its History—Especially As It Relates to the Founders and the Constitution, and They Pity the Liberals for Their Stupidity, Naïveté, Foolishness, and Ignorance

Trump asks us to help make America great again—he recognizes how the leftist radicals have spent decades tearing down this country so they can build it back up as a liberal utopia of multicultural splendor that will remove the wealth from the rich whites and give it to the blacks as "reparations." The liberal elites will be spared this of course since they will be the wealthy royalty in charge. It is quite a devious, meanspirited scam. If they admitted the real plan behind all their feigned compassion for minorities, said minorities would string them up from the nearest lampposts. But they will never admit it, choosing to call such accusations lies and conspiracy theories.

The racist, anti-white liberal narrative is the indoctrination our young receive in college, so few of them believe in our country or its history. They have no faith in democracy either, leaning toward Marxist socialism instead. They are ashamed of their country and believe that the evil conservatives should be too.

The Founders established the United States of America—an amazing gift to the American people and, eventually, the world. The conservatives plan to stay patriotic and loyal to the U.S., respecting its history—especially as it relates to the Founders and the Constitution, and they pity the liberals for their stupidity, naivite, foolishness, and ignorance.

The conservatives plan to stay patriotic and loyal to the U.S., respecting its history—especially as it relates to the Founders and the Constitution, and they pity the liberals for their stupidity, naivite, foolishness, and ignorance
The conservatives plan to stay patriotic and loyal to the U.S., respecting its history—especially as it relates to the Founders and the Constitution, and they pity the liberals for their stupidity, naivite, foolishness, and ignorance


The liberal elites will be spared losing their wealth, of course, since they will be the wealthy royalty in charge in their Liberal Utopia (isn't it funny how all utopian plans always put the planners in charge as the leaders?)
The liberal elites will be spared losing their wealth, of course, since they will be the wealthy royalty in charge in their Liberal Utopia (isn't it funny how all utopian plans always put the planners in charge as the leaders?)

"Liberals are focused on race in order to advance their own agenda, not the actual victims of racism. They have doubly exploited the minorities about whom they profess to care: First, as cover for their agenda, and then as victims of their failed policies. The left’s exploitation of minorities is not new; however, they have now taken it to a new level. What better definition of racism exists than exploiting someone based on race, without regard to the outcome? If Americans want to focus on racism, they do not have to go far to find it. They need only look to their left." (Source: Liberal activists make everything about race, J.T. Young, Washington Times)


Many People Are Seeking "Authorities" to Guide Them, Rather Than Reason, Logic, and Knowledge

Fear of the future and rampant political corruption and observing that control of the U.S. has been taken over by warmongering neocon empire builders have all conspired to coax people to seek "authorities" to guide them, rather than reason, logic, and knowledge. The liberal elites of today want no part of reason, logic, and knowledge. They want obedience and conformity to the dogma pushed by the authoritarian liberal narrative. These liberal elites are vying for the position of royalty in the neo-feudalism world of our future. The non-elites are slated to fill the ranks of the serfs.

The liberal elites pretended to "care" a huge amount about the plight of the non-white races—a caring they leveraged into dividing society into groups representing levels of victimization, and they pushed racist dogma to the point of frenzy, even though they referred to it as a politically correct "cure" for all the racism that was "systematic and universal," especially in white males. The point of all this, the liberal elites said, was to make a fair and equitable society full of social justice. The real point, of course, was for the liberal elites to gain more power and wealth and become royalty.

The liberal elites of today want no part of reason, logic, and knowledge—they want obedience and conformity to the dogma pushed by the authoritarian liberal narrative
The liberal elites of today want no part of reason, logic, and knowledge—they want obedience and conformity to the dogma pushed by the authoritarian liberal narrative

As society regresses and degenerates in the 21st century, people are unsure of themselves, can't find jobs, and seek reassurance on Facebook whose unstated rule is "I won't notice your shortcomings if you won't notice mine." People who do not accept or like themselves get indirect self-acceptance on social networking sites, presenting a false self to the world and training to be a phony.

Facebook's unstated rule is 'I won't notice your shortcomings if you won't notice mine.' People who do not accept or like themselves get indirect self-acceptance on social networking sites, presenting a false self to the world and training to be a phony
Facebook's unstated rule is 'I won't notice your shortcomings if you won't notice mine.' People who do not accept or like themselves get indirect self-acceptance on social networking sites, presenting a false self to the world and training to be a phony

What Doesn't Progress Will Regress (What Liberals Are Doing with Their Ironically Named "Progressivism")

People cease thinking and let their peers or churches do it for them. The trouble with ceasing to grow as a person is that what doesn't progress will regress. The main trend in human culture in 2020 is regression and abandonment of science in favor of authorities. To the extent the culture is influencing people to seek "authorities" to guide them because the work of self-actualization is seen to be too tedious and/or time consuming, to that extent people are indeed in a social cage. And this situation unfortunately describes the majority of humans on our beautiful planet.

Humans are regressing toward pre-Enlightenment thinking that depends upon 'authorities' to guide them, rather than reason, logic, and knowledge. So life will be about two things: tyrants and religion. It's almost as though civilization is stuck in reverse.

Humans are regressing toward pre-Enlightenment thinking that depends upon "authorities" to guide them, rather than reason, logic, and knowledge. So life will be about two things: tyrants and religion. It's almost as though civilization is stuck in reverse and along with that it would seem that human evolution is stuck in reverse. Think about it: brains that cease thinking for themselves and instead let authorities do it for them are unused organs that will degenerate. (In the Middle Ages and Dark Ages, people did little thinking and neither civilization nor evolution progressed one whit.) Thinking takes lots of effort and energy, but replaying tired old religious dogma in one's head takes hardly any energy. Sort of like watching a movie compared to writing a movie or using an app compared to programming an app. Humans are more evolved than apes because they think (or at least they used to—now they just quiver in fear in megachurches). Nonthinking humans are like apes without body hair—not much else is different. There are sayings that point out that if something isn't growing it's dying, and a flowing river stays healthy, while a stagnant pool generates diseases and smells bad. A mind replaying tired old religious dogma in place of thinking and being closed to new experiences and ideas does not flow, grow, or create. It stagnates, degenerates, and is unproductive.

Unfortunately, the 21st century Dark Ages (a.k.a. Dark Ages 2.0) will be ripe for exploitation by tyrants, demagogues, and psychotics. Narcissistic political performers will fill leadership positions—they will be people out to gain power and wealth not for the people but for themselves—to stroke their egos and improve their lot in life. Sometimes their goal will be to try to make up for the fact they dislike themselves by getting others to admire them. These are the type of people most likely to become the leaders, the aristocracy, the royalty and the oligarchs in the 21st century Dark Ages.


Liberals' Pathological Fixation on Group Identity Has Replaced Education with Indoctrination

Victim-based identity groups are so desperate for meaning and purpose that they destroy monuments and statues that remind them that the white male Founders weren't as PC as they are, so that makes the Founders evil
Victim-based identity groups are so desperate for meaning and purpose that they destroy monuments and statues that remind them that the white male Founders weren't as PC as they are, so that makes the Founders evil


Liberals' pathological fixation on group identity, as well as a preoccupation with the historical grievances of certain groups, has replaced education with indoctrination
Liberals' pathological fixation on group identity, as well as a preoccupation with the historical grievances of certain groups, has replaced education with indoctrination


The suffering victim on the cross behind the podium is African-American! This epitomizes the mind-set of the new PC religion of whites as victimizers and blacks as victims—The Church of Political Correctness
The suffering victim on the cross behind the podium is African-American! This epitomizes the mind-set of the new PC religion of whites as victimizers and blacks as victims—The Church of Political Correctness

". . . there’s a lot to like in The Coming of Neo-Feudalism. Populists on the Left and Right can often argue that things are going badly because those in power are intentionally screwing the rest of us over. But Kotkin is able to highlight concerns with the growing wealth and influence of global elites without depicting them as capitalist robber-barons lighting cigars with hundred-dollar bills and laughing about the plight of the working class. Or as a shadowy cabal of postmodern neo-Marxists plotting to bring down Western civilisation with a barrage of gay wedding cakes and political correctness. Things are going badly, but not necessarily because of bad people. I think this is probably correct, and I doubt that the tech oligarchs planned to have the political, economic, and social power they ended up with when they started out. It would surprise me if Mark Zuckerberg knew he’d end up being grilled by Congress when he started Facebook in his college dorm." (Source: The Coming of Neo-Feudalism—A Review, Adam Wakeling, Quillette)

"Among the books that could end up defining the times in which we find ourselves here in the United States and throughout the world — from South America to Italy to the South China Sea — Kotkin’s work is not as widely read and discussed. But it ought to be. . . . Are future generations bound to become serfs in a zero-sum gig economy, toiling under surveillance systems and Chinese manufactured drones? Will they actually own anything, like a three-bedroom home? Are we misguided, conspiratorial even, to consider this future seriously? . . . Plodding through studies and demographics, he supports a thesis that is at once frightening and galvanizing: Feudalism is making a comeback as liberal capitalism loses its appeal." (Source: A New Book Warns of Our ‘Neo-Feudal’ Future, John Loftus, National Review)

". . . the clerisy, again like its medieval counterparts, has adopted a role as an enforcer not of free thought but of “pro­gressive” orthodoxy. These trends are particularly acute in fields that most impact public policy and opinion. Well under 10 percent of faculty at leading law schools, such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia and Berkeley, describe themselves as conservative. Before we cede such power to the clerisy, we may want to consider the old Latin phrase quis custodiet ipsos custodes — who watches the watchers? In the rise of the clerisy, we see a powerful force for hierarchy, social stagnation and thought control that could rival the role played by its predecessors in medieval times." (Source: How America is reverting back to the feudal age, Joel Kotkin, NY Post)

If one doesn't understand the foundational principles of our democracy, including individual freedom and open discussion, one is unlikely to recognize when they are lost. Kotkin advises us to regain our sense of pride in Western culture and its achievements if we are to slow and halt cultural backsliding. The barriers between well-defined roles in Feudal society were broken down by the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and the rise of the modern democratic state. Kotkin’s neo-Feudalism rests on two pillars. One is growing and increasingly entrenched wealth inequality. The other is the cultural disconnect between the elite and the general population.

Half our citizens believe in the basic values of Americans, while the other half—courtesy of the colleges which have replaced education with indoctrination and propaganda—do not. Their new religion is political correctness, social justice, and identity politics. The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class is a good book which will—hopefully—get a great many people acting to prevent neo-Feudalism so our Middle Class isn't an endangered species. And democracy, historially speaking, usually degenerates into autocracy and it won't be the leaders who stop this degeneration. It will be the citizens. Are you prepared?