New Money Liberalism vs. The Working Class

Unless you really, truly, believe the old and warn out canard that moneyed-interest is “conservative” you are probably attuned to the shifting realities of money/wealth in politics.  First, conservatism has never been the philosophy of money—from Aristotle to Edmund Burke to G.K. Chesterton, there has always been a skepticism to economic doctrines promoting the free flow of capital (originally a liberal idea).  Marxist literary critic Fredric Jameson even states, “It is first of all commonplace in Marxist historiography that the first critiques of the nascent world of market capitalism emerge on the Right.”[1] Old Money, in the aristocratic sense, came from the land, not from legal practice, the guilds (commerce), or entrepreneurship (i.e., Old Money came from labor or the exploits of labor, while New Money was explicitly the creation of commercial endeavors). Second, the wealthiest segments of society—especially New Money—is exceedingly liberal in its political outlook.

Liberalism is a confusing term for many people because most people don’t read.  It is as simple as that.  Liberalism, especially in the English-speaking world, seems to be associated with benign kindness and welcoming of the stranger, refugee, foreigner, etc., mixed with a healthy dose of statist welfare to improve the material lives of people; it is also associated with social and cultural liberalism: the elimination of social and cultural (even moral) mores.  The promise of liberalism, from Hobbes and Locke to Mill and Rawls, is that individuals will live a materially comfortable, physically (or bodily) pleasant life, free from harm and conflict.  Freedom from harm is the true principle of liberalism.  Moreover, liberalism’s understanding of liberty is free choice (in all matters) and free movement: I am a body in motion and a body that chooses; any impediment to motion or choice is therefore a restriction against my individual liberty.

The growing correlation between “new money” and liberal politics fits the liberal outlook.  New money is self-made, so to speak, where people ventured off into a new profession different from that of their parents or family.  They were met with success.  The individualism entailed in new money startup leads to a liberal outlook concerning economic life: People should be as economically mobile as possible which means people should have as much freedom to choose whatever profession to go into as possible.

As an essentially materialist and economic doctrine—which is why liberalism and Marxist-communism are the real mortal enemies between one another—liberalism advances the dream of continuous economic mobility and prosperity, while equally afforded to individuals as much “choice” as possible in all aspects of their lives: From sexual and economic to identity and living space.  Conservatism, by contrast, is all about attachment and rootedness, duties and obligations.  The economic mobility promised by New Money is at odds with the rooted order and deontological ethics of conservatism.  Far from putting oneself first, the conservative outlook is putting others first: Family, community, and country before self.  Conservatism has generally been skeptical to economic mobility on anthropological grounds: Economic mobility dissolves families, places the individual above family, community, and country, is atomistic in application and therefore breaks apart the social and communitarian bonds of man, etc.  This is not to say conservatives are against material well-being and improvement, but conservatives ask “at what cost to being human”?

New Money is intrinsically liberal.  It is liberal in its very DNA.  With the decline of traditional socialist and labor parties which advocated on behalf of the working-class, the working-class has been left behind.  Giving rise to our present discontents.  Liberals have always despised the piggish, boorish, and ignorant working-class, this is all to obvious with the media and liberal political and economic establishment’s venom directed toward working-class populists in Europe, England, and the United States.  The question about the political future of the working-class, which ex-Marxist turned libertarian-anarchist Murray Bookchin considered to always having been conservative (as did philosopher Frank Tannenbaum in his study A Philosophy of Labor), is whether it moves in a conservative-nationalist direction or a new working-class movement accepting of working-class cultural conservatism will arise as the voice of the “left behind” population.  New Money liberalism has no interest in the working-class and would rather them disappear.

 

[1] Fredric Jameson, Fables of Aggression, p. 18

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