A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues. Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.
An early critic of the “NRx” pointed out that while many of the writers posture as telling “hard truths,” in fact they are simply restating the existing elite consensus. As used in US political culture, “democracy” is merely a glittering generality and is surrounded by a larger rhetoric about “the people” and “consent of the governed.” Early in the 20th Century, Bernay’s influential book, Propaganda, was quite straight-forward in how “democracy” was to be understood. Elites would use propaganda to “manufacture consent” and then the masses would signal their consent by voting for the policies they were propagandized to support.
If the Neo-Reaction were correct that “demotism” leads to government policy that “panders to the ignorant mob” we would see policies that implement the will of the “ignorant mob.”
But we see no such thing. Policy is decided in advance by elite consensus, some propaganda is relayed to the mob, the mob is allowed to vote for a slate of previously selected candidates, and the “representatives” then implement the elite policies and completely ignore the opinions of the mob. The only “pandering to the ignorant mob” is rhetorical and virtually never actually impacts policy.
This is not an argument for “true democracy” either; critics of democracy ancient and modern have suggested there can be no “will of the people” and that, in fact, democracy always leads to factions and conflicts. But it’s highly misleading to suggest that the current American system is “democratic” in any substantive way. Indeed, “democratic” is more of a marketing term. When George H. W. Bush drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and restored its monarchy he declared that “democracy has been restored in Kuwait.”
The mass immigration of the 20th century had no popular support; it was drive entirely by capitalist interest in cheap labor and later as a cynical move to create a “multi-cultural” (read: multi-racial) society, thus disenfranchising the existing majority. In 1973, no vote was taken to legalize abortion; it was legal in New York, but the Supreme Court simply imposed an elite consensus without consulting “the people.” In more recent times, virtually every time gay marriage was put to a vote, it was voted down; the courts simply imposed it nationally. Even more recently, transgenderism was imposed by a majority conservative, Republican court against the opinions of a super-majority of citizens.
As Gilens and Page demonstrate, policy is driven solely by elite agenda and the “will of the people” simply doesn’t enter into it. There is no “pandering to the ignorant mob” except rhetorically.
While many Neo-Reactionary writers often have valuable insights, the “school of thought” itself was basically “astro-turf.” The Ron Paul movement was increasingly causing concern in the Republican party, especially their anti-war stance, and even more alarmingly, increasingly frank discussions of the Israel Lobby.
We can trace this astro-turf to a very specific time and to a very tiny number of people.
An anecdote from memory; the neo-conservative Zionist David Frum had recruited a young 20 something to write pro-war “conservative” or “libertarian” articles. As this person occasionally posted on OccidentalDissent, Gregory Hood pointed out that as this young man was homosexual, thus putting him out of step with mainstream conservatism, his ticket to acceptance, and employment, was to try to sell Neo-Conservative jingoism, Islamophobia, and war hysteria. After a particular attack on Ann Coulter for her perceived lack of loyalty to the Zionist pro-war cause, some of her fans discovered the young man making some extremely perverse comments about a then underage Justin Bieber, and the resulting scandal forced Frum to drop him.
We can see this pattern at the “founding” of the “Neo-Reaction.”
The “Godfather of Neo-Conservatism” Irving Kristol was an early promoter of Peter Thiel, himself gay, who became instrumental in funding the early “Neo-Reaction.” NRx can be traced to the early writings of Curtis Yarvin. Yarvin, employed by Thiel, creates his free Google.com blogging account as “Mencuis Moldbug” and writes an article.
Within four days this unknown, anonymous article is given massive publicity by none other than Andrew Sullivan, himself a Neo-Conservative – also, importantly, gay – employed by the Zionists that had taken over The Atlantic magazine. While no one could deny Yarvin’s intelligence and talent, this would be an extraordinary coincidence, if it was a coincidence.
But it seems far more likely that this very small group of two major Neo-Conservative Zionists and two gay men who owe their careers to those Neo-Conservative Zionists did not “just happen” to give each other funding and publicity in some great coincidence.
There’s no great “conspiracy” involved, just old fashioned nepotism and networking between two groups frankly out of step with mainstream conservative and libertarian thoughts.
Moldbug’s new “Neo-Reaction” had the effect of splitting the “Ron Paul Right.” A highly coordinated “Dark Enlightenment” trend on the right-wing web was created, often by claiming various bloggers as part of the “movement” who had nothing to do with it. It was simply a new category imposed on existing writers.
Another early critic pointed out, this new “Dark Enlightenment” had a very particular blind spot. Yarvin and others would claim to be “reading old books” and reclaiming a lost tradition, and while the old right-wing thinkers and writers were correct about race, the difference between men and women, democracy, all of them were just wrong about “the Jewish Question.” Everything else they said was right, but they were just irrational on that particular issue, and that particular issue only.
Which would of course make perfect sense for a school of thought created and publicized by a group of Jewish Neo-Conservatives and their gay acolytes.
Maybe a decade later we saw a similar phenomenon, the so-called “Intellectual Dark Web.” This was an even more obvious “astro-turf” campaign, with various “right-wing” content creators given wide coverage by even mainstream media and painted as a legitimate alternative to the “bad parts” of the right wing, such as the “Alt Right” … or Ron Paul’s and Antiwar.com’s increasingly open critiques of the Zionist lobby.
But the “Intellectual Dark Web” didn’t seem to catch on, even after the more “dangerous” right-wing content creators were simply banned from social media.
Neo-reaction has this really interesting feature. While pointing to the shiny red herring of “democracy” – which exists in the West in name only, as a marketing label, that has no effect on policy – NRx ignores any analysis of Jewish power, the Israel lobby, existing oligarchical agendas, and instead claims that the problem is that people can vote at all, even though it is clearly that voting has no effect on actual policy. Yarvin has even gone so far as to claim that the wealthy oligarchs have no power, power simply flows through them.
For ten years in fact it promoted bizarre fascinations with medieval religion, traditional monarchy and aristocracy, fantasy “LARPing” and eventually it all got funneled into the Trump campaign, complete with notions of Trump as a monarch or Emperor.
But we still see the same leading writers of the Neo-Reaction attacking “White Nationalism” and, especially, any discussion of Jewish power, to instead posit that the problem is an excess of democracy – without any proof whatsoever and in fact, ignoring a significant amount of evidence to the contrary.
Indeed, Yarvin has for years maintained that Harvard – under Jewish management and with Jews heavily over-represented in both the faculty and the student body – is actually a hotbed of a type of “secularized Neo-Puritanism” and all those Jews aren’t “really Jews” but in fact “Neo-Puritan” themselves. Hence, the Cathedral.
To see the sleight of hand, consider some analysis by Andrew Joyce of some choice quotes of Yarvin denouncing “anti-semitism.”
Yarvin rejects anti-Semitism because it relies on “an enormous mass of corroborating evidence.” Yarvin rather strangely insists that:
A historian is not a mere collator of facts—he or she is creating an interpretation, much like a trial lawyer. The goal of history is to paint a picture of the past. The test, for any reader, is simply whether you find that picture convincing. Volume of evidence has not much to do with it. [emphasis added]
Joyce then summarizes Yarvin’s reasons for rejecting “anti-semitism” in these four points.
- Multiculturalism does not explicitly advertise itself as Jewish.
- Jews in the American elite do not exhibit ethnic nationalism.
- Jews merely copied the attitudes and ambitions of WASPs.
- Anti-Semitism relies on an excess of evidence.
Thus, the problem is really that goyim are allowed to vote occasionally.
Doesn’t it all seem rather in bad faith?