Conservative Socialism: Critique of Patrimonialism (Pt. I of II)

Earlier in the week, I learned that there was a recent attempt at an English translation of Carl Ludwig von Haller’s magnum opus, a six-volume tome entitled, Restauration der Staatswissenschaft (“Restoration of Statecraft” or Restoration of Political Science as it is being referred to in English). Von Haller spent the years between 1816 and 1834 writing all six volumes to outline his own responses to the French Revolution and the eventual spread of Liberal Capitalism in the German-speaking world. At this stage of the 19th century, Marxist Theory had yet to be articulated by Marx and Engels and the opposition to Neoliberalism would not make their appearances for another century. Thus, the only major opposition to Liberal Capitalism at this time came from those who supported the old “Feudalist” and “Monarchist” order that had been established by Prussia, Austria, and Czarist Russia in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars.

What von Haller intended to achieve by writing his magnum opus was two-fold. First, he sought to admonish the old order of the Monarchies that failed to adapt to the political-economic changes of the period. Second, he also challenged concepts that were associated Liberal Capitalism in favor of those more appropriate to the political order that he wished to outline in the rest of his magnum opus. While there are a number of ideas that parallel those of Max Weber, the Catholic Church, Marxism-Leninism, Pan-Germanic Socialism, National Conservatism, and others, there are others which are worthy of criticism. In this first half, I will only be mentioning the areas where von Haller paralleled those of other ideologies and where it stands in relation to my Treatises and the Work-Standard. The bulk of my critiques will be reserved for the second half of the post.

To begin, von Haller strove to eliminate the distinctions between “Public Law” and “Private Law,” which in itself is a legacy holdover of Roman Law. Legally speaking, the distinctions between Public Law and Private Law are what facilitate the existence of Parliament and Civil Society. The “omnipotent State” that is the topic of von Haller’s scrutiny here is that of a Parliament operating on the fullest definition of what I have described elsewhere in my Treatises as Production for Utility, which in itself is accompanied by Production for Profit. The chief purpose of giving any “State” (which is to say a Parliament in hindsight) power and authority over Civil Society under Liberal Capitalism is to perpetuate the ideology. An important aspect covered by von Haller are the concepts of “Privatization” and “Nationalization.”       

One will recall that in my Treatises, I specifically organized economic life around the Totality and their State. The various State Enterprises, Student Enterprises, Social Enterprises and Digital Enterprises of a VCS Economy cannot be neatly categorized in terms of Privatization and Nationalization insofar as the concepts of Private Property-as-Wealth and Common Property-as-Wealth do not exist under the Work-Standard. Barring categorization according to who controls which Enterprise and their Social Rank within the Social Ranking System, all Properties are distinguished based on their overall ability to contribute Arbeit and Geld to the Life-Energy Reserve.  

Another notable pursuit concerned the decision to present a non-Liberal conception of Freedom that is not centered around the granting or denial of Legal Rights. Freedom in any meaningful sense has to become more than whatever Legal Rights somebody happens to have on paper. In Marxism-Leninism and Pan-Germanic Socialism, we find two distinct non-Liberal conceptions of Freedom being conceptualized within their theoretical works. The former insists that Freedom has to be extended to include whether somebody has the power to enjoy that Freedom as part of a national community of Proletarians. The latter, on the other hand, believes that every Volksgemeinschaft has its own definitions of what constitutes Freedom and that they should be realizing the version which is most compatible with their National Culture.       

The result of adopting these stances is the wholesale rejection of the Social Contract, the State of Nature, and the concepts of Natural Rights, Civil Society and Parliament. In his critiques of the Liberal Capitalist regime, von Haller was adamant about the idea that the powers of the Legislature and the Judiciary are not necessarily dominated by it. The Legislature and Judiciary should also be carried out by the Totality inasmuch as they can exist as extensions of a particular State. What von Haller was thinking is the notion that there are areas of a nation where the powers to govern, enact and enforce laws can be implemented by specific segments of the Totality. For instance, there would be the laws of the State on the one hand and the laws of the Church on the other. The laws of the Church are meant to complement the laws of the State and vice versa.  

We do find comparable trends being discussed within the theoretical articulations of Marxism-Leninism and Pan-Germanic Socialism, especially with regard to their political conceptualizations of Council Democracy as the antithesis of Parliamentary Democracy. The “Democracy” in Council Democracy boasts the integration of socioeconomic life into socio-political life, allowing the Totality to express themselves more vocally and directly when choosing legislators and getting proposed legislation passed. All of that can be done without ever having to resort to Direct Democracy and risk attracting petty demagoguery. Together with the Social Ranking System and the Work-Standard, the Selves who have done the most for the Totality and the State will also have the highest Social Ranks and the ones best-fit to govern the nation.  

For the Work-Standard in particular, the Intents of Command and Obedience are a reciprocal relationship. Although the State takes precedence in wielding the Intents of Command and Obedience, that is not to suggest the Totality is incapable of wielding the Intents of Command and Obedience themselves. The Totality and the State are both bound to the Legal Code and the Constitution of their nation. The Totality may own all the land in their nation on grounds of National Sovereignty, but it is the State that will be required to look after the land and buildings. The State may own all the digital infrastructure that comprises the National Intranet on grounds of National Sovereignty, but it is the Totality that will be required to look after the Social Forums and Social Courts. “Sovereignty,” to von Haller, does not actually grant someone absolute power and authority over anyone or anything. In actuality, it is the extension of the social relations between the State and Totality, the Self interacting with both at the micro and macro levels of national life.

So far, I have been describing a lot of parallels between the arguments of von Haller and those of the Work-Standard and other ideologies. Those are all of the similarities that I have been able to notice at the moment. Aside from those similarities, there are lots of fundamental differences in my Treatises alone that I feel compelled to criticize the ideological alternative that von Haller originally intended to overcome Liberal Capitalism in the 19th century. This ideology would later be criticized by Hegel in the early 19th century and further elaborated by Weber by the early 20th century. It is an ideology that, if put into practice, results in an unstable, underperforming, and unsociable national life that is undoubtedly unworthy of the Work-Standard. In the next half of this post, I will be discussing ideology and why I am convinced that the ideology is impractical in contemporary contexts.

Categories: Philosophy

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