New York remained more closely tied to England than did the other Colonies—a hotbed of Tories—during the American Revolution, so it’s fitting that as a new British king, Charles III, is anointed this week, New York’s in the process of offering itself up as a ritual sacrifice to the King’s pagan religion, environmentalism.
New York State banned one highly useful method of extracting natural gas—fracking—years ago and now readies to ban natural gas altogether in new buildings because, hey, it’s not as if human beings need energy or anything. Or at least, the rich don’t. The peasants will just have to fend for themselves.
Charles being a green and something of a socialist, or at least a frequent critic of capitalism, might still strike some younger politics buffs as a paradox, but there’s a long tradition of aristocrats being too high and mighty to tolerate the grubbiness and unpredictability of the free market. The literal Tories of the 19th century were the model for today’s modern-world-weary pastoralists who want more farming but fewer machines, more rootedness and fewer migrants, more manure and fewer chemicals.
If that makes it harder for the masses to build things and feed themselves, well, them’s the breaks. Gotta serve that beautiful agrarian vision. Then again, the nagging sense that 1970s-style welfare-statist socialism and monarchy alike (the peasantry and aristocrats allied against the productive middle class, as it were) ill-served the average citizen was what drove cynics like Johnny Rotten, about whom I wrote three weeks ago, to write snide songs like “God Save the Queen,” which overall I’d declare the most punk punk song, affront to the establishment that it is.
The establishment can be found not only in august governmental and corporate halls but in esteemed universities, which is part of the reason I coined the term “aristosocialist”—referring to what others might roughly call the “limousine liberal”—back in college, surrounded by rich kids who were explicitly fumbling around for environmentalist and cultural arguments in favor of socialism to replace the economic arguments that had failed so spectacularly in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse.
This process of installing culturally-subversive arguments in place of faltering econ ones was sometimes called “cultural Marxism” by its Gramsci-influenced proponents, despite bizarre revisionist claims more recently—even from some conservatives and libertarians—that no such program existed except in the imaginations of conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites. A few years ago, the Wikipedia entry for “Cultural Marxism,” creepily, even went from matter-of-factly describing Gramsci et al to describing purported fevered imaginings from ill-informed conspiracy theorists, etc., as if cultural Marxism never happened.
Nonetheless, the creation of a cultural-elite snootiness to replace bean-counting market analysis did occur, whether we’re allowed to tell the truth about its old labels or not. And rich advocates of egalitarianism and living in little cabins in the woods, advocates a lot like Charles, multiplied.
Finally, in June 2020, as reported by the Guardian, Charles seized the opportunity afforded by a global health crisis, then mere months old, to recommend overhauling the entire planet’s economy according to his stated five agenda items:
•“Capture the imagination and will of humanity,” turning the transformation of the global economy into a romantic mission.
•Foster an “economic recovery” that puts “the world on the path to sustainable employment, livelihoods, and growth,” with “longstanding incentive structures that have had perverse effects on our planetary environment and nature herself” being “reinvented.”
•Globally transition to “net zero” carbon emissions. “Carbon pricing can provide a critical pathway to a sustainable market.”
•Charles warns, “Science, technology, and innovation need re-invigorating,” so I guess he’ll make that happen with his king-magic now from the throne in a way that markets and working scientists can’t.
•And, he told a Covid-addled world, “Investment must be rebalanced. Accelerating green investments can offer job opportunities in green energy, the circular and bio-economy, eco-tourism and green public infrastructure.” Why, he stands to make a mint with these stupendous ideas! Why didn’t the market think of all that?
With Charles’ tendency toward high-handed decrees and pronouncements for civilization’s future, it’s understandable why so many people (including many Africans and African-Americans harangued to reproduce less) fear he, like many of the most elite members of the establishment, also harbors a depopulation agenda—aimed at ostensibly rescuing the environment while also culling that wearying global population back to the manageable numbers it had when the aforementioned pre-industrial aristocrats were firmly in charge and everything was tiny and picturesque.
From young neo-Tories who hate machines to Canadian mental health counselors who recommend suicide for troubled veterans to the fictional High Evolutionary culling unfit animals from his model society in the latest Marvel movie—and all those people pushing puberty-blockers on confused teens—the West keeps producing elitists who dream of a world that would be far more lovely and easy to rule if only it had fewer subjects in it.
It saddens me, then, that there are naïve neo-monarchist voices bubbling on the far right lately as well, wishing they could elevate a King Trump or stop Biden’s newly-launched reelection campaign by shouting at him, as one recent heckler did, “You sit on a throne of lies!” That heckler spoke the truth, but I’d urge all factions to recognize that every ruler sits on a throne of lies. The goal should not be to install the other party or the other bloodline but to put an end to thrones, parliaments, senates, and rulers altogether.
—Todd Seavey is the author of Libertarianism for Beginners and is on Twitter at @ToddSeavey