May 25, 2010
Socialism: The New FeudalismBy Michael Aaron Jones
Exactly which side of the political spectrum is dragging us toward the past?
Recently Bill Maher said on his show, "Democrats in America were put on earth to do one thing: drag the ignorant hillbilly half of this country into the next century, which in their case is the 19th..."
This is the type of rhetoric we hear from liberals all the time, ‘the old ways of capitalism and individual responsibility are over and it is time to move into a more collective and social era.' Hence the name MoveOn.org or the term progressive, coined to signify progression into a new era and away from individual responsibility and greed.
The left should study history and the rhetoric of a distance political system called Feudalism. Many people have a misconception that the early socialist thinkers like Jean Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels were original thinkers, writing ideas about collectivism and equal sharing of property. But one only has to look back a few centuries to see they were simply recycling old failed ideas with some new jive attached.
After the era of Viking, Magyar, and Muslim raids gradually subsided, Europe began to reorganize itself into a Feudal society. The old ways of the Germanic tribes were ending, which meant less freedom and more central power.
The Feudal system was nothing more than creating a ruling class who owned all the land and wealth and provided security and safety to all the serfs; in turn the serfs provided work and servitude to their master. But many people do not realize the collective aspect of how serfs lived together.
After the ruling class reaped the finest of the crops and livestock for themselves, the serfs were to distribute all the yield of their labor amongst everyone equally. They had no rights to any crops or land for themselves, all belonged to the community, which was bestowed upon them by their feudal lords. They also shared in utilities. Most peasant societies had a communal oven that was also shared to save on resources. (1)
The ruling class, which consisted of the clergy and lords, did everything they could to spread feudalist propaganda in order to keep the serfs in line. John of Salisbury wrote a short piece in the twelfth century called ‘The Body Social.' In it he describes the proper role of each peasant and how they should all work together as a collective body for the better of the community.
In 1274 AD Thomas Aquinas wrote something similar in his book, the 'Summa Theologica.' "For since every individual is a part of the community, so does each man, all that he is and all that he possesses, belong to the community as well." (3)
Now let's compare that thought to a quote to an early progressive icon, Teddy Roosevelt. "Every man holds his property subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require it." See a parallel of ideologies? (4)
The Feudal propagandists were not above painting tales of evil freedom fighters murdering a good, virtuous, feudal lord. Galbert of Bruges wrote a piece in 1127 AD titled, ‘The Murder of a Feudal Lord.' In it he writes about a family of freedom fighters struggling against a Feudal lord who wishes to bring them into serfdom. The family fights to keep their lands and freedom and ends up murdering the Feudal lord. Of course, Galbert painted the family as ignorant for not understanding that the Feudal Lord only wished to provide them with security and a proper place in society. All he wanted to do was establish order throughout his realm, which was so desperately needed for the betterment of the community. (5)
This is exactly the type of rhetoric we hear from the left all the time. With their ideas of the redistribution of wealth, and a central controlling nanny state, we're told things such as: ‘You should listen to those who know better. You should care more about the community over your own desires; conservatives are just a bunch of ignorant hillbillies clinging to old ideas and must be forced into a better and more ordered society.'
In actuality, the left is leading us right back into feudalism, where men are enslaved to lords, knowledge is left to the ruling class, and freedom and ingenuity are hindered to prevent man from reaching his full potential. This is exactly why our founders pulled us away from the ideas of Europe and gave us every right and freedom the feudalists said were wrong to have.
If Bill Maher and other liberals want to lead us into the next century they should first study history, because they are actually dragging us back a millennium.
1.) Backman, Clifford R. The Worlds of Medieval Europe. New York: Oxford UP, 2003. pp196-209.
2.) Ross, James Bruce, and Mary Martin McLaughlin. The Portable Medieval Reader;. New York: Viking, 1949. pp48.
3.) Backman, Clifford R. The Worlds of Medieval Europe. New York: Oxford UP, 2003. pp383.
4.) Theodore Roosevelt: Speech, Osawatomie, August 31, 1910
5.) Ross, James Bruce, and Mary Martin McLaughlin. The Portable Medieval Reader;. New York: Viking, 1949. pp92-101.