Mises Wire

Woke Egalitarianism and the Elites

In the research paper Egalitarianism and the Elites, published in 1995 in the Review of Austrian Economics, one of Murray Rothbard’s most brilliant insights was that even the implementation of an egalitarian society requires leadership. As the fall of one system to the implementation of a new model of society cannot come out of nowhere, someone must command and lead this process. And naturally, these leaders will occupy powerful positions.

Indeed, Rothbard’s affirmation demonstrates how human existence is unequal and how some are naturally more qualified to lead the social processes. In a free-market society, the leaders are the entrepreneurs. With their ability to forecast future needs, they generate new solutions and create new productive arrangements. As a consequence, they create profit for themselves and value for their customers.

On the other hand, in a state-centered society, naturally someone will stand out and command the conquest and maintenance of power. In this sense, there are a lot of possible arrangements, as there are a wide variety of situations in which leaders can be involved. Recently, Western civilization is living a moment in which social constructivism has reappeared, now under the name of “progressivism.” However, even with a new name, progressivism is nothing more than an attempt to refound society.

For those more concerned with the failures of constructivism, Ludwig von Mises in his book Theory and History has already explained why constructivism is arbitrary, in contrast to the complex social process in which individuals are involved. Thus, constructivist movements (as Black Lives Matter, for example) are nothing more than the instruments of people who want to achieve power and determine the path of our society.

They do not just deny the social process of institutional development. The leaders of these movements, using the excuse of the need to create a new society, want to create a new scenario in which they are the dealers. If the actual institutions do not allow them to be in power, they want to break the institutions and create new ones they can control.

As a matter of fact, the leaders of these movements are focused on political power, which will reward them with power and wealth. Improvements in society as a whole don’t matter to them: they are just concerned with the improvements for the group that commands the mass. And all these “social” movements, generally aligned with the radical progressivist Left, attempt to solve any problem through state intervention.

Each problem of private life becomes a public question, and over time, the Leviathan expands more and more, both in terms of income and influence. Allied with the government and the establishment, the leaders of these movements thus achieve relevance in the public debate, occupying positions and being paid to produce nothing.

They are the opposite of entrepreneurs: instead of producing welfare and improving people’s lives, they disseminate chaos to harvest institutional rewards while annihilating the institutions. Family, religion, and market ethics are more and more under attack, and these social movements are working to substitute these private arrangements with state influence and social engineering.

Is also crucial to note that these kinds of movements are legitimized in the public sphere. In general, the mainstream press treats them as the genuine representatives of certain segments of our society. Moreover, the media presents the leaders of these movements as specialists in particular subjects, masking their organizations’ real interests.

Rothbard could not be more on the mark. In the woke progressive movement, there are elites that in reality are not concerned with the agenda they are supposed to support (e.g., racial and gender equality). Indeed, these movements generally end up involved in politics and becoming state parasites while the great mass is fooled and receives only disappointments and worse material conditions.

It happened in the socialist twentieth century, which promoted the biggest mass murders in human history in countries such as China, Soviet Union, and Cuba. And it will happen again under the woke progressive socialism of the twenty-first century: the leaders want to be new kings, and they use the masses as infantry to be sacrificed on the battlefields.

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