“A progressive shift of power and type of civilization has occurred from one caste to the next since prehistoric times (from sacred leaders, to a warrior aristocracy, to the merchants, and finally, to the serfs).”
~ Julius Evola
Although there are examples of this process (the “regression of the castes”) everywhere in history (India and Japan present obvious examples), let us stick to the phenomenon as it has unfolded in Europe, since that civilization is more familiar to Western audiences.
King Henry VIII provides for us an excellent example of the first stage of regression where a secular power refuses to acknowledge the authority of the sacred, and then claims the role of the spiritual authority for itself. We must remember, King Henry did not simply break from Rome, but also established a new church—the Church of England—of which he himself was the head.
However, as suggested earlier, the process of revolt cannot stop once it has begun. This the way of all revolutionary movements: they cannot be stopped, and they sooner or later boomerang and destroy those who initiated them, repaying their hubris with a self-inflicted and violent death. We are reminded here of Phaethon’s attempt to take the reins of his father’s chariot which led inexorably to his own demise. And so the regression must continue downward until it can go no further, which is to say, until it propagates through all four castes and levels the structure of human society to the ground.
Once Henry VIII’s project was complete, it was only a matter of time before the revolutionary spirit took hold of the next caste in the hierarchy, which was the caste responsible for economic activity. In the economic revolution that was to follow, Henry VIII and the rest of the noble class along with him were to be consumed in the very blaze of rebellion which they themselves ignited. This second stage of regression, the revolution of the “third estate,” can be seen in the great revolutions of America and France, and in the increasing power of the merchant and financier classes that came during the Industrial Revolution. Their political ideas, it must be remembered, despised the notion aristocracy above all else.
During this period the validity of royal authority was called into question, and rightfully so, for without spiritual authority above it, it had rendered itself completely illegitimate. The third estate, inspired by the successful rebellion they had just witnessed, rebelled in their own turn. Now the roles of priesthood and nobility became dispersed amongst the populace, and the age of democracy began.
Some might protest at this point that the revolutionary period we are describing was a revolution for the “common man,” and a victory not for the wealthy, but for all. This thesis is propaganda plain and simple, for any survey of the events reveal that men lost rights and independence both in France and America (by measure of taxes and forced participation in the perpetual wars that would follow). The democratic era benefitted above all the moneyed classes, for democracy has always been a machine fueled by dollars more than by ballots.
This era, because ruled by those whose aptitudes are of the economic order, comes to be dominated by economic ideology, profit, trade, and productivity, because such is the ruling mentality of the merchant caste. All considerations, all political discourse, gravitates toward economic considerations. Government is no longer directed by statesmen but by those with the highest economic aptitudes.
Those who are most economically oriented, which is to say, those who can make the most money for themselves or for society at large, become the new aristocracy and gain for themselves the esteem previously reserved for royalty and priesthood. Society becomes a plutocracy.
Morality itself devolves to promote and esteem the virtues of moneymaking and economic success. Society’s highest virtues at this point will be “productivity” and “hard work.” Western civilization is currently within this stage of regression, as should be clear enough to the contemporary reader, and is moving slowly but surely to the last and final stage of hierarchical disintegration, which has reared its head intermittently but has thus far been only partially successful. Here we refer to the ideology of socialism.
Socialism, the revolution by which the merchant caste self-destructs and is finally overthrown by the laboring classes, brings the regression to its end. Civilization is then leveled to the ground, both figuratively and literally, for socialism even more than democracy is a leveling obsession.
In short, the Middle Ages marks the last “normal” civilization to exist in the west. It fell at the Reformation when the spiritual authority was displaced and exiled. The royal authority, once rendered illegitimate by its own actions, was eventually dismantled by the rising merchant class, leading to the current age of Capitalism. Next the laboring classes, because they sooner or later perceives the illegitimacy of the authority lorded over them by their moneyed masters, revolt in turn, completing the process and bring civilization to a natural end.
 Revolt Against the Modern World, p. 327.