This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

The origin of the party system and plutocracy

For the elitists and intellectuals responsible for the American founding, there was no such thing as ‘party politics’ in the current sense. Parties were known and parties were despised as the source of factions. George Washington did not leave office before openly condemning ‘the spirit of the party’,[1] and Thomas Jefferson said that if he had to join a party in order to get into heaven, he’d settle for hell.[2] The preference was instead for a class-based government ruled by something like Jefferson’s ‘spiritual aristocracy’ which in theory meant anyone but in practice would always mean members of a certain class. But America was populist in spirit, thanks to the propaganda of the Founders, through which they undermined their own designs, and its political mechanisms eventually took on a popular form, and this meant a party system.

We must insist that the structure and operation of the government was destined to lead to a party system. The primary political problem is the acquisition of power, and to keep that power once acquired. When an individual holds office only for a very short period of a few years, then it is clear to all that in order to really seize and hold power, groups must be formed. Although this could, in theory, involve the formation of a large variety of parties depending on beliefs or preferences, for reasons of escalation and efficiency, this process proceeds almost immediately to the reduction of all politics to a battle between two groups. This is because the only goal is to maintain power, and all that is not necessary to that task is discarded, leaving two groups on two sides of an arbitrarily drawn line, whose only consistent positions are that the people opposite them are wrong on all counts.

The party system is also necessitated by the technique of popular elections. Elections require electioneering to organize voters. The organization of voters according to a certain strategy or goal is the essence of the party function. Money is naturally the driving factor of parties and becomes the very fuel of political development since all effective party activities require money. Those who provide or control the most money have the most influence on the party. Thus, the very implementation of liberal democratic theory leads irrevocably to a plutocratic reality.

Ideals are organizational tools for the party; the funds, however, are the substance of the party. Without the funds there would be no party to promote its ideals.

Ideals are powerful motivators for votes, but they remain impotent with regard to actual political direction, since the essence of political activity is the maintenance of power via the influence of money. Ideals are what money looks like once it has been converted into a currency that everyone can share. Money is the God, but ideals are a kind of Eucharist that proceeds mystically from the money power. Money can really only be held by a few, but the ideals of the party can be consumed by all and can give all a sense of mystical participation in power.

Since the operation of democracy via the party system requires two things—money and ideals—and since money is scarce while ideals are plentiful—it is easy to see how money becomes more important and is almost always the determining factor in American elections, with rare exceptions.

[1] From Washington’s Farewell Address.

[2] “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.” Letter to Francis Hopkinson, 13 March 1789.

Share This