“They’re just a bunch of cronies!” is something that many a citizen has said of their respective elites. The average man isn’t necessarily wrong in thinking this, but who is he to judge? Would not “all men be tyrants if they could” (as John Adams proposed)? Are we not all tyrants in one way or another? It is from this very tyrannous and imperious instinct that men group together under the leadership of he who can invoke the most force.
Strength, above all else, determines who is most qualified to lead at any given point in time. With that being said, just because someone might be strong enough to guide a society from within (over the short-term) doesn’t mean they’re the best to defend it from without (over the long-term). This is where an elite must shape its population to be strong for the ever-lurking enemies of the future.
Perhaps such a long-term ambition is futile, but it is also the necessary course of action for any self-realized form of potential or power in order to sustain itself. As many a far-eastern Asian developmental/institutional economist has pointed out, there is a difference between looters with a high time preference and stationary bandits with a low time preference.
It is from the primitive foundation of strength, and from the resultant in-group hierarchy, that we see the formation of gangs. In other words, groups strive to become gangs. Some groups gain the momentum and have the quantum to blitzkrieg a society and take it over. Other groups have to operate as small cells and cabals in the shadows while spreading influence and manipulating what circumstance they can in order to expand their power base.
- Tribes used to fight for territory in order to become king of the hill, just as kings used to fight to become emperors.
- American politicians used to hire cronies to stand near ballot boxes with mallets to dissuade voters from supporting the opposition. Tarring and feathering was also a common political practice in early U.S. history.
- The Brownshirts and Blackshirts fought against the Reds in order to secure their respective countries.
- The Reds fought against the Whites in Russia in order to gain a country.
- And, even today, various Neo-feudal corporations and their respective executives compete with one another for monopoly status and political influence, all at the behest of the financial elite (bankers and investors).
This tendency for divided factions to begin to consolidate their power, to unite and lead, seems to present itself throughout the course of History.
Two men over the course of History really understood the principle of Gangs to Governments. The first was a Blackshirt and the second was a Brownshirt.
The first is Cesare Mori, also known as the “Iron Prefect” of Italy, who was known for using brutal tactics to drive out the Sicilian Mafia (ever wonder why the Sicilian Mafia became so big in the U.S. in the 30’s? Hint: the reason is similar to why the Jewish Mafia became so big as well (see the film: “Once Upon a Time in America” for more on this subject)).
Mori famously claimed of himself that:
“if the Sicilians are so afraid of the mafia, then I shall become the scariest mafioso of them all!”
The second man who seemed to understand this principle was Ernst Röhm, the founder of the SA, which was a paramilitary vanguard organization which assisted the NSDAP during their rise to power.
Röhm understood the necessity for someone to serve his role, claiming that:
“Since I am an immature and wicked man, war and unrest appeal to me more than good bourgeois order. Brutality is respected, the people need wholesome fear. They want to fear someone. They want someone to frighten them and make them shudderingly submissive.”
On one hand you have someone like Mori, who explicitly understood the need for the crony politics to exercise the extra-judicial power (which can subdue the power of criminal syndicates to operate “above the law”). On the other hand, you have someone like Röhm, who understood the need for brutality and fear to create strong loyalty within one’s own group.
In some respect, these men may have been monsters, but, to quote Nietzsche, “is it better to out-monster the monster or to be quietly devoured?”And, if “all men would be tyrants if they could“, are we not all monsters on some level or another?