Samuel T. Francis, my friend and ally for thirty years, passed away in 2005. But he left us in manuscript his master work of power diagnostics, Leviathan and Its Enemies: Mass Organization and Managerial Power in Twentieth-Century America which has now finally been published— with an explanatory introduction by Jerry Woodruff, a Foreword by Fran Griffin, and an Afterword by Paul Gottfried. This book of 756 pages is vintage Francis, providing a theoretical background for the Managerial Elite which now rules us and its history from the late 19th century to the 1990s. Most significantly, Sam anticipated with near -perfection the Crisis of that Elite that now characterizes the American and Western European regimes, impelled in part by unprecedented mass non-traditional immigration. His book presents not only an incomparable analysis of power but also an essential alternative perspective on American history.
The Managerial Elite, comprised of the masters of organizational and technocratic mysteries who have come to govern the mass organizations of contemporary society, has shown remarkable vitality. It absorbed Big Business and the New Left. It easily absorbed and neutered Reaganite “conservatism.” It has established almost complete political, economic, and cultural hegemony. But the Managerial Elite suffers fatal weaknesses—which Francis predicted would threaten its reign.
Of course, the previous aristocratic and bourgeois elites looked after their own power and interests. But they were in and of society. Managerial power, however, for probably the first time in history, relies entirely on manipulation from above of a mass population. The aristocratic elite were “lions.” The bourgeois elite were a combination of “lions” and “foxes.” The Managers are all “foxes.”
Recent events have revealed this truth clearly: An American President and a German Chancellor ready to replace their own people with others. Clearly, these elite figures are mentally and spiritually outside the societies they rule.
But foxes fail when confronted with challenges that cannot be solved by manipulation—especially since their rule is pervaded by a melioristic, scientistic, and hedonistic rationale which requires the perpetual alteration and agitation of society.
Does not this crisis of the foxes exactly describe our current American and European regimes, which are defaulting when faced with unmanipulable forces like Islamic invasion and illegal immigration? Sam understood that limitless immigration is one of the tools by which our rulers destroy natural society to maintain their power (although I doubt that even he—or anybody— could have predicted the total surrender of the elite to Muslim invasion).
The elites’ robotic invocation of failed techniques and their hysterical reaction when their failures are criticized can all be seen in their demonization of Donald Trump—and, similarly, of Brexit voters.
Because of its insistence on perpetual war on all tradition and culture, on all local differentiation, and on Christianity, the Managerial Elite has seriously weakened the sense of cohesive identity necessary for a functioning society. The resulting alienated fragments are ready for resistance to their masters. The Managers’ success has also rested in large part on widespread prosperity. But what happens when its preference for consumption over production, for “self-realization” over work and responsibility, undermine that prosperity? The ongoing proletarianization of the middle class is a major if unspoken factor in current American society.
I would suggest as significant today another factor on which Francis only briefly touches. The Managerial Regime’s expansion results in mounting incompetence and irresponsibility among its members and clients. We have generals who are bureaucrats rather than soldiers; judges who are petty tyrants rather than learned jurists; university presidents and school superintendents who are con artists rather than educators; religious leaders totally out of sync with their followers; Mass Media that cannot grasp even the simple concept of objectivity; vast, expensive federal bureaucracies that do no significant work and accomplish nothing. When these last fail, the regime can think of nothing except still more mass bureaucracies.
The Managerial Elite, because its lacks any internal differentiation and exercises almost total dominance in politics, economy, and culture, meets the definition of despotism, albeit of a “soft” style. The almost universal surrender of politicians, clergy, and media to destructive immigration indicates how nearly complete Managerial domination is.
Francis predicted increasing challenges to that elite, although opposition as of his writing in the 1990s failed so far to achieve any substantive power. He made no predictions of how successful a replacement would be, or of its nature. Nevertheless, more than a decade after his death, Sam Francis gives us guidance as to our condition now as he did during his active career.
Clyde Wilson (email him) is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. While recovering from university life, he is working as co-publisher of Shotwell Publishing, specializing in unreconstructed Southern books. Wilson is author or editor of over 30 books and over 600 articles, essays, and reviews—most recently The Yankee Problem: An American Dilemma; Nullification: Reclaiming Consent of the Governed; and (forthcoming) The Stupid Party: Republicans Before Trump.