Our Leading Principle
Each government framework, and its current stage, has a “leading principle” that it upholds as important for its citizens to follow.
This leading principle is an overarching societal focus in each; a goal for the citizenry to strive toward and a behavior to replicate. This principle creates an essential piece of the cultural framework for the state and helps place an emphasis on certain systemically desired characteristics or traits.
Over time, this principle alters the national soul within the country.
Understanding each leading principle is key to understanding the desired cultural characteristics of each framework.
For example, in a benevolent rule-by-one and rule-by-few, the leading principles are honor and hierarchy. It is a societal expectation to follow the hierarchy and to value personal honor above other attributes such as wealth. The leading principle is expected of the subjects and the rulers, and becomes a type of cultural heritage.
We can demonstrate this in an extreme example through the Shōwa era in Japan when Japanese soldiers would commit Seppuku (ritual suicide by disembowelment) to restore honor for themselves or their families. They would kill themselves to restore their honor. The Seppuku example shows the level of importance that was placed on this fundamental principle in this framework.
These types of honor-focused values and actions are absent in modernity’s rule-by-many frameworks, because the rule-by-many does not instill honor as a leading principle. But the respect for hierarchy and honor are very present, daily occurrences in the more centralized variants.
Which, I would argue, are instances of a much better leading principle than the rule-by-many competitor. Both in terms of sustainment and in desired cultural standards.
Contrast the above with a degenerative rule-by-one or rule-by-few. In these, the leading principle is fear or terror.
This leading principle demands that the average citizen should not make themselves known by the government. In North Korea or the Soviet Union, for instance, there was never a desire for honor or respect for hierarchy.
The state did not need to acquire honorable citizens through an honorable characteristic, as our Japanese example did. Submission was forced, and compliance was expected through terror. This produced a leading principle of fear, that all subjects should not cause any awareness to the state that the state would have to resolve.
This is, arguably, one of the worst leading principles for sustainment and cultural desires.
Contrast our last example with a positive stage rule-by-many, where the leading principle is civic virtue. In these frameworks, it is expected that the citizen will demonstrate virtue and respect toward the societal institutions and systems at their own expense.
A noteworthy instance of this is Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, a Roman patrician and statesman during the Roman Republic. He was a farmer who was called to lead during a troubling time for the Republic. He was given near-absolute authority to weather the crisis afflicting Rome, but after the crisis subsided, he gave up all power and returned to farming. What Cincinnatus did was then used as an example to demonstrate proper civic virtue and service to the greater good in Rome and later republics.
This service to the greater good supersedes nobility, honor, or the fear that could have been granted through his absolute authority. The benevolent rule-by-many forms are often awash with a desire and high respect for those who demonstrate their leading principle of civic virtue.
Finally, in the negative stage rule-by-many, the leading principle is subjectivist morality.
This morality is derived from the ever-changing opinions of the mob. All the other leading principles (honor, fear, and civic virtue) are only considered important or hailed if they are beneficial to the morality and direction of the current mob. The subjects have to follow it; as do the rulers. The crowd has a big effect here.
The modern Western nations are inundated with examples of this effect. Nearly all of our major political discussions revolve around what is the “moral” thing to do or some other emotional appeal, which is virtue signaling to others in the mob of their compliance.
When we review the healthy leading principles, we notice that emotions and subjective morality and beliefs are often set aside in the interest of the society and the honor of the individual or their family. But in the degenerative stage, the situation inverts, and the mob’s morality is the focus and the most important metric of societal expectations.
Notice the switch from the good of the whole to the good of the self in all degenerative conditions, no matter the government framework.
Compliance to this moral system becomes a necessity, and if it is not followed, state-endorsed terror provoking fear often follows. Which is similar to the other framework’s degenerative stage.
So, in some capacity, it would be correct to argue that the negative stage rule-by-many is also led by fear, but a fear that is driven by the leading principle of mob morality.
I am not a fan of any of these for a singular leading principle. They all have failed in their own way. While honor and civic virtue are both beneficial and important, I believe the leading principle should be loyalty to one’s people. Where loyalty includes love and dedication.
A selfless virtue focused on our national neighbors.
Honor is too greatly focused on the specific individual and their immediate family, whereas civic virtue focuses too heavily on the institutional and systemic framework of the government. The former ignores the whole, whereas the latter ignores what (who) actually matters.
Imagine a soldier. We should not send a soldier out to war for his family’s honor, nor for our institutions. No young man should die for an idea or an institution. A soldier should only die for his people, those who he loves and cherishes. That is the only worthwhile death; the only truly honorable and virtuous death that encompasses all other virtues: civic virtue, honor, and love. This principle is, in practice, love and loyalty to our own.
If we seek to maximize potential sustainment, we need to sustain the people and their soul first. Which will require a loyalty and commitment to one’s own nation, not to themselves or the nation’s institutions.
We have seen what happens when civic virtue is taken too far in the United States (My people have spent centuries protecting the very same institutions that are destroying them and removing them from power in their own land). It can destroy a nation because they care more for the institutions than they do about the nation of people itself.
Loyalty, sacrifice, and humble work for one’s nation must be our leading principle. This virtue should be nurtured as much as possible in our movement and future state.
Read Next: What Is Nationalism and Is It Viable?
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