The poor have no place in an egalitarian society. To the intellectual, each poor person is a problem. The poverty of a neighborhood is something to be solved through the grand plan of men like him. Intellectuals see poverty as a mere lack of material goods, combined with ignorance due to lack of education and unfair bigotry directed towards them.
In America, LBJ even declared a ‘war on poverty,’ which we fight each time we receive a paycheck or pay one to an employee. The notion is that with the right combination of transfer payments and bureaucracies, what makes the poor poor can be eliminated, and everyone can exist on more equal social and economic terms with one another.
Egalitarianism turns poverty into something like a chronic medical condition that requires a treatment or a cure. This denies the poor the self-respect that might otherwise be accorded to them were society allowed to recognize their true position in life relative to others. Further, by treating poverty like a disease, superior people lose their sense of obligation to provide personal leadership and guidance to the impoverished members of society.
Because inequality is an inescapable factor of nature, one method that the West has used to maintain its egalitarian principles while still hiring gardeners, shoeblacks, and nannies is to import people from foreign lands to serve. These workers, not formally Americans (or British, German, Swedish), can be treated as lower status without risking much social opprobrium. After all, since they just arrived in the country, most are uneducated, which means uninitiated into the egalitarian collective, so there’s a ready-made, socially approved reason to hire them for servile positions.
Meanwhile, many people within these egalitarian societies who are mostly fit for work as maids, cooks, drivers, privates, butlers, shoeblacks, seamstresses, nannies, nursemaids, maids, and handymen instead go to university, where they spend four years learning to be leftists, and then graduate indebted, but with too many airs to work in the servile positions to which they’re fit.
As has happened over time, when the egalitarians spend more time around their imported servants, they come to empathize with them, demand equality and citizenship for them, and thereby reduce the coherence of the civilization, as incompatible cultural strains multiply, and the need for a synthetic national culture becomes more acute to treat the issue.
Many of the jobs that the unintelligent are fit for are so marginal as to be illegal due to wage restrictions. This doubly pushes the ‘enlightened native’ population into idleness and discontent. A generation of former students, who expected to become bureaucrats, instead turns rotten.
Sedition multiplies, the state becomes unsustainable, and civil disorder becomes inevitable. This is the current situation in Europe, South America, the United States, and even parts of the Middle East and Africa. Modernity has written more checks than it can cash.
In contrast, hierarchical societies hold that there’s no shame in service: that it can be a source of pride, of character, and social acceptance. A custodian may not own much more than a cottage, or a room in his lord’s house, but at least he belongs to someone in a place that respects him for who he is and doesn’t attempt to push him to become something he’s not capable of being. Civilization needs strong hands and obedient minds to continue itself, to be whole, beautiful, and true to its people.
Further, a common religion shared between the high and the low (while still recognizing their essential differences even in spirit — spiritual equality is a heresy) keeps all portions of the hierarchy within appropriate limits.
The converse of the low person uncomfortable with his status is the high person who feels a duty to equalize society, per the intellectual fashion of the era. The American caste that Moldbug calls the Brahmins does this for a living: agitating for equality, and earning a cut of the enormous transfer payments that shuffle from person and institution to person.
The notion that the better classes have obligations to the poor, and that the poor have obligations to their superiors, combined by legal rights appropriate to each, is a self-stabilizing system. Since many of the factors that separate rich from poor are determined by nature and fortune, it’s a sanity check for everyone involved to relate to one another appropriately as befits our real capabilities and duties to one another. Even aristocrats revert to the mean, and all great houses crumble to nothing over time, which humbles all of us.
Extending these rights and duties beyond what a sovereign can provide — the tendency of universalism — is another topic, but I won’t get into it here. Suffice to say for now that law isn’t free, each legal right has a cost, and since we want to preserve civilization, we ought to use all the mechanisms that worked in the past to reduce the costs of law enforcement as much as possible.
Demotism, in contrast, divorces rights from obligations as much as possible. Both rights and obligations multiply without relation to one another, haphazardly, buffeted by the whims of conspiracies and mobs alike.
The poor will always be with us, so it’s our duty to provide them with dignified, stable, respectable roles of service within civilization. None of this particularly changes with high technology at the current time, and my views wouldn’t change even with a sudden increase in technological development. I share Aristotle’s view that advanced machines obviate the need for slaves in many contexts in which they were needed previously, but there are still countless unskilled and semiskilled jobs that go unmade due to vile egalitarianism and the laws motivated by that ideology. From my experience, the people who use the ‘technological unemployment’ excuse tend to be both cowards and egalitarians.
For more on this topic, please take the time to read Liberty or Equality by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.