Feudalism, Not Collectivism, Poses the Greatest Threat to Society

Braus
5 min readJan 24, 2024

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You might have seen Argentina’s new president, Javier Milei’s speech at Davos go viral last week. Here it is put into English by AI.

I would like to respond to his claims that the greatest danger to society is the ideology of “collectivism.” The way I would like to respond, is to suggest that the larger danger is actually a specific kind of hierarchical collectivism called “feudalism.” Other forms of collectivism do not pose such a threat and one form of collectivism be the goal of nations the world over. That is market-friendly, democratic socialism, as practiced by the Irish, the Dutch, the Icelandic, and many other extremely prosperous, happy, and successful countries.

Understanding Collectivism

Before we embark on dissecting the nuances of feudalism, it’s essential to acknowledge the role and characteristics of collectivism. Collectivism, in its various forms, advocates for the prioritization of group interests over individual autonomy. Often associated with socialist and communist ideologies, collectivism seeks to foster a sense of communal responsibility and shared resources. Critics argue that extreme forms of collectivism can stifle individual innovation and create an overreliance on centralized authority.

Feudalism: A Historical Residue

Feudalism, on the other hand, is a socio-economic system deeply rooted in history, most notably dominating medieval Europe. Its remnants linger in societal structures, subtly influencing power dynamics and impeding the pursuit of equality and individual liberties. In a world that prides itself on progress and enlightenment, it becomes imperative to recognize and address the persistent shadows of feudalistic ideologies.

Hierarchical Structures and Social Inequality

Feudalism is synonymous with hierarchical structures, where power is concentrated in the hands of a few. Lords, vassals, and serfs represent distinct social classes with limited mobility. This rigid hierarchy perpetuates social inequality, hindering the growth of a truly egalitarian society. In contemporary terms, this echoes in the concentration of wealth and power within a select elite, hindering the principles of equal opportunity and meritocracy.

Lack of Individual Autonomy

One of the hallmarks of feudalism is the limited autonomy afforded to individuals, particularly serfs. Their lives were intricately tied to the land they worked, leaving little room for personal agency. Similarly, in today’s world, systems that curtail individual autonomy persist. Whether it be corporate structures, bureaucratic red tape, or systemic barriers, the echoes of feudalism resonate in the constraints placed on personal freedom and self-determination.

Resistance to Change

Feudalistic societies were resistant to change, with a strong adherence to tradition and a reluctance to embrace new ideas. This aversion to change stifled progress and innovation. Similarly, in the contemporary landscape, the resistance to change can be observed in various sectors, from educational systems reluctant to adapt to evolving needs to traditional power structures resisting societal transformations. This resistance impedes societal evolution and hampers the ability to address pressing global challenges.

Entrenched Elitism

Feudalistic structures inherently favored an elite class, with privileges bestowed upon the nobility. This entrenched elitism stands as a stark contrast to the principles of equality and social justice. In the modern era, the persistence of entrenched elitism can be observed in various spheres, including politics, where dynastic politics and economic disparities continue to hinder the establishment of a more inclusive and just society.

Erosion of Civic Engagement

Feudalistic societies often lacked a robust civic engagement framework, with power centralized in the hands of a select few. This erosion of civic engagement is mirrored in contemporary societies where disillusionment with political processes and a sense of powerlessness prevail. Overcoming the shadows of feudalism requires active participation and an informed citizenry — elements vital for the flourishing of democratic ideals.

Moving Forward: Overcoming the Shadows of Feudalism

Recognizing the subtle yet pervasive influence of feudalistic ideologies is the first step towards building a more inclusive and equitable society. It requires a concerted effort to dismantle entrenched power structures, promote individual autonomy, and foster a collective commitment to progress. Here are some key steps to move forward:

Promoting Inclusive Governance

To counter the hierarchical structures reminiscent of feudalism, societies must strive for inclusive governance. This involves dismantling systems that concentrate power in the hands of a few and fostering a more representative and participatory democracy. Implementing policies that ensure diverse voices are heard and heeded is essential for building a society that values inclusivity.

Empowering Individuals in The Market and The Ballot Box

The echoes of feudalism can only be silenced by empowering individuals to take control of their destinies. This involves dismantling systemic barriers to education, employment, and social mobility. The individual can be empowered in the market place to buy, sell, create, and innovate. The individual can also be empowered through freedom of speech, political enfranchisement in free and fair elections. Policies that prioritize equal access to opportunities and resources can pave the way for a society where individual autonomy is celebrated, not constrained.

How about using rank choice voting to fight feudalism?

Embracing Innovation and Adaptability

Overcoming the resistance to change requires a cultural shift that celebrates innovation and adaptability. Education systems, corporate structures, and societal norms should encourage a mindset that welcomes new ideas and solutions. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth, societies can break free from the shackles of stagnation reminiscent of feudalistic ideologies.

Addressing Economic Disparities

The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few mirrors the economic disparities inherent in feudalistic societies. Addressing these disparities requires a commitment to fair economic policies, progressive taxation, and social safety nets. Building a society that values economic justice is essential for dismantling the remnants of feudalism.

Cultivating Civic Engagement

To overcome the erosion of civic engagement, societies must prioritize civic education and encourage active participation in political processes. A well-informed and engaged citizenry is the cornerstone of a thriving democracy. Initiatives that promote civic awareness and participation can help dispel the shadows of feudalism and pave the way for a more vibrant and responsive society.

Conclusion

In the quest for societal progress, it’s imperative to identify and confront the true ideological adversaries. While collectivism has its critiques, the subtle but potent influence of feudalism poses a more insidious threat to the principles of equality, autonomy, and progress. By acknowledging and actively addressing the remnants of feudalistic ideologies, societies can pave the way for a more inclusive, just, and dynamic future. It is through collective efforts and a commitment to dismantling entrenched power structures that we can silence the echoes of feudalism and embrace the full potential of a liberated and enlightened society.

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Braus

Educator, Founder, Engineer. Interested in Evidence Based Education and Solving BIG Problems.