I mean the very definition of hegemony is rule without challenge. The left, in its quest for basic rights and fairness, is so often told of the importance of ‘plurality’ and ‘freedom,’ usually to withhold these basic protections from certain groups. And told by the same (small d) democratic voices who are all too willing to rally ‘round a monarch. Why is it that authoritarian sentiment is never, ever used to liberate, only to shackle, mind and body, to either a flag or a class system built, since the start of history, upon violence? Freedom for mine and not for thine. So long as me and mine are in the in-group, the winning group, the ruling group, then a ruling class is just perfect. It’s sweet in fact. Very traditional and comforting.
The answer is, of course, that there is no such thing as freedom. At least not as a political concept. Freedom is a practical matter. The freedom to say, do, give, take, help, or harm as one sees fit without constraint. Freedom is better thought of as agency, both positive and negative. And monarchs, or most heads of state, really, even in so-called democracies, explicitly have the ultimate agency, whether overtly as a function of absolutism or implicitly as a grandparent figure who presides over the spiritual component of secular nationalism. All tsars, by any title, are the fathers or mothers of their people.
The answer is that there is always a hierarchy, because humans desire a father / mother figure, to tell them it’s alright, to make them braver than they are, to make them feel safer than they are, to make them feel better than they are. To settle their disputes as a parent would and to tell them who is right and who is wrong. To sort them into haves and have-nots. To take from them. To hurt them when they need hurting. To punish them. To help them punish. The best among these does so with little challenge, a hegemonic head of a national or imperial household. Most humans crave someone to tell them what to do, especially in crisis. This explains the current global mass hysteria over one old dead woman. The vitriolic reaction to it is the out-group expressing its dissatisfaction with how this hegemony has been wielded historically and in contemporary political economy (to steal, to colonize, to brutalize, and to destroy the Earth).
I’m one of those lefties who has gone ‘wrong,’ by the definition of my own as well as those of outsiders. I don’t want to see anyone’s agency curtailed, but there are two cases in which I tolerate it. One is when those fundamental rights of life I spoke of earlier are threatened, which is a huge tract of ideological and practical land. The other is when someone else tells me they’re gonna rule me or someone or something I care about, and when they’re doing this without the courtesy of ensuring those aforementioned fundamentals of agency. In either of these cases, there sure as hell should be a monarch and it sure as hell isn’t going to be anyone else who doesn’t understand the situation as well as I do. In my opinion, all organized force exists to make the world the way I want the world to be. There’s no point in sugarcoating that or trying to attribute it to anything greater, because there isn’t anything greater. There is only the experience of living things and the sustainability of the biosphere, and those people or things which would threaten the integrity of these.
If you all want something to revere and worship, I’ve got one hanging in my pants. If not, get your intellectual and moral priorities sorted and start thinking about ideas and values rather than arbitrary hierarchies. Start including everyone in this idea of ‘freedom’ you go on about, or stop pretending it means anything other than enrichment, power, and safety for your in-group. There is NO benign transfer of power or authority, even within your own heart and mind. And if you are going to surrender such power, even within yourself, to another you had better be damned sure that you’re doing so to a worthy person or institution or class of people, because once you give it away it is very difficult to retrieve.