Whether you call us Aristotelians, Machiavellians, Nietzscheians, or some other label, is immaterial – save to say that in doing so you attempt to make equal a difference between approaches to politics and economics that is anything but equal.
Those of us in this school of thought, study what men do and why, what they have done, and why, in its entirety, across civilizations and across time, and from that study propose incremental solutions based on that analysis, rather than postulate a utopian model that assumes how men should or could act if they were something other than human beings with the record of doing what they have done.
And if you wish to say we have class philosophy I would agree at least to one meaning of that statement. Classes are part of the division of knowledge and labor. And like religion, they are very difficult to cross philosophically – even if we can cross them economically. And all philosophies are class philosophies. They must be. Universal philosophies that prescribe solutions for multiple classes, or that attempt to ally a set of classes, ask by doing so, that we allow one class to prosper – and to do so at the expense of another.
So yes, to use this method of study is Aristotelian, Machiavellian, and Nietzschean. And yes it is the philosophy of antiquarian nobility, in the sense that its authors hail from the Aristotelian tradition, and that as a work of men from Nobility, and a managerial philosophy, and even perhaps a paternal one, it is a Noble class’ philosophy. But it is not a philosophy of the Noble class in the sense that it attempts to favor a noble class at the expense of others. It simply states that there will always be a governing class or at least a conflict between different classes who are in political control of a society at one time or another and that regardless of who is in control, the betterment of most is it’s goal – over time, even if that timeliness is resistance to a perceptible material change to some segment of society, and it is for the betterment and perpetuation of the existing social order. And this difference in preference for outcomes is the difference in class philosophies. The reason being that these people see the fragility of political systems, and with knowledge of the impact of non-gradual change, as detrimental to all.
That being said, this is also the only method of reasoning that can be construed as political science – the rest of the methods are philosophies or religions by analysis of their methods. And any other comparison is a comparison between religion, philosophy and science. Just as any comparison between Aristotelian, Confucian, and Zoroastrian traditions are differences between scientific, philosophical, and religious traditions. These differences are more than tastes. They are materially different approaches to the problem of organizing large numbers of people that arose in the transition to urban life under the technology and economy of farming, and the necessary inequality that resulted from the division of labor increased production, and specialization that occurred because of that transition.
And if our method is not a science, at least it is the most scientific of methods we have yet found, without first solving the problem of the social sciences – the problem of induction: which is the process of invention of the unknown. Whereas science, as we mean and use the term, is the name we give to the process and method of DISCOVERY, instead of the process of INVENTION. When what we should strive to do, is use the term science to apply to a process where we examine what is, and how it works, rather than how we, in our ignorance, propose that it should be.
And we should abandon and refute simplistic utopian strategies knowing what they are: simplistic and utopian. Developing solutions that propose incremental evolution from the analysis of the record of human activity is much more complicated than proposing utopian models – a minor improvement over the spirit worlds or religious myths of our past. And such incremental methods do not promise quick or easy results. However, it is the most scientific, as well as the most likely to succeed, at the lowest possible damage to the set of alliances and habits we use to work together to produce the standard of living that we do possess, rather than the one we might possess if men were not men and did not act as they have, and could by some mystery or magic, adhere to some utopian concept, whose author proposed as a static universe, instead of one where each person in each class, struggled to increase his happiness and status and material well being for himself and his alliances, friends, and family on a daily basis. And where classes and the people in them, rotate and shift, albeit slowly.
Men will not cease using credit to manage society. It is the only tool that is sufficient to manage a group of people in a complex division of labor. Religion is for slaves and peasants. Violence is for slaves and peasants. Law is for farmers, slaves and peasants and urbanites. But laws, religion, and violence require comparatively simple epistemologies: everyone must share them and know them for them to function as socially cohesive strategies. Furthermore, citizens, or group members, can opt-out of adherence to them and must be ‘caught’ in doing so, and punished for doing so. Credit performs this function because it is a superior enticement in a complex society, rather than a threat, and it’s also much more granular: effectively making laws on an individual by individual basis and creating a social order out of economic participation without prescribing a static set of behaviors. In other words, credit is the most evolutionary of political systems because it can apply to each individual differently while providing socially conforming pressures.
Men will not cease using monetary policy – fiat money. Because monetary policy performs redistribution, as well as mutual insurance for members of the group, or state. We can argue about different economic and political nuances, but if we see these tools as technologies they are needed technologies whose function and methods need constant improvement.
Therefore, while I am a member of that group of people who study what men have done in the Aristotelian and Machiavellian tradition, and in particular, I am an Austrian (a user of narrative who studies history and behavior), and a libertarian (a person who understands that prosperity comes from freedom, property, and trade) and an Anarchist (a person who studies how men act so that government can be optimized) I am also a Keynesian in the sense that I believe that credit money, like the technologies of real money, accounting, numbers, and writing – and like laws and science and religion and philosophy – is a necessary – not preferential but necessary – part of human existence if we are to live in large numbers and continue our transition from farming society to urban society,
And I expressly am not a libertarian if that means that I am promoting the development of a banking class that profiteers from privatizing wins and socializing losses. That is no different from a priestly or bureaucratic class, or a thieving peasant class that takes from one group for its own use. I am a libertarian in that I do not believe a person in government can be wiser than I am. I do not disavow some form of redistribution either. I simply claim that the way we conduct it today is damaging to society, and empowers a degenerate and devolutionary government, and that a better solution to this problem is achievable, and that I know what that solution is.
And we are very close to it now. The solution is incremental. It can be implemented. It may not even be that complicated in concept or in implementation. But understanding why such things will work, and abandoning our little class philosophies, each of which seeks to bend government for our class’ benefit at the expense of others, or those that seek to make something from nothing, or those that seek security from the illusion of the state, so that they can live at the expense of others, is no small undertaking. Because we have created a nice little set of cherished myths, the primary purpose of which was to wrest control from landholders, churches, and kings, and transfer it to bankers and politicians. And we will need to abandon some of those cherished myths.