Dancing into The New Feudalism

Spread the love

Originally posted 2023-06-13 15:04:10.

We have, in the West, entered into an age of new feudalism. To understand this we need to look back to the original one.

Once we get past the chivalry, knights in shining armour, pages who polished their swords, swooning ladies, castles and dragons, feudalism, essentially, was about the concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny elite.

Medieval Europe was largely an agrarian economy, although there were significant resources in fishing and still, hunting — both of which quickly came under the control of the landed elite, the feudal lords.

books by rod fleming

Most people were either ‘serfs’, which is to say they were indentured labourers, or peasants, whose lot was scarcely better. The majority of serfs in Europe were bound to a hereditary plot of ground and were obliged to work this for the feudal lord. They were not free and if they attempted to escape, would be pursued. If caught, they would punished and returned to work, if they survived. As a result, the forests of Europe, which were much bigger than today, were alive with bandits who had escaped their serfdom and now lived ‘off the grid’ in lawless bands. Robin Hood’s Merry Men, if they existed, would have been of this type, but they were really everywhere.

The advent of real mercantile economies and later, manufacturing, began to chip away at this. The towns which began to appear were centres of trade but as they grew larger, safe havens for escaped serfs. This soon translated into manufacturing, which appeared, on a large scale, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. At first, textile production was the leader, since the use of water power had been rediscovered.

Other manufactures included pottery, iron goods, jewellery and others which depended on craft skills.

books by rod fleming

This all changed with the Industrial Revolution, which quickly began to draw people in from the country to the towns, in order to work in factories where they would be paid much better than they had been used to. They were often given accommodation too. Capitalism had been born; the investment of money to make more money.

Initially, again, textiles and similar were the mainstay of the new economic structure but as workers became more wealthy and in particular as the middle class began to grow, a market for personal goods developed. This was in everything from, again, pottery, through furniture and other high-value goods.

The next phase was that factory manufacturing made it possible to produce large numbers of identical items, much more cheaply than by the artisanal method. This progressed, through the nineteenth century, to the mechanised production of cheaper goods. Increased spending power for the middle classes and the more skilled echelons of the working classes fuelled a boom in this, which became known as ‘consumer capitalism’.

books by rod fleming

Consumer Capitalism

This did more to lift people out of poverty than any other system. At most basic, it meant that if one paid the workers a little more than they actually needed to survive, they would buy manufactured goods with the balance; and so they did. Soon after, deferred payment schemes appeared which allowed people to enjoy products now and pay for them later.

This resulted in economic growth the like of which had never been seen before. Capitalists in the early twentieth century began making fortunes that even the barons of the nineteenth would have been amazed by. And, like Henry Ford, they realised that the secret to this system was to pay the workers less than their labour was worth, but more than they needed to survive.

The system hit a major roadblock when the Stock Market Crash of 1929 occurred, but while the USA and the Western world were slowly recovering from that, a huge boost to the US economy occurred: The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

This certainly did not put an end to consumer capitalism, but it did three other things: it refocussed the American people’s minds away from their personal pleasures on to the national interest, since the country was at war; it shifted the purpose of manufacturing away from personal goods and towards war materiel; it caused almost universal employment, since men were either working in the factories making tanks or they were mobilised into the armed forces; it pumped incredible amounts of money into the system; and it employed many women, who quickly got used to those fat wage packets.

books by rod fleming

For the European nations, the picture was less rosy. In Germany, war production had a similar effect to the USA. Britain, struggling under huge debt, had to borrow to fight the war and the other European nations were devastated, occupied or were so poor, like Spain, that they could not benefit.

After the end of hostilities in both theatres, much of the world had to look to rebuilding, while the Continental USA, which was untouched, focussed on supplying the materials needed, further boosting its economy, as well as, again, consumer goods on a massive scale.

This had the effect of turning large areas of the USA into, effectively, classless societies. It was the unwritten dream of the Founding Fathers: everyone would be middle-class, made wealthy by his or her own efforts. And it worked right up till 1973, when the oil price disaster happened. This produced a serious wobble. But the USA and Britain, and the other European countries now reconstructed, recovered and carried on.

Then something odd happened. The whole point of Consumer Capitalism was to distribute wealth such that everyone, effectively, would be rich, or at least, middle-class. Now in practice, this was never completed, but enough of it did happen, amongst the white population, that the USA developed incredible self confidence. It had beaten the Japs, beaten Hitler, put men on the moon, beaten the darn Russkis: so even if we did get a bloody nose in Vietnam, we’re still the best. ‘Jolly green giants walking the world — and killing people.’

A 1957 Ford Thunderbird. Oozing confidence.


books by rod fleming

The tide turns towards the new feudalism

The tide was already turning by the 90s. The hubris that produced the great American cars of the 50s, 60s and 70s had burned out. The arrogant self-confidence that gave us Bon Jovi and Aerosmith was basically exhausted by then and we got the brilliant, but by no means similar, Kurt Cobain. All of these were straws in the wind, foretelling a major change. Where Bon Jovi was strident and cocky, Cobain was dark, sour, introspective and questioning. But these signs went unheeded.



Until, that is, the eleventh of September 2001. Everyone knows what happened; an Islamist group hijacked passenger jets and flew them into various targets, including the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Thousands were killed.

This had a visceral effect on US Americans. Not since the second War of Independence had the Continental USA been invaded or directly attacked by a foreign power. That had been one hundred and eighty years before and it is fair to say it was the real fire that forged the modern USA. One might have argued that the Continental USA was untouchable, after it; but not any more.

The effect was cathartic. At first, the USA lashed out in fury, like child who has been insulted, invading Afghanistan and Iraq. But behind the aggression, will had been sapped. As these wars turned into disasters, people actually asked questions. ‘Did we provoke the Twin Tower attacks?’ ‘How much destruction do we need to inflict on Iraq?’ ‘How many do we need to kill?’ ‘Afghanistan is small and poor, why can’t we just defeat it?’

books by rod fleming

The Banking Crash

The next catharsis, in many ways much more serious, was the banking crash of 2008. US Americans had become used to peace and plenty; few remembered the horrible days of the Depression. But now the banking system, which they had been promised would never fail again, had failed.

This caused a further crisis in confidence, but yet another, much more insidious and dangerous effect was permeating the culture like dark miasma. Communism, in various forms, had come back and now it wasn’t marginal. To generations of young people it was marketing itself as the antidote to dead babies in Iraq and the solution to fickle banks, the peaceful, friendly Big Brother who would make everything right. Except it rarely called itself ‘Communism’. It knew that was unwise.

books by rod fleming

Sea Change

Suddenly, a sea-change took place; the USA had reached a tipping point. But why?

The era of consumer capitalism had been so successful that few people really saw it as an enemy — and it wasn’t. People had better standards of living than ever before. Yes there was still poverty, but most of middle-class America had never had it so good. But little by little, after 2008, money flows began to change. Consumer Capitalism depended on the equitable distribution of wealth, through wages. Men like Henry Ford got stinking rich but their workers were always comfortable. They had houses, televisions, two cars in the garage and their kids in college; they counted themselves wealthy and were grateful.

After 2000, however, that changed. To begin with, increasing numbers of US-based jobs went overseas. The capitalists didn’t care about paying good wages there; they just wanted cheap goods. And at first, this looked good. Just as had happened with Japanese manufactured goods in the 1960s, so now, both low-end and increasingly luxury goods could be produced overseas at a fraction of the US costs. Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea, finally China, they all became the new industrial centres. The capitalists became very rich and none of it was cycled back to the workers.

books by rod fleming

The originals and the new feudalism

During the original feudal period, the nobles constituted about three percent of the European population, with the clergy being about another five. Between them they owned well over ninety percent of the wealth. A similar situation  obtains today; don’t look now, but the new feudalism is already here.

Although most European nations were monarchies, most of those operated in tandem with powerful oligarchies, the nobility and the Church. This put a significant brake on the monarchs, since it was the nobility, in the form of the Barons, who provided the men-at-arms and other military resources the monarch needed. At the same time, all the Western European nations were Catholic, until the Reformation, which began in the 16th century. The church represented a supra-national power, which often severely irritated national monarchs. Because it could legitimise those monarchs and their marriages, and because of its enormous wealth, the Papacy had enormous influence. It often acted against the desires of individual rulers.

books by rod fleming

The bureaucracy

The other powerful oligarchy operating in feudal Europe was the bureaucracy. Although many of the senior bureaucrats were nobles, of the rank of Baron or higher, others, perhaps amazingly in this era, were commoners.

The ordinary people of Europe, including the British Isles, had absolutely no power at all and indeed, many were permanently tied, by articles of serfdom, to the land they lived on and worked.

Beginning in the later fourteenth century, the towns became more important both economically and as sources of power. Though often tied to particular noble, to whom the townspeople owed allegiance, increasingly, independent towns became established. Many recruited men-at-arms themselves, to keep the peace and fight off brigands — or disgruntled barons. These men-at-arms are still with us, in the form of the Gendarmerie in France, the Arma dei Carabinieri in Italy and various equivalents elsewhere. These are military police forces with civilian jurisdiction.

books by rod fleming


As a result, politics in pre-Renaissance Europe was already a complex tapestry of discrete interests and power-bases. The Renaissance, Gutenberg’s printing press, agrarian development and later the industrial Revolution ushered in a new form of Government, albeit slowly, which became dominant. This is called democracy, although it takes many forms.

During the twentieth century, democracy and consumer capitalism became the dominant political and economic models in Europe, with the older monarchical model being largely swept away by the War of 1914-18.

Towns began to have real power in the fourteenth century. This was partly the result of wealth being generated through mercantilism. This is where the middle classes were born. There had been no real middle class in the feudal agrarian economy; serfs and peasants had no wealth and the nobility had it all. Towns changed that.

At the same time, the fact that ideas could be spread quickly and easily, through printed materials, stimulated a huge change in society. Soon it would be possible to buy a book, read it, learn from it and even discuss the ideas contained within it. Knowledge, from being the preserve of the few, mainly the clergy, became the property of everyone with a basic education. The Age of Print had begun.

books by rod fleming


Very soon after this, two events occurred on the back of it: the spread and secularisation of learning and education was the first. In the feudal era, even the barons were frequently illiterate, but now, being able to read gave one access to a huge wealth of knowledge. At first this was all written in Latin, but quickly became available in the vernacular languages.

Why? Because the middle classes realised the advantages of education, which had previously been the preserve of the clergy. They did not desire to have to learn Latin to read them and so they needed books in their own language.

That triggered an event which had had no precedent and remains one of the most surprising in human history: publishing. This, in many ways, was the first truly capitalist venture in Europe. At first, publishers were printers; often scarcely literate themselves, they were artisans who could operate a Gutenberg press. But very quickly, educated men (and they were all men) saw that not only could learning be disseminated quickly through the printed word, those printed words could also be sold.

Johannes Gutenberg Rod Fleming
Johannes Gutenberg, 1460-1468

Johannes Gutenberg, originally a silversmith, was a publisher as well as a printer, but he had a problem: he could print practically limitless numbers of books, but the expansion of the book trade required two other factors: the presence of an educated class with the money to buy them, and source material.

The European centre of publishing moved to Italy, where

‘two Venetian printers exercised a decisive influence on the form of the book: Nicolas Jenson, an outstanding typographer who perfected the roman typeface in 1470, and Aldus Manutius, the greatest printer-publisher of his time. Aldus published his first dated book in 1495, the Erotemata of the Greek grammarian Constantine Lascaris. He then hit on the idea of bringing out inexpensive “pocket editions” for the new readers produced by the Humanist movement. Beginning in 1501 and continuing with six titles a year for the next five years, he issued a series of Latin texts that were models of scholarship and elegance. To keep down the cost, Aldus printed editions of 1,000, instead of the more usual 250; and to fill the page economically, he used an italic type designed for him by Francesco Griffo. The Aldine editions were widely copied, by pirating (i.e., without permission from the publisher or payment to him) and other methods, and their dolphin and anchor was one of the first instances of a publisher’s device (roughly equivalent to the modern logo.)’

Source: https://www.britannica.com/topic/publishing/The-age-of-early-printing-1450-1550

In fact, publishing became so important to the Humanist Movement, which was central to the Italian Renaissance, that Jacob Burckhardt (1818-1897), the greatest historian of the era, wrote ‘art follows culture’ meaning that ideas were first spread by letters and then became adopted by the other arts.

Engraving of a Gutenberg press. Versions of this, usually in cast iron, are still in use today.


Publishing spread the ideas on which first the Renaissance and then the Enlightenment were founded. The Age of Print fuelled an exponential increase in human knowledge, especially when scientists and other researchers began publishing their papers. This, for all its faults, was truly a golden age of human endeavour. Through the technical and social advances made possible by this simple means of exchanging ideas, the middle classes in Europe and later, America boomed.

This Golden age lasted for roughly five hundred years. But it was founded on a technology — indeed a simple one, that anyone could learn to use. All technologies are subject to improvement and replacement by more efficient ones; thus did the steam engine give way to Internal Combustion. And so it was: in the late twentieth century, a new technology began to spread. The Digital Era had begun.

books by rod fleming

Only a churl would suggest that this was not a benefit across myriad areas, but it had an unforeseen consequence. It caused the acceleration of a phenomenon we had seen before, the concentration of most of the wealth in the hands of the few. With that wealth went economic and political power. Now there had always been rich, powerful men who constantly ettled to see their interests furthered, paying off politicians and journalists to that end. Corruption has always been a part of our culture, but we were smart enough to establish systems of control that kept it from getting out of hand.

In the second decade of the twenty-first century, however, this turned to a much nastier form. As the concentration of wealth and power increased, soon the restraining power of democracy and democratic institutions began to fail, and have now failed completely.

Democracy, today, is a complete sham that only exists because corrupt people make a fortune out of it. Do you really think that your vote matters? Do you think that protest will save you? Look at the last three years and tell me you do with a straight face. Every day a new abuse of Government power is announced, with no possible redress. Ask the Canadian truckers, the people who could not attend their own mothers’ funerals or those who watched their loved ones die on television. And it has not stopped, this is only a lull: ask the Dutch farmers who will be forced to sell their land to the State, or the Irish who will be forced to kill millions of cattle.

For example, the unelected EU will enforce a ‘Climate Target Plan’ that will force you to sell your perfectly functioning conventional car and buy an electric vehicle. ultimately will oblige all homeowners to bring their homes’ ‘energy efficiency’ up such that they are ‘carbon neutral’, at their own cost, by the end of the decade.  You will be required to eat bugs and worse.

Was anyone asked? No. Will national Governments be forced to evict homeowners who refuse to comply with their edicts? Seize their property, imprison them? And will those homeowners have the balls to arm themselves and fight the goons that come to evict them? Will you? We shall wait and see. What happened to ‘ We shall fight them on the beaches?’ Have we become such pussies we will not stand up for our rights?

books by rod fleming

Feudalism 2.0

We are now in Feudalism 2. Democracy is dead; at best it is an expensive sham in which the people have no real power. It is meant to create an illusion of accountability where none exists at all. Power is concentrated in the hands of Government, Government agencies and NGOs, none of which are properly accountable. Shadowy bureaucracies actually run things, with no democratic control at all. Worse, this has been infiltrated by a militant group which claims that some sort of climate disaster is pending and the only hope is to return to the conditions of serfdom; this is the new feudalism.

That’s right. You are all to be energy serfs, with no control over your lives, just as they are in North Korea. Even your house is will not really be yours; it will belong to ‘inspectors’ who at any time can come in and ‘condemn’ it for the breach of pettifogging piffle on some absurd ‘Directive’.

books by rod fleming

You need to realise the Covid was more than just a con-trick. It was a dry run, an experiment to see if billions of people could be controlled by the will of supra-national, unelected bodies like the European Commission, the World Health Organisation, the odious ‘World Economic Forum,’ the United Nations and others. They wanted to know whether they could turn you into serfs — and they discovered that they can, very easily; the trick is fear; George Orwell predicted it. Just as the whacko Left scared you out of the practical solution to clean energy, fission nuclear, in the 1980s, these people know that if only they scare you enough with a bad cold, , you’ll do as they say. And then the new feudalism will own you.



I say enough. The only acceptable Government is the smallest Government possible and now, in the light of the last few years, we must radically prune. Hack back to the heartwood. Do not go gently into the night. Fight, fight, fight, the new feudalism with any weapon you can find. Do not be afraid to die; these bastards will kill you anyway.

books by rod fleming

Leave a Reply