Sovereignty Reconfigured


There is a long-standing belief in America that sovereignty is something which can be granted through the law, or that it is more or less a monopoly on the use of force. This may be true, but that's not all it is, and there have existed cases where the monopoly on force was meant, rather, to protect that which was considered sovereign, as in cases where monarchs were believed to be appointed by God.

If we hold to a secular, mechanistic view, we'll not think twice when someone suggests that sovereignty is strictly a non-reciprocal relationship from the top down. We assume that all organizations which are able to exhibit some power in fact took it unjustly - one often hears people who claim to be moral nihilists make a point like this. Ultimately, anarchists and communists are little different in this regard - anywhere anything is 'concentrated,' be it power or wealth, they will not accept it.

This is not so different in application from when people try to de-legitimize something by saying it is a 'social construct.' The knee-jerk reaction would be to deny this observation on account of one's tone and the intention behind it - which is usually of more insight and value than actual truth claims. In fact, most things are social constructs, so to speak. This could only have a negative connotation attached to it in the kind of atomized, linear world that we live in today. Notice that in the claim that something is a 'social construct' there is the implicit appeal to an essential, prior, grounding authority against which we can measure what is true or false. The mistake is that everything which then appears, for all intents and purposes, to develop as the result of something else is devalued (or 'deactivated,' as Agamben would say), which would then have the appearance, on the surface, of stemming from a deep-rooted resentment toward the nature of reality and creation itself. It usually then follows that the social construct in question is guilty only of making the person complaining about it feel insecure about their own unwillingness to adequately and consciously develop social constructs in their own favor.

If anything, we need better social constructs. One can achieve this, not by making a back-door appeal to an abstract essential nature one is afraid to face head on, but in confronting the essential nature of things directly and striving to align oneself with cosmic patterns.

Sovereignty is as much about creativity as it is destruction. While libertarians, along with zany, radical liberals like De Puydt thought they could solve the problem of sovereignty by simply offering it as a service in exchange for money, they ultimately miss the fact that sometimes, social organization and the sovereignty sitting at its center is often a whole organic process whose pieces are hard to tease appart and make work in the market. While people will always buy what they want, it is almost impossible to purchase inspiration and direction.

So what is sovereignty, ultimately? Of course, there are different ways in which it manifests itself, but as it would seem eternal, continuing on through the ages, outlasting religions, political movements, platitudes, sentiments and institutions, is there not something sitting at its center which is immovable?

Perhaps it is like Tao - something which evades our grasp the more we try to get a hold of it.

Certainly not all sovereignties manifest themselves equally, even if they hide that unnameable center. Ernst Jünger, in his novel, Eumeswil, has his narrator ponder frequently on the nature of the Anarch; a figure who, no matter what is happening around him, has transcended ordinary circumstances and consciousness in favor of a sovereign center in which he remains at all times, regardless of his station, regardless of whom he does or doesn't serve. Aside from everything else, the 'need' for security or the 'need' to protect wealth or the 'need' to protect the family, the disenfranchised or the people, the degree to which a community connects to or encourages a connection to sovereignty is ultimately what will give it lasting power. Connecting to sovereignty helps each person fulfill their own destiny, even if that sovereignty is only discovered on one's own, away from any community.

Today, we don't think about sovereignty at all, really. It is only another word, and not even a word which has much resonance with most people. It sounds archaic to the ears, if unexamined. Yet, when we dive into it further, it would seem that sovereignty has much more depth to it than freedom. You could think of freedom as the passive counterpart to active sovereignty.

Anyone can be free to be and to do things unchecked. To be free, one must always be in flight - one must always be running away. To be sovereign, however, is to remain steadfast in the truth that there is nowhere to flee to, that enemies are of no consequence, and that you will remain standing when everything else falls around you.