The Masses as Goats and Dogs

Townsend and Sade’s Doctrines Rule the World

The citizens whose lives are split between business and private life, their private life between ostentation and intimacy, their intimacy between the sullen community of marriage and the bitter solace of being entirely alone, at odds with themselves and with everyone, are virtually already Nazis who are at once enthusiastic and fed up or the city dwellers of today who can imagine friendship only as a social contract between the inwardly connected.

The Dialectic of Enlightenment, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno (1944).

The religious chimeras must be replaced by the utmost terrors. The people must be freed from the fear of a future Hell. Once that is destroyed they will abandon themselves to anything. But the chimerical law must be replaced by penal laws of enormous severity which apply of course only to the people since they alone cause unrest in the state….What do the rich care for the idea of a leash they will never feel themselves if this empty semblance gives them the right to grind down those living under its yoke?

Horkheimer and Adorno quoting from Juliette by the Marquis de Sade (1797)

The founders and practitioners of free-market ideology have finally succeeded in turning the individual intellect, and the collective that is Western civilization, into little more than value-objects. Now, all are witness to the reality that everything, everyone, every emotion and even every movement has a price and a cost. Western society and individual thought has, at long last, become totally materialistic; which is to say, completely economic according to practices decidedly informed by 18th and 19th Century philosophy (often misinformed).

All manner of life from the quanta of action to the intimacy of lovers is irretrievably locked into economic value functions. This has led to the ice cold calculus, and equally brutal callousness, now present in the minds of the rulers, and the ruled, which sees transgender and transracial issues; Greek financial woes; job liquidation and unemployment; private and public pension pillaging; cuts in social safety nets (austerity); head transplants; and; for example, US preparations for open war in/or with Syria, Iraq, Russia and China as natural and as expected as the sun’s presence during the day. No emotion of care or concern arises that would see even a finger lifted to change the system as it is as such.

What’s the Point?

The efforts of journalists and academics are nearly intellectually bankrupt save for the “effort” of trying to report on the world not as it appears, but as it is as designed and managed by a willful economic totalitarianism that provides for a “free” life in terms demanded by economic doctrine, even as it tortures that life daily, providing no escape from the daily routine. Even dreams are polluted.

The intellectual limits of the unenhanced human mind have now been reached. Is it any wonder that technological, bioengineering and chemical enhancements are rapidly being called for by all?

This is not a beyond-Capitalism, Marxist play in operation. It is, rather, the emergence and acceptance of economic, social and cultural Sadism that has now been blessed, purchased and brought into the service of the market economy. The most puzzling forms of human behavior, and their most horrifying, are no longer repulsive or indignant, or hampered in their development, production and marketing. They are valuable in the sense that they are held by society to have monetary value either in the form of debt or credit. Such is the replacement for the concepts of right and wrong, moral and immoral. Boundaries and limits have been eliminated in every sphere of life.

In the era of transgender and transracial one can only expect that trans-life will be next.

Religion and family offer no refuge now having been shocked and awed into defeat by the necessities of the free-market imperative, and the practices and myths they offered which have decisively been ridiculed and defeated by the new religion of the free-market. Christ’s sacrifice no longer matters. Now the view is that Christ was a fool and the Father a nut to sacrifice his only Son. Besides, Paternalism, like all “Western Whiteness”, is not part of humanity’s historical process, but resident evil on Earth. Even here the industries of Diversity have been compromised by the sacraments of “buy and sell” as even they must earn their daily bread.

There is nothing current in 21st Century academia or journalism that addresses the Sadistic now which has become a perpetual moment-in-motion in which history is despised for its reality and the future lies someplace in the fantasy notions of a pre-history.  Perhaps humanity’s fate is a pre-history.

Robert Townsend’s Animal Kingdom

Who knew that goats and dogs were so important to the development of today’s economic practice?

…Malthus and Darwin owed their inspiration to this source [Townsend’s goats and dogs, see below]. Malthus learned of it from Condorcet, Darwin from Malthus. Yet neither Darwin’s theory of natural selection nor Malthus’ population laws might have exerted any appreciable influence on modern society but for the maxims which Townsend deduced from his goats and dogs and wished to have applied to the reform of the poor law…Here was a new starting point for political science. By approaching human community from the animal side, Townsend bypassed the supposedly unavoidable question as to the foundation of government and in so doing introduced a new concept of law into human affairs–that of the laws of nature.

The Great Transformation, Karl Polanyi (1944).

In this excerpt from A Dissertation on the Poor Laws, by Robert Townsend (1786), the masses get their come-uppance. When reading the views of Townsend it is important to note, as Polanyi points out, that in the United Kingdom at the time, “poor” meant anyone who did not have the wealth to be leisurely 24/7. Just 15 percent of those in the United Kingdom were allowed to vote at the time.

The poor know little of the motives which stimulate the higher ranks to action-pride, honor, and ambition. In general it is only hunger which can spur and goad them on to labor…Who is most worthy to suffer cold and hunger, the prodigal or the provident, the slothful or the diligent, the virtuous or the vicious? In the South Seas there is an island, which from the first discoverer is called Juan Fernandez. In this sequestered spot, John Fernando placed a colony of goats, consisting of one male, attended by his female. This happy couple finding pasture in abundance, could readily obey the first commandment, to increase and multiply, till in process of time they had replenished their little island. In advancing to this period they were strangers to misery and want, and seemed to glory in their numbers: but from this unhappy moment they began to suffer hunger; yet continuing for a time to increase their numbers, had they been endued with reason, they must have apprehended the extremity of famine. In this situation the weakest first gave way, and plenty was again restored…partial evil was universal good. When the Spaniards found that the English privateers resorted to this island for provisions, they resolved on the total extirpation of the goats, and for this purpose they put on shore a greyhound dog and bitch. These in their turn increased and multiplied, in proportion to the quantity of food they met with; but in consequence, as the Spaniards had foreseen, the breed of goats diminished. Had they been totally destroyed, the dogs likewise must have perished. But as many of the goats retired to the craggy rocks, where the dogs could never follow them, descending only for short intervals to feed with fear and circumspection in the rallies, few of these, besides the careless and the rash, became a prey; and none but the most watchful, strong, and active of the dogs could get a sufficiency of food. Thus a new kind of balance was established. The weakest of both species were among the first to pay the debt of nature; the most active and vigorous preserved their lives. It is the quantity of food which regulates the numbers of the human species…

The Genius of the Marquis

Individuals in having to fend for themselves develop the ego as the agency of reflective foresight and overview; over successive generations it expands and contracts with the individuals prospects of economic autonomy and productive ownership. Finally it passes from the expropriated citizens to the totalitarian trust-masters whose science has become the quintessence of the methods for the subjugation of the masses of society. Sade erected an early monument to their planning skills. The conspiracy of rulers against peoples implemented by relentless organization finds the enlightenment period no less compliant than the bourgeois republic. That spirt is hostile only to authority when authority lacks the strength to enforce obeisance and to violence only when violence is not an established fact. As long as one does not ask who is applying it, reason has no greater affinity with violence or mediation…it presents as peace or war, tolerance or repression as the given state of affairs…Reason as a purely formal entity is in the service of every natural interest. Becoming simply an organ, thinking reverts to nature. For the rulers, however, human beings become mere material as the whole of nature has become material for society. (Horkheimer & Adorno)

John can be reached at He published a book in 2019 titled Cancer for Jokers, an irreverent, black humor based look at his first cancer diagnosis. Read other articles by John.