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Dirigism (from Latin dirige – guide, direct) is a socioeconomic system built upon the basis of totalitarianism as the best system for humanity, which according to dirigist thought, is inherently incapable of making vital decisions that benefit the whole of mankind because of conflicting views and ideals, necessitating the need for a strong, all-pervasive central government made up of qualified individuals to govern the affairs of all its citizens. Espousing geniocratic ideals such as the employment of wise and knowledgeable decision makers chosen for their skills and talents rather than their political profile, dirigism also incorporates the idea of a strong "middle-man/big brother" approach to domestic affairs, by having a trustworthy and talented bureaucracy and "intellectual elite" who watch over the population efficiently and effectively. Because of the authoritarian undertones to the political idea, dirigism is well-known for its harsh governmental policies which restrict the freedoms of those it governs, purportedly for the good of the people.

The work of political philosopher Mikhail Nazarov, dirigism was built upon the belief that common man had little ability to handle his own affairs properly, and cause more harm to themselves and those around them than good, facilitating the need for a "middle-man elite" to step in and govern their lives for them for the betterment of both parties. Promoting an omnipresent governing system to keep an eye on all to help all, dirigists believe that by man has no ability to lead himself, and needs more knowledgeable and capable man to do so for him, even if he believes that he is able to live on his own without supervision. Pointing to economical and international disasters, regional conflicts, and internal disputes as proof mankind could not lead himself in a proper manner, Nazarov came to the conclusion that a strong, highly-educated political elite which controlled the state, could effectively intervene in the lives of all commoners, benefit all citizens equally and without bias. With such a strong core of educated political leaders, the division caused by so-called "unrestricted ideological ventures" would be removed as a source of internal instability.

Often regarded as a far-right political stance, dirigism is widely condemned by left-wing liberal organizations who view the ideology as imposing upon the basic human rights of all, denying those it would attempt to govern their right to many freedoms, such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly. Built around controlling the movements and development of those deemed incapable of properly executing their own lives in line with dirigist principles, the ideology itself is an inherently and blatantly evasive political system, that allows for no deviation from its core tenants. Unlike other political systems such as fascism and communism, which promote themselves as being partially democratic, the dirigist model explicitly condemns the democratic system as both corrupt and inherently inefficient, as it permits those who are deemed incapable of taking part in political affairs to voice their own, "ignorant" ideas and demands to the government.

Despite these highly tyrannical beliefs, many people have supported the idea, and a considerable number of nations have undergone revolutions with the goal of instituting a dirigist political party in the new government. One of the core tenants is that, like a loving parent, one must force the people to accept dirigism for their own good, as they are by nature, ignorant, and don't know what is truly good for themselves. Thus, many guerrilla groups fighting for dirigist governments have built themselves around strong, father-like figures, who are highly charismatic, while equally heavy-handed so as to appear as acting for the good of those they are duty-bound to look over. Given the much more paternal nature of dirigism, it has a strong and numerous base of followers who view the dirigists as a "greater family", another one of the core tenants of the ideology. Large political gatherings of dirigists are often referred to as "brotherhoods", and members carry honorary titles of familial nature, such as "Brother" and "Elder".

Etymology

History

Origins

International growth

Politics of the Cold War

Late-20th century expansion

Contemporary politics

Philosophy

Ineptitude of humanity

Perils of unrestricted freedoms

Desire for firm direction

Ideology

Politics

Authoritative personality

The authoritative personality plays a major role in dirigism, as it calls upon the willful and deliberate formation of an autocracy under the leadership of a legitimate and constitution tyrant. The reasoning behind such a move was explained in detail by Nazarov in his journals. In one journal, Nazarov states: "Mankind can be likened to a wayward, but well-meaning child. He lacks clear direction and purpose, given to the desires of sensual pleasures and unrestrained behavior. The need for a strong, father-like figure to set the rules and draw the lines in a concise and loving manner, are vital to the success of humanity as a sapient species." Nazarov suggests rather bluntly, that mankind needs a tyrant with unrestricted powers, to govern them as they cannot govern themselves, with too many conflicting opinions and freedoms which are breeding grounds for strife and conflict. In short, a fatherly figure is needed to direct his "national family", the latter of which is an important subject of Nazarov's works and the idea of dirigism as a form of political theory.

Because of the countless political leaders who jockey for attention and power in Nazarov's eyes, the need for an undisputed leader with powers allowing for strict control over his nation was required for the growth of a thriving society that could move beyond its "petty squabbles and disputes". The threat of corruption was addressed by Nazarov multiple times in his writings. He suggested that while absolute power corrupts absolutely, "absolute power wielded cautiously engenders honesty, especially when all the eyes of his peers are upon him". He suggests that the absolute leader of a dirigist government would, with the watchful eye of his "peers", in this case the members of the legislature, wold force the leader of such a government to remain honest. Likewise, the concept of the "national family" would encourage the leader to treat his citizens the same way he would treat his own children and family members. As the political and spiritual father-figure of a nation operating upon the principles of dirigism, the leader would be the literal fatherly head of the nation, and act as such.

The third part of the authoritative personality theory, is that such a person would have to have a system in place that reminded all who was in charge of the government, and the undisputed "head of the household" so to speak. A cult of personality would be vital to the success of the idea, largely in part to help with the promotion of the leader's authority, not just in the legal code, but also in the social and cultural areas of life. Without recognition of his role by the citizenry, the leader would lack the power needed to call upon the absolute obedience or submission to his authority, the kind a strong father figure would command in his own household. Though this would naturally call upon the need for a strict and sometimes harsh hand, the ultimate ends for such unrivaled authority within the government would be vital to the survival of such a government that is built upon the principle that humans require a strong leader with the energy, charisma, and influence to guide millions of obedient followers.

State patronage

State patronage is the concept that individuals serving on behalf of the state should be compensated properly as one serving the best interests of their family would be duly rewarded for their efforts. Effectively, the state supports its workers by providing them with incentives to perform their duties and responsibilities properly and efficiently, helping to combat corruption as government workers are provided with financial compensation relative to the work that they have performed for their people and their nation. Nazarov wrote: "To make an otherwise honest man work in a dishonest profession, and to further insult and shame him by paying him wages no greater than the boy who would shine his shoes, is an open invitation to the perils of political corruption." It was thus Nazarov's opinion that politicians should be paid according to the work that they perform, and should be provided incentives to get work done, as well as certain rewards recognizing their foreign and domestic successes.

The practice of government patronage would thus help to provide an alternative to corrupt practices within the government by politicians looking to supplement their income through the practice of bribery and backroom dealings with corporate leaders offering monetary offers for political favors. The concept of state patronage also includes the belief that a good man can be noticed by political leaders, and given the helping hand needed to add him to the ranks of hard-working politicians provided with incentives which keep corruption at bay. Merit is rewarded by the government with gifts and positions of power. However, the system is structured in such a way that it prevent over-saturation of the government and society in general with gift-driven labor, ensuring that only those truly worthy of patronage by the state are elevated to a position necessitated the need for gift-giving. In effect, the system of state patronage helps to reduce corruption within the government, while not replacing the system of bribery itself by another name.

Middle-man elite

The "middle-man elite" was theorized by Nazarov to be the bureaucracy with which to govern the rest of the people would be required. Nazarov disapproved of the notion that a privileged group of people, serving only because of the family they had been born into, gifted them with the ability to rule over their fellow men and women with no qualifications whatsoever. However, the need for an elite class of government workers and leaders was viewed as a necessary evil needed for the successful management of the state and its resources. The danger of corruption would always remain in such a system in which a group would be trusted with said resources. However, working in concert with the concept of state patronage, the middle-man elite would indeed be the group of individuals deserving of the privilege to serve their nation honorably. However, this bureaucracy would be kept in check with state rewards and honors, while the adoption of a vast, all-pervasive surveillance system would be implemented to aid in the combating of corruption of this privileged elite, and thereby ensuring that the privilege of the new elite, all the way up to the inner circle of the state's leadership, would be be abused without repercussion.

Militant brotherhood

The militant brotherhood is the idea that a family that lacks purpose or direction is highly susceptible to the perils of degradation, and encouraging an environment of infighting and corruption. To remedy that problem, calling upon the values of military life, such as brotherhood, loyalty, order, and structure, help to produce strong individuals with valuable traits and personalities that have long helped countless militaries throughout history, remaining strong and united in times of distress and peril. Copying that social structure and cultural identity for the concepts of dirigism, Nazarov's own time in the Imperial Russian Army helped to forge the ideals he needed to develop the concept of the militant brotherhood. The strict obedience commanded by officers of their men, the strong work ethic of the soldiers, and the focus on hygienic behavior to prevent the spread of disease, not only for one's own sake, but for the sake of his brothers-at-arms, produced a breed of men who could weather any dangers, and refine themselves as needed for the benefit of all who depended on them. In that same way, dirigism promotes the same ideals, creating a society which appears almost militarized from an outsider's perspective, helps to produce the comradery or brotherhood needed to breed loyalty and obedience into a society espousing dirigist ideals.

Economics

State capitalism

At the time Nazarov developed dirigism, he was well aware of Karl Marx's economic theories, such as the command economy and central planning of the economy, were going to drive any countries which followed Marxist economics into economic collapse, as became the case in the decades to come. Nazarov believed that rather than controlling and directing the economy of a country, that the state could complement the economy's growth by providing incentives for the public and private actors in the economy to behave in a fashion inductive to economic growth and efficency, with any government planning simply serving to act as the general guideline for optimal investment in the economy. Under the dirigist economic model, the state would never own a majority of the economy outright, but would as aforementioned, complement and improve efficency of the market through indirect planning, and providing better information to those seeking to participate in the market.

In places where the government did have a hand in the management of the companies, these were industries related to infrastructure such as transportation, energy, and infrastructure. Nazarov believed all industries that served as the "linch-pins" of the nation's development, had to remain under the direct control of the state. Other industries that would remain under state management would be the defense, nuclear, and aerospace industries, the first of which existed in Nazarov's time and which he said had to remain under government management for the sake of the people. He believed that only the government knew the nation's defense needs, and that weapons should not be allowed into the hands of the people. This would allow for the growth of a strong military as required, while preventing the growth of a runaway military-industrial complex that might control the actions of the government for the economy's sake.

Prioritizing autarky

It was Nazarov's firm belief that a nation could not truly care for its people if it remained dependent upon the trade of goods with other nations, especially those which did not agree with its ideology. Though he understood the power and neccessity of trade, Nazarov too knew that once in the global market, it was almost impossible to get out. A nation would have to trade for whatever goods it needed to remain in a healthy state according to global standards. One could not build a navy without coal or steel, but if a nation lacked the infrastructure to produce either goods, then it was at the mercy of far more powerful states who may not wish to see a dirigist state build a powerful military, and restrict its access to certain vital goods. Thus, Nazarov determined that it was of prime importance for a nation adhering to dirigist ideology to establish an autarky at all costs, building whatever infrastructure of vital to the security and prosperity of the state within a reasonable timeframe.

When prioritizing the development of a self-sufficent economy independent of the global market, are warned to focus on developing self-sufficency in basic goods such as food and clothing, before moving on to more complex goods such as technology and weaponry. Nazarov said of this: "No nation wants to see an adversary become independent from his control, especially when it comes to their coffers. Do not scare him by build guns and cannon, both sooth him with cloth and linens and bread. Show him peace to turn away the gazing eyes, then show him war when he returns." In short, Nazarov advocated for the development of peaceful, self-sufficent industries to prevent an overraction by opponents of the nation, before developing military industries that would remain free to produce their wares without the crippling effects of sanctions and embargoes.

Brotherly labor debt

Whereas others work for money and to advance their standing in life, dirigism teaches that one should work for the betterment of the whole rather than the individual. To bring this to the fore, the "brother labor debt", one's mandatory service to the state, may be called upon to ensure the health of the national family. In practice, citizens under dirigism are taught from birth that they owe their state and fellow citizens a debt, one accrued from the time they were born to the time that they became a citizen of their society. Years of childcare and education provided by the state at the expense of individual citizens serving as teachers, nurses, babysitters, and moral figures, must be repaid in full with the time and effort of the individual to whom it was given. In short, one must serve their people as their people served them when they could not care for themselves. This ideal has made dirigists very honorable in how they treat their neighbors, giving freely to other dirigists to whom they regard as metaphorical brothers and sisters. Homeless are cared for by the state or by private citizens, almost eradicating the homeless figure in dirigist nations, and crime is far lower as it is widely held that the well-being of each citizen is the responsibility of the other, and thus the idea of going back on one's brotherly debt is unthinkable.

Due work for due wages

Dirigism promotes the proper payment for one's one work based on the level of importance and amount of effort put into that work. There are a series of pay grades within a given career path, and based on the difficulty and importance of the work provided, one's pay is adjusted to compensate them for their contribution. Dirigists hold it that a doctor's work and a farmer's work are both equally important, for without the doctor the farmer could lose an injured limb without proper treatment, while the doctor would starve without the food produced by the farmer. However, because society could largely cope without doctors, but not without farmers, farmers are given far more compensation for their work than doctors, who provide an important, but generally non-vital service for the state. While this would seem ridiculous to outsiders, dirigists understand that while doctors enrich the health of a society, farmers feed that very same society, and are thus considered one of the most important members of a dirigist nation. They are followed by those who put their lives at risk, such as police, firefighters, soldiers, and miners, who all serve a major role in dirigism society.

On the flip side, businessmen, artists, and intellectuals are held in high regard within dirigist thought, by they are not considered overtly vital members of society. Those many other cultures would deem the "elites" in their social classes, contribute very little as a group outside of certain cultural and tertiary services. Because of this type of thought, what other nations would consider a proper of social strata, is flipped upside down in dirigism, with politicians, merchants, and artists at the bottom of the social class system, and farmers, factory workers, and miners near the top. Those who contribute nothing to society are at the very bottom of dirigism society, and must earn their keep in the system. Citizenship is one of the "wages" given by the state, and must be earned by every civilian in the eyes of dirigism. While others may celebrate an individual's birth, for the dirigists, that person has done nothing for society except take up its time and resources, a burden rather than a gift. From birth to adulthood, one works to pay back what their community put into them, and when one has proven themselves worthy of being granted citizenship, that day is the time of celebration, and their true birth as a contributing member of society under dirigism.

Sociology

Ideological conformity

During his time in the Imperial Russian Army, Nazarov took note of the manner in which men from all cultures and backgrounds could come together in a close brotherhood, and where one could rise to the top based purely on strength and merit. The rich and the poor, the good and the bad, the weak and the strong, were are represented in the army, and all were forced to work together if they wished to survive in combat. Only those best suited to take the lead were trusted with any major responsibilities, and their subordinates obeyed their every command, as all knew that their commander had every intention on seeing his men come out of combat alive. Military life instilled within all soldiers a sense of purpose, duty, and responsibility for something greater than themselves, and it was these experiences that Nazarov derived his concept of "ideological conformity". It was Nazarov's belief that a structured social system based on the life he had in the military, where obedience was mandatory, discipline was ground into every soldier, and where merit was the sole means by which one could rise to the top from the bottom. Nazarov would thus state that a system of conformity was vital for society to survive, as a combination of conflicting ideals only bred discontent and violence, as was the case in his native Russia.

Within dirigism, it is highly recommended that followers wear uniforms, have ranks, build a sense of brotherhood, and promote the needs of the majority over the minority, or the needs of the many over the needs of the few. Individuality is considered a liability, as would have been the case in the military, where if a group of soldiers failed to work together as unit, they could all be killed. In family life, children under the dirigist system are to be given strict upbringings, and punishment to be swift and concise at all times. Teens are to be given work to do to keep them busy and out of trouble, with education focused on practical needs and realistic applications. The teaching of a single, simplistic language, was also recommended by Nazarov, as it would be of invaluable worth to any society. Nazarov spoke of Austria-Hungary with regards to the need of a single language, stating that that nation would fall as too many languages were being spoken by too many people, inflaming ethnic tensions, and spark nationalistic movements based on linguistic differences, as would become the case following World War I. Thus, Nazarov stated that it should be the imperative of all dirigists to learn a single language, and stand by it at all times for the sake of unity.

National family

Mass surveillance

Strict meritocracy

Sex and gender

Dirigism advocates the use of gender roles within society, acknowledging that while men and women are equal partners, they play radically different roles. Nazarov stated once that "the woman is every bit the intellectual equal of the man, however, in her own unique ways." Nazarov believed that while men and women were capable of achieving the same goals, both had their own ways of doing so. While a man could be a housekeeper and care for children, he would never match the skills of a woman in those fields. Likewise, while a woman could be a soldier and builder, she simply lacked the physical strength enjoyed by men. For Nazarov, a devout Christian, God had made man and woman equal in terms of rights and fair treatment, but different in terms of their roles in the development of the human species. Thus, dirigism came to promote that men and women stay in their respective roles, but does not demand that they stay there indefinitely. As Nazarov put it, "a nation needs its men, and a family needs its mother." Within dirigism, there is little shame in either sex working in a field dominated by another gender, and because of dirigism's merit-based ideals, if one performs well in a given field, then they can stay there and build a career out of it, regardless of their gender.

Of course, this meant that dirigism was at odds with contraceptives and homosexuality. Nazarov believed in the use of safe sexual practices, and that condoms had their place in the sexual lives of couples. However, abortion was something that was simply disagreeable to Nazarov, and that once life had been created in the womb, it was the responsibility of the father and the mother to look after it and raise a strong citizen who could contribute to society. Regarding homosexuality, Nazarov deemed it to be unnatural, an abomination of the human psyche. Privy to the work of Charles Darwin, Nazarov understood what Darwin was trying to explain to the scientific community, and was keen to apply that information to his ideals, despite being a Christian. Nazarov stated that homosexuality from an evolutionary point of view, was simply impossible to defend, as it did more harm to the race than good. In evolution, the need to propagate one's species for its survival was a vital part of the theory; if one could not or simply refused to reproduce because of their sexual orientation, then they would be putting their species' survival at risk by withholding vital biological material from the race, and endangering it, thus causing homosexuality to clash with the tenants of evolution, and therefore making it unnatural.

With regards to sex itself, Nazarov was very open to the concept. Having traveled greatly and studied numerous cultures throughout the globe, Nazarov had a more open view of sex than his colleges back in Europe. For example, he saw little wrong with incest, polygamy, or even pedophilia. During his stay in German South-West Africa, Nazarov noted that the ǃKung people saw sexual activities amongst the children as natural play, and while in East Asia, the Manchu and Telugu would often perform fellatio on their children as a way of expression affection. When in Mongolia, polygamy was considered appropriate by the Mongolians, and wives would often cooperate with one another with no hint of jealousy. Thus, for Nazarov, sexual behavior was one that could be given wide berth and operate in a peaceful and acceptable fashion. The normal concept of marriage could also be modified for dirigism, with Nazarov's previous travels and experiences integrated into the ideology. It should be noted, however, that dirigism advocates a series of tests to determine whether or not one is ready for marriage, and states that the government itself should assign spouses to individuals based on tests that closely match together.

Religion

Nazarov was a highly religious man, and believed firmly in the existence of a higher power. He believed that mankind was deeply spiritual, and no matter what anyone said or did, religion would continue to prosper even as atheism grew. Even within the hearts of atheists, Nazarov believed that they knew that there was something greater than themselves, and that their disbelief was more akin to a child refusing to acknowledge a parent until the parent gave into their demands. Nazarov's understanding of religion within dirigism was that an organized religion free of the state's control had to exist, to unify the people in spirit if not in politics. Such a religion had to remove itself from the lies of the past and the manipulative teachings of "false prophets", who led astray countless millions into needless wars and atrocities. Nazarov took it upon himself to formulate a religious code that would be of benefit to mankind rather than harm, and incorporated it into dirigism, though not explicitly stated himself.

The religious views of dirigism are similar to deism in the idea that dirigists believe that God does not directly intervene in human affairs, but instead ensures that the universe, through a wise and masterfully craft system, operates as it should. Being a god of order, dirigists agree that religious and science are not mutually exclusive, and that the laws of physics only proves the existence of a higher power, and that the orderly manner in which everything operates, such as how the world is self-sustaining and matter and energy indestructible in their own ways, only confirms their creation by a being with powers beyond the understanding of man. Nazarov believed that God imbued each person with the ability to perform great good and evil, but in giving humanity free will, left them with the choice of doing what seemed good in their own eyes. Thus, Nazarov did not believe in the concept of morality outside of religion, stating that "morality outside of religion is man's enlightened opinion."

Without a higher power to enforce the morality taught within a given religion, superior to all other beings and therefore unchallenged in it's judgement, morality simply could not exist, as anyone could say something was right or wrong with enough support and power. With such a way of doing things, any warlord could enforce his own brand of "morality", making the word morality a trivial concept. Within dirigism, morality is a relativistic concept open to interpretation based on who is saying what. If one cannot enforce their "morality", then it is simply their opinion on what they deem to be right and wrong, and not actually something that is truly right or wrong. Instead, Nazarov's idea was that dirigism could serve as a rational set of rules and ideals that could better mankind, based on whether or not something was rational. Put plainly, Nazarov's reasoning was that, for the ordinary individual, cheating on a test would be wrong, but if passing that test could lead to a better job or better pay, then cheating would be the rational thing to do, and therefore the right thing to do in the eyes of dirigist.

Criticism