Selective rebellion is not submission

March 7, 2014 § 100 Comments

Cane Caldo had an excellent post on the proper attitude toward authority a while back entitled You Bowed Up When You Should Have Bowed Down, where he addressed the right posture someone under human authority should have when that human authority inevitably, because human, exhibits flaws.

We know that there are always due limits to the authority of men because of the nature of authority: because authority produces moral obligations, and it is literally impossible to produce or voluntarily take on a moral obligation to do evil.  “Moral obligation to do evil” is self-contradictory.

So how we navigate the moral waters of our lives is first and foremost bound by deontological limits: by the objective reality of the moral rocks upon which we will shipwreck if we choose to point our rudder at the rocks.  The rocks form “bright lines” that we cannot cross, behaviors which we cannot choose, without transgression.

But the lower limit of avoiding intrinsically immoral behaviours is just the beginning of morality:

On the other hand, the fact that only the negative commandments oblige always and under all circumstances does not mean that in the moral life prohibitions are more important than the obligation to do good indicated by the positive commandments. The reason is this: the commandment of love of God and neighbour does not have in its dynamic any higher limit, but it does have a lower limit, beneath which the commandment is broken. Furthermore, what must be done in any given situation depends on the circumstances, not all of which can be foreseen; on the other hand there are kinds of behaviour which can never, in any situation, be a proper response — a response which is in conformity with the dignity of the person. Finally, it is always possible that man, as the result of coercion or other circumstances, can be hindered from doing certain good actions; but he can never be hindered from not doing certain actions, especially if he is prepared to die rather than to do evil.

So the fact that many moral questions do not have bright line boundaries that apply in all circumstances doesn’t mean that as long as we don’t crash upon the rocks we are free to do what we will.  In the comment thread below ChesterPoe says:

The one aspect of modernity with which I frequently observe even self-proclaimed anti-modernists/anti-liberals/reactionaries/traditionalists/etc… make compromises is the sexual revolution. That’s the heart of the beast. It’s what divides the old left from the new left. All of us are guilty of indulging in it at some point, whether it was premarital sex or viewing pornography, but the difference is about rationalizing it. Those who seek compromise do so for the simple fact, not of the conviction that synthesis is best, but rather that they cannot muster the will power or moral fortitude to overcome their indulgence in sexual depravity. You can hear this in the words of gamers/puas or those sympathetic to them. They exclaim, “They’re just taking advantage of this bad situation. It’s not great, but what else is left for them?” That is cowardice and surrender. That’s saying, “I hate the depravity, believe me, but I need my little piece of it.” As Christians, sin is indefensible, unjustifiable. And to make compromises with it is the equivalent of compromising with the devil.

Chastity is a positive virtue, so it doesn’t have a “bright line” moral boundary.  It isn’t that it is difficult to draw the line: it is that the line does not exist.  So when we encounter the authority of chastity – the virtues are authorities over us because it is their nature to generate moral obligations – it is important to bow down, not up.  If we are trying to do everything we can to come as close to torturing the prisoner as possible without actually crossing the line and torturing the prisoner, we have misunderstood the moral nature of the situation.  There is no line.

Sure there are acts, certain intrinsically immoral behaviours, which clearly offend against chastity and are always morally wrong under all circumstances.  But those acts are hardly the only offenses against the virtue of chastity.  Chastity is not a virtue that lends itself to realpolitik and compromise, any more than wifely submission is something that lends itself to selective rebellion: compromised chastity just is inchastity.  The slutty Christian woman may rationalize the escalation of her hemline (as long as she doesn’t actually fornicate or commit adultery, thereby achieving the Minimum Adult Daily Requirement of chastity) as a kind of realpolitik adaptation to practical realities; and since society is being deliberately (though futilely) reconstructed by liberalism to be ever more androgynous this traditionally difficult area for women has become more difficult for men also, as one of the fruits of equality.

But if your idea of chastity is that it is something that can be adapted – at the level of personal engagement with the virtue of chastity – to modern “SMP” or “MMP” realities through some sort of realpolitik, I would suggest that you don’t yet grasp what chastity is.

§ 100 Responses to Selective rebellion is not submission

  • jf12 says:

    Yes, but. Starving to death is not the greater good to eating non-kosher, for example.

  • Zippy says:

    jf12:

    Starving to death

    A comparison of not getting sexual attention to starving to death is pretty revealing.

  • CJ says:

    Based on the title, I thought you were going somewhere completely different with this. If figured it was a rejoinder to libertarian maximalists like Karl Denninger who say that if you aren’t going Galt you’re consenting to the government overreach de jour.

    As for your actual point, I think I agree with you, but I’m not sure I understand what you mean in your torture example when you say “there is no line.” Li’l help?

  • CJ says:

    “A comparison of not getting sexual attention to starving to death is pretty revealing.”

    Don’t know if you’re aware of this, but among the kids a guy desperate for sex as is referred to as being “thirsty.”

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:
    I’m just tying together themes on various subjects I’ve addressed over the years. Often if someone doesn’t see the point with one sort of concrete example a different one helps.

    There is no bright line to be crossed between slutty behaviour and modest behaviour, for example, such that skirts one inch above the knee are modest but shorter ones are slutty. Apologists for bad behaviour tend to invoke the nonexistence of bright lines as a reason why the behaviours they defend shouldn’t be subject to criticism.

  • Zippy says:

    Equating the need for food and water to the “need” for sex is like equating skin color and “sexual orientation”. It is all part of the fagging down of America.

  • donalgraeme says:

    There is no bright line to be crossed between slutty behaviour and modest behaviour, for example, such that skirts one inch above the knee are modest but shorter ones are slutty.

    My understanding (correct me if I’m wrong here Zippy) is that it is intent, or “Heart”, that matters. If we have to ask how close to the line you can get without crossing it, you have already crossed the actual threshold, because in your heart you are thwarting the value of the virtue by trying to minimalize its guidance in your life.

  • CJ says:

    Ok. That’s pretty much what I thought but didn’t want to assume. But given the lack of bright lines, it’s difficult to answer practical questions like how we should actually dress. Avoiding torture, for example, is much easier for me to get my head around than modesty. I’ve had more than one Muslim acquaintence say that Islam is superior to Christianity because of the bright lines on matters like dress and alcohol consumption. That’s a poor argument for the truth of a religion, but it does highlight how comforting it is to have bright lines and the difficulty of operating without them.

  • Zippy says:

    donalgraeme:
    That’s right as far as it goes, but the objective situation also matters. A clueless woman dressing like a slut is still dressing like a slut, even if she is just clueless (technically, even if the defect is in her knowledge not her will).

  • donalgraeme says:

    @ Zippy

    Right. I guess I was getting at that subjective intent can throw a different light on the objective situation. What might be acceptable objectively is in fact still error, based on mindset.

  • johnmcg says:

    Yes, but. Starving to death is not the greater good to eating non-kosher, for example.

    But it would be better to skip a meal than to break the rule to abstain from meat on Lenten Fridays.

  • Chad says:

    Christ had strong language for avoiding the causes of sin. Cutting off limbs and plucking out eyes. He also came down strong on adultery of thoughts, which was a great clarification on rhe already strong Mosaic laws regarding sex – that there was no such thing as pre-marital sex; either there was adultery and someone is about to be stoned or there’s about to be a shotgun marriage with full dowry, or a dowry is about to be paid.

    So while there might be ‘grey areas’ for both men and women, I’d say they’re both smaller and much further towards chastity than most people will admit.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    Thanks for the link and kind words.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    “Selective rebellion” is at the heart of the American ethos. The past few days we’ve seen American conservatives celebrate rebellion. It is also little use to speak of ” the virtues” when the society you live in banishes any conversation about the good.

  • Aquinas Dad says:

    Ita,
    I politely disagree; when no one around you wants to discuss the good we *must* speak of the virtues!

  • tz2026 says:

    ” Equating the need for food and water to the “need” for sex is like equating skin color and “sexual orientation”. It is all part of the fagging down of America.”.

    See Sandra Fluke’s testimony. Nyphomania too is no longer considered a sickness – it must be indulged with contraception. Fluke claims the right to contraception while Terri Schiavo had no right to water.

    Unchastity is the essence of contraception, especially in marriage. “I want to have sex, not babies”.

    Yet contraception is rarely called out as a grave sin. This is a bright line, but even most Christians put on blinders or an even worse parody of the “we must be charitable” ensues. The friend sitting to the left who says he is gay will be charitably informed in no uncertain terms it is a sin, but the christian couple to the right who just said they are using the pill so they can put off parenthood is met with something akin to “that’s nice”.

    Perhaps we need to pull the plank out of our eye before putting it in the GOP platform.

  • Mike T says:

    “Selective rebellion” is at the heart of the American ethos. The past few days we’ve seen American conservatives celebrate rebellion

    Much of that is to be expected from a people whose freedom was won by armed rebellion against a tyrannical foreign state. At the risk of sounding like a liberal, there is something noble and healthy about the traditional American attitude toward authority. We didn’t mind being subject to the King, what we minded was him f#$%ing with all of our institutions, taxing us for things that had no benefit to our common good, turning our commerce to his people’s benefit and then instituting military tyranny among our people when we strongly objected.

    Since government is a ministry for the common good by the Lord, I doubt the Lord looks favorably upon those rulers who turn the people to rebellion by their wickedness and apathy toward the rights, liberty and dignity of the governed. More kings during the divine right era should have heard from the Church: “thou art just a man before God and He could easily replace thee with the county dog catcher if it so pleased Him.”

  • Peter Blood says:

    Great Britain was not a tyrannical foreign state. Americans are just rebels, plain and simple.

  • Peter Blood says:

    …there is something noble and healthy about the traditional American attitude toward authority.

    Get behind me, Satan.

  • Mike T says:

    I’m sure you’d have merrily cut down your fellow Americans while singing God Save the King. As for me, I’m proud that the blood of English soldiers is on the hands of my family. Both in the Revolution and in 1812.

  • Peter Blood says:

    I’m sure you’d have merrily cut down your fellow Americans while singing God Save the King.

    Fellow Englishmen, you mean.

    You know what I would have done far better than I can tell. Thank you for revealing what would have been in my heart.

  • Mike T says:

    You know what I would have done far better than I can tell. Thank you for revealing what would have been in my heart.

    You’re welcome.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    The most compelling bit of evidence for the case of the folly of the American Revolution is the United States. Daddy George wasn’t one hundredth as tyrannical as the mama’s-boy Uncle Sam has turned out to be. Two decades or less of real patriotism would have seen American members of parliament.

    If the US had taken its few and largely harmless lumps (deserved or not), then the chances are that Africa would be the vacation spot and food basket of the world. South America would be stable and prosperous. Two world wars would likely never have happened. 500 years of a Pax Anglica was just around the corner, and at a fraction of the cost in lives as Pax Americana; which is all but dead now.

  • Zippy says:

    That 2% tax on tea was brutal, though, and the lack of democracy is a tremendous moral outrage. “Taxation without representation” and all that. Now we have a voice!

    Didn’t you guys watch School House Rock as kids?

  • Mike T says:

    If you’re going to make that argument, then you need to consider where Britain is today. Britain is a genuine police state in most respects. They are objectively worse than the worst of the federal government on virtually every single, solitary civil liberty, economic freedom, social freedom, respect for dissent, tradition, etc. In fact, one of the ironies we’re seeing is that the Supreme Court is slowly on many issues steering the federal government and states back to how this country was founded. Case in point, self-defense and gun ownership rights. The federal judiciary has been essential in overpowering the elites’ drive to disarm the American people (whereas the British public is defenseless before their government).

    It’s highly unlikely that American acceptance of the myriad abuses of our local governmental rights would have ended up with representation in parliament. Best case scenario, we’d up under-represented. Worst case, the British would turn around in horror when the colonials outnumbered them in their own parliament and policy was not being made by the British anymore, but their colonial subjects. Civil War would likely have ended that and probably far worse than the war of 1776, likely resulting in England getting its ass kicked by the colonial dominions if England tried to give itself prerogatives over the colonials. Which, I might add, is precisely within its character and a key reason why the war of 1776 was fought in the first place.

    Pax Anglica sounds nice until you realize that the English had no respect for the colonials, would never have accepted us as equals and would have fought tooth and nail to ensure their being first among equals. As to whether it would have stopped two world wars, that’s highly unlikely. It’s very likely that the Czar would have allied with Germany in that alternate world because the Russians would not have been able to tolerate that level of Anglo power around the world. The Kaiser and Czar on the same side would have absolutely crushed the allies in World War II, including the American colonies/USA.

  • Mike T says:

    That 2% tax on tea was brutal, though, and the lack of democracy is a tremendous moral outrage. “Taxation without representation” and all that. Now we have a voice!

    But obviously, declaring the whole of the colonies not subject to the due process rights of Englishmen and using the British Army on them liberally is alright. Because authority.

  • Peter Blood says:

    Didn’t you guys watch School House Rock as kids?

    Didn’t they say, “Better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven”?

  • jf12 says:

    Those who cannot condemn the past should remember to repeat it. Or else.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Mike T

    If you’re going to make that argument, then you need to consider where Britain is today. Britain is a genuine police state in most respects. They are objectively worse than the worst of the federal government on virtually every single, solitary civil liberty, economic freedom, social freedom, respect for dissent, tradition, etc. In fact, one of the ironies we’re seeing…

    Haha! That’s not irony, Mike. Newsflash: Rebellion (sedition, divorce, whatever) is bad for everyone. Britain’s foolish decision to imitate the errant and effeminate son after a gutting of the family is besides the point of the evil of the American Revolution.

    Another example: States-rights issues would have been abolished much sooner, and without the death of half a million American lives. The cancer and stigma of slavery that still plays a huge role in American policy (right or wrong) would have been handled more peaceably.

    The rest of your response is just a rationalization that because Britain wasn’t perfect America had a right to leave; the sort typical of unhaaaappy wife syndrome.

    But obviously, declaring the whole of the colonies not subject to the due process rights of Englishmen and using the British Army on them liberally is alright. Because authority.

    Dude…I would have sworn an uppity woman wrote that.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy

    Didn’t you guys watch School House Rock as kids?

    That’s where I learned how to be cool.

  • Peter Blood says:

    “Let every man do what is right in his own eyes.” –John Hancock, firing up the Tea Partiers.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    Actually the idea of “Pax Anglica” sounds even worse. I guess the division of the Anglo power did help at least dilute its bad effects.

  • Zippy says:

    I don’t claim to know if the American Revolution was justifiable in theory, although I strongly suspect not. But there is no question that the rationalizations we were spoonfed as schoolchildren in the 1970’s were a farrago of petulant liberal pieties. If there was a good reason for the revolt you wouldn’t know it from what we were told were the reasons.

  • Zippy says:

    Another favorite:

  • Peter Blood says:

    Where are the trigger warnings? There should be some trigger warnings with these videos.

  • Mike T says:

    Another example: States-rights issues would have been abolished much sooner, and without the death of half a million American lives.

    Right, because the states would exist as vassals in Pax Anglica without even a formal legal authority except where suffered by the central state.

    The cancer and stigma of slavery that still plays a huge role in American policy (right or wrong) would have been handled more peaceably.

    The only reason slavery is relevant is white guilt and the inability of much of the black community to own up to its own post-civil rights movement self-destruction.

    The rest of your response is just a rationalization that because Britain wasn’t perfect America had a right to leave; the sort typical of unhaaaappy wife syndrome.

    You seem to forget that the “wife” in this scenario sent a letter to her “husband” pleading with him to stop mistreating her, and then his response was to send an army, most of it foreigners, to beat her into submission when she decided to separate after he all but told her to go f#$% herself on all counts of her grievances. I doubt any church father would look kindly on a husband who claimed a right to force a wife to live with him and used an outsider to beat her into compliance.

    Dude…I would have sworn an uppity woman wrote that.

    Whereas you sound an awful lot like a Muslim attempting to downplay Mohammed’s pedophilia as “just thing.”

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Ita

    Actually the idea of “Pax Anglica” sounds even worse. I guess the division of the Anglo power did help at least dilute its bad effects.

    It’s possible, but the evidence suggests otherwise. A comparison of former British colonies to other European colonies leads me to think that the British were beneficial most of the time, and that the Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, etc. were not.

  • Mike T says:

    It’s possible, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

    The evidence also suggests that the colonies would never have gotten the representation they desired and that the end result would have been sort of like the Roman Social War only with Rome losing and losing hard. Be serious, Cane. If the colonies had stuck it out until 1850 and finally had enough, the revolution would not have ended in a gentleman’s peace like in 1783. It would have ended with a massive colonial blockade of Britain and American-Canadian troops burning London to the ground.

  • Zippy says:

    If there is one thing that is true of counterfactual history, it is the counterfactual bit.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Mike

    You seem to forget that the “wife” in this scenario sent a letter to her “husband” pleading with him to stop mistreating her

    Mistreatment being a lack of a right to vote in a legislative body months of ocean voyage away, and over some very small taxes.

    and then his response was to send an army, most of it foreigners, to beat her into submission when she decided to separate after he all but told her to go f#$% herself on all counts of her grievances.

    After a series of American tantrums, yes. I’m on record as being dismissive of charges of spousal battery by sociopathic women who lash out at the slightest condescension.

    The only reason slavery is relevant is white guilt and the inability of much of the black community to own up to its own post-civil rights movement self-destruction.

    Agreed. It still remains that Americans willfully turned a blind-eye to the lucrative practice until it became a brutal practice, and that this festered into white guilt, racism, and and post-civil rights self-destruction. A British Empire would have been in a position to handle it better.

    Whereas you sound an awful lot like a Muslim attempting to downplay Mohammed’s pedophilia as “just thing.”

    Right. Because taxes levied against the most prosperous sector of the burgeoning British empire is as heinous as pedophilia.

  • Slavery built America’s wealth. Not just the black slaves, but the white ones too. Without slavery of any color people, America would at best be New Zealand.

    One can feel free to claim that is superior, but it also means about as many people as New Zealand currently has, and none of the waves of white people from Ireland, Scandinavia, Italy and Germany (to name the nations people recognize) who came pouring through in the 19th and 20th centuries. And it would mean a much smaller “America” as far as land.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Mike

    There’s no way you cut this that the solution to the error of not being treated as full-Englishman is to become non-Englishmen. In the same way: Divorce never makes a happy family.

    Even the fighting is not the problem. Self-rule is the problem. Disassociation is the problem. Some things are worth fighting about, and so we fight.

    Show me the post-war letter that King George III rejected, where the American colonies said, “Look, we regret this. You are the rightful king of all Englishmen, but you weren’t listening. Listen now, and we’ll return.”

  • Mike T says:

    Mistreatment being a lack of a right to vote in a legislative body months of ocean voyage away, and over some very small taxes.

    Cane, if you aren’t going to even read the rest of the Declaration of Independence, then this isn’t a conversation worth having. There were many other serious issues with the governance of the imperial state, many of which involved arbitrary abuse and liquidation of competent government authorities and military abuse of the citizenry.

    Right. Because taxes levied against the most prosperous sector of the burgeoning British empire is as heinous as pedophilia.

    Well, let’s see. What did the British also do? Among other things: arbitrarily abolish competent local authorities for reasons slightly more sophisticated than “because we can,” try Americans arbitrarily before military tribunals for charges that wouldn’t get an Englishman tried before one, excuse murder charges against British soldiers, forcefully quarter troops in the homes of private citizens, give their agents the ability to invade the home of American colonials at-will without probable cause or a valid warrant and all but prohibit Americans from trading with anyone outside of England or the colonies so that English merchants could make a higher profit on reselling colonial goods.

    But you’re right Cane, it’s just about taxes. It had nothing to do with the fact that, among many things, the colonies were subjected to brutal (by English standards) military government for disagreements with the crown that, had the occurred in England, would have had Parliament deposing the King (which it had the authority to do at that point).

  • Mike T says:

    There’s no way you cut this that the solution to the error of not being treated as full-Englishman is to become non-Englishmen. In the same way: Divorce never makes a happy family.

    I disagree, and the Spanish example would prove that. The Spanish were unwilling to accept dhimmitude. They responded by driving out and killing their Moorish neighbors until they reclaimed their homeland. It was the right call. A majority people should never be second class in their own territory.

    Even the fighting is not the problem. Self-rule is the problem. Disassociation is the problem. Some things are worth fighting about, and so we fight.

    But apparently, self-rule was not a problem for the English nor for their barbarian ancestors who turned their back on their “rightful rulers” in Byzantium after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Mike T

    Let me try this again:

    There’s no way you cut this that the solution to the error of not being treated as full-Englishman is to become non-Englishmen. In the same way: Divorce never makes a happy family.

    Even the fighting is not the problem. Self-rule is the problem. Disassociation is the problem. Some things are worth fighting about, and so we fight.

    Show me the post-war letter that King George III rejected, where the American colonies said, “Look, we regret this. You are the rightful king of all Englishmen, but you weren’t listening. Listen now, and we’ll return.”

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Mike

    We cross-posted, but it doesn’t matter.

    A majority people should never be second class in their own territory.

    But apparently, self-rule was not a problem for the English nor for their barbarian ancestors who turned their back on their “rightful rulers” in Byzantium after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

    You’re changing the measure halfway through the judgment. Spaniards are not and never were Moors. Britons are not and never were Romans or Turks.

    Up until this point, the argument is predicated on the fact that Englishmen should be given English rights. Now you’re revising history and saying Americans aren’t actually Englishmen, and so whatever we did to get the English out of America is only natural.

    In the same way, Mrs. Brown says Mr. Brown doesn’t treat her like a Brown, and those are grounds for divorce. When later confronted with the reality of her rebellion, she posits she was really a Miss White before Mr. Brown messed everything up, and has actually been her own person all along.

  • Zippy says:

    Those Windsors are rotting usurpers anyway.

  • Mike T says:

    You’re changing the measure halfway through the judgment. Spaniards are not and never were Moors. Britons are not and never were Romans or Turks.

    I’m not changing the measure at all. Spain didn’t even exist during the rule of the Moors. There were no “Spanish.” There were Castillians, Catalonians and Galicians. Spain is an artificial state like Great Britain. It’s a state with three nationalities present, and arguably one in which two of them have until recently been second class citizens to the Castillians. “Spanish” is the language of Castile. Furthermore, the Moors had been in Iberia for about as long as the Romans held the same lands, so they were part of the cultural makeup of Iberia as much as most of the nations present there at that point.

    As for the Britons, they most certainly were Romans or are you going to argue that the several centuries of thorough Romanization that turned them into good Latin-speaking Roman citizens never happened? Since the Eastern Empire was the continuation of the Roman State, they owed a renewed allegiance to Constantinople when the Western Empire was dissolved around 474 AD.

    In reality though, the English were more right than wrong for treating Americans as non-English. We’ve never been primarily English. The colonists were heavily Scotch-Irish, German, French, Dutch and various German ancestries with a lot of English and an English elite thrown in. So it’s not at all unfair to compare our relationship with England to that of Brittania with Rome. Speak the same language, have the same citizenship on paper, but at the end of the day we were no more “true Englishmen” than residents of Brittania that weren’t Roman colonists were actual, real Romans.

    Up until this point, the argument is predicated on the fact that Englishmen should be given English rights. Now you’re revising history and saying Americans aren’t actually Englishmen, and so whatever we did to get the English out of America is only natural.

    I’ve never asserted here that Americans were actually Englishmen. That’s been your assertion, and I’m under no obligation to abide by it. Demographically, by 1776, America was not predominantly English, but rather Scotch-Irish and German with Dutch and French bringing up the rear.

  • King Richard says:

    Someone asked me to drop by and discuss the American Revolution. If this is horribly off-topic please feel free to delete everything. I have an article on this on a blog but will only post the link if the owner of this blog approves.

    [Sure, feel free — Z]

    The colonists of America were offered seats in British parliament as early as the late 1600’s (about 1697) but consistently *refused* seats in parliament because then they would cease being colonies and become territories and pay the higher taxes of territories. In other words, they kept refusing representation in return for less taxation. They also argued that since the various colonies had local legislatures they did not need MPs.

    A number of prominent men invested heavily in a speculative schemes called the Ohio Company and the Loyal Company; their purpose was to exploit the resources of the Ohio Valley – which was French territory at the time.This led to a flood of British settlers into French territory and, eventually, triggered a violent clash between Virginia militia attacking French troops on French territory – the last spark that caused the Seven Years War.

    During the Seven Years War when the British fleets and armies were busy protecting American colonies from French forces the colonists got used to not paying their (lowest in the British empire) taxes. Britain, expecting to recoup some of the costs of what was arguably the first world war waged almost exclusively to protect the colonies began actually enforcing tax collection the the colonies – which resulted in massive smuggling and tax fraud throughout the Americas.

    At the same time, the French territories in Canada, the Mississippi, and Ohio regions were now British territories. The Ohio and Loyal (and other) companies that were to speculate in the region now couldn’t – it would be like Minnesota settling Iowa.This upset a lot of wealthy landowners who had heavily invested in the (shockingly risky) companies. Wealthy landowners with names like Washington and Jefferson.

    At the same time smugglers were feting rich and becoming folk heroes. John Hancock was called ‘the King of the Smugglers’ and owned the fastest ship in the colonies. he made a fortune smuggling in cheap, low-grade tea and paper from Spanish ports. When his ship was captured and the proof of his crimes discovered the riots were so violent the governor released him before the city was burned and requested help from Britain.

    The king was rather surprised as the prominent lobbyist Benjamin Franklin had been telling him the colonies were pleased with his rule. The King had been paying Franklin to tell him and Parliament what the ‘tenor of the colonies’ was like and Franklin had been loud in stating the colonies were very happy! News of mass riots over the arrest of a known smuggler caused some to accuse Franklin of double-dealing, especially since Franklin had gotten his illegitimate son appointed as Royal Governor through his strong ties with the King and parliament.

    The colonists hating Ben Franklin pretty badly at the time, too. Parliament realized they couldn’t stop the smuggling entirely so they passed the Stamp Act in an attempt to get *some* taxes out of their own trading colonies. When Franklin heard of it he promptly bought stock in paper companies and had his close friend put in charge of t\the tax so he, himself, would be exempt. So both the colonies and Britain branded Franklin a traitor.

    Franklin quickly acted to repeal the Stamp Act (after making a large profit on stock sales) and left for America.

    In the meantime parliament had offered the colonies seats in parliament again and were refused again.

    Parliament then had a solution presented to them. Americans drank a LOT of tea. The smuggled tea was poor quality and expensive. The East India Company now had new tea plantations running full bore – now they could provide high-quality tea to the colonies and even with a tax large enough to replace almost every other tax it would be *cheaper* than smuggled tea.

    Everyone wins!

    The first shipment, though, was tossed into Boston Harbor in the Boston Tea party. Who was it that led the men who destroyed this cheap, high-quality tea that would end smuggling in America?

    John Hancock, tea smuggler.

    In the meantime colonists were burning down custom houses, assaulting soldiers, and lynching tax collectors. The Virginia and Maryland legislatures passed motions that pardoned convicted smugglers, prompting the King to order new elections for these legislatures. When the new legislatures overrode local governors and freed convicted murderers because ‘killing a tax collector is no crime’ the King dissolved some legislatures until such time as they ceased supporting the killing of royal agents.
    [more]

  • King Richard says:

    [more]
    As you can imagine the various customs and tax agents of the colonies were terrified they would be the next men dragged from their bed, tarred, feathered, and lynched by a mob. The colonial militias were more likely to lead these mobs than stop them so royal troops were needed to protect the crown’s buildings and the King’s agents.

    One of the most famous of these incidents was when a mob began gathering at the main customs house in Boston. Armed with clubs, knives, and tomahawks many in the mob were passing around bottles of rum. Passersby noted that smugglers were actually using wagons to bring in ruffians from the docks and the slums, giving them rum, and encouraging them to storm the customs house. The lone guard stood his post surrounded by shouting, swearing, drunken men waving weapons in the air.

    When his commander learned of the trouble he grabbed a squad of men and rushed to assist his lone guard. As he forced his way through the crowd he was warned that any attempt to use force would result in the death of him and his men. Once at the entrance to the customs house the officer tried to disperse the mob by asking them to leave; the mob responded by throwing stones and screaming ‘fire!’ again and again.

    Eventually one soldier, possible knocked down by a cobblestone to the head, fired his weapon and the rest also fired a ragged volley.

    Americans still call this ‘the Boston Massacre’

    After all of this, the colonists called together a group to declare their independence. Smugglers, scofflaws,philanderers, and graspers abounded but the man they picked to write the Declaration of Independence was a perfect example of what was wrong with Americans then and now.

    Americans were known for living beyond their means (the song ‘Yankee Doodle’ is about just that) but Thomas Jefferson was perhaps the grand marshal of prodigality. Having inherited one of the largest, most productive plantations in the Western hemisphere he was perpetually broke and in debt. His love for the best wine, best clothes, best food, and perpetually building newer, bigger, more lavish homes. He was so notorious for borrowing money and never paying it back that none of the other Founding Fathers would lend him a nickle. He was dismissed as a trustee of a college because during his short tenure he had embezzled a full fifth of the endowment of the school.After his death his children were forced to sell virtually everything he and they owned to pay his debts and still required grants from family friends to pay off the vast sums Jefferson owed to others.

    For all the praise lavished on the Declaration of Independence it is,in reality, a rather poor work. While much attention is paid to the terse, limited statement of rights the first two paragraphs are really about two concepts;
    One – government is contractual
    Two – the Declaration is meant to justify treason

    The first point is not just debatable, it is counter-factual to Jefferson’s ultimate goal. *If* government *is* purely contractual then the fact that the large majority of colonists wanted to *remain* British subjects means that the Declaration is null and void *because of its own, internal logic*. In other words – if the Declaration is true then there is no cause to rebel!

    The second point leads to the long, boring list that people either skip, don’t understand, or both
    [more]

  • King Richard says:

    [more]
    And the list of complaints in the Declaration is actually humorous if you know the history of the age and even more so if you know how modern American legislation works. The complaints range from puzzling [‘the king pays judges and can determine how long the serve’ – why is that a complaint?] to missing the point [‘parliament is in London’ – yeah, of course it is] to rather self-serving [‘We don’t like taxes’].

    None of them, alone or together, justifies treason.

  • Scott W. says:

    Best off-topic posts Eh-vah. 🙂

  • King Richard says:

    In the end the American Revolution was the triumph of the smuggler, the scofflaw, the terrorist, and the opportunist over the rule of law. Songs lamenting the days of ‘Good King George’ when taxes were low and men were free were being written by 1785.

    Also, never forget that a fair amount of support the Revolutionaries had from rural areas and rural militias was whipped up by fear of Catholics. When Quebec became British territory after the Seven Years War King George struck quite a good deal – the French Canadians had existing ties with native Americans and a flourishing trade. Since the local tribes had existing treaties, spoke French, and were either Catholic or on their way the King and Parliament of England thought it foolish to throw that away. Their arrangement with Quebec was they would do things as they had in the past with no need to fear the 13 colonies anymore and now they would simply pay their taxes to England, not France.

    Investors in the Ohio Company and similar ventures painted this as the imminent threat of a Catholic invasion; this is even alluded to in the Declaration of Independence (the ‘neighboring Province’ mentioned). Rather than a prudent acceptance of reality various revolutionaries painted it as the first step to Jesuits taking over Boston.

  • Zippy says:

    Scott:
    Not too extremely off-topic, I don’t think. The OP focuses in on the virtues as a kind of authority and chastity in particular, but the subject of liberals trumping up grievances (real or imagined) to justify rebellion is certainly on topic for the blog more generally.

  • Peter Blood says:

    So, it comes down to mammon-worship. Yet again.

  • jf12 says:

    King Richard is correct. John Hancock also bankrolled the Revolution, and indeed eventually spent all of his money on it. Naturally he was recompensed handsomely after we won.

    Hancock is named as the only signatory of the Declaration in the July 4 copies printed by Dunlap. From July until November, it was Hancock’s Declaration.

  • Zippy says:

    jf12:

    Naturally he was recompensed handsomely after we won.

    I don’t know if that was intended as irony, but if (say) a leader in the Mexican drug cartel lost his fortune while trying to save his empire that wouldn’t turn him into one of the good guys.

  • Peter Blood says:

    So if I go to Vegas and lose it all, it’s not heroic of me?

  • Peter Blood says:

    Backing up what you say with money is the highest form of sincerity in America. “Put up or shut up” etc…

  • Mike T says:

    Songs lamenting the days of ‘Good King George’ when taxes were low and men were free were being written by 1785.

    Meanwhile in the 21st century, good Englishmen cannot own weapons (for all intents and purposes), have virtually no privacy rights under law, pay very high taxes and have a government that often literally sides with the criminal against the victim because the victim was mean to the criminal. Our republic may be in bad shape, but it’s fared a lot better than the mother country. Which I might add, is so far down the tube that the Scots are talking about rescinding the Act of Union because they’ve had enough of Great Britain.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    The actual England of today is largely a product of the American triumph and American influence though. It is easy to believe that vestigial monarchy situated within dominant liberalism acts as an accelerant or catalyst, pushing classical liberalism toward its telos more quickly.

  • King Richard says:

    Mike T,
    So you are arguing that British Democracy is even worse than American Democracy?

    It appears that you agree that Monarchy is superior to both!

  • Zippy says:

    Or, from a different perspective, American classical liberalism may be more ‘conservative’ (that is, slower to metastacize into more advanced forms of liberalism) precisely because it started out as a more ‘pure’ liberalism.

  • Zippy says:

    Peter Blood:

    So if I go to Vegas and lose it all, it’s not heroic of me?

    Right, the fact that you lost money is proposed as proof of virtue.

  • Peter Blood says:

    The actual England of today is largely a product of the American triumph and American influence though.

    It’s documented in Peter Hitchens’ “The Abolition of Britain” in which he describes the run-up to D-Day as basically an American occupation of Britain. The end result is an Americanized Britain.

  • Mike T says:

    The actual England of today is largely a product of the American triumph and American influence though.

    Only in the sense that it gave every other colony the idea that they could seek self-determination and thus England had to accommodate them or risk war in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In the case of South Africa, which was a conquered nation, the Brits would have deserved to get thrown out at bayonet point.

    It is easy to believe that vestigial monarchy situated within dominant liberalism acts as an accelerant or catalyst, pushing classical liberalism toward its telos more quickly.

    Whereas as our constitutional, republican structure has actually slowed and even started reversing some of the more recent advances. Heller vs. DC and the recent appellate court rulings that have shattered gun bans and restrictions across the country could not have happened in another Western liberal state because our constitution is very conservative.

    It appears that you agree that Monarchy is superior to both!

    I have sympathies with constitutional monarchies, but more in the vein of Japan where the monarch was an actual executive with responsibility and power. However, that’s also quite compatible with constitutional republican government.

    The biggest problem with the UK’s political structure is that it’s a unitary state despite the fact that you have four nations under one roof. In the 19th century, the UK should have formalized the English constitution into a written UK-level constitution that created a federal state composed of four member nations with a common military, diplomacy, currency and a few other things. The westminster parliament should have been devolved back to England and a new UK parliament with only defined authority over the member nations created.

    The reason our republic has fared better is that the US Constitution provides for that sort of structure, limits the authority of central bureaucrats and politicians, and provides a rally point to identify overreach and call it for the usurpation that it is. We also have the added advantage of a powerful judiciary (a mixed blessing) that can remove unconstitutional laws (laws against the English constitution tend to stand) and that has ruled that such laws confer neither a duty to obey nor power to enforce by their very invalidity.

    I would say that the beginning of the end for Britain was laid in the Act of Union.

  • Mike T says:

    BTW, I’ll add that regardless of whether or when the offer to join parliament was made, by 1776 the British political class did in fact fear opening up parliament to the colonies because the demographics didn’t favor Britain. By the 20th century, the North American colonies would have outnumbered the British handily and it’s entirely possible that the capitol of the empire would have to be moved to the colonies (with London being only Britain’s state capitol). Consider what would have happened if the colonies grew more or less along the lines of the USA during that time. By 1860, the colonies would be able to raise armies and fleets that could challenge the British. It’s likely that if Pax Anglica failed then, instead of 1776 that it would resulted in the complete collapse of the empire, not its slow death because the colonies would have been sufficiently powerful to easily crush a British invasion if they seceded. As I said above, they’d also have had the power to at least attempt an invasion of Britain.

  • Zippy says:

    “Started reversing” – as a description of liberal intramural conflict – cracked me up.

  • Peter Blood says:

    Britain has already successfully dealt with other colonies that outgrew Britain. See “Commonwealth” and “Dominions”. It’s not some strange problem they couldn’t figure out.

  • King Richard says:

    I encounter this too often to be a fluke; Americans admit that their presidency is virtually bought and paid for; their police are increasingly militarized and unaccountable; they are under constant surveillance; virtually every aspect of their life is bound about by regulations imposed by un-elected bureaucrats; their taxes are high and growing; their infrastructure is collapsing; their education system is focused on creating uncritical factory workers; neither party represents a fraction of their own supporters; and you have all the justice you can afford. Democrats shrug and say ‘well, at least the welfare state isn’t abolished’ and Republicans shrug and say ‘at least I can get a permit for a pistol’.

  • Scott W. says:

    I’d like to read your blog if you would provide a link please, KR.

  • King Richard says:

    Thank you, Zippy, for earlier permission. And thank you, Scott, for the request.
    I have covered most of the material here, but the link is
    http://kingdomofedan.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-declaration-of-independence-failed.html

  • Peter Blood says:

    Jefferson wanted to split the family so he and his pals could win coveted cash and prizes. They also got the preachers on board.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    I think it is my fault for derailing this thread. Attacking Americanism is a hobby of mine.

    Sorry Zippy.

  • Peter Blood says:

    The thread got better, ISE. Ziippy obviously enjoyed his Schoolyard Rock nostalgia trip.

    I’m sure some readers are surprised to find such a nest of Loyalists.

  • That derail was totally awesome.

  • Zippy says:

    Sometimes all I have to do is bring the beer.

  • MarcusD says:

    @Peter Blood

    Incidentally, his brother Christopher wrote on the same topic in his book “Blood, Class and Nostalgia: Anglo-American Ironies”

    He discusses it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUH4RzAofv8

  • Mike T says:

    I’m sure some readers are surprised to find such a nest of Loyalists.

    Tradcons don’t have an ounce of patriotism in their bodies, so it doesn’t surprise me in the least. In general, tradcons would be as brutal toward their opponents as most on the hard left if they had the numbers and guts to put their political program into effect. Thankfully, most conservative Christians in America are sufficiently decent human beings as to not be attracted to that nonsense.

    Attacking Americanism is a hobby of mine.

    Something you and other tradcons have in common with the average member of the hard left. The world would be a better place if all tradcons and Socialists were sent on a one-way trip to Mars.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Tradcons don’t have an ounce of patriotism in their bodies, so it doesn’t surprise me in the least.

    You mean, they aren’t loyal to King and Country?

    In general, tradcons would be as brutal toward their opponents as most on the hard left if they had the numbers and guts to put their political program into effect.

    I’ve always been open about my authoritarianism. That’s one thing that makes me different from liberals of all stripes, including the classical kind: I acknowledge that governance intrinsically involves the use of force to discriminate in favor of a particular conception of the good.

  • jf12 says:

    Am authoritarian monarchy ought to last as long as any King Of The Hill, which is to say, it should last about 2.7 seconds.

  • sunshinemary says:

    @ King Richard
    That was very interesting; thank you for posting all that.

    Zippy:

    The actual England of today is largely a product of the American triumph and American influence though. It is easy to believe that vestigial monarchy situated within dominant liberalism acts as an accelerant or catalyst, pushing classical liberalism toward its telos more quickly.

    Why so? I’d have thought it would have the opposite effect. Surely it seemed to for a number of years, no? Anyway, maybe England is even more liberal than America simply because nearly 40% of the population there are atheists, compared with only about 10% in this country. I should think it’s their lack of belief in God that makes them so liberal rather than the presence of an impotent monarchy.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Mike

    Tradcons don’t have an ounce of patriotism in their bodies, so it doesn’t surprise me in the least.

    You keep vacillating back on forth on which fathers are supposed to be cherished, and why. When you like them, we should be patriotic. When you don’t like them, they aren’t really our forebears. I think your sense of patriotism needs calibration.

    The more immediate the proximity of the patriarchy is, the more important it is to be patriotic. My observances of the pronounced lack of patriotism of American rebels 250 years ago cannot become a lesson in how I should be patriotic unless I look at it as a negative example. Your appeal for patriotism towards American rebels can only lead to the insane conclusion that rebellion against the current patriarchs would be a real practice of patriarchy.

    In general, tradcons would be as brutal toward their opponents as most on the hard left if they had the numbers and guts to put their political program into effect.

    Most people would be. Can you imagine tar-and-feathering someone for doing their job? That was one of the most revealing parts of the HBO series “John Addams”; just the visual of stripping someone naked, scalding their flesh, and then parading them through town. Brutal.

  • Zippy says:

    Sunshine:

    Why so?

    Well, it is always a little tricky to rationally analyze the action of a self-contradictory doctrine like liberalism dropped into the context of a particular time, place, people, nation, culture, etc. As I mentioned to Mike T all philosophies of governance are inherently authoritarian and discriminatory, because that’s what government is: authoritative discrimination in support of a particular conception of the good. Liberalism (including the classical kind) contradicts itself with its pretensions to a legitimacy based on (supposedly) being anti-authoritarian and non-discriminatory. Liberalism is just as authoritarian and discriminatory as any other philosophy of governance; it just lies to itself by claiming otherwise, indeed it has to in order to be legitimate on its own terms.

    The thought – which is worth what you paid for it – is that a liberal society with more ‘old world’ memory in it is more likely to have a significant population that is skeptical of classical liberal claims — that especially middle class and wealthy European liberals (e.g. Marx) are more likely to view the classical liberal property regime as just an inauthentic veneer of liberal pieties layered over the same old feudalism rather than as a fundamental break by the free and equal new man from the patriarchal/monarchical tyrannies of the past. Americans on the other hand are too unsophisticated, have no (or certainly much less) illiberal history behind them as a country, are generally more provincial, and are therefore more likely to believe their own BS when it comes to the claim that the classical liberal property rights regime represents ‘authentic’ freedom and equal rights.

    It is almost certainly true that atheism also played a big role as an accelerant though.

  • King Richard says:

    Traditional conservatives would be ‘just as bad’ as the hard Left? History disagrees with that idea.
    Let’s use some actual examples. Assume that in the following list you *must* have your own children raised in one nation or the other:
    Soviet Russia or Pinochet’s Chile?
    Khmer Rouge Cambodia or Peron’s Argentina?
    Mao’s China or Authoritarian South Korea?
    North Korea or Francoist Spain?

    Even better, let’s look back while realizing that the 20th Century was largely ‘what happens when you replace Traditional Conservative rule with Progressive rule’
    Was it the Austro-Hungarian Empire that triggered WWII? Was it Imperial Germany that voted Hitler into office?
    As Hans-Hermann Hoppe said so very clearly in a single book title; the 20th Century proves that democracy is a nation-destroying mistake, that Leftist ideas and ideals are lethal. The book?- ‘Democracy: The God That Failed’.
    Progressive ideas and ideals ‘eat children’ (reduce fertility to below replacement). ‘Shall the Religious Inherit the Eart?’ by Kaufmann.

  • Scott W. says:

    In general, tradcons would be as brutal toward their opponents as most on the hard left if they had the numbers and guts to put their political program into effect.

    Isn’t this just a variation on the atheist non-argument that “If you were born in the Middle-East, you’d be Muslim. In India, a Hindu, etc”? And isn’t it consequentialist? That is, skipping to the results without considering whether the principles underlying the view are, you know, actually true? It reminds of the torture and A-bomb arguments where those in favor avoided principles and instead relied on anecdotes and rigged hypotheticals.

  • sunshinemary says:

    King Richard

    As Hans-Hermann Hoppe said so very clearly in a single book title; the 20th Century proves that democracy is a nation-destroying mistake, that Leftist ideas and ideals are lethal. The book?- ‘Democracy: The God That Failed’.

    You know, I read some excerpts from that book a while back on another site. Seeing you mention it here reminded me that I’ve meaning to read it, so I’ve just now ordered it from Inter-Library Loan.

  • King Richard says:

    It is good. keep in mind that Hoppe is a libertario-anarchist and you will glean a great deal from the book.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    Hoppe is a crank. Someone once said a Hoppean world would look like the society in the movie Robocop.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @ISE

    Seriously? In the future I have to drive a Taurus again?

  • Scott W. says:

    I thought Detroit already looks like Robocop.

  • King Richard says:

    Yes, Hoppe has issues. As I mentioned above, he is an anarcho-libertarian/libertario-anarchist. In ‘Democracy: the God that Failed’ he presents a brilliant argument on why Democracy fails [it is, effectively, the ‘public ownership of the government’ so the free-rider, malibu surfer, and tragedy of the commons problems afflict the government as a whole] and explains why monarchy is better [private ownership of government; lifetime training; vested interest in success and growth; etc].
    Then? He tries to argue that *anarchy* is even better because it is a lot of private ownership of government….
    I personally believe that Hoppe was rather – half-hearted in his pro-anarchy statements. In a number of cases his support of anarchy is phrased to mirror positions he had specifically *refuted* earlier in the same book. I have heard it argued he know where the butter on his bread comes from so made a series of purposefully weak arguments to appease his backers

  • Peter Blood says:

    It’s been a long time since I read any Hoppe. His essay in Denson’s “The Cost of War” is what rehabilitated monarchy for me. So I keep a sentimental good thought for him, crank or no.

  • Mike T says:

    You mean, they aren’t loyal to King and Country?

    Since we have no King by virtue of the fact that English monarchy disavowing authority over us, that means you are by definition not loyal to your country anymore than a Mexican immigrant who resolutely declares no interest in ever being an American.

    I’ve always been open about my authoritarianism.

    True enough.

    Soviet Russia or Pinochet’s Chile?
    Khmer Rouge Cambodia or Peron’s Argentina?
    Mao’s China or Authoritarian South Korea?
    North Korea or Francoist Spain?

    Regimes that differed more in degree that kind. For example, precisely what actual individual rights did one possess in the right wing authoritarian regimes that were any stronger than in the hard left regimes? I find it hard to believe given Pinochet’s willingness to torture and murder tens of thousands of his opponents that his judiciary was any better than that of the Soviet Union on a daily basis. What about gun rights? The use of cruel punishments was about the same between them. Freedom of religion, assembly, speech, the press and other rights? No better in any of them.

    About the only thing you could say that the right wing regimes had over the left wing regimes was economic freedom, but even that is qualified since the hard right authoritarian regimes (Peron’s not being one of them since he was a Fascist, not a conservative in any sense) were frequently guilty of siding with established players. In fact it’s telling that South Korea was a basket case economically for most of its authoritarian existence and was only able to eclipse North Korea (which was significantly more industrial during the Korean War) when it opened up and North Korea’s Stalinism could no longer keep up.

  • Zippy says:

    Peter Blood writes:

    I’m sure some readers are surprised to find such a nest of Loyalists.

    Mike T replies with unintentional irony:

    Tradcons don’t have an ounce of patriotism in their bodies, …

    I said:

    You mean, they aren’t loyal to King and Country?

    Mike T rejoins:

    Since we have no King by virtue of the fact that English monarchy disavowing authority over us, that means you are by definition not loyal to your country anymore than a Mexican immigrant who resolutely declares no interest in ever being an American.

    If I understand this correctly, you are suggesting that in order to be patriotic in America (that is, loyal to the particular patriarchy under which we live) we must be liberals.

    You may be right about that. But the “patriotism” of a liberal is a very ironic thing, to say the least. It isn’t loyalty to his particular congenital patriarchy. It is just loyalty to himself and his liberal ideology: loyalty to the free and equal superman: loyalty to an arid and inhuman abstraction, not a concrete people and country. It is quite precisely a permanent disloyalty, as expressed by none other than Thomas Jefferson:

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

    And of course the classic:

    “God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.”

    Under liberal modernity there is no such thing as real patriotism because hierarchy – authoritative loyalty to blood, soil, and cross – isn’t allowed. So once again we have a situation where, because real patriotism (loyalty to the particular patriarchy) is not allowed by liberalism, a sociopathic patriotism emerges.

  • Zippy says:

    I promoted my previous comment to its own post.

  • […] in general, of course, because of its very nature, cannot compel us to do evil.  However, finding City Hall and identifying the government is not typically difficult for most […]

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