Subsidiarity and freedom are unrelated

August 3, 2014 § 71 Comments

Subsidiarity is messy hierarchical organic authority.  A single efficient and monolithic authority micromanaging everything all the time is the opposite of subsidiarity, whether that monolithic authority is dictatorial, democratic, or carried out through some other formal structure like a patchwork.

Freedom is the capacity to actually choose what we wish to choose. It is maximized for the most people either when a wicked sovereign rules wicked people, or when a good sovereign rules good people.

It is self-contradictory to make freedom a political priority, because politics is essentially the art of resolving controverted cases. By definition all parties in controverted cases cannot be granted the actual capacity to choose what they wish to choose. Attempting to limit political freedom with some other principle doesn’t work: it just represents an attempt to confine the self-contradiction into a little box, from which, like a powerful acid, it will inevitably escape. And within whatever scope it is permitted to operate, it will insist upon equality of rights.

It is possible for a society under subsidiarity to exhibit a great deal of freedom or a tremendous lack of freedom; and as always, who is and is not “free” is relative to what they happen to wish that they could choose in that society.  The same can be said for a monolithic arrangement.

Saying that a society is free, then, is simply to say that in your view that society puts the right people in prison for the right reasons.

Freedom is inherently relative, so it teaches modern people that morality is relative. Again citing the prophet Soul Asylum,

Trying to do the right thing
Play it straight
The right thing changes from state to state

So subsidiarity and political freedom are unrelated concepts. The latter must be rejected utterly in order to escape the mind trap of liberal modernity. In fact the more important freedom to choose the good is to you, the more important it is that you reject freedom as a political priority.

§ 71 Responses to Subsidiarity and freedom are unrelated

  • King Richard says:

    One of the largest barriers in discussing Edan comes from getting people past a single hurdle;
    “The best possible combination of virtue, governance, and family support comes from subsidiarity. A proper subsidiarity requires an aristocracy. A healthy aristocracy requires a king. The best form of government is a monarchy.”
    A simple statement that takes a great deal of time to elucidate to Moderns and especially people in the grip of Americanism.
    Thank you for this – I will reference it in the future.

  • jf12 says:

    The Judges period of Israel is more characteristic of subsidiarity than the monarchy that followed. Which the people wanted, but God did not.

  • Svar says:

    @ jf12

    Subsidiarity can work in any system that is committed to decentralized power even in a monarchy like that of the Kaiser: http://www.unz.com/pgottfried/kaiser-bill-the-workingmans-emperor/

    But it has also worked in a republic(pre-1865 America) and can potentially be incorporated into any system that does not have statism within it’s framework or platform.

  • Alte says:

    I’m very much pro-monarchy now. Not because I think it would be any improvement, but because each further step we take in the inevitable cycle of government brings us closer to a religious revival and a new era of judges.

    Let’s just crown Obama and get on with it already. The suspense is killing me. Queen Hillary?

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    When discussing various forms of government, keep in mind that what you’re discussing is a formalized, mechanical procedure. There is no such thing as a formalized, mechanical procedure which can make up for a lack of virtue in its leaders, be they presidents or kings.

    The problem with democracy is that it counts on too many people to be both intelligent and virtuous. A dictatorship counts on too few. A democracy would be an ideal mechanical procedure of governance if the majority of people were consistently, objectively virtuous. A dictatorship would be an ideal mechanical procedure of governance if the dictators were consistently, objectively virtuous. Unfortunately, reality demonstrates that neither is the case.

    Personally, I think the Roman triumvirate was a pretty dang good procedure. It lacks the weakness of democracy in that it doesn’t allow popular opinion to determine morality, but it also places checks on possible outbreaks of tyranny (that is, enforcement of evil). Put that procedure in the context of an explicitly Catholic government, and I believe it would probably work out pretty well.

    Limited monarchies are pretty good too, depending on precisely what ‘limited’ means in the particular instance.

    Just remember that playing with the mechanism of governance can’t make up for a lack of virtue at the top.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Political freedom is real:
    From Belloc -French Revolution (Footnote 1 to chap 1)
    —————————————————————————
    We need not waste any time upon those who talk about such and such a form of government being good because “it works.” The use of such language connotes that the user of it is fatigued by the effort of thought. For what is “working,” i.e. successful action, in any sphere? The attainment of certain ends in that sphere. What are those ends in a State? If material well-being, then there is an end to talk of patriotism, the nation, public opinion and the rest of it which, as we all very well know, men always have regarded and always will regard as the supreme matters of public interest. If the end is not material well-being, but a sense of political freedom and of the power of the citizen to react upon the State, then to say that an institution “works” though apparently not democratic, is simply to say that under such and such conditions that institution achieves the ends of democracy most nearly. In other words, to contrast the good “working” of an institution superficially undemocratic with democratic theory is meaningless. The institution “works” in proportion as it satisfies that political sense which perfect democracy would, were it attainable, completely satisfy.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Belloc’s point that
    “What are those ends in a State? If material well-being, then there is an end to talk of patriotism, the nation, public opinion and the rest of it which, as we all very well know, men always have regarded and always will regard as the supreme matters of public interest”

    does not comport well with with Zippy’s “politics is essentially the art of resolving controverted cases.”

  • Zippy says:

    vishmehr24:
    Well, if Belloc said the moon is made of green cheese it must be made of green cheese.

  • jf12 says:

    How is it that “controverted cases” does not encompass “patriotism, the nation, public opinion and the rest of it [i.e. public interest]”?

    Is what is good about patriotism and the nation truly supposed to be a given? Certainly “public opinion” is nothing except controverted.

  • […] ironies of modernity is that when freedom is made a political priority, it inherently destroys subsidiarity and promotes centralized monolithic […]

  • […] Subsidiarity and freedom are unrelated. […]

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Zippy,
    It might be more useful to be precise where Belloc is objectionable.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ vishmehr:

    I’d start with his suggestion that the “ends in a state” are either “material well-being” or “a sense of political freedom and of the power of the citizen to react upon the State”.

    Or anything other than The Good.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    False dichotomy much?

  • Alte says:

    Put that procedure in the context of an explicitly Catholic government, and I believe it would probably work out pretty well.

    No, it wouldn’t. No human-led government “works out pretty well”. They are all formed by idealists and immediately start sliding into corruption and incompetence.

  • Mike T says:

    Personally, I think the Roman triumvirate was a pretty dang good procedure. It lacks the weakness of democracy in that it doesn’t allow popular opinion to determine morality, but it also places checks on possible outbreaks of tyranny (that is, enforcement of evil).

    Considering most of the men who occupied it, what could possibly have lead you to this conclusion?

  • Zippy says:

    vishmehr24:
    Why should I buy into your attempt to obfuscate? Belloc isn’t here to argue, so if you want to show what is wrong with my understanding (other than “it appears to conflict in some nonspecific way with vishmehr’s interpretation of Belloc”) you have to actually show which of my premises are wrong. Even if we stipulate you as an authority on Belloc, all that would show is that Belloc’s view conflicts in some nonspecific manner with mine. But so what? Belloc’s opinions are not Magisterial, and he isn’t here to address my specific arguments.

    The closest you’ve come to addressing my arguments at all is to object to my contention that politics is essentially about controverted cases: about getting people to do things differently from how they would freely choose qua atomized individual. But all you’ve done is state that you object. That’s OK, but the objection is empty: government is manifestly superfluous when people are all literally doing just what they want to do qua atomized individual independent of all guidance and authority. Politics is intrinsically the art of exercising authority to get people to do this thing rather than that. You can stop up your ears, but that won’t make it untrue.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    No human-led government “works out pretty well”. They are all formed by idealists and immediately start sliding into corruption and incompetence.

    So, since all governments are human-led, are you in despair then?

    Considering most of the men who occupied it, what could possibly have lead you to this conclusion?

    I’m talking about the mechanical procedure independent of the men who used it. It’s like a native American in the year 1800 scavenging a battlefield for a white man’s gun. “I don’t like how this tool was used in the past, but it would be useful in the right hands.”

    Imagine a triumvirate that – rather than Caesar, Crassus, and Pompeii – was made up of men who followed traditions in the vein of the Holy Roman Empire. Men who were crowned (or whatever analogous instatement procedure) by the pope and began their terms by bending their knees to him. Men who prayed before making major decisions. God-fearing men.

    I think it would play out well, because – for example – a Henry IV could not get away with the crap he tried to pull if he answered to two other leaders who were on equal footing with him.

    If a tyrant cycles into a triumvirate, he won’t be able to do nearly as much damage as he would if he had cycled into a monarchy. The idea of checks and balances on power is a good one; it’s unfortunate that it’s been used to further the freedom regime.

  • Mike T says:

    I think it would play out well, because – for example – a Henry IV could not get away with the crap he tried to pull if he answered to two other leaders who were on equal footing with him.

    The more likely scenario is that you’d actually end up with English versions of Crassus, Caesar and Pompeii. It’s very rare that virtuous men reach that level of power. The reason we reverse only some past leaders is precisely because most high office holders are typically scoundrels, not statesmen. The Roman Senate and consular offices worked far better and longer than the triumvirate precisely because it was more diverse and decentralized and depended on the middle and upper classes for support.

  • Silly Interloper says:

    There is no form of government anywhere or ever that is immune to the rise of scoundrels.

  • Zippy says:

    Moldbug’s declaration of himself as a formalist gets right to the heart of the shallowness of his whole approach. The first principle of a gunfight is to bring a gun.

  • Mark Citadel says:

    Silly Interloper – true, however I think you can model systems that might be more resistant to the rise of a scoundrel, or in certain instances prevent a scoundrel leader from destroying the state at large with either is incompetence or corruption.

    It may be beneficial to have a system in which the executive designates his non-familial successor after long deliberation. If the original leader is party to the collective zealotry of the state ideology, his successors will be appointed by him based on their ability to continue his legacy, and therefore their own commitment to the ideology.

    You still carry the risks of mid-life personality overhauls and of course poor decision-making, but honestly democracy has failed to stop scoundrels getting into office in such a laughable way, few systems could be worse on that ground.

  • Mike T says:

    You still carry the risks of mid-life personality overhauls and of course poor decision-making, but honestly democracy has failed to stop scoundrels getting into office in such a laughable way, few systems could be worse on that ground.

    Democracy would have become passe a long time ago if non-democrats were willing to adopt a conservative stance on basic limitations on state power such as that modeled in the Bill of Rights. Aside from various abuses arising from the first amendment, there is really no reason why a self-described authoritarian should oppose any aspect of it. The things it prohibits to the federal government just aren’t things the government should be doing anyway.

  • CJ says:

    Mike T – The 2nd amendment would definitely be more controversial with authoritarians than you think. The specifics of double jeopardy, bail, and cruel and unusual punishment would also be an issue for any authoritarian. Heck, even the 3rd (even though its basically forgotten) would’ve been a problem for a king fielding an army at the time.

  • Zippy says:

    What is written on a generations-old piece of paper cannot stop men with badges, guns, and a sense of self-righteousness; and liberalism run amok cannot be opposed by a nice tame liberalism.

  • Mike T says:

    What is written on a generations-old piece of paper cannot stop men with badges, guns, and a sense of self-righteousness

    No, but the principles, broadly accepted, can create less room for them to operate. Specifically, the right to keep and bear arms and even shoot dead said men with badges, guns and a sense of self-righteousness when they engage in tyranny or threaten it. One of the few innovations of “sociopathic liberalism” that I will never give up is the principle that you have a moral right to kill the king’s men when they come at you armed and with tyranny on their minds. Such men deserve to have their blood shed freely and frequently.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    And that is exactly why you’ve gotten the government you deserve.

  • Mike T says:

    * that is not to say one should respond to the more banal forms of tyranny that way. A sense of proportionality is obviously required. However, it is a necessary check on all authority that its more severe forms of abuse could be at least theoretically answered by a credible, forceful self-defense by the victim.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    There is always the possibility of armed resistance. What you are asking for is for the king to sanction armed resistance to himself when he believes he is in the right. This is incoherent, and has resulted in the government that rational incoherence begets.

  • Mike T says:

    And that is exactly why you’ve gotten the government you deserve.

    Interesting, because it’s precisely as the US has retreated from that notion that police have gotten more abusive, not less. It is as though the prospect of felonious criminality by police being swiftly dealt with in the moment in self-defense had a deterrent effect or something.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    Again, what you consistently fail to see is the long term implications of your own principles.

  • Mike T says:

    There is always the possibility of armed resistance. What you are asking for is for the king to sanction armed resistance to himself when he believes he is in the right. This is incoherent,

    It would be incoherent if my claim was a right of insurrection against the king himself rather than a moral and legal right to meet criminal conduct by his men with forceful self-defense, up to deadly force if the situation demanded it.

  • Zippy says:

    And so it goes. For anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear, this is exactly how modern people have gotten the governance they want and deserve.

  • Mike T says:

    And so it goes. For anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear, this is exactly how modern people have gotten the governance they want and deserve.

    So in other words, when officer friendly goes ballistic and starts beating someone nearly to death we must not respond by treating him as a common street criminal. Because badges and authority.

  • Zippy says:

    One of the other things that this sort of blindness produces is a constant barrage of straw men, spewed forth from the fountain of self-righteous incomprehension.

  • Mike T says:

    If you think my example is a straw man, then you must actively avoid the media reports of abuses of authority by law enforcement. While certainly not the norm, to call them straw men reveals an intentional blindness on your part. One thing liberal and openly authoritarian leaders both share is a tendency to look the other way when their men engage in wickedness. For all of the rhetoric about pious men this and that, the fact is most authorities share a distaste for actually upholding the law against their minions.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    Pointing out things happening in a liberal society is a straw man, yes.

  • Mike T says:

    Heh. How did you come to that conclusion? Because liberalism is so divorced from reality that anything arising from it must necessarily be regarded as fictitious?

  • Zippy says:

    The consequences of liberalism are real, but they do not constitute an argument in its favor.

  • Mike T says:

    So you think it’s inherently liberal to demand that if the king’s men, who are not in fact the king, do things which are objectively gravely sinful that we must not demand the king acquiesce to them being regarded by all decent men in the same was as garden variety criminals?

  • Mike T says:

    Ironically, most liberals I know support excluding police from that treatment as well. My argument is not in defense of an alleged right of insurrection. It really isn’t. It boils down to this:

    1. Most decent men have a common and realistic understanding of what is both situationally and objectively unacceptable conduct. This is generally quite true of things which can be considered heinous or depraved conduct.
    2. Anyone, regardless of authority, who engages in heinous misconduct of a violent and/or sexual nature cannot be shielded from accountability by a claim of authority. Even the king cannot be.
    3. If #2 applies to a police officer (or “one of the king’s men”) then reasonable and decent men can support him facing the consequences of his violent/sexually depraved actions as immediately as though he were an ordinary criminal.
    4. In an otherwise functional government, the courts are competent to adjudicate the decision making of #1-#3 against the law of the land and natural law to conclude whether the resistance to the officer was justified on moral or legal grounds. If they are not, an otherwise functional government will carry out its just powers to enforce the law and public peace against the offending parties.
    5. This is not an argument in defense of vigilantism, but rather how decent men can regard the offender in the moment.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    One thing you should know by now is that when you start typing the words “So you think…”, what you are expressing has little if anything to do with what I think and everything to do with the intellectual box in which you’ve locked yourself.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Let me just put it this way.

    Men with your reflexive attitude toward authority are ungovernable, and deserve every bit of tyranny that they invite. The only way to “fix” the problem is either for the ungovernable to repent unequivocally and prostrate before the king, or for them to be walled up in their own hellholes where they cannot be a constant plague on civilized men.

  • Mike T says:

    Men with your reflexive attitude toward authority are ungovernable, and deserve every bit of tyranny that they invite.

    Which is to say that based on your opinion of my views, derived from a small sample of things I’ve said, you conclude that I deserve to be subjected to evil. Bravo, Zippy, wishing evil on someone.

    All the snark aside, if “right authoritarianism” ultimately means that if the king’s men choose to engage in unnecessary violence that the citizenry must kowtow before them until they can meekly request an authority to intercede, I want nothing of that.

  • Mike T says:

    * again, mainly for liberal readers, none of this should be taken as an advocacy of violence against any actual person but rather as an expression of a point of view that those who are under authority are entitled to self-defense against unjust violence by authorities and that those in authority are not the sole arbiter of when self-defense is morally justified. All self-defense must be proportional and limited to the level that can achieve the appropriate end.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    I’ve known you as a commenter for a number of years here and at W4. Your anti-authoritarian monomania is not a healthy attitude toward authority, and brings about the very things you profess to despise.

  • Mike T says:

    Fair enough on the # of years, but you should take pause in assuming that much of that is relevant since I’ve told you that my views have rather evolved along the way. Most notably when I told you that I came to agree with you about the morality of using nuclear weapons on Japan. Suffice it to say that my anti-authoritarianism has tempered immensely and has since been replaced more with a complete lack of tolerance for when authorities behave in a patently uncivilized manner.

    You should take me at my word when I tell you that I am in fact not a libertarian. I reject a rather large swath of libertarian positions and have even come to question my previous stances on drug legalization (where now my concern is chiefly on the incredibly immorality of most war on drug law enforcement tactics). Suffice it to say that on most things, Lydia is probably more of a libertarian than I am now.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ Mike T:

    I believe that the only point here is that a just case of self-defense is very different from some blanket right to resist authority.

    When the Nazis come to execute the Jews you’re sheltering, your moral duty to shoot them comes from self-defense doctrine, not from the fact that they’re abusing their position of authority.

  • CJ says:

    Zippy – I’m pretty sure I’ve read that you believe there can arise a right or even a duty to rebel. So with that in mind I don’t understand why you’re so hostile to Mike T’s position.

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:

    So with that in mind I don’t understand why you’re so hostile to Mike T’s position.

    I am hostile to his attitude and rhetoric for (e.g.) the same reason I am hostile to the attitude and rhetoric of someone who, every single bloody time the subject of divorce comes up, must go on and on about how in some cases legal divorce is justifiable as a kind of self-defense, who must pepper every discussion about divorce with edge case examples of morally justifiable legal separation of assets (divorce), etc. etc.

    I am against Cardinal Kasper’s approach to marriage for much the same reason, and I’ve explained why in depth. He may be formally correct when you get down to technicalities, but his whole attitude and approach is wrongheaded.

  • Mike T says:

    When the Nazis come to execute the Jews you’re sheltering, your moral duty to shoot them comes from self-defense doctrine, not from the fact that they’re abusing their position of authority.

    Agreed, and that’s not the point I’ve been trying to make. Just as Zippy has his opinion about my attitude, my opinion about the attitude of most “right authoritarians” posting here is that they tend to be skeptical about a claim to fight back against authority in the name of self-defense. The position seems to subtly imply at different points that you ought to yield unless it is absolutely immoral to do so (ex the “king’s man” is trying to maliciously maim or murder you). My position is that he may wear the king’s livery, but at the end of the day if he chooses to behave like a thug the people are entitled to treat him like one. Civilization demands that thugs and other flavors of barbarian be given no quarter when they act according to their nature.

  • Mike T says:

    And no, my definition of self-defense does not include “officer friendly hit you with a truncheon because you refused a lawful order to move along.” It’s by the reasonable standard that if a man without a badge were using that level of force, could it be justified to a judge? If not, then the authority is meaningless. He’s a criminal and ought to be treated accordingly.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    The position seems to subtly imply at different points that you ought to yield unless it is absolutely immoral to do so …

    The just war criteria are pretty strict, and you seem pretty keen on interpreting them as loosely as possible. Thus the monomania.

  • Mike T says:

    you seem pretty keen on interpreting them as loosely as possible

    I don’t know how you can say that when I made clear the criteria for when I think it is justified (a semi-rare event). But that said, I don’t think a man can be expected to take a beating or risk his life on Just War Theory. Especially if the authorities are coming after him to get to his family.

  • Mark Citadel says:

    If I may interject on Mark T’s argument and his earlier posting.

    With regards to the US Constitution, and ‘principles broadly accepted’ your point is well taken, however Zippy is somewhat correct in saying we definitely cannot apply scenarios that we see in our liberal society to a future reactionary society. They are two totally different worlds.

    On the society that I postulate,many of the constitutional protections would be necessarily voided (though some principles would remain). For instance, a lot of the court-related stuff would have to go through alteration, as secular courts would be abolished, and judicial authority handed back to ecclesiastic structures which operate somewhat differently.

    Freedom of speech and religion would be limited far more than they are in modern America. In fact, the state religion would be mandatory, though it would not be controlled by the federal government, rather controlled by the ecclesiastic authority. The ‘opt-out’ for such restrictions is quite simply exile, or the leaving of the society, which citizens would be totally free to do as they wished. With regard to speech, blasphemy, pornography, and certain other things would carry penalties.

    Interestingly, I actually agree with you on the 2nd Amendment, but not necessarily for the reasons of ‘resisting authority’ in the conventional sense. As Zippy notes, in a reactionary society (unlike a liberal society), the authorities are legitimate, their powers are necessarily restrained by their own nature and the natures of whatever offices they hold, as well as the general dispersement of power across society, and the culture itself. I support each individual owning a firearm and perhaps even being mandated to do so on a very practical level. They are to be able to defend themselves against all forms of banditry and criminal attacks in which the authorities are prevented from responding due to the circumstance. It is also highly beneficial for the purpose of repelling outside threats if each citizen knows how to protect himself and will fight and die for his country and his sovereign executive.

    I understand the conflict that arises from these political musings and ponderings since our views are so often clouded by the toxic world in which we live. We imagine leaders in a reactionary society suffering from the same deficits of our treacherous politicians of the modern world. While I do not deny that all men are fallen and corruptible, the chances of this having a truly tyrannical impact are greatly diminished depending on the political system and more importantly, the popular conscience and culture.

    I’m sure we’ll have more room to flesh out issues in the coming months.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    The ratio between the number of times that you have emphasized situations where shooting at the police would be licit vs the number of times you have emphasized the importance of bending the knee to authority asymptotically approaches infinity. You may be doctrinally illiberal, when pushed hard on the subject. But your rhetoric is, consistently, pastorally liberal.

  • Mike T says:

    You may be doctrinally illiberal, when pushed hard on the subject. But your rhetoric is, consistently, pastorally liberal.

    Indeed it is. I tend to rhetorically camouflage my beliefs because I live in one of the most left-wing regions on the East Coast. As a matter of habit, I don’t break from that too much because I can’t afford to have people know where I really stand as many of my real beliefs are shockingly illiberal to them.

    Regarding your point about me and authority, sometimes it’s what you don’t say that matters. You know my views on family law courts, but have I ever advocated even civil disobedience to them? Have I advocated resistance to taxation? You know my position on property tax and I still think people should pay it. You’d be hard-pressed to find me taking a stance of firmly standing against state actors outside of this or blatantly unconstitutional action (ie morally treasonous conduct in most cases).

    One thing you should know by now is that I have always been illiberal toward people who act like violent thugs. My view toward violent police syncs rather well with my stated view of rioters and looters: they are barbarians and barbarians who act out their violent urges behind the city’s gate should be put down like rabid dogs.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    Well, first of all, I don’t speak for “authoritarian rightists”. I have my own views and those are what I write about. Someone might credibly propose – and indeed I have proposed, whether credibly or not is up to others to decide – that much of what passes for ‘alt right’ is just the Nazi permutation of modernity: freedom (triumph of the will) with explicit inequality between the superman and the low man.

    You tend to frame multiple prudential questions as though they were single questions of principle. Your questions aren’t even wrong, because the metaphysic underneath them doesn’t frame things correctly.

    I’ve said before that once the gun of formal authority has been unholstered, leadership has already lost and is just trying to mitigate damage. Intense surveillance is a symptom of “formalist” society. It might be warranted if a good sovereign were beset by a wicked conspiratorial people though.

    In general your whole perspective is wrongheaded in my view, because you are thinking of authority as something that is engineered, with design limits, etc. A designed distributed system isn’t subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is organic. You are trying to dissect a horse and are asking questions like “wouldn’t it be better if horses had wheels?” It is an old problem, as some commenters have pointed out going back to the book of Judges.

    Subsidiarity is organic, so the right kind of political questions take the form “if I were in the role of Bob, in Bob’s particular circumstances, what should I do”.

    Obviously a good sovereign would not disarm or do deep surveillance on a functional, good people. He wouldn’t perceive any need, and doing so treats the people like errant children.

    But right now we have neither a good sovereign nor a good people. And since civilizations are organic not designed, questions about how we should design a civilization miss the point.

    The only pertinent political question, then, is what should we do (in all the different role permutations implied by “we”). And the consistent answer for everyone in every role is “repent unequivocally from liberalism, including right-liberal versions which emphasize ‘freedom'”.

    Beyond that, my criticism of your ‘pastoral’ approach – and we aren’t talking IRL here, I am talking about your online rhetoric – stands. You are like the priests and counselors who, every time divorce comes up, go on and on about how sometimes legal separation of assets is OK, and sometimes marriages are invalid, and reluctantly stipulate that every once in a great while a woman might actually make an evil choice, though probably because she was abused by her father. It may be technically true in its brass tacks doctrine – that’s how weaponized nihilism works – but in the end, we all know whose side they are on, and who they are ‘helping’ with their rhetoric.

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  • […] not just wrong. It is not merely a mistake which places a lower good in too high of a place in a hierarchy of goods. It is quite literally rationally incoherent, and thus destroys politics. It invalidates […]

  • […] live is all beige and gray. A few of the folks who felt especially strongly about other colors are in prison, or are at least unemployable and ostracized. They don’t really grasp what happened, […]

  • […] live is all beige and gray. A few of the folks who felt especially strongly about other colors are in prison, or are at least unemployable and ostracized. They don’t really grasp what happened, because […]

  • […] may rest easy though: tyranny is a perfectly meaningful concept, and freedom is a perfectly meaningful concept.  In fact if freedom were not a meaningful concept at all then it would not be possible for […]

  • […] Freedom as an objective state can be understood as having real options: as having available choices not yet made. (Subjectively, freedom can be understood as a particular subject having available choices which correspond with what the subject wants to choose). […]

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