Sending the offensive alt-right to the principles office

November 1, 2016 § 209 Comments

Liberalism survives and thrives over many generations of men by asserting unprincipled exceptions to deal with its own excesses.  In a world where Marxist professors are being pilloried for their cisgender whiteness and right wing wrongthought, this gives rise to movements like (what the Current Year labels) the alt right.

The alt-right is a noisy (on the Internet) anti-establishment and – typical of anti-establishment liberalism – deliberately offensive minority part of the new conservative synthesis, which we might call Trumpism.  Rather than seeing the 1950’s as America’s cultural high water mark, Trumpism sees the 1990’s as America’s cultural high water mark.

Some parts of the alt-right explicitly repudiate equality, so it is fair to ask why this repudiation does not in fact constitute a principled exception to liberalism.  The answer is twofold.

First, the equality at the foundations of liberalism is equality of rights among the superman. Failure to specify that what is explicitly and unequivocally repudiated is liberalism’s assertion of equal rights allows the principle itself to sneak in by the back door, as a principle which still obtains among the superman.

Second, equality is not the most fundamental commitment of liberalism.  Equal rights inevitably follow from liberalism’s fundamental commitment to political liberty, and when denied by right-liberals simply reassert themselves under other guises.

The most fundamental commitment of liberalism as a political philosophy is right there in its name: liberty.  As long as the alt-right is going on about free speech and freedom of religion and the like it is simply policing liberalism’s worst excesses: preserving liberalism’s unquestioned rule for future generations.

It is fair though, given the ubiquity and existential necessity (to liberalism) of unprincipled exceptions, to ask what principled opposition to liberalism would look like.  Obviously we can tell all sorts of fictional stories that might or might not resemble the unfolding of history if certain things are or are not done; but that kind of storytelling is not what I mean.  Those kinds of things are always in the hands of Providence, and the idea that we can choose how history unfolds in some pilot-the-machine way is wrongheaded as an idea.

What I mean is simply characterization of principled opposition to liberalism, not a surround sound IMAX movie plot of the future.

Principled opposition to liberalism would repudiate political freedom unequivocally, without making excuses and without trying to sneak it in by some back door rationalization.

It would be willing to call sodomy a punishable crime, and would not promote flaming homosexuals (however talented and amusing) as thought leaders and rhetorical champions.  As with all punishable crimes, there is plenty of room for argument over the appropriate range of specific actions balancing mercy and justice: but as a matter of category, sodomy would be a punishable crime.

It would be willing to admit that offensive speech can be a punishable crime.

It would be willing to call public religious heresy a punishable crime, and would acknowledge Catholic Christianity to be the true religion.

Examples can be multiplied.  But we can certainly know a principled exception when we see it.  And the exceptions we see on the alt-right specifically, and in the new Trumpist conservative synthesis more generally, are not principled.

§ 209 Responses to Sending the offensive alt-right to the principles office

  • Tom says:

    Wouldn’t principled exceptions to liberalism be, in the end, denials of liberalism itself? So, for example, if you hold that abortion is a punishable crime, you cannot at the same time be a liberal? Whereas unprincipled exceptions are just attempts to avoid the ugly side of the coin.

  • I love the four paragraphs parading in front of the last one but I was surprised not to read abortion mentioned.

    So, when do you file papers?

  • O, I like the subtle jab at Milo 🙂

  • Zippy says:

    Tom:
    Coherent principle will reduce the range of acceptable policies, but principle is not itself reducible to policy. So we can’t say that anti-abortion = anti-liberal: it depends on why. Opposing abortion because it violates the equal right to life of the unborn child for example is an unprincipled exception. You can tell that it is unprincipled by the fact that it leaves liberalism itself unquestioned.

    So I would answer yes to your first question, no to your second, and I agree with your ending statement.

  • Johannes says:

    Hmm,

    Jim Kalb calls liberalism “the equal satisfaction of desire.” That’s bad. But that is not the same thing as “political liberalism.” The magna carta was a type of “political liberalism” in that it sought liberties and immunities in a political order. I don’t see how you can avoid that effort for liberality any more than you can avoid the conservation of veritable order. To anathematize the liberty-interest is, ironically, to claim for “political liberalism” some sort of essence, which, of course it can never have, any more than “political conservatism” can have an essence. Because man is in HIS essence free (see the Catechism), some sort of liberty or liberties will have to be sought in the political realm, at least from time to time. I know some Catholics, in a kind of nostalgia, like to ignore the ossification of the old monarchies, but that kind of petrifaction is always possible in the real world of power and sin. A healthy fear of that will always bring an interest in liberty to the fore. Or so it seems to me.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    Opposing abortion because it violates the equal right to life of the unborn child for example is an unprincipled exception. You can tell that it is unprincipled by the fact that it leaves liberalism itself unquestioned.

    By an unprincipled exception of liberalism, do you mean that the exception is not derived from the principle of liberty itself? In the example of abortion, are you saying that there is not a way to reason from liberty to arrive at the conclusion that we should punish mothers who use their liberty to abort because the derivatives of liberty is freedom of choice under which abortion is one possibility?

  • Zippy says:

    Johannes:
    We’ve covered this pretty extensively.

    To the extent “political liberty” means that every human authority has limits it is obvious, uninteresting, and resolves nothing: it is liberalism’s motte. To the extent it means more than that (liberalism’s bailey) it is rationally incoherent, and so (as explained elsewhere) reduces in context to the triumph of the will — with all that that further implies, to wit, equal rights among the superman, oppressed-superman vs subhuman oppressor, etc.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Johannes

    Well said. On the petrifaction (great word!) of monarchies: I remarked to a friend this past weekend that kings don’t bother me. It’s aristocrats I refuse to accept. He replied, I think rightly, that the latter come with the former. Ozymandias may die, but the aristocrats won’t.

    Some people may retort that “aristocrats happen”, but there is a profound difference between unofficial aristocrats, and the legal sort. Bill Gates’ kids probably won’t oppress my future choices in operating systems.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane Caldo:

    An unprincipled exception to liberalism is any assertion of discriminating authority which does not challenge liberalism itself. It is an “exception” to liberalism’s invalidation of discrimination and authority; it is “unprincipled” precisely because it authoritatively discriminates in a manner which avoids challenging liberalism itself, despite the assertion of discriminating authority.

  • Zippy says:

    I’ll just note that “I prefer liberalism to kings and aristocracies” fails to address any of the arguments against liberalism. Your feelings are noted though.

  • Wood says:

    Johannes,

    I do not think free will and freedom invariably collapse into “liberty-interest.” That man has free will does not provide man warrant for liberty – regardless his interests – from time to time from the authority of Christ. Similarly, repudiating a specific political doctrine of politics-as-liberty does not entail a repudiation of freedom more generally.

  • Tom says:

    I think I’m starting to see – liberalism is the unnatural law so any exception to liberalism that is based in the natural law will end up in repudiation of liberalism as a whole.

    Or put another way, if you try to graft liberalism to the natural law, one must die; either it becomes unnatural law, or it becomes subsidiarity.

  • itascriptaest says:

    It would be willing to call sodomy a punishable crime, and would not promote flaming homosexuals (however talented and amusing) as thought leaders and rhetorical champions.

    It looks like John C. Wright is willing to doff his cap to Milo –

    http://www.scifiwright.com/2016/11/why-i-am-a-milodolator/

  • Cane Caldo says:

    I’ll just note that “I prefer liberalism to kings and aristocracies” fails to address any of the arguments against liberalism. Your feelings are noted though.

    In Ozymandias vs. Beelzebub you wrote that the fact that kings die but ideologies don’t is an argument against the ideology of liberalism. What I actually wrote (in context) does address an argument against liberalism. Specifically, it addresses your argument against liberalism in Ozymandias vs. Beelzebub, which in this post you linked as “preserving liberalism’s unquestioned rule”.

    I hope that was clearer for you, but I suspect your impulse to note–and to state that you note–has more to do with your feelings than a lack of comprehension.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane Caldo:

    In OvB I observed that men have natural mortality and ideologies do not. No idea why you would think anything stated by any commenter calls that into question.

    Your latest comment at least makes the source of your confusion more clear, I think, though I still have to extrapolate to get at it. You don’t like aristocracies (noted) and you assume that we don’t have an aristocracy right now under liberalism.

    If you aren’t assuming that we have no aristocracy under liberalism then observations about aristocracies per se would have no relevance to distinguishing liberal polities from illiberal ones.

    But every polity of sufficient size (even rather small ones) has an aristocracy / ruling class.

    True, liberalism guarantees that the ruling class will be sociopathic and will even pretend not to exist qua ruling class. But that reinforces the criticism of liberalism, it doesn’t undermine it.

  • Tom says:

    If nothing else, this election has shown we have an aristocracy in the United States. It’s quasi-hereditary, and is filled with sociopaths, but it’s definitely there (just see all the connections in the emails leaked, and the fact that Bush-Clinton was considered to be the options when this whole show began).

    Even the “outsiders” are in the aristocracy.

  • Johannes says:

    Zippy, you wrote,

    “To the extent “political liberty” means that every human authority has limits it is obvious, uninteresting, and resolves nothing: it is liberalism’s motte.”

    Well, I think it’s interesting. Politics is a real thing, albeit contingent and historical. And I don’t think you can leapfrog history, even if you are interested in transcendentals and absolutes. You must live in time–as you have repeatedly said about the parameters of a career in business. All the fuss in the world of politics is, after all, a human duty and an opportunity. It belongs to the humble lot of man to live contingently–never in the kingdom before its time. Nevertheless, he may realize himself in the time-bound and contingent. Even so Christ, in his human nature!

  • Zippy says:

    Johannes:

    Well, I think [the fact that human authority has limits] is interesting.

    I can’t say how other people feel about it, of course, but it resolves nothing. We all agree that human authority has limits. All Catholic monarchies in the past were predicated on (among other things) the fact that all human authority has limits.

    If that is all there is to say about ‘political liberty’ then we’ve had the discussion and there is no need to raise the subject again. In fact continuing to use the term ‘political liberty’ becomes a source of confusion and equivocation, so it is positively wrong to continue using it.

    Politics is a real thing, albeit contingent and historical. And I don’t think you can leapfrog history, even if you are interested in transcendentals and absolutes. You must live in time–as you have repeatedly said about the parameters of a career in business. All the fuss in the world of politics is, after all, a human duty and an opportunity. It belongs to the humble lot of man to live contingently–never in the kingdom before its time. Nevertheless, he may realize himself in the time-bound and contingent. Even so Christ, in his human nature!

    If you are under the impression that your musings here are even on topic at all, you’ve probably got more explanatory work to do.

  • Tom says:

    I have a feeling many people argue circularly – what we have now is better than the kings of the past, what we have now is nearly a complete totalitarianism, ergo kings of the past must have been totalitarian absolute dictators.

    It is worthwhile to step back and consider what kind of war could last 100 years – certainly none of our modern World Wars could have.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy

    If you aren’t assuming that we have no aristocracy under liberalism then observations about aristocracies per se would have no relevance to distinguishing liberal polities from illiberal ones.

    That is the “aristocracy happens” that I mentioned above. Sure, there are aristocrats in liberal societies, but there is a qualitative difference between the de jure aristocrats of a monarchy and the de facto ones in a liberal democracy. Specifically, the latter die, and it is difficult for them to pass on the aristocracy to their would-be heirs because the law and the powers of the law (kings, police, etc.) do not enforce it.

    Perhaps it would be better if I went back and said that comparing a king to an ideology is a false comparison because a king is but one portion of the aristocratic ideology. That’s the comparison, and aristocracies are as “demonically” long-lived as democracies.

    To get back to the OP: This brings into question whether it is a bad thing that liberal societies are preserved by various factions and forces who police liberalism’s worst excesses. Who in their right mind doesn’t want the worst excesses of any ideology to be policed? It would be stupid to not. And who wants every infraction, no matter how minor, to be policed?

    If we used Kalb’s definition of liberalism as quoted by Johannes I would agree with you. It’s by accepting yours that I find disagreement, and why I’m trying to understand what you mean by unprincipled exceptions, principled opposition, and challenging liberalism. Those are all common words I understand, but you use them in an uncommon way.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane Caldo:

    To be fair, this is clearly the point of disagreement, and you were clear about it upthread. You wrote:

    It’s aristocrats I refuse to accept. … Some people may retort that “aristocrats happen”, but there is a profound difference between unofficial aristocrats, and the legal sort.

    Sure there is a difference. Under liberalism the aristocracy still exists and operates as an aristocracy, but it is necessarily sociopathic.

    Formally acknowledged aristocrats may be and often are sociopaths, but under liberalism all actual aristocrats are necessarily sociopaths.

  • Hrodgar says:

    Johannes:

    The Magna Carta required the holders of particular offices in a particular place to guarantee certain rights to particular parties. How is that political liberalism? Saying certain persons should, for the common good, peace of the land, glory of God, or any other reason, have particular liberties under a certain set of circumstances is a far cry from saying liberty in and of itself should be an end of government.

    Also, are you under the impression that our current government is NOT ossified? That it has in the past happened to some monarchies is unremarkable.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane Caldo:

    We cross posted.

    Who in their right mind doesn’t want the worst excesses of any ideology to be policed?

    This really ought to be obvious. Suppose you are part of a tribe of cannibal Satan worshippers. Some of the tribe is moderate, and doesn’t want to cannibalize the tribe of Big Whitey because the Big Whitey tribe will destroy them. The other part of the tribe is hungry and thinks Big Whitey is delicious. Go moderates!

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Tom

    If nothing else, this election has shown we have an aristocracy in the United States. It’s quasi-hereditary, and is filled with sociopaths, but it’s definitely there

    If you can’t see the difference of Bob Smith successfully peddling real estate like his father did; from Lord Twaddlepants forcing you to be a farmer, telling you specifically what to plant this year, and marching you off to war against His Highness the Cankerbutt so he can have a bigger yard on another continent: Then you need to get your eyes checked.

  • Hrodgar says:

    Because, of course, our own nation never gets involved in unjust wars, and an aristocracy is always composed exclusively of petty micromanagers.

    You should at least give the real estate huckster a stupid name, too. It would only be fair. Gotta have a level playing field and all that.

  • Zippy says:

    Right: no injustices ever happen under liberalism, especially not mass slaughter of the innocent in unjust wars and under clinic lights.

    But the real problem that liberalism has solved is that it has gotten rid of all of the petty micromanagement of everyone’s lives by bureaucrats.

    So non serviam!

  • Hrodgar says:

    Not to mention that no Christian monarch or aristocracy ever allowed, much less funded, mass murder on anything like the scale that our own has, even allowing for the increase in population. If it’s a choice between mass market abortion and a series of venal wars with minimal collateral damage, I’m pretty sure the first one is worse.

  • Zippy says:

    Hrodgar:

    It is worth the sacrifice though because now we all live so free of petty bureaucratic micromanagement.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy

    So then you agree with Mike T on the Santa Muerte threat from Mexico?

    Ha!

    We should want the moderates who don’t want to eat Big Whitey to win. Though, I question your definition of “in their right minds” when you pick cannibal Satanists.

    under liberalism all actual aristocrats are necessarily sociopaths.

    All of them? You don’t think there are any non-sociopathic elites? It’s a serious question. Many RC bishops and Cardinals are in the elite classes of liberal states. Are they sociopaths? Is Billy Graham a sociopath?

  • Zippy says:

    Cane Caldo:

    All of them?

    Yes. Liberalism is a sociopathic understanding of authority, in much the same way that cannibalism is a sociopathic understanding of nutrition. So every person with liberal commitments is necessarily sociopathic to the extent of those commitments. This is particularly the case with those who exercise authority, and the sociopathy scales with the extent that they do so.

  • Hrodgar says:

    There’s another problem here that just occurred to me. It seems to be assumed that an open aristocracy in unalterable, but we forget they also could also be fairly fluid. The Mistake of the Machine, a Father Brown story (available on Gutenberg in The Wisdom of Father Brown), is based on that very forgetfulness.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Hrodgar

    Because, of course, our own nation never gets involved in unjust wars, and an aristocracy is always composed exclusively of petty micromanagers.

    Because there’s no difference in someone dictating your life and work down to the crops you plant, from having to pay taxes and register for permits. Right.

    Unjust wars are unjust, and in a liberal society sometimes I might have to fight in those just as in an aristocracy. The balance still favors liberal societies.

    @Zippy (&Hrodgar)

    But the real problem that liberalism has solved is that it has gotten rid of all of the petty micromanagement of everyone’s lives by bureaucrats.

    Again I am misrepresented. There is petty micromanagement in a liberal society, sure. And that’s the same as dictating your career for your whole life before the unjust wars come along. Right.

  • Zippy says:

    Yeah. Because in modern America anyone can grow up to be President, and nothing is predetermined by birth.

    I am perfectly willing to let the bureaucratic micromanagement of everyday life in premodern times stand in objective comparison to the bureaucratic micromanagement of modern life, without further argument.

    Of course even if modernity won that contest, which I think it pretty obviously doesn’t, that wouldn’t make it worth the sacrifices to Moloch, etc.

  • Cane,

    The balance still favors liberal societies.

    That’s an awfully strong statement. Why do you say that?

  • Tom says:

    Because being told to plant wheat is the worst evil possible, as authority must be denied, non serviam, and if being free to not plant wheat requires the blood of hundreds of millions of innocents, then so be it.

  • Hrodgar says:

    I’m not so sure the whole restricting career choice is necessarily a bad thing anyway. Even these days, Mike Rowe’s got a video floating around on the interwebs about how chasing your dream is a mistake; says it’s better to become passionate about what you do than to pursue your passion, which rhymes pretty well with the whole passions < will < intellect thing.

    And when you consider that those restrictions came with benefits (peasants had to stay on the land, but couldn't get kicked off the land either), are frequently exaggerated (if you had enough kids to maintain the farm, extras could generally learn trades or become monks or men-at-arms or merchants or whatever), and were at least to a degree necessary just to keep folks from starving (took a much higher proportion of the population to grow enough food), then I have some trouble seeing what was so terrible about most folks having to be farmers.

  • Aristokles Contra Mundum says:

    My favorite part about Cane’s argument is his ignorance of the fact that the US government has in fact regulated what crops could be planted in the past.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    “would acknowledge Catholic Christianity to be the true religion.”
    This is confusing politics with theology, to detriment of both,.
    So, any non-Catholic society is necessarily liberal? Even shariah-compliant Islamic state? No equality or liberty there though.
    “call sodomy a punishable crime”
    meaning it would necessarily punish it or would not rule out punishing it?

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Liberalism, to my mind, denies either
    i) Moral authority of the community– that is the right-liberal libertarian wing
    but progressives do not deny it. The progressives emphaize communal authority as much as any reactionary.
    ii) Particularity of the community–this is what progressives deny. They are always seeking to build a world state and that’s why they are wont to encourage immigration and free trade.

  • GJ says:

    itascriptaest:

    It looks like John C. Wright is willing to doff his cap to Milo

    As Zippy has noted, in these days bad boys are loved. And so they Game leaderless men, drawing many in their wake: some swoon, some (like Wright) compose adoring paeans and so forth.

  • GJ says:

    Cane Caldo:

    As I understand it your position is that nonliberal societies are bad because they restrict liberty (such as choice of work).

    It is possible to challenge this on grounds that liberal societies are more restrictive of freedom, but I don’t see why the implicit assumption (the Freedom is Good) should go unchallenged:

    In past nonliberal societies, most had little freedom to choose their job. So what? What makes this bad?

  • MarcusD says:

    @Zippy

    What do you think will be the end results of these (kinds of) policies:

    Sperm banks not needed in Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario
    http://www.torontosun.com/2016/10/31/sperm-banks-not-needed-in-kathleen-wynnes-ontario (http://archive.is/Nd70y)

    Soon it will be legal in Ontario for a man to impregnate a woman while absolving himself from being the father by simply signing a pre-sex waiver.

    ==

    Should drag shows be used as a teaching tool in Alberta schools?
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/should-drag-shows-be-used-as-a-teaching-tool-in-alberta-schools-1.3830417 (http://archive.is/39eXV)

    A new toolkit to assist Alberta teachers with LGBTQ discussions is being slammed by critics for suggesting drag shows could be staged in schools and students be addressed as “comrades” rather than boys and girls.

  • CJ says:

    You can choose to become a doctor, as long as you tell women where to go to have their kids bumped off.

    You can become a family therapist, so long as you don’t tell sodomites to knock it off.

    You can be a baker or photographer…, well you get the idea. And that’s before we get to zoning, Big Gulps, pronouns etc.

    Zippy is right: liberalism exercises discriminatory authority every bit as expansive as those mean ol’ illiberal societies, while making people believe it isn’t doing so.

  • King Richard says:

    Cane Caldo,
    You wrote,
    “I remarked to a friend this past weekend that kings don’t bother me. It’s aristocrats I refuse to accept. … Bill Gates’ kids probably won’t oppress my future choices in operating systems.”
    Showing you understand neither what an aristocrat is nor what they are for.

  • King Richard says:

    vishmehr24.
    You wrote,
    ““would acknowledge Catholic Christianity to be the true religion.”
    This is confusing politics with theology, to detriment of both,.”
    Please defend this statement.

  • donnie says:

    So, any non-Catholic society is necessarily liberal? Even shariah-compliant Islamic state? No equality or liberty there though.

    Seems almost like you’re trying to miss Zippy’s point on purpose.

    The “principle” behind the principled exception is not “repudiate political freedom unequivocally.” The principle is simply that society must be ordered toward the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Necessarily, this involves repudiating political freedom unequivocally.

    Publicly professing any creed other than Catholicism is not wrong because doing so is liberal. It is wrong because creeds other than Catholicism are false.

  • Johannes says:

    Hrodgar,

    Thanks for your comment. Politics is a contingent practice with unintended consequences and all sorts of ironies, with affinities to that thing called “history.” This is why I object to Zippy’s essentializing of “political liberalism.” Sure, if you thought liberty was the sole end of politics, you would really be ideologizing politics. That is, you would cease actual *political* thinking. This something that is going on in our society, not merely or solely a morally-defined pursuit of evil. (Though there is no doubt we are doing that on a broad scale.)

    Political liberty, or political liberties, can be envisioned without an ideology called “political liberalism.” Happens all the time on the local level of politics. (and Like Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local.”) In some contexts, what *could be described* as political liberalism (without the teleology) is just what the doctor ordered. The same could be said about “political conservatism.”

    I think a number of traditionalist Catholics would like politics to be swallowed up into scholasticism, but this cannot happen. Perhaps the cure is to make them all take up some sort of political office. It would complexify their lives quite a lot, but, as a consequence, they wouldn’t have the high-handed insouciance that makes them sniff at that kind of liberty-loving practice that keeps all of us, at least provisionally, from being chewed up and spit out by a city council, a parliament, a congress, a president, a supreme court, or a king. These scholastic politicians would also be on the hook for all the things they *failed to do,* that is, for their lack of courage and vision.

    By the way, I think that any political system can become ossified, corrupt, or totalitarian. It can become weak, chaotic, or ineffectual also. An incredibly able politician, Enoch Powell, once said, “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.” I think we all ought to be very attracted to this vision and envy those who take the risk and responsibility of such a task! They are not burying their talents in the sand.

  • Zippy says:

    Johannes:

    Perhaps the cure is to make them all take up some sort of political office. It would complexify their lives quite a lot, but, as a consequence, they wouldn’t have the high-handed insouciance that makes them sniff at that kind of liberty-loving practice that keeps all of us, at least provisionally, from being chewed up and spit out by a city council, a parliament, a congress, a president, a supreme court, or a king. These scholastic politicians would also be on the hook for all the things they *failed to do,* that is, for their lack of courage and vision.

    Yes, that’s very cute. You represent Real World Practicality, and criticism of liberalism in its essential nature by metaphysical realists (a.k.a. “the sane”) is academic monomania coming from the clouds of philosophical “unreality” (talk about opposite day). If only those who oppose liberalism unequivocally had ever actually accomplished anything in the real world they would know better.

    The ad hominem wouldn’t be nearly as funny if it didn’t so obviously miss the mark.

  • King Richard says:

    Johannes,
    You wrote,
    “Political liberty, or political liberties…”
    I read this phrase as I do when I read ‘business ethics’.
    There is no such thing as ‘business ethics’. There is ethics. Human interactions are governed by the natural law, which is the font of ethics. If those human interactions are of a husband and wife, a mayor and a citizen, a retailer and a potential customer – this is of no matter. Natural law and ethics remains the same whether I am attempting to marry you, get you to support an overpass, or buy a cheeseburger.
    Yes, one can have liberty and be concerned about liberty without being a Liberal. That is not the point. The point is that if you conceive of liberty/equality as the primary or only goal of politics/society you are irrational – which you admit.
    You suggest,
    ” Perhaps the cure is to make them all take up some sort of political office. ”
    Perhaps. I have held a number of political positions, including head of state.
    What political positions have you held? After all, if your contention is that a lack of direct, personal experience is required….
    You opine,
    “…they wouldn’t have the high-handed insouciance that makes them sniff at that kind of liberty-loving practice that keeps all of us, at least provisionally, from being chewed up and spit out by a city council, a parliament, a congress, a president, a supreme court, or a king.”
    I suggest you make a call and arrange a face-to-face meeting with the mayor of the largest metropolitan area closest to where you live and let me know how far in the future this meeting will be. After that, perhaps a meeting with a member of your nation’s Supreme Court? Maybe just a senator?
    Perhaps if you mention how you are a ‘liberty-lover’ you can jump ahead of the real estate developers, CEOs, and political party members that schedule meetings within a week.
    .
    In one of his works Aristotle discusses wisdom in a way that still shocks many people. Aristotle argued that wisdom is a side-effect and, thus, hard to value directly. A life lived virtuously in accord with reality, he argued, leads one to a deeper understanding of reality and virtue. This is a core belief of Catholicism: as you live, and think, and act virtuously you become more conformed to the Will of God (i.e., reality). This conformity has ‘side effects’, one of which is wisdom.
    Another is true Liberty. No, not the freedom to do what you wish but freedom from error and sin.

  • Tom says:

    It is pretty clear that liberalism has lead to us being directly “chewed up and spit out by a city council, a parliament, a congress, a president, a supreme court, or a king” – along with millions of innocent babies, all while claiming that it’s not happening, and that it’s nobody’s fault.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @MtC

    [“The balance still favors liberal societies” is] an awfully strong statement. Why do you say that?

    1. It wasn’t a strong statement. By “the balance” I merely meant the remainder. As in: You may be conscripted to fight unjust wars in either a liberal or illiberal society, but what you choose to do for your living until conscription is up to you in a liberal society.

    2. Again, this is all according to Zippy’s definition of liberalism, but not others’ definition; for example Kalb’s (according to Johannes).

    @Tom

    Because being told to plant wheat is the worst evil possible, as authority must be denied, non serviam, and if being free to not plant wheat requires the blood of hundreds of millions of innocents, then so be it.

    Newsflash: It doesn’t, but people like you try to make the connection anyways.

    Abortionists kill babies because they are paid to do so; not out of commitment to liberalism. That’s just how they rationalize it; otherwise known as “a lie”. Communist societies–who kill loads of untermensch–are aristocratic societies. (And they lie about being liberal, too. The knaves!)

    In war, more people have been killed in the modern era because of two things:

    1) There are a lot more people now; which means more people to kill and more people to be killed. The scale of war has increased with the population.

    2) Increased technology; specifically in the realm of destruction.

    Medieval aristocrats didn’t kill millions because they lacked the targets, the man-power, and the explosives.

    TL;DR version: Your comment is a red herring.

    @Aristokles

    My favorite part about Cane’s argument is his ignorance of the fact that the US government has in fact regulated what crops could be planted in the past.

    Then your favorite part is as wrong as would be an equivocation of US crop regulation–at its worst–with typical feudalism.

    @GJ

    It is possible to challenge this on grounds that liberal societies are more restrictive of freedom

    That’s not always true. Some (most?) past liberal societies were more liberal than liberal societies today. While we are propagandized that now is the most liberal liberty ever known, it is a lie. There’s no need to go through the mental contortions to try to work out how it is that liberalism is anti-liberal. If it’s anti-liberal, then it’s not liberal.

    In past nonliberal societies, most had little freedom to choose their job. So what? What makes this bad?

    That’s a good question, and this is just an initial attempt at an answer.

    Foremost I wouldn’t want that done to me. From there “Do unto others…” kicks in and so I can’t recommend it.

    Secondly, I have seen no grounds upon which to build an aristocracy who should be in charge of making those decisions. Lacking that, there’s no good reason to take part in the shared fiction of a permanent class of aristocracy who should make those decisions. That is unlike the relationship between a father and his children where we do find grounds for patriarchy.

    @King Richard

    You are a dangerously obese man who LARPs as king of a suburban lot in Georgia and usurps the seat of a father for other men’s sons. It would be hard to find a person whose opinion means less to me on the matter.

    Though your existence proves my point.

  • King Richard says:

    Cane,
    I was unaware my build threatened you. Perhaps you meant something else? And there is no LARPing going on, as popular as it is in some quarters of micronationalism. I am also not involved in ‘usurping’ anything.
    Now that those issues are out of the way – your conceptualization of aristocracy and feudalism are at best fuzzy and appear to be based on fable.
    Do you wish to attempt to back up your position, or are you still hoping an ad hominem might distract someone from noticing that your rhetoric is unsupported?

  • Aristokles Contra Mundum says:

    Then your favorite part is as wrong as would be an equivocation of US crop regulation–at its worst–with typical feudalism.

    Oh, so you used the claim that liberal societies don’t regulate life down to the level of what crops you plant as part of your argument even though you knew it was false. That’s much better.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    So far, the pro-aristocracy argument is: “Liberal societies do it too–only it takes longer because the aristocrats have to arise and survive organically–, and it tries to control its worst excesses.”

    I’m underwhelmed.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane Caldo:

    Abortionists kill babies because they are paid to do so; not out of commitment to liberalism. That’s just how they rationalize it; otherwise known as “a lie”.

    Ironically, you are yourself rationalizing here. Are there any bad things whatsoever that you would attribute to genuine commitments to political liberalism, or are people always lying about their own reasons when they commit mass murder and perform other atrocities in the name of political liberty?

  • Zippy says:

    Cane Caldo:

    So far, the pro-aristocracy argument is:

    There is no ‘pro aristocracy’ argument. There is merely the observation that aristocracies are always present in every polity, so the attempt to characterize liberalism as better because it lacks an aristocracy rests on a false picture of reality.

    In that sense a ‘pro aristocracy’ argument is like a ‘pro authority’ argument, I suppose: people can pretend that aristocracies and authority are not always present in human communities; but the pretense just makes the pretenders sociopaths, it doesn’t change reality.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    Can’t it be both? In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov vacillates between his justifications for killing the old woman (proving to the world he is an “extraordinary man” vs. wanting to take her possessions). While they were internally contradictory, they were both true.

  • Zippy says:

    This thread is if nothing else an illustration of some of the typical defenses of liberalism: political liberty just means that authority has limits but we can’t shut up about it even after everyone has agreed that authority has limits; people who criticize liberalism are bad or crazy people who have no real world experience and LARP out of their mothers’ basements while morally preening from ivory towers; when liberals commit terrible atrocities which they explicitly justify by appealing to liberalism they are just rationalizing liars with an inauthentic commitment to political liberty; etc etc.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy

    There is no ‘pro aristocracy’ argument.

    As far as I can tell, and according to you definition of liberalism, there is no other choice. Any illiberal society simply will be aristocratic, officially, if we eschew (your) liberalism.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane Caldo:

    All societies are aristocratic (have aristocracies), just as all societies exercise discriminating authority.

    We have a duty to learn and tell the truth.

    Liberal societies have aristocracies and discriminate authoritatively, but lie about it.

    My understanding of your view is that sure, we have an aristocracy, but we should lie about that so it doesn’t become ‘official’.

  • King Richard says:

    Cane,
    There is a critical error when you write this,
    “Any illiberal society simply will be aristocratic, officially, if we eschew (your) liberalism.”
    Your statement should have read,
    ‘Any society will have aristocrats’.
    Or words to that effect. You allude to this yourself, unknowingly, when you wrote,
    “Communist societies–who kill loads of untermensch–are aristocratic societies. (And they lie about being liberal, too. The knaves!)”
    Although Communists are, yes, Liberal.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy

    Ironically, you are yourself rationalizing here. Are there any bad things whatsoever that you would attribute to genuine commitments to political liberalism, or are people always lying about their own reasons when they commit mass murder and perform other atrocities in the name of political liberty?

    You understand that if we took away the money all but a very few would close up shop. They don’t operate at a loss like a church might, or as one might conduct a war if one believed it necesary. Abortionists don’t believe in abortion like Muslims believe in jihad.

    people who criticize liberalism are bad or crazy people who have no real world experience and LARP out of their mothers’ basements while morally preening

    For my part, I don’t think this of all who criticize liberalism, or even all those who are pro-aristocracy. My criticism of King Richard is specific:

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy

    There is a wide space between telling a lie and encoding into law.

  • King Richard says:

    Cane,
    I do try to avoid ‘recruiting’, as it were. While I appreciate your posting the project of an Edanian citizen, perhaps you could actually write out your criticisms? I would normally ask you to do so privately and directly, but you’ve made it a bit of the discussion here.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy

    My understanding of your view is that sure, we have an aristocracy, but we should lie about that so it doesn’t become ‘official’.

    There is a difference between recognition and organization.

    @King Richard

    Your statement should have read,
    ‘Any society will have aristocrats’.

    No, it should not.

    A monarchy will have anarchists in it. That doesn’t make it an anarchy.

  • Zippy says:

    So liberal societies are — like all societies — ruled by an aristocracy or ruling class.

    But aristocracy is OK in the liberal case and not OK in illiberal societies, because the liberal ruling class is unaccountable and pretends not to be a ruling class. And that pretense and unaccountability makes up for all of the mass slaughter and other atrocities committed in the name of liberalism because the liberals who do those things are insincere liberals (by definition apparently).

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @King Richard

    perhaps you could actually write out your criticisms?

    I’m not interested. The reason I posted the video is because it was a way with limited typing for me to address Zippy’s accusation that my LARPing criticism of you was a general tactic.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane Caldo:

    Johannes posted a similar ad hominem to yours, though not as focused and personal and therefore perhaps mildly more deniable.

    In either case the fact that both of you resorted to it does say something about the discussion, and it doesn’t flatter either the two of you or your arguments.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy

    So liberal societies are — like all societies — ruled by an aristocracy or ruling class.

    Only in the sense that whoever rules is in the class of rulers. You can think of it as: We have aristocrats, but we do not have an Aristocracy, and we certainly don’t have feudalism.

    But aristocracy is OK in the liberal case and not OK in illiberal societies, because the liberal ruling class is unaccountable and pretends not to be a ruling class. And that pretense and unaccountability makes up for all of the mass slaughter and other atrocities committed in the name of liberalism because the liberals who do those things are insincere liberals (by definition apparently).

    Lots of false assumption of my position; which you know because you crafted it that way.

  • Tom says:

    I suppose an argument could be made along the lines of necessary evil – prostitution (like usury) will always exist, and it is better to not officially acknowledge it, but to let it exist unofficially and discourage it.

    So authority/aristocracy is a necessary evil, etc, etc.

    But this is just a complicated way of saying God is evil and non serviam.

  • King Richard says:

    Cane,
    You wrote,
    “I’m not interested”
    You spent the time and energy to look up the video and other things about me, then took the time to (attempt to) insult me, then took the time to post this video and now, suddenly, you ‘aren’t interested’?
    I will take your statement as ‘I am not able’.
    You wrote,
    “…I posted the video is because it was a way with limited typing for me to address Zippy’s accusation that my LARPing criticism of you was a general tactic.”
    The definition of LARPing:
    “A live action role-playing game (LARP) is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically act out their characters’ actions. The players pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world while interacting with each other in character.”
    No one involved in Edan is *allowed* to use pseudonyms. No one in Edan wears costumes. Our goals are in the real world.
    So either you *are* using LARPing as a general shaming tactic or you simply don’t know what it means. Either way, you are mistaken.

    Let me repeat myself from earlier, since you may have missed it,
    “Do you wish to attempt to back up your position, or are you still hoping an ad hominem might distract someone from noticing that your rhetoric is unsupported?”

  • King Richard says:

    Cane,
    “A monarchy will have anarchists in it. That doesn’t make it an anarchy”
    Non-sequitur.
    1) No one said ‘a society with x in it must be x type of society’
    2) There was no refutation of the actual point.

  • Tom says:

    Aristocracy, rule by the ruling class,, comes almost close to a tautology.

  • fjwawak says:

    Zippy, I came across a critique of your definition of freedom (capacity to choose what one wishes to choose) as liberal. The correct meaning would be something like ‘capacity to choose the good, true and beautiful’.
    I am not sure the critique stands but in this discussion the word freedom (or liberty) was used in both the former and the latter meaning. Isn’t it confusing to use the same word for liberty and, in fact, its abuse at the same time?

  • Zippy says:

    fjwawak:
    That is a motte proposition in the motte-and-bailey doctrine of liberalism. Who could object to the notion that people ought to be able to choose the good?

  • donnie says:

    Looks to me like there is a lot of talking past each other in this thread.

    I read Cane as essentially arguing the following:

    Both liberal governance and illiberal governance will necessarily involve an aristocratic ruling class. But the aristocratic ruling class of a liberal society is at least somewhat answerable to the people, whereas the aristocratic ruling class of an illiberal society is answerable only to themselves (in actual fact, both aristocratic classes are answerable to God but it is far too easy in either state of affairs for sinful humans to ignore this).

    The fact that the aristocratic ruling class of liberal societies are at least somewhat answerable to the citizens makes liberal societies more enjoyable places to live than illiberal ones.

    If this is what Cane is saying, I think it is a reasonable critique. I have no satisfying answer to the objection that liberal governance provides better incentives to the aristocratic ruling class to improve the lives of their subjects. I can only point out that all too frequently “improving the lives of the citizenry” devolves into “giving people (or more likely, specific groups of people) whatever it is they want”, which is not always what is good for them.

  • Tom says:

    And it think the other argument (which is talking past that) is that the existence of a denied aristocratic ruling class in liberalism is an example of how liberalism inherent contradiction expresses itself.

  • fjwawak says:

    Ok, wouldn’t separating the motte from bailey by saying the bailey is actually not, strictly speaking, freedom help the case?

  • Zippy says:

    donnie:

    But the aristocratic ruling class of a liberal society is at least somewhat answerable to the people, whereas the aristocratic ruling class of an illiberal society is answerable only to themselves.

    If that is what he is saying it is simply false as a picture of reality, in part because it conflates elected officials with the ruling class and in part because it assumes that elections make elected officials answerable to the people, as opposed to reflecting a ritual by which the loyalty of the people to liberalism is cemented.

  • Zippy says:

    fjwawak:

    The problem is that the motte propositions are politically vacuous. That authority has limits is true and that people should be able to choose the good is true, and probably tautologically so. But inside this motte where these sorts of propositions are asserted politics is abolished, because politics is precisely the place where discriminating authority acts to restrict freedom and impose a particular understanding of the good, to the exclusion of other understandings of the good.

    So you have your choice: ‘political liberty’ is either vacuous and should cease to matter politically for that reason, or it is meaningful and asserts the liberal self-contradiction with all that that implies.

    Politics – resolution of controvertible cases by authority – is only in the bailey.

  • King Richard says:

    Donnie,
    The fact that I cannot tell if your statement matches Cane’s intent is why I hope he will try to support his rather fuzzy statements.
    But let us look at what you wrote,
    “Both liberal governance and illiberal governance will necessarily involve an aristocratic ruling class. But the aristocratic ruling class of a liberal society is at least somewhat answerable to the people, whereas the aristocratic ruling class of an illiberal society is answerable only to themselves (in actual fact, both aristocratic classes are answerable to God but it is far too easy in either state of affairs for sinful humans to ignore this).”
    I think you have this exactly backwards. Look at, oh, a Baron compared to a modern mayor.
    In both communities the small municipality is faced with a crisis concerning trade. If they baron makes a mistake that reduces trade, what happens to him?
    Short term he loses money since his income is directly tied to the prosperity of the municipality.
    Long term he must address the issue else his heir will also face a future with less income, perhaps continued decline.
    What about the mayor?
    Short term his pay does not change.
    Long term he might not be re-elected, but a decline in tax revenues for the city will have nowhere near the direct impact on him and his family that it would on the baron.

    Here is an exercise I have Americans do when they tell me that in democracies aristocrats are more accountable than in monarchies. Without checking the internet write down the names of your state representative, state senator (this varies in some states), and federal representative. If you have elected judges, name them, as well. Check and see how correct you were. Then go to all of your close neighbors and ask them the the same.
    Then think about how accountable they really are.

  • Zippy says:

    Some of the main distinctions, again, of liberal ruling classes, are that they are not named as or acknowledged to be aristocrats, are therefore not personally accountable, have no honor to defend, and pretend not to be a ruling class.

  • King Richard says:

    Zippy,
    Do you think Cane will return? I have a wager with the Crown Prince that he will call me ‘four eyes’….

  • Elspeth says:

    I keep wondering if there is seriously anyone here who believes that there is a form of government which can exist untainted by the hands of man.

    Speaking from the perspective of one who understands Zippy’s issues with liberalism and its inherent problems, I cannot for one moment find it within myself to be a proponent of a system which limits people solely to their circumstances of birth.

    I know how *liberal* it comes across as I type this (all individualistic and stuff) but under almost any other system I would have been screwed.

  • Zippy says:

    Elspeth:

    I cannot for one moment find it within myself to be a proponent of a system which limits people solely to their circumstances of birth.

    Who is defending such a system?

  • Tom says:

    In fact, the history of any monarchy shows that it is not solely birth.

    There is one form of government it that exists in at least one case untainted by the hands of man – God’s Kingdom.

    And even if all forms of government here on earth must needs be tainted by the fall, we can at least pick ones that are not inherently contradictory.

  • itascriptaest says:

    In past nonliberal societies, most had little freedom to choose their job. So what? What makes this bad?

    This. In premodern societies people were constrained by a lot of things like environmental factors, geography, custom and religion not just greedy nobles. One’s choice of crops was already limited to your location a nothern English farmer could not grow more lucrative crops like wine grapes because of the climate. Most people for better of worse were rooted to a paticular area. They could not survive if they did otherwise. Conditions also kept families together. Women could not go off being independent because they would starve (as Zippy recently mentioned) most men for that matter could not be independent in the modern sense for the same reasons.

    Political liberalism through its various manifestations including the scientific revolution, industrialism, the privatization of religion and enforced egalitarianism “freed” us fron the old order. Modernity has certainly allowed greater mobility and it has allowed for tremendous material prosperity. But at what cost? Sure, I can now eat hundreds of different types of vegetables, foods that my ancestors could never dream of (bearing in mind of course that these vegetables were likely picked by Third World immigrants who were uprooted from their homes to work in appalling conditions picking genetically modified plants because of liberal economics). Sure one can pick one’s profession and marry who one wants yet late modernity has also seen the rise of an epidemic of loneliness, divorce and family breakdown unseen in prior ages. You can’t have it both ways.

    Yet it seems Cane wants to have his cake and eat it too. On his own blog he calls for women to kneel before their husbands (and I might add that the gesture of kneeling was historically the gesture of submission to feudal authority in the West) –

    My mind has put forth to me every kind of excuse against kneeling, but–discomforting or not–the fact is irrefutable that the gold standard of submission is kneeling. Therefore, can we say of anyone who disdains (or even merely eschews) kneeling, that they are in submission?

    https://canecaldo.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/on-christian-female-bloggers-ii-the-gold-standard-of-reverent/

    So why is it that Cane apparently wants to have the good aspects of pre-modern society but apparently does not the other aspects that might constrain him? Does he expect others to remain in submission while he is allowed him to enjoy freedoms provided by liberalism? This is the folly of classical liberals.

  • donnie says:

    Zippy,

    I consider elected officials in Washington, the corporate donors that own them, Wall Street fat cats, K-Street lobbyists, and a handful of other miscellaneous power brokers to make up the liberal aristocracy, at least in America. I presume a similar group of people is what others refer to when they talk about our liberal aristocratic ruling class.

    Now if America was a monarchy or a dictatorship, a different, hopefully nobler, cast of characters would hold the reigns of power. But the ruling class would have little personal incentive outside of their responsibility to God and country to improve the lives of their citizens.

    With a liberal aristocracy its a bit different. Elected officials aren’t answerable to all of the people but they do need enough voting blocs to fall in line behind them in order to stay in power. Thus, if you are in one of those voting blocs, chances are you will get some things that you want.

    Likewise if you’re one of the ruling class corporate aristocrats that hold sway over the elected officials, you will be able to get favorable government contracts and tax breaks that serve as a boon to your enterprises. And if you’re corporate enterprises are also innovating and developing new products and technologies, chances are the citizenry are benefiting indirectly from your self-interest.

  • King Richard says:

    Elspeth,
    You wrote,
    “I cannot for one moment find it within myself to be a proponent of a system which limits people solely to their circumstances of birth. [emphasis removed]”
    There were very, very few systems like this. Monarchies with a strong aristocracy were certainly nothing like this, for example. From free cities to service in a household to joining a conroi there were methods of changing your status up and many examples of nobles being ‘sent down’. Petrus Sabbatius, Zhu Chongba, and others show – the ancient world was not as frozen as many believe.

  • Zippy says:

    itascriptaest:

    So why is it that Cane apparently wants to have the good aspects of pre-modern society but apparently does not the other aspects that might constrain him? Does he expect others to remain in submission while he is allowed him to enjoy freedoms provided by liberalism? This is the folly of classical liberals.

    Yep. The manly men of the manosphere don’t really want patriarchy. They want patriarchy lite.

  • Zippy says:

    donnie:

    Elected officials aren’t answerable to all of the people but they do need enough voting blocs to fall in line behind them in order to stay in power.

    Every politician needs a constituency that falls in line behind him. People who think that power comes from the point of a gun or a piece of paper are morons. Try going on a shooting spree (hypothetically) or distributing your own constitution naming yourself king and you’ll immediately find out what I mean.

    Power comes from the willingness of other men to follow you, do what you say, and support your initiatives. This is always true, in all polities, all the time.

    As before something is presented as if it distinguishes liberal societies from all other societies. But once again it is – as with aristocracy and authority – a false distinction.

    Because liberal polities are just like other polities with the exception, the actual distinction, being the sociopathic liberalism which makes emperor-has-no-clothes pretenses to being an end-of-history exception to the basic nature of things.

  • King Richard says:

    Zippy,
    You wrote,
    “…or distributing your own constitution naming yourself king and you’ll immediately find out what I mean.”
    This is something I (of all people) point out often.
    -And this is where I lose the attention of many people-
    I am not a king because I say so; I am a king because *other people who don’t have to* say I am their king and follow.
    Not many, sure. But more than none.
    And that is a huge part of the point of the crazy project I am doing. Some people get it, some don’t.

  • PB says:

    itascriptaest: To go slightly off topic I do think one can and should have their cake and eat it to in regards to certain elements of “modernity.” Double entry accounting and chemotherapy for example, are modern but not in themselves modernist. I think the agrarian romantics who would do away with such things are rather silly.

  • Zippy says:

    KR:
    I recently advised an entrepreneur in a pretty hostile buyout of a small company. The company had a sole owner who had all of the formal say, that is, he owned all of the stock and could vote whatever board resolutions he wanted.

    But formal say ultimately means less than nothing on its own, because on its own it is merely the illusion of power. The most important thing I taught the entrepreneur (who was an employee and now runs the place, having executed a buyout on very favorable terms) is that de facto power and formal power are very different things.

  • Tom says:

    It’s like people have never heard of the Vizier. He’s always the power, and always evil. Never have a Vizier. But he’s never the holder of formal power.

  • King Richard says:

    Zippy,
    Over the course of 2 years 60%-65% of Edanians requested that I collect taxes. I relented and created a tax plan ($2 per month, $20 if you pre-pay a year. It pays for email hosting and charity)
    62% of Edanians pay it.
    I think this is my favorite statistic.

  • donnie says:

    Zippy,

    Power comes from the willingness of other men to follow you, do what you say, and support your initiatives. This is always true, in all polities, all the time.

    Of course, and I am not arguing that it doesn’t. Nor am I arguing that liberal structures of governance lie about this fact and make the exercise of authority sociopathic. They absolutely do.

    I am simply pointing out that despite this, as the ruling class sociopathically exercise their authority to maintain their power and affluence, there is a trickle down effect that indirectly benefits the citizenry. This is the primary advantage liberal governance has over illiberal governance, at least until we figure out how to solve the problem.

    I posted a link to this video in another thread and I think it is relevant to this discussion also.

    As of right now I am not aware of a satisfying solution to the problems raised in the video. In the other thread I said that I thought the solution might be found after the reality of sovereign finance was understood. In other words, once people (including aristocrats and rulers) understand that taxes collected are not income to sovereign and should not be treated as such, we might find that monarchs have far less of an incentive to focus so much of their energies on mere retention of power.

  • Patrick Button says:

    Shameless Self Promotion- Back when I blogged more regularly I posted an excerpt from Poul Anderson’s “The High Crusade” that is relevant here:
    http://patrick-button.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-high-crusade.html

  • Zippy says:

    donnie:

    This is the primary advantage liberal governance has over illiberal governance, at least until we figure out how to solve the problem.

    I don’t know what you mean.

    Is there some written transcript or summary of the twenty minute video?

  • donnie says:

    Furthermore, I think we both agree that debates over whether liberal structures of governance are better than illiberal structures of governance distract us from the core problem.

    If tomorrow the United States ratified an amendment to the Constitution stipulating that all laws contrary to the natural law are null and void, that all politicians publicly holding positions contrary to the natural law are ineligible for public office, and that any Supreme Court Justice who contradicted the natural law in their judgement of any particular case was to be deposed by Congress immediately… well, it wouldn’t solve all our problems, but we’d be in a much, much better place.

  • Alex says:

    @Cane Caldo

    You understand that if we took away the money all but a very few would close up shop. They don’t operate at a loss like a church might, or as one might conduct a war if one believed it necesary. Abortionists don’t believe in abortion like Muslims believe in jihad.

    I don’t think that is how Zippy meant it. By putting liberalism as the culprit for abortions, Zippy is not saying this is why a doctor might open up an abortion clinic in a city, or why a woman might decide to kill her child. He is saying that it is because of liberalism that people of good will wouldn’t come into the clinic and force it to close at gun point or, if they did, why they would end up in jail rather than being given a medal.

    Anyway, I think this discussion isn’t being very productive. Cane Caldo, I don’t really understand what exactly you are opposed to in an aristocracy. Is there something about the aristocracy in old monarchies that the new equivalent has fixed in your opinion? Is there something you think it might fix eventually?

  • Zippy says:

    donnie:

    I watched about the first two or three minutes of the video. The slow gouge-out-your-eyes-with-a-fork pacing and the focus on ‘treasure in your vault’ just seems wrongheaded from the outset, assuming that the sort of linear static manageable system/machine that first year engineering students learn about applies.

    Trying to put leadership in a bottle and dole it out in certificates or whatever to trade off how much grain you buy for citizens and how much graft you buy for loyalty to your own seat of power may be how video games have worked since the original “Sim City”, but it bears no resemblance to real life. I didn’t watch more than the first little bit but it is hard to see how it can recover from its beginning.

  • Zippy says:

    Alex:

    Is there something about the aristocracy in old monarchies that the new equivalent has fixed in your opinion? Is there something you think it might fix eventually?

    Apparently the main thing that liberalism has fixed is career opportunity: in medieval times conditions might be such that you are forced to deliver pizzas for a pittance just to make ends meet, but in modern America everyone can be Donald Trump.

    And the streets are paved with cheese.

  • Tom says:

    I’m not even sure that ruling and sovereign finance are directly related; I can easily conceive of a King who does not tax or spend, but rules.

  • donnie says:

    I don’t know what you mean.

    Is there some written transcript or summary of the twenty minute video?

    Essentially the video argues that in a monarchy or dictatorship, the ruler is incentivized to spend treasure and resources on those whose allegiance he depends on to retain power. Otherwise some powerful underling will be able to revolt against him and crown themselves king/dictator. Every ounce of treasure spent on the citizenry is treasure that could be spent on the people whose support he relies on to function as a ruler, his “keys” to power. There is little incentive for the ruler to spend treasures on initiatives that will benefit citizenry. The peasants are irrelevant when it comes to retaining power.

    It goes on to argue that this dynamic does not disappear at all in a democracy. Elected representatives hoping to retain their power and affluence have to rely on their “keys” to power the same as any dictator would. The difference is that now their “keys” include voting blocs, whose support must be won over and retained, and wealthy donors. These are the “keys” who receive the lion’s share of treasure in a democracy. Thus, while not all people have their desires taken into account by their representatives, some people do as long as they are members of the necessary voting bloc. Furthermore, there is a “trickle-down” effect as treasure is spent on benefiting the wealthy donors and their business enterprises, which indirectly results in an increase in production and innovation. Thus, this is liberal governance’s only real advantage to illiberal governance.

    I think the critique is mostly valid, and that the solution to this dilemma is likely to be found in a realist system of sovereign finance. Clearly the issue is that rulers see taxes as revenue to be distributed in ways that will best help them maintain their influence and affluence. Once a paradigm shift occurs in the realm of sovereign finance, I suspect this issue will no longer exist.

  • Tom says:

    Zippy, in medieval times you had to deliver pizza because your lord made you, but now, in theory you can be anything! Or as has been said, “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

    And to mention a Rosary in a children’s movie! Not permitted.

  • donnie says:

    To clarify, I think the critique is mostly valid in the sense that this is how most people think about taxes: treasure in the government’s vault. It’s anti-realist but that won’t stop people from behaving in this way until they come to a realist understanding. Thus, why developing a realist system of sovereign finance is so crucial.

  • Zippy says:

    donnie:

    To clarify, I think the critique is mostly valid in the sense that this is how most people think about taxes: treasure in the government’s vault.

    Yeah, I basically think it isn’t really a valid critique. It reminds me of the first time I encountered the Labor Theory of Value. This sort of zero-sum thinking is highly disconnected from reality (whether we are talking about power or about property which, as Tom rightly points out, are distinguishable).

    But I will agree that plenty of folks are deceived by zero sum thinking. I wouldn’t have ever heard of the LTV if it hadn’t been popular.

  • itascriptaest says:

    PB,

    I agree that there is a danger in romanticising the past. Pre-modern life was certainly very harsh in many respects, and I don’t see medieval Europe as the Shire writ large. Still, I think we ought to be discerning when it comes to even the supposedly benign aspects of modernity. Ivan Illich’s critique of medicine comes to mind here. The real question is whether we can have things like chemotherapy and not have to have a multi billion dollar pharma industry that provides a pill for every ailment. At this point I am not sure.

    It is also important to bear in mind the huge continuing cost that the same industrialism that gives us even the benign aspects of modernity continues to inflict on the modern world all kinds of ailments ranging from environmental degradation to psychological and health problems. Liberal economics claims to be able to provide for limitless expansion in a world of finite of resources. That is the utopian myth that the modern system is built on.

    Agreeing with Zippy I don’t have sympathy for liberals who appropriate certain aspects of the traditional order while adopting and defending liberalism for themselves.

  • donnie says:

    This sort of zero-sum thinking is highly disconnected from reality.

    Agreed, but without an understanding of what is really at work when the government issues its tax vouchers to fund things, whether it be for the benefit of the citizenry or the benefit of the ruler’s key supporters, any ruler’s thoughts and decisions on these topics will be disconnected from reality. And it is dangerous to have a monarch placed in charge of issuing tax vouchers who has no idea what he actually doing.

    King Richard makes the point that if the ruler’s prosperity is dependent on the prosperity of the lands and markets which he owns, he ought to be incentivized to enact measure that will benefit his realm and the lives of his subjects, measures that make his subjects more innovative and productive.

    But that sort of long-term thinking only works until one of the King’s top generals says to the other members of the King’s council, “Hey, the King is issuing all of this money to make his subjects better educated and more productive, and not sending enough funds our way. If you guys help me depose him, I’ll be sure to redirect funds your way when I’m the King.”

    Of course, it’s destructive and anti-realist for the general to think this way, but until rulers and aristocrats understand what the heck is actually going on from a financial perspective, this problem is not going to go away.

  • Tom says:

    It seems that we need a way of measuring saved souls per capita or something, then, to evaluate goodness of governments. 😉

    Or as R.A. Lafferty said about Astrobe, which applies to liberalism:

    “But Golden Astrobe is perfect, child-woman,”
    Thomas insisted. ”It is all perfections rolled into one.”

    “Sure it is, good Thomas, all rolled into one package and tied with a golden ribbon. I had been tricked by false teachers who use words to mean their opposites. So have you been tricked, Thomas, and you should
    be too intelligent for that. Well, let them so misuse terms! Let them call things what they will. If the Cathead thing and the Barrio thing are Hell, then I am for Hell till a better Hell comes along. But I will not accept so extreme a Hell as the Vision of Golden Astrobe. It stifles! It blows out souls like rows of candles!”

  • A Portuguese man says:

    I would suggest another way of looking at it, that I’ve taken from Salazar.

    It has to do with the distinction between what’s permanent and what’s transitory. Salazar was known for being wise and able to identify the crucial aspects of any problem.

    Or, in a more poetic form that I read somewhere: to be able to “discern the conductor wire of reality”.

    The conductor wire of reality is what is permanent.

    It those terms, it seems to me that liberalism confounds and inverts the distinction between the transitory and the permanent (I’m convinced this is intentional and smells of sophistry. It’s a lot like the sophistry of considering the new the same as the good – sophistication. The latter might even very well be a more specific instance of the former…).

    One could even say liberalism rests (or it so claims) on a transitory thing – liberty, or freedom, are inherently transient. They can change at any point in time independently of what one does or wishes.

    A pre-constitutional Catholic monarchy, for instance, seems to be a political arrangement that better distinguishes between the nature of what is permanent and what is transitory. Authority is permanent among men. So are families. So is religion. And geography and land are permanent also.

    On the other hand, all political arrangements are transitory by nature. But the ancients knew how to discriminate reality a lot better than us. So they tried to anchor politics on what seemed permanent to them: family. Thus, monarchy.

    They tried other ways too, obviously. But, at least in proven durability, nothing even compares.

    There’s a lot more that could be said on all this. Anyway, just an overseas perspective that you might find interesting.

  • PB says:

    itascriptaest: I might have to read Illich on medicine. From my cursory search he seems like a really weird dude who fetishized anti-institutionalism and was something of a heretic, but he seems interesting nonetheless.

    I am somewhat personally interested in big money institutional medicine because medication for a sleeping disorder allows me to function normally. I am, as you might expect, rather strongly disposed against throwing the baby out with the bath water in this area.

    It will take some convincing for me to give up what I consider the very reasonable hope that a society might be illiberal while maintaining the best of modernity.

  • Zippy says:

    OK, mostly OT but here goes, since it came up.

    I am not aware of any sleep medication that is safe to take long term (though many doctors will claim that they are). Not any. Be very, very careful. And don’t stop taking it suddenly. And read Heather Ashton (even if the drug in question is not technically a benzo). And David Healy.

    Email me if you want more details.

  • PB says:

    Zippy: Sorry for the derail! Don’t worry it’s not a sleeping aid. It’s a fairly mild stimulant (it’s not an amphetamine).

  • PB says:

    I probably shouldn’t have used myself as an example. With the incomplete info that I provided it might cause people to wonder. In addition, neither my condition nor its treantment are tremendously serious when compared with many others, though it’s easier to speak from personal experience.

    I’m fine, but I appreciate the concern Zippy.

  • King Richard says:

    PB,
    You wrote,
    “I think the agrarian romantics who would do away with such things are rather silly.”
    Who are these folks?

  • Tom says:

    There are groups who go beyond the “back-to-the-farm” lifestyle to a “make the Amish look like modern technologists” because they believe liberalism/modernism is caused by steam engines or something.

    They’re actually quite rare in reality, but can be found in arguments online now and then (and are really just a variation on the idle hands are the devil’s workshop: without advances in technology, everyone would just be working hard to get food to live so there would be no sin).

  • vishmehr24 says:

    As family is formed by complementarity of the male and the female, a state is formed by complemenarity of the ruling and the ruled element.

    But it would be improper to denote any ruling element by the specific word “aristocracy”.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    King Richard,
    ““would acknowledge Catholic Christianity to be the true religion.”
    Must a non-liberal state recognize Catholicism to be the true religion?
    Won’t this imply that any non-Catholic state, even without any glimmer of notions of equality or liberty, say caste-ridden Hindus, or something like Mohemmandan theocracy, it is still a liberal state?
    Won;t this lead to denuding the word “liberalism” of a specific political meaning and causing it to mean “non-(monarchical) Catholic”?

  • King Richard says:

    Tom,
    Ah. So this is similar to, say, Dominionists (i.e., there are maybe a few hundred in the real world, but everyone talks about them)?

  • King Richard says:

    Vishmehr24,
    You have failed to address how this is somehow ‘confusing politics with theology to the detriment of both’.

  • Zippy says:

    PB:
    Yeah, sorry, it isn’t really my business. But there are reasons why I have a particular obligation to speak up when certain subjects are raised.

    Your central point is quite right. Heck, I am having arthroscopic knee surgery myself here soon, and am grateful for the possibility. It is important not to fall into the trap of thinking that just because X has existed exclusively in the modern era X is to be condemned.

    I am a hell of a lot more suspicious of the woo-woo claims in a lot of modern medicine – especially pharma – than I used to be though. In clear ablative cases modern medicine is an absolute wonder. In the other 90% of cases it is a clusterf***.

  • PB says:

    Zippy: You are more informed about the matter than I am but I agree there are definitely problems with big pharma. The IP monopolies they get from the government provide perverse incentives and the big money in abortifacients/contraceptives shows a moral rot.

    I’ll pray your surgery goes well!

  • GJ says:

    Cane Caldo:

    Foremost I wouldn’t want that done to me. From there “Do unto others…” kicks in and so I can’t recommend it.

    This is the second time in less than a week that someone has used ‘do unto others’ in such a way in conversation with me.

    This usage strikes me as a serious misuse of Scripture. It is the de facto emotivism pervasive in liberalism masquerading: “this makes me/others unhaaaaaaaaaapy” becomes “this is wrong because I don’t want it, and ‘do unto others….'”.

  • GJ says:

    Liberals become unhaaaaaaaappy whenever their Will is frustrated. It is a gross perversion of Scripture to use ‘do unto others’ as justification not to make liberals unhaaaaaaaappy.

  • King Richard says:

    Please let me add somethings only tangentially related tot he topic at hand
    -Views of the video about Edan are up 2.5% in the last few days
    -Unique page visitors to our webpage are up 3%
    -One family that told me ‘we found you because of the video on Zippy’s blog’ are in the first stages of asking about citizenship.
    So…. Thanks, Cane!

  • Tom says:

    A non-liberal state does not have to recognize Catholicism as the true religion; it would be wrong but not all evils are liberalism.

    Lest we have to say that Israel was a liberal state.

  • Tom says:

    Note that principled exceptions to liberalism are not the same as a definition of non-liberalism – so a requirement for the Catholic religion would be a principled exception to liberalism, but it doesn’t define a non-liberal government (though it would be part of a good government).

    I still think that if you try to “reform” liberalism by adding things like the natural law, true authority, etc, you end up with subsidiarity.

  • Zippy says:

    Tom:

    Language is very plastic, so if we simply define ‘liberty’ to mean something good we can of course define a ‘good liberalism’ by fiat — much as we can define a ‘good feminism’ by observing that women are people too.

    But those things have a tendency to get away from you in a hurry, and why would we want to do it in the first place?

    If what we desperately need is unequivocal, total, comprehensive repentance from liberalism – and that is indeed what we need – then why would we try to craft a ‘good liberalism’ that uses the same slogans as the despicable old liberalism?

  • Tom says:

    We wouldn’t. I’m trying to show that you can’t have “good liberalism” – because once it’s good it’s not liberalism (and we have an existing term that would apply).

  • Zippy says:

    Tom:

    Great, we are on the same page. We ought to call subsidiarity “subsidiarity”, and leave political liberalism on the midden heap of bad historical ideas where it belongs.

    My last comment was a response to ‘I still think that if you try to “reform” liberalism by adding things like the natural law, true authority, etc, you end up with subsidiarity.’

    I think that is right and that liberalism in practice ends up meaning the opposite of subsidiarity — which is why it needs to be destroyed, buried, and have the earth over it salted and shunned as a wasteland for a millennia; not “reformed”.

  • Zippy says:

    GJ:

    Liberals become unhaaaaaaaappy whenever their Will is frustrated. It is a gross perversion of Scripture to use ‘do unto others’ as justification not to make liberals unhaaaaaaaappy.

    That is because as a practice and way of life, liberalism makes people think that what they want means the same thing as what is good.

  • Tom says:

    Again, liberalism gets everything exactly backwards – what is good is what I want, even if I don’t want it (right now)!

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @KR

    I was unaware my build threatened you.

    […]

    Do you think Cane will return? I have a wager with the Crown Prince that he will call me ‘four eyes’….

    Unlike obesity, poor vision isn’t a strong signal of a lack of self-control and decadence. The big beautiful woman act isn’t working on me any better for you than for them.

    @itascriptest & Zippy

    Agreeing with Zippy I don’t have sympathy for liberals who appropriate certain aspects of the traditional order while adopting and defending liberalism for themselves.

    I hope people read my post. What I said, condensed, is that a wife at the point of crisis with her husband ought to try kneeling once and asking for him to hear her before heading off to a divorce lawyer, or otherwise engaging in destruction of her home and family. This causes people fits because they believe they see an inconsistency; that they perceive a practice of “authority for me, but not for thee”. My guess is that perception is projection, but I can’t be sure in all cases.

    A wife is in a marriage and that makes kneeling appropriate. If I found myself in a monarchy, I would have no problem kneeling to the king, or even an Aristocrat. I was glad to kneel before our bishop for confirmation because he actually is the bishop. But just as an unwed woman is not in a marriage: I’m not in a monarchy. Even so, I find myself bowing, slightly for sure–like an Oriental–, to other men out in the world on a fairly regular basis, and sometimes I receive them from other men. (Though there is less of that.) Signs of submission from men are not what is lacking in the modern world; despite what you have been told.

    Do I want “patriarchy lite”? Sure. I’m not a traditionalist, and we know that some traditions are harmful. I want the good ones.

    The wonder of modern medicine is one of those things which probably can’t arise from illiberal societies. There simply wouldn’t be enough paying patients, and there wouldn’t be enough serfs assigned to investigating medicine. So, GJ, I’d be dead from acute pyloric stenosis, acute appendicitis, and staph infection without a liberal society which freed men to pursue their own careers. The cartilage missing from the end of my femur would still cause me to limp. My second daughter would probably be dead from a heart defect.

    Aside from modern medicine, there are all sorts of good technologies and knowledge that wouldn’t arise in an illiberal state. More importantly: We have seen that is the case. Islamic countries aren’t innovative, nor North Korea, nor the Soviet Union… and this we are experiencing this in the West, now. When the US was actually liberal we put a man on the moon. Today, even though everyone LIES and says we are more liberal, we know we are actually not as liberal as before. Somehow, this causes Zippy to say that liberalism is an incoherent blackhole of unprincipled exceptions which really is, still, committed to liberty, rather than deceived and deceiving. I think Zippy’s theory is wrong because he takes the so-called liberals at their word. Commies, Nazis, and other stripes of Marxists aren’t liberals and their goal is destruction; not liberty. Only if you take them at their word does it become complicated.

    American liberalism as discussed at the founding of the US was (explicitly and implicitly) in the context of how to arrange political power so that the misuses of power which arise from man’s sin nature would be minimized and local rather than epidemic. That’s not unprincipled unless your only principle is authority. It shouldn’t be. We don’t even understand all the principles.

    Anyways, while I was gone, the conversation turned to the fact that in a monarchy the power isn’t in the hands of the king, but the aristocracy. Tom said, “Never have a vizier.”, and King Richard remarked that his family–the aristocrats of Edan–convinced him to raise unnecessary taxes–and not in a sovereign denomination of Edan either, we should note–because he can.

    Let’s go back to what I wrote which prompted this entire segue on Aristocracy:

    “[K]ings don’t bother me. It’s aristocrats I refuse to accept.”

  • Zippy says:

    Cane Caldo:

    The wonder of modern medicine is one of those things which probably can’t arise from illiberal societies. There simply wouldn’t be enough paying patients, and there wouldn’t be enough serfs assigned to investigating medicine.

    Aside from modern medicine, there are all sorts of good technologies and knowledge that wouldn’t arise in an illiberal state.

    Cool story bro.

    More importantly: We have seen that is the case. Islamic countries aren’t innovative, nor North Korea, nor the Soviet Union…

    That exhausts all possibility.

    Let’s go back to what I wrote which prompted this entire segue on Aristocracy: “[K]ings don’t bother me. It’s aristocrats I refuse to accept.”

    Right. That is just what I understood you to be saying.

    And because aristocrats are part of every polity, always, that thing that you refuse to accept is more generally called reality.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy

    Cool story bro.

    It has the additional benefit of being true.

    That exhausts all possibility.

    Because your aristocracy will be the special snowflake of aristocracies which defies history.

    And because aristocrats are part of every polity, always, that thing that you refuse to accept is more generally called reality.

    A pithy response, but that’s just a criticism of my language rather than my meaning.

  • Even so, I find myself bowing, slightly for sure–like an Oriental–, to other men out in the world on a fairly regular basis, and sometimes I receive them from other men. (Though there is less of that.)

    I have no idea where you live, but this strikes me as so utterly bizarre that it seems like a different country, or era. I have never seen anything remotely close to this, even with Bishops.

  • A pithy response, but that’s just a criticism of my language rather than my meaning.

    How? You say you are against aristocracies; there are always aristocracies, at least in Zippy’s estimation. So you’re either an anarchist, Zippy’s wrong, or you’re wrong.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane Caldo:

    It has the additional benefit of being true.

    I’m pretty sure you don’t know what the word “true” means. It certainly doesn’t apply to your opinion that technology can only possibly arise in liberal polities.

    Because your aristocracy will be the special snowflake of aristocracies which defies history.

    Nice attempt at reversal, but I’ll point out that it is you who are claiming special snowflake status for liberal aristocracies. You also seem rather ignorant about the history of the patronage of arts and sciences in Christendom, frankly.

  • Tom says:

    Technology can only arise in liberal polities, therefore, insofar as it did arise, it arose insofar as the polity was liberal.

    All these technologies are modern liberal inventions.

  • King Richard says:

    Cane,
    I will react to what you write as I read it, to make sure I don’t overthink things too much.
    You wrote,
    “Unlike obesity, poor vision isn’t a strong signal of a lack of self-control and decadence. ”
    People who assume things without asking are at a high risk of making mistakes. This is particularly true when it comes to assuming the moral fault of your neighbor. To quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
    “2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor”.
    This is frankly none of your business, but since the Church also teaches that admonishing the sinner is a work of mercy:
    In 1990 while I was detached with the French Foreign Legion I was injured in both knees. Not severely enough that it ended my career in the military immediately, but after treatments it was wisest to leave. Another side effect of the damage was the fact that I developed osteoarthritis in both knees by the age of 32 as the remaining tissue are worn down. The delay the absolute necessity of artificial knees and the complications I have used a cane since I was 35 and to both extend the use of my knees and to ease the intense pain I receive regular corticosteroid shots (directly into the joints, BTW) each week.
    A side effect of such injections is the build up of fatty tissues, especially around the neck in my case. I also work out routinely as part of both physical therapy and to stay strong and healthy. I am lucky that my blood pressure, heart action, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. are all very healthy and the daily weight lifting means I can largely keep up with my 5 active sons.
    My military service and injuries are a matter of public record and are probably easier to confirm than finding the video was. I am more than willing to get you the contact information on my doctor, my specialist, my therapist, and the gym owner where I go each day, as well.
    Once I receive artificial knees and no longer require routine steroid injections I am told the excess fat will be relatively easy to lose, although the anti-rejection drugs will make surgery to remove excess skin a touch more dangerous to remove.

    Or, shorter,
    1)I am a big fat guy because of the injuries I got in combat while serving in the army that protects your nation.
    2) your assumptions are objectively sinful and you need to go talk to your confessor about it.
    3) next time you should ask before you sin further.

    Mind giving me your name so I can look up your service record?

    More in a moment

  • Zippy says:

    My policy is to never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. That way you are a mile away, and you have his shoes.

  • Zippy says:

    I suppose I probably should be censoring Cane’s personal attacks. But it is interesting that he doesn’t see the damage that they do to his own rhetoric.

  • King Richard says:

    Cane,
    You wrote,
    “…Islamic countries aren’t innovative, nor North Korea, nor the Soviet Union…”
    This is descending into farce rather quickly.
    Skipping the entirety of Islamic contributions from the Golden Age of Islam (I am sure you would somehow object to the myriad innovations of the Caliphate and various Sultanates because they are ‘too old’ or something) let’s just look at the Soviet Union.
    Other than light-emitting diode, electric spacecraft propulsion, hypergolic propellants, the first artificial satellite, the first man in space, and a few hundred similar things, what did the Soviet Union ever invent?
    It is almost as if you don’t know that America and Europe lagged the Soviet Union in a number of critical technologies for many years….
    You wrote,
    “There simply wouldn’t be enough paying patients, and there wouldn’t be enough serfs assigned to investigating medicine.”
    I hate to assume – are you conflating ‘liberal society’ with ‘having an economy’?
    And as I asked earlier – what are you actually talking about when you mention serfs and peasants? because your descriptions don’t match with any sort of feudalism I know of. It reads as if you actually don’t know what the various things that are lumped together as feudalism were actually like.
    You wrote,
    “King Richard remarked that his family–the aristocrats of Edan–convinced him to raise unnecessary taxes”
    Please re-read what I wrote.
    It was the *citizens* who repeated demanded that they pay taxes. And since I failed to address it we accept payments in dollars, euros, pounds, yen, and a few other denominations.
    There is also no penalty for non-payment.

  • King Richard says:

    Zippy,
    It is your blog, but his attempts to attack me have so far only amused me and led to the possibility of another family joining Edan.
    I say let him keep it up!

  • Tom says:

    A completely random aside I’ve been thinking about for a few days now – Jesus never denies the power or authority of Pilate. He responds to Pilate’s “do you understand what’s going on?” question with: “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

    He does not make an argument to political freedom, and admits that Pilate has power over Him. I don’t know what I think about it, I just know it is very interesting, especially with regards to CCC 2243 and the early Christians not rebelling against Rome, even as it put them to death.

  • Tom says:

    Also, everyone who wants to talk about politics at all should at least be required to read The Republic. The discussion of Democracy and Freedom in book 8 is quite good.

  • King Richard says:

    “To ask what is the common good is to ask how a society should be organized, and to ask how a society should be organized is to ask which body of law should govern a society so as to foster the common good. In the natural realm, man’s common good rests in the fulfilment of human nature in all its dimensions, the fulfilment of the Natural Law inscribed by God in human nature. As such, the common good is objective and hierarchical.”
    -Fr. McCarthy, FSSP
    Just as the church is not ‘The pope’ -> ‘You’ leadership does not have to be ‘the king’ -> ‘You’

    “1899 The authority required by the moral order derives from God: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.””
    [Note the use of the plural]
    -CCC

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy & King Richard

    I suppose I probably should be censoring Cane’s personal attacks.

    I beg pardon from you both. Peace.

  • itascriptaest says:

    I’m not a traditionalist, and we know that some traditions are harmful

    We can finally agree on something.

    The wonder of modern medicine is one of those things which probably can’t arise from illiberal societies.

    That’s not the issue. The issue is do you care to address or at least acknowledge the attendant costs of that?

    When the US was actually liberal we put a man on the moon.

    Yeah its not like our rocket program was indebted to Nazi Germany or anything. The space program has also always been linked with America’s nuclear weapons capability. Push a button and incinerate the world, the wonders of modern liberalism! Do you think the Founders would have liked to have been forced to pay billions in taxes to finance the space program? Are massive government building projects in keeping with classical liberal economic theory?

    American liberalism as discussed at the founding of the US was (explicitly and implicitly) in the context of how to arrange political power so that the misuses of power which arise from man’s sin nature would be minimized and local rather than epidemic. That’s not unprincipled unless your only principle is authority.

    You seriously do not see anything unprincipled in basing a revolution on the equality of man while denying the basic franchise to a majority of the population? In 1865 that contradiction finally resolved itself while in the process vanquishing the order the Founder’s knew.

    Anyway we have what we’ve had from the beginning-

    And whom would you have representing us in government? Not the rich, not the wise, not the learned? Would you go to some ditch by the highway and pick up the thieves, the poor, and the lame to lead our government? Yes, we need an aristocracy to be running our government, an aristocracy of intelligence, integrity, and experience.

    Alexander Hamilton.

    How fitting is it too that of our two presdiential candidates one is from NY and the other is a former
    Senator from NY. Hamilton’s old state.

  • Tom says:

    But those excesses are no true Liberalism will come the response.

  • King Richard says:

    Cane,
    Of course, and may God bless you.

  • donnie says:

    I think that conflating liberalism to liberal structures of governance is superbly unhelpful to this discussion.

    Can we all agree that men have no right whatsoever to commit acts that are contrary to the natural law?

    If we can agree to this, then it seems to me that discussions about whether monarchies are better than democracies is completely beside the point.

  • Tom says:

    True – the only thing of note is that liberalism requires and progresses towards democracy, as all other forms of government are clearly against liberalism, as they admit authority (which must be denied and hidden).

  • donnie says:

    Tom,

    Yes this is a “squares are always rectangles, but rectangles are not always squares” situation.

    Liberals believe they must be governed under a democracy, no other system of governance will do.

    Non-liberals, however, can govern themselves through a democratic process. However, they recognize first and foremost that they are subjects of God’s immutable law, and do not allow themselves to consider proposals or candidates that would violate this law.

  • King Richard says:

    “[11] If an unjust government is carried on by one man alone, Footnote who seeks his own benefit from his rule and not the good of the multitude subject to him, such a ruler is called a tyrant—a word derived from strength—because he oppresses by might instead of ruling by justice. Thus among the ancients all powerful men were called tyrants. If an. unjust government is carried on, not by one but by several, and if they be few, it is called an oligarchy, that is, the rule of a few. This occurs when a few, who differ from the tyrant only by the fact that they are more than one, oppress the people by means of their wealth. If, finally, the bad government is carried on by the multitude, it is called a democracy, i.e. control by the populace, which comes about when the plebeian people by force of numbers oppress the rich. In this way the whole people will be as one tyrant.”
    “[22] For democracy stands in contrary opposition to polity, since both are governments carried on by many persons, as is clear from what has already been said; while oligarchy is the opposite of aristocracy, since both are governments carried on by a few persons; and kingship is the opposite of tyranny since both are carried on by one person. Now, as has been shown above, monarchy is the best government. If, therefore, “it is the contrary of the best that is worst.” it follows that tyranny is the worst kind of government.”
    -St. Thomas, De Regio

  • Tom says:

    I’m tempted to disagree with St Thomas here a bit – the worst kind of government would be democracy – because tyranny requires one evil man, but democracy requires most men to be evil.

    Also, the argument from experience.

  • Mike T says:

    Cane,

    We have a functional aristocracy. Arguably we always have. (I would say we have)

    Look at the top 0.25% of the population in terms of wealth and status. What is the meaningful difference between them and aristocracies of old other than Letters Patent which define a particular title, lands and jurisdiction effectively in perpetuity? The top 0.25% have the ability to mix and mingle in any offices that are functionally as powerful be they business, military, civil service, high office, etc.

    The aristocracy is quite real and one of the pernicious effects of our attitude toward it is in letting them get away with pretending to be Everymen themselves when they most certainly are not. We cannot expect Jamie Dimon and other bankers to behave with noblesse oblige because they’re “free and equal just like us.”

    Mark Zuckerberg actually wields more indirect power than the vast majority of feudal nobles, but acts like he’s just an ordinary businessman. Just an example. Egalitarianism has liberated them from social obligation.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    In attempting to destroy aristocracy, liberalism eliminates the responsibility of nobles but cannot rid us of the privilege of nobles.

  • domzerchi says:

    Zippy,

    There is no doubt that those you call right-liberals (with the exception of libertarians) are willing to call sodomy a punishable crime and to admit that (objectively) offensive speech can be a punishable crime, though perhaps you would only count the latter as principled unless it includes the criminality of arbitrary and subjective offensiveness. Many liberals on the right would be willing to call public religious heresy a punishable crime, and those who are Catholic acknowledge Catholic Christianity to be the true religion.

    Are those “principled” exceptions nullified or made “unprincipled” by the simultaneous rejection of abortion based in part on the baby’s right to life (which you consider to be an unprinciple, I guess, rather than a principle).

    Your use of “unprincipled exception” is peculiar. It would normally refer to an arbitrary exception based on nothing like a principle at all. It is confusing of you to use it to refer to principles you don’t agree with.

  • Zippy says:

    domzerchi:

    There is no doubt that those you call right-liberals (with the exception of libertarians) are willing to call sodomy a punishable crime and to admit that (objectively) offensive speech can be a punishable crime …

    Good luck getting criminalization of sodomy and offensive speech added to the Republican platform in the Current Year. Heck, good luck even getting them to publicly discuss it as a debatable live option.

    Beyond that, these days right liberals consider treating the premeditated murder of an unborn child by his mother as a crime on the part of his mother, to be beyond the pale of discussion they are willing to countenance.

    Your comment is (among other things) simply out of touch with reality.

  • Zippy says:

    On this:

    Your use of “unprincipled exception” is peculiar. It would normally refer to an arbitrary exception based on nothing like a principle at all.

    The term ‘unprincipled exception’ is not my term. It has been used for more than a decade in reactionary or anti-liberal online discussions, and was first used (as far as I know) by the late Lawrence Auster at his blog View From the Right.

    You might find it helpful to read up on it there.

  • itascriptaest says:

    Many liberals on the right would be willing to call public religious heresy a punishable crime, and those who are Catholic acknowledge Catholic Christianity to be the true religion.

    Huh? Can you give me an example of where a right liberal has said this?

  • Mike T says:

    I’m very late to this thread, so in response to Cane’s comments about illiberalism and technological advancement…

    There are many ways to be illiberal or semi-illiberal. Most of them to have habits of government and culture that don’t permit the sort of behavior that is conducive to scientific development, but liberalism can also be violently hostile to science. Case in point, any discussion of Human Biodiversity. SJWs are now reaching the point where if you laugh in the face of an African woman who demands equal respect for witchcraft from the scientific community (yes, literal witchcraft) you are treated as seriously offensive.

    Scientific development requires strong property rights, a culture conducive to free inquiry without micromanagement by political and religious authorities and a population with a lot of intelligent individuals. It also requires a culture that is willing to be “disrupted” by advantageous developments. More often than not, that is a significant reason why many societies only get so far.

    Many of the things that liberalism did that opened up advancement were not intrinsic to liberalism. It was just liberalism’s hostility to the established order that made liberalism open to allowing all of these disruptive innovations to occur. When you don’t care about the political culture and authorities that much, disruptive innovation is easier.

  • Tom says:

    If you find one, you’ll find one who will say it in private but would not say it in public – and who would blanche at the idea that Trump should say it tomorrow on national TV.

  • Zippy says:

    itascriptaest:

    There is a certain kind of right liberal – though they are few – who views it as his personal project to make liberalism compatible with the traditional moral order: with the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. By definition, to this kind of paleo liberal, any conflict with GTB is No True Liberty. These are the defenders of liberalism huddled in the deepest depths of the motte, behind the tautological veil, where no critique can sting because political liberty is simultaneously an important transcendent good and has no implications unique to it qua liberty-as-general-principle when it comes to the actual exercise of authority.

    By necessity, these defenders of political liberty huddled in the dark depths of the motte are very far from the reality where actual exercise of discriminating authority takes place out in the bailey, where controverted cases are actually resolved by actual authorities.

    domzerchi is one of those.

  • Mike T says:

    One other thing, liberalism is not entirely open to disruptive innovation either. In fact, liberals are starting to realize that not all technological innovation is actually an unqualified good. For example, there are a lot of liberals realizing that the disruption that truly capable automated vehicles would do transportation industry jobs will leave something like 10-15m people unemployed.

    Liberals are starting to realize that while disruptive innovation can be very good for society, it is not intrinsically imprudent or tyrannical to resist it by force of law. More often, it’s the method that is the problem.

  • Tom says:

    Mike T – I think we’re at the peak for modern scientific development unless something drastic happens as we’re quickly heading into “faith”-based science. See – evolution, pharmaceuticals, psychiatry, climate change, and more.

    Technological advances will die down if you can’t have honest questions about the “truths” of science.

  • Zippy says:

    Tom:

    My own view is that science peaked some time ago (see John Horgan’s The End of Science), but that using that science to make products (that is, engineering) is in a state that I do not claim to have on an established timeline. Certainly the dysfunction of our own creations seems to be accelerating.

  • Mike T says:

    One of our biggest problems is that our cognitive elite are not reproducing nearly as much as they did or should. A rational elite would ban birth control, fornication and heavily tax people who are committed bachelors or spinsters without a vocation that demands celibacy. In other words, the power couple of two high intelligence and health professionals raising a dog or cat as their “child” would be stamped out by state policy as a form of social parasitism. Which ultimately it is because these same people not only refuse to provide future citizens, but expect other people to make up for them and import immigrants to replace them.

  • Mike T says:

    In the long run, if the majority of people with an IQ of 120 or higher have an average of 1.5 kids and expect the people who are about average to bear the extra children to provide the labor to combine with their savings so they can have a retirement, that creates a steady drop over generations in average intelligence.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    The problem with our “cognitive” “elite” is that they promote evil, not that they’re not breeding enough. Do you want a five child +120 IQ family that celebrates the latest perversions from the sexual revolution?

  • GJ says:

    Cane Caldo:

    A wife is in a marriage and that makes kneeling appropriate. If I found myself in a monarchy, I would have no problem kneeling to the king, or even an Aristocrat….Signs of submission from men are not what is lacking in the modern world; despite what you have been told.

    Yes, you would be willing to make signs of submission, but would you submit when unhaaaaaaappy?

    The wonder of modern medicine is one of those things which probably can’t arise from illiberal societies. There simply wouldn’t be enough paying patients, and there wouldn’t be enough serfs assigned to investigating medicine. So, GJ, I’d be dead from acute pyloric stenosis, acute appendicitis, and staph infection without a liberal society which freed men to pursue their own careers. The cartilage missing from the end of my femur would still cause me to limp. My second daughter would probably be dead from a heart defect.

    Since you want to go there: even taking into account your death and so forth, things would be much better without millions of abortions and all the atrocities due to liberalism.

  • Zippy says:

    There is a moment in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (of all things) when a senior scientist/engineer named Dyson, a decent human being, realizes that his own life’s work results in the holocaust of almost all of humanity. He then cooperates with the protagonists to destroy his own life’s work and loses his actual life in the process.

    Whenever someone tells me how bad his own life would be without liberalism I am reminded of that little subplot.

  • PB says:

    Being inside the liberal fishbowl we don’t really know what modern western civilization would be like without liberalism. Some might fear that hypothetical world because it is so unknown. I like to think much of the good in “modernity” might be preserved in an illiberal society while others fear we would become serfs. I think my view is more reasonable but I can understand the apprehension others might have.

  • PB says:

    Whatever predictions one might make about a post-liberal society we should all agree that liberalism is evil and must be fought.

  • Zippy says:

    PB:

    Whatever predictions one might make about a post-liberal society we should all agree that liberalism is evil and must be fought.

    Precisely. Stories about what would happen if there were widespread unequivocal rejection of political liberalism and its atrocities are every bit as fictional as the Terminator movies. These fictional stories represent rationalizations hatched in the prolific human imagination: excuses for failure to repent.

  • King Richard says:

    Sorry for a mild digression.
    There was talk in this thread that invoked a horror of feudalism. Let me paste here something I wrote elsewhere about this terror of feudalism [with mild edits];
    “”Feudalism was very exploitative and unstable”
    Giving the question of ‘do you really mean Feudalism or are you actually thinking of Manorialism?’ a miss and doing as most non-scholars do and simply conflate them, let us first look at stability.
    Since we are looking at the broader, economic, concepts of Feudalism/Manorialism I must point out that the system technically lasted 1,500 years, from no later than 450 AD until at least 1970 (when the last feudal rents were paid – in Quebec!). If we are similarly generous with [Liberalism] it has existed for [about] 250 years, 1/6th as long.
    Considering that Feudalism/Manorialism flourished across continents, under a wide range of specific types of government, and over a millenia I would not accept the argument that it is ‘unstable’ if you wish to compare it to [Liberalism]…
    As for exploitation?
    Throughout European history there are a number of peasants’ revolts, but most of them were about the *re-establishment* of feudal rights after their lands were conquered by outside kingdoms or groups or about military oppression. The uprisings against [Liberalism] in the Year of Rebellions ALONE account for 5 times as many uprisings against [Liberalism] as there were ever uprisings against Feudalism/Manorialism in history. In other words, the people and cultures that fought to *retain* Feudalism fought violently to *oppose* [Liberalism]. It seems the average person, especially those that still had personal exposure to even vestiges of actual Feudalism, felt [Liberalism] was much more exploitative. Many of the anti-[Liberal] rioters of the Keelman and Tinmen uprisings, the various French revolts, especially the February Revolution, and many German protests of the early 1800’s *specifically stated* they wanted the ‘return of our traditional rights as given to our forefathers’, i.e., ‘we want feudalism back!'”

  • GJ says:

    Cane Caldo:

    Even so, I find myself bowing, slightly for sure–like an Oriental–, to other men out in the world on a fairly regular basis, and sometimes I receive them from other men. (Though there is less of that.)

    As an Oriental, I approve.

    malcolmthecynic:

    I have no idea where you live, but this strikes me as so utterly bizarre that it seems like a different country, or era. I have never seen anything remotely close to this, even with Bishops.

    I’d imagine that nodding is a substitute in many cases.

  • King Richard says:

    And, continuing the discussion of ‘illiberal peasants’ vs ‘liberal wage earners’
    “United States citizens are required to file a tax return each and every year that they are an adult or earlier, if they earn wages. Why?
    From birth they owe a portion of their labor to their mast- excuse me, the United States, in the form of income tax, as well as other taxes.
    Why? because he was born an American.
    Even if they traveled away and earn their money overseas, they owe a portion of their labor.
    Even if they gain no protection or benefit from the US they owe the US.
    This has been much in the news, recently, about how the US is forcing other governments to cooperate to prevent “tax cheats” from avoiding paying the US their taxes.
    I am told the typical tax payer’s wages are, effectively, the government’s until April 25th in the US. Virtually 1/3rd of the year of labor A villein typically only owed [1/6th of a year, spread out each week], almost half.
    And the villein, the most common type of peasant, owed the labor to pay for the home and land he lived on, enough to not only be self-sufficient, but for excess. The lowest level of peasant, the cottager/crofter/bordar only had a home and enough land to feed and support his own family, with no excess to sell meaning they had to work on someone else’s land to earn extra money.
    There were very few cottagers.
    A villein had the totality of your taxes, rent, and leases was about 20% of your labor and in return you had military, police, and courts, land enough to be self-sufficient and generate excess as well as a number of other things, like a heating fuel, support for livestock, healthcare, aid when sick, etc.
    You also had the right to ‘buy out’ (except in Russia)and provide enough cash (remember that productive land?) to become a freeman who was similar to the villein but had to only provide (lower) rents in goods or money, not labor. The real restrictions on the villein were that he could not dispose of his lands in such a way that it left the manor *unless* there was an agreement between the lords.
    As for the ‘serf from birth’ part that was because the children inherited the land and, thus, the lease. There were a number of ways a young serf could avoid this obligation ranging from becoming a clerk (i.e., learning to read and write a bit) to going to a city to accepting a position in a monastic manor as a farmer or tradesman, etc.
    Also, the villein, cottager, etc. all had a lot more time off than you are used to.
    The various forms of serf did not exist for very long in most of the world; the system was efficient enough that so many were becoming freemen, were on monastic manors, in cities, etc. that the abolition of serfdom in the mid 14th Century was largely just acknowledging reality.

    So – which sounds more exploitative: a villein where you taxes, lease, rents, etc. are only 20% of your labor, you have more time off, and in return you have (on average) 40 acres of land that cannot be taken from you and the right to make a payment so from then on your taxes, etc. are cut in half?
    or
    A system where even if you flee to another nation 30% of your labor belongs to the government, you have no right to land or support, and the only way to end it is to exile yourself?”

  • Elspeth says:

    Stories about what would happen if there were widespread unequivocal rejection of political liberalism and its atrocities are every bit as fictional as the Terminator movies.

    I generally enjoy your perspective Zippy, but I couldn’t help but get a bit of a chuckle out of this.

    There is nothing hypothetical about my idea of what my life would look like if there wasn’t at least an inkling of the idea in the minds of someone that I might be worth a little bit more than it looks like from the outside.

    That isn’t to say that I buy into egalitarianism (I don’t) or that I think liberalism in all its glory is great and wonderful (I don’t). But…for real?

  • Elspeth says:

    Oh, wait. Is that an example of that principled exception you talk about so much?

    Serious question, not snark.

  • Tom says:

    If it is not hypothetical, then it is real.

  • Zippy says:

    Elspeth:

    There is nothing hypothetical about my idea of what my life would look like …

    Counterfactuals are just that: counterfactual. And they have no bearing whatsoever on questions of moral principle.

    To illustrate:

    What if there had been no Holocaust? Well, that could easily change history enough such that neither your parents nor mine would have ever even met, or, even if they had, that their sexual schedule might have changed by a microsecond. Thus, neither you nor I exist. Perhaps someone else would exist, but not you or I.

    This perfectly reasonable counterfactual does not morally justify the Holocaust.

  • Mike T says:

    The problem with our “cognitive” “elite” is that they promote evil, not that they’re not breeding enough. Do you want a five child +120 IQ family that celebrates the latest perversions from the sexual revolution?

    *sigh*…

    Let me break this down in simpler terms.

    When discussing what is needed to make a technologically advanced society, you cannot have one with a people that are steadily producing more people of lower intelligence rather than high. All of the virtue and gusto in the world won’t make you a good engineer or doctor if you have an IQ of 80.

    To maintain a technologically advanced society, you need the smarter people to progressively breed out the less intelligent. That does not require intrusive eugenics, you just want them to have 8 kids versus the local idiot having 1-2 (ideally, generalizing).

    As for the perversion issue, watch a typical corporate rap music video. The average person in there probably doesn’t have an IQ over 100, but the level of debauchery is the same. Go to a trailer park, go to a typical bar. You will see sexual debauchery of some sort everywhere. All intelligent deviants bring to the table is a better ability to rationalize their deviancy. That’s it. A 70 IQ mouth breather is just as capable of actually choosing deviancy.

  • King Richard says:

    Mike T,
    You wrote,
    “When discussing what is needed to make a technologically advanced society”
    After the Terminator reference….
    In the otherwise rather pulpy book “The Sum of All Fears” there is a scene where a discovered atomic bomb is being re-worked into a thermonuclear bomb and one of the characters remarked ‘what was invented by a Nobel Prize winner is now the work of a tradesman’.
    Ancient Rome was ‘technologically advanced’; The city of Ur was ‘technologically advanced’. Think they had more high IQ people than we do today? Less?

    These things take care of themselves.

    Besides (full disclosure – I am very interested in the topic) the Parker study, the Birkbeck College study, and the Ruf study all independently debunked the notion that smarter women have fewer children. Here is how the ‘smart people have less kids!’ stories/studies get written:
    1) Researcher or journalist looking for a quick publication notices that women with master’s degrees have fewer kids.
    2) Writer assumes education is a 1:1 proxy for IQ and writes ‘smart people having fewer children’.
    It is bunk. When reviewing people that have had formal, proxied IQ tests women who are *actually* smarter have a very slightly *higher* TFR and men with higher IQs tend to have more children, as well. Yes, men and women in couples where they were both at least a full SD above the median combined their increased fertility.
    So – relax.

    [BTW, the ‘having a lot of kids means the younger ones aren’t as smart’ is bunk, too].

  • Tom says:

    True, discovery of a technology is nothing like the ability to continue to use that technology.

    Also, all this discussion of technology and I’m dead without it is consequentialism – if the result of following the Gospel is death we follow the Gospel!

    Woe to us who have a hard time following the Gospel when the result is slightly less cheeseburgers.

  • Mike T says:

    King Richard,

    I would have to look at the studies, but there are a few areas of concern that I have. Many less intelligent women, by virtue of poverty and single motherhood only have one child (though many don’t). So from what I have seen on the topic done empirically it seems to be not a substantial gap if it’s there at all. It’s also not following the historic European pattern of the upper echelons of society (where higher intelligence often is) reproducing in much larger than average numbers. In addition, across the entire spectrum of intelligence we’re seeing a below replacement level of reproduction. So even if we aren’t losing ground in the core white demographic (where IQ tends to be higher on average than many other demographics) in percentages, that whole demographic is losing prominence. (Cue Aethelfrith crying racissss)

    Vox Day has a few blog posts talking about how the US and various European countries have observed a few point drop in average IQ at the national level in the last 1-2 generations. That is something to consider because immigration from groups less capable of matching white, Asian and Jewish performance seems to be impacting society there.

    n the otherwise rather pulpy book “The Sum of All Fears” there is a scene where a discovered atomic bomb is being re-worked into a thermonuclear bomb and one of the characters remarked ‘what was invented by a Nobel Prize winner is now the work of a tradesman’.
    Ancient Rome was ‘technologically advanced’; The city of Ur was ‘technologically advanced’. Think they had more high IQ people than we do today? Less?

    The process we’re worried about here is two-fold. It is first the innovators reaching into the unknown and then the tradesmen reducing to common and consistently repeatable practice such that society can sustain the innovation. That requires a robust intelligence pyramid of IQ ranges.

    One of the problems we have is that the fewer people with genius and higher level IQs, the fewer people there will be to really break into the “crazy levels” of innovation that would drive things like colonizing Mars for instance.

    These things take care of themselves.

    Yes and no. I don’t think idiocracy is likely in our future unless we decide to flood our shores with half of the population of Africa and go to a one-child policy for whites and Asians. However, we are facing a gradual decline as undesirable immigration and lack of replacement and positive growth influences our demographics. There are plenty of less bad outcomes from that, such as us becoming an Anglo-Saxon Brazil in terms of economy and military power, so again, not idiocracy but still worrisome.

  • Mike T says:

    “2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor”.

    I chuckled when I read this and thought about some of the newest accusations (not unfounded) about Clinton involving Jeff Epstein’s Lolita Express and occultism. We are fast approaching a point where it is simply not unreasonable that literally any accusation against this woman might be considered reasonable on its face given that the greatest diversity she brings with her is her willingness to creativity break the law.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    Mike T,

    Your ability to chase red herrings down rabbit holes is nothing short of amazing.

  • Mike T says:

    This is quite possibly the funniest thing I have seen in 2016…

  • CJ says:

    I thought this bit of distilled consequentialism might be of interest to some of those who post here:

    Elshtain brings her realism and humane heart to the discussion on the problem of “dirty hands” as it relates to torture, making the case that when lives are to be saved—and can be saved—then at least some lesser forms of torture (such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation, as opposed to cutting off limbs, etc.) should be used. In this extreme circumstance, torture should never be sanctioned or seen as a “good.” Raw utilitarianism must be rejected. Torture is not and never can be a good. It’s an evil, often used by brutal regimes to subjugate not only external but internal enemies.

    Nevertheless, “torture-lite” or “Torture 2,” as Elshtain called it, should be used with great caution if the goal is saving lives. When one is acting with “concrete responsibility” within history for the sake of what is to come, for the sake of saving lives, then these lesser forms of torture should not be rejected

    And the money quote:

    This neighbor-regard, Elshtain says, “involves concern for forms of life and how best to make life at least slightly more just or, to cast it negatively, slightly less unjust. One is willing to pay a price and, if necessary, to incur moral guilt, when the lives of others are at stake.”

    https://pjmedia.com/blog/nevertrumpers-moral-laziness/

  • TomD says:

    In this extreme circumstance, voting should never be sanctioned or seen as a “good.” Raw utilitarianism must be rejected. Voting is not and never can be a good. It’s an evil, often used by brutal regimes to subjugate not only external but internal enemies.

    Nevertheless, “voting-lite” or “Voting 2,” as Elshtain called it, should be used with great caution if the goal is saving lives. When one is acting with “concrete responsibility” within history for the sake of what is to come, for the sake of saving lives, then these lesser forms of voting should not be rejected.

  • Mike T says:

    I understand the objection to voting in a liberal democracy, but to call voting qua voting evil in any sense in the political realm is bizarre. That conflates even classical republics (which were certainly not liberal) with modern liberal politics. It even implicates many variations of monarchy.

  • Aristokles Contra Mundum says:

    I thought this bit of distilled consequentialism might be of interest to some of those who post here:

    Tiptoeing around doxing myself, but I’ve witnessed some of Elshtain’s consequentalism in action. It resulted in a man who had been caught engaging in sex with an underage male prostitute being allowed to continue teaching children (and he continues to do so today).

  • Zippy says:

    Consequentialists always have to accuse deontologists of moral preening, of an unwillingness to get their hands dirty (a.k.a. do evil) in order that good may come of it.

    It is a transparent ad hominem, but at the same time it is the only rhetorical bullet consequentialists have. So of course they always fire it, impotently. If you can’t shoot the argument – and they can’t, because doing evil for the sake of the good is self contradictory -then shoot the man making it.

  • TomD says:

    Perhaps we need evil consequentialists, who do lesser goods that evil may result.

    Then again, maybe we don’t.

  • Uncle Pepe says:

    Well, if you say so.
    But how do you about this? Here’s a recent podcast arguing de Maistre to be a Proto-fascist. I’m surprised I don’t see any references to de Maistre here.
    I originally saw this posted on the Daily Stormer, but there’s no discussion of it there…
    https://radio.therightstuff.biz/2016/11/11/ep-33-proto-fascism-and-the-french-revolution-de-maistres-considerations-on-france/#disqus_thread

  • Cane Caldo says:

    I have been listening to a series of interviews with Harvey Mansfield, and I think I now better understand your worldview. As I listened, I often reflected back on things you had said (which in no way matched my view of the world). The intersection of the two of you helped me to understand something important: I am even more ignorant and arrogant than I thought. I had shamefully come to your intellectual coliseum almost wholly unarmed.

    Thanks.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane Caldo:

    I’ll look him up some time.

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