Serving concrete gods

December 23, 2016 § 433 Comments

Liberty is a jealous god.

Taken minimalistically to mean the observation that we have free will, coupled with a judgment that this is good, liberty lurks in a motte within which it bides its time, waiting to escape into social reality.

As a doctrine situated in concrete social reality it is the intrinsic and essential nature of liberty itself to liberate, to break free from boundaries which contain it. Liberty is never satisfied to remain motte-imprisoned as the banal academic observation that human beings have and exercise free will. Liberty by its nature actively demands liberation, something beyond the mere observation that it is the nature of human beings to choose our own behaviors. It is in the nature of liberty to advance on the imprisoning barriers of authority: thus liberalism is, at its very foundations, a political doctrine.  In an individual mind it may be theoretically possible to keep liberty locked in a box; as something considered an important social good, as a public reality, liberty is intrinsically and essentially political.

Because the social reality of liberalism is political, it is incoherent. Paradoxically this incoherence delivers precisely what liberty promises: it destroys authority and unleashes all-hungering Will, emancipated from history, tradition, unchosen heritage, nature, and nature’s God.  Liberty is Ungoliant, a hunger which by its nature cannot be fulfilled or permanently contained: a black hole which will never be satiated even as it swallows the entire world.  Only Ungoliant can promise the eternal cosmic emptiness of the utterly unfettered and unsatisfiable will, and through the power of paradox deliver the emptiness of that promise.

Libertarians serve their master with the same monotheistic devotion of the followers of Mohammed.  Although their god is the same god as the god of leftism, their simple minds fail to grasp that he is a trinity, simultaneously one and three.

Left liberals serve liberty the immortal abstraction in his full trinitarian glory, correctly realizing that father liberty begets son equality, from both of which proceed the fraternity of the free and equal emancipated new man.

Right liberals, with their conservative disposition toward concrete reality, are polytheistic. They view Liberty as one (perhaps even subordinate or minor) god among many in a pantheon of concrete gods. They imagine that the god Liberty will remain content in a locked room, will leave Family and Church and Christianity to their own separate domains while Liberty confines himself to whatever territory has not been claimed by other gods.

They imagine, in other words, that Liberty will be content to live out his life in a monk’s quiet cell and yet will still somehow remain Liberty.

§ 433 Responses to Serving concrete gods

  • Roman Lance says:

    As I was reading this piece when I read over the word “incoherent” I read it as “incontinent” and then mused the following: Liberty IS political incontinence writ large.

    Never sated, always ravenous, seeking new worlds to conquer and new troughs to feed from.

  • itascriptaest says:

    Like you I have tried engaging on this question at the Orthosphere and it always seems we end up talking past each other. Liberalism because it is a political philosophy (that pretends to do away with politics) can’t be compartmentalized in the way well meaning right-liberals think. Its logic seeps into everything, undermining everything and ultimately leading to the conditions of its own destruction.

    It is very strange that many (not necessarily all) right-liberals put such high regard on the golden age of classical liberalism as a viable model. Compared to ancient and medieval thought right-liberalism’s hold on power was very short and characterized by for to unseen levels of upheaval and struggle.

  • TomD says:

    The best right liberals acknowledge that illiberality is where we need to get to, but thing that we must of necessity transition through a period of “less liberalism” – getting out the way we got in, in a way. They’re honest about the end, but misguided about the means.

    It reminds me of the early Christians who felt that you had to first become a Jew before you could be a Christian. Just because you came to the Truth that way doesn’t necessitate that everyone follow your path, or even that every step of your path was good.

    Few of them realize that we’re not bothering with the means, what we care about is the Truth – acknowledge that, repent, and trust in the Lord.

    Down with consequentialism!

  • Todor says:

    You do understand that telling liberals to be less liberals means they would go full bolshevik on us? Is it really prudent?

  • Mike T says:

    but thing that we must of necessity transition through a period of “less liberalism” – getting out the way we got in, in a way.

    It will be that way because no major transition has ever been a sudden, full stop transition. That is how every mass conversion from paganism happened in the past. As I’ve said here before, even if every American woke up tomorrow fully agreed to end the Liberal experiment and work toward creating a non-liberal, authoritarian (in the positive, not pejorative sense) society you would still deal with the fact that we’d have to functionally govern as liberals while we alter our form of government, sift through precedents to remove, etc.

  • Mike T says:

    ** by govern as liberals, I mean even our leaders would be occupying offices that are distinctly guided by a liberal outlook.

  • “Liberty is Ungoliant, a hunger which by its nature cannot be fulfilled or permanently contained: a black hole which will never be satiated even as it swallows the entire world.”

    Is this Ungoliant like a giant spider or perhaps like the abyss? I sometimes say people pour idols into the abyss of our souls, always trying to fill up a hole that only God fits in. So liberty (and liberalism) in it’s quest to defy, challenge, or deny authority, can almost become like an addiction, a hunger, a compulsion?

    In faith, in marriage, there’s an interesting paradox there that I don’t fully understand. For example, I am all about freedom, liberty, but would I want to be liberated of my faith, or liberated of my marriage? Oh no, not at all, in that case, “liberty, freedom,” these things sound awful.

    Above Zippy said, “…it destroys authority and unleashes all-hungering Will, emancipated from history, tradition…” I would simply add “by force” to that. Those of us who might like to hold onto our authority systems will be denied that “liberty,” by force if necessary. You become almost like the person standing between an addict and his fix, and so out you go.

  • TomD says:

    insanitybytes22 – Chesterton has a quote that strikes at what you’re noticing:

    The revolt against vows has been carried in our day even to the extent of a revolt against the typical vow of marriage. It is most amusing to listen to the opponents of marriage on this subject. They appear to imagine that the ideal of constancy was a yoke mysteriously imposed on mankind by the devil, instead of being, as it is, a yoke consistently imposed by all lovers on themselves. They have invented a phrase, a phrase that is a black and white contradiction in two words—’free-love’—as if a lover ever had been, or ever could be, free. It is the nature of love to bind itself, and the institution of marriage merely paid the average man the compliment of taking him at his word. Modern sages offer to the lover, with an ill-flavoured grin, the largest liberties and the fullest irresponsibility; but they do not respect him as the old Church respected him; they do not write his oath upon the heavens, as the record of his highest moment. They give him every liberty except the liberty to sell his liberty, which is the only one that he wants. – The Defendant

  • itascriptaest says:

    Todor,

    It looks like they are preparing to do away with all the liberal “safeguards” anyway – https://balkin.blogspot.com/2016/05/abandoning-defensive-crouch-liberal.html?m=1

    But they won’t have to go totalitarian the way the Bolsheviks did. De Tocqueville showed how a liberal democracy can dispense with opposing views and it doesn’t require a secret police force.

    Mike T. I agree that in any scenario we would be forced to live with the by products of liberalism. That said, if liberalism is a political doctrine it could in theory collapse quickly like communism did internally or fascism’s demise from external factors. I personally don’t think it will all come down everywhere at once nor are we anywhere near the end of liberalism’s political dominance.

  • Mike T says:

    Liberalism will never collapse until there is a non-liberal answer that satisfies the middle class fear that it will not seek to empower itself to rule them arbitrarily and capriciously.

    I am personally at heart a minarchist. I don’t think the state has a large natural role in society. I also think that it is the only authority which must continually justify its exercise of authority to other authorities in society because it is the only one that has a last resort to violence against other authorities. Of all authorities, it must be more inclined to first say “come, let us reason about the good” before issuing orders.

  • Alex says:

    Zippy, when you write about “Liberty”, is it the same thing as the vice of Pride?

  • TomD says:

    Mike T, if we allow ourselves evil, we can get rid of liberalism, the middle class, and their fear quite easily. Drop some nukes, done.

    (I personally think that the state shouldn’t be much more than 100,000 people, and not much larger than a city-state.)

  • domzerchi says:

    So the only way the Liberty monster can be stopped from devouring the cosmos is to for everybody to deny that men have free will? Your hobby-horse has taken you into irrational pastures.

    “If anyone says that after the sin of Adam man’s free will was lost and destroyed…let him be anathema.” Trent session VI canon 5

    Although you seem to be implying that those of us who aren’t as enlightened as you can believe in free will without summoning godless Revolution (so we Catholics can be spared, I guess, as long as your Calvinist King can rest assured somebody like you is keeping an eye on us) as long as we simultaneously consider it to be only a “banal” truth, without consequences or logical implications.

  • domzerchi says:

    Polytheism? A Liberal Trinity? It’s easy to tell when reason has failed you–you have nothing but over-the-top analogies. Your Grand Hypothesis proves that libertarianism cannot work but does not harm conservatism. Haven’t you noticed that whenever you try to make a necessary connnection between the two you abandon deductive logic and resort to mysticism and poetic association? Don’t you wonder why you find it impossible to come up with anything more convincing?

  • “So the only way the Liberty monster can be stopped from devouring the cosmos is to for everybody to deny that men have free will?”

    Aren’t we all somewhat the products of culture? Heavily influenced by the media, our relationships, belief systems,etc?? To some degree, people really do not have the freewill we often imagine ourselves to have. Just to attempt to think for yourself, usually requires removing layers and layers of deceptions and lies, your freewill that has been hijacked, so to speak.

  • itascriptaest says:

    Domzerchi,

    I am having trouble discerning the reasoning behind your argument. Do you see liberty as synonymous with free will? Did people suddenly lose free will in non-liberal regimes?

    does not harm conservatism

    But conservatism is almost always a slightly more diluted form of libertarianism anyway.

  • donnie says:

    So the only way the Liberty monster can be stopped from devouring the cosmos is to for everybody to deny that men have free will?

    domzerchi, if that’s what you came away with from the Zippy’s OP, it would seem as if we have read entirely different posts.

    We human beings have free will. This was given to us by God, and it is good. If anyone denies this, let him be anathema indeed.

    That being said, for someone to go further and say, “Men have been granted liberty by God, therefore a man must be free to choose, and the state must allow a man to exercise his free will in a given situation”, this, I think, is unequivocally wrong.

    Free will allows man to choose evil, but all objectively evil acts should be punishable by the state, this is the nature of justice. To argue that the authority of the state must be exercised in a way that respects the man’s free will, or his individual liberty, so that the man is permitted to make choices that are objectively evil without consequences, is abominable.

    If we can agree on the paragraph above, then prioritizing the expansion and protection of individual liberty as the primary legitimate purpose for the right exercise of state authority makes no sense.

  • donnie says:

    Polytheism? A Liberal Trinity? It’s easy to tell when reason has failed you–you have nothing but over-the-top analogies.

    Zippy can obviously address his writing style decisions himself if he wants to, but he is clearly writing here as a direct response to a recent article and comment discussion over at The Orthosphere. Some readers and contributors at The Orthosphere have a bad habit of casting liberalism as this great nebulous anti-religion, holding opposition to God as its very core essence. If you looked back to all of three posts ago you would see that Zippy does not agree with defining liberalism this way, since it’s both wrong and horribly counter-productive.

    But clearly Zippy is making an analogy here, not claiming to define liberalism as a literal false Trinity. Nevertheless it’s presented in a way that most readers and contributors at The Orthosphere would likely understand.

  • domzerchi says:

    Donnie: right, because we are not truly free until we are compelled by the State. What kind of donkey is the will, after all? If the State rides it, it wills and goes where the State wills; if Satan rides it, it wills and goes where Satan wills.

    You are right that if the State doesn’t punish every objectively evil act, we sinners will unjustly enjoy bliss instead of the hell we deserve, driving you insane with holy and righteous envy and making your happiness impossible.

  • domzerchi says:

    Itascriptaest: indeed, any disagreement with libertarianism is nothing but a temporary dilution of it. That’s what makes it an all-devouring monster.

  • Zippy says:

    I await domzerchi’s (or anyone’s) presentation of a doctrine of political liberty which:

    1) Asserts something more than the motte-tautology that people ought to be allowed to do what it is good to allow them to do, and not what not, under the circumstances; and

    2) Stakes out rationally coherent territory in the bailey.

    That is, I await the presentation of a doctrine of political liberty which is simultaneously interesting (that is, discriminates between liberal and illiberal polities in favor of the former) and true, as opposed to uninteresting and true or interesting and false.

    While I am waiting, we can all listen to choirs of billions of crickets chirping.

  • Mike T says:

    Free will allows man to choose evil, but all objectively evil acts should be punishable by the state, this is the nature of justice. To argue that the authority of the state must be exercised in a way that respects the man’s free will, or his individual liberty, so that the man is permitted to make choices that are objectively evil without consequences, is abominable.

    It is objectively evil for a man to lie to his wife to get her off his back. That is also an excellent example of where allowing the state to punish anything and everything that is objectively evil would create a totalitarian state that is all consuming in its claims of authority over authorities and able to intrude into private life wherever it pleases.

  • Mike T says:

    At the very least, some conception of de minimis non curat praetor/lex is an absolute necessity or subsidiarity is going to be flushed down the toilet.

  • Zippy says:

    This is the Internet, so of course the same old crap keeps coming up over and over again. This one is a variation on the “ugly tie test”: https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/they-are-all-around-me-and-they-dont-know-they-are-liberals/

    Not every evil act needs to be punished. But tolerance of evil behavior does not translate into liberty – entitlement to commit evil behaviors without consequence.

    There are certainly cases where the sovereign would do right in punishing a man for lying to his wife.

  • Zippy says:

    As for this:

    Liberalism will never collapse until there is a non-liberal answer that satisfies the middle class fear …

    The assumption that history only unfolds once it asks us (or some subset of us) for permission exhibits both a lack of imagination and a lack of awareness of actual history.

    Mind you, I expect that liberalism has a long way to go before it destroys itself. But the notion that when it does destroy itself things will proceed according to some set predictions (let alone follow according to some strategy on the part of counterrevolutionary or postrevolutionary political strategists) is more than a little precious.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Mike T: I don’t really have the inclination if I had the time (well, actually I have plenty of time today, but still lack the inclination), but Zippy is right – we could all, I’m sure, come up with a thousand different scenarios of objectively evil acts the sovereign would be more or less compelled to punish given the circumstances.

    I know a couple who were married about 20 years and had four children, who divorced when the wife discovered that the husband was living a double life as a closet homosexual, thus putting their entire family at risk for all sorts of evil consequences.

    Should the sovereign, or should he not, be invested with the power to punish that sort of behavior in the husband; and moreover should he not in such cases punish such offenders with a vengeance while he yet “turns a blind eye” (so to speak) towards homosexual behavior by men who haven’t a family’s interests to consider above their own twisted pleasure, and more or less keeps their inordinate sexuality to themselves?

  • Todor says:

    My father lost his job in the 80’s when his boss at Shell learned he had a mistress. They didn’t want to give responsabilities to someone who was lying to his wife. Good ol’ days.

  • Mike T says:

    There are certainly cases where the sovereign would do right in punishing a man for lying to his wife.

    There are, but there are plenty where the sovereign has no business getting involved. This why when you make grandiose statements like every objectively evil act should be punishable by the state you end up not terribly from tutto nello stato…

    All objectively evil acts should be subject to accountability. It is, however, not always the case that it should be the state that is doing the accountability. Todor’s example would work better with lying than adultery, though an employer and the state have their own right to hold you liable for adultery within their sphere of authority over you.

    Should the sovereign, or should he not, be invested with the power to punish that sort of behavior in the husband

    Sexual deviancy generally rises to a level that is within the state’s natural mandate to punish. There are, however, plenty of objectively evil acts that are sufficiently not harmful to the public that the state should get involved except as a last resort when the breach of the peace rises to a certain level.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    There are, but there are plenty where the sovereign has no business getting involved.

    The thing that gets the sovereign involved in that sort of trivial dispute is when he is dragged into it by petitioning parties (calling the police, filing lawsuits, etc). The “knocking on doors demanding to know whether you have lied to your wife” boogyman is the product of libertarian fever dreams.

  • donnie says:

    domzerchi,

    What I am arguing here is really quite simple:

    Objectively evil acts ought to be punishable in this life, just as they undoubtedly will be in the next.

    This does not infringe on any man’s free will. At this moment, every man in America has free will and could break into his neighbor’s house right this moment and murder the family inside if he so chooses. But the state will justly punish any man who freely chooses this, as it ought to. Very few people would deny that this is just.

    So why aren’t all objectively evil acts acknowledged to be justly punishable in the same way? Note I am not arguing that all objectively evil acts ought to be punished as if they were the same as murdering your neighbor’s family, only that all objectively evil acts should be acknowledged as being punishable, as in, “It is within the state’s authority to punish all objectively evil acts.” What punishment is just and/or prudent to assign to any particular evil act is a separate question entirely. I am simply asserting that all objectively acts are justly punishable by the proper earthly authorities.

    The idea that punishing an objectively evil act somehow cheapens man’s free will in such a way that it becomes either prudent or just for us to allow certain objectively evil acts to be tolerated without punishment is, in my opinion, entirely ludicrous.

  • Todor says:

    Donnie,

    Prostitution used to be tolerated by the Church.

  • Zippy says:

    And again, tolerating something punishable for prudential reasons is entirely different from categorizing it as non-punishable.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Zippy@: “The thing that gets the sovereign involved in that sort of trivial dispute is when he is dragged into it by petitioning parties (calling the police, filing lawsuits, etc).”

    This makes me laugh even though it shouldn’t.

    I live in a very small neighborhood consisting of perhaps 75 people. On *numerous occasions* during the course of the last 16 years I’ve lived in this neighborhood, the authorities were called when it was later deemed (by the parties who called the authorities) a horrible mistake and totally unnecessary. Why? Well, because once you invite the authorities into a situation in which it would be better all around to resolve between the two of you, you invite them into your *entire lives*. And that very often ends badly for everyone involved – husband, wife, kids and so on.

  • Todor says:

    “It is within the state’s authority to punish all objectively evil acts.”

    Could you provide Church teachings corroboring this statement? I don’t see the point of arguing about this without magisterial confirmations.

  • Zippy says:

    The idea that X isn’t the case absent some explicit Magisterial citation is a form of positivism.

  • Todor says:

    No, but if there is a magiterial and authoritative declaration, it would be much easier for everyone to accept what you are saying don’t you think?

  • I would be tempted to take this idea a step farther, so it is not that “objectively evil acts ought to be punishable”, it is that liberty will eventually demand that objectively evil acts become mandatory. First evil should not be illegal, next evil is called good, and then the force of the government is used to mandate evil. All under the guise of liberty.

  • Zippy says:

    Todor:

    I think you mean “what donnie is saying”.

    To be fair though I would say something very similar, probably using the words “competent authority” rather than “state”.

    In any case though why the sudden reversion to “Magisterium or it isn’t true” on that specific question? Were you under the impression that everything I blog has been ratified by an ecumenical council?

  • Todor says:

    “To be fair though I would say something very similar, probably using the words “competent authority” rather than “state”.”

    Then I agree.

    As for the rest, it’s strange that you don’t see why including authoritative declarations from the highest authority on earth is a good idea when discussing authority. If you don’t know or didn’t take the time to check, wouldn’t it be better to just say it?

  • Zippy says:

    Todor:

    The Church expressly disclaims asserting a particular political theory as doctrine (and in general takes a non-positivist approach to pretty much all questions), so I suppose your combox expectations might be colored by unawareness of that particular point.

  • Terry Morris says:

    “it is that liberty will eventually demand that objectively evil acts become mandatory.”

    Well, [the acceptance] of *some* evil acts will become mandatory under liberalism. There are enough unprincipled exceptions to go around from here to eternity.

  • Zippy says:

    insanitybytes22:

    Lydia McGrew at What’s Wrong with the World has referred to a similar phenomenon as “choice devours itself”. What was prohibited first becomes optional, and then later becomes mandatory. Euthanasia is a good example, wherein the option of “death with dignity” becomes “time to die already, to save us all the trouble of your continued existence”.

  • Todor says:

    I know, but not embracing any political theory doesn’t mean that the Church has nothing to say about authority and obedience. Anyway, Happy Christmas to you and yours, Zippy.

  • GJ says:

    itascriptaest:

    Liberalism because it is a political philosophy (that pretends to do away with politics) can’t be compartmentalized in the way well meaning right-liberals think. Its logic seeps into everything

    Not always through logic, I think. Liberalism gets to romantics through romance (e.g. Chesterton).

  • Terry Morris says:

    “Lydia McGrew at What’s Wrong with the World has referred to a similar phenomenon as “choice devours itself”. What was prohibited first becomes optional, and then later becomes mandatory. Euthanasia is a good example, wherein the option of “death with dignity” becomes “time to die already, to save us all the trouble of your continued existence””

    Yeah, that’s the category of “stupid shit” as far as I’m concerned. I might otherwise place it in the category of “immoral shit,” but it seems stupid, first and foremost.

  • Karl says:

    Hope you have a good Christmas, Zippy. Thanks for putting up with me.

    Karl

  • Zippy says:

    Back at you Karl, and a happy and blessed Nativity to all.

  • itascriptaest says:

    indeed, any disagreement with libertarianism is nothing but a temporary dilution of it. That’s what makes it an all-devouring monster.

    What?

    Lydia McGrew at What’s Wrong with the World has referred to a similar phenomenon as “choice devours itself”.

    Who gives a flying f*ck what Lydia McGrew thinks? That hag is the queen of right-liberalism.

    Hope you have a good Christmas, Zippy. Thanks for putting up with me.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  • donnie says:

    To Zippy and friends,

    May you be as contented as Christmas finds you, all the year round.

    Merry Christmas to you all!

  • Terry Morris says:

    The very best of Christmas wishes to you and yours, Zippy, and to your wonderful readership! I have learned possibly more than you’ll ever truly know from this important site. Please continue your work undeterred and unabated!

    P.S. Mike T, fyi, I always thought your comments were thoughtful and interesting over at W-4; when they kicked you out, I very shortly thereafter stopped reading their entries. 🙂 Onward!

  • Step2 says:

    Merry Christmas

  • buckyinky says:

    Merry Christmas Zippy, and to all!

    I express a similar sentiment as Karl’s, even if for different reasons (for all I know). Thanks for putting up with me, and letting a “dull knife” bounce sincere questions off you. Thanks in the same way to many other commenters here also.

  • Mike T says:

    Regarding the state getting dragged into disputes, this is one area where the libertarians are at least unintentionally more right than wrong. It is likely tied to the cultural effects of the “consent of the governed” and that the state is supposed to execute the will of the people (however it may appear to be at the moment). Our political culture habituates politicians and other authorities to get involved both for personal advancement and because “that is what you’re supposed to do.”

    When you look at the subtext of de minimis non curat praetor, the appeal is literally that “this offense/issue is beneath the dignity of your office and the use of your time.” Proper authorities would probably more often than not agree and tell people to take their petty issues and squabbles away with them and only come back with an issue that actually matters to the common good or is a matter of real justice.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Regarding the state getting dragged into disputes, this is one area where the libertarians are at least unintentionally more right than wrong.

    No it isn’t. Contract and rights-enforcement is the area most central to libertarian imbecility: to their invocation of authority which pretends not to be authority.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Mike T.:

    Whenever you set out to destroy patriarchy and natural hierarchical structures at the base level of society (i.e., the family), then it seems fairly obvious to me that to the extent you are successful in doing so, to that very extent the art of self-government will be lost. To the extent the art of self-government is lost, to that very extent will external government replace it by nature and necessity.

    One of the problems I’ve personally run into with libertarians is that they insist that the individual good *just is* the common good. They say they want ‘the greatest amount of liberty with the least amount of government possible’ (or some similar rendition of the concept). Which I suppose is a fine sounding slogan amongst the purest of liberals, but what the hell does it mean when the rubber meets the highway?

    As long as “liberty” and “equality” are the primary goals, self-government will remain a lost art, and external government will in turn fill the gaping chasms left in their wake.

  • It’s only anecdotal but a bit amusing, on the internet libertarians are the first ones sure to ban me, to censor my comments. I am forever lamenting, “wait, where’s my liberty?” They can be a very touchy bunch. So the most freedom seems to come from those the most comfortable with authority. There is no fear there, you don’t pose a threat. I sometimes say, “those under authority, have authority” Those who don’t are generally all in a dither about some perceived threat to their belief system.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    I should have been more specific. I was referring to much more than formal contracts and the enforcement thereof to include things like “wahhhh my coworker is mean to me and my boss doesn’t care” to “my wife/husband isn’t doing right” and all sorts of busybody behavior where people want the state to get involved.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    That is because you are still used to thinking/speaking of enforcing the rules/entitlements which you prefer to see enforced as ‘leaving people alone’, and of rule-sets which you oppose as ‘busybody behavior’.

    This is a liberal habit of mind (and rhetoric) which you have, as yet, failed to purge from yourself.

  • Terry Morris says:

    insanitybytes22:

    I’m probably in the minority here, but seeing as how I’m full of anecdotes myself, I almost always consider anecdotal evidence to be at least a very interesting, if not entirely useful, source of information.

    That said, I have said elsewhere that this (theoretical) comment by Zippy is one of my personal favorites:

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/definition-of-liberalism/#comment-16379

    It’s one of my personal favorites because I very much identify with it; the ways in which I very much identify with it are best brought out in purely anecdotal evidence of my own.

  • Terry Morris says:

    I mustn’t understand Mike T.’s definition of ‘busybody behavior.’ To me, a ‘busybody’ is indeed a real phenomenon, but I don’t quite see how a ‘busybody’ as such equates to someone who has a *direct* connection to the (real or perceived) injustice at hand.

    I think of ‘busybodies’ as persons who have a very *indirect* interest in the outcome of a dispute. In other words, someone who tends to have nothing better to do with his/her time than to interject into business that is not properly hers to begin with.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Mike T.:

    To be more explicit, I don’t see how a ‘busybody’ is someone who, say, works side-by-side with me and thinks it necessary to ‘alert the authorities’ when I say something to him to the effect that he is ‘in no way my equal.’ This is not a busybody, but rather someone who has a direct interest in the implications of my thoughts about equality.

    Whereas, if, as an authoritarian father, one of my (liberal) siblings catches wind that I am (authoritatively) governing my family, and disagrees with this to the extent that she calls the authorities on me, this is, to my mind, the very definition of being a ‘busybody.’

    The same applies to non-family members who take it upon themselves to involve the authorities in a situation of ‘injustice’ that only they perceive to be injustice (by liberalism’s terms, of course).

    But what you’re describing is not busydody(ism) per se, but rather a misunderstanding of authority, superiority, justice, rights and so on. In other words a mucked up worldview.

    Again, it all goes back to the establishment (or not) of authoritarianism, and whether it is good or bad. Libertarianism has no answer for totalitarian government because it (libertarianism) fundamentally misunderstands its (totalitarianism) cause.

    One can be just as certainly assured that external government will just as quickly pour in to provide political equalibrium as the atmosphere will forever and always pour in cold, dry air to fill the void left by the rising warm and moist.

  • Mike T says:

    Terry,

    In my experience, the sort of person who is really likely to make a federal case out of your beliefs and perceived thoughts probably is a busybody. To me, a busybody is just someone who makes a habit of not minding their own business and constantly trying to “fix” things and make others do what they think they should be doing (without having the real authority to make those demands).

    As I said, I am naturally temperamentally inclined toward minarchy.

    My observation was not really about busybodies themselves, but about the fact that the state gets dragged all of the time into conflicts which should be resolved by other authorities. A lot of the time the government gets involved, it probably shouldn’t be, but it is getting there because of someone demanding it get involved (and our culture places a premium on the “will of the people”)

  • Mike T says:

    Free will allows man to choose evil, but all objectively evil acts should be punishable by the state

    In principle, but not every particular instance. In many cases, the state should not be allowed free reign to carry out a punishment precisely because it falls within the domain of another authority that is competent at handling the issue. For example, the state has no moral right to punish a child for stealing his sibling’s toys. That just is the prerogative of the parents, particularly the father and the state’s only legitimate claim of interest to step in on the parental authority would be if the parents were habituating the child to a life of thievery.

  • Zippy says:

    “Minarchy” is a problematic concept. It basically says that it is best to minimize the exercise of authority. But taken as something more authoritative than sentiment, this assumes that exercise of authority is a controllable parameter as opposed to a response to controverted/controvertible cases. De facto then “minarchy” means that we want a society of minimal controversy, along with unicorns that fart fairy dust.

  • Mike T says:

    “Minarchy” is a problematic concept. It basically says that it is best to minimize the exercise of authority.

    Minarchy is generally understood to be a political concept, not a general statement about authority. It generally refers to a preference for the most minimal state required to keep the peace and promote the common good. A “minarchist political authority” is not necessarily a liberal one at all, but one more inclined to tell people who say “there ought to be a law” that they should shut up and go away unless there is a compelling argument for the state to get involved. And even then, he would often still say “shut up and go away” because it is not necessarily even required that the state get involved as opposed to other authorities.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Do you even hear that whooshing sound?

  • One problem with minarchy is that it still puts government in the business of enforcing rights. In the US, we prefer to say “we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.” So rights are granted by God, unalienable. Government is actually in the business of revoking rights, not enforcing them. We revoke rights in order to meet the agenda of the authority in power. Minarchy wants minimal authority, which denies there is any desired agenda, or seems to believe one will just magically appear on it’s own. Where there is no authority, there is always going to be a power void.

    In a manner of speaking, we’ve seen the results of minarchy in action when it comes to things like immigrants and terrorism. We’ve been exercising limited authority, as in let’s just be kind and call these things “workplace violence.” Let’s avoid confrontation.

    California just signed a minarchy type law, legalizing child prostitution. Basically they are enforcing the rights of children to not be arrested.

  • TomD says:

    I think Mike T sees government and families as completely different spheres, as opposed to different points on the chain of authority. In other words, politics is involved with government (which does wars and taxes and stuff), not in the family or parish.

    I think Zippy is inclined to consider them both authorities, and of the same type.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Zippy@: “Do you even hear that whooshing sound?”

    Lol. I can kind of, sort of see where Mike T. is coming from on so called ‘Minarchy.’ On the other hand, my children would find it very strange indeed, upon my hearing a controversy they’d brought to me to resolve, if I said to them (as I have on numerous occssions in the past) “y’all had better find a way to work out your own petty disagreements between yourselves, and I’d better not hear anything of it again,” and then went on to explain that what I’d just done was in reality a non exercise of authority.

  • Mike T says:

    Tom,

    I think Mike T sees government and families as completely different spheres, as opposed to different points on the chain of authority. In other words, politics is involved with government (which does wars and taxes and stuff), not in the family or parish.

    Sort of. I do not regard authority as a chain, so much as overlapping spheres in a venn diagram. So to me, it is quite obvious that there are plenty of cases where the state has no moral authority to adjudicate a conflict and must necessarily tell people to shut up and go away.

    To put it bluntly, I reject the notion that the state is naturally at the top of the authority food chain, but rather is the primary authority for many types of conflict resolution given a unique natural competence in those areas.

  • Mike T says:

    Terry,

    y’all had better find a way to work out your own petty disagreements between yourselves, and I’d better not hear anything of it again,” and then went on to explain that what I’d just done was in reality a non exercise of authority.

    I sometimes use the words “politics” and “political” here in a purely vernacular way.

    People often do go to authorities to seek a resolution that is both a waste of the authority’s time and a sign of laziness among those asking for it. Other times, they go to another authority like the state because the most immediate and competent authority has not given them the resolution they want. Call it “authority shopping.”

    Part of what I was trying to get across with minarchy in politics is that it is my observation that there is no shortage of demand for hair-brained action by the state on all sorts of issues. If acted upon, political authorities would invariably find themselves acting almost like a steamroller over every authority and area of public and private life. So there needs to be a countervailing custom or principle that pulls the state back.

  • Zippy says:

    We have to have liberalism (or something that looks exactly like it that we refuse to call liberalism) because authority gets abused.

    How sticky is that mind trap.

  • Zippy says:

    The important thing is to grant the criticisms of liberalism – because they are unanswerable – but then to reassert something that just happens to look exactly like the same old libertarian “minarchist” fantasy that got us here in the first place.

  • Mike T says:

    So precisely how is your conception of state authority concretely different from “everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state?” Because if all authority is in all times and places subject to state oversight of its decisions, then it logically follows that everything that calls itself a temporal authority is in the state, there exists nothing outside of the state and no authority shall act against the state (except in the most extreme circumstance)

  • Mike T says:

    If the state is between God and every other authority in a chain of authority, then it logically follows that all authority that actually exists proceeds downward from God, to the state, to everything else.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    I don’t have a Theory of Everything Authority — in fact I reject TOE’s in principle, in every discipline.

    I also reject your persistent attempts to create a denied-to-be-liberal de-facto libertarianism.

  • “If the state is between God and every other authority in a chain of authority, then it logically follows that all authority that actually exists proceeds downward from God, to the state, to everything else.”

    I think that is somewhat true,Mike. I like the idea of Venn diagrams, except it doesn’t take power into account. So a family is not in their own little authority bubble equal and along side of state power. A family is actually toast, roadkill in a power struggle against the state. The power void we see,where the state is forever getting involved in things they shouldn’t, stems from government undermining natural lines of authority. I suggest that rather then taking away Gov authority, Gov needs to exercise authority and place it in the hands of families.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    My argument is not libertarian. It simply rejects the notion that the state is the highest authority, rather than the authority with the largest natural sphere of authority.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    The modern State is itself, well, modern.

    By now you really shouldn’t expect my assent to an argument which basically goes “First, assume a modern understanding of some constructed machinery which we will label ‘authority’. Then …”

  • Wood says:

    The discussions here and at the Orthosphere recently had me also thinking about the line insanitybytes mentioned above from the Declaration of Independence: “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are…Liberty…”. I notice this confusing free will with politics-as-liberty as a major motivator of liberalism among more conservative minded people. It’s remarkable – to me – and I never considered it before that liberalism is considered a God given right.

  • Wood says:

    That was not to say insanitybytes had been confusing anything. Rather that I had been the one confused when I was a liberal.

  • Zippy says:

    Wood:
    Obedience of authority is an act of the (free) will. Liberalism conflates this material “optionality” with a moral “optionality”; it attempts to deduce the latter from the former.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    A concrete example of what I am referring to as “state authority that simply does not exist” is a law that I saw passed in NC (IIRC). It asserted state prerogative to control if and when sex offenders may go to church. IMO, such a law is based on a non-existent authority. No Christian body is obligated to obey it or even pay it the slightest quantum of respect because the state simply has no real authority over such matters. The most it can assert is a right to prosecute negligent use of ecclesiastic authority over such matters that needlessly resulted in another grave sexual offense.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    Prescinding from the particular case (about which I know nothing and in which I have no interest), if your point is simply that all human authority has limits then that is uncontroversial. “Minarchism” implies something more than that though, and as already explained is problematic.

  • Mike T says:

    The modern State is itself, well, modern.

    It is, and most of what I’m talking about probably would not have occurred to a “good” (or even decent, even “not bad”) state authority “way back when.” It is highly unlikely that a local lord, magistrate, Greco-Roman civil officer, etc. would have considered it state business to intervene in the affairs of a family, the temple, etc. except when something gravely wrong justified an encroachment. The whole “let’s upend and fix this” seems to itself be mainly modern and associated with tyrants in pre-modern times.

  • Todor says:

    Could liberty be seen as a divine right in the sense that no authority has the power to prohibite a Catholic from practicing his religion?

  • Zippy says:

    Todor:
    “No authority legitimately commands evil behavior” is of course true. Construing that as “liberty” is a motte.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Wood@: “It’s remarkable – to me – and I never considered it before that liberalism is considered a God given right.”

    Yes, an *unalienable* God-given right. I suppose the phrase “unalienable God-given right” sounds redundant since if it’s God-given it’s unalienable by default, but it reinforces the point (especially among atheist types) that … ‘you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.’ Liberalism is THE UNALIENABLE God-given right.

    Incidentally, I went to one of those hunter safety courses years ago with our oldest son (who is now 29), and the question was posed to the class by the instructor at one point of whether gun ownership is a right or a privelege. Most everyone in the room – young and old alike – belted out almost involuntarily “a right.” I then spoke up and said, “no; gun ownership is a privelege, not a right.” To which the instructor barked back, “no; it’s a unalienable God-given right!” When I asked what made him think something that can be taken away is “unalienable,” he basically answered ‘the second amendment, duh.’ Ha, ha.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Zippy @: “Wood:
    Obedience of authority is an act of the (free) will. Liberalism conflates this material “optionality” with a moral “optionality”; it attempts to deduce the latter from the former.”

    That’s an interesting insight. I’ve probably even said this before in other forums (I know I have in private conversations), but it occurs to me in this context that liberalism is the ideology of perpetual adolescence (which is why we see so many perpetual adolescents these days, I suppose – vicious cycle and all that). Think in terms of a 45 year-old man making the same basic argument as his 16 year-old daughter to the effect that ‘if you will just let me do what I want to do, then I won’t want to do it so much anymore.’ Mother then enters the fray with her two cents – ‘can you now see, Ted, that she knows you are applying a double standard in her case, and she also knows this is flat WRONG!’ Ted: ‘okay, yeah, I see what you mean – here are the keys, honey, and a birth control prescription – please be careful, but knock yourself out.’

  • Zippy says:

    Terry Morris:

    The flip side is that because authority has limited material capacity to enforce, its “just powers” derive from the “consent of the governed”. Note how the term “just powers” mixes the moral (authority) and material (enforcement) into a single motte-and-bailey brew.

  • Mike T says:

    Terry,

    It’s really neither. There is no inalienable right to be armed, but the circumstances under which the state can disarm peaceful people are not many. A simple preference by the state for a disarmed population does not confer a right to make it so for many reasons, one of which is that the state will not take direct responsibility for the security of the people it has disarmed. Our own government has, in court, formally disavowed the notion that anyone has an individual right to state protection, and I suspect that historically virtually all courts in every society would agree to a similar principle.

    At a basic level, taking weapons from the peaceful members of society is like declawing a cat and then throwing it back outside then getting indignant when someone asks how the cat is going to fight if it’s cornered. You need only look at more heavily disarmed societies to see where this logic goes; women cannot even safely use mace on bona fide would-be rapists in the UK and Australia. A woman is now facing criminal prosecution in France for beating the hell out of a man who man-handled her in an attempt to sexually assault or rape her.

    We can pretend that a theoretical right of self-defense is different from the particular material means of actually carrying it out, but that’s just intellectual bullshit. There are plenty of classes of people who–by their very nature–simply cannot credibly defend themselves from a typical healthy male assailant without a deadly weapon.

  • Mike T says:

    Part of the problem here is that Liberalism frames issues like this in a false dichotomy between “rights” that are functionally plenary and privileges that exist at the sufferance of the state. How and when an authority can morally demand a person or class of people to be disarmed is complicated. It is not a simple matter of either you can carry your M16 w/ grenade launcher to your kid’s PTA meeting or the state can seize every gun, knife and can of mace in your possession.

  • It seems to me that certain unalienable rights endowed by our Creator refers to more nebulous things like “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” So liberalism is very liberal with their definition of God given “rights,” all the way down to the right to never been offended.

    So Zippy says of right liberals, “…They view Liberty as one (perhaps even subordinate or minor) god among many in a pantheon of concrete gods.” We could even place gun rights in this category, because what are they if not the desire to attempt to enforce and defend our own liberty in defiance of authority?

    I love the second amendment, no desire to see it go away, I just don’t think it falls under an unalienable God given right?

  • Mike T says:

    OT, but I’m really surprised that W4 hasn’t exploded over California’s infamous new “prudential decision.”

    And once again, the Simpsons hits too close to home in their portrayal of modern society. That is almost precisely how I see the interplay between their legislature and governor today…

  • CJ says:

    I’m genuinely surprised that subsidiarity has only been mentioned once in this thread given the direction it’s taken. It’s not the government’s job to handle my son when he mouths off to his mom: it’s mine.

    Maybe it’s an overreaction to liberalism, but the government isn’t the sole, or even preferred authority. And even when it is the criminal law may not be the right tool.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Subsidiarity has been alluded to in this discussion several times. I could be wrong, but I don’t think anyone here would disagree with your assertion that it’s your job, and not the government’s, to deal with your son’s disobedience. I certainly don’t disagree with that. Nor do I necessarily disagree that an overreaction (or overcompensation, as it were) to liberalism is necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes that’s necessary. What I think we’re disagreeing with is that fighting liberalism with more liberalism is a good idea.

  • Mike T says:

    CJ,

    I would go a step further and say that it’s not even the state’s authority to get involved unless your response is both objectively evil and sufficiently grave that it demands the state’s involvement.

  • Hrodgar says:

    MikeT:

    What does it take to “demand” the state’s involvement? A reasonable chance of a better outcome than non-intervention? If it doesn’t get involved we’re all going to die? Or what? The requirement is so vague as to be basically useless, boiling down to “the state only has the authority to intervene when it should intervene.” In the first place that is extraordinarily unhelpful in sussing out the limits of authority.

    In the second place, it is simply false. What the prince has authority to do and what is prudent for him to do are distinct categories.

  • Step2 says:

    Mike T,
    OT, but I’m really surprised that W4 hasn’t exploded over California’s infamous new “prudential decision.”

    They haven’t because framing the law the way you have is one of the many things that is wrong with this world. Once again, Snopes is required.

  • Mike T says:

    They haven’t because framing the law the way you have is one of the many things that is wrong with this world.

    I didn’t frame it all, I just simply made fun of it. The description at Snopes backs up what I read elsewhere which says that the entire class is treated as victims, rather than making that the presumption with room for prosecutors and police to charge a minor if their behavior is not that of a victim (I knew a few girls in high school that would have probably taken advantage of this law to make some money, but then I lived in a rural area that was “middle class meets meth trade”).

  • Mike T says:

    Hrodgar,

    Like Zippy, I have no neat little theory that unifies it all and explains everything. The dividing lines are just messy. It is, however, obvious that a prince simply does not possess the authority to just walk into an arbitrary house and start countermanding the father/husband (or mother in the case of a widow or when the father is away). If the father says X and the prince says Y and both direct that at the kids, what the father says carries more weight than the prince because the natural authority, short of a clear and present community need or moral matter puts the balance of authority in the hands of the father, not the prince.

    In the past, this probably rarely came up because government authorities tended to understand that not only do other authorities exist, but actually prefer them to handle their matters. It’s a modern idea that the state should oversee and veto any “questionable” decision by other authorities.

  • Wood says:

    Step2,

    From my perspective, the Snopes article shows the law to be possibly even worse than what conservative controversialists are proposing. I can certainly understand a very real concern regarding the extent a “minor” is culpable in being involved in the selling end of prostitution, but I think handing prostitutes – of any age – with a blanket cover of victimhood with no consideration for the particular issues involved is wrong.

  • Wood says:

    And I’m probably a jerk for thinking it, but it would be some enjoyable irony if a group of people who believe women who procure abortion should be categorically viewed as victims are getting enraged at a law which seeks to do the same thing with youths involved in prostitution.

  • Step2 says:

    Wood,
    Considering that statutory rape laws utilize the same sort of “it can’t be legal consent below a certain age” justification it seems consistent to say that minors should not be legally culpable for prostitution. Even in Mike T’s attempt to justify prosecution he undermined his case by alluding to meth addiction which means their drug dealer is receiving nearly all the profits from their sex work same as an actual pimp would.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Wood:

    Yeah, that probably does make you a “jerk” in the eyes of many. Lots of people think I’m a jerk (indeed, worse – a Nazi even) due to the fact that as a strong believer in authoritarianism, and the father of four daugters (two of whom are of age), I can still believe the death penalty is jusifiable in some cases of a woman’s procuring an abortion (in spite of whatever pressure she is getting from elsewhere), particularly cases of women who were well educated as to the evil of abortion in a home like my own.

    Contraception is a bit of a different matter, but we’re playing in the same ballpark with contraception, and it *can* and likely will, get one of my offspring the equivalent of excommunicated if (s)he doesn’t quickly amend her ways after I’ve had a few heart-to-heart talks with him/her about it.

  • Mike T says:

    Step2,

    Even in Mike T’s attempt to justify prosecution he undermined his case by alluding to meth addiction which means their drug dealer is receiving nearly all the profits from their sex work same as an actual pimp would.

    I didn’t undermine anything I said because the comment was a generalization about the range of socio-economic class in the area.

  • Wood says:

    Step2,

    Fair enough. But why can’t we be honest with our language? We’ve long had laws against rape. So it seems to me these laws are designed to (perhaps justly) punish fornication without the courage of the convictions. I’m not saying fornication is outside the purview of legal punishment, I’m saying that if that is our goal, why not just say it. Without the use of such an Orwellian phrase as “statutory rape.” I’ve personally witnessed such a law used as a weapon to confer victimhood to and eliminate agency of young women who were caught fornicating, some of whom quite blissfully for years.

    Terry,

    Good Lord willing I’ll be a dad someday soon. But my heart and prayer goes out to Catholic parents. I – literally – don’t know how y’all do it.

  • Hrodgar says:

    Re: MikeT 31DEC2016 12:07pm

    I was not dissenting from a theory, I was dissenting from a particular proposition. Namely, “it’s not even the state’s authority to get involved unless your response is both objectively evil and sufficiently grave that it demands the state’s involvement.”

    Even if I were to grant (which I do not) that a prince’s authority can never trump a father’s, so what? I was not claiming that a prince’s authority has no limits, or that it had no limits apart from higher authority. I was only saying that what a man has the authority to do or command is distinct from what he should do or command, and that the command is not in some sense “demanded” by the circumstances does not mean it was invalid and need not be obeyed.

  • Step2 says:

    Wood,
    If you said they were designed to punish or prevent fornication with minors, especially by older adults, then I don’t see a problem with changing the language. Expanding the original intent to cover fornication in general I would dispute. A lot of states, but not California, have established exceptions for prosecution when both parties are the same or close in age. California requires prosecution of both parties but has established different punishments when they are the same or close in age.

    Interesting historical tidbit: Delaware used to have the lowest age of consent at 7 but is now, along with California, among the twelve states with the highest age of consent at 18.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Age of consent at 7 – Wow! I wonder what the thinking/reasoning was on that?

  • Mike T says:

    Hrodgar,

    Even if I were to grant (which I do not) that a prince’s authority can never trump a father’s, so what? I was not claiming that a prince’s authority has no limits, or that it had no limits apart from higher authority. I was only saying that what a man has the authority to do or command is distinct from what he should do or command, and that the command is not in some sense “demanded” by the circumstances does not mean it was invalid and need not be obeyed.

    I did not say it never trumps that of the father. I said that in ordinary circumstances it does not. I am referring to a reason father who is not committing objectively evil acts against his children or wife. For the prince to intervene in ordinary matters is an usurpation, like if a religious leader decided he was going to start commanding the Army in a time of war. It is one authority unjustly crossing into the domain of another.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Mike T.:

    Not really my fight, but I do agree that both Step2 and Hrodgar have misread you in the cases aforementioned. I don’t really know what the answer to all of this is, but it seems pretty evident to me that fighting liberalism with more liberalism is not the answer (how can we ever achieve escape velocity by that means?!) on the one hand, and we can do at least something constructive about it on a familial level, on the other. Beyond that, I’m basically at a loss.

  • Hrodgar says:

    While I would certainly agree that it MAY be a form of usurpation, I shy away from the statement that it ALWAYS is in the absence of a grave evil.

    And it remains the fact, regardless of the particular interplay of authorities in question, that the questions of a) “Can I licitly give this order?” b) “Should I give this order?” and c) “Should this order be obeyed?” are, while closely related, distinct questions, and fields answers are overlapping but very rarely match perfectly.

    Even when the prince need not be obeyed, it is not, or at least not simply, because he didn’t HAVE to give the order.

  • It can be very easy to confuse authority with morality. Authority is much more about designated roles, and the power and responsibility that goes along with them. We are forever questioning authority in the modern world, asking if it’s moral, when in fact what is moral and just does not define what is authority.

    A bank robber with a gun has authority. An abusive parent has authority. Might still makes right in the world and in order to intervene in that natural order, you have to bring more might. So government is always authority, it is always force. Whether it is moral and just is a whole other question.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Wood:

    Blessed is the man who has a quiver full. (Just don’t be surprised if it turns out that one arrow in a full quiver doesn’t initially fly exactly straight in spite of your best efforts to polish it out just so.) 🙂

  • Terry Morris says:

    Zippy, I read that permapost awhile back. It’s great stuff, sir!

  • I appreciate Zippy’s permapost and the ideas laid out. This part however still gives me pause, “Authority is a moral capacity to oblige a subject to choose this thing rather than that.”

    It’s the word “moral,” which makes me hesitate. God for example is good, moral, just, but if He wasn’t, would that really impact the existence of His authority?

    So, say perhaps a pedophile teacher in a public school somewhere, they still have authority and a capacity to oblige, but it is an immoral authority.

  • Mike T says:

    insanitybytes,

    An evil man still must be obeyed in situations where his will is not commanding evil acts.

  • Mike T, that is where things become all convoluted in our definitions of authority, because simply by declaring a man to be evil, you’ve gone and revoked his authority. To say he must still be obeyed when he is commanding non evil acts, then puts us in a position of constantly judging and questioning his morality, which is actually a way of revoking his authority, because he is now perceived as being unworthy of the authority he holds.

    I am not suggesting blind obedience, just that relating authority to morality really becomes a sticky wicket. Atheists for instance,will often attempt to reason that God does not exist because God is bad, which of course is illogical, because you cannot be both non existent and bad at the same time. What they are doing is attempting to rationalize the revoking of authority. Once God is deemed unworthy, then His authority, indeed, His very existence, no longer exists.

  • Zippy says:

    It isn’t difficult. Authority is a (inherently limited but real nonetheless) capacity to impose moral obligations. This is distinct from power, as I explain in the permapost and its comment thread.

  • Todor says:

    Having authority is not a metaphysical propriety that you can loose, right? If I’m not mistaken, the affirmation “X has authority” is just an empirical observation.

  • Mike T says:

    insanitybytes,

    Jesus could have revoked August Caesar’s authority on the spot. Caesar and his uncle were, in many real ways, evil men. Yet what did Jesus say concerning Caesar’s right to collect taxes in Judea?

  • Zippy says:

    Todor:

    It is empirical in a sense (though not necessarily in a metaphysically ’empiricist’ sense). If we know that Bob is Jane’s husband and Mary’s father then we know that Bob has (with the usual ‘limited’ caveat*) authority over Jane and Mary.

    [*] Its limits might be thought of as analogous to, but distinct from, Bob’s power to enforce his authority.

    See also this post on the reality of authority: https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/the-positivist-blindfold/

  • Terry Morris says:

    insanitybytes22@: “God for example is good, moral, just, but if He wasn’t, would that really impact the existence of His authority?”

    If God were morally imperfect like his creatures, then He wouldn’t be God. So, yes, a deprivation of moral purity would greatly impact the existence of God’s Authority. But then again, if we’re talking about a morally imperfect being we’re not talking about God. At best we’re talking about *a god*.

    Human beings all lack moral perfection to a greater or lesser extent, which is of course why we’re not God. But that we partake in God’s attributes means that we are endowed with the capacity to act as his agents in certain ways in respect to our natural inferiors. That human beings often abuse their positions of authority to compel participation in evil acts does not negate the fact that authority as such is the moral capacity to compel. It just means we’re imperfect, unlike God.

    I’ll give an example of a lesser kind, or a type of a *morally neutral* we’ll say, exercise of authority I’m personally very familiar with since I employ it from time to time –

    I am prone, from time to time, to tell my kids “no” when I really see nothing inherently bad or dangerous in what it is they’re asking permission to do. This can be said to be a kind of *arbitrary* exercise of authority, and for those who see it as such, an “illegitimate” one. Now, I’ve explained this hundreds of times to persons on the outside looking in who think this is just “wrong”: there is one of two reasons that I do this on random occasions – either (1) I have an intuition I can’t explain that something may go wrong, and I’m trusting my instinct in spite of the fact I cannot explain it; and/or (2) I may, for whatever reason, deem it necessary to test a particular child’s (in a particular circumstance) willingness to obey my command. In either case I am not abusing my authority by compelling an immoral act (although certain individuals seem to see it that way), but it can be seen as a morally neutral exercise of authority on my part; but that is something separate from whether I have the moral authority to give the ‘morally neutral’ command.

  • Todor says:

    Now I’m not sure I understand how Jesus could have revoked the authority of Caesar. Could Jesus have said: “From now on, you’ll pay your taxes to Jeremy over here. He’s the new Caesar”?

  • Zippy says:

    Todor:
    Christ certainly had the authority to do so and, as God, the power to enforce it. Instead he chose to use the question to teach us something about authority (and also, arguably, about money).

  • Terry Morris says:

    Zippy @: “Christ certainly had the authority to do so and, as God, the power to enforce it. Instead he chose to use the question to teach us something about authority (and also, arguably, about money)”

    Zippy, exactly. In a similar way He chose to furnish us a lesson about authority in the case of the would-be stone throwing mob. Could Jesus have stood aside and simply allowed the mob to stone the adulteress to death? Of course he could have, and been perfectly justified in doing so. In “let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” Jesus was not condemning the law, nor the authority to carry it out, for goodness sakes; He was instead condemning motive on the part of the would-be stone throwers. After which, of course, He told the woman to “now go and sin no more.”

    I have had this passage thrown in my face about a gazillion times. No matter, of course, that in about 99.999 percent of cases I am not advocating his/her “stoning.”

  • Mike T says:

    Todor,

    Two words: Romans 13

  • TomD says:

    Terry – and then a pebble flew from the back of the crowd and Jesus saith, “Mom!”

  • Zippy says:

    TomD:
    HA! On today of all days too.

  • Ahh, perhaps this is starting to make more sense. So when Zippy says “Authority is a moral capacity…” the term “moral” is defined like it is in Romans 13, “..there is no authority except that which God has established.”

  • Zippy says:

    There are lots of different kinds of moral theories. But a moral obligation just refers to an action that the person subject to that obligation really ought to do (or not do). And a person with authority has a capacity to create/assert particular limited moral obligations (e.g. “drive on the right side of the road”) which really do morally oblige subjects.

  • Step2 says:

    At the permapost I noticed this part from King Richard:
    “Peasants under a local baron had lower taxes, better access, and more guarantees of their rights than do Americans with their ‘consent of the governed’.
    Part of it was because the social contract was explicit, not implicit.”

    Strangely, no lectures were forthcoming about the Orwellian language of social contracts.

    As to the claims in the post itself, there are some fairly obvious grey areas between moral authority and legal authority. I mean, nobody thinks driving on the right side of the road is morally righteous, but due to custom, habit, and the basic logic that having inconsistent laws will cause accidents the law has legal legitimacy and authoritative enforcement without any clear moral implications.

  • Hrodgar says:

    Driving on the right is (in polities where it has been commanded) an act of both obedience and prudence. I’m fairly confident both of those are virtues.

    Yeah, sure it’s only a little thing, and there’s the whole bit about the unprofitable servant we need to remember. But there’s also the bit about trusted with little and trusted with much, and you’ve gotta start some place…

  • Zippy says:

    Liberalism has to invent ‘social contracts’ where none exist in order to pretend that the governed have consented. I don’t see how that lie denigrates the very idea of contracts.

  • Wood says:

    Step2,

    I took the “social contract” in the comment you referenced simply to mean that authority necessarily *morally* – as opposed to physically – constrains actions. I see it as one way moderns have things upside down. The “consent of the governed” approach would say that breaking a law would of necessity carry a legal punishment while it may or may not be an immoral act. I think the authoritarian approach would say that breaking a law even as mundane as driving on a certain side of the road – far from being “without any clear moral implications” – would of necessity be immoral. While it may or may not warrant legal punishment. When I discuss this with people who think I’m crazy they get very hung up on the “morality” part. As if morality can only be concerned with (as of 1/1/2017) really, really important things.

  • TomD says:

    There’s no moral aspect to the side of the road you drive on – until the authority says one side; then to disobey will risk sin.

  • Step2 says:

    Zippy,
    The principles of democratic governance have been around since the birth of Western civilization in Ancient Athens. Formalizing those principles in political theory wasn’t an invention to emancipate humanity from history it was a restoration of history. But if you concede there are illiberal forms of social contracts then I will consider my argumentative goal accomplished.

    Wood,
    Except that traffic flow laws can be really, really important. They can be vitally important to you the driver, your passengers, and everybody else on or near the road. There just isn’t anything inherent to them that is moral although there are still secondary moral considerations of prudence and obedience. If you can go from one country to another with different “correct” flows of traffic then its arbitrariness is apparent and that universal randomness bordering on contradiction is what makes it intrinsically morally neutral.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Is it immoral to drive through a red light at 1:00 am with no danger to anyone else, and for no other reason than impatience? Ans: Not unless a police officer catches you in the act. Ha, ha.

    The ‘if it’s legal and moral’ quip always gives me pause. Seems like a LOT of people who appeal to the phrase automatically consider legality to equal morality. And of course vice versa.

  • Zippy says:

    Step2:

    But if you concede there are illiberal forms of social contracts then I will consider my argumentative goal accomplished.

    The qualifier ‘social’ is unnecessary. There isn’t anything intrinsically liberal about explicit agreements involving the essentials of contract: explicit offer, explicit acceptance, and material consideration.

    The problem is that the liberal ‘social contract’ idea lies and attempts to pretend that a contract exists where there isn’t one. Liberalism has to do that in order to build up its lying pretense that consent of the governed (as opposed to nature and nature’s God) is the cause and source of legitimate authority (or of the legitimacy of authority, if you prefer).

    “Conceding” that contracts exist and are not intrinsically liberal doesn’t even slightly undermine my claim that the “Enlightenment” liberal “social contract” – basically a question begging presumption in favor of liberalism – isn’t actually a contract at all, let alone “Enlightened”.

    I’ve addressed the ‘nothing new under the sun’ and other rhetorical gambits from antiquity any number of times from any number of angles. Here is one place from one angle:

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/greek-word-salad-with-crotons/

  • Mike T says:

    Terry,

    Everyone knows that the majority of traffic laws are primarily there as a way of raising revenue and beating certain classes of offenders. Otherwise, people tend to follow the law only when it is convenient and prudent–including the police themselves. Many a time I’ve been behind a cop and just matched his speed 🙂

  • Zippy says:

    Terry Morris:

    Seems like a LOT of people who appeal to the phrase automatically consider legality to equal morality. And of course vice versa.

    Modern people confuse authority, power, and enforcement with each other; or scramble them together into an incoherent mess. This is all part of the attempt to invalidate or at least avoid the specific question of authority: of the natural God-given capacity that fathers, husbands, sovereigns, property owners, aristocrats, etc have to morally oblige subjects to do (or refrain from) certain actions within the domain of prudence when those subjects would prefer otherwise.

    In reality, the morally right thing to do (or refrain from doing) can and does change from one locality or jurisdiction to another: not when it comes to refraining from intrinsically immoral actions, of course, but encompassing the entire domain of prudence. This is precisely because different geographies, groups of subjects, institutions, and other spheres fall under the legitimate authority of different men.

    But most modern people are sociopaths who don’t actually believe in the reality of authority.

    Relevant:

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/subsidiarity-and-freedom-are-unrelated/

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/wars-of-religion-by-other-means/

  • TomD says:

    People what would run a red light at 1AM are probably the type of people what would vote for a Trump.

    Stoplights falling under consent of the governed would fit the liberal story, I guess.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Tom D.@ “People what would run a red light at 1AM are probably the type of people what would vote for a Trump.”

    Hahahaha! Basically the same type people what would get behind a cop in order to match his violation of the law, right? Lol.

    Mike T.: Cops generally don’t at all mind your matching their speeding violation (as long as they’re in the act of the violation), but try to exceed it by 1 or 2mph and see what happens. I tried it once back when I was a lot younger. He let me get around him, then immediately lit me up. Then proceeded to give me a good tongue lashing, which I took like a champ because I figured I had it coming. When I told him what I was up to – that I just wanted to see what he would do – he rolled his eyes and threw his hands up, and told me to “get the hell outta here.” Lol. God bless him for not ticketing me!

    Zippy: More great stuff. Thanks for that, sir.

  • TomD says:

    Terry – that’s what authority is for – and that kind of interaction is much harder these days with automatic cameras and required reporting.

  • Wood says:

    Step2,

    “If you can go from one country to another with different “correct” flows of traffic then its arbitrariness is apparent and that universal randomness bordering on contradiction is what makes it intrinsically morally neutral.”

    Are you not proving too much here? Is it your belief that differing cultural norms implies moral neutrality? I suppose you might reply with: “Um, I was talking about traffic laws. Not gays being thrown off buildings and stoned”. To which I would refer you back to my “really, really important” point.

  • Zippy says:

    Intrinsic moral neutrality isn’t really the issue. What makes juridical rules not-morally-neutral is, quite precisely, the moral imperative to obey legitimate authority.

  • Step2 says:

    Wood,
    That was a really good counterexample. I’m not sure if my answer will be sufficient but I’ll give it a shot. Of course there are different cultural norms, but not all of those norms reflect upon an individual’s or society’s morality. I’m not sure what could be the moral basis for claiming only good people drive on the right side of the road or conversely that only wicked people drive on the left side, other than the previously mentioned secondary moral considerations of prudence and obedience. When talking about public executions it seems obvious to me that you are talking about intrinsic morality and justice, and that does reflect back on the individuals who support and adhere to such laws. Whatever your moral determination is on that subject it seems like that determination should be a universally applicable standard as a matter of justice. Was that just a complicated way of saying one subject is really, really important while the other isn’t? Perhaps, but I hope it clarifies why.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Tom D.@: “Terry – that’s what authority is for – and that kind of interaction is much harder these days with automatic cameras and required reporting.”

    Tom, yeah, you’ll get no argument out of me on either point. Even back then when I had a lot more libertarian inclinations in me, I still understood that the officer in question possessed legitimate authority to pull me over and ‘eat me out’, as well as to exercise it. That is why I “took it like a champ (i.e., didn’t argue about it),” because I “figured [actually knew] I had it coming” to me. (I always tell my kids, “never argue about a thing when you know you’re in the wrong.”) Like I said, I just really wanted to see whether or not he would pull me over for it, even at the risk of being ticketed. I got my answer, and I actually drove away feeling pretty good about it all around.

  • Mike T says:

    Step2,

    ’m not sure what could be the moral basis for claiming only good people drive on the right side of the road or conversely that only wicked people drive on the left side, other than the previously mentioned secondary moral considerations of prudence and obedience.

    Nothing, really. The fact that it is a valid use of state authority makes it a moral consideration and then disobedience becomes a moral failing on your part.

    That’s obviously excluding speed limits because no one, not even the authorities themselves, really acknowledge them as anything other than voluntary wealth transfers to the state. We all practice Irish Democracy there.

  • donnie says:

    That’s obviously excluding speed limits because no one, not even the authorities themselves, really acknowledge them as anything other than voluntary wealth transfers to the state. We all practice Irish Democracy there.

    Actually, I distinctly recall coming across an Examination of Conscience worksheet that included, “Have I broken the speed limit?”

    Which makes sense. I’m pretty sure not respecting the traffic laws enacted by the legitimate authority is a sin.

    “Fear God and honor the emperor” 1 Pet 2:17

  • donnie says:

    OT – I’m starting to wonder if there’s a bug with WordPress regarding use of the blockquote html code. I definitely remember checking to make sure I closed the blockquote brackets just now, triple checked it actually.

    [Fixed the comment, but don’t know why the closing tag was missing – Z]

  • Patrick says:

    Traffic laws are a spirit-of-the-law thing more than a letter-of-the-law.

  • Mike T says:

    Traffic laws are a spirit-of-the-law thing more than a letter-of-the-law.

    If they weren’t, they’d be a bullet train to Hell for most of the human race in developed countries all by themselves.

  • Terry Morris says:

    I never much agreed with libertarian insistence that speed limits are “arbitrarily” set by government just because *it can*. Using speed limits as a revenue raising/wealth transferring tool it seems to me is just a way to make sure all the city employees get their Christmas bonuses and Christmas turkeys without all the fuss of raising the local sales tax a fraction of a cent to provide it. And everybody does it, so it basically cancels itself out over the long haul.

  • Mike T says:

    I wouldn’t call them arbitrarily set, I would just call them arbitrarily obeyed by all parties.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    Ted: The U.S. wants to make a big deal out of North Korean human rights issues. We are enjoying very equal and free lives here. But look at the U.S. A white police officer shoots a black citizen in clear daylight, treating black people’s lives as if they were as worthless as flies. I want to tell Americans to break away from their leaders’ mindsets and begin peace negotiations with us. That’s the only way to save yourselves. [source]

    And who is to say that they’re entirely wrong?

  • TomD says:

    Today I was meditating on whether I’d come out of voting retirement to vote YES on an amendment requiring voters to swear that they don’t believe in God before voting.

  • GJ says:

    Mike T:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Juche philosophy is liberal, and therefore that the source amounts to the standard attacks by liberals against other ‘non-authentic’ liberals.

  • Mike T says:

    Juche is just another flavor of Marxism-Leninism adjusted for the particular quirks of Korea, so yeah it’s definitely liberal.

  • GJ says:

    Mike T:

    And who is to say that they’re entirely wrong?

    One tell-tale sign of liberals is pointing out how other ‘bad’ liberals fail at bringing about freedom and equality (e.g. “The U.S. wants to make a big deal out of North Korean human rights issues. We are enjoying very equal and free lives here. But look at the U.S.A…”) Liberals are quick to make true observations about how other forms of liberalism fail, and one consequence of such intramural squabbling is increased polarisation and entrenchment.

    Witness the recent conservative vs alt-right disagreement, with engagement at WWtW being one microcosm: both sides make true criticisms about the other side (e.g. ‘you don’t actually conserve anything’ vs ‘you’re going for immoral consequentialism’), and after each round both sides end up more self-satisfied and convinced that the other is wrong.

  • Mike T says:

    both sides make true criticisms about the other side (e.g. ‘you don’t actually conserve anything’ vs ‘you’re going for immoral consequentialism’), and after each round both sides end up more self-satisfied and convinced that the other is wrong.

    Their concept of consequentialism is undermined by the fact that they consider a lot of things that aren’t evil to be evil. For example, the idea of making anyone suffer as a result of pivoting away from the current state of family law is wrong to them.

  • GJ says:

    Their concept of consequentialism is undermined by the fact that they consider a lot of things that aren’t evil to be evil. For example, the idea of making anyone suffer as a result of pivoting away from the current state of family law is wrong to them.

    In other words, ‘their conception (or execution) of liberalism is flawed therefore their criticism of my liberalism can be safely ignored’, and liberals continue adoring the unbesmirched, shiny side of their coin.

  • GJ says:

    Part 1: your liberalism is fake because it does not promote certain freedoms or equalities (innumerable examples)

    Part 2: your criticism of my liberalism can be ignored because your conception of liberalism is fatally flawed (‘Trump supporters are racist so we can just ignore their concerns’, ‘stop mansplaining me!’, Mike T’s comment and so forth).

  • Mike T says:

    Mike T’s comment

    Not at all. Their view of things frequently puts as evil things that are simply hard choices that an authority might have to make. That is why their argument that we are consequentialist is flawed. They frequently cannot even demonstrate that we want to do are things that anything more than difficult choices that an authority would have to make, rather than matters of objective good and evil that we are defending based on consequences.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Mike T:

    Either I’m too stupid to follow their (W4’s) going on and on and on … and on, about a given issue of contention between right-liberalism and a particular instance of alt-rightism; and/or, I’m just too used to the same old bullshit said in a different way. I like to think it is the latter, but in any case, the whole thing bores me to death.

  • Mike T says:

    One thing buckleyite right-liberals are great at is making it sound like of all the factions out there, they’re the only ones who are noble, stand for what is true, good and beautiful and all that jazz. That is, no doubt, part of why they elevate civility in politics to one of the highest virtues such that yelling in the face of an angry PP employee that they’re a “for-profit baby killer” could be seen as some sort of sin in its own right.

    Like that comment about how they are liked unto the Athenians or something in preserving civilization, when the actual historic Athenians would no doubt horrify them by raising the militia and butchering most of the migrants demanding a right to settle in their lands. (Not a policy prescription, but an observation of how in their theatrics, the buckleyites often ignore realities like defending civilization from barbarism can be extremely ugly thing)

  • TomD says:

    The best part about the circlej*rk between various forms of liberalism is that whenever you fire, you always hit a target.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Miike T:

    …such that yelling in the face of an angry PP employee that they’re a “for-profit baby killer” could be seen as some sort of sin in its own right.

    “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” and all that, right?

    I wonder whether it’s ok to calmly or dispassionately say to an angry PP employee that (s)he is a “for-profit baby killer”?

  • Mike T says:

    It’s eerily similar to how the left insists that we maintain “good form” in dealing with murderers by calling them by their preferred pronounce.

  • Mike T says:

    Supposedly, there is now a growing movement to actually literally disrupt or stop a peaceful transition of power. This should be loads of fun to watch as the left-liberals take things in a direction where everyone from tradcons, to buckleyites, to the alt-right can agree should result in “hang em, hang em high from every lamp post” for fomenting and advocating mass violence on the legitimate government.

  • Mike T says:

    I’m noting a lot of liberals starting to flirt with violating 18 U.S. Code § 2385 (advocating the overthrow of the US Government). *grabs popcord* this will be Tiananmen Square, but with the PLA playing the role of the good guys.

  • GJ says:

    Irony upon irony upon irony. Are left-liberals now insisting on the right to rebel?

    Truly, it is the retrograde phase.

  • TomD says:

    by force or violence may be what saves them and us, we can advocate the overthrow of the US Government all day, as long as we, as good Catholics, don’t actually intend to it by force or violence at this time.

  • Mike T says:

    GJ,

    Yes, and what makes this a particularly interesting issue is that the various flavors of the right almost invariably only put rebellion on the table as an option to conserve something from authorities. Even back to the Civil War that was the case. Today, the vast majority of right-wing rebellion is specifically couched in pushing back authority from an overreach, whereas this is a general temper tantrum and all out assault on the authority. If they can’t be the authority, ain’t no one gonna be the authority.

  • GJ says:

    Mike T:

    I think that’s clearly false. Hard-core anti-Trumpers want to conserve many things from his authority, such as open borders.

  • Mike T says:

    Hardcore anti-trumpers, on the right, are also not in open and violent rebellion which goes back to the point. For the ones that are open borders, immigration policy is not a matter worthy of open insurrection. The right tends to only go into rebellion to either preserve its way of life or to safeguard some sort of ancient right or specifically to attack a very particular overreach that can be usually called “probably unjust.” Right-liberals do, in fact, have much higher and more objective standards on these matters than left-liberals do.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Hard-core anti-Trumpers want to conserve many things from his authority, such as open borders.

    That and the Vagina Monologues. Wait, what?!

  • GJ says:

    Right-liberals do, in fact, have much higher and more objective standards on these matters than left-liberals do.

    Yes, yes, I get it that you think your coin is shiniest.

  • GJ,

    Mike T is correct, though I think the diagnosis is wrong.

    Right liberals are always going to be more sane, in that sense, than left liberals. This is because the right liberals have the self-awareness to see that the constant moving to the left is a problem.

    Now, they are caught in the liberal mind trap. But they are the ones with the unprincipled exceptions that cause them to question leftward “progress” as natural.

    So each right liberal, in keeping up with whatever is considered sane by yesterday’s standards, is already proving they are more self-aware, and less likely to be violent, than the left liberals; I think it obvious that Trump supporters wouldn’t be rioting en masse.

    The problem here is that being stuck in the liberal mind trap means that they’re completely missing how those very prior assumptions they support ALSO drive the left liberals.

    And this, it dawns on me, is what right liberals mean when they say left liberals don’t really mean it when they say they want freedom and equality: Right liberals understand that one concept – let’s say anti-abortion – is obviously more sane than another concept – pro-abortion. Since they are liberals, well, that must mean anti-abortionism, being the obviously moral choice, is consistent with liberalism. And if you don’t believe that, you’re an inauthentic liberal.

    The trick is that anti-abortionism is true whether or not liberalism is true, and liberalism is one of the only things that could reason you out of such a self-evident position.

  • Zippy says:

    Arguing over which is worse, right liberalism or left, or which is more pathetic and insane, is foolishness. It is worse than foolishness. To the extent that people who should know better are taken in by right liberalism and thereby act as liberalism’s perpetuating force that makes them worse, not better.

    Making excuses for one’s own favorite variants of liberalism reveals something about the mindset of those proffering the excuses. It may not be right liberalism strictly speaking but it is right-liberalism-enabling. It probably represents someone who is really still a right liberal (is still exhibiting loyalties to right liberalism), and it by definition represents someone who is expressing loyalty to or preference for right liberalism as pseudodistinct from left liberalism. As a short transitory phase it is understandable, but as a persistent phase it is no less pathetic and wrong than any other liberal loyalty.

    People who are loyal to liberalism and express material support for liberalism are liberals. That is what it means to be a liberal. Mike T is still a right liberal in my understanding, as exhibited by his constant expressions of support for right liberalism. Support for right liberalism as the ‘lesser of two evils’ is similar to voting for the ‘lesser of two evil’ candidates. He won’t cease being a right liberal until he stops materially supporting his favorite variants of right liberalism.

    There is no ‘less evil’ liberalism. It is all just liberalism. You are either for it or against it, and if you find yourself constantly making excuses for why your favorite liberalism is better than those other awful liberalisms it just means that, despite what ‘red pill’ self awareness you think yourself to have achieved, in reality you are still stuck to the tar baby. Someone in this position is like an HIV infected homosexual who congratulates himself about using condoms and not having full blown AIDS symptoms.

    That isn’t what repentance looks like.

  • Zippy says:

    Shorter version:

    Sure, right liberalism and left liberalism are different. Left liberalism is “full blown” AIDS. Right liberalism is an HIV infected practicing homosexual who sees himself as virtuous because he uses a condom during sodomy. And people who are constantly harping on about the virtues of the condom wearing sodomite are no better than the condom wearing sodomite.

  • Mike T says:

    There is no ‘less evil’ liberalism. It is all just liberalism.

    If that were true, there would be no difference in outcomes between different types of liberalism. As it currently stands, there most certainly are. The flip side of your arguments about the incoherent nature of liberalism is that the same characteristics that lead to it meaning anything mean that it does not inherently go in any one direction either. Therefore on, say, abortion one can say that liberalism both opens the door and closes it depending on the prevailing popular and elite interpretation of “freedom and equality.”

    Mike T is still a right liberal in my understanding, as exhibited by his constant expressions of support for right liberalism.

    I’ve never claimed that I am “cured” of liberalism. I have too much self-awareness to do something like that. However, I am sympathetic to right-liberals for many reasons, none of which have to do with an agreement on first principles.

    You and I also don’t agree on certain historic aspects of liberalism in the English-speaking world on top of all of that. One of the things I’ve noted here is that the Anglo-Saxon political tradition, predating liberalism, has long had limits on state authority that are at least compatible with liberalism. When Blackstone started talking about the “rights of Englishmen” in the 18th century, these were not recent innovations but ones that predated liberalism by some time.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    If that were true, there would be no difference in outcomes between different types of liberalism.

    There are different outcomes for different HIV-infected sodomites too.

  • Mike T says:

    Yes, yes, I get it that you think your coin is shiniest.

    I recognize that not all motivations for rebellion are fungible. There is a hierarchy of motivations based on the rationality and legitimacy of the motive. Modern Germans have a much higher claim to mass rebellion against otherwise lawful authority than American liberals; a regime that is mass importing third world barbarians, rapists and murderers is significantly less worthy of obedience than anything they can claim of our transition. Just one example. You can continue to play the relativism game all you want, but that just proves a point I’ve made for a while here which is that there are many routes out of liberalism, most of which lead to believing in other things that aren’t true.

  • Mike T says:

    There are different outcomes for different HIV-infected sodomites too.

    Not really. Their outcomes are highly constrained because of the nature of the situation. How they may choose to act in the face of their infection can vary greatly, but in terms of outcomes they don’t have many and some are beyond their choice.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    … there are many routes out of liberalism, most of which lead to believing in other things that aren’t true.

    Sure: for every one way of getting something right, there are an infinite number of ways to get it wrong. That isn’t an argument in favor of your continued expressions of loyalty to right liberalism, though: it is just an obvious truth that has been discussed here many times.

    It doesn’t change the fact that you are constantly defending right liberalism in these comboxes.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    How they may choose to act in the face of their infection can vary greatly, but in terms of outcomes they don’t have many and some are beyond their choice.

    And this makes HIV-infected individuals different from liberalism-infected societies precisely how?

    The fact is, the objection you raised – that different outcomes in particular situations indicate an essential difference in the nature of the infection – is simply false.

  • Mike T says:

    Liberalism adapts to each host society. The extent of the damage is often determined, in part, on the particular culture. HIV does not do that. HIV invariably leads to an end point of death whereas it seems that the extent of Liberalism’s ability to inflict cultural death is derived from the strength of the culture it has invaded. So far, for instance, most of East Asia has shown a remarkable resilience to it leading to “freedom and equality” off a cliff. Part of that very well may have to do with the fact that Christians seem to be more susceptible than non-Christians as non-Christians, among other things, often have no religious or cultural attraction to equality at all.

  • Mike T says:

    Liberalism in many respects is really at its strongest when acting as a parasite on Christianity. Most of our “sexual politics” can be easily avoided in regions like East Asia because a tranny screaming about bigotry will face no culture that regards their humanity, dignity, “equality,” as even the slightest public good compared to them insisting on being the depraved “nail that sticks out.” (which according to the Japanese expression is the nail that will get hammered down into place)

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    Your comments provide a useful illustration of how right-liberalism manages to always rationalize (to itself) being left liberalism’s bitch.

  • Mike T says:

    Liberalism may be like a disease, but it is a disease where the set of symptoms varies wildly. It is akin to a form of HIV that can make you just more susceptible to getting a cold, all the way up to outright killing you all by itself depending on your constitution.

    It is undeniable that the extent of the damage that liberalism does is dependent upon a host of factors ranging from culture to which liberal faction is willing to fight hardest to come out on top.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    I know, I know: the kind of liberalism you are always defending is the good kind. It is nice, and tame, and not a jealous god at all, and never commits mass murder (except when it does, but that is always someone else’s fault).

  • Terry Morris says:

    Liberalism is like an incurable virus. It can’t be cured with (more or less) radical treatments; it has to quarantined and avoided like the plague that it is.

    And, so, the revolution continues unabated.

  • TomD says:

    Any apparent good of liberalism can and does exist apart from it. There is never a need to embrace evil for the sake of the Good.

  • William Luse says:

    Mike,
    “..the Japanese expression is the nail that will get hammered…”

    Interesting you should bring them up, because they are thoroughly infected with whatever ails us: http://www.weeklystandard.com/demography-is-destiny/article/636998#!

  • Mike T says:

    Interesting you should bring them up, because they are thoroughly infected with whatever ails us

    I’m not sure the things that ail Japan are quite the same as with us. Their culture seems to have some particularly serious problems that encourage the worst behavior out of socio-sexually low ranked men. From what I understand of their issues, I cannot even imagine being “gamma” in Japanese society.

    On the other hand, Japan is a homogeneous society that is highly “xenophobic” to the extent that they would rather collapse economically than elect a new people. So it is entirely possible that Japan will collapse and have to reform itself, but stay essentially Japanese whereas we will not stay essentially American.

  • Mike T says:

    I know, I know: the kind of liberalism you are always defending is the good kind.

    No, you really don’t know because that wasn’t a defense, but an analysis of how and why it works the way it does.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Sometimes I almost think that you believe your own BS.

  • Mike T says:

    What part of that was BS? The part that liberalism varies wildly in its impact based on the culture where it lands, the part that liberalism mainly finds truly fertile soil in Christian cultures, something else or all of the above?

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    The part that is total BS is where you suggest that you are doing anything other than rationalizing your obvious right-liberal loyalties. You might even think that that is true.

  • Zippy says:

    It is similar to your effeminate approach to every discussion we have about authority. We can’t have a discussion about authority unless it is always accompanied by having a good cry about how authority is always abused.

  • Zippy,

    In response to your comment to me – either I’m misunderstanding you, you’re misunderstanding me, or you’re making a broader point.

    I’m not defending right liberalism. I agree with you that the fact that its proponents appear, and in fact many cases are, more saner is exactly why it’s so dangerous: Liberalism advocated for by a sane person is far more convincing than liberalism advocated by an SJW.

    So right liberalism is in some ways worse for the reasons you stated. I’m just saying that right liberals – like a great many you speak with, in fact – are *generally* more sane than left liberals, hence the left liberals engaging in violent riots and the right liberals being – in many cases – anti-abortion.

    Which isn’t a defense of right liberalism at all. It’s just a theory about why Hilary supporters are rioting and Trump (or Cruz) supporters, in my experience, probably would not. The liberalism itself should still be unequivocally rejected.

  • (“More saner”. Heh.)

  • Terry Morris says:

    Malcolmthecynic:

    I’m not defending right liberalism. I agree with you that the fact that its proponents appear, and in fact many cases are, more saner is exactly why it’s so dangerous:

    “Less insane” is probably a truer descriptive for our purposes than “more sane.”

    Liberalism advocated for by a sane person is far more convincing than liberalism advocated by an SJW.

    That all depends on your personal world view. SJW’s seem pretty convincing to those disposed to SJWism. And it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from “sane liberalism” to full blown AIDS.

  • Mike T says:

    We can’t have a discussion about authority unless it is always accompanied by having a good cry about how authority is always abused.

    Show me where I did that here. This is a long thread, so show me where I did that here. If your statement is true, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding at least a couple of examples.

  • Terry,

    Bluntly, and at the risk of sounding like I’m defendig right liberalism – I don’t buy that. Right liberals are not the rioters after a presidential election.

    I know, I get that right liberalism is just as much a pernicious lie, but I just don’t acept there’s not a difference.

  • (Between the people, I mean – liberalism itself remains an evil lie.)

  • Mike T says:

    Malcolm,

    I know, I get that right liberalism is just as much a pernicious lie, but I just don’t acept there’s not a difference.

    When you say “just as much” you are saying that they are equally wrong, but that is demonstrably not true since the further right the right-liberal is, the less their worldview is informed by liberalism.

  • Mike T says:

    One of the things that makes our own history complicated is that the English have a very long tradition of forcefully limiting their own state authorities that goes back centuries before the formulation of liberalism. The founding fathers had a lot in common with the barons who took up arms and forced John to sign the Magna Carta.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    You can search the thread for the keyword “rebellion” to find yourself having a good cry over how “right wing” rebellion is usually just against abusive authority.

    But even so you missed the point of my comment. In every thread that is about authority, you insist that we all have to have a good cry over how much authority is abused. In this thread, which is about “conservative” liberalism, you exhibit a similar pattern with a different subject: every time we discuss how bad liberalism is, we have to have ourselves a good cry over how much better, saner, and nicer right liberalism is than left liberalism, and how much more traditional.

    Whatever it takes to keep focus inside the padded walls and away from unequivocally rejecting liberalism. Hint: if you are the kind of person who has right liberal sympathies you need to focus most on repudiating and repenting of those sympathies in particular. (Likewise for someone with left liberal sympathies). You don’t have to talk yourself out of the things you already despise. It is the liberalism you are attached to that will destroy you.

  • Mike T says:

    You can search the thread for the keyword “rebellion” to find yourself having a good cry over how “right wing” rebellion is usually just against abusive authority.

    That’s a very chickenshit description of my comments, but it fits neatly within your worldview. What makes it particularly chickenshit is that I did not actually speak of abusive authority, but made it clear that they tend to only rebel in defense of something they feel is meaningful and worth fighting over with an authority. Once again, you feel the need to characterize that as a good cry and sympathy and all that because it allows you to characterize my comment(s) however you want in defense of your own ideology. A more reasonable person, limiting themselves to what I actually wrote, would conclude that I was merely making an observation on what motivates right-liberals.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    A pattern of comments over a period of years becomes hard to ignore.

  • Mike T says:

    we have to have ourselves a good cry over how much better, saner, and nicer right liberalism is than left liberalism, and how much more traditional.

    No, I just have an annoying habit of constantly critiquing and challenging your view on how wrong right-liberalism is due to the fact that calling it equally wrong is factually incorrect. Lydia McGrew, despite her faults, is substantially more rooted in reality than Miss SJW because Lydia’s right-liberalism has a significantly weaker prior commitment to liberal first principles than Miss SJW’s radical left-liberal ideology.

    That isn’t an accident, but the inherent result of diluting liberalism with other influences that are more deeply rooted in the truth. Right-liberals are like Arians; left-liberals like people who practice an entirely different religion. My sympathy will always be greater for those who are closer to us than different from us.

  • Mike T says:

    A pattern of comments over a period of years becomes hard to ignore.

    You’ve internet-known me long enough to have seen a deeply profound change in my views, among them my agreement with you on things like the nuclear bombings on Japan. In fact, a lot of my comments over the last several months about abuse of authority have been aimed at how liberalism seems to actually make authority trend abusive as a matter of course with its sociopathic nature.

  • Zippy says:

    And perceptive readers will grasp the dynamic that emerges from having liberalisms we like, which we juxtapose to those really bad liberalisms we hate. What your comments actually demonstrate is the reason why “conservative” liberalism is the very thing that conserves liberalism.

  • Mike T says:

    Liking a liberalism is not the same thing as accepting it. There are a lot of things I like on a gut level that intellectually I don’t let myself get caught up in. You as a metal fan should have an appreciation for that nuance.

  • Mike T says:

    Speaking of which, watch the video for Nemesis by Arch Enemy and tell me that’s not the battle hymn of liberalism.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    There is a right way and a wrong way to express these things.

    Wrong way: “This liberalism is so much saner and more benign than that liberalism, which is crazy and despicable.”

    Right way: “I have no sympathy for that liberalism but I have a lot of sympathy for this liberalism. I don’t make any excuses for it. In fact that is exactly what makes this liberalism so much more seductive and dangerous for people like me, and even creates an obligation in me to convince people like me to reject this liberalism unequivocally.”

    In fact if you really believe that right liberals are your kind of people you should feel a special obligation to help them detach from their terrible errors; not an impulse to affirm their mostly-okayness.

    It is similar to the situation with Pope Francis and the number of invalid marriages. If he really believed that more than half of Catholic marriages are invalid he would be pounding the table shouting “we must get these marriages convalidated!”, not “We must hand out annulments like candy because mercymercymercynicewearechurchwhoamitojudge.”

    I don’t listen to those bands.

  • Mike T says:

    I don’t listen to those bands.

    So is that a no, you aren’t going to watch that video? IIRC, it has nothing particularly diabolical about it other than some of the flame imagery surrounding the vocalist.

  • Zippy says:

    Just not familiar.

  • Mike T says:

    The video. Just watched it through. Nothing particularly diabolical except the flames and snake.

  • TomD says:

    The unbeliever and the Arian heretic is actually a really good example; the Catholic will get much more worked up over the Arian because he’s got many things right, which makes the things he has wrong all the more painful. The right-liberals (especially the “new right” or whatever) is especially sad because they’ve already broken free of part of it, and would only have to take a few more steps to be completely out of the quicksand; instead, they stop and watch their boots sink while congratulating themselves from having avoided it.

    Meanwhile, they continue to sink, but slower and into ground that is starting to solidify around them.

    I have much sympathy for the right-liberals, and I confess to watching the world around Trump with much amusement; even though I’m thankful I didn’t vote.

  • Dystopia Max says:

    The discussion would be more useful if you, say, specifically identified the Dark Liberty Trinity and its Dark Fruits as specifically being born of the French Revolution (Liberte! Equalite! Fraternite!) and the implicit devaluation/neutralization of liberty in the American (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property/Happyness!)

    You might have even gotten further into a possible trinity that actually matched reality: “Liberty, Authority, Responsibility, all must be commensurate with each other in all human endeavors to serve the Good.”

    Calling Liberty a DARK ALL DEVOURING GOD OF DESTRUCTION rather than ‘a seductive but ultimately inadequate first principle’ strikes me as allegorical malpractice, as very few monomaniacs are even all that interested in liberty as a first principle over equality now.

  • Mike T says:

    Dystopia Max,

    Comparing the two great liberal revolutions is almost pointless because of the vastly different heritage of the two countries. America has a deeply English pedigree in its political culture, and the English have historically not been shy about asserting what they consider decency and proper limits on authority, often at the point of a spear against their king. And that goes back to when the English were “good Catholics” and you can’t blame the Reformation or liberalism. (and if you want to argue that the English are ungovernable, that makes most of the human race as governable as rabid dogs)

  • Zippy says:

    If you think the problem is just dark nasty French liberalism and not nice tame English liberalism, you are still caught in the mind trap.

  • Step2 says:

    Mike T,
    You’ve internet-known me long enough to have seen a deeply profound change in my views, among them my agreement with you on things like the nuclear bombings on Japan.

    Keep that principle in mind when Trump spells his name in mushroom clouds across Iran.

    I don’t know about the supposed “always” crying over authority, but I do know that when it comes to your precious gun rights that is your instinctive, go-to argument tactic. I don’t recall any thread where the subject has come up that you didn’t invoke the imagery of a ruthless tyrant (yet you are salivating about a Tiananmen Square-type bloodbath of a group of avowed anarchists).

  • Terry Morris says:

    Step2:

    Keep that principle in mind when Trump spells his name in mushroom clouds across Iran.

    Wait, I thought Hillary was the the one more likely to spell her name in mushroom clouds over Iran.

  • Mike T says:

    I don’t recall any thread where the subject has come up that you didn’t invoke the imagery of a ruthless tyrant

    You could start with this very thread.

    (yet you are salivating about a Tiananmen Square-type bloodbath of a group of avowed anarchists)

    So, what you are saying is that if people organize for a serious purpose of openly and violently assaulting the transition of power in a democratic state such that they bring the transition to its knees or otherwise terrorize the majority of citizens into fleeing it that such action does not merit a swift reprisal from the security services?

    Wait, I thought Hillary was the the one more likely to spell her name in mushroom clouds over Iran.

    Yep. Please ignore the fact that the neocons disavowed Trump and openly embraced Clinton. He is clearly the bigger warmonger. Because Republican.

  • Mike T says:

    If you think the problem is just dark nasty French liberalism and not nice tame English liberalism, you are still caught in the mind trap.

    No, I think the culture determines how “feral” vs how “tame” it will be until it eventually reaches its endgame. The culture has a deep influence on what “freedom and equality” will mean to most of the arising factions and will play the dominant role in how they deal with the Low Man. England and America are roughly on one side of the continuum with Cambodia and Stalin’s USSR in that respect.

  • Zippy says:

    Liberalism is never tame. The tree of liberty is always watered with blood, lies, and damnation.

  • Mike T says:

    No, what you mean is that liberalism is never domesticated. It can, however, be tame and that is precisely the problem.

  • Zippy says:

    Here is a comprehensive list of all actual historical instances of “tame” liberalism:

  • Mike T says:

    Think of it like this. America was like Jon Snow with his direwolf cub that proved to be a lovable, sufficiently tamed dog. France drew the short straw and got the full on alpha male in the making cub that wasn’t about to be anyone’s pet.

  • Mike T says:

    Here is a comprehensive list of all actual historical instances of “tame” liberalism:

    Tame is not analogous to unthreatening, plays well with the kids. Tame means it doesn’t look at your kids and say “where’s the beef, thars the beef.”

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    You don’t see the moral, spiritual, and physical violence of the liberalisms you like because you like them, not because they don’t do that violence. Deys gud boys, dey dindu nuttin.

  • Step2 says:

    Wait, I thought Hillary was the the one more likely to spell her name in mushroom clouds over Iran.

    The rumor was that she would order a shoot-down of Russian planes in Syria and that would escalate to nuclear war with Russia, mainly because of her longstanding feud with Putin. Fortunately we don’t have to worry about that possibility with Comrade Combover.

    You could start with this very thread.

    I started a long time ago. The obscure scribbles you made on this thread didn’t change anything.

    So, what you are saying is (a wild mischaracterization)?

    I don’t know if I ever take anarchists all that seriously but this specific group seems to be especially inept and disorganized. If it turns out they are violently disruptive I would want them to be quickly subdued, arrested and charged, but everyone knows that wasn’t what you were wishing for. You wanted them hung from the nearest lamppost, run over with tanks, etc. You know, those signs of ruthless tyranny you say you despise.

    He is clearly the bigger warmonger. Because Republican.

    I still believe and stand by everything I wrote during the campaign about his volatile temperament and lack of fitness, especially in regard to the nuclear codes. Nothing he has done since the election has caused me to reconsider those beliefs.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    I have a tame hippopotamus to sell you.

  • Mike T says:

    f it turns out they are violently disruptive I would want them to be quickly subdued, arrested and charged, but everyone knows that wasn’t what you were wishing for. You wanted them hung from the nearest lamppost, run over with tanks, etc. You know, those signs of ruthless tyranny you say you despise.

    Read some of their statements. They were boasting about turning it into open warfare on the streets with the police. There is nothing tyrannical about shooting anarchists who are openly trying to kick the shit out of police and/or private citizens to terrorize a change of administrations.

    You don’t see the moral, spiritual, and physical violence of the liberalisms you like because you like them, not because they don’t do that violence.

    The Protestant perspective (aside from mainline Deism) is that we live in a world where that violence is the norm, not the exception. I could flay alive the legacy of every single human civilization using that standard and show them all to be base, depraved, tolerant of evil, etc.

  • Mike T says:

    I have a tame hippopotamus to sell you.

    I used to have a tame unicorn, but all it did was make videos of itself shitting icecream and glitter for YouTube.

  • Step2 says:

    There is nothing tyrannical about shooting anarchists who are openly trying to kick the shit out of police and/or private citizens to terrorize a change of administrations.

    We have different definitions of terrorize. There have been fights with police and things thrown at police in previous inaugurations, there have even been things thrown at the presidential limo after the inauguration – none of which resulted in the use of deadly force. There are going to be 28,000 security officials concentrated heavily at the Capitol and the parade route so even hundreds of violent disruptions wouldn’t be able to cause significant damage so long as they were quickly subdued and arrested.

  • Mike T says:

    We have different definitions of terrorize.

    Probably not that different. I take the DisruptJ20 agitators at face value that they want to make such chaos that they disrupt and ruin the entire inauguration for everyone, want to openly brawl with the police and beat the hell out of a lot of cops, etc. I doubt they can find enough anarchists to actually do anything particularly bad.

    I’m personally sick and tired of the attitude that “democracy” means you get the right to shout down speakers, forcefully disrupt public events, etc. There are plenty of people in my generation who could stand a solid ass kicking from the police and national guard to remind them that free speech and basic decency have to go hand-in-hand in public.

  • TomD says:

    More and more I’m starting to dislike democracy, not because of any inherent evil in it, but because liberals demands it; there is no other option under liberalism. Even a liberal monarchy will demand democracy because the existence of the king gives the lie to liberalism’s idea of non-authoritative authority.

  • Dystopia Max says:

    “You don’t see the moral, spiritual, and physical violence of the liberalisms you like because you like them, not because they don’t do that violence. Deys gud boys, dey dindu nuttin.”

    The fact that America saw it as something to be tamed due to Puritan theology or English tradition or general fellow-Christian feeling is evidence enough that people did, and do see it. But I made my further comparison because I saw the previous safeguards as inadequate against the siren song of “equality” (which America did not begin to pretend to seriously until Puritan, Anglican, and Deistic influence had waned) and not fully aligned with either authority or responsibility (which require liberty to exercise properly, at the very least more liberty than those you have authority over and responsibility for.)

    Equality is the real demon, and the central lie, liberty is the lesser excuse that really isn’t necessary to call equality up:

    “The Left pays it people, but more than anything it has a very solid memeplex to sell. It sells equality. If you’re below average, “equality” to you sounds like “raise in status”, so by definition half the population is always on board for that. And if you’re running the army you get to be pretty high in status, which is very attractive for greedy status-maximizers. The problem with the Left of course is that to deliver equality you have to destroy society. The whole thing. But society has this habit of reconstructing itself, because that’s what social species do; so you need to become increasingly crazy and destroy everything that can support human life if you want to deliver equality. So you get a signaling spiral. Now they’re denying that biological sex is real.”

  • Mike T says:

    Liberalism is a threat to everyone because it speaks to something that is at least related directly to the Fall. There is no culture that is immune to it. Even the Muslims are fighting it and to an extent actually losing. If you don’t believe me, then look at Iran. Their ruling system is based openly on Socialism.

    So at the end of the day, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a particular society fell victim to it. It is probably the most perfectly crafted heresy in the history of mankind.

    Equality is the real demon, and the central lie, liberty is the lesser excuse that really isn’t necessary to call equality up:

    We need a way of expressing the sort of thing people mean when they say “freedom” which generally means “freedom, within the limits of morality” which is the idea that authorities should not limit morally good or neutral options except when absolutely necessary. Freedom may not be the best word, but we need this in order to reclaim the culture from the false dichotomy of a “liberalism vs absolutist tyranny.”

  • Zippy says:

    Right liberals really want to believe that equality is the main demon: that liberty can be contained/tamed and is good when contained/tamed.

    But I’ve explained before that (and why) political liberty is the primary commitment of liberalism, that equality is concomitant to it not opposed to it, and that it cannot be contained/tamed. The ‘cuck’ effect — right liberals relentlessly supporting and defending the very thing which produces what they are supposedly against — is always on display in these discussions, as rationalization after rationalization is proposed as to why anything other than the central problem is the problem, why black pudding eaters can get away with taming liberalism while cheese eaters can’t, etc etc etc.

  • Zippy says:

    This is why right liberals and alt-rightists will always fail: because at the end of the day, like the homosexual they love their own disease and refuse to repent of it unequivocally.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    Alt-rightists and the like are simply the [CURRENT YEAR] iteration of conservatives.

  • CJ says:

    Zippy –

    Do you think there’s a good way to incorporate the (true but banal) “authority has limits” principle into politics without descending into liberalism?

  • Terry Morris says:

    But I’ve explained before that (and why) political liberty is the primary commitment of liberalism, that equality is concomitant to it not opposed to it, and that it cannot be contained/tamed.

    To borrow from Hamilton – ‘What is political liberty? Who can give it any definition which does not leave the utmost latitude for evasion.’ …

  • itascriptaest says:

    Dystopia Max,

    which America did not begin to pretend to seriously until Puritan, Anglican, and Deistic influence had waned)

    I agree with the general historical process you’ve outlined. But do you think perhaps it was the obsession with liberty that served to undermine the traditions you mentioned above so that by the mid 19th century equality was the liberal cause du jour?

  • TomD says:

    The problem with “authority has limits” is that we want to enshrine it in a document instead of saying “Authority has no limits because it is God” and that human authority that oversteps its bounds is offending God. We want a human answer; there is none at the final level, except an appeal to God.

    But once we do that, we find we’re so much freer in fact even though in theory we’re not – because authority would be invested in humans and not in bureaucracies or systems.

  • Step2 says:

    There are plenty of people in my generation who could stand a solid ass kicking from the police and national guard to remind them that free speech and basic decency have to go hand-in-hand in public.

    Who should remind the alt-right and Trump of this important lesson on responsible public speech and basic decency?

    More and more I’m starting to dislike democracy, not because of any inherent evil in it, but because liberals demands it; there is no other option under liberalism.

    As Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of government except for all the other forms that have been tried from time to time.

    ‘What is political liberty? Who can give it any definition which does not leave the utmost latitude for evasion.’ …

    As long as we are not using the wolf’s dictionary.

  • Mike T says:

    Who should remind the alt-right and Trump of this important lesson on responsible public speech and basic decency?

    Show me a wave of alt-right protesters actually trying to forcefully shut down left-wing speakers. All I have ever seen is crying over hurt feelings, but the perpetually butt-hurt SJWs don’t hesitate to use tactics that can ruin lives and sometimes even kill people like swatting.

  • TomD says:

    Eh, I’d rather be under one of the unjust kings of the dark ages than under certain liberal democracies these days.

  • Wood says:

    Mike T,

    I think I’d agree with where you’re coming from regarding people on the right versus people on the left. But ever since I’ve had my eyes opened to liberalism – for me – that’s really not much more than saying I’d *probably* rather go have a beer with someone who’s voted Republican the last few elections as opposed to the alternative – but I’d still hope politics didn’t come up at the bar.

  • Step2 says:

    Show me a wave of alt-right protesters actually trying to forcefully shut down left-wing speakers.

    During the campaign there was all sorts of harassment and intimidation including death threats made by the alt-right frogs. If you want to claim the higher moral ground in terms of tactics don’t swim in the same gutter you denounce. Just as a general rule it should be an intuitive act to realize that letting an enemy you consider evil and/or barbaric define your own tactics is to make him your guide and teacher.

  • You got it right, step2. The alt right was really mean, which is totally the same as rioting.

  • Mike T says:

    During the campaign there was all sorts of harassment and intimidation including death threats made by the alt-right frogs.

    95% of what the alt-right has been accused of in that respect has been being really mean on Twitter. Compare that with how Milo has been treated on many college campuses with protesters who foam at the mouth over people feeling unsafe engaging in extremely aggressive, often physical, acts of coercion. It’s been a stunning case of projection; point-and-shriek about feeling unsafe while engaging in serious coercion, including criminal violence, against the other person.

    Just as a general rule it should be an intuitive act to realize that letting an enemy you consider evil and/or barbaric define your own tactics is to make him your guide and teacher.

    Tactics only make you evil if the tactics are themselves evil.

    The alt right was really mean, which is totally the same as rioting.

    This is something right-liberals seem to love to do as well. That guy may be rioting, burning stuff down and beating people, but you’re a total meanie who delights in hurting feelings. You’re just in little league while the rioter is in the big leagues.

  • Mike T says:

    Yet another reminder that hurt feelings give you a free pass to be a violent and disruptive thug.

  • Scott W. says:

    Just fyi Charles Krauthammer just described the inauguration as a “civic sacrament”. Thanks you! That’s half that battle. Now to get people to realize why that isn’t a good thing.

  • Scott,

    Doubt it. G.K. Chesterton has referred to America as a church for nearly a century. This is supposedly a feature, not a bug.

  • Step2 says:

    95% of what the alt-right has been accused of in that respect has been being really mean on Twitter.

    It is the 5% who go beyond “being really mean” which I am discussing. Death threats are legally treated as criminal coercion and in some cases terroristic threats. I don’t see how defending that kind of behavior gets you out of the gutter.

    It’s been a stunning case of projection; point-and-shriek about feeling unsafe while engaging in serious coercion, including criminal violence, against the other person.

    The alt-right doesn’t seem to be particularly focused on those they have good reason to believe are engaging in serious coercion or criminal violence, instead they have mostly targeted people who are critical of King Leer. It wouldn’t make the tactic acceptable but their supposed response would at least make some sort of lex talionis sense if they were going after individual known to have engaged in similar behavior.

  • Mike T says:

    Some perspective.

    Death threats are legally treated as criminal coercion and in some cases terroristic threats. I don’t see how defending that kind of behavior gets you out of the gutter.

    As I said to Lydia, and she ignored because it did not fit her worldview, there is not even much solid evidence that these people were actually really members of the alt-right. Same deal as #gamergate, when groups like the GNAA saw an opportunity to get some hardcore trolling in during the free fire between various groups. On the Internet, no one knows if you’re a shitposting dog.

  • Step2 says:

    Mike T,
    That isn’t a very convincing argument. Mostly because the alt-right seems to be very tolerant of such eliminationist rhetoric, either directly by some writers or indirectly in a large percentage of comments. Secondly, if you can go with the “false flag” narrative then so can I and claim that nearly all the people threatening Milo were alt-right trolls who really only wanted SJW’s to take the blame for their aggressive intimidation. Does that seem likely to you?

  • If you want to argue agaimst death threats, sure. I’m all for it. Just don’t pretend people saying stuff on Twitter is remotely close to actual rioting.

  • Mike T says:

    Step2,

    I’m not opposed to the notion that there is a chunk of numbnuts on our fringes who engage in that behavior, and I don’t carry water for people who make death threats. However, as malcolm points out a threat is still just a threat, even if it’s made on Twitter. That doesn’t really compare at all to the actual actions of left-wing radicals today.

  • Dystopia Max says:

    Step2: The alt-right are engaged in a W-A-R with people who will ruin their livelihoods, families, and associates at the slightest provocation. I expect them to be neither fully honest nor fully disavowing of any violent act or actors, because while AT WAR both deception and keeping your allies and options open is always a best practice, and rest assured they (and you!) have been declared war on by the forces of left-liberalism and its official and unofficial soldiers and mercenaries.

    ” Just as a general rule it should be an intuitive act to realize that letting an enemy you consider evil and/or barbaric define your own tactics is to make him your guide and teacher.”

    When those in authority have utterly rebuffed using even their justifiable authority against their enemies, or made noises indicating that they consider those enemies allies, they have only one guide and teacher left, don’t they?

  • Mike T says:

    More level-headed liberals like Step2 need to truly internalize that the sjws and black bloc anarchists are absolutely not their friends. They have absolutely no problem with crucifying more moderate liberals for insufficient enthusiasm on the latest evolution of The Narrative.

  • Wood says:

    And level-headed right liberals need to realize that there is no apocalyptic war being waged by the Alt-Right, at least not if that term still has meaning. That language sounds about as descriptive of reality as the various wars on drugs/poverty/women/bad things before it.

    The Alt-Right’s plan is to ensure white people are relatively safe and prosperous and able to elect Republicans in perpetuity before we die and go to hell.

  • Dystopia Max says:

    While we’re mentioning war let us note that it is in fact the “life” part of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that the alt-right is fighting for, further demonstrating the risibility of identifying the WORSHIP OF THAT IDOL, LIBERTY as our primary target.

    An old American saying was “RELIGION begat PROSPERITY, and the DAUGHTER devoured the MOTHER” and I see no reason to blame esoteric ideological liberty-fads for declines that map almost precisely onto the rise of industrial leisure/cotton gin money and the advent of mass society to sustain it and corrupt religious practice in turn. Criticism of “liberty’s” meaning, uses, and abuses can be readily elucidated by any competent lawyer, it is the theologian who needs to see when human life itself departs from prior norms or sacraments.

  • Zippy says:

    Dystopia Max:
    The idea that material prosperity (even the sub-optimal sort) is inherently bad is one theory, I suppose.

  • Wood says:

    Dystopia Max,

    I take it you have a much more established history here and similar sites than I do, so I apologize if I misunderstand your point. But my understanding from wading through the morass of alt-right sites and literature is that “life” for the alt-right is simply “liberty for the type of white people we like.” Again, bringing “worship” and “war” and all that into the discussion just confuses – perhaps that’s the point.

    So do you disagree with liberalism as defined here? Chalking it up to esoteric liberty-fads would seem to suggest as much. The issue isn’t simply to blame liberalism for the particular idiosyncracies of a declining American republic. The issue is that if liberalism as here defined is correct, it should be thoroughly rejected.

  • Mike T says:

    There can be no denying that the bloodiest forms of liberalism coincided with the rise of industrialization and its upheaval and were most prominent among those who were on the losing side of freedom and equality as “classical liberals” understood them (political equality and mainly negative rights)

  • Dystopia Max says:

    “The idea that material prosperity (even the sub-optimal sort) is inherently bad is one theory, I suppose.”

    I’m even told via divine revelation and human stenography that it can be the root of all kinds of evil, of the type that quickly becomes obvious to those not acted on by its immediate force.

    Zippy is ironically being both less quick-thinking and less Catholic than he very much should be when he rejects material prosperity and its maintenance as a primary driver of moral and social decline, in favor of “something beyond the mere observation that it is the nature of human beings to choose our own behaviors.”

    Well, yes, in fact. I consider it not only evidence of corruption, but evidence of soul-sickness, when a man chooses to, say, subordinate himself completely to his wife’s wishes.

    I consider it not only evidence of corruption, but evidence of soul-sickness, when a man, say, keeps completely silent or assents thouroughly at every decision of his superiors.

    I consider it not only evidence of corruption, but evidence of soul-sickness when casually denigrating the foundations of Western society and thought and not its current ignoble forms is considered the first and not the last resort.

    I consider it not only evidence of corruption, but evidence of soul-sickness to consider typical Anglo respect for personal liberty as the seed of all their failures. Especially when those who denigrate that liberty most thoroughly and most completely tend to personally and socially map onto the currently-controlling managerial class with thoroughness and completeness in direct proportion to that denigration.

    Intellectuals and other slaves may very well discuss their masters’ theories. Free men aim for what their fellow men’s interests are. Once identified, one may then discuss theories, or even better, responsibilities and duties. A Catholic whose main interests are not, say, the Sacraments and their maintenance, but rather the odd affections for ‘liberty’ among the benighted Others, may have interests outside of the faith itself. (To be fair, the current pope seems to be setting the model.)

    Christ may not make all men geniuses, but He can make any Christian far more honest then any models we place on him. Without at least a modicum of respect for liberty, I may never hear these divine truths.

  • Zippy says:

    Max:

    I have no idea how what you just said relates coherently to the subject.

    Mike T:

    There are no such thing as (non-question-begging) “negative rights”. We’ve been over this many times before, but you keep putting quarters into the whack-a-mole game.

  • Mike T says:

    As a descriptive category to explain their priorities, there most certainly are such categories. That does nothing to change the truth value (or lack thereof) of their underlying ideology and motivation. But those descriptions do, in fact, have value.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Y’know, Mike T, it’s really, REALLY interesting to watch what has taken place leading up to, during and in the wake of Trump’s inauguration. If you’ll pardon me I think I’ll go pop some more popcorn. 🙂

  • Mike T says:

    He may still be a liberal, but I think most people are shocked to see what an actual authority who thinks of himself as an authority (and is confident) is like. As Scott Adams said, given how much Trump has done in less than a week, it raises the obvious question of precisely what the Hell were most of his predecessors doing.

  • GJ says:

    given how much Trump has done in less than a week, it raises the obvious question of precisely what the Hell were most of his predecessors doing.

    Presumably, they were not trying to set a record for most number of executive orders.

    Many conservatives who raved against ‘executive overreach’ by Obama are now praising Trump. Meet the new cuck: same as the old cuck.

  • GJ,

    My read from Facebook is that people believe he’s going to slow it down after this opening salvo.

    There are other differences as well.

  • Scott W. says:

    Time to blow the dust off the waterboarding bookmarks as I listened to Trump declare it unpleasant but “just short” of torture. In other words, looks like he’s going to put it back on the table.

  • donnie says:

    Looks like he’s going to put it back on the table

    It would seem that just about everything Trump promised on doing he is actually going to do.

  • Scott W. says:

    It would seem that just about everything Trump promised on doing he is actually going to do.

    Indeed. Also remember he said he would do “much worse” than waterboarding.

  • Mike T says:

    Many conservatives who raved against ‘executive overreach’ by Obama are now praising Trump. Meet the new cuck: same as the old cuck.

    Fascinating argument. Do explain how their particular approaches to executive action are comparable. I’m fascinated to hear that, particularly comparing their actions on immigration with specific supporting evidence based on duly enacted acts of Congress.

  • GJ says:

    malcolmthecynic:

    people believe he’s going to slow it down after this opening salvo.

    That is almost touching.

    Mike T:

    Do explain how their particular approaches to executive action are comparable.

    It should be clear how they are similarly autocratic, loving their ‘pen and phone’.

    As each day goes by, the odds increase that eventually Trump will be murmuring ‘Et tu, Pence?’

  • GJ says:

    Indeed. Also remember he said he would do “much worse” than waterboarding.

    Trump is unashamedly consequentialist. Add to that the fact that he is a workaholic, and I find the fact that ‘people believe he’s going to slow it down after this opening salvo’ a little affecting.

  • Mike T says:

    GJ,

    It should be clear how they are similarly autocratic, loving their ‘pen and phone’.

    So the common thread is that they both liked to act as an executive officer. Fascinating. Apparently what they were actually doing in that capacity and how they related to the Constitution, federal statutes and SCOTUS precedent are mere side notes.

  • Mike T says:

    Trump is unashamedly consequentialist.

    As is 95% of the population around the world. If being a consequentialist, liberal or what have you, in the face of all other facts in your favor, is enough to send you to Hell then become a Jehova’s Witness and pray you’re part of the 144k saints.

  • Mike T says:

    GJ,

    For the record, the main reason liberals and some cucks were shitting themselves over Trump’s immigration positions during the election is that most constitutional experts agreed with Trump that everything he has said he’d do and has started doing is not only constitutional, but explicitly authorized by act of Congress that were passed before living memory and are settled (in Trump’s favor) federal case law.

  • GJ says:

    So the common thread is that they both liked to act as an executive officer.

    They don’t want to have ‘separation of powers’ stand in their way, yes.

    everything he has said he’d do and has started doing is not only constitutional

    …and he’ll stop there and ‘slow it down after this opening salvo’. Right.

  • Zippy says:

    “Constitutional” is a way of saying “consistent with an interpretation of the constitution which I prefer.”

    This is similar to “freedom”, which means “we put the right sort of people in prison.”

  • Mike T says:

    GJ, once again, waiving your hands and hoping that no one notices that you aren’t actually addressing anything of substance in legal and political matters.

    “Constitutional” is a way of saying “consistent with an interpretation of the constitution which I prefer.”

    The only way you can reach that conclusion is if you accept postmodern nihilism about the meaning of words. If you don’t, then you have to conclude that the range of valid interpretations is actually not that big.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    The only way you can reach that conclusion is if you accept postmodern nihilism about the meaning of words.

    No, we just have to accept that liberalism in particular is incoherent (self contradictory). That liberalism is incoherent does not imply that everything is incoherent: that rational incoherence is unavoidable. That constitutional positivism is incoherent does not imply that consistency and truth are impossible. That sola scriptura positivism is incoherent does not imply that Christianity is a false mythology.

    More generally, that modernism’s ideologies – which attempt to banish reality and make man and his unfettered will the measure of all things – are incoherent, does not actually banish reality. Postmodernism is basically an anti-authority tantrum thrown by metaphysical anti-realists when they grasp, to their horror, that their entire worldview is nonsense.

    But that modernists’ entire worldview is nonsense does not banish reality.

    It just makes modernists, you know, wrong.

  • Terry Morris says:

    It’s a strange coincidence, but denying ‘birthright citizenship’ to American-born children born to foreigners, aliens, or persons otherwise subject to a foreign jurisdiction just so happens to be the interpretation I agree with. Therefore it must be the only truly constitutional interpretation.

  • Terry Morris says:

    GJ:

    They don’t want to have ‘separation of powers’ stand in their way, yes.

    Is that an endorsement, or a repudiation, of ‘separation of powers’ doctrine? Which side of the coin is shiniest, in other words.

  • GJ,

    Hey, you may be right. But I’m seeing a different pattern than you are.

  • itascriptaest says:

    Carl Schmitt saw that the positivist notion of “legality” is merely the instrument that the majority party uses to punish the minority party. What is different now is that it looks like right-liberals are starting to weaponize the law against left-liberals in the same manner that has served left-liberals over the past half-century.

    What is everyone’s assessment of Trump’s use of the executive with its potential to shatter pervasive liberal shibboleths like seperation of powers or in the case of left-liberalism its overly expanisve notions of human rights? I of course don’t think it will inaugurate some kind of spirtual awaking it will probably only result in the shoring up of liberalism itself.

  • GJ says:

    Mike T:

    GJ, once again, waiving your hands and hoping that no one notices that you aren’t actually addressing anything of substance in legal and political matters.

    Nah, I’m just not missing the forest for the trees.

    Terry Morris:

    Is that an endorsement, or a repudiation, of ‘separation of powers’ doctrine? Which side of the coin is shiniest, in other words.

    My words were intended as a description of the two’s attitudes towards governance. Anyway, it is my personal view that built-in separation of powers is a mistake – why have ‘a house divided’?

  • Zippy says:

    itascriptaest:

    I of course don’t think it will inaugurate some kind of spirtual awaking it will probably only result in the shoring up of liberalism itself.

    Agreed.

    What we are seeing is a quasi-Hegelian thesis-antithesis-synthesis process taking place within liberalism. By making all political conflict intramural liberalism ensures its own survival. And the synthetic liberalism which survives will be a combination of the strongest elements currently engaged in that intramural conflict.

    Trump in many ways represents a ‘dose of reality’, but it is only a dose. It is a way for liberalism to seek out the minimum required realism to ensure its survival. This cafeteria realism asserts that if we are going to preserve political liberty as it was understood in the 1980’s – 1990’s (the 1950’s as touchstone of authentic liberty having been truly abandoned), we are going to have to rein in the trans-everything (global, sexual, economic, religious etc) freaks.

    Whether this (the reining in of the freaks) succeeds or not remains to be seen; because the freaks are vast in number, technologically empowered, and convinced of their righteousness with unbending and unthinking fundamentalist fervor. If neither side succeeds decisively then either liberalism will be replaced by something else entirely (probably something that emerges from Mohammedism which, in my view, as a key metaphysical ground of Protestantism, which is a key metaphysical ground of liberalism, may even be the ‘root’ of the matter); or we will see some new horror show synthesis.

  • Step2 says:

    Dystopia Max,
    Thanks for the reminder that the first casualty of war is truth, I will take that to heart with your statements.

    What is everyone’s assessment of Trump’s use of the executive with its potential to shatter pervasive liberal shibboleths like separation of powers or in the case of left-liberalism its overly expansive notions of human rights?

    It’s going to be difficult to imprison all the Americans who took their oaths to defend the Constitution seriously.

    Anyway, it is my personal view that built-in separation of powers is a mistake – why have ‘a house divided’?

    For the simple reason noted by Lord Acton: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” A house divided keeps everyone honest so long as they are doing their jobs correctly. Unfortunately Congress doesn’t seem to be up to the task and it will take two checks to balance the potential for epic corruption from Trump.

  • Terry Morris says:

    …so long as they are doing their jobs correctly.

    Ha, ha.

  • itascriptaest says:

    It’s going to be difficult to imprison all the Americans who took their oaths to defend the Constitution seriously.

    I doubt we will see that but even if it did Lincoln and FDR did a lot worse and more or less got away with it. Lincoln was only killed later but no one could really stop his overreaches at the time.

    A house divided keeps everyone honest so long as they are doing their jobs correctly.

    Yeah because pitting vice against vice has worked out so well. The thought of liberal Lord Acton tends to corrupt I’d say.

  • Wood says:

    itascriptaest,

    *”The thought of liberal Lord Acton tends to corrupt I’d say.”*

    Ha! I think Lord Acton might be a good candidate for the recent “Who is the angel of America” question.

  • PB says:

    Mike T: Zippy is kind of a grump but he’s right that a total rejection of liberalism is needed. That doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t find good in American liberals like George Washington but that we shouldn’t defend their liberalism. This is an essential distinction and I think your good impulse to defend liberals results in you defending, at least implicitly, their liberalism.

  • Step2 says:

    Yeah because pitting vice against vice has worked out so well.

    Per The Federalist Papers, an accurate description is ambition made to counteract ambition. I’ve noticed that nobody has tried to dispute that Trump will be endlessly financially corrupt. So it doesn’t really inspire confidence that you can disprove Lord Acton’s famous quote in this particular situation.

  • Dystopia Max says:

    “Dystopia Max,
    Thanks for the reminder that the first casualty of war is truth, I will take that to heart with your statements.”

    You have it backwards. Facts are generally the biggest casualties in war, the obscuration of fundamental truths is generally more a peacetime activity. Consider cultivating an imagination that more actively seeks to understand the mind of soldiers to understand this distinction more successfully.

    “Whether this (the reining in of the freaks) succeeds or not remains to be seen; because the freaks are vast in number, technologically empowered, and convinced of their righteousness with unbending and unthinking fundamentalist fervor.”

    False on the last count. They are not convinced, else they would not be chanting nor combining so assiduously. You have been disconnected with people and facts on the ground for too long, and cannot interpret the raging of doomed souls in real time when Warriors of Truth start marching into their territory.

  • Zippy says:

    Max:

    You have been disconnected with people and facts on the ground for too long, …

    I always find statements like that mildly amusing. Everyone always seems to know so much about me.

    Last Saturday evening I arrived at Dulles Airport, returning home from a short trip, and as I was walking through baggage claim there was a (relatively small and more or less confined to one carousel, though I am sure the media – with enough news truck capacity to cart the whole demonstration around – made it look Really Really Big and Important[tm]) — there was a shrieking freak demonstration about the latest executive orders from Literally Hitler. I basically said as much out loud (“this must be just more anti-Trump bullshit”) and was rewarded with the delicious scowly faces of the religiously offended — scowly, with just a hint of fear. Fatty McChunk and the Stinkers were not amused, but they were a little scared.

    It would be a mistake to interpret the hint of fear as lack of conviction. These folks are concerned, deeply and genuinely concerned, at the turn away from the End of History and away from unanimous belief in Current Year leftism as the pinnacle of what is reasonable, moral, and hopeful. But this concern arises, I think, from the fact that for a long time they did not really believe their own bullshit: they did not really believe in the racist sexist homophobic transphobic Hitler as whom they have always been characterizing their right-liberal rivals, and the path of Progress was in their minds inevitable. The reality of nominally Christian white Americans, as the most tolerant people to ever walk the planet, has imprinted upon their lizard brains despite the racist sexist patriarchy tyranny privilege transphobic Literally Hitler narrative.

    Now they really do believe in Literally Hitler in America, right down in their corpulent and septic loins, and it terrifies them. I presented my patented warm and winning smile, to go with the brief words (which I spoke merely out of annoyance at their presence, not for any polemical reason or in hope of the amusing response my words provoked).

  • Zippy says:

    In other words, the perpetual leftist wolf-criers have actually seen what they really believe is a wolf. Which from my point of view is deeply ironic, since Trump is Literally 90’s Bill Clinton, who once upon a time made corpulent septic leftist loins tingle; not Literally Hitler.

    So maybe the disconnect isn’t that I am out of touch with the Current Year as much as it is that many people are only in touch with the Current Year.

  • Scott W. says:

    since Trump is Literally 90’s Bill Clinton

    Ha! I’ve just been thinking that Hillary is the ’90s Bob Dole. He had little charisma compared to Clinton and his platform was little more than “It’s my turn!” The tables have turned.

  • Hrodgar says:

    I think it helps to keep in mind some of the events recorded in the Old Testament. Especially the history of the exile: Israel is bad. God sends Assyria to punish them. Assyria and Judah are both bad, so God sends Babylon to punish them. Babylon is bad, so God sends the Medes to punish them. And so on.

    The example of Babylon is of particular interest: there are a couple of places where Babylon in conquering Jerusalem (or at least their conduct in doing so), which God sent them to do, is specifically listed as one of the reasons for their own eventual defeat. The Babylonians were God’s agents of just wrath, but framing them as “Warriors of Truth” would be a serious mistake. Babylon MAY have been marginally better than the Assyrians they displaced, but who can tell?

    And lest you should try to make an analogy between Babylon and the left, Babylon was not conquered by the exiles, but by the Medes. The Medes let the exiles go home and rebuild the Temple, but they weren’t exactly “Warriors of Truth” either; Darius was the guy who threw Daniel to the lions.

    Yeah, some possibly good-at-least-in-the-short-term stuff is happening, but let’s not mistake an intramural conflict within the signal error of our age for the conflict that really matters.

    Couple more points:

    1) In the Gospel according to St. John, Christ says that the folks killing his disciples will think they do the will of God. What reason do we have to believe the protestors and rioters don’t believe the same?

    2) Yeah, the world hates the followers of Christ. But the world hates all kinds of people. Just because it hates you and yours, well, that doesn’t mean a whole lot, does it? You might still be one of the a bad guys; don’t assume too much.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Zippy:

    In other words, the perpetual leftist wolf-criers have actually seen what they really believe is a wolf. Which from my point of view is deeply ironic, since Trump is Literally 90’s Bill Clinton, who once upon a time made corpulent septic leftist loins tingle; not Literally Hitler.

    Leftward the course of empire makes its way.
    The first four acts already past, a fifth shall close the drama with the day.
    Time’s most lunatic offspring is the last. (With apologies)

  • Hrodgar says:

    Corollary to point 1): Just because you think you’re doing the will of God, doesn’t mean you are, no matter how good it feels.

  • Wood says:

    Hrodgar,

    *Just because you think you’re doing the will of God, doesn’t mean you are, no matter how good it feels*

    That may be the single best piece of advice for everyone in the world to think about right now. Just the things I learned about here that I was once involved in (usury, liberalism, etc) -at some point I considered doing them to be noble, good stewardship, etc. Terrifying.

  • Step2 says:

    Dystopia Max,
    Facts are generally the biggest casualties in war, the obscuration of fundamental truths is generally more a peacetime activity.

    Alternative Fact “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9

    Consider cultivating an imagination that more actively seeks to understand the mind of soldiers to understand this distinction more successfully.

    It is superior to cultivate an imagination that understands the motives, strategies, and distinctions of generals and rulers, so as to not be a pawn in their games.

  • Mark Citadel says:

    “They imagine that the god Liberty will remain content in a locked room, will leave Family and Church and Christianity to their own separate domains while Liberty confines himself to whatever territory has not been claimed by other gods.”

    One of the better descriptions of the cuck effect out there. Also, to those moaning about Trump’s executive orders, I hope this is just an ironic jab at the hypocrisy of conservatives. For the Reactionary, there is no overarching principle of Liberty or a command to revere the constitution. Trump ought to use whatever means he has to dismantle the left, because the left is an absolute enemy (not just a petty political one). Playing democracy games with the left is idiocy. They want to destroy you.

    By the way, I recently moved my blog over to WordPress and can now be found here:

    http://citadelfoundations.wordpress.com

  • Aethelfrith says:

    They want to destroy you.

    As much as shrieking leftist hysteria makes me smile, rhetoric like yours reminds me of why I didn’t (and couldn’t) vote for the Trump. It is, like Zippy says time and again, just a token rightward step in the Hegelian mambo.

    It’s also because, for all their bluster and posturing, the alt-right is pretty much the different side of the same coin that SJW’s occupy–they too lie, double down and project* when it serves their needs.

    Vox told us to completely sever any ties with any SJW’s in our lives. As easy as this sounds, how could I do this when some of the loudest SJW’s I know on social media have been the most loving, accommodating relatives of mine? Should I do it because they’d do it to me? (and how do I know they’d reject me, at all, etc?)

    Whatever. I actually favor the immigration ban and the Wall, but something about the vigor for this upcoming war of all against all deeply unsettles me and strikes me as unChristian–I, who welcomes heavy immigration restrictions.

  • GJ says:

    Step2:

    For the simple reason noted by Lord Acton: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    That, like Churchill’s canard about democracy, is a mantra programmed to be uttered mindlessly by liberals whenever the Bogeyman of monarchy draws near (see Brave New World).

  • GJ says:

    Andrew E.:

    That is an interesting link, but its relevance is unclear to me. If Trump knows all the other justices would surely be against the repeal of the Chevron doctrine, then his nomination of Gorsuch shouldn’t count as a point for favouring small government side.

  • TomD says:

    For the simple reason noted by Lord Acton: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Therefore, God is absolutely evil, hence we need liberalism to save us from Him.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Tom D: quite. Proof that there is a God, and that He is “malevolent” (as opposed to benevolent) here:

    https://orthosphere.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/the-trouble-with-atheists/

    🙂

  • Ian says:

    Lord Acton:

    Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    I prefer Donald Regan:

    Power corrupts. Absolute power is kinda neat.

  • Step2 says:

    TomD,
    Therefore, God is absolutely evil, hence we need liberalism to save us from Him.

    We had a long debate about it at W4. I’m still of the belief it is meaningless to talk about good or evil in reference to God because by the classical theism definition there can be no moral standards to which He could be constrained. If there were such objective moral standard it would impact God’s omnipotence – and in addition I support Aristotle’s argument that good is necessarily related to particulars and cannot be abstracted into a universal Form.

  • Mike T says:

    As easy as this sounds, how could I do this when some of the loudest SJW’s I know on social media have been the most loving, accommodating relatives of mine? Should I do it because they’d do it to me? (and how do I know they’d reject me, at all, etc?)

    In my personal experience with people who legitimately deserve to be called SJWs, they are not really capable of that sort of love if they genuinely know that someone in their life truly rejects what they believe.

  • Mike T says:

    Whatever. I actually favor the immigration ban and the Wall, but something about the vigor for this upcoming war of all against all deeply unsettles me and strikes me as unChristian–I, who welcomes heavy immigration restrictions.

    As VD has also pointed out on numerous occasions, it only takes one side to start and fight a war. The left is very much ramping up for open conflict. Look at what just happened at UCB. Look at the violence at the inauguration. It’s so bad that even Scott Adams is saying that he fully expects the violence to only get worse because the left simply cannot accept the facts before them.

  • GJ says:

    As VD has also pointed out on numerous occasions, it only takes one side to start and fight a war. The left is very much ramping up for open conflict.

    That’s at best a half-truth. Trump has declared war against the establishment, and to everyone’s complete surprise they’re striking back.

  • Mike T says:

    [Mike T: You are welcome to post here, but you are not welcome to pretend that you speak for me. – Z]

  • GJ says:

    It is the retrograde phase, and right-liberals are learning to play the victim card. We see the (usually implicit) attitude that Yiannopoulos ‘didn’t do nothing’, as if he hasn’t made a career out of provocation.

    As Aethelfrith noted, the alt-right will spin and distort: one day it’s ‘Look at our brilliant and effective shock trooper Milo’, but the next day ‘The despicable enemy persecuted Milo though he Didn’t Do Nothing!’

  • Mike T says:

    GJ,

    Milo is not alt-right. That is not a matter of controversy. It was settled at least several months ago when Milo made it clear he does not consider himself part of it and the general sentiment on the other side was agreement. If you cannot even keep up with something so basic, why should your opinion on whatever the alt-right is doing carry any weight?

    We see the (usually implicit) attitude that Yiannopoulos ‘didn’t do nothing’, as if he hasn’t made a career out of provocation.

    It has come to this: the tradcon is now effectively defending the black bloc because they felt triggered by a flaming homosexual who openly defied their ideology.

  • Mike T says:

    Provocation is also primarily a moral and legal issue when it involves two otherwise reasonable people. One of the problems SJWs have in claiming any defense under that notion is that the Narrative continues to shift into increasingly bizarre directions which negates the whole idea that they are “reasonable people.” Now perhaps GJ, you would like to offer an opinion that being radical liberals somehow excuses them from being attached to reason, following norms of behavior and such, but most judges would not (no doubt a byproduct of having to actually hold people accountable to reality).

    Fighting words are a provocation and the most common one. To most men, “your wife is a whore who would have every man in town” is provocation.” To a SJW, such as the black bloc, “I think gender dysphoria is better categorized as a mental illness” is provocation. From there, it’s provocation all the way down whether you do it with $5 words like someone at W4 or do it with Milo’s approach.

  • Mike T says:

    On a different note, GJ…

    all Steve Burton lacked was a stage and a mic to drop…

  • As Aethelfrith noted, the alt-right will spin and distort: one day it’s ‘Look at our brilliant and effective shock trooper Milo’, but the next day ‘The despicable enemy persecuted Milo though he Didn’t Do Nothing!’

    Are you kidding me? Milo says rude and provocative things, therefore we have no right to complain when people start huge fires, vandalize buildings, and attack people? Seriously? That’s ridiculous.

  • Zippy says:

    I haven’t seen evidence that “black knighting” is widespread; but there is plenty of advocacy for it, and it can be accurately translated to mean “out SJW the SJW’s”.

    I think both sides have a point, FWIW. Conservatives are just the sort of people who are less likely to riot and burn stuff, and that counts in their favor — on a personal level. However, their social function is to conserve liberalism, a function without which the radicalism couldn’t survive the consequences of its own triumph.

    It is the old intramural argument over who is worse, the wicked or their enablers. And the function of the old argument is to attract followers like flies to excrement: to make one side or the other in the intramural war attract our allegiance, however conditioned; to absorb and repurpose anything that might challenge liberalism itself.

    And I think it is true that the less “cucky” the political right gets, the more it starts to look like a perfect mirror image of the despised SJW left.

  • Zippy,

    Maybe, but to act as if there’s no right to complain about rioting, violence, and vandalism because Milo says outrageous things is absurd to the point of being actually loathsome.

  • This, however,

    I think both sides have a point, FWIW. Conservatives are just the sort of people who are less likely to riot and burn stuff, and that counts in their favor — on a personal level. However, their social function is to conserve liberalism, a function without which the radicalism couldn’t survive the consequences of its own triumph.

    I unqualifiedly agree with.

  • Zippy says:

    Malcolm:

    I admit that at this point I am not following every word in the thread closely. But did someone actually say that there is no cause to object to rioting, etc?

    I understood the point to be that “shock troops” (e.g. Milo) deliberately provoke for the very purpose of provocation, and then play the victim card when the predictable results take place.

    I think there is some truth to that. It isn’t an excuse for rioting. You’d have to be taking one side against the other for that to seem the case.

    Suppose I make a sign that says “Down with the 1965 Civil Rights Act! Martin Luther King was an adulterer! White lives matter!”

    Suppose I stand on a street corner in Harlem with my sign, get beat up, and play the muh free speech victim card.

    Does criticizing my actions – especially the victim card thing – constitute approval of beating people up, or any sort of defense of beating people up, or what have you?

  • Zippy,

    The circumstances are not the same, though. Milo was going to be a speaker at a college event, funded by a student organization.

    If said street corner guy were to then be invited to be a college speaker, and went to the event with no intent to incite violence whatsoever, no, we absolutely could not blame the speaker for the violent rioters casing fires and property damage. In any sense.

    This is what I’m objecting to. The alt right, or conservatives, or what have you, are quite correct to point out that this reaction to Milo being invited to speak at a college is horrifying, quite apart from Milo himself.

  • Now, if Milo was to march into the middle of a Black Lives Matter rally and try to give a speech, and then was mugged, the victim card thing would clearly not fly.

  • Zippy says:

    Malcolm:

    If said street corner guy were to then be invited to be a college speaker, and went to the event with no intent to incite violence whatsoever, no, we absolutely could not blame the speaker for the violent rioters casing fires and property damage. In any sense.

    There is a lot of daylight in between different scenarios we can postulate. Provoking violence on campus has a rather long pedigree: probably as long as the danger of holding signs on Harlem streets has been around.

    As you say, the particulars matter. But if you really don’t see any “nah nah nah nah nah nah … hey, he hit me!” provocation-victim cycle on the alt right at all, and with Milo in particular, then we aren’t looking at the same thing.

  • Zippy: Sure, I see it, though mostly as a Rorschach test for the rioters.

    There is very clearly – even admittedly, in some circles – a provocation-victim cycle on the alt-right, but part of it is just exposure of how absurdly easy it is to provoke people. Milo can be obnoxious, but he’s really not even particularly bad. Spencer is worse, but apparently sane enough in person.

    Part of this is personal concern Vox Day was published in an anthology I edited; I am the enemy. At what point does “provocative” mean that people are going to google search my name, discover that I’ve associated with Vox Day, and then blacklist me from jobs?

    Because THAT’S what I’m seeing.

  • And Milo’s “provoking violence on campus” was literally just him showing up. He never advocated violence. They even INCREASED security upon his arrival.

  • Mike T says:

    I think the larger issue about provocation comes back to what I said: the difference between Tony at W4 and Milo–in the eyes of a SJW–is a matter of marginal degree. Whether that be objectively true is beside the point. Fact is, if Franklin Graham went to give a speech at UCB on homosexuality, it would likely have brought out the black bloc.

    Milo is particularly helpful to us because he is incredibly good at triggering these people using tactics that typically get rolling eyes and tut tutting from the mainstream middle.

  • Hrodgar says:

    Provocation and advocacy are not the same thing. A boy who insults another boy’s mother was hardly advocating violence, but he’s still liable to get punched.

    Provoking someone may on occasion be the right thing to do. It may also be unintentional, though in this case I expect it was simply more successful than the provocateur intended. It is always a dangerous game. Angry people frequently do stupid things which can be exploited by their opponents, but they also frequently do stupid things which catch their opponents off-guard But whether it was the right thing to do or not, it is a bit precious to complain that someone you knew you would make angry, and indeed went out of your way to make angry, got, well, angry.

    For what it’s worth, what I’ve read of Vox Day’s response to this seems to line up with that pretty well. While he MAY be wrong about it being good to provoke the left (I doubt any effective stand could be made without accepting it to at least some degree, though I think the alt-right is a bit indiscriminate), at any rate he understands the risks involved, doesn’t complain about it, doesn’t try to pretend that he and his aren’t provoking the left, and advises being prepared to deal with the consequences.

    On the question of whether Milo is alt-right or not; eh, maybe, maybe not. Certainly lots of people on the alt-right regard him as one of “theirs,” whether they actually call him “alt-right” or not, and plenty of folks have different loyalties than they realize. The Apocalypse of St. John, to give an extreme example, indicates that many of both the damned and the just will be rather surprised to find themselves in their respective camps. I haven’t been paying enough attention, and quite frankly don’t care enough, to venture an opinion on the matter myself, but just because he says he’s not doesn’t mean he isn’t. Certainly the belief that he is, is not a sure indication that the judgement of the individual holding said belief cannot be trusted.

  • Hrodgar,

    But whether it was the right thing to do or not, it is a bit precious to complain that someone you knew you would make angry, and indeed went out of your way to make angry, got, well, angry.

    Thank you for providing the absolute perfect example of what I’m objecting to.

    Yes, clearly when I point out that a guy who occasionally says outrageous things shows up at a college to speak is, indeed, a good deal better than the violent thugs starting fires and destroying buildings, what I’m REALLY doing is complaining that people got “angry”.

  • GJ says:

    Mike T:

    Milo is not alt-right.

    I cheerfully admit that I don’t care about the shifting definitions and what-have-you. Perhaps my comment could have been worded better, but it suffices that many in the alt-right see Milo as an ally against an enemy, and are learning from him how to play the victim card.

    Now perhaps GJ, you would like to offer an opinion that being radical liberals somehow excuses them from being attached to reason

    That does not interest me at all.

    On a related note, you’ve repeatedly commented that after the white man/Saxon gets sufficiently provoked then things will happen. I suppose we’ve only begun to see what happens when leftists get enraged after a long campaign of fighting-words provocation by Yiannopoulos.

  • GJ says:

    malcolmthecynic:

    At what point does “provocative” mean that people are going to google search my name, discover that I’ve associated with Vox Day, and then blacklist me from jobs?

    If Vox withdraws from the conflict permanently henceforth, there should be little to no problems.

  • GJ,

    If you have no real response, just say so. Yeesh.

  • Mike T says:

    I think it’s safe to say that GJ has probably never even met someone to the left of Ann Coulter if he thinks that’s going to happen.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    It isn’t GJ’s own contention that white folks are gonna get medieval. That has been your contention, fairly regularly, in these comboxes: that whites are going to get violent qua whites. You could be right; but GJ is extrapolating from your contentions, not making his own, assuming I understood correctly.

  • Hrodgar says:

    Whether Milo is better than the rioters is not a question I’ve devoted much attention to. I don’t read him much, but given that he’s an advocate for sodomy, he might very well not be in the grand scheme of things. It is entirely possible, and even likely, that he is handling this specific situation well. It may also be worth pointing out that GJ above was not referring to poor behavior on Milo’s part, but on the part of a faction of unspecified prominence within the alt-right, which I think is very hard to dispute.

    I too was speaking more generally. The left stands a good chance of rioting whenever it gets angry. Is anybody really surprised at this point? Folks who are shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, and horrified by this behavior, just haven’t been paying attention. Even if both sides weren’t ramping up the rhetoric right about now, this is nothing we haven’t seen before. Maybe some hive need poking, but don’t complain when you get stung; it’s an occupational hazard. While Vox’s position isn’t entirely without problems given how fond he is of consequentialism, at least he understands that.

    And let’s be fair. In a lot of ways, the alt-right is looking at the left and saying “give me an excuse.” Many of their operations are explicitly justified by the left’s behavior, many of their members will deliberately provoke the left, and even those who don’t broadly support hose who do. Again, may or may not be the right thing to do in any particular circumstance, and I remain mildly sympathetic towards the alt-right as a whole, but this does make me much less sympathetic to complaints about how crazy the left is. No shit, Sherlock, you’re going out of your way to drive them crazy, and they were already crazy to begin with. Yeah, it kind of sucks, but what exactly did you think would happen?

  • Zippy says:

    It is typically the case that Team Litterbug really is less bad (for certain evaluations of ‘less bad’) than Team Worse Litterbug. It is true by definition, even. That is how the dynamic works, and how Team Litterbug gains allegiances: how it gets folks in my own comboxes to expend energy defending it and emphasizing how much worse is Team Worse Litterbug.

    Once one really grasps that dynamic, though, one really ought to stop providing material support to Team Litterbug (whether by emphasizing its virtues or by emphasizing TWL’s faults).

    When folks don’t stop doing that I naturally assume that they still haven’t really adequately grasped the situation.

  • Zippy,

    For once, I do disagree. What we’re seeing has real world effects- on myself, on people I know, on family.

    Obviously you haven’t denied that but I’m not going to sit here and say “Well the violent thugs were provoked!”

    Well, the list of what counts as triggering is getting shorter and shorter. One day I may find myself marked as an enemy just like Milo, and I don’t have a security detail.

  • Zippy says:

    Malcolm:

    The question though is how much effect defending the alt right is having on you, vs how much effect you are having on it.

    I expect that the Iron Law applies, even though we aren’t talking about voting specifically:

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/the-iron-law-of-electoral-influence/

  • Well, I don’t consider myself alt-right, and talk very little about Milo. I’m just observing that the difference between what SJWs consider me and the alt right is shrinking every day.

  • Zippy says:

    Malcolm:
    That reminds me of the way shrieking “conservatives” have, for my entire life, reflexively accused anyone who doesn’t buy into capitalism hook line and sinker of being a Communist. Liberals have very narrow minds by nature: it is part of the reason they always see marginally different liberals as the transcendant enemy, the ultimate Other. Communist and Nazi are as far as the horizon goes.

  • Zippy,

    There is one important thing to remember about the Mccarthy era: I don’t know all the details about Mccarthy’s actual role in this, but I CAN say that he was 100% correct that communists and Marxists were infiltrating and attempting to undermine the society. This is actually all quite well documented.

  • Zippy says:

    Malcolm:

    I’m not quite that old ;-). I wasn’t referring to McCarthyism or to that particular era, or even to any real actual communists.

    I’m talking about the propensity of shrieking “conservatives” to accuse folks who are in fact less liberal than they are of being communists, because “conservatism” to these accusers necessarily includes unequivocal and uncritical embrace of classical liberal economics. Everyone who does not doff his cap to King Capitalism is a communist, because the space of all possibility lies within the event horizon.

    Your statement that leftist SJW’s can’t distinguish between you and the alt right just brought to mind the general liberal incapacity to see anything but themselves in others. Even the hated Other is always perceived as just some secondary or tertiary variation on the liberal worldview.

  • Mike T says:

    ou could be right; but GJ is extrapolating from your contentions, not making his own, assuming I understood correctly.

    My last comment was in agreement with malcolm about GJ’s assertion that everything will be a-ok for malcolm the moment he disassociates with Vox Day. I think you combined “comment arcs” in that one.

    Anyone who believes that if we are just polite, apolitical, etc. to these people and don’t associate with whoever is on their latest shit list that they’ll leave us alone is either not paying attention or on their side and feeding us a load of garbage.

  • Mike T says:

    In another 5-10 years of the Buckleyites purging everyone who makes the left uncomfortable at cocktail parties, everyone commenting here including Step2 and Aethelfrith will be either candidates for or card-carrying members of the alt-right.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    I’ll prescind from trying to figure out just who was contending what, and just address this substantive contention:

    Anyone who believes that if we are just polite, apolitical, etc. to these people and don’t associate with whoever is on their latest shit list that they’ll leave us alone …

    This is kind of true. As usual though I think you misconstrue the situation when you pose it as “who will leave who alone” or what have you. Being “left alone” presupposes a society with a configuration of rules and practices that you prefer.

    A good society doesn’t “leave people alone”. It privileges the right kinds of behavior and sanctions and even puts people in prison for the wrong sort of behavior.

    In fact no society “leaves people alone”.

    So while it is true that the SJW left isn’t going to leave anyone not of themselves alone, it is also just as true that the alt right isn’t going to leave anyone not of themselves alone, etc etc.

    And as liberalism compresses our social and political reality, and encourages the development of ever more diverse and incompatible world views, the conflict will escalate.

    everyone commenting here including Step2 and Aethelfrith will be either candidates for or card-carrying members of the alt-right

    Because Trumpism / Vox Dayism versus SJW leftism exhausts all possibility. /sarc

  • Zippy, per your response to me:

    That’s fair enough. Right now though, in the publishing industry in which I am trying to network, here is what I know:

    1) A mainstream house would never have touched “God, Robot”

    2) The house Vox Day works as chief editor did

    3) Since Vox Day’s publishing house did, I don’t know what repercussions this will have on my career, in writing or otherwise

    Which is what is relevant to me.

  • Zippy says:

    Malcolm:

    You are certainly right to be concerned! I would never suggest otherwise. It is hard to even guess as to whether the association will be net positive or negative for you long term, but it is great that you have a friendly vehicle for publishing your work.

    Our discussions here though are not usually about personally specific situations. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    I think it’s pretty obvious what I meant by “left alone.” I meant “will leave reasonably peaceably and not sic the Communist Inquisition on malcolm to completely upend his existence at every opportunity over the slightest transgression of the latest iteration of The Narrative.”

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    I think it’s pretty obvious what I meant by “left alone.”

    It is obvious to me that what you mean by “leaving people alone” is “the right sort of people are ostracized and put in prison, and the rules favor the right sort of people”.

    But it is far from clear that you really grasp this.

  • Mike T says:

    I do grasp it. The question is whether you really grasp it since you put what malcolm and I were referring to in terms of ostracism and the right people going to prison. Malcolm was expressing a more mundane form of the basic fear of these people conspiring to systematically exclude him from a career. I was going a bit above that to describe the general behavior which is an attempt to systematically crush people for the sole reason of disagreement.

    I do not need to be lectured on the social utility of ostracism, shaming, etc. That is not what these people do. It is more like “jihad for liberal chickenshits” in terms of their desire to exterminate the infidel and render harm to anyone who would give him aid and comfort.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Malcolm was expressing a more mundane form of the basic fear of these people conspiring to systematically exclude him from a career.

    IOW, the concern isn’t that some people are ostracized and shamed. The concern is that the wrong people are ostracized and shamed.

  • Mike T says:

    If it were purely shaming and ostracism, it would not be an issue. It is the fact that there is a savage desire to destroy anyone who does not embrace them. It is also showing warning signs of turning into a movement that is emotionally capable of committing mass murder if the right sequence of events occur.

    This is like you calling common Islamic praxis on dealing with women who have been less than “100% sexually pure” just “radical slut-shaming.” In a sense, it is slut shaming, and in a sense what the SJWs is “shaming and ostracism.” In practice, though, it is so extremely separated from the rest of the ordinary category that it is damn near different in kind.

  • Mike T says:

    And yes, liberalism is ultimately the problem here and this is a particularly virulent form of assaulting the “untermensch,” but that is not the most relevant issue for either other liberals or people trying to cast off liberalism. The fact that there is a particularly virulent form of liberalism that is arising, with particular goals that are extremely serious is a problem in its own right and must stopped for its own sake.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    There is a continuum of what every society does to people it considers heretical. Shame, ostracism, jail, execution (to simplify a whole spectrum to a few examples).

    Again, you are fixated on the idea of being “left alone”. That is entirely irrelevant, and indeed is not even coherent without begging the question against those who should not be “left alone”.

    The real issue isn’t “leaving people alone”. It isn’t shaming, ostracism, jail, and execution. The issue is who is shamed, ostracized, jailed, and executed; and why.

    There are no free societies. There are only societies which put the right sort of people in prison, and societies which put the wrong sort of people in prison (again, to simplify a whole spectrum of ways that every society favors its dogmas and persecutes heretics).

  • Zippy says:

    All of liberalism is “particularly virulent”. Just count the corpses.

  • Zippy says:

    I wouldn’t want to downplay the significance of career limitations and vandalism. Both of those are significant to the people who face them.

    But it is important to keep perspective. In the background, shimmering translucently, are mountains of corpses and uncountable multitudes on their way to Hell.

  • Mike T says:

    There is a continuum of what every society does to people it considers heretical. Shame, ostracism, jail, execution (to simplify a whole spectrum to a few examples).

    It is, but very often the lines of what is objectively moral are crossed by the heretic hunters and those hunted are not morally obligated to accept being their prey.

  • Mike T says:

    To paraphrase Solzhenitsyn, it is better to die on your feet in the hallways with an axe or poker in your hand than cry for mercy in the camps.

  • Mike T says:

    There are no free societies. There are only societies which put the right sort of people in prison, and societies which put the wrong sort of people in prison (again, to simplify a whole spectrum of ways that every society favors its dogmas and persecutes heretics).

    Shaming, ostracism, imprisonment, etc. in order to be moral, must be rooted in the natural order either via objective morality or relative to legitimate acts of authority. What the SJWs do that makes their tactics and goals so unacceptable is, among other things, go after people for speaking the truth or failing that, merely holding a different opinion that is otherwise within the realm of things that are not “beyond the pale” either objectively or within the scope of what society tolerates. Among other things, they violently aggregate illegitimate authority to hunt down and punish anything that in their minds is heresy (which is increasingly a lot).

    Because Trumpism / Vox Dayism versus SJW leftism exhausts all possibility. /sarc

    Because if they had their way, the overton window would shift so radically that that is how it would appear.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Yes, as I have been saying all along, what matters is what is in fact objectively good, true, and beautiful. Under a perverse order, Christian fathers have a hard time finding employment. Under a good order, open in-your-face sodomites and adulterers and other perverts have a hard time finding employment.

    The typical counter-SJW narrative is worse than useless, because it takes for granted everything that creates SJWs in the first place and is really just their mirror image. Meet the new cuck, same as the old cuck.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    everyone commenting here including […] Aethelfrith will be either candidates for or card-carrying members of the alt-right.

    I find that unlikely given the Alt-Right’s insistence that non-whites can’t do anything of value and the fact that I’m phenotypically incorrect.

  • CJ says:

    Never fear, Aethelfrith. The alt-right doesn’t *hate* us phenotypically-challenged folks, they just think we should each live in our own countries. So I just need to uproot myself and my family from the only home and culture I’ve ever known so I can move in with people who superficially resemble me. The alt right will love me then. Liberia here I come!

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:

    Never fear, Aethelfrith. The alt-right doesn’t *hate* us phenotypically-challenged folks, they just think we should each live in our own countries.

    But the SJW left says that race is extremely important, which is what makes noticing it (in anyone other than Evil White Oppressors who need to Check Their Privilege and Shut Up) one of the worst crimes ever. Noticing nonwhite racial differences is unavoidable though, so we Really Real Realists need the God Emperor to impose a patchwork of racially uniform polities. If the God Emperor doesn’t do that, Total War !!! [tm] is inevitable.

    Because that exhausts all possibilities, and anyway there is no false metaphysical baggage in the Great Counter-Narrative.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    CJ–

    For me, that’s either the country of my birth (Canada) or the country of my heritage (the Philippines) but WAIT! One of my grandparents is a white American who deserted his post in Manila. So I guess I could stay?…

    I went to Toronto for the after-Christmas holidays. One thing liberal Canadians (but I repeat myself) don’t seem to understand is that one of the major selling points of their country–that is, accommodation of all peoples of all nations, races, and creeds–either doesn’t matter a whit to many people, or is actively repulsive to others (like me). That becomes clearly apparent when you notice the behavior of Chinese in the major cities and especially Vancouver. (There’s a joke that BC means British China).

    That leaves the Philippines. I could be talked into moving back (spent a few years as a child) if I were given carte-blanche to rule and shape the country with an iron fist a la Lee Kwan Yew. (I talked with a cousin about why the PI doesn’t advance like Singapore did and I chalked it up to the lack of leadership like LKY’s). Then again, in the current political climate, they may just end up being a suzerain for China in a decade’s time. (Not that it would change much–Chinese have been the elite there for decades).

    What I find amusing is that for all the flavor-of-the-month alt-right posturing about how identity is replacing ideology as the ruling principle of nations, the idea that identity is the factor by which nations should be ruled is itself an ideology.

  • Zippy says:

    Aethelfrith:

    … the idea that identity is the factor by which nations should be ruled is itself an ideology.

    Possibly relevant:

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2007/01/31/the-paradox-of-abstract-traditionalism/

  • CJ says:

    From the beginning, it looked to me that the alt right’s program boils down to “be Mirror Universe SJWs.”

    They want to punch back twice as hard instead of trying some Aikido.

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:

    Aikido is for cucks. It isn’t for Real Men [tm] (who just happen to spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over the Science [tm] of how to curry favor with women).

  • CJ says:

    Zippy – In keeping with the Mirror Universe SJW theme, I think of it as Intersectional Traditionalism. The really precious ones are those who are in a moral panic over miscegenation, but dismiss the importance of abortion and contraception when Western Civilization is Imperilled!!!1

  • Aethelfrith says:

    CJ

    [Real Men ™] dismiss the importance of abortion and contraception when Western Civilization is Imperilled!!!1

    …and the degradation of the family, and embrace of untruth, and materialism, and superficiality, etc. etc.

  • TomD says:

    Anyone wanting to see a Hegelian Mambo in action can watch this.

  • CJ says:

    Paragraph from an article that bears on the issue of intramural liberal fights

    “Liberalism, whether classical or modern, is an ideology for securing cooperation among people with radically different views and ways of life. Classical-liberal ideas like the rule of law, religious liberty, and free markets help accomplish that. Modern liberals just add civil rights and a fair distribution of income as necessary parts of the calculus. Thus, despite their many salient differences, Republicans and Democrats have both governed from a silent liberal consensus since at least the end of World War II.”

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-real-realignment/

  • itascriptaest says:

    CJ,

    Thanks for posting that paragraph and link. The author is mostly right on the history but ultimately errs when he locates Trumpism outside of liberalism. As Zippy has said Trump is bascially Bill Clinton circa 1992. Some of the commenters on the site rightfully note that isolationism and protectionism have a long pedigree in American history. It was largely the dominate view for much of the 19th century and it allowed liberalism to develop here largely uninterrupted. Pretty typical of AmCon, they get close to adopting the correct posture that liberalism itself is the problem but they never quite get there and in the end they always seem to end up pushing some form of right-liberalism.

  • Mike T says:

    It was largely the dominate view for much of the 19th century and it allowed liberalism to develop here largely uninterrupted.

    Liberalism developed all around the advanced countries in the 19th century uninterrupted.

  • itascriptaest says:

    Liberalism developed all around the advanced countries in the 19th century uninterrupted

    It depends with what you consider to be advanced countries. England, Holland, Prussia and thr US would fit with what you are saying. I had in mind though countries like France and Spain where while liberalism certainly violently “progressed” in many ways the various revolutions, wars, abdications and coups prevented those countries from becoming liberal democracies in the form of England in the 19th century. It would only really come to France in 1960s and Spain in the 1970s.

    Despite the upheavel of the Civil War liberalism really developed here unimpeded and by the late 19th century it had already corroded and largely marginalized Protestantism.

  • Mike T says:

    It would only really come to France in 1960s

    The First French Republic and the Paris Commune deeply inspiring Lenin notwithstanding.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    I think you might be wrong about “tame liberalism.” The Buckley conservatives, as exemplified by the most recent iteration of the National Review, just might be a rebuttal. After rapid generations of selective breeding (calling it purging sounds soooo authoritarian), they’ve finally created a liberal that is about as threatening and dangerous as a fat, blind, toothless dog.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    They are just old, and surrounded by larvae with knives:

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/we-are-cthulu/

  • Step2 says:

    Mike T,
    I am skeptical the alt-right is amenable to prolific insults of Trump or to theorizing about his manipulation by Russian influence. So I don’t plan to on joining that group even if they do get some other things right.

    Zippy,
    They are just old, and surrounded by larvae with knives:

    Granted, but one shouldn’t bring a spork to a knife fight.

  • itascriptaest says:

    To return this thread back to its original focus regarding liberalism as political doctrine I offer John C. Wright’s comments made today-

    The Right apparently believe the fight with the Left is a political struggle, that is, a conflict of lobbyist groups edging for position within the context of an overall framework of laws and customs. It is not. The Left is a religious cult whose aim is to dismantle and destroy those laws and customs.
    http://www.scifiwright.com/2017/02/why-i-am-not-alt-right/#disqus_thread

    He senses something is wrong with the Alt-Right’s tactics but in the end fails to see the true nature of liberalism which forestalls any sort of repetence. Its such shame because he is an eloquent writer with a solid fan base and his conversion in particular I think would take a lot of people with him.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    Here’s a little game:

    I found this list-form action plan, but changed the language. Where did I get it from?


    1. Be who you are, and go public when you’re wronged by conservatives. Every time one of us comes out of the closet, it makes it easier for the next dozen. This is how we will change the culture.
    2. Don’t be attached to being liked or respected by conservatives. They won’t change their minds no matter how nice you are.
    3. Reach out and find support groups. There’s millions of LBGT, secular, nonwhite, and Democratic people out there. We’re the majority. Remember that.
    4.Never get tired of winning.

    (HINT: one of the list items is completely unedited.)

  • Terry Morris says:

    Aethelfrith: I’ll take a stab at it – you got it from an alt-right website or message board?

  • GJ says:

    Aethelfrith:

    Ha!

    On a tangential note, the argument against ‘proposition nation’ fails by noting simply that Americanism is a religion, and that it is possible, contra to furious protests by some, for someone who’s never stepped foot onto the land to be an American [in that sense].

  • GJ says:

    “In multiracial societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.” But what happens when it’s race versus religion?

    Enter the racially-minded members of the alt-right fighting against the right-wing adherents of various flavours of the civic nationalism religion – which has as common ritual bapti-, I mean, immigrants making an Exodus to the Promised Land/Magic Dirt.

  • Mike T says:

    the argument against ‘proposition nation’ fails by noting simply that Americanism is a religion

    In a way, you are correct. Americanism is nothing more than an attempt to divorce traditional American culture from its roots and turn it into a set of propositions that would allow anyone to claim to be an American by virtue of adhering to it. It is, in many respects, the desperate ploy of immigrants whose culture is barely compatible in any sense with ours to reduce the criteria for joining with our people such that they can feel like it is easily obtained (or in some cases even possible).

  • Mike T says:

    Whatever you wish to say about liberalism and Americanism doesn’t chance one particular fact about Americanism, which is that due to it being mainly an immigrant’s attempt to ape the civic and political aspects of American culture to reduce the barrier to assimilation, it should be obvious why it has a particularly corrupting influence on the surrounding culture. Melting pots do that and any large nation’s culture would suffer a similar fate under similar choices and influences.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Do you actually believe that proposition-nation Americanism comes from just-off-the-boat immigrants?

    Proposition-nation Americanism is pretty obviously a core ideology of white liberal Americans.

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/whitey-knows-best/

  • I gotta say, I am not alt-right (they reject equality but keep liberty as a principle, which disqualifies them immediately), and I haven’t seen John’s response, but I’m pretty sure Vox just owned him on the topic of the melting pot theory.

  • Mike T says:

    Proposition-nation Americanism is pretty obviously a core ideology of white liberal Americans.

    I never said it was JUST immigrants and given the amount of mixing that happened in the late 19th and early 20th century, there is not even a clear bifurcation between the two anyway.

    That aside, there is a tendency among Catholic conservative contrarians to effectively say that America is a collective avatar of liberalism and claim that we are for that reason not an actual nation like any other nation. We are nationless individuals, devoid of a culture because our culture “just is liberalism and nothing else” there it is all falsehood and falsehood, having no basis in reality, means it is an illusion.

    As a Protestant whose family is mostly English and Scottish, with a heavy dose of Danish, Dutch and French, that doesn’t surprise me because most Catholics in the US are descended from peoples who were not from the original stock. So tradcon, to SJW, it benefits both to argue that original, predominantly Anglo-Saxon/Scottish stock and culture has no relevance, its culture and political heritage providing no foundation on which the liberalism sits (and perverts).

  • Mike T says:

    What Attaturk did for Turkey provides some hints as to what we think must be done to fix our country without devolving into either backward-looking navel gazing or jumping off the cliff WRT liberalism. If you know what he did culturally, you know which areas serve as inspiration and which don’t.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    I never said it was JUST immigrants …

    Immigrants have never been the people who actually make American immigration policy, for obvious reasons. American immigration policy has always been the policy of Americans.

    …there is a tendency among Catholic conservative contrarians to effectively say that America is a collective avatar of liberalism and claim that we are for that reason not an actual nation like any other nation.

    Maybe in comment threads elsewhere that sort of passive aggressive opposite day rhetoric gets traction. It has long been my own contention, probably since you were in diapers, that America actually is — contrary to the exceptionalist beliefs of many, probably even the majority, of Americans — a blood and soil nation like any other.

    As a Protestant whose family is mostly English and Scottish, with a heavy dose of Danish, Dutch and French, …

    I’m related to Betsy Ross. My grandfather played cards with Harry Truman when he was a haberdasher, and was a sometime passenger on Lindberg’s mail run. I imagine that if there were a genetic lottery between the two of us for who gets to stay and who has to go there’d be a good chance you’d find yourself wearing a kilt and playing the bagpipes in Glencoe.

    So color me unimpressed by the whole twenty first century neo-know-nothing impersonation.

  • Mike T says:

    Maybe in comment threads elsewhere that sort of passive aggressive opposite day rhetoric gets traction. It has long been my own contention, probably since you were in diapers, that America actually is — contrary to the exceptionalist beliefs of many, probably even the majority, of Americans — a blood and soil nation like any other.

    Several of your own commenters here indulge in that, particularly lamenting how in their own (half-assed) interpretation of alt-right beliefs that they might be shipped off to another country just because of the pigment of their skin. Hell, GJ was just defending the proposition nation on the notion that “Americanism” is a religion that anyone can subscribe to, which implies that anyone can adopt a set of beliefs and say “I’m American.” Yeah, and I can fly to Africa and will myself to be a full-fledged member of a tribe of Pygmies…

    So color me unimpressed by the whole twenty first century neo-know-nothing impersonation.

    I’ll give you an example. I don’t particularly like the behavior of many “proud Italians.” They are not Italians. They are also not full Americans due to their insistence on maintaining much of the heritage and even ethnic loyalty of their ancestral lands. If Denmark got invaded tomorrow, despite having a good chunk of Danish ancestry and even carrying a Danish last name, I would feel no particular duty to support them. Because I am an American and I identify with the old heritage of America, not that of my non-American and non-British ancestors. (Side note: most American “Italian” sounds like a drunk Klingon trying to slowly speak the words of an opera piece)

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Hell, GJ was just defending the proposition nation on the notion that “Americanism” is a religion that anyone can subscribe to …

    I may be wrong but I took his statements as at least tinged with irony. Though I expect that the great majority of Americans would agree with the ‘proposition nation’ scheme if asked.

    In any event GJ isn’t Catholic IIRC; so the gripe about conservative Catholic contrarians seems incongruous, if his comments were the target.

  • Andrew E. says:

    Bonald has posed the question several times over the last few years both at his blog and at the Orthosphere asking whether the immigration restrictionists of 100+ years ago right about the corrupting influence of the massive Catholic immigration of late 19th and early 20th century. Something Lawrence Auster was also known to ask about the Jewish immigration of the same period. Bonald’s query is each time provocative and interesting, no doubt kicking off a whole new line of discussion with dozens of comments….except it never does. Each time Bonald’s question is followed by erie silence. This I always found strange. Though most recently on the Orthosphere I think he did get one response to the effect of: “How can Truth (ie. Catholicism) be corrupting of any society?” Hah!

  • Zippy says:

    Andrew E:

    My own view is that abstractly, the know-nothings were correct. The waves of Catholic immigration unquestionably changed the course of the culture and nation[*].

    But abstract traditionalism is something of a contradiction in terms, because the truth always matters:

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2007/01/31/the-paradox-of-abstract-traditionalism/

    [*] Ultimately I think the know nothings have had the last laugh though, because Americanism or political protestantism or liberalism has changed Catholicism, in practical boots on the ground ways, at least as much as vice versa.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    Zippy, Andrew,

    You may as well complain that Judean immigrants transformed the Roman Empire’s state religion, if abstracts are to be held above the truth.

  • TomD says:

    The problem with worshiping concrete gods should be obvious.

  • itascriptaest says:

    corrupting influence of the massive Catholic immigration of late 19th and early 20th century

    Andrew can you please explain what the corrupting influence of Catholicism included? When the US is basically a socially liberal welfare state like every other Northern Protestant country that made up the original stock of America, it seems our current state is the logical outcome of a certain mix of specific factors.

  • Mike T says:

    itascriptaest,

    The issue is not actually with the Catholicism, but the cultural baggage of the ethnicities that were involved. Southern Europe has a legacy of heavy-handed government and mass cultural and political corruption that is totally incompatible with the British heritage of the US. Ireland is not much better in its completely dysfunctional culture and politics. Realistically, the only Catholics that could hit the ground running with compatible culture would be middle class French, Swiss, Germans and Austrians.

  • Mike T says:

    There’s also this: Catholicism + Liberalism has evolved into a goddess cult of sappy universalism and brotherhood of man lead nominally in the service of the Judeo-Christ (not to be confused with Jesus Christ).

  • itascriptaest says:

    Mike T,

    Thanks for responding.

    Southern Europe has a legacy of heavy-handed government and mass cultural and political corruption that is totally incompatible with the British heritage of the US

    Well I don’t think any part of Europe had a monopoly on heavy-handed government. After all modern England itself owes much of its existence to Henry VIII, Charles II and especially to the absolutist and heavy-handed Parliament that drove a lot of people off their land, a major impetus for immigration to this country.. As far as corruption, I take it you have in mind things like Tammy Hall as the archetype of immigrant ghetto politics? In the history of American democracy “corruption” in the form of political favoritism and spoils was the norm not the exception. Reading Gordon Wood’s writings on the early American legislatures one is struck by seemingly widespread and blatant corruption going on. Yet pre-modern and even early modern people did not necessarily see it like this. I have read historians and sociologists who argue that early modern peoples were still immersed in a residue of feudal culture, a culture where politics was done on “face to face” basis and where the leader was tasked chiefly with “bringing home the goods” as it were to the community like the chiefs and lords of old. The immediate needs of the community often trumped the written law, this was true in early American legislatures that engaged in “private relief” of indebted individuals to the staggering patronage of the Jacksonian era down to the graft and patronage of Tammy Hall. The point being is that most of our ancestors were trying to make their way through a harsh world, often having been uprooted from their historic land. It is not to romanticize everything that happened, but I cannot help but think that a lot of this comes down to attacking immigrants for not embracing liberalism fast enough.

    Ireland is not much better in its completely dysfunctional culture and politics.

    Well for much of the first half of the 20th century Ireland was a model Catholic country. Despite everything it has better held out against modernism than any of the other northern Protestant countries, including the United States. Ireland too I would point out has a legal system based on the English common law system (in actually the English common law was imposed on Ireland). Ireland’s government has adopted many structural elements from the American system.

    Realistically, the only Catholics that could hit the ground running with compatible culture would be middle class French, Swiss, Germans and Austrians.

    As I am sure you are aware, Vox Day wouldn’t agree with you here.

  • Mike T says:

    Well I don’t think any part of Europe had a monopoly on heavy-handed government. After all modern England itself owes much of its existence to Henry VIII, Charles II and especially to the absolutist and heavy-handed Parliament that drove a lot of people off their land, a major impetus for immigration to this country..

    Every people go through periods of that, but on balance England and Scotland have had stronger traditions and legal norms that place concrete limits on political authority than is the case in Southern Europe.

    As I am sure you are aware, Vox Day wouldn’t agree with you here.

    And I don’t agree with Vox Day on everything either. Granted, I was not implying mass migration of any sort.

  • Andrew E. says:

    Andrew can you please explain what the corrupting influence of Catholicism included?

    I really don’t have any developed thoughts on the question. I care more about white vs. non-white and Christian vs. non-Christian (where Christian includes Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox) immigration.

    But Bonald seems to think so. I would be interesting to see it fleshed out.

  • GJ says:

    Zippy:
    I may be wrong but I took his statements as at least tinged with irony. Though I expect that the great majority of Americans would agree with the ‘proposition nation’ scheme if asked.

    I see see as straightforward fact that the ‘proposition nation’ is founded on religious beliefs, and therefore has a stable core on which a nation can stand; that Mike T regards my description as ‘defending the proposition nation’ reveals how weak the average anti-‘proposition nation’ position is.

    (And yes, I am not a Catholic.)

    Mike T:

    There simply is a large number of people who believe that the essence of America is to possess certain beliefs, and they embrace all who share the beliefs as ‘one of us’ in a national sense. So they, mostly living communally in a society, comprise a nation.

    Directly from their definition of ‘American’, to possess their beliefs is to be one of them, an American (which is exactly like certain religions).

  • Zippy says:

    GJ:
    I think it is fair to point out the existence – and pervasiveness in America – of Americanism the religion. But Americanism the religion and America the nation are distinguishable.

  • GJ says:

    Zippy:

    I believe it’s more accurate to say that the USA is a [multinational] empire, with one of the nations being the ‘proposition nation’ founded on Americanism.

  • GJ says:

    Mike T:

    As rhetoric the line regarding pygmies is of some efficacy. As logic it’s just subtly begging the question about ‘what defines an American’.

  • Zippy says:

    GJ:

    …with one of the nations being the ‘proposition nation’ founded on Americanism.

    I don’t think that makes sense. Malta is a nation founded on the religion of Catholicism; but Malta and Catholicism are distinguishable. More generally religions aren’t nations, and vice versa (which is just to say that neither is reducible to the other). Perhaps the most entangled case is Vatican City and Roman Catholicism, I suppose; but I trust it is obvious that neither Vatican City nor Roman Catholicism are reducible to each other.

    Empires and nations are also distinguishable, of course.

  • Mike T says:

    GJ,

    The US is certainly becoming a multinational empire, but what the idea of a constituent member being a “nation” founded on a 20th century civic religion is unrealistic. A French Communist and a French devout Catholic are both French, despite having no common ground on religion. Likewise, the Austro-Hungarian Empire is proof that founding an empire on shared religion is only going to buy you time before natural tribalism splits the empire along national lines.

    So a white American who buys into “Americanism” is still connected (generally) to the historic white blood and soil nation that was the core of the nation-state. Those who don’t are still connected to it. A Chinese immigrant may become a citizen, but they cannot say “I am American” in that sense.

    Most countries don’t have this problem because it is understood that a nation-state will always have some natural diversity. France has never been 100% French. It has regions dominated by Bretons, Corsicans, Basque and others. The fact that they are “French” in terms of citizenship does not mean that a Corsican is “French” in terms of the nation. A Corsican and a Frenchman are two distinctly different ethnic categories.

  • Mike T says:

    Malaysia can be a good example of why accepting this and correcting the demographics is important in the long run. Malaysians, AFAIK, are nearly a minority in their own territory now due to an influx of Chinese and Indians during colonialism. One can also look at Hawaii and imagine how painful it is to the natives to be only 40% of their ancestral homeland’s population.

  • GJ says:

    Zippy:

    More generally religions aren’t nations, and vice versa (which is just to say that neither is reducible to the other). Perhaps the most entangled case is Vatican City and Roman Catholicism, I suppose; but I trust it is obvious that neither Vatican City nor Roman Catholicism are reducible to each other.

    I could perhaps have expressed myself better, but I don’t think I am at all confusing Americanism with the nation founded on Americanism, (which is itself one of the component nations of the empire commonly known as the USA).

    Undergirding my view, I suppose, is the observation that there is great disagreement about what is the nation ‘America’ (while the definition of the political entity of USA, the empire-state, is not much disputed). What interests me at the moment is the ‘Americanism’/’proposition nation’ view, and how that cohesively organises and unites many people living together in a society, which effectively forms a nation. Whether [i]this[/i] nation should be regarded as ‘the nation America’ doesn’t seem to me at all important at this stage.

    Mike T:

    the idea of a constituent member being a “nation” founded on a 20th century civic religion is unrealistic.

    I disagree. An ‘exceptional’ people has accomplished it.

  • Mike T says:

    I am at all confusing Americanism with the nation founded on Americanism, (which is itself one of the component nations of the empire commonly known as the USA).

    You can disagree all you want, but that doesn’t mean your disagreement is rooted in actual American history. Americanism is a 20th century phenomenon. The core white, Anglo-Saxon/Scotch-Irish nation already existed. To whatever extent its members adopted “Americanism,” that does not mean a new nation was founded anymore than Russia becoming dominated by atheist Communism suddenly established some new nation on top of Russia.

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