Putting des cartes before des whores
April 27, 2017 § 17 Comments
Modern people tend to think that the exercise of authority is a matter of writing a priori rules for a subsequently constructed society. This leads them to believe that it is possible to constructively design a “free society” by running the right software, software which magically produces the results they want. (If it doesn’t achieve the results they want, that can only be because someone is cheating).
This is especially egregious among technologists, because that is how we design the things that we build: we conceive of the desired outcome in our mind, apply the constraints of nature as we understand them, assemble raw materials, and build the artifact that we want. In software especially this design-the-rules, achieve-the-outcome, impose the ghost into the machine model is the main pattern of thought. This pattern can be seen throughout the writing of post Enlightenment thinkers and is made explicit by John Rawls.
Authority and the civilizations which rest on that authority are not like that. Authority is never a matter of designing rules before a polity exists and instantiating that polity in conformance with those rules. Authority is never a matter of the de novo creation of a polity by some ‘social contract’ construction. So-called Enlightenment thought on authority and politics is disconnected from reality at its very foundation, because it assumes this kind of de novo construction of social reality, instantiation of the City from the raw materials of nature through the imposition of rules chosen a priori.
Back in the real world, authority always involves particular men discriminating and restricting freedom in response to particular controversies or potential controversies. Even wars and massive political discontinuities develop in and from an already given preexisting social context.
Human social reality is a fractal of the organic family, not a fractal of a constructed daycare. The more modern people attempt to treat human society like a mechanical device of their own design, the more it becomes a cyborg monstrosity which treats its human subjects as raw materials for consumption.