If iDave, Lord Pantsdown and Kinnockio want us to stay in the EU, it’s time to exit stage right… right?
"It is not worth the while to go round the world to count the cats in Zanzibar" – Henry David Thoreau
I was clearing out my shed recently. I ought to have had Baldrick with me for I found “things”.
One was my old spiral-bound pre-publication version of Carl Murray’s “Solar System Dynamics“. I was tempted to include scans to show how fucking nails it is but suffice to say a very condensed version of the disturbing function to fourth order takes up over 30 pages of A4. And that is just for the three body problem*. I got a B.
But this is the front quote…
I was going to do the full Irish Gaelic version but the Hell with that…
But indeed everything red is beautiful,
everything new is bright,
everything unattainable is lovely, everything familiar is bitter
everything absent is perfect, everything known is neglected,
until all knowledge is known.
- Anonymous, C9th, The Sick-bed of Cu Chulainn.
*Comments about English libel law are welcome.
It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.
For I had to do it — I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. "If you do not forgive men their trespasses," Jesus says, "neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." …
And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion — I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. "Jesus, help me!" I prayed silently. "I can lift my hand, I can do that much. You supply the feeling."
And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
"I forgive you, brother!" I cried. "With all my heart!"
For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.
When I was just eleven years of age, I accidentally saw the Beatles live. It changed my life forever. I was completely stunned and have been obsessed with music ever since.
I joined the Beatles Official Fanclub, and for Five Bob, or was it Half a Crown? you got a years membership, and floppy disc acetates from the cheeky chappy Scouser lads at Christmas, plus exclusive posters, and a monthly magazine. All of which I have still got.
In the beginning I had no idea how important the man who signed them to Parlophone records was to the whole phenomena of Beatlemania. But it gradually became apparent.
From the raw Love Me Do and Please Please Me, to Strawberry Fields, I am the Walrus and Yesterday, from 4 track machines to 24 track machines, Sir George Martin was the steady hand on the tiller of their careers, that translated their inarticulate yearnings for different sounds into a reality that literally blew the world away, and changed the face of music forever.
They were chalk and cheese, or so it seemed. He the upper middle class Classically trained man that he was, they the rough and ready Scousers, earthy, witty, and worked as a team and bounced off each other like no other band before them. Yet they loved each other and never will forget the contribution he made to their success.
So go to your deserved rest now Sir George, the real one and only fifth Beatle, and thanks for changing the world, well certainly mine, and everyone else’s too if they have ears to listen and eyes to see.
There may be an unwritten rule about one blog having a post that is critical of another blog – but there we go.
Yesterday I visited the “Libertarian Alliance” blog – the strange land of Dr Sean Gabb and co. The leading posts were about how wonderful Donald Trump (i.e. Juan Peron) is, and there was also stuff on how “Bush lied” about lovely Saddam Hussain, and there was also stuff about “Death to America”.
A couple of weeks ago I also visited the “Libertarian Alliance” blog and the posts were much the same then, so it was not an odd day yesterday, they really are this loony.
There was also a post saying that “Vote Leave” (full disclosure – I am involved in “Vote Leave” just as I am in “GO” whose founding meeting was in Kettering) does not really want to get the United Kingdom out of the E.U. – it-is-all-a-lie. How do the “Libertarian Alliance” know? Why because the Peter Hitchens (the chap who wants government ownership of the railways, although Network Rail is already 100% government owned) told them so.
Think about this. If a young person went searching the internet for libertarian stuff he or she might find the “Libertarian Alliance” blog – which would tell them that Donald Trump (Juan Peron) is a wonderful fellow and fill their heads with a lot of ravings (that might as well be from “Code Pink”) about the Middle East, and deals with “Death to America” in the it-does-not-really-matter way than the determinist David Hume treated the possibility of the “Euthanasia of the Constitution” in 18th century Britain (the possibility that Britain might be transformed into an absolute monarchy – on the French or Prussian model).
Yes Hume did not really care about political liberty any more than he cared about philosophical liberty, Free Will, – although at least he was NOT filled with endless schemes for more statism as Sir Francis Bacon and Jeremy Bentham (both admired by Dr Gabb) were.
Or perhaps a young person is just generally interested in current affairs and comes upon the “Libertarian Alliance” bog. It will tell him or her (for example) that Vote Leave does not “really” want the United Kingdom to come out of the E.U. (it-is-all-a-trick……) and that even if the United Kingdom did come out of the E.U. it would not make much difference anyway (plenty of stuff from Dr Gabb and co implying that) – basically ignoring the works of Christopher Booker, and others, on how the endless E.U. regulations short circuit democratic accountability (meaning that politicians and Civil Servants can simply say “there is nothing we can do to stop this”) and twist almost every aspect of British life.
By the way, on Mr Donald (Juan Peron) Trump……..
Well Donald – you claim that you can not release your tax returns for this year because you are still in an audit.
O.K. My dear Sir – but how about last year?
Or the year before that?
Ted Cruz has released his tax returns for the last nine years – are you, “Donald J. Trump” still-in-audit for your taxes last year, and the year before that, and the year before that……….?
Just how much money have you been giving to leftist politicians and to leftist organisations (such as Planned Parenthood) Mr Trump?
And how deep do your financial links with Mr George Soros (and other lovely individuals and organisations) go?
Stop screaming “privacy” Mr Trump – you have discussed your sexual antics for years (no privacy there). And you want to be President of the United States – or rather you really want HILLARY CLINTON to be President of the United States (which is what would happen if you are the nominee) and Commander in Chief of the Western World. The leader of the defence of the West against our very real enemies (such as the family of Hillary Clinton’s personal assistant).
So, Mr Trump, let ordinary people look at your tax returns please. After all Mr Putin’s FSB and the intelligence service of the People’s Republic of China most likely already know all your “secrets”. So let ordinary people see to.
The last thing I watched by Michael Wood was his absurd “History of England”- which had factual errors all over the place.
For example the Romans were undermined by “climate change” – Dr Wood said this walking past a burned out car and implying some sort of man-made global warming (the Romans did not have the internal combustion engine). “Greedy bankers” (the Romans had no system of fractional reserve banking – “greedy” or otherwise). And “imperial expansion” – the empire had actually been on the defensive (not the offensive) for centuries before it collapsed.
When we got on to the Victorian period we were told about the “Victorian” Act of 1834 (Victoria was not Queen then) which “invented” the Poor Rates and so on – replacing “charity”. In reality the Poor Law in England and Wales went back to the Tudors – the Poor Law REFORM Act of 1834 was not about introducing a new tax, it was about REDUCING the existing Poor Law tax. The local property tax that had greatly increased in the years before 1834 due to the Speenhamland system of paying money to people in work – which had spread after 1795, being allowed by the Act of 1782.
So I was not really expecting high standards from Michael Wood trying to explain the Song Dynasty period in China.
As he is hopeless on the history of his own country (at least outside the Anglo Saxon period – which is where he made his name) – what is one to expect from him about the history of other countries?
Well the programme was NOT all bad. The pictures were nice – if it had been a National Geographic show it would have been fine. And Dr Wood did make the valid point that monarchs of the Song Dynasty got cut off from military reality – they allowed other concerns (mostly cultural) to distract them from the defence of the country.
However Dr Wood missed the central point of the Song period.
The central point about the Song period is that it was a time of relatively free private enterprise – when Chinese farmers, merchants and manufacturers did things themselves rather than have the state tell them what to do all the time.
One would not know this from Dr Wood – instead we got the idea that the state (the Dynasty – the Song) was the the source of all good things. The Dynasty did X, Y, Z, – not private traders and manufacturers doing X, Y, Z (which was the reality).
And the departure from a relatively free market policy near the end of the Northern Song Dynasty, the “New Policies”?
Again Dr Woods managed to turn history on its head.
The New Policies, according to him, were about creating a more open and free society (this must be a very odd definition of “freedom” – as the New Policies were actually about increased state control and state intervention) obstructed by evil “conservatives”. No mention of the famine and general economic mess the “New Policies” caused – that was all caused by climate change or the Klingons (or whatever). It is odd how statism is always hit by bad weather…..
Do we really have to pay a BBC tax (sorry a “license fee”) for rubbish such as Michael Wood “history”?
Frank Fetter (from Lima Indiana – it is not just Cole Porter who came from there) refuted the David Ricardo land economics that the Henry George stuff is really based upon, a century before Murray Rothbard did. There is nothing special or “non distorting” about LVT.
So I will make only one point on the Land Value Tax. Under LVT someone who owned a farm (or even a nature reserve) that covered, say, ten acres would pay exactly the same amount of money in tax as someone who owned a factory complex, a housing estate, or a load of office sky-scrapers that covered ten acres.
Supporters of LVT seem to think that this is a good thing.
Oh good. There seems to be a ten minute pause between this site appearing and crashing again, so I can vent my spleen.
Nick and I had a moan over on Samizdata about how we both wanted to talk about Bowie dying, but the site was down yet a fuckin gain. It is down more often than it is up, and worse than that it is slow as hell to load when it is up.
This was pointed out by Philip Scott Thomas and Laird in their comments on Samizdat about our site, and how they no longer bother to even attempt to come here anymore. They used to be regulars, but I don’t blame them in the slightest… We have no readers left.
Look at the last 7 or 8 articles on this site and you will find that only three comments are made by people who are not writers for the site itself. What the fuck is the point of that?? Why are we here?
Well it should be to attract an audience, but if the platform is so fuckin inconsistent then that audience moves away, and it has in droves. Look at the right hand side bar and see the endorsements we got in our early days, we were good… nay great! I am proud to have been a participant on this site. I love my fellow Kitty Counters, they are magnificent in their breadth and depth of knowledge and diversity, but frankly we are now wasting our time crafting articles that no one can read for long or anybody can be bothered to read or comment on. So I am not about to try anymore.
I have been offered a post on another site and am seriously considering taking it up. I have sweated blood for this site and love it dearly, but enough is enough. Dr Johnson said that anyone who didn’t write for money is a fool. Well he was only half right. I’ve been there, done that and got the silk tour jacket. Good writers want to see their words in print, like any other craftsman like a carpenter or a painter or potter would their efforts. It’s not just the money, I … all of us do this for free. But we are being let down badly by a lousy Server that Cats refuses to do anything about.
Even if Cats suddenly decides to go professional, how long do you think it will be before we get our readership back? Fuck knows! But this is my last post for the foreseeable future.
The roots of the false (supposedly modern) version of “liberalism” go back at least to Sir Francis Bacon.
His doctrine that the law is whatever the state says it is – with judges being “lions UNDER the throne” (no fundamental laws based upon natural justice found and applied by centuries of reasoning) in opposition to Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke and the principles of the Common Law.
And the collectivism under an enlightened and educated elite that the destruction of the old principles of law was meant to lead to – the “New Atlantis” of Sir Francis Bacon, which would be very popular with academics (of the worst sort) and political activists (again of the worst sort) today.
Thomas Hobbes, the great enemy of the principles of “a student of the Common Laws of England”, was a servent of Sir Francis Bacon – and Sir William Petty (with his false, mathematical, economics and his desire to plan Ireland) was a follower of Sir Francis Bacon. The false idea of Sir William Petty that economics is about collecting “data” and then making calculations to see how the elite should control the lives of ordinary people, is at the base of the false versions of economics taught in most universities.
The Petty family later were the patrons of the Jeremy Bentham – with his view that natural rights limiting the state were “nonsense on stilts” and his demands for 13 Departments of State controlling the ordinary lives of the population. It is this creature that John Stuart Mill holds up (in his essay on the matter) as the classic example of a “liberal”. Something that utterly astonished me when I first came upon it – as I still had a positive view of J.S. Mill at the time.
The Bowood circle, of Bentham and co, evolved into the “Westminster Review” group of the Mills, James and John Stewart, and other followers of Bentham – the Westminister Review group also pushed the works of Thomas Hobbes (but carefully ignored the works of Ralph Cudworth and others that refuted the evil of Thomas Hobbes in philosophy).
The Westminster Review people constantly used the words “freedom” and “liberty” whilst pushing for an active state controlled by enlightened and educated intellectuals and civil servants – in the tradtion of Sir Francis Bacon and Jeremy Bentham.
They pushed (under the dishonest slogan of “free trade in land” – as if their only target was entails and so on) David Ricardo’s economics of land (only finally refuted by Frank Fetter – the other personl, along with Cole Porter, from Peru Indiana).
This was really about land nationalisation – or a least the doctrine that the state should decide who got what land and who kept what land. This (false) version or faction of 19th century “liberalism” looked back to Thomas Hobbes – who also had a basically Islamic view of land (i.e. that land “distribution” is a state matter) and rejected the Western tradtion (going back to the Edict of Q in 877 AD – and before) that the state may NOT justly take land from one family and give the land to another family. Of course the determinism and absolutism of Thomas Hobbes is also similar to that of mainstream Islam – his is the philosophy and politics of an Oriental Despot.
The Westminster Review people (the “radicals” who hid under the false name of “liberal”) also pushed the Labour Theory of Value of David Ricardo. J. S. Mill even pretented that writers who opppsed the Labour Theory of Value (such as Professor Richard Whately) did not exist – the “theory of value is settled”.
See also Mill’s pretence that “everyone agrees that…..” this or that form of statism in local government – as he wrote such things he knew perfectly well that everyone did NOT agree. But. as a utilitarian. Mill believed that false statements are justified if they promote the the greatest happiness of the greatest number – rather like the Islamic doctrine that lying is justified IF it is done to infidels for the purpose of making Islam stronger.
The Ricardian view of land is a threat to every large land owner, and the Labour Theory of Value is a potential dagger at the throat of every factory owner – hence J.S. Mills interest in worker coops and so on (no Hayek – it is not just the influence of Mrs Taylor).
So who should pro human agency (moral responsibility) and pro large scale private property AGAINST the desires of the state. liberals (REAL liberals – real supporters of fundamental rights against the state) favour?
In law – the tradition of Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke and Chief Justice Sir John Holt against Sir Francis Bacon and Sir William “Divine Right of Parliament” Blackstone – NOT every detail, the broad tradition.
And in Roman thought -people such as Cicero (see his “On Obligations”) and even that brief paragraph near the start of the “Meditations” of Marcus Aurelius. But also modern Roman thinkers such as Bruno Leoni (of the 1960s) with his opposition to “legislation” in his “Freedom And The Law”.
In the philosophy of morality and moral responsibility – Ralph Cudworth and Thomas Reid, not Thomas Hobbes and David “Euthanasia of the Constitution” Hume. But not forgetting Samuel Johnson either – neither British Dr Johnson or the American Samuel Johnson.
In politics – Edmund Burke rather than Jeremy Bentham. The principles of natural justice against the arbitrary will of the state – whether in Ireland, America, India or France.
In 19th century philosophy Noah Porter and James McCosh – not the Mills with their denial of “We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident” and their Jeremy Bentham agenda of government departments (of enlightened and educated Civil Servants and intellectiuals) controlling ordinary life – and neighter landowners or factory owners having any rights against the will of the state. For normal economic life IS (not “is not”) under the simple MORAL principle of liberty – which Mr J.S. Mill tried to redeifine as being confined to intellectual activities (with normal life, according to Mr Mill being economics – not subject to the same MORAL principle of non aggression against private property rights in the means of production and the moral [yes moral] right to trade freely).
J.S. Mill was wrong – there is no moral difference between the freedom of a baker to sell (or choose not to sell) his products on voluntarly agreed terms of price and quality – and the freedom of a writer such as Mr Mill himself. The idea that business is a “public matter” because a business is “open to the public” is just the twisted and false thinking of the Emperor Diocletian and others.
And turning to modern times?
We should reject the “sociological jurisprudence” of the Harvard Law School and hold that the Bill of Rights means what it says – just as the British Bill of Rights (long forgotten in these evil days) meant what it said.
And in philosophy?
We should stand with those who defend the real existence of moral right and moral evil – and with the existence of the human self (the human “I”) to choose (really choose) between them.
The Aristotelians – both religious and non religious. And Ayn Rand was not the only person to say that the self (the reasoning and chosing “I”) died with the body – Alexander “The Commentator” on Aristotle said much the same almost two thousand years ago.
And also such modern Common Sense thinkers (who also defend the existence of moral right and moral evil – and the existence of the human self, and the ability of the self to really CHOOSE between moral right and moral evil) such as Harold Prichard and Sir William David Ross.
Those people who tried to build a free society on a foundation of Sir Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, Sir William Petty. David Hume, Jeremy Bentham, the Mills, the “New Liberals” who built upon them such as Thomas Hill Green and the American Progressives such as Richard Ely, and such 20th century “liberals” such as Bertrand Russell, E.H. Carr and Harold Laski (the last three really totalitarian socialists, but the logical end point of such “liberalism”, – and still called upon to help with such things as the U.N. Declaration on Rights – when they did not even believe in property rights against the state) builds on quicksand.
What goes by the name “liberalism” in the United States (and sometimes in Britain also) is a disease – and it is a disease that goes back, at least, to Sir Francis Bacon.
Yes – look like.
Not the documents, written on parchment or carved on stone, but the sort of society that physically shows a certain sort of Constitution.
Aristotle has some ideas on this – as one can see from “The Politics” (whether it was an actual formal work of Aristotle – or lecture notes taken by students).
A polity (a state) that is a democracy will have nothing particularly dramatic in it. The people have no need of a stronghold against themselves – and defences will be constructed to defend the whole city (or rural area – for a polity can include rural areas). As for a government – the people will just assembly in the open (say in the Greek theatre) and debate and vote on policy – hence Aristotle’s idea that a democracy can only have a fairly small population. Even a democracy of the better sort – there are good and bad sorts of democracy to Aristotle, he calls the better sort a polity where the free citizens rule with respect for the law, reserving the actual word “democracy” for the worse sort of democracy – mob rule.
Yes the people can elect generals, judges an so on (as long as the people can also remove them at least after a set period of time) – but if the people do not even decide who the generals and judges are (and these positions are not chosen by lot) then whoever does decide who fills these positions is the real power – and the system is not a democracy at all, of the good sort or the bad sort.
Aristotle would react to the idea that, for example, the idea that “independent experts” should select the judges and senior administrators by saying that such an idea may be good or bad – but a polity that is arranged that way is certainly not a democracy (neither of the bad sort or the good sort – neither a wild example of mob rule, or a sober New England Township). As for the demonstrations in modern Poland with a minority of people demanding that the bureaucracy rule in the name of “democracy” and the E.U. demanding the “independence” of the bureaucracy (the judges, the state herald – media, and so on) in the name of “democracy”. Well ?????????????????? is all that can really be said.
So that brings us to two other sorts of Constitution – Monarchy and Oligarchy.
What do they look like?
Oddly enough they look very similar. Both good monarchies (that rule according to the law) and evil monarchies (“tyrnannies” who can change the law on whims) look the same – a central stronghold, or hall. Obviously more important than any other building in the polity.
And “Oligarchy” – rule by a unified group? It looks the same – a central stronghold or hall. Again obviously more important than any other building or hall.
The last form of government is “aristocracy” – this is also rule by a group, but it is not a unified group. It is a group of people who do not rule for their own narrow interet – because they do not even see themselves as having a narrow united interest.
This can be physically seen in the polity. Each major family of the aristocracy has its own great house or stronghold – not a single unified one. And they rule according to the law because each family is worred that other families will aggress them if the law is not maintained – including for the ordinary folk. For in a aristocracy the aristocrats are the leaders of the ordinary folk, they do not see them as enemies. They see them as part of the same polity – but a polity where familes have wide latitude in governing their own affairs, as long as they do not aggress against others.
Let us take Aristotle ahead in time – thousands of years to 18th century Britain.
Is it a monarchy? Formally (according to the written laws) it is. But Aristotle would point out that the King lives in a house much smaller than the houses of some of his subjects (not the great palaces we associate with monarchy – look where George III actually lived).
Is it an oligarchy? No that does not look right – the Parliament is actually a rather ramshackle place in the 18th century (not the Victorian building we are used to ) and it is not used much. It is not yet a “legislation factory”.
So Aritotle would carry on searching – and he would notice great houses in London belonging to certain families.
Then he would learn that these families had great landed estates and great houses attached to them. More impressive than anything the King had.
Then Aristotle (famous for his harsh manner and temper) might even smile – for all the strangeness of the terrible cold land, thousands of years from his home, he would know what Contitution this place was.
It was, whatever it called itself, really an aristocracy – not an oligarchy, as ignorant 19th century people such as Disraeli were to call it, but not really a monarchy or democracy either.
Take Aristotle further forward in time still – to 1920s Deleware.
Yes he would be astonished by the trains and cars and factories…. but he was tough minded man (as well as rather harsh), he would soon get to work “what sort of Constitution is this”.
And he would find a small house – this was the only government in Deleware till 1932. Clearly not a stronghold – not a monarchy or an oligarchy.
So is it a democracy or an aristocracy?
People would tell him that it was a mixed Polity – a constitutional res-publica (Romans? a sort of cross between a primitive Latin tribe and the civilised Etruscans?).
But then he would see the great estates of the Du Ponts and other families – and suspect that he was in an aristocracy. Although Aristotle would not regard that as automatically a bad thing – on the contrary aristocracies (unlike oligarchies) are not unified – they are not a conspiracy against the public, they rule according to the traditional laws because they believe it is in their rightly understood long term interests to do so. That their children and childrens children (aristocracies think in terms of generations – oligarchies think in terms of themselves alone) will benefit if justice is upheld for all.
Remember to Aristole (rightly or wrongly) there is no contradiction between the self interest of a family (rightly understood and in the long term) and justice – to an Ancient Greek moral thinker, the good life in moral terms was also the best life for people to choose to lead.
And the United States as a whole?
Well in the 1920s Aritotle would note the absurd ban on booze – but there were many absurd Greek laws in city states, and he would also note that the law was falling into contempt.
Aristotle would also note that slavery had been abolished – he freed his own slaves in his will (yes the author of the “natural slave” argument did not really hold to his own argument). But Aristotle would also note that the Americans did not regard the “negros” (as they were then called) to be their equals. Rather shockingly to modern sensibilities this would not upset Aristotle at all.
After all Aristotle was familiar with the concept of “resident alien” or “metic” – he had been one at Athens for years. No right to own property or to sue in court. He would also understand ethnic feelings – we should regard all people as our brothers and sisters, but most people tend to favour other people who look like them. Or sound like them – to the Greek the division was between people who spoke Greek and those who did not. The Americans of the 1920s insisted (or at least put great moral pressure on people to…) that everyone spoke the same language (in their case English) and adopted much the same culture – perhaps a bad thing, but an Ancient Greek would see nothing odd in this. And an Ancient Greek would be filled with foreboding about an influx of people who spoke a different language (and refused to change), had a different culture, and had different political loyalties. New people were fine – but not if they refused to become part (a real part) of the polity.
What would interest Aristotle more was the fact that Washington D.C. was tiny – and that even the buildings in many State Capitals (such as Austin Texa) were larger than in Washington.
Clearly this was a League or Alliance (inspite of the bitter war between the States of some 60 years before) – not an Empire like the Persions.
Something an Ancient Greek could support.
Does power lay with the States now?
Errr – no.
Modern Washington D.C. has spread into Maryland and Virginia – large areas are part of Washington in fact if not in theory.
And buildings such as the Pentagon (but, ever more, the Federal government offices all over the country – in the smalletc cities there is a welfare office….), shows where power really lays.
The Great Break was NOT the Civil War – Washington D.C. was a minor matter decades AFTER the Civil War.
Even under Calvin Coolidge the Federal government was just that – Federal with most spending and taxation being a State and local matter (yes local – for example in Vermont poverty was a local “overseer of the poor” matter till 1969).
The Great Break was the 1930s – then it would have been obvious to Aristotle (and anyone else) that the United State of America was no longer a League or Alliance, it had become a Centralied State. Where the “Federal” government was more important (taxed, spent and made law) more than the States.
If 18th century Britain was a “Federation of Country Houses” and 1920s America was still a “Federation of States” – modern Britain and America are very different.
The written Constitution of the United States may be much the same – but the physical reality, what the polity looks like, is utterly transformed.
Angus Deaton was asked on Mr Putin’s “RT” television station, by Sophie S. on her show, why there was so much poverty in America – in spite of the American government spending so much money on its various entitlements.
That is not true said Professor Deaton – the American government actually spends “very little”.
The audience would have just taken this on trust (and certainly the lady, Sophie S. was knocked back) – after all Angus Deaton is a Professor of Economics at Princeton and a “Nobel Prize” winner (never mind that Alfred Nobel never set up a prize for economic thought).
Of course Angus Deaton was lying.
The American government might have spent “very little” in the 1950s (if one chooses to ignore old age pensions and unemployment pay – both justified as anti poverty measures).
But in the 1960s government health, education and welfare spending (all justified as helping the poor) exploded.
Such spending continued to explode in the 1970s and in the 1980s (so much for President Reagan), and in the 1990s. and in the 2000s….
Remember Professor Deaton was not saying that the United States government (Federal, State and local) did not spend much on the poor in the 1950s (and even that would have been a FALSE claim – if one counts, as one should, old age pensions, unemployment pay, state education and all the other things justified in the name of the poor) – he was saying that the American government does not spend much on the entitlement schemes and so on NOW in 2016. As if all the 1960s schemes (Food Stamps, Medicaid……. and on and on), and their explosive growth over the last half century, did not exist.
As if the Welfare State (the entitlement state) was not bankrupting the United States – de facto, if not in law. Not is civil society (the cultural institution of the family and so on) being undermined by massive government spending interventions. All is well – the government actually spends “very little”.
It can not possibly have been an innocent error – it was a lie, a spectacular and blatant lie.
How can one debate with such a man? How can one “examine his work”? If he is just prepared to lie (not a small lie – but a vast, incredible, lie) then any “evidence” he might present, in relation to anything, might well be a tissue of lies also.
Turning from television to newspapers……..
Professor Tribe of the Harvard Law School declared in the “Boston Globe” that Senator Ted Cruz claims to be an American because he has been naturalised – but this does not make him a “Natural Born Citizen”. Then the vile Professor goes on to attack Constitutional originalism (i.e. the idea that the Constitution can not just be turned on its head by every leftist – such as Professor Tribe) and so on.
However, Senator Cruz has never claimed to be a naturalised American – his claim (right or wrong) has always been that he was born to an American citizen (contrary to the claims in the comments under the Boston Globe article that the mother of Ted Cruz was American) – that he was literally a “naturally born citizen”.
That he came out (physically came out of – was born) to an American citizen
Otherwise “naturally born citizen” can not apply to the child of any American woman who happens to be outside the United States (say on a ship) at the time of birth.
“Naturally born” means “born to an American citizen” crawling out of the body of an American woman.
Now Senator Cruz may be quite WRONG – but that is his argument.
And Professor Tribe’s account of it (claiming that Ted Cruz is no longer an originalist and so on) is a lie.
What is the point of “linking” to such a lie?
One can not reason with such people. And it just gives them more “clicks”.
Two evil principles have bedevilled humanity over the centuries.
One of these evil principles is that we can not work out moral good from moral evil – that we must depend on a higher authority, the state or a religious text, to tell us what is morally right and what is morally evil.
For example if the state, or a religious text, says that slavery is morally right – then it is, because the authority says so. Ditto slaughtering whole towns down to, and including, the babies. Human sacrifice, cannibalism – and so on.
The other evil principle is that even if we could work out moral good from moral evil we could not CHOOSE to do what is morally right against our desire to do evil – as all our actions are predetermined. Even if we follow God or not is, according to this sort of “philosopher” or “theologian”, predetermined. This is called the “bondage of the will” (Martin Will – in his war of words against Erasmus) which holds that humans are like those who suffer from advanced rabies – that there is no way we can choose moral right, that we are totally rabid and can do nothing but evil (unless God, who alone has agency – Free Will, intervenes).
So, for example, if we protested to Mr Luther about his writings against the Jews, in which Mr Luther advocates violent aggression, theft and destruction – Mr Luther could reply, with perfect consistency – that his writings were predetermined (by a series of causes and effects) from the start of the universe and so he is no way morally responsible for his writings. Ditto if Mr Luther personally stole, raped, murdered and so on – again this was all predetermined (by a series of causes and effects) from the start of the universe.
How this doctrine is different from that of mainstream Islam Mr Luther, as far as I know, does not explain. However, as reason is just a “whore” to Mr Luther (to Mr David Hume reason was a “slave” – he was making much the same point), Mr Luther does not need to justify his positions in rational terms. Although he does make one great valid point against the Roman Catholic Erasmus – this point being that no compromise on this matter is logical.
As Mr Luther points out – once one has accepted the doctrine of Predestination of Saint Augustine (and others) determinism naturally follows from it. Later theologians (such as James McCosh) are just mistaken on this point. God knowns, in advance, who will do evil things – because everything was determined (predetermined) at the start of the universe (written into the great book at the start) – so God knows who will live a life of evil (knowns in advance) and knowns in advance who will be saved (as good can ONLY come from God – so any good deed by a human must have been willed by God NOT by the human).
Therefore the centuries of effort by the Roman Catholic Church (and many others) to reconcile Predestination (Augustine) with moral responsibility are vain, according to Mr Luther, and determinism (the “bondage of the will”) is triumphant.
Mr Luther has the same contempt for those who try and reconcile predestination with moral choice, as Kant and William James had for those (such as David Hume) who tried to reconcile determinism with moral responsbilty. And, on this at least, Kant and William James were CORRECT – “compatiblism” is a “wretched subtifuge” (Kant) leading to a “quagmire of evasion” (William James). Logically, if one accepts his starting principles Mr Luther is correct – determinism utterly exterminates moral choice (that is the point of it – and it is why Mr Luther pushed determinism).
Mr Luther’s argument for determinism (for the total inability of humans to choose to do anything other than evil) is entirely logical – if one accepts his starting principles. Although it is hard to see how the “God” Mr Luther presents is not, in fact, Satan.
After all it is Satan (the Devil – if this being exists) who holds that we can not (no matter how hard we struggle) do anything else but submit to our darkest desires – so “give in – just do it……” (rape, murder and so on). And it is also Satan (the Devil – if this being exists) who dismisses moral opposition by mocking the very idea of universal principles of moral right and moral wrong – that we can find.
“Whatever I TELL you to do is morally right – there is no other definition of the term” is the position of Satan – of the Devil. This is where “theological voluntarism” (the doctrine that moral right and moral wrong are just the arbitrary will of God) leads us.
One might as well end such a position by rasing one’s arm and hand straight and shouting “Hail Satan” or “Heil Hitler”.
This is the first evil principle – that we can not even know what moral right and moral evil are and (therefore) must submit to whatever the state, or a holy text, says……..
Mr Luther does NOT wholly go along with this evil principle – as he does not accept the authority of a holy text, when this text contradicts his (Mr Luther’s) own opinions.
For example when it was pointed out to Mr Luther that some of his positions were contradicted by the Epistle of James – Mr Luther replied that it was an “Epistle of Straw”.
In short if the Bible contradicted Mr Luther – so much the worse for the Bible. Whole Books of the Bible were simply removed by Mr Luther using the excuse that these Books were about the period before the incarnation of Jesus, but the Jews did not include them in their scriptures – an odd excuse considering Mr Luther’s savage hatred of Jews. And Books of the Bible that he could not dismiss in this way – he overturned if they contradicted his doctrines.
Therefore it is actually mistaken to claim that Mr Luther held the authority of scripture to be final (to claim that it trumped human reason in matters of moral right and moral evil) – Mr Luther did argue from authority, but the authority was actually himself. If Mr Luther had a desire to violate Natural Law (Natural Justice) – for example by plundering and attacking the Jews then Natural Law (Natural Justice) did not exist, or that “whore” reason could not find it. And people could not choose moral good anyway – only God can choose moral right, and God decides what “moral right” is anyway, humans can neither work it out or choose it. And if Mr Luther did not like some piece of scripture he could either throw it away (whole Books of the Bible) or disregard it – as with the Epistle of James.
Of course Mr Luther was NOT the first person to do this – as he himself pointed out, Augustine had done much the same (Predestination and picking and choosing scripture) . Indeed Augustine had been unable to read scripture in the oringial Hebrew or Greek – and yet had set himself up as the great authority on the scriptures he was unable to read in the languages they were written in.
And, as Mr Luther pointed out to Erasmus, the Roman Catholic Church had ACCEPTED this.
And the Roman Catholic Church had desperately needed to accept the claims of Augustine.
After all where in the New Testament is there any justification for the persecution of heretics?
Where in reason (in natural justice) is there the principle “I disagree with your opinions – therefore I am going to torture you and then burn-you-alive!”
The Roman Catholic Church had not got this from the New Testament and they had not got it from natural law (natural justice) – so where had it come from?
It has come from Augustine and thinkers like him – all Mr Luther (and, later, Mr Calvin) was doing was taking Augustine to his logical conclusions. Surely people who supported “that whore” reason – could not object to this, if they accepted Augustine as an authority.
As for trying to reconcile Augustine with reason, morality, and scripture……… well you have been using his work (and the work of others like him) to “justify” your tortures and murders for centuries – it is a bit late to backtrack now, now that your own weapon (Augustine) is being used against you. That is what Mr Luther is really saying to the Roman Catholics of his historical period. And it is why they could not refute him by dismissing Augustine as having written nonsense – because the Roman Catholic Church had been praising Augustine for centuries. To reject Augustine now would have raised nasty questions about what all those centuries of religious persecution (including executions) were based upon.
Good luck trying to base the executions (tortue and execution for having certain OPINIONS) on natual justice (natural law) or on the New Testament.
“This is all a very long time ago Paul”.
No it is not – universities are teaching determinism and so on right now.
“But what are the practical consequences…..”
Well it is supposed to break some unwritten rule of the internet to refer to the National Socialists – but the denial of principles of universal natural law (natural justice) by the National Socialists had very practical consequences not that long ago. The “Racial morality” of the National Socialists, like “Class morality” of the Marxists, is the rejection of the idea of universal principles of moral right and moral evil – it is to take up the position that Edmund Burke (rightly or wrongly) accused Warren Hastings of holding, the position of “geographical morality” – relativism, historicism (and so on).
Mainsteam Islam (not all Islamic factions) also holds that the only way tell moral right from moral evil is what God commands and what God forbids – with the only guide to this being scripture. That human reason can not find moral right and moral wrong – and that humans could not choose moal right even if we could find it. That the only agent, the only free will being, is God.
So if Holy Scripture says that slavery is O.K. is slavery O.K.? Of course says the “voluntarist” (the person who holds that they only definition of “moral right” and “moral wong” is the WILL of God) – ditto murderering everyone in a town down to, and includuing, the babies.
What does one need a vast Jewish “Talmud” (commentary of the thinkers on the scriptures) for? Or the Roman Catholic scholasitics? Or the Anglian thinkers such as Richard Hooker?
All these people appeal to reason and to the ability of humans to not only find what is morally right, but to choose it (against the desire to do evil) – what a lot of nonsense says the determininst and moral relativist or voluntarist – i.e. someone who holds that moral right and wrong to be just a matter of the arbitrary WILL of God.
We are back with our old “friend” George Whitfield – or Whitefield (most people in the 18th century did not obsess over spelling).
Slavery forbidden by natual justice (natural law) – no such thing says Georgie.
Anyway we can not choose moral right over moral evil – because everything is predetermined.
“So why do you spend your time preaching if predestination is true”.
Well (Mr Whitfield could reply – just like the determinist philosopher J. Edwards of his time) – my preaching is also predetermined fom the start of the universe. He could even say “here I stand – I can do no other” (not a statement of moral conscience – a statement of determinism. Mr M.L. was saying he had no choice over his actions).
I, Mr Whitfield, want slaves – so I shall have slaves. After all people in the Bible had slaves so it must be O.K.
That is the subsitute for reasoning that the “Great Awakening” , George Whitfield, man offers the world.
So after a corrupt court case the founding documents of the colony of Georgia (which forbad slavery) were disregarded and slavery introduced to Georgia by Mr Whitfield and his friends.
And thus the “Slave Power” was created – a solid area of “Slave States” that would curse American history. Without Georgia this power could not have emerged – it would have had a great big hole in it.
What they did was not morally wrong – as there is no moral wrong that the human mind can find. And even if there was – humans could not choose moral good over moral evil anyway as everything is predetmined.
Evil ravings? Actually stuff like this (but in much evasive language) is being taught in most universities right now.
Well Mr Whitfield had his answer to opposition on slavey.
You, the opponent of slavery, are just a tool of the greedy industrialist Joshua Wedgewood (who opposed slavery – and financed opposition to it) – it is his Wedgewood china (not slavery and so on) that is the real evil! As is all luxury produced by greedy industrialists.
The modern version of this “agument” is “tool of the Koch Brothers”.
The late John Enoch Powell is supposed to have said that even if the United Kingdom had a Communist government he would still fight for “the country” – meaning the government, not a resistance movement against the government.
I do not know whether Mr Powell really said this or not, but if one substitutes the word “Nazi” for the word “Communist” it should be obvious, even to establishment types, just how stupid (and plain evil) such a statement would be.
A patriot does not confuse the totalitarian government that has taken over their nation with the nation itself, and a nation is not some lines on a map, or a “race” – as nice Mr Herder and nasty Mr Fichte believed. A nation is a historical tradition based on certain ideas. For example the United States is not whoever happens to control an area of land between Canada and Mexico – the United States is a set of ideas, summed up in such things as the Bill of Rights (the 1st Amendment, the 2nd Amendment and so on). People who oppose these ideas may be as white as snow and have ancestors who came over in the Mayflower – but they are NOT Americans. And someone may be brown or black and only just have sworn loyalty to the Constitution – but if they are sincere, then they are Americans. Race and place of birth has nothing to do with the matter.
Even England, let alone the United Kingdom, was never a race (as a man with an obviously Welsh name “Powell” would know). For example the county of Devon has, perhaps, produced more famous English people than any other county.
Saint Boniface, Sir John Hawkins, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, General Monk, the first Duke of Marlborough – Mr Churchill, Thomas Newcomen of the industrial revolution, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sir Charles Kingsley, William Temple, Dame Agatha Christie – and on and on…….
Yet the DNA of the people of Devon is mostly “Celtic” not “Anglo Saxon” – so are we to say that the people of Devon are not English? Or that Mr Powell (that Welsh name) was not English?
So clearly the racial definition of a nation will not work. The spirit of a nation is about ideas – not race. For example, contrary to what Guardian readers and BBC watchers think, Jews who live between the Jordan river and the sea and Muslims who live between the Jordan river and the sea are often physically identical – dark eyes, brown skin and so on (many Jews in the area are indeed “Arab” looking). Does being physically the same mean that are both the same “nation”? Of course it does not.
So to confuse a Communist government or a Nazi government with “the country” is absurd. A nation is not a set of physical things (brown skin, dark eyes – whatever) it is a matter of ideas.
If is the duty of a patriot to fight AGAINST a totalitarian government, not to fight for such a government.