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Antony Flew cites an observation by Bertrand Russell, and an Islamic manifesto from the Islamic Council of Europe:


When in 1920 Bertrand Russell visited the
USSR — decades before the Politburo found it convenient
to present itself as the Protector of the Arabs — he discerned
similarities between Bolshevism and Islam: “Bolshevism
combines the characteristics of the French Revolution with
those of the rise of Islam”; and “Marx has taught that Com-
munism is fatally predestined to come about; this produces a
state of mind not unlike that of the early successors of Ma-
hommet.” So Russell himself concluded:

Mahommedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social,
unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of this world
… What Mahommedanism did for the Arabs, Bolshev-
ism may do for the Russians.

As a clear, commendably honest and altogether authoritative
epitome of the totalitarian character of Islam consider this
manifesto issued in Leicester, England, on behalf of the Is-
lamic Council of Europe:

The religion of Islam embodies the final and most com-
plete word of God … Departmentalization of life into
different watertight compartments, religious and secu-
lar, sacred and profane, spiritual and material is ruled
out … Islam is not a religion in the Western under-
standing of the word
. It is a faith and a way of life, a
religion and a social order, a doctrine and a code of
conduct, a set of values and principles, and a social
movement to realize them in history.

—–From “The Terror of Islam,” 1995.

Quote of the Day, Nov. 13, 2015

“They say [disapprovingly] that we were Cold Warriors. Yes, and a bloody good show, too. A lot of people weren’t Cold Warriors — and so much the worse for them.”

–Robert Conquest

As quoted by Jay Nordlinger in “Robert Conquest — An Appreciation,” republished Sept. 15, 2015; originally publ. Dec. 9, 2002. Brackets in the Nordlinger quote.

Bacon, Hobbes and a Coke Anyone? : Addendum

Paul added the following comment to his original posting, and requested that it be posted. Happy to oblige. Minor editing to original (typo fixed, unnecessary break in exposition removed); Categories added. –Julie

[Original: Comment to "Bacon, Hobbes and a Coke Anyone?" by Paul Marks
November 2, 2015 at 7:51 pm]

Bentham gets worse over time. He starts off horrified by the violence the American War of Independence and (more) the French Revolution – he then draws the wrong conclusion that talk of “rights” and “natural law” is the cause of this violence (and can not even seem to tell the difference between the private property based American Revolution and the collectivist, Rousseau style, French Revolution) .

Bentham then decided to throw the baby out with the bath water – by rejecting any of natural rights (“nonsense on stilts”) or natural law, just accepting the Hobbesian Positivist definition of law as just the will of the ruler of rulers (despotism – tyranny).

But Bentham remains, sort of, free market for awhile – in that he wants the state to have absolute power (no natural rights or natural law either) but NOT use it much. But then he comes up with more and more statist ideas – ending in the 13 Departments of state that he hoped would control just about everything in a despotism that would have made the Ottoman Empire blush.

But Bentham is not an isolated example – this follower of Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes is the master of the Bowood Circle and the “Westminster Review” crowd. People such as James Mill and his son John Stewart Mill.

The new “liberalism” of endless attacks on the Crown (part of what Bentham claimed to be defending against the French Revolution), endless attacks against the Church of England (the Anglican Church) “Tory” people (many of whom were actually Old Whigs such as Edmund Burke) and so on.

Notice the TRICK (and it is a trick) – freedom has gone from wanting the state to be limited, to wanting “freedom from tradition” and “freedom from God” (“free” thinking as automatic atheism) and the desire for a NEW STATE.

A professional civil service (not people appointed by minister) controlled by “scientific” experts – as with Francis Bacon’s “The New Atlantis”.

An elected government with the vote for everyone – but the elections to be essentially FAKE, as the professional “experts” (people like James Mill and J.S. Mill) would really control everything regardless of who won the election – via a professional Civil Service and “education”.

And the land owners?

The people who the Old Whigs had rightly understood to be the foundation of liberty against the danger of an all mighty state.

The Westminster Review crowd Bentham’s bastard “liberal” children HATED the land owners as the “landed interest” – they wanted “free trade in land”, presented as the end of entails and so on, but really a Trojan Horse for land nationalisation.

For the domination of the STATE over land – as with the Ottoman Empire (and justified by the economics of David Ricardo – refuted by Frank Fetter).

This is the “little” secret behind the “liberalism” of Bentham and the Mills.

It is a “democratic” door way into the all mighty state of the Ottoman Empire – but without Islam.

Instead of Allah it is the state (the “scientific” “liberal” state) that would be worshipped – as long as it was controlled by “enlightened” experts (themselves) serving “the greatest good of the greatest number”.

Yes the above is unfair to the Mills – they (especially J.S. Mill) did have a real believe in freedom of speech and so on.

But they have no philosophy to back it up their belief in freedom of speech – the attempt to of J.S. Mill to reconcile his (sincere) belief in Freedom of Speech with his support for the unlimited New State (with an end to the “landed interest” and so on) is a terrible failure.

It is not “just” a lack of faith in God – it is the lack of any faith in any higher law (one can believe in natural justice without believing in God). Legal Positivism – the idea that the state has no foundational limits and that “law” is just the will of the ruler or rulers.

That is at the heart of the new “liberalism” – and it is what Mill (and modern “liberals”) get from Bentham, and he got from Thomas Bacon and Francis Bacon.

And Bentham (where ever you are) please note – this Legal Positivism is at the heart of the French Revolution you said you opposed.

Rousseau is not so different from Hobbes as people imagine – indeed they share fundamental principles.

The King (or rather despot) of Hobbes is like the “Lawgiver” or “the people” of Rousseau – there are no limits on their power.

The land of the Church (or individuals) can be looted by such a state and given to anyone they feel like giving it to.

Edmund Burke was correct – the “freedom” of the French Revolution was just old slavery in disguise.

The French Revolutionary regime was much the same as the despotism of the Ottoman Empire.

And so is an aspect (a side) of the new “liberalism” today.

And note this:

Religion is not actually the key point here.

For example Martin Luther was sincerely religious – but he embraced determinist philosophy and collectivist politics.

The Anglican position is (or was) fundamentally different – due to the influence of Richard Hooker and others.

And Ayn Rand was a passionate atheist (a mocker of silly religious people – people like me).

Yet Rand was also a passionate defender of humans as beings (agents – not the flesh robots of Martin Luther and Thomas Hobbes) and of natural justice.

Dark green jackets and black buttons – liberty and voluntary service can defeat Collectivist tyranny.

This day of evil is finally drawing to a close. The leftists in Paris may well have (as they do every year) slaughtered a pig – as part of their celebration of the treacherous betrayal (“come out – we promise you and your men safe conduct”) and savage murder of the Governor of an old fortress in Paris – a fortress in which there were seven (7) prisoners, none of whom were there for their political opinions.

Thus the left celebrate the principles of the left. Treachery, robbery (for the real goal of the operation was to steal weapons and other goods) and murder.

Soon all of France was to be convulsed in mass robbery (of the Church – and of many ordinary people who were far from “aristocratic”) and the murder of hundreds of thousands of people (see the works of William Doyle and others). And Europe was to be convulsed by the designs of the French Revolutionaries to bring the collectivist doctrines of Rousseau to power everywhere. His idea that the Law Giver knows the “General Will”, better than the individual persons themselves, so (in Marxist fashion) people have to be “forced to be free” against their false consciousness. If need be robbed and slaughtered – for their own good. And with their own consent – as their cries of protest (and screams of pain) are but mental confusion, not what they “really” believe.

The French Revolution does not show the danger of taking liberty too far – because it was not about liberty, it was about power. The Revolutionaries talked of liberty – but they lied, as followers of Rousseau tend to do (using their words as a mist to blind the unwary).

Paper money (forced on people on the pain of death), theft of property, the murder of the innocent (of all levels of society) – these were and are the principles of the French Revolution. Its criminal lust for unlimited power (not just in France – but over the world) under the mask of “liberty”, which destroyed the rule-of-law and the security of persons and possessions.

People who cried for religious tolerance (in fact granted by Louis XVI years before), and practiced religious persecution – of the most savage kind.

People who cried for the end of serfdom (largely unknown in France for centuries), and an end to torture (“putting the question” had actually already been abolished in French Roman Law), but actually introduced serfdom to the state, and reintroduced torture (in all its forms).

These were the French Revolutionaries – if one judges them by their deeds, or even looks carefully at the meaning of their words (rather than the nice sound the words make).

But let us leave the Rousseau evil of the Revolutionaries aside – and turn to more hopeful things, dark green jackets and black buttons…….

Sir William Stewart (Colonel Stewart) in 1799 (some ten years after the Revolution started – and after its forces had overwhelmed most of Europe with vast slaughter) published his thoughts on “light infantry”.

People who fought as individuals and in small groups – but could (if worked with correctly) help defeat vast enemy forces.

Colonel Stewart studied the Croats who had resisted (for the Hapsburgs) the invasions of the Ottomans – for centuries. Helping hold back the forces of despotism (that recognised no rule-of-law, no protection of property rights from the state) that might otherwise have destroyed Europe.

He also studied the mountain people of the Tyrol – famous for both their individualism and their loyal service (there is no contradiction – the people of Eastern Tennessee are much the same in these aspects, Southerners who supported human freedom over tribalism in the 1860s and have supported the elephant over the donkey ever since ).

The great revolt of Andreas Hofer – the innkeeper turned leader of the “Reactionary” forces of the Tyrol was yet to come (but the spirit had been known for centuries).

Hofer opposed the takeover of the Tyrol by Bavaria – not the relatively conservative place we know today, but then an ally of Revolutionary France and ruled by the bureaucrat (and rumoured ally of the illuminated ones) M. Von Montegelas – a man who made a great show of “abolishing serfdom” (actually just a few old rituals by this time in Bavaria) whilst actually introducing serfdom – both for children (via his system of compulsory state brainwashing of the young) and adults (via mass conscription). Nothing (not Church property, or even other countries, if they were small and weak – he was not a man of great courage ) was safe from Montegelas, a sort of “mini me” Napoleon. And Bavaria was backed by the vast forces of France.

Andreas Hofer eventually lost and was killed – famously giving the order to fire at his own execution. But the idea of light infantry is sound – it just can not win major wars on its own.

Nor should the experience of the North American wars, against the French and some Indian tribes, and against the American colonists, be forgotten. The “King’s Rifles” had already been born – although still in red jackets….

Sir William Stewart was supported by Colonel Manningham (Equerry to the King) and in 1800 the Rifle Corps (the 95 regiment of foot) was born.

It was the first British infantry regiment since the Civil War to have green uniforms – I recently went to a Civil War re enactment, and whilst everybody raves over the red uniforms of the New Model Army (red because the dye was cheap), but there is something about dark green uniforms against the green fields and woods (and not just of England). Yes it is camouflage – but it is more than that, but I lack the gift of words to explain what I mean.

People will be familiar with the exploits of “the Rifles” from such things as the “Sharpe” novels – but the basic message is historically accurate and simple to state.

By out fighting French skirmishers (not so well trained, or so well TRUSTED, and armed with muskets not Baker rifles) British skirmishers – fighting as individuals and in small groups, were able to help change battles (and thereby help change wars). Negate some of the advantage of the enemy in numbers – and cause confusion and chaos among French (and other) armies that were organised as vast masses of conscripts.

The forces “equality and fraternity” could be defeated by the forces of liberty. Skill, creative thought, and voluntary service.

Those men in dark green jackets with black buttons have (under various names of regiment) fought in many wars since then – surprising people who assume that the British army is a force of robots who do not fight as individuals and in small groups, and who can not think without detailed orders.

Their story is little known – and the reader should look it up for themselves.

Channelling Enoch

Enoch Powell

It is all too easy to dismiss Enoch Powell as being both as bigoted and as racist as the members of the National Front (predecessor to the BNP) who adopted him as their latter day patron saint were, but to do so is to fall into the trap set by our enemies.

As with all intellectuals, he believed that even in politics, those with the better argument, supported by facts would win the day – how astonishingly naïve this now appears in our more cynical age, even then many of his fellow Tories knew he was likely to be proven right, but kept their own counsel and remained silent.

Nearly 50-years on since his infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech, the picture of the impact of immigration that he painted (at least in terms of pure numbers) appears worse than he predicted, but he also seems to have presumed a higher degree of ongoing ghettoization than has actually been the case.

NOTEAll indented quotes are taken directly from the text of the “Rivers of Blood” speech, my annotations are shown in red, between square brackets.

In 15 or 20 years [i.e. 1983 and 1988 respectively], on present trends, there will be in this country three and a half million Commonwealth immigrants and their descendants.

That is not my figure. That is the official figure given to parliament by the spokesman of the Registrar General’s Office.

There is no comparable official figure for the year 2000, but it must be in the region of five to seven million, approximately one-tenth of the whole population, and approaching that of Greater London.

Although his projected figures were described as “inflammatory” and “grossly exaggerated” by senior politicians at the time, comparing them with census records for 1981 he was pretty much spot on (3,429,100) and the 2001 census was at the lower end of his “five to seven million” estimate (4,896,600) although this census is acknowledged to be understated by about 500,000 people, the majority of which are believed to be missing immigrants numbers.

Although Powell touched on “integration” he did not seem to appreciate that it was the inherent fear of the unknown, simply passed off as “the inherent racial prejudice of the British lower classes” that created some (but not all) of the ghettoes.

The other dangerous delusion from which those who are wilfully or otherwise blind to realities suffer, is summed up in the word “integration.”

To be integrated into a population means to become for all practical purposes indistinguishable from its other members.

Now, at all times, where there are marked physical differences, especially of colour, integration is difficult though, over a period, not impossible.

There are among the Commonwealth immigrants who have come to live here in the last fifteen years or so, many thousands whose wish and purpose is to be integrated and whose every thought and endeavour is bent in that direction.

But to imagine that such a thing enters the heads of a great and growing majority of immigrants and their descendants is a ludicrous misconception, and a dangerous one.

One area where he was clearly lacked foresight was that many of the immigrants from the commonwealth were the educated middle class (at least in the context of their country of origin) and sufficiently aspirational that they broke the boundaries of the ghetto and relocated to suburbia as quickly as they were able, in fact I would go further and say that the injection of Hindu and Sikh immigration of the 1970′s forms the basis of much the entrepreneurial spirit of the subsequent decades and the strength of the SME sector in the UK today.

It is often forgotten that the context of his speech was the Race Relations Act of 1968 and his genuinely held belief that it would lead to the silencing of criticism over immigration and the impact on the working class.

But while, to the immigrant, entry to this country was admission to privileges and opportunities eagerly sought, the impact upon the existing population was very different.

For reasons which they could not comprehend, and in pursuance of a decision by default, on which they were never consulted, they found themselves made strangers in their own country.

They found their wives unable to obtain hospital beds in childbirth, their children unable to obtain school places, their homes and neighbourhoods changed beyond recognition, their plans and prospects for the future defeated; at work they found that employers hesitated to apply to the immigrant worker the standards of discipline and competence required of the native-born worker; they began to hear, as time went by, more and more voices which told them that they were now the unwanted.

They now learn that a one-way privilege is to be established by act of parliament; a law which cannot, and is not intended to, operate to protect them or redress their grievances is to be enacted to give the stranger, the disgruntled and the agent-provocateur the power to pillory them for their private actions.

In the final analysis, his fears may have been parochial and based upon a paternalistic attitude which I find patronising, but much of what he predicted has come to pass, especially in the context of Islamic and Romany immigration.

Hat Tip to Gildas the Monk over at Anna Raccoon

Full text of Powell’s 1968 Rivers of Blood speech

Ignorant Idiocy of the Day — July 15, 2004

No Jewish person is going to look–especially if their family is originally from Czarist Russia. They’re never going to look on anything of Russian Communism with the same pure horror and fear and revulsion that they are going to bring to a reaction to Nazism.

–Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Hitchens, “Uncommon Knowledge,” July 15, 2004

Au contraire. I give you Ayn Rand.

If we ban Savile, then why not Pepys?

Samuel Pepys

The following post was occasioned by commentator Philip Scott Thomas in his remark “Perhaps I am naive, but I hadn’t realised until this week that the nihil nisi bonum rule was time-limited”

Given the ongoing attempt by the BBC and others to expunge Jimmy Savile from positive mention, for example by showing reruns of Top of the Pops*, but excluding or selectively editing those including the man himself, then surely the same should happen with the works of other sexual deviants such as Eric Gill (whose sculptures surround the exterior of Broadcasting House) or even Samuel Pepys, whose exploits with young Frances Tucker were documented in his own hand?

Young girls were his regular targets, some apparently pre-adolescent, like ‘little Mrs. Tooker’ the ‘very pretty child’ he made free with during the plague winter of 1665. She seems to have been accustomed to such treatment; there was no age of consent, and her mother was perfectly willing to hand her over and she to cooperate with Pepys; but to us she appears as a child victim, and by today’s standards, what he did would have earned him a prison sentence”

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin

Eric Gill was arguably worse, committing acts of incest and bestiality of which a Julio-Claudian emperor would be proud.

His personal diaries describe his sexual activity in great detail including the claim that he sexually abused his two eldest daughters, had incestuous relationships with his sisters and performed sexual acts on his dog.

This aspect of Gill’s life was little known until publication of the 1989 biography by Fiona MacCarthy.”

Wikipedia – Eric Gill

Given the apparent return of Damnatio memoriae, should we similarly expunge the works of historical diarists, sculptors and the like or simply acknowledge the honest truth that those beyond this world are beyond the reach of sanction, if not post mortem condemnation.

I would imagine there would be a public outcry if Pepys tomb in St Olave’s church were ripped up and thrown in a skip as Jimmy Savile’s grave was, but then again, Samuel Pepys doesn’t still have a multi-million pound estate to plunder.

* – This is disputed by the BBC, but given the sheer volume of TOTP shows Saville either hosted or co-hosted, it is difficult to determine if this is absence of evidence or evidence of absence.

“Draw Mohammed”: Summary

In this fight to retain our freedom, which is the root of the Garland flap, Shari’ah Law and Islamicisation of the West are the adversary. But the principles for which we fight are just as much if not more at risk in the project to Fundamentally Transform the Whole World into some Marxist-Leninist-Progressivist nightmare, and the means by which we fight Islamicisation are to be applied also in this other, all-encompassing fight.

As for the present instance: If we held such events as “Draw Mohammed” every month (but responsibly, as the Garland event was held); if we met every attempt at intimidation by being unimpressed, for instance if our own papers had published the Danish cartoons; such actions would show our enemies that we mean what we say, we will stick by it, we will stand by our principles and defend them in word and deed. If the enemy then wants to impose his will on us by force, by terrorism and war, he will have at least some evidence that we will not run from the fight, fearfully and virtuously clucking our disapproval of it.

With luck he might conjecture that while we would prefer not to meet force with force, we certainly will do so if it is necessary in order for us to live our lives as free men and women and not as serfs or slaves who are at the disposal of other human beings and who are allowed to exist only at their pleasure; and that if we are forced to war in self-defense, we have more than enough strength of will to prevail.

In the ’30′s, Britain and France telegraphed their reluctance to face the facts and to defend themselves against force with force. The guy with the moustache picked up the message and calculated that he could get away with it…and almost did.

How many times must we repeat the same mistake!

The Socialist Revolt that America Forgot

Now this, on relatively recent American History.

You Brits aren’t the only ones who play the Election Game, y’know. Ours comes up in about 18 months, and at Salon some unrepentant underminer of liberty named Eric Lee has seen fit to write “A Lesson for Bernie Sanders” on the topic.

For those who are going, “Bernie Sanders — Who He?”: He is the avowedly Socialist Senator from Vermont who has decided to run for the Presidency next year.

So why should Zanzibarians, or even Americans for that matter, care about Bernie Sanders’ political ambitions? No particular reason, except that we all have a liberty interest in seeing that such ambitions die like a beached flounder, but with less fuss.

(Although Sanders has annoyed many by refusing to get with the gun-control program. In fact Slate throws its toys out of the pram over his non-compliance with the Democratic-Progressive required stance on the issue.

(Additionally, many find Sanders far more honest than Shrill, not terribly difficult of course.)

I wouldn’t lose any sleep over this one, but the history is interesting.

Mr. Lee’s “Lesson” describes Michael Harrington’s insinuation of socialism into the ideology and agenda of the Democratic Party, with its successful shoving of the Party leftward, and the result (as Mr. Lee believes, anyhow) of Mr. Harrington’s being persuaded not to run for the Presidency himself in 1980.

For a fuller account, see Dr. Ron Radosh’s book Divided They Fell.

The column commences:

The socialist revolt that America forgot: A history lesson for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders is a singular figure in modern U.S. politics, the lone self-identified socialist to serve in Congress, at a time when mainstream American attitudes, if not actively violent towards socialism as they have been in the past, remain nonetheless fundamentally suspicious. As such, his plans to run against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primaries represent something of an anomaly. What bears mentioning about Sanders’ run, however, is that it is not the first time a prominent socialist has considered a bid for the Democratic nomination. To understand the significance of Sanders’ candidacy, it’s worth flashing back to the summer of 1978, as liberal Democrats were growing increasingly disillusioned with Jimmy Carter’s presidency.


Back of the net!

The Mail has a non-story about the Duke of Wellington. Apparently the BBC has a thing coming soon about the Iron Duke’s shagging. Obviously not about his strategy and tactics because this is the BBC. So are they trying to gut a national hero? We all knew he had he liked the ladies but who doesn’t?

The Mail commentariat seem obsessed with Blucher. Like I haven’t heard of the Prussian! Like anyone hasn’t? And a lot of snark at Wellington being a git.

Now, what I do know is a quote from the Iron Duke,

My heart is broken by the terrible loss I have sustained in my old friends and companions and my poor soldiers. Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.

Letter from the field of Waterloo (June 1815), as quoted in Decisive Battles of the World (1899) by Edward Shepherd Creasy

So, I doubt he was hated by his men.

Wellington outdid himself. Not only did he defeat Boney he then went to Paris and shagged his mistress.

I like the cut of his jib. That is like Ike knocking-up Eva Braun (and Zukhov giving Blondie a good seeing-to). When you defeat someone stick ‘em on St Elba and then shag their bird. No come-back from that is there? I think the phrase is “Utterly Pwned”.

I kinda thought they should have called the channel tunnel the “Napoleon Line” (it was sort of his idea) for it would terminate at Waterloo.

But that is for The Iron Duke – he shoots, he scores. top quality handing it to the Froggies in Spades.

We need to do much the same to ISIS and Pooty. We gotta get medieval on their asses. And I mean proper medieval. I saw the video of them burning alive the Jordanian pilot in a cage. I’m not linking but you can find it if you wish. It is the most horrific thing I ever saw and if I live to 100 I doubt it will be bested. After seeing that – no mercy. None. It is bayonet work on the wounded. Sorry, but it is.

A couple of the questions for the post Christmas period: Ancient Greek learning and English freedom – religious and political.

The Republic of Venice, like some other Italian States, was in contact with the Greek (Byzantine) Empire to the east, where Ancient Greek learning was preserved, from the most early days – contact was never lost in the Dark Ages. And the other states of Europe were in close contact with the Republic of Venice and the other Italian states. Yet the education system teaches that Greek learning came only from Islamic Spain. Is this theory really true?

Did, for example, thinkers in the British Isles such as the Irish thinkers from the 5th (indeed reaching back to Patrick and Pelagius [yes Pelagius, that free will scholar of Greek and possibly Hebrew, - of course I would drag him into it] of Roman Britain) century to the 9th century (before old Ireland was destroyed by the Vikings), or the English thinkers of the 12th century and so on (not just Roger Bacon there were other great Greek scholars and scientific thinkers also), really get their knowledge of Greek from Islamic Spain? Of course both the Greek Orthodox Church and the old Irish Celtic Church are not known for the delight in the predestination of Augustine – even if philosopher theologians do strange twisted gymnastics to try and reconcile predestination and moral responsibility (the reality of choice – of the existence of the human agent). Just as Judaism has always rejected predestination (unlike mainstream Islam) and stood for individual moral responsibility – the reality of choice, of the human person.


In almost every case the Reformation of the 16th century led to a Church that was committed to Predestination and was a department of State – after all Predestination was the central doctrine of Martin Luther and John Calvin (they both HATED freedom and reason), and Luther taught that the State should control the State and Calvin taught that the Church should control the State – the autonomy of Church and State was utterly alien to both these thinkers. In England it led, by the 18th century, to a Church that was far MORE in favour of moral responsibility, free will, (hostile to Predestination and so on) than the Roman Catholic Church was, and to a Church that was largely part of the landed interest (backed by local patrons and so on as well as being a, largely, independent landowner itself) rather than being a department of state – an “Established Church” rather than a “State Church”. A Church that was theologically and socially radically different from the rest of Protestant Europe. Why?

Even in the 16th century someone like Richard Hooker (the three legged stool – scripture, tradition, and REASON) seems distinctly English – distinctly “Anglican” (a possible misuse of language – but I hope you get my point), by the 17th century philosopher theologians such as Henry Moore and Ralph Cudworth, perhaps the greatest Greek and Hebrew scholar of his age, are quite acceptable in England, but would have seemed radially alien in the Protestant nations of Europe (and in the centralised Counter Reformation Catholic world) – with the possible exception of the minority tradition in Holland, the Arminian tradition (and remember it was the MINORITY tradition in Holland).

Why was England so weird in its Church development? Unlike both Catholic Europe and Protestant Europe.

I have asked these questions before – but just received utterly irrelevant answers such as “Ralph Cudworth believed in witchcraft”, yes he did (so did the great Common Law thinkers Hales and Selden), but why did the Church in England (both Anglican such as Granville Sharpe and William Wilberforce and Dissenting such as Richard Price [but also his Anglican political opponent Edmund Burke] – or a bit of both such as John Wesley) contain so many people, such as Cudworth and Moore and….., who believed in religious toleration and moral responsibility, free will – hostile to predestination. Why did the English Church turn out, in the main, so differently from the rest of Europe?

So was there no movement of Greek learning from the Byzantine Empire directly to the states of Italy? Was it all via Islamic Spain? Even though Venice was technically part of the Eastern Empire itself? The “Islamic Spain is what matters” idea seems like a unlikely theory. But I am willing to be corrected.

And why did the Church in England, certainly by the 18th century, turn out so different from both Protestant and Catholic Europe? I suspect that the answer to this question is the key to the different POLITICAL development of this land in the late 17th century and the 18th century, compared to the rest of Europe.

Sir William Blackstone – the beginning of the intellectual collapse of liberty?

However, good an 18th century university administrator and judge Sir William Blackstone may have been, and however personally well disposed he may have been to liberty and property, the rights of the latter being the essential foundation for the former, his doctrine of the Sovereignty of Parliament was radically subversive of the principles of liberty – leading, in the short term, to war with the American colonies, and, in the longer term, the undermining of liberty in Britain and elsewhere.

The central “Whig” principle is that there are some things that the ruler or rulers, Kings or Parliaments, may not do – that natural law – natural justice to-each-their-own-liberty, expressed in the Common Law and other traditions, forbids fundamental attacks on liberty and property, either by private criminals or by the government.

This was the position of Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke in “Dr Bonham’s case”, it was the position of Ralph Cudworth and others against the unlimited government doctrine of Thomas Hobbes (whose mentor was that servant of unlimited government “The New Atlantis” Francis Bacon – the great enemy of Sir Edward Coke) who held that humans were not moral agents, and it was the position of Chief Justice Sir John Holt and the other “Old Whigs” of the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

Sir William Blackstone’s doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty destroys this Whig foundation stone of liberty – destroys it utterly. Blackstone might pay lip service to the principles of natural law, the legal principles of Cicero and the view of humans as moral agents of Aristotle, but his doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty negates them. If the “legislature” can do anything it likes – then liberty is naught, and natural law is just an empty term. Things are reduced to the level of the Roman Empire – where no legal thinker denied, in theory, that liberty and natural law, natural justice – to each his own liberty, existed, but held that positive law, the will of the Emperor, trumped them – which was the same, in practice, as denying that the rights of liberty and property existed at all.

Blackstone may be held up as one of the great Common Law thinkers – but his fundamental conception of law was essentially Roman, and that of the Roman Empire, just with a Parliament in place of an Emperor.

Many Americans, holding to old Whig principles, were profoundly shocked and rejected the principle of Blackstone, and those who held the same view, – but in Britain it carried all before it.

The principle of Blackstone simplified law by holding that, at a fundamental level, law is whatever Parliament and Francis Bacon “lions UNDER the throne” style judges say it is – with no appeal to natural law, natural justice (to each his own – liberty) principles against them.

It also flattered Parliament (Thomas Hobbes had always said that the supreme unlimited ruler could be one person or a group of people – thus hedging his bets in terms of the Civil War by trying to flatter both sides, like Francis Bacon before him, he would be a lickspittle apologist for whoever was in power) – it gave them delusions of grandeur, indeed of infallibility, and made them unwilling to compromise with the American colonists. After all the law was whatever they, Parliament, said it was – they were Gods upon this Earth who could do no wrong. At least that is how his doctrine was, inevitably, interpreted. So war was made inevitable – and with war the division of the English speaking peoples, a division that continues to this day.

The tradition of the Bill of Rights, American or British, runs directly counter to this doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty – which is why the British Bill of Rights, oh yes it once existed, is not much talked about any more. What is the point of talking about the right to keep and bear arms – if Parliament can take away this right with a statute? It means that the right, for all practical purposes, is negated. Ditto freedom of speech or anything else. If Parliament wishes to, for example, “redistribute” the property of the Duke of Portland this may be sad – but he has no rights against the “legislature”. As Mark Twain was later to say, but not as PRAISE, that “no man’s life or property is safe when the legislature is in secession” the legislature being the only true “criminal class” in United States – the fact that British opinion would have been shocked by a statement like this in the 19th century shows how much damage the doctrine of Sir William Blackstone and others had done – spread by Victorian legal writers such as Maitland, who pretended (with breath taking dishonesty) that not a single Act of Parliament in history had ever been fundamentally unjust or irrational.

By the 19th century more and more people were starting to use the words “the State” in the same awe struck way that German philosophers had in the time of Frederick the Great and before. The State seen as some sort of God on Earth, with, in this case Parliament, being seen as at least semi divine – infallible.

Sir William Blackstone may not have shared some of the “new”, there are actually ancient precedents for its errors, philosophy that was bubbling up like a witch’s brew in his time – but he opened the door for it. David Hume had made his name by being “sceptical” about everything (whether he really was, or whether it was a performance, to wake people from their dogmatic slumbers, is something I will not try to answer here), even the most obvious self evident things such as the existence of the self (the “I”) as a moral agent. If nothing was secure, if there were no principles that one could “prove”, if even the existence of oneself, as a moral agent free to choose to do otherwise than we do was in doubt, what would step into the chaos? Why the state of course – “the euthanasia of the Constitution” the end of “Whig”, Old Whig, principles. This philosophy horrified some Tories – such as Dr Johnson, who expressed his horror when someone said to him that both he and David Hume were Tories. Dr Johnson believed in the principles of Church and King because he believed they were true, objectively true, not because he believed that nothing was objectively true – that is why the Tory Dr Johnson was more of a friend of the Old Whig Edmund Burke than he was of political “allies” such as David Hume.

Jeremy Bentham, and the rest of the “Bowood Circle” of Lord Shelborne (Lord Shelborne, Sir William Petty kinsman of that other Sir William Petty – the friend of Thomas Hobbes, who wanted to mathematically “plan” Ireland in totalitarian fashion) had nothing but contempt for the principles of the Old Whigs – which were “nonsense on stilts”.

13 departments of State should control most aspects of life, according to Bentham – in this way the “greatest happiness of the greatest number” would be achieved, and pleasure and pain (not traditional right and wrong) should be the only guides to policy. If wickedness produced more “pleasure” than “pain” then it was not evil it was good – so if, according to Bentham, control of most aspects of life via 13 departments of State produced more pleasure than pain then it was to be done – and no silly “old rights” allowed to stand against it. The interests of “the people” trumped the silly (indeed “nonsense on stilts”) old rights of individual persons. The fact that this is a “category mistake” that, for example, one does not work out whether rape or gang rape is morally wrong by sitting down with a “calculator of pleasure and pain” to try and work out if the pleasure of the rapist or rapists was greater or lesser than the pain of the victim, escaped Jeremy Bentham. He made the elementary mistake, which would be shameful even in a young child, of mistaking “good” as in pleasure, with “good” as in moral (as they are the same word they must mean the same thing – NO THEY DO NOT). Just because it may be pleasant to torture someone to death it does not mean that it is morally good to torture someone to death – and this has nothing to do with the pain of the victim being greater than the pleasure of the murderer.

This is the principle of the French Revolution, of Rousseau – not of the Old Whig American Revolution. It is why the French Revolutionaries did not believe that their murdering, plundering, rape and other crimes were crimes at all – as the “welfare of the people” trumped, negated, everything else.

And the belief of Bentham and others in intellectual government administrators taking control of various aspects of Civil Society harks back to Sir William Petty and Francis “The New Atlantis” Bacon, and may even have been foreshadowed by Thomas Cromwell in the reign of Henry VIII – although his schemes, on education and so on, came to naught.

The “liberals” who followed Bentham, there were other factions of liberals of course, included people such as James and John Stuart Mill who endorsed the views on land of David Ricardo, which led to people attacking the rights of property – down with the Duke of Portland and other “Old Whigs” I bet he did not “justly acquire” his property, and he expects rent and rent is evil. This view was refuted by Frank Fetter a century ago, but one still hears it – just as one still hears demands that the state expand the money supply to maintain a “stable price level” as if Frank Fetter had never refuted Irving Fisher (let alone the absurd Lord Keynes).

And there was the Labour Theory of Value, also an interpretation of Ricardo, that holds that factory workers and so on are “exploited” – if private landed estates are, somehow, wrong and large scale non-landed property (factories and so on) are also, somehow, wrong – then the old Whig principles have been utterly destroyed there is nothing left, apart from empty chanting of the words “freedom” and “liberty” (as “liberals” still do today) based on no foundations, philosophical or other.

Of course there is a good side to both James Mill and to John Stewart Mill – but there is also a bad side, a very bad side. And it must not be hidden away – because it did great damage.

A liberal of the 19th century “Westminster Review” type (not other types) may have hoped if nothing is objectively true then there is no justification for state attacks on liberty, and may have held that denying everything, including selfhood, is the ultimate freedom – but, in reality, someone who believes that nothing is objectively true is likely to seek the STATE to fill the void (the “myth” of William James, Sorel or Mussolini). Besides the state NATURALLY expands (those who have power seek to use it – the “Dark Side” tempts them) – and if there are no principles to oppose them with……….

And Sir William Blackstone, whatever his intentions were, has in practice helped get rid of the principles limiting the state – by getting rid of all principles limiting Parliament.

“Ah but Paul – Blackstone trusted Parliament to limit the state” – then he was profoundly foolish and also ignorant, not understanding the typical nature of such statutes as the one that Sir Edward Coke struck down in “Dr Bonham’s Case” – where it was held that someone practicing a trade without a piece of paper called a “license” could not be a crime, because it was not aggression against anyone. The fact that the “Royal College” had both King and Parliament backing it, being irrelevant. If this is a crime whose person or possessions has Mr Bonham attacked? He has attacked no one – so him not buying a “license” CAN NOT be a crime.

Ditto the “Stature of Labourers”, seeking to enforce serfdom, and a thousand other wicked, and unlawful, statutes of Parliament.

But it is more than this – the decline of the respect for Parliament, and there has been such a decline, has not led to the restoration of the principles of the Old Whigs – far from it.

The worship, and “worship” is the right word, has been transferred from Parliament and Congress, Prime Ministers and Presidents – to an ideal state, the public power, “the people” which will impose “Social Justice” (the opposite of real justice – to each their own). Modern “political philosophers” say that they DO believe in liberty, in freedom against elected politicians – but, it turns out, that their “rights” are like the “rights” of the French Revolution, under the mask of “freedom” terrible tyranny, plundering and murder. The words “freedom” and “liberty” chanted endlessly – but divorced from their foundations.

When American judges, and the university class generally- the Harvard Law School, the Imperial German loving Johns Hopkins, the Frankfurt School of Marxism Columbia and on and on, first started to turn against the Old Whig principles of the Founding Fathers they first held that rights and natural law were nonsense (perhaps nonsense “on stilts”) – beasts such as “Justice” O.W. Holmes jr were open friends of Harold Laski and other totalitarians, they held (Buck V Bell) that a screaming woman, who had committed no crime, could be held down and cut up by the servants of the state – because they judged her to be “inferior”. But at least such beasts did not pretend to serve “freedom” “liberty” – they were open followers of Thomas Hobbes and other such creatures.

This sort of “judge” did not, for example, in the gold confiscation and voiding of contracts cases of 1935, hold that they were serving “liberty” and “freedom” when they tore up the Constitution of the United States.

Today Blackstone may be discredited – few would pretend that Parliament, or any other institution of government can do anything it likes. But the Old Whig principles that he helped to undermine have not returned – instead the forces of evil (for that is what they are) have taken the words “freedom” and “liberty” for themselves, and use them to force politicians to expand statism (tyranny) even when they do not wish to do so.

The book shelves groan with books on legal thought that seek to twist the concept of liberty 180 degrees – using it as a justification to destroy liberty, to expand the size and scope of government. The “intellectuals” can get away with this because the old principles have been forgotten – even the very word “right” is no longer understood to be a limitation on government power (under the natural law principle of to each their own – as the late Ayn Rand put it “hands off”), rather a “right” is now seen as an invitation for government to intervene – to enforce “anti discrimination” doctrine (that to “discriminate” is another way of describing freedom of choice, the right to associate or refuse association, is forgotten) and to give people their “rights” to goods and services at the FORCED expense of others.

This is because the old principles are out of sight and forgotten – and, however good his intentions may have been, Sir William Blackstone was one of the people who started to bury them.

The United Kingdom in 1964 – a big government country that was O.K. ish (well perhaps).

Anti big government people often make the assumption that life gets worse as government gets bigger. It is true that if government grows, in size and scope, things will not be as good as they could have been – but life can still, for a while anyway, get better for most people.

Take my home town of Kettering, Northamptonshire. Government started to grow here in 1875 (in other towns it was after 1870 – but we did not vote for an Education Board here), with the rise in national taxation and the increase in functions pushed on local government by the Disraeli Act of 1875. Yet life still got better here till at least 1960 – and government was big indeed by then.

I am not just talking about real wages – but general life also. For example Wicksteed Park (the first amusement park in the country) did not exist in the 19th century – but it was a national institution by 1960, although it has sadly declined in recent years. Also ordinary people were better dressed in 1960 than they were in the 19th century (when some children did not even have boots or shoes – even in a town famous for making them) – although, again, one could hardly call people in 2014 well dressed, or well behaved.

And the buildings were fine (or at least O.K.) – the destruction of so much of the “town that Gotch built” did not really begin till 1960. And the town was not too big with endless housing estates eating the fields and the bluebell woods. It was still the Northamptonshire of the writer H.E. Bates and others.

In 1964 there was full employment and historically high wages, no welfare class (of any size) unlike today. But people were also mostly well behaved, polite, well dressed and so on.

“That is trivial stuff Paul” – perhaps. although I do not think so, but there is rather a lot more.

I have already mentioned the lack of a welfare class in 1964 – there were people who could not take care of themselves, but there were not millions of healthy working age people who had never worked and never would. Is this not important?

Also non state institutions were vastly less unhealthy in 1964 than they are now. “Oh Paul is going to obsess about the Churches again” – actually I was thinking of the family.

In 1964 most people still lived in stable families – now we do not. Is this not an important change – and not for the better.

In 1964 the fertility rate was positive, we could replace ourselves as a nation – now it is negative, we can not. We have vast immigration instead of our own children.

In 1964 most shares were still owned by individuals (there was no Capital Gains Tax) and the City of London was matter of self employed stock brokers and stock “jobbers” (wholesalers). The brokers worked for individual clients who still owned most shares (the “Aunt Agathas”) and stock jobbers worked selling shares for the companies.

Now most shares are owned by institutions (hired manages in control of other hired managers – with real owners a thing of the past) and private investors are taken to the cleaners by faceless organisations in a post “Big Bang” GOVERNMENT DOMINATED City of London.

Even Ulster (Northern Ireland) was quiet before 1964 – the main news stories there were about lost cows and the latest attractions at Port Rush. Not how the IRA (Sinn Fein) was running the government and destroying education.

Indeed education was much better in England and Wales also – Grammar Schools were common, intelligent children could get a good education (at the expense of taxpayers). Qualifications meant something – not like now. And the universities were only just starting to over expand.

And the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was an independent nation in 1964 – not a slave of the European Union, we were are own masters.

Also the British armed forces were still a real force in 1964 – the Wilson-Healey gutting of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force (reducing Britain to a token power dependent on others) had not yet happened. Britain was not a joke – we still mattered. Yes in spite of Suez, and in spite of the pathetic “Super Mac” we still mattered. And there was no conscription – getting rid of conscription was about the only good thing that “Super Mac” ever did.

And there was still freedom of speech and freedom of association – the 1965 (and all the later Acts) had not yet been passed.

“We get it Paul – in 1964 everything was wonderful – everything now is awful”.

No I am NOT saying that.

The advance of technology in the last 50 years has been a good thing (yes I find the internet time consuming – but the advance of technology has been a good thing) – and that has enabled higher living standards, for most people.

And government in 1964, although much smaller than now (the Welfare State has exploded since 1964), was still vastly too big – unsustainable big in the long term, all the seeds of our present and future societal crises were already long planted before 1964. Government dominated health care and education and old age provision (at least for the poor) and none of these things is good – although the old traditions of the pre government dominated schools and hospitals (the grammar schools and hospitals were still private in the 1930s) still dominated the government services of 1964, teachers, nurses and doctors still acted like dedicated professionals (not dominated by endless government rules and union practices).

However, it was a good country in 1964 – it was a better place to live than Britain had been in (say) 1874, when government was vastly smaller.

I am not saying that if government had been kept to the level, size and scope, it had been in 1870 or 1874 that Britain in 1964 would not have been an even better place – of course it would have.

But Britain in 1964 was an O.K. ish place in 1964 – in ways we are not now, and this should not be forgotten.

President Warren Harding – the real founder of the modern Republican Party (or the good bit of it anyway).

All most people know of Warren Harding is that he was corrupt – and all that most people know is wrong.

Although certainly no saint (he was a drinker, and a poker player, and a lover of women) Warren Harding was not personally corrupt – and his Administration was actually less corrupt than most. For example vastly less corrupt than the Administrations of Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman – and Hollywood and the rest of the media (and academia) do not present those Administrations as corrupt.

That is all the space I am going to waste on the so called “Ohio Gang” or “Tea Pot Dome” – people who are interested in such stuff can read a good biography of Harding (clue to what a good biography is – the author will not pretend Harding’s papers were destroyed, which is the standard “Progressive” excuse for not reading the documents and writing “history” based on nonsense instead). 0r they can just look at the chapter on Harding in the “Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents” by Steven F. Haywood (a good historian).

I am interested in other matters………

Today it is a common place among Republican politicians to talk of rolling-back-government – reducing the size of government, cutting taxes, getting rid of regulations, and reducing government spending.

Some (alas not enough) of these Republicans actually mean what they say – but WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

Republicans have not always promised smaller government – Republican Presidents (and Governors, and Senators and Congressmen and …..) did not use to make a big thing of this. One does not hear this in the speeches of Lincoln, or in Chester Allan Arthur. or Harrison, or Taft…….

These were not the big (peacetime) government fiends of Rothbardian fantasies – but they were not roll-back-the-state types either.

So where does it come from? This modern identification of the Republicans (sometimes correctly – sometimes NOT correctly) as the make-government-smaller party?

Basically it comes from one man.


Essentially Warren Harding created this role for the Republican Party – he invented the approach, he created the modern Republican Party (or the good bit of it anyway).

In his campaign against the Administration of Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding created all the themes we know today.

When you hear (for example) Senator Rand Paul speak (on civil liberties, on government spending, on ANYTHING) you are really hearing WARREN HARDING – Republicans did not tend to speak in this way before him (he, basically, invented it).

And Harding lived the dream – he made it real. And he was faithfully followed (in his policies) by his Vice President Calvin Coolidge (President Calvin Coolidge) and his Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon (anther viciously libelled man).

As the British historian Paul Johnson (in “Modern Times” – long before Ron Radash’s work on Harding) pointed out – Warren Harding actually did the things he said he was going to do.

He sincerely believed in Civil Liberties.

Warren Harding utterly opposed the politics of the Socialists and Communal Anarchists (the Red Flaggers and the Black Flaggers) – but (ironically) they were physically safer under Warren Harding than they were under the Progressive Woodrow Wilson.

President Harding would not tolerate people (even Reds) being sent to prison on trumped up charges – and if he found them already in prison, he would pardon them to get them of prison.

“The bastard must have done something. so what does it matter what we got him for – after all he would murder millions if he had the chance ” may appeal to nasty people (nasty people including, perhaps, ME), but it horrified Harding.

Harding was also horrified by censorship – or any other aspect of the Police State.

He was denounced as Pro German (totally false) for defending German Americans from persecution – German thinkers (as far back as the 1700s) may have worked on aspects of a “Police State” (see Hayek – “The Constitution of Liberty” and “Law, Legislation and Liberty”), but this did not mean that German Americans deserved to be persecuted by an American Police State.

And Warren Harding defended black people also.

He was born in 1865 the year of defeat for the Slave Power – and Warren Harding did not have the “benefit” of a Rothbardian education (based on the writings of Woodrow Wilson – oh yes that was the source Rothbard based his stuff on) that the Civil War was not “really” about slavery. The old men that Warren Harding knew in Marion Ohio had fought in the Civil War – but what did they know, they were not academics…..

The continued persecution of blacks (above all lynching) disgusted Warren Harding to the core of his being – and he denounced the persecution.

The Democrats (and some Republican Progressives, for racism was a Progressive doctrine then, indeed it still is – accept now Progressives stir up blacks against whites, rather than whites against blacks, the switch came in the 1960s and was quite sudden, but as the Dems control the media they got away with it ) replied by spreading rumours that Warren Harding was part black himself (a lie) – but he carried on.

Unlike Woodrow Wilson (a German style trained intellectual [see my first comment] – and “scientific” racist), Warren Harding (a man with little formal education) held that prices and wages should be set by supply and demand – not government orders.

This is why the crash of the post World War One Credit Bubble in 1920-1921 was not like the crash of 1929.

The crash was just as bad (although the Progressive academics have put it down the “Memory Hole”) but Warren Harding was not Herbert “The Forgotten Progressive” Hoover (a man who became conservative after he left office – having never been so before). Harding did not prevent wages and other prices (a wage is a price) adjusting to the crash – instead he got government out of the way (so mass unemployment was not a feature of year-after-year – as was under Hoover-Roosevelt,  for most of Roosevelt’s policies were started by Hoover).

So what did Warren Harding do?

He cut the Federal government in half – from about six billion Dollars spending in 1920 (a peacetime total) to about three billion Dollars only a couple of years later.

Yes prices were falling – but you try and do that. Cut government spending – dramatically.

No “fool” or “lazy man” could do what Warren Harding did - roll back the government on civil liberties, on taxation, or regulation, and on government spending itself.

That is what “normalcy” (and, contrary to ignorant leftists, “normalcy” was the correct American English in Webster’s dictionary when Harding was young) meant to Warren Harding.

Civil Society – where individuals and private associations (commercial companies, churches, clubs, fraternities……) could exist and thrive – and not have every day of their lives spent looking over their shoulder for the commands of the state. A government limited by the Constitution of the United States - in which Warren Harding believed (unlike Woodrow Wilson who despised it) and even physically saved (the physical document was falling apart when he became President – Warren Harding had preserved).

This (his belief in liberty, in property rights, in limited government)  is why the collectivists hated Warren Harding (and still do) – and that is why they (the academic-media-cultural elite) have spent more than 90 years spitting on his name.

The mistake of John Jay – believing that the governement could make people virtuous.

The American Founding Father John Jay was fond of reading Plato in his youth (often not a good sign), and even named one of his slaves Plato (I am not attacking Mr Jay over slavery – I know he did more than anyone else to end slavery in New York State, even losing an election over it).

It is not likely that John Jay was fond of the economic collectivism of Plato (after all John Jay was the man famous for making “those who own the land should govern it” his maxim – although it was actually G. Morris who supported a strictly limited franchise, as long you owned a little land, say your own home, you should have the vote according to Jay), so what was he getting from Plato?

Not the idea of the importance of virtue – that was a commonplace of republican (small “r”) thought, that only a moral people could remain free (that a people addicted to vice and waste would either not notice government getting more powerful – or would actively welcome a despotic government, if it promised them lots of benefits “bread and games”).

Nor was John Jay some sort of “Puritan” in the Hollywood sense – he did not believe that such things as drink and dancing should be banned, he liked a drink and he employed tutors to teach his children to dance (and the only reason he did not go to the theatre was that he believed there was so much suffering and humiliation in real life that he did not want to see it on the stage as well). Again “virtue” was a much broader concept than the Hollywood mockery of po faced Puritans.

What Plato would have given John Jay is that idea that people can (and should) be made virtuous by THE STATE.

We today are used to prisons and government schools (especially in New York) being dens of vice – and that is not funny (rape and so on should not be a matter for nudge-nudge, wink-wink jokes). Places where vast amounts of taxpayers money are spent – and people come out vastly worse than they went in. Indeed the only thing that government schools in America appear to be good at teaching people is that government should control everything and that business (especially “big business”) is evil (needing to be controlled by noble government), and the churches are evil too, and…… (well any alternative to the state in any area of life) is evil – how odd that government schools should teach that government should control everything (well actually not odd at all).

However, dens of vice was not the Platonic vision (although what American schools and colleges actually teach would have pleased Plato).

In the vision of John Jay the government prisons he established (to replace the old policy of either hanging or flogging criminals) were meant to “reform” criminals.

And the government school system he longed for (it was not really established till after his time) would take children and turn them into virtuous citizens of the new republic .

What if someone from the state had come to Mr Jay’s farm (the house he had built shows his reputation as an aristocrat is false – it is a rather ordinary house with a front pouch where someone can sit on a rocking chair and chat to passers by – the house that “Common Man” Jefferson had built is vastly grander, but then Jefferson did not mind borrowing money, John Jay hated the idea of borrowing for luxury, he would only spend money he actually had) and started to order him about in farming matters?

I think such a government official would have got a cold stare from the man who attacked price controls and other such nonsense (John Adams would have lost his temper and set the dogs on such an official). But why should government be better at forming human character?

If would not trust the government to be in charge of your carrots, why would you trust them to be in charge of your children?

Governments are often better than private individuals and associations for destructive things – killing people, burning cities and so on (as a man who had lived through war – Mr Jay knew that), but for constructive things such as reforming human character? That does not seem very likely.

Evil (force and fear) has its place in human affairs – remember the Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk is divided between good and evil. His good side has many things (for example a sincere love of knowledge for its own sake) – even his courage (the evil Kirk is a coward – terrified of losing his own skin), but the good Kirk is also useless as a Star Ship commander (he will not take risks with other people’s lives – and he is horrified even by the suffering and death of enemies). It is the evil Kirk who has the “power of command” and the delight in torment and destruction that gives him the incentive to think up clever ways of destroying foes (the pleasure a cat has). And these-things-are-necessary at times.

The state (force and fear – the Sword of State) is the negative (destructive) energy of human life – you can burn a city with such a force, but you can not make people better (not really) you can not create new and good things. Force and fear has its place in human life (the good Kirk can not command the Enterprise – although the evil Kirk can not be trusted to do so) – but it can not turn a child into a good adult, or turn criminals into honest people (it can just turn them into hypocrites like Mr Heap – pretending to be “ever so humble” as they plot fresh crimes).

If one tries to use the state for positive (for constructive) purposes the negative energy feeds back on itself – the tormented child becomes a vile adult, the criminal leaves the prison worse than when he went in (and so on). The state can punish crime – but it can reform people (and the effort to use state power to “make people better” leads to the most terrible tyranny, as C.S. Lewis pointed out).

Those people (such as John Jay) who supported setting up state prison systems and school systems sincerely believing that they would promote virtue were making an error – a terrible, fundamental, error (an error for which the world is still suffering  – and will suffer more).

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