Pie crust and politics (domesticity in a post-feminist world, Thanksgiving edition).

I did not hunt and kill the turkey that we shall eat tomorrow, but if I had, I should like to think I would have dressed exactly like Miss Monroe.  That’s how it happens in my imagination, anyway…I’m tripping along in my high heels with a big ole’ gun when suddenly! – my husband, who in the fantasy I have never seen before, dressed in breeches (but shirtless, natch) steps menacingly out of the shadows and…oh, wait a minute.  Sorry!  Rape, oops I mean ravishment fantasies (not rape-rape you know, but the fun kind like they have on college campuses) have already been covered here.  Now where was I?

Oh yes, pie crust!

You see, there was a time when, if my life were Anime, then Pie Crust would have been my evil nemesis.  But I have conquered my lardy foe, sisters, and now I shall help you do the same.  And the first thing you need to notice is my use of the adjective lardy.  I am not using it in the pejorative sense of fat but rather in the literal sense of containing actual lard.

Perhaps some readers are thinking, But Sunshine Mary, I think I heard – maybe on Oprah – that animal fat will make your heart explode.  Fear not, sisters!  Like the phrases Islam is peace! and Women make great engineers!, so also Animal fat will give you heart disease! is a lie.  Remember how back in the 1990s experts assured us we were being virtuous for eating margarine instead of butter and using vegetable shortening instead of lard?  Whoopsie daisy, they got that switched around there - it turns out the natural fats our grandmothers used, and not the weird processed chemical fats, were actually the healthier ones.

So naturally, when you go to make your pumpkin and apple pies today for Thanksgiving, you’ll reach for the lard.  Let’s reach for it together, shall we?

I’ve tried several different lard pie crust recipes, and this one is by far my favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 2/3 cups lard
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
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2. Add 1 2/3 c lard.

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3. Cut in lard until mixture resembles coarse meal.  I recommend using a pastry cutter like the one I have; it’s much quicker and easier.

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4. In a small bowl, mix together water, egg, and vinegar.

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5. Pour into lard mixture and stir until dough is thoroughly moistened and forms a ball. Divide into 4 portions (if you like a thicker crust, I recommend only dividing the dough into three portions instead of four) and wrap tightly. Use dough within three days or freeze.

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6. To assemble pie crust, roll out one of the balls of dough on a floured surface.

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7. Roll the dough up around your rolling pin, and then unroll it into your pie plate. Crimp or not as desired.

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Now, I’m responsible for the pumpkin and apple pies, but my girls make a dessert every year, too.  I want to encourage some independence in them, so I try to pick baking projects that they can do on their own.  Also, I’m lazy and would rather paint my toenails and blog than help them in the kitchen.  To that end, here is a very fun and easy (but highly unhealthy) baking project for your daughters: Chocolate Turkey Cupcakes.  It’s so easy, you can just hand your laptop to the kids right now and let them follow the recipe themselves.

*Children, begin reading here.*

1. Bake a batch of cupcakes.  Go ahead and use a box mix.  I won’t tell.  You’ll need the following stuff to decorate them: 24 small peanut butter cups, a large can of whipped chocolate frosting, chocolate springs, strawberry fruit roll ups, candy corn, vanilla chips, and black decorating gel.

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2. Frost the cupcake.

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3. Stick a peanut butter cup slightly off to one side.  Sneak another peanut butter cup into your pocket for later.  Probably you’ll forget it’s there, and it will take a ride through the washing machine and leave a big brown stain on your mom’s favorite blouse, but don’t worry about that now.

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4. Glob frosting all over the peanut butter cup.  Lick frosting off the knife.  Poke your frosting-covered finger in one of your sisters’ ears.  Yell for Mom when she hits you.

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5.  Sprinkle liberally with chocolate sprinkles.  Did you know dogs like them, too?  If your dog is a Good Dog, why not give a little shake over the end of the table??  Your mom’s face is buried in her iPAD reading my blog anyway, so she’ll never know.

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6. Now put on two vanilla chips for eyes and put a little dot of black decorator gel for the pupil.  Will anyone notice if you suck on the end of the decorator gel tube?  I think not!  Mmm.  Sugar.

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7. Now for the candy corn beak and tail feathers.  You’re almost done!

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8. Finish by making him a wattle.  Cut a piece of fruit roll up into a triangle and stick it under his beak.  Hey, you made a Turkey Cupcake!  And don’t worry – as cute as these look, they taste awful to grown-ups, so you won’t have to share these babies!  Hooray!

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* Children stop reading here.*

Now that you’ve got your laptop or iDevice back and we have attended to our domestic duties, ladies, let us fortify our minds with some bracing political writing.  Personally I shudder whenever politics comes up at the Thanksgiving table.  No doubt I would enjoy such a discussion if around the table were seated my readers, but alas, many of my kin, love them though I do, are liberal democrats, excepting my father who has never to my knowledge voted in his lifetime.  In any event, should politics happen to come up at your table, here are my reading recommendations from the past several weeks which may be worthy of discussion:

1. Zippy defines liberalism:

Liberalism is the political doctrine that securing individual freedom and equal rights is the primary legitimate purpose of government [...]

But who, then, are the authentic representatives of liberal doctrine?  In fact there is no authentic conception of liberalism, because liberalism is incoherent.  An authentic conception of liberalism does not exist: it is impossible in principle.  Government by its very essence is a discriminating authority which initiates force to support a particular conception of the good.  That’s what government is.  A concept of government with the primary purpose of preventing authoritative discrimination is therefore self-contradictory.

2. I think what Cane Caldo is saying is that conservatives need to remember Benjamin Franklin’s advice and get better at hanging together, lest they all hang separately.

The problem isn’t that sometimes men get knocked down; it’s that conservatives don’t want to make it their business to help those men back up; not even those who are repentant. They offer nothing but wishes.

3. Jim explains the history of the left:

Similarly, with the emancipation of women, they really had to ditch Christianity and started doing so, for while the New Testament is mildly disapproving of slavery, it endorses stern patriarchy in no uncertain terms, and thus, with women’s suffrage, we begin to see the familiar anti Christian modern left, though it was only in the 1940s or so that large numbers of Jews were permitted to join the modern American left.

Tracing the English speaking left all the way back to Browneism, we see continuity of personnel and ideology, the ideology slowly changing from Puritan Christianity to Unitarian Universalism to modern leftism, but changing slowly and continuously without any abrupt change, though over time every detail of the ideology changed, except for the war on Christmas, desecration of marriage, and the emancipation of women, which remained the whole time, even though sometimes justified by the argument that Christmas was too pagan, and at other times justified by the argument that Christmas was not pagan enough, and sometimes, strangely, both arguments simultaneously, while the desecration of marriage never got an explanation, for they never admitted that that was what they were doing, nor did the emancipation of women for as long as they thought themselves Christian, for Paul unambiguously tells the Church to socially enforce male authority over women.

4. The MSM has become aware that there is dissent within the labor camp.  Will they be able to crush it?  Geeks for Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries:

Many of us yearn for a return to one golden age or another. But there’s a community of bloggers taking the idea to an extreme: they want to turn the dial way back to the days before the French Revolution.

Neoreactionaries believe that while technology and capitalism have advanced humanity over the past couple centuries, democracy has actually done more harm than good. They propose a return to old-fashioned gender roles, social order and monarchy.

5. Mr. Amos and Gromar thinks they won’t: Tech Crunch: how not to contain neoreaction:

Here’s the sentiment of the article: White males. Didn’t you hear? We’ve been telling you for years in diversity training seminars that you have privilege, which obviously means that you can never be disadvantaged, no matter how much downward force we apply to you. You’ve adopted what we call a victim complex. That’s wrong. You need to take the lumps we give you, because you deserve them. After all, you’re white, you’re male. You did nothing to earn that. Hold still. Stop squirming. Wait there while we decide what to do with you.

But he adds this hopeful bit:

It’s certainly the case–from their perspective–that more utility would be generated by not covering neoreaction, since let’s face it, no matter what sort of coverage we get, we’ll get more converts. That’s just a fact. We won’t lose people, we’ll gain people.

6. Bryce LaLiberte at AnarchoPapist explains How to Look at the World Like a Neoreactionary, Part 1:

A neoreactionary is aware how far outside the mainstream he stands. He has ceased to participate in politics the way the average man does. You won’t persuade him by calling him a racist, a sexist, unenlightened, or uneducated. In fact, were you to do so, the neoreactionary will point out that this behavior is exactly a case in point; it never has the effect of persuading the accused, but serves to consolidate the opinion of the audience. The hit piece is an ancestor of tribal ostracism. And the neoreactionary probably wears the accusation as a badge of honor, besides.

7. As a former libertarian, Kristor’s essay, The King’s Liberty, made me feel all warm and cozy inside, like a thimbleful of political Bailey’s Irish Cream:

There is nothing complicated about subsidiarity. The sagacious king understands that the less he does to interfere with the people, the greater his revenues will be. In any other system than monarchy, the competition among the oligarchs – who are always with us – for state revenues will push taxes and regulations ever higher, impoverishing and depraving the people.

The satisfaction of the libertarian impulse, then, can lie only in the repudiation of libertarianism. Only if the King has unchallengeable authority to let go, or not, will there be any definite letting go.

8. And finally, round out your reading at Radish Magazine: Democracy and the Intellectuals:

I invite the reader to consider the “key democratic principle” of “a judicial system that treats everyone the same way” in light of the so-called disparate impact ruling. I further invite you to consider the notion of “a media that is free from government censorship” in light of Walter Lippmann’s observation that a democratic state is guided by public opinion, and public opinion is guided in large part by journalists, which makes the press an informal branch of the government. (And who would censor themselves?) As for “fair elections with at least two political parties,” I refer you to, say, the People’s Republic of Poland and the German Democratic Republic, where you really could vote for whoever you liked, for all the good that did you.

Did I miss your favorite essay, article, or blog post?  Tell me about it in the comments.  And with that…

I wish all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Further reading:

Learning domesticity in a post-feminist world.

(All recipe photos are the property of sunshinemaryandthedragon.wordpress.com and may only be reproduced with permission.)

143 thoughts on “Pie crust and politics (domesticity in a post-feminist world, Thanksgiving edition).

  1. Sis

    I always buy the frozen pie crusts, those cupcakes are adorable, I’m sure they will be a hit. Have a happy Thanksgiving SSM!

    [ssm: Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Sis!]

  2. seriouslypleasedropit

    I gotta say, SSM, that for some reason this was an especially entertaining article for me to read. And I’m a young single dude, so you had your work cut out for you.

    I have a cousin about my age, with whom I am close—he’s been married for about two years. I went to visit him and his wife recently, and stayed with them for a few days. They are delightful people, obviously love each other, and are working hard to get their start in life. It makes me happy just to think of them. I got a similar feeling from this post.

    Happy Thanksgiving, all!

    [ssm: Thanks for your kind words, and Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!]

  3. Farm Boy

    When did people start having heart/artery problems?

    When cheap carbs became a staple. In the past, carbs were never cheap. And people did not have the problems of today.

    [ssm: Exactly.]

  4. Escoffier

    More confusion about America, I see. Sigh.

    Before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, let’s examine the baby a little more carefully. (And, Mary, I know that merely by quoting or linking you are not necessarily endorsing.)

    First, it is not true that liberalism is incoherent. The original liberalism of Locke, Sidney and Montesquieu is perfectly coherent. Incoherence is not the problem. INCOMPLETENESS is the problem. Or, if you prefer, reductionism. Liberalism seeks to place to one side, out of bounds, a whole host of considerations central to Biblical faith and classical philosophy. Both, in the final analysis, liberalism believes are untrue. But it makes respectful arguments about a “private sphere” and so on to mask its atheism.

    The quotes from Declaration of Independence seem to be used to equate the United States with liberalism simply. But this is false. The Founders borrowed heavily from modern liberalism, to be sure, but also from other sources—including the classics and the Bible—as I have tried to show in earlier threads.

    The reasons for their turn to modern liberalism are many and complex. But the most important of which was fundamentally religious. To secure freedom of conscience and to end or mitigate religious war—i.e., to meet head on the circumstances of their time—they could not look to the past for a particular solution to that problem. Novaseeker has elsewhere written at length of the tendency toward fracture in post-Reformation Christianity. I raise this not to point any fingers at Protestants but to show what the Founders were dealing with. Fractured faith had led to religious war and religious persecution in Europe, and to the worst form of tyranny, the attempt to force thought, to control conscience. They had to solve that problem here.

    Certain tenets of modern liberalism, drawn largely from Locke, were the answer. The two characteristic solutions of the past—the ancient city and medieval Christendom—simply had no application in the post-Reformation world. The Founders’ solution worked very well for a long time and was brought down by other causes, chief among them (in my view) the inherent tendencies of MODERNITY which predate and are the presuppositions for liberalism.

    I understand—and share—the dissatisfaction with the times. And, while I disagree with the assertion that there never was a coherent liberalism, I also don’t think that it’s possible or desirable to return to that coherent liberalism. Because of what it leaves out, it is inherently impoverishing to the soul.

    But let’s be very clear with ourselves what the alternatives entail. A “neo reactionary” longing for throne and altar is just a pipe dream, nostalgia. Or, if you think you can make it happen, by all means try, and I will watch with interest. It will be plagued by various theoretical and practical difficulties which have all been spelled out before, and which I can restate if anyone cares.

    The other alternative—a return to something like ancient city—is a much more plausible outcome if/when modernity finally collapses. It will be a lot harsher and uglier than I think anyone quite anticipates. It has been said the characteristic formula of the modern liberal state is “Whatever the law does forbid, it permits” whereas the characteristic formula of the ancient city was “Whatever the law does not command, it forbids.”

    Certainly we are far from the ideal of modern liberalism, in that the law continues to tangle us in its tentacles more and more every day. But we are still freer than any pre-modern person, even if so many of choose to use our freedom unwisely.

    Or, to boil all this down: what’s missing from liberalism in 2013 is virtue—genuine virtue based on a teleological understanding of human nature. Such and understanding was THE principle animating classical political philosophy. BUT—and it’s not a small “but”—the ancient city was far less free, far more intrusive, than anything any of us are used to. Most of us would call it totalitarian. Every aspect of life was regulated by the state. Since this is one of the main complaints of today’s critics of modern liberalism, they need to think through how they can solve this particular problem. In other words, their true or just complaint is not so much that the state regulates too much, it’s that it regulates the wrong things too much and the right things too little.

    Which is a complaint that I, following the classics, would agree with. As would the American Founders.

  5. Zippy

    Some folks might find these Thomas Jefferson quotes of interest:

    JEFFERSON ON SUBSTANTIVE RACIAL EQUALITY:

    “And I am safe in affirming that the proofs of genius given by the Indians of N. America, place them on a level with Whites in the same uncultivated state … . I believe the Indian then to be in body & mind equal to the whiteman. I have supposed the black man, in his present state, might not be so; but it would be hazardous to affirm, that, equally cultivated for a few generations, he would not become so.” Thomas Jefferson to Marquis de Chastellux June 7, 1785.

    JEFFERSON ON CHRISTIANITY:

    “The Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which they [the clergy] have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of it’s benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind.” — Thomas Jefferson, to Moses Robinson, 1801

    “But the greatest of all reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dunghill, we have the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man. The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent morality, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted fro artificial systems, invented by ultra-Christian sects (The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity; original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of the Hierarchy, etc.) is a most desirable object.” – Thomas Jefferson to W. Short, Oct. 31, 1819

    “Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I separate, therefore, the gold from the dross; restore him to the former, and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, the roguery of others of his disciples. Of this band of dupes and imposters, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and the first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus.” – Thomas Jefferson to W. Short, 1820

    “The truth is, that the greatest enemies of the doctrine of Jesus are those, calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them to the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.” – Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, Apr. 11, 1823

    “The metaphysical insanities of Athanasius, of Loyola, and of Calvin, are, to my understanding, mere lapses into polytheism, differing from paganism only by being more unintelligible.” – Thomas Jefferson to Jared Sparks, 1820

    “Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

    JEFFERSON ON EQUALITY’s RELATION TO THE WILL:

    “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Isaac H. Tiffany (1819)

    “Life is of no value but as it brings us gratifications.” Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, February 20, 1784

  6. sunshinemary Post author

    Escoffier

    But let’s be very clear with ourselves what the alternatives entail. A “neo reactionary” longing for throne and altar is just a pipe dream, nostalgia. Or, if you think you can make it happen, by all means try, and I will watch with interest. It will be plagued by various theoretical and practical difficulties which have all been spelled out before, and which I can restate if anyone cares.

    Yes, I’m sure there are simply oodles of practical difficulties, I don’t think anyone could argue with that. But what are your theoretical difficulties?

  7. Earl

    Do NOT use lard or shortening for your pastries if you can! Yuck! Use butter. It tastes infinitely better. If you find that it is hard to work with butter while shaping and forming your crust, do what the experts do: step into the walk-in freezer to work your dough, after you’ve cooled your hands in cold water. Or, step out into the cold Novermber air.

    [ssm: Whenever I have tried butter crusts, they break when I roll them out! I end up just kind of trying to mash the crust back together in the bottom of the pie plate. It's so frustrating.]

  8. Martel

    Leftism defies the three basic tenets of Western Civilization. First, there is an objective, external Ideal as exemplified by Yaweh and His Son, which rejects moral relativism. Second, reality is real and supersedes our perceptions of it (A is A). Third, the individual is the world’s earthly Prime Mover, not “society” or any particular group.

    Although I agree with the reactionaries on many issues, my primary objection is it’s rejection of the third principle. Advocating monarchy suggests that there is a hierarchy among men that determines that a king has the right to my sovereignty. I grant no such quarter.

    I don’t hold democracy up as some sort of ideal, but I don’t see any reason to believe that a “divinely ordained” elite will be any better at determining what’s right for us than “the people”. I instead advocate checks & balances as set forth by the Founders in which the people, judges, the executive, and legislators are all held in check by each other. Give anyone too much power it will be abused.

  9. bike bubba

    Amen on lard. I’ve got to note that the piecrusts my family makes (with more or less SSM’s technique) are a lot thinner than supermarket pie crusts, so even with lard’s high saturated fats (40%), we get a lot less saturated fat.

    Looking at the nutrition labels of processed foods–something I learned to do as a lousy sonofadietician (SOD)–I would venture to guess that a lot of people eating “healthy” vegetable oils are in fact getting a LOT more saturated fats than those using animal fats, but who have actually learned to cook.

    BTW, Escoffier, tried that city omelet today, and while it tasted great, suffice it to say that it would not have left some kitchens where you’ve worked. :^)

    [ssm: Do you use vinegar in your crusts? That was a new trick to me in the past year. It keeps too much gluten from forming, and the crusts turn out flakier and not so chewy.]

  10. Escoffier

    BB, it takes practice. The first time I was put on egg station, not a single omelet of mine went out and the sous moved me back to prep before the shift was over. That was demoralizing.

    So, I bought (on my own dime) a palate of eggs, set up a station at home and practiced for a whole weekend. I eventually got the hang of it.

  11. bitter clinger

    CS Lewis: Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good, will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    How to escape this torment?

    Kristor: The satisfaction of the libertarian impulse, then, can lie only in the repudiation of libertarianism. Only if the King has unchallengeable authority to let go, or not, will there be any definite letting go

    Who is the King of America?

    My Country tis of Thee, 4th verse:
    Our fathers’ God to Thee,
    Author of liberty,
    To Thee we sing.
    Long may our land be bright,
    With freedom’s holy light,
    Protect us by Thy might
    Great God our King

    And what is the King’s policy?

    Gal. 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    [ssm: Ah, I was wondering how you've been, so it's good to hear from you, even if pseudonymously. Happy Thanksgiving!]

  12. Martel

    @ Escoffier: Good post. I dislike the term “equalist” because although I’m decidedly with the reactionaries in acknowledging that we’re by no means equal in our abilities, needs, wants, perpectives, etc., I do believe we’re equally accountable before God. Equality before the law is our attempt to replicate that.

    As Horowitz points out, the two “wqualisms” contradict each other. YOu can’t make everyone equal by treating all of us differently. Granting an economic inferior another man’s property defies any rational notion of equality.

  13. Novaseeker

    The trouble with democracy is that it is impossible to meet its own ideals. As Lippman pointed out, democracies ebb and flow based on public opinion, and public opinion is subject to easy manipulation by the elites in the media. Control the media, and you control public opinion, and in turn, you control democracy. There isn’t any “checks and balances”, other than in a purely pro forma sense. The same elite class is choosing the king (or kings) from themselves which suits this or that “right thinking” agenda that the elite has at any given time. So on paper it’s a democratic system, and in form as well (everyone does have the ability to cast a vote), but the minds of the voters are subject to manipulation, intense manipulation and downright formation, by the elite complex of education and media (journalists, a la Lippman, but also culture makers). Some will say that the answer to this is education so that more people are less subject to this kind of manipulation, but the problem with that is in a mass society you will have a rather Gaussian distribution of the ability to achieve the kind of education in order to resist the manipulation effectively — it’s a non-solution, when you’re talking about the mass scale of popular democracy, which empowers the left end of the Gaussian scale as much as it does the right end.

    In effect, democracy is a kind of political placebo. It makes the participants feel better than they do under an outright, naked oligarchy or monarchy, but in the end power is just about as tightly controlled by the elite as it is in an oligarchy or monarchy anyway. In fact, it’s the elite which prefers democracy, because democracy, being the political placebo that it is, proves useful in innoculating the system against actual political revolution and upheaval that would actually threaten the power base of the elites — because those who would be rebelling are pacified because there is always another election coming around the corner in which they can “change things” in a formal sense, without anything really changing in a real or fundamental sense.

  14. Cane Caldo

    @SSM

    Thanks for the link.

    My position would be better defined as: We murderers are supposed to be our brothers’ keepers.

    [ssm: Thank you for the correction. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!]

  15. Escoffier

    Mary:

    First would be the problem identified and explained by Aristotle regarding “rule of the priests” or rule of religious principle in the civil realm. It should be quite easy to see how this is incompatible with Christianity (though not to Judaism or Islam) which from its very origin deferred to the civil authority in the temporal realm. “Rule of the priests” always and everywhere slides toward persecution and tyranny. Now, one may rejoin, “But precisely because Christianity separates the spiritual from the temporal, it does not result in the rule of the priests and so is immune to this objection.” But not so fast. A characteristic feature of the Middle Ages was indeed a formal separation of religious authority and political power. But the Church is(was) still a human institution and as such sought to increase and impose worldly power in just the way that Aristotle says priests always do and always will do. Which is why we got the very bad persecution and corruption of the late Middle Ages, which spurred the Reformation.

    Beyond these, the confusion inherent in an established Church with political power (even if not direct power, indirect power such as the power of excommunication rulers, granting or refusing annulments, sanctifying or denying marriages, acknowledging or denying the legitimacy of offspring and hence being the final arbiter of princely succession and so on) causes an inherent “divided loyalty” in the temporal realm which can be very confusing to subjects and (worse) very destabilizing for rulers. Basically, to have the king fighting with the pope is “baked into the cake.”

    Any (successful) “return” would bring these problems back to the fore, later if not sooner.

    Second is the question of what is a just title to rule? For the classics, the only just title was wisdom. For the moderns, it is consent based on a proper understanding of natural rights. Both reject the monarchical-aristocratic principle, but for different reasons.

    The classics favor a GENUINE aristocracy but find none that have actually existed. A true aristocracy points to the root of the word, which literally means “rule of the best” or the most virtuous and in the end the Socratic formulation is “virtue is knowledge” so the rule of the wise is the best form of government. And who could deny that?

    But how to ensure the rule of the wise? The wise don’t want to rule and the people don’t want to be ruled (not by the wise, certainly, and not really by anyone else except themselves). And how do we know who is wise? They are not born with distinguishing marks or anything. In nature, the “queen” bee is very clearly delineated. Not so for man. (We may say that is akin to hidden ovulation: it’s not that it’s not there, it’s that the signs are very subtle and will be missed by most.) In practice all purported aristocracies are oligarchies. All monarchies may not necessarily be tyrannies but neither are they the rule of the one best man.

    The paradox is that only the wise are competent to judge who is wise—who DESERVES to rule—and there are too few of them, and they lack sufficient power, to ensure that the wise DO in fact rule (this is to leave aside their disinclination to rule). So nature, in its glorious perversity, has so constructed man that he is the social and political animal—to reach his potential and fulfill his nature he must be part of political society, that is, he must submit to some form of rule—but A) most men don’t want to and B) nearly all men are incapable of recognizing, much less implementing, the best form of rule.

    So, when we try to imagine a return to “throne and altar” we are then inevitably calling for a “solution” which makes an arbitrary distinction between ruler and ruled. The “nobles” are inherently no better than the “ignobles” BY NATURE. That’s not to deny that over time, this group of families can cultivate virtue better than that mass of plebs. Of course that can happen. It’s to say the original division was not based on nature or anything truly inherent but mere chance or self-interest and hence irrational and unjust.

    Those arguing for a hierarchy have then to make a case as to why it is just and this turns out to be, in the final analysis, always sophistry. The most spectacular example is Filmer’s defense of the “divine right of kings,” which is itself an ex post facto justification for medieval (and later) monarchies that has no basis in the Bible and which Locke, in his no-longer read First Treatise, completely demolished.

  16. Looking Glass

    One thing to keep in mind about the value of Democracy for Elites of a society: You won’t get killed.

    Historically, a “change in the Palace” normally meant a slate of nobles got killed. You can see this in Europe right now. The Elites there still haven’t figured out how their predecessors screwed up and allowed WW1 to happen, so they’ve taken to screwing over everyone to prevent any risk of another round of killing. Not that their terrible ideas stretching back 200 years aren’t the actual cause in the first place. European Elites shouldn’t ever be counted on for the basic concept of Wisdom.

  17. Escoffier

    Nova, the classics were very down on “pure” democracy, which literally means the rule of the demos, or the people, or the many or (if you want to be cynical) the mob. Though the Greek has a distinction between “demos” (people or many) and “hoi polloi” (rabble or mob).

    The solution for Aristotle (who is much more sober and straightforward than Plato) is the “mixed regime” in which elements are taken from monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. It’s much like, but not identical to, our “separation of powers.”

    Which is why it is better to aspire to “republicanism” than to “democracy.” That’s a topic for another day, I suppose, but returning to where I started, I caution against throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The problems of radical democracy (known to the classics) combined with the rot of late modernity (not known to them) are quite evident and very toxic. That doesn’t point toward a necessity of discarding all concepts of liberty.

  18. Ton

    The hierarchy of men is self evident as you walk down the street. Any political system that doesn’t take that into affect is destined to fail and restrain men. Leastwise if we are going to have a multi ethnic nation

    I’m a fan of none of the above

  19. Miserman

    I just want to say that Miss Monroe makes me thankful for the pilgrims of the manosphere leaving the fat and sassy Femdom for the promise of a New World.

  20. Novaseeker

    I caution against throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The problems of radical democracy (known to the classics) combined with the rot of late modernity (not known to them) are quite evident and very toxic. That doesn’t point toward a necessity of discarding all concepts of liberty.

    Perhaps. Any system is going to be based on a certain number of idealistic assumptions, it seems to me. Reducing suffrage would be an idea for moving things away from a more populist system like we have now towards a more republican one, but that seems quite unfeasible, at least from the perspective of incremental changes.

    For the most part this doesn’t bother me, because I really don’t think that fundamental changes are possible, so I am fairly politically aloof, as a practical matter, even though the theory can be interesting at times.

  21. Zippy

    Novaseeker:
    For the most part this doesn’t bother me, because I really don’t think that fundamental changes are possible, so I am fairly politically aloof, as a practical matter, even though the theory can be interesting at times.

    Agreed. The reason to talk about it at all, other than for its own sake qua truth, is to help free the very small circle any of us can actually reach from the oppression of holding incoherent false beliefs. Even if some sort of “movement” were to become influential enough to make big changes, the idea that that movement could be controlled to go in the direction I would prefer is ludicrous.

  22. Escoffier

    Fundamental change will be possible after a collapse which is, if not likely, at the very least quite plausible. Then it would be useful if some of the people called upon to reorganize did so on the basis of sound principle, or in the best case, wisdom.

  23. sunshinemary Post author

    The reason to talk about it at all, other than for its own sake qua truth, is to help free the very small circle any of us can actually reach from the oppression of holding incoherent false beliefs.

    Agreed, though I think that Ecoffier is right that some kind of collapse (or possibly just a slow but steady decline) will eventually open up room for fundamental change, and therefore it will be useful for men to have already considered these ideas. As for me, I merely find it interesting and don’t feel pressured to come to a conclusion, since I dearly hope women’s opinions and preferences with respect to government and politics will no longer be considered at all should fundamental change occur. Society does better when women stick to baby-making and pie-baking.

    Just like I told the ladies yesterday to learn how to make soap and can strawberry jam now, when it is fun but not a necessity, so by the same token it is possibly wise for men to consider now what would be the most beneficial form of government should a sudden burst of political gravity send everything tumbling down.

    Always be prepared, as the saying goes.

  24. Escoffier

    And, actually, quite a few systems throughout history are not really based on any idealistic assumptions at all. Rule is very often nothing more than pure domination, pure force, pure power politics. Just rule or even moderate rule is, sadly, rare than one would expect or hope. To achieve it after the collapse will, again, require understanding.

  25. Zippy

    Escoffier:
    Then it would be useful if some of the people called upon to reorganize did so on the basis of sound principle, or in the best case, wisdom.

    Who that might be and when it might happen will be entirely up to God, not me. But even so, if I had my druthers I’d want those people not to be ideologically enslaved to the self-contradictory doctrine of liberalism.

  26. Escoffier

    Well, I do not share the fatalistic notion that everything is up to God, nor can I quite square it with the Biblical-theological concept of free will.

    I gather my attempt to distinguish between liberalism and modernity, between liberalism and liberty and liberalism and equality was unconvincing to you. Which doesn’t necessarily mean it was a waste of time as it might have persuaded someone else.

  27. Coastal Mama

    The pictures look nice but none of it is healthy food.

    Bleached flour, baking soda with aluminum, hormone shot up industrial lard, and that’s just the pie. The cupcakes – full on gmo soy and corn, and propylene glycol and aluminum in the cake mix. Go on and read the ingredients listed on those cake mix boxes. They are horrifying.

    [ssm: Definitely, but home-baked desserts for once-in-awhile are allowed in our home. We seek good nutrition but we are not fanatics to the point of skipping Thanksgiving pie. :)]

  28. Amanda

    Thank you for the pie crust recipe — I will give it a try! I’ve been a failure of pie crust in the past — *sigh*

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!:)

    [ssm: Happy Thanksgiving to you as well, Amanda!]

  29. Zippy

    Escoffier:
    Well, I do not share the fatalistic notion that everything is up to God, nor can I quite square it with the Biblical-theological concept of free will.

    That I don’t get to personally choose what global politics will look like in fifty years doesn’t in any way call into question my free will.

    And yes, I basically see your rhetoric as some sort of futile attempt to set aside a “good” liberalism that people can believe in respectably, so they don’t have to fully and unequivocally repent of their commitment to liberalism. I’ve seen it a thousand times before, and I certainly don’t expect to convince you otherwise.

  30. sunshinemary Post author

    Escoffier
    I’m reading your comment at 1:28 aloud to myself, trying to get a handle on what you are saying, but I just wanted to mention something about this:

    “virtue is knowledge”

    Not to Christians. For us, virtue is faith in Christ and obedience to Him.

    OK, back to reading.

  31. Coastal Mama

    “Remember how back in the 1990s experts assured us we were being virtuous for eating margarine instead of butter and using vegetable shortening instead of lard? Whoopsie daisy, they got that switched around there – it turns out the natural fats our grandmothers used, and not the weird processed chemical fats, were actually the healthier ones.”

    But hold on, that lard you have pictured there is not healthy. Not only is it not organic nor from free range animals, its from animals that are shot up with artificial hormones and any number of other synthetic chemicals.

    Read labels, read labels, read labels. Then get on the net and research those words on the labels and the companies that are selling these products. Call them and find out how they keep their animals and what specific shots they give them.

    “Remember how back in the 1990s experts assured us we were being virtuous for eating margarine instead of butter and using vegetable shortening instead of lard? ”

    You shouldn’t have fallen for that either, but the products you have listed above are absolutely no better. Its all the same gunk with the same genetically modified synthetic gunk in it.

  32. sunshinemary Post author

    All monarchies may not necessarily be tyrannies but neither are they the rule of the one best man.

    Yes, that’s what I thought of when I read Kristor’s essay:

    The sagacious king understands that the less he does to interfere with the people, the greater his revenues will be.

    Who is to say the King will be a sagacious, or even competent one?

    Anyway, on a purely practical level, we have to have some kind of government. All forms may have flaws, but which one performs the best…or at least tends to do the least harm?

  33. Farm Boy

    My biggest beef with what is now called “progressivism” is that it deliberately ignores human nature.

    It is difficult to create a social system when one does that.

  34. bike bubba

    Escoffier; agreed on the practice, it should be wonderful. And regarding the theological issues you mention, keep in mind that throughout Christianity, the track of divine sovereignty is paralleled by that of human responsibility–what we tend to call free will.

    (meditate on that along with what I’d have to guess will be an excellent meal!)

    SSM: I’ve not previously tried vinegar or eggs in my pastry, but–like that city style omelet–I just might give it a try. Happy Thanksgiving!

    PS. Turbaconducken at my house in honor of our politicians….well, no insult intended to the hog, I don’t mean to compare it with politicians.

  35. Cail Corishev

    Lard from any source is still better than margarine; it’s most certainly not “the same gunk.” If you have the opportunity to make your own lard from pasture-raised, organically-fed, non-injected pigs, by all means do so. But don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  36. sunshinemary Post author

    But hold on, that lard you have pictured there is not healthy.

    Oh, I’m sure you have the nutritionally-correct position, dear.

    And I? Well, I have pie porn:

    Mmm, cooling apple and pumpkin pies, with crusts full of lardy goodness. To reiterate what Cail said:

    don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    They may not be nutritionally perfect, but oh how nice it smells in here…

    And that is my final word on the issue.

  37. songtwoeleven

    Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for the recipes!

    [ssm: LOL, that was hilarious. Happy Thanksgiving, Song and Mister!]

  38. Cail Corishev

    Anyway, on a purely practical level, we have to have some kind of government. All forms may have flaws, but which one performs the best…or at least tends to do the least harm?

    Probably a monarchy with certain limits set by a constitution or strong customs, with some sort of aristocratic body voted on by a limited subset of the population, which could overrule or impeach the monarch in extreme cases. A blend of monarchy, aristocracy, and republicanism, in other words. I think St. Thomas Aquinas advocated something along those lines as the best of the bad options, though sadly I haven’t taken time to study his writings about it yet.

    I think more important than the specific form of government may be keeping the nation itself small. I’m not sure any form of government could run the USA without soon becoming corrupt and tyrannical. With so much land and so many people, there’s just too much wealth that can be squeezed out of the nation, and too much distance between the rulers and the ruled.

    My understanding is that in medieval times when there were hundreds of tiny kingdoms in Europe, most of them were ruled pretty well. There were certainly abuses, but at least the tyrant of a small kingdom only has a small number of people to abuse. He also has to consider that he has many neighbors who might offer his people a better deal. It wasn’t until kingdoms became large enough to be empires with standing armies and nearly unassailable borders that there started being abuses on a Caligula scale again.

  39. bike bubba

    Regarding factory farm meats, what I’ve seen is that there aren’t any peer reviewed studies that clearly link them with problems. That said, I do have friends who can eat pasture raised beef with no problems, but get massive headaches with supermarket beef.

    Speaking as a statistician by trade, my hunch about what’s going on is that (a) the sample sizes aren’t big enough to suss out the smaller effects and (b) statisticians tend to look only at the main mode, and many difficulties (e.g. those of my friends) are a secondary mode out on the fringes that they cannot address statistically.

    My response; I try to choose meats with a lower amount of “better living by chemistry” since it is animals that concentrate that “better living by chemistry” enough to be “interesting” to people.

  40. sunshinemary Post author

    LOL, my husband just texted me, “This is what you’ve come to? Posting pictures of your food – what is this, Instagram?” See, I think Instagram and Facebook just prove that women really only want to think about food and children and have no business voting.

  41. herbie31

    Fundamental change will be possible after a collapse which is, if not likely, at the very least quite plausible.

    Change may occur, but I don’t think it will be fundamentally good. A festering socialism(or worse) will have likely grown deeper roots. I think its better to “fight the good fight” and keep trying to repair the stricken ship while still afloat than waiting for the fix until arriving at Davy Jones’ locker.

  42. Zippy

    Sunshine:

    All forms may have flaws, but which one performs the best…or at least tends to do the least harm?

    One measure is innocent body count. On that front, modern liberal regimes in the last century have slaughtered orders of magnitude more innocents than all illiberal governments combined throughout all of human history.

  43. donalgraeme

    One measure is innocent body count. On that front, modern liberal regimes in the last century have slaughtered orders of magnitude more innocents than all illiberal governments combined throughout all of human history.

    Very true, but don’t forget that populations were far larger during the 20th century. And those regimes had technology available to them that wasn’t pre-liberalism.

  44. Cane Caldo

    @SSM

    Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    And to you and yours likewise. More specifically, here: By and large, you have responded to my criticisms–and even some unfairness from me–with kindness in the form of links and praise. I’m thankful for you.

    [ssm: Aw, thanks, Mr. Caldo.]

  45. Lee Lee Bug

    @SSM
    LOL, my husband just texted me, “This is what you’ve come to? Posting pictures of your food – what is this, Instagram?” See, I think Instagram and Facebook just prove that women really only want to think about food and children and have no business voting.

    Don’t forget Pinterest. So far I’ve resisted the urge to go down the rabbit hole. Many of my friends are completely addicted to posting there.

    Thanks for the pie crust recipe. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make my pies until tomorrow morning. My editor is sending me to see/review a “feminist comedian” tonight.

    One of my co-workers asked, “Do you think she’ll be funny?” I couldn’t help responding, “Feminists usually are.”

    May you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving!

    [ssm: Good lawd, sent to watch a feminist comedienne on Thanksgiving eve? That's like my nightmare! I despise female comediennes as they are usually not terribly funny, just extremely crude. I do hope your editor will at least spring for a couple of cocktails for you so the evening won't be a total waste.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, as well, LLB!]

  46. bike bubba

    Zippy, I am presuming that the “liberal regimes” you’re referring to with a high body count would be the Soviet Union, Communist China, Sudan, Vietnam, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and the like…..if I’m reading this right, can I suggest that “nations with strict gun control” or “Communist and Fascist nations” would be a better label?

    Understood that liberalism, as Dear Leader understands it, does trend towards socialism and fascism, but since the word has other more benign meanings….

  47. tbc

    mmmm…. pie….

    As for throne and altar and all such considerations… any government form must take into account the size of the population to be governed. Massively huge technologically sophisticated states as we currently have will naturally tend towards tyranny in government. If we were actually 50 or 100 smaller entities then monarchical government is much more feasible — as is republican government. Otherwise the tendencies is towards empire.

    And once again…

    mmmm…. pie….

  48. Zippy

    bike bubba:
    The good old US of A and the European democracies are right up there in terms of innocent body count, at least for those who take the personhood of the unborn seriously.

    I do consider Communism and (more controversially) National Socialism to be forms of liberalism — or close enough cousins. I think semantic hairsplitting on the subject is pointless, and suspect that the impulse to do so in the face of unprecedented atrocity is a symptom of a general unwillingness to unequivocally repent of ideas that are, though ultimately lies, pervasively held very dear.

    I have also tried to be clear about my own referent when I use the terms “liberalism” and “liberal”.

  49. tbc

    Zippy, I am presuming that the “liberal regimes” you’re referring to with a high body count would be the Soviet Union, Communist China, Sudan, Vietnam, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and the like…..if I’m reading this right, can I suggest that “nations with strict gun control” or “Communist and Fascist nations” would be a better label?

    I cannot answer for Zippy, but the liberal regimes of the ‘free’ west have also a fairly high body count, though not quite as high and generally not inflicted on their own citizens. The overall apparatus of the modern liberal state (whether free or non-free) easily lends itself to mass propagandization, control by technocratic elites, and war. The most absolute of absolute monarchs under the Ancien Regime could never command the kind of power over its citizenry that exist in the ‘free’ United States and their wars tended to be very short and limited affairs as compared to the protracted and virtually endless wars of the modern ‘liberal’ era.

  50. Zippy

    tbc:
    I agree except for the part about not quite as high a body count and not inflicted on their own people (I know you said “citizens”, but that is a legal category and one might argue, citing the fourteenth amendment, that the unborn are not citizens).

  51. anonymous_ng

    What if the collapse turns out to not really be a collapse, but instead to be Detroit everywhere all the time?

  52. Martel

    It’s impossible to compare modern regimes with older ones in terms of slaughter capability in that older regimes didn’t have the technology to hoarde contintent’s worth of people into death camps, gas them, etc.

  53. Zippy

    I don’t think there is any question that liberalism, as I have defined it, is the root cause of thousands of unborn being slaughtered every single day right now in our own Western democracies. I also don’t think that there is any question that this liberalism is the legitimate development of the American founders’ liberalism. So all the pipe-smoking “hard to compare” rhetoric that gets thrown up as a blockade to stand in the way of repentance doesn’t really move me.

    The sane, human, moral answer to “what’s the rallying point” is “anywhere but here”.

  54. bike bubba

    Anonymous_ng: wouldn’t being like Detroit BE a collapse? :^)

    Zippy, tbc; got it, but the nomenclature still seems a bit imprecise to me. I get what you’re getting at–the modern secular state is unrivaled in its brutality, especially to those not yet born–I’m just trying to figure out a way of saying it that people will understand.

    But darnit, we have PIE to talk about. PIE. PIE. PIE. BURP.

  55. tbc

    @Zippy — you’re right; I wasn’t thinking about the un-born. And I agree that the ‘hard to compare’ rhetoric is not helpful. While previous regimes and modes of governance did not have the same technological ability, they did have the capability of mass slaughter — they simply did not employ it. It is only under ‘liberalism’ writ large that such a thing as a mass prison camp or gas chambers could be contemplated. And these things were developed and deployed under the most sophisticated ‘liberal’ schemes of governance. It is not too far a stretch to suggest that were the US government today to begin a policy of bureaucratic identification of certain elements of the population, requiring them to register with the government ‘for their protection’, nary a peep would be heard from most of the populace and it would seem an eminently reasonable suggestion.

    We often think of those who lived in Stalinist Russia as living perpetually under a reign of terror, but in fact most people lived day to day with simply a stifling sense of bureaucracy where, you filled forms and answer questions the correct way and went about your life. People didn’t know about reign of terror unless it affected them personally — and then they were like as not to feel surprised that someone they knew could be caught up in a ‘capitalist anti-socialist plot’ — or at least they knew that that was how they were supposed to feel.

    Even today, as we talk of ‘red-pill’ and ‘blue-pill’, what is that, but a descriptor of the way people feel constrained to genuflect before the assumptions of the politically correct modern liberal state — no one has to tell them exactly how to answer — you just sort of know. It really is quite banal and horrible all at the same time

  56. Martel

    The Founders advocated an extremely limited government which would be incapable of mass slaughter, while recognizing the importance of a strong Christian foundation for liberty.

    Much of today’s abortion continues because states aren’t allowed to ban it because of misinterpretations of the Constitution.

  57. Martel

    Furthermore, the mass slaughter states (post revolution France, USSR, Nazis, etc.) adopted a Rousseaian conception of liberty which requires mentally liberating society from the evil trappings of civilization. Such assumptions require mass re-programming, and when that fails, slaughter. Lockean notions of liberty have no such implications.

  58. Coastal Mama

    Pie porn is fine as long as there’s no attempt to promote anything in the recipes as a “healthy” alternative to another unhealthy product.

    “Remember how back in the 1990s experts assured us we were being virtuous for eating margarine instead of butter and using vegetable shortening instead of lard? Whoopsie daisy, they got that switched around there – it turns out the natural fats our grandmothers used, and not the weird processed chemical fats, were actually the healthier ones.”

    The lard pictured above is in fact weird, processed chemical fat, that’s my only point.
    And please read the labels on candy corns, cake mixes, frosting, sparkles and Reese’s peanut butter cups. The margarine and vegetable shortening you talked about? Those products are SATURATED with it.

    I’m baking pies and cakes this week too – with sprouted seeds and quinoa ground into flour, organic coconut butter, organic ghee from grass red free ranging cows, and organic grass fed kefir and yogurt from those same cows.

    Cail, “But don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

    Oh I’m not . I said it does indeed look good, but its not healthy, that’s all.

  59. Zippy

    Martel:
    The position you express is the conventional “conservative” view. But it is wrong, and part of the reason we are where we are is because “conservatives” believe that kind of thing, which helps moderate liberalism and keep it from self destructing. “Conservatism” is the governor on liberalism’s engine, the useful regulator that keeps it from revving too high too fast and self-destructing.

    The Founders’ liberalism lead quite directly to modern liberalism and its cousins: because of liberalism’s internal incoherence it naturally tends toward both anarchy and tyranny simultaneously. As an American thing the supreme court “usurpations” of federalism just reflect liberalism making sure that equality of rights takes precedence over local discriminatory practices: as in all things liberal, democracy is respected as long as it produces a liberal result, and when it doesn’t that is rationalized as the oppressor-untermensch standing in the way of the emergence of the free and equal new man — so he must be overruled and suppressed.

  60. Martel

    @ Zippy: Or perhaps what you view as contradictory strains within a single philosophy are in fact different philosophies.

    And yes, it’s perfectly legitimate to bring up technology as a limiting factor of monarchial bloodlust. Prior to “liberalism”, both Catholic and Portestant monarchs routinely burned people at the stake. I see no reason to assume that they wouldn’t have used technology to inflict mass terror if they could have.

  61. Martel

    Modern states have been bloody in large part because of the Rousseauian totalitarian need to reform the masses. This view is expressed nowhere among America’s Founders. What you see as a contradiction within a worldview is in fact an alien philosophy.

  62. Martel

    I view the French revolution’s relationship to America’s much like I see Christianity’s relationship to Islam. God took a great leap forward (America/Christianity), and then the Corrupter warped aspects of that leap forward in order to bring us back a few steps.

  63. Zippy

    Martel:
    Or perhaps what you view as contradictory strains within a single philosophy are in fact different philosophies.

    They aren’t though. They are what you would get if you sat Jefferson, Marx, Rawls, and Bill Clinton in a room and wrote down the things they agree upon.

  64. Martel

    But in such a situation, definition of terms means everything. It seems as though those who value “freedom” would all be considered “liberals” by you, but how one defines “freedom” or what springs to mind when that word is used will mean vastly different things.

    I consider the protection of individual liberty to be the purpose of the state, but not “freedom” (although that might be a by-product), for “freedom” incorporates a whole bunch of stuff that I (and apparently you) don’t think the government has any business doing.

    Liberty is that aspect of freedom that conservatives and libertarians emphasize (the freedom from coerscion), whereas when a lefty hears “freedom” he thinks “power”, or the ability to do what he or she pleases. It’s the government’s job to preserver the former, but if it attempts to preserve the latter we’ll indeed end up in a totalitarian mess.

    Governments attempting to “empower” segments of its citizenry invariably leads to disaster, for quite often to “empower” one person you’ve got to infringe on the liberty of another. The left sees “empowerment” as its central purpose, whereas I see the preservation of liberty. A lefty and I could both sit down together and agree that “freedom” is a good thing (although I’m aware of the distinction so might be hesitant to use that word), but we still fundamentally disagree.

  65. Zippy

    Martel:
    Your views are definitely liberal and ultimately incoherent in my view, and the posts at my place explain why. I understand that classical liberals / libertarians think their liberalism is something fundamentally different; but it isn’t.

  66. FuzzieWuzzie

    Upstream there was made mention of wholesale slaughter. Have we forgotten the Mongols?
    Should you want to make an educated Moslem shudder, all you have to do is make a reference to the Mongolian catasrophe.
    Granted we have superior technology but, James Burke in his series Connections demonstrated how participation in warfare has increased at a geometric rate over centuries.

  67. Coastal Mama

    I googled the so called “lard” pictured above manufactured by La Preferida.

    Ingredients?

    “Prepared from Lard and Hydrogenated Lard. BHA, Propyl Gallate and Citric Acid Added as Preservatives.

    Do you know what propyl gallate is? How about BHA? And that horrible margarine made from horrible hydrogenated oils? Well, this chemical stuff called “lard” is hydrogenated too.

    Everyone, please don’t just read the front labels with the manufacturer’s name and product descriptor. Please, please, please read the ingredient labels, write down what’s listed and go home and research before you buy.

    Our health and the health of our loved ones depends on it.

  68. Martel

    @ Zippy What an amazingly persuasive pronouncement! i say so, and thus it is!

    (And yes, I’ve already read a bunch of your blog posts. i was expecting one of several of your contradiction theses in response, but i guess a boldly-worded proclamation will do instead.)

  69. FuzzieWuzzie

    I have been watching a lot of documentaries lately. One stated that ten percent of current Americans could trace their ancestry back to the Mayflower.There were only about fifty survivors of the first winter. Considering that they were so successful, in a reproductive sense, the women might well have been as alluring as Marilyn Munroe.
    Hmmmm…

  70. Coastal Mama

    “Considering that they were so successful, in a reproductive sense, the women might well have been as alluring as Marilyn Munroe.”

    Doubtful. They just realized what had to be done for survival and replication and they did it. Otherwise we can also assume that the most populous countries today are thickly populated with stellar looking people. While I’m sure they have their fair share of the stunning, I’m willing to bet its not a majority.

  71. FuzzieWuzzie

    Coastal Mama,
    Why are you being such a grump? I have to fight it all the time. After all, I am a bear and we do have a reputation for being grumpy.

  72. FuzzieWuzzie

    Farm Boy,
    I don’t understand the connection between pies and Stalin. Would you enlighten us?
    BTW, I heard he was dangerous with matchsticks. He used them to illustrate the new borders brtween Russia, Poland, and Germany.

  73. The Woman Margery

    @LeeLeeBug: “Don’t forget Pinterest. So far I’ve resisted the urge to go down the rabbit hole. Many of my friends are completely addicted to posting there.”

    Pinterest gets so much unnecessary flack! That site has been the reason for many a yummy meal and the saving of work shirts and couch cushions in my home. It’s the domestic woman’s dream resource when used properly.

  74. FuzzieWuzzie

    Farm Boy,
    “CM, can’t you let a bear have his fantasies?”
    I’ll give you a fantasy. It’s Christmas Day and the bees are coming over to my cave, bringing me honey. To add to that, they’ll keep a look out for any single girl bears that like to make minced meat pies. I’ll admit it. I’m weird but, I did manage to get back to the topic.

  75. Coastal Mama

    “Holidays aren’t for healthy, holidays are for happy indulgences.

    A few days out of 365(6) of processed crap won’t kill you or make you a land whale. Relax!”

    Oh, I’m relaxed. But the blog mistress often makes mention of the bad things we are being told about food and other things from media, but then her alternatives which she is laying claim to being “healthy” are no better. That’s my only point. I’m not concerned about becoming a land whale, but people who do the research and buy or produce their own genuinely *healthy* food and products don’t eat that processed crap during the holidays either because we no longer find it tastes good.

    [ssm: I don't recall saying anything in particular was "healthy," only that lard is healthier than vegetable shortening, which it is. That is why places like NYC have banned the use of hydrogenated vegetable oil.]
    “Googling for the ingredients? You’re just being ridiculous at this point. And self congratulatory. ”

    Not at all. The blog mistress appears to be somewhat interested in learning about health and healthy food so I’m just giving her a heads up. Reading ingredient labels and researching ingredients online is the first step.

    Fuzzie and Farm Boy, far be it from me to deprive people of their fantasies, but if life was harsh for the Mayflower posse, I wouldn’t expect them to look grande. But it hardly matters. I’m sure some sweet relationships grew out it and genuine love was exchanged amongst many of them.

  76. Ton

    Up until recently, most americans could trace their lineage to Foudning Stock. That has not been true for sometime now, the influx of new genetic material coinciding with the inverse of various leftist ideals. Which is why we will never go back to the original founding ideals.

    My own family ties go back to Jamestown, which predates the mayflower and had its own Thanksgiving celebration before the pilgrims showed up.

    Another one of those stealth jabs by yankees at Southron people

  77. The Woman Margery

    @Costal Mama: “but people who do the research and buy or produce their own genuinely *healthy* food and products don’t eat that processed crap during the holidays either because we no longer find it tastes good.”

    So many buzz words here for diet elitism: genuinely healthy, do the research, processed crap… It’s okay that you’re concerned with status (as evident by both your comment here and on the other post) but you have to accept that others aren’t. Being holier-than-thou in general is a bad way to be but being such during the holidays is just… ick.

  78. Gin Martini

    Coastal Mama (who is not a Mama, and probably not very Coastal) is a grump because she has been banned repeatedly, aka T/Aishawyra/Plain Jane. Organic food prudery is one of her Things.

    I suppose you’d be grumpy too if you were banned *and* were so OCD about food purity all the time, that you couldn’t enjoy a pie once in a while.

    [ssm: Thanks for confirming what I thought. By her second comment here, I suspected that she was trolling, but I let her go a bit; I don't like to be quick to mod/ban people. However, after her pointless and lengthy lard rant, it became obvious what she was here to do, and I modded her before we went to bed last night.]

  79. The Woman Margery

    (To clarify I’m not saying being concerned with being healthy is in and of itself elitist. It’s showing off how “genuinely healthy” we are and slamming others (even if passive aggressively) for not being the same that makes it elitist)

    [ssm: Yep, I totally get what you're saying. Educating people is one thing; educating is what people like Keoni Galt do. That is not what CM was doing, as you rightly noticed.]

  80. Zippy

    Martel:

    And yes, I’ve already read a bunch of your blog posts. i was expecting one of several of your contradiction theses in response, but i guess a boldly-worded proclamation will do instead.

    If you already know my answer from reading my blog then why insist on hearing it again? Libertarianism is just liberalism with emphasis on the rights in question being property rights. (The beginning of Marxism is when the libertarian realizes that government-protected property rights inherently involve the discriminatory initiation of force).

    As with all liberalisms, libertarianism/classical liberalism involves asserting a particular substantive discriminatory conception of the good, initiating force via government authority to impose that discriminatory conception of the good on everyone, all the while insisting that its conception of the legitimate purpose of government is the protection of freedom (often phrased as protecting citizens from the initiation of force) and equal rights.

    Libertarianism is just a particularly autistic form of liberalism, devolving easily and inevitably into anarchy (or anarcho-tyranny), utterly dependent on premises and patrimony contrary to its stated principles, and blissfully unaware of this dependence — of its parasitism. In the decades I’ve been discussing it I’ve found arguing with libertarians to be approximately as productive as arguing with a bag of hammers. That may be unfair to the occasional and rare thoughtful libertarian, but hey, life isn’t fair.

  81. Mary Ellen (@WorkingHomeKpr)

    I use the pie crust recipe from The Pioneer Woman’s site (The Perfect Pie Crust) for my pumpkin and pecan pies. The crust turns out great, but I have yet to master making the edges look pretty!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    [ssm: My pie crust edges never look professional either. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Mary Ellen!]

  82. Pingback: How to Make a Pie Crust

  83. Rollo Tomassi

    Sorry to interrupt the holiday recipes SSM, but you Dalrock or Donalgraeme are gonna have a field day with this:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/2013/11/22/its-time-for-a-schism-regarding-women-in-the-church/

    Oh what the hell, since I’m working today anyway, here’s a recipe:

    http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink302.html

    Replace the vodka with a shot of Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate vodka and you’re set.

    [ssm: Thanks for the link, I'll check it out tomorrow. That martini recipe looks like dessert in a glass - mmmm.

    Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Mr. Tomassi!]

  84. sunshinemary Post author

    We’re off to the in-laws for dinner now, so I’ll be away from my blog for the rest of the day. However, before I go, I wanted to link to one particular part of Radish Magazine’s latest edition, which I also linked to in the OP: Patriarcha. Take the time to read the lengthy quotes from Filmer in defense of monarchy. It’s worth reading, though I had to read it aloud to my husband in order to understand it.

    And with that, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

  85. donalgraeme

    Thanks Rollo. A post in response to something like that practically writes itself, but I will try and be creative nevertheless so as to not disappoint folks…

  86. herbie31

    Libertarianism is just a particularly autistic form of liberalism, devolving easily and inevitably into anarchy (or anarcho-tyranny), utterly dependent on premises and patrimony contrary to its stated principles, and blissfully unaware of this dependence — of its parasitism.
    I’ve been trying to formulate in my mind what it is about libertarianism that gives me pause. This helps. There was also an article in the recent issue of First Things that touched on the shortcomings of libertarianism.

  87. anonymous_ng

    The dinner is eaten, the dishes are done. When I was a kid, the holidays were always at my paternal grandparent’s house. The extended family showed up and the women made an amazing meal while the men kept the kids out of the kitchen and otherwise sat around watching football, discussing politics etc.

    That seems almost like a dream versus my reality as an adult. I’ve ALWAYS done the cooking for the holidays. Hell, I did most of the cooking.

  88. Happyhen

    ” But don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

    Good words to live by everyday…. but especially when there is pie. We too had “unhealthy/processed/only the Good Lord knows what was on that label” pie… fudge and pumpkin. Good thing I don’t eat like this often or I would be in trouble. (oh and ditto on butter, vinegar, and cold, cold, cold for pie crusts, I use a variant of the Pampered Chef perfect pie crust, butter and extra chilling being the changes I made)

    The uncomfortably full HH family hopes you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  89. FuzzieWuzzie

    Thanks for the well wishes Happyhen. I got to visit a bear family with an infant who couldn’t toddle yet and have minced meat pie.
    About Coastal Mama, if is T, there is a difference in tone. I remember T as argumentitive but not prone to being grumpy. Maybe I’m wrong?
    I hope that eveyone had a happy and memorable Thanksgiving!

  90. Legion

    Cail Corishev November 27, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    So a monarchy with a House of Lords and an elected Parliament. Is that you, Opus?

  91. Karl F. Boetel

    I’m sure I shall regret leaving my lair…

    @ Escoffier

    “The original liberalism of Locke, Sidney and Montesquieu is perfectly coherent.”

    No, it isn’t. Locke, at least, is almost perfectly incoherent.

    @ Martel

    “Advocating monarchy suggests that there is a hierarchy among men that determines that a king has the right to my sovereignty.”

    There is no “right;” there is only functioning government. A State without a King is like a family where the kids vote on what to have for dinner; an army where the soldiers vote on what orders to follow; a classroom where the students vote on what the right answers are — and how to distribute the grades.

  92. pukeko60

    Mr Boetel, can I add that a King allows for people to be patriots without being partisan. You do not have a politician as the person who embodies institutional knowledge and to whom the armed forces swear fealty. You have drafted a family into that role: they are drafted into life long service.

    And this allows me to cordially despise the policies of this government or that without being called a traitor: for my loyalty is to the Queen, not to them. They are but the minions who think they rule — well that was tried in the Cromwellian experiment and lead to the Lord Protector becoming more tyrannical. Total monarchy does not work either (my thesis is two words: Charles Stuart, first of his name, killed by the Cromwell for the crime of incompetence).

    The limited monarch, with a limited franchise, however, does work. Not a unversal franchise: only taxpayers (or ratepayers) can vote. The gentry, if you will: those who have demonstrated comptence in life. (I disagree with Tom Kratman here. The franchise should not be for military veterans, but for thosewho qualify. Michael Z Williamson’s libeterian fantasy of Grainne has it much better: the entry fee to being a citizen and being able to vote is about 20 times the average wage. You then cannot continue in trade, but serve as a justice of the peace, living on surplus court fees).

    And yes, I have just described the Tory Parliament that Queen Victoria inherited. And ran through most of her life.

    But democracy leads to an ideology that worships the state and develops a cult of personality — and as it either becomes stalinist or fascist (which are functionally fairly similar) it stops being a democracy.

    [ssm: "only taxpayers (or ratepayers) can vote"

    Oh gawd, Chris, but what about the women? Disenfranchise us, I beg of you!]

  93. Ton

    I’m a kinist. I recognize no authority but my family elders.

    The rest of you slaves are free to love your masters/ government of choice. My loyalty and love is reserved for those who share blood and soil

  94. mdavid444444

    Ton, I’m a kinist. I recognize no authority but my family elders. The rest of you slaves are free to love your masters/ government of choice.

    Sadly, this means becoming the slave to those people who are able unify beyond mere blood. History is full of unified peoples invading and taking over the rabble of disunified tribal people. It’s unfortunate for libertarians, but reality nevertheless. Those who unify, win.

    For example, the lack of trust among Arabs outside their own extended family adversely affects rule of law (or even military operations). Hence, they become subservient to the West. Alliances of family override fairness to other people in the larger society, and weaken the whole.

    The Catholic Church’s effective war on cousin marriage (out to 4th cousins!) weakened the extended family in Europe, slowed arranged marriages, and strengthened broader institutions like the nation-state. We have inherited this legacy as a culture (seen anyone calling for cousin marriages lately?) but I wouldn’t be surprised, as families retreat from the implosion of cultural decay and chaos in the face of religious and moral disunity post-Reformation, that arranged and cousin marriages make a slow comeback. And hence, a weakened nation-state…and thus slavery to anyone else remaining unified.

    As for myself, I prepare to welcome my new unified Chinese overlords :-)

  95. sunshinemary Post author

    @ Mr. Boetel, if you have not yet retreated to your lair…

    Speaking of incoherent, I read that “blank slate” Locke quote aloud to my husband in the car yesterday, for entertainment purposes. But in addition to being incoherent, he’s also fundamentally wrong, as even a housewife and mother such as myself can easily determine by merely observing her children from infancy:

    Locke all but guarantees that someone (specifically, Rousseau) is going to misinterpret his tautology to mean that if no one owns any stuff, everyone will be nice to one another: “Nothing can be more gentle than man in his primitive state. For, according to the axiom of the wise Locke…”

    When Baby finds a penny lying on the floor and pops it in his mouth, he will fight tooth and nail while sobbing Mine! as Mother tries to remove the treasured choking hazard from him. Asserting the right to “own” stuff and not being very nice about it most assuredly comes pre-installed on Baby’s mind. But perhaps Mr. Locke never met an actual baby; no doubt the babies in his mind were all perfectly noble little savages.

    In any event, it has not been my experience as the mother of a large brood of children nor previously as a special-education teacher in a low-income school district that Mr. Locke is correct here:

    It is evident, that all children and idiots have not the least apprehension or thought of them; and the want of that is enough to destroy that universal assent, which must needs be the necessary concomitant of all innate truths: it seeming to me near a contradiction, to say, that there are truths imprinted on the soul, which it perceives or understands not; imprinting, if it signify any thing, being nothing else, but the making certain truths to be perceived.

    And, if he gets human nature so perfectly wrong, how can his ideas about how to govern human beings be anything but wrong?

  96. Ton

    The low land Scots/ Ulster Scots remained free for generations by making that prospect unappealing to the Romans, English and other Scots.

  97. Pingback: Feminists: maladjusted killjoys at the holidays. | Sunshine Mary

  98. Martel

    For the record (I’ve no idea if anybody’s reading anything here anymore), I’m no blank-slatist. I believe people suck, and my “substantive discriminatory conception of the good” is that I believe in limiting the ability of one shithead from imposing his crappiness on his fellow man as much as possible (with the recognition that perfection is impossible). I fully recognize that this requires force (I agree with Zippy’s definition of government being basically that), but I find that force to protect liberty no more contradictory than Genesis 9:6.

    “The beginning of Marxism is when the libertarian realizes that government-protected property rights inherently involve the discriminatory initiation of force.”

    I recognize what it takes to protect property (force), yet I reject Marxism in every sense nonetheless.

    Regarding libertarianism’s shortcomings, those are the ways in which I’m not libertarian. There are three important bullwarks to civilization of which libertarianism actively promotes merely 1 (it relies on another and implicitly promotes it, it’s indifferent to the third).

    @ Karl: “There is no “right;’ there is only functioning government.”

    Moral relativism? Might = right?

    “A State without a King is like a family where the kids vote on what to have for dinner; an army where the soldiers vote on what orders to follow; a classroom where the students vote on what the right answers are — and how to distribute the grades.”

    Were we a collective, your analogies would be apt, but we’re not, so they aren’t. I’m not a child in the American family, and there’s no reason I should allow some chump I’ve never met to have authority over me my entire life (far more authority than fathers or generals for soldiers who don’t die in combat). Nor should the State be (theoretically) smoothly operating like the Army in which certain interests are able to steamroll others.

    I’m not a pure democrat for the same reason I’m not a monarchist: I don’t trust people. I don’t trust a king or council of elders any more or less than “the people”, for all would abuse their authority and lord it over others if given the chance. I therefore advocate a State that’s the opposite of an Army in which we all take orders from our betters, for “our betters” are just as likely to be ignoramuses as us. I don’t care how high their IQs are, how noble their bloodline, or what education they’ve gotten.

    Competing interests in which every interest has a say (judiciary, the people, etc.), but none has a monopoly, leads to governmental stagnation, and that’s GOOD. If a family has a bad father, it sucks for those kids; if a nation has a bad king, it hurts everybody. Republicanism may have a harder time promoting good than totalitarianism, but it also keeps some of the nonsense at bay.

  99. RichardP

    @SSM – 11-29-13 at 1:01 p.m. – “It is evident, that all children and idiots have not the least apprehension or thought of THEM;”

    It is not clear from what you presented, but the word “them” in that quote refers to PRINCIPLES. Locke identified several, as a means of helping the reader understand what he was saying. One such principle, to which that word “them” refers, is the understanding that “X” and “Not X” cannot normally exist at the same time. Locke was correct. It is evident that all children and idiots have not the least understanding of complex principles such as the idea that X and Not X cannot normally exist at the same time. In other words, kids don’t usually have a handle on the term “mutually exclusive”, or other complicated principles.

    The people of Locke’s day believed that, since this (X and Not X) was one of those principles upon which “everyone” agreed, that principle must have been placed into the soul of the newborn at birth. They believed that the same was true for all other principles which were universally agreed-upon at that time. Because they were universally agreed-upon, they must have been imprinted into the soul before birth. Locke disagreed with this belief, and pointed out that there were many other ways to “explain” how a principle can come to be universally agreed-upon.

    By carefully defining his terms, Locke constrained his argument – and agreed that he might be proven wrong by others who would think through what he was presenting.

    Locke limited his discussion to “principles that were universally agreed-upon”. The people of Locke’s day thought these principles were imprinted on the unborn, so that they were born with the principles written on their “slate”. Locke argued that there were obvious ways that peoples could learn these principles and agree to them after they were born – they did not need to be born with the principles written on their “slate”. With respect to the subject of universally-agreed-upon principles, Locke believed that we are all born with blank “slates” – we are not born with the principles already written on our “slates”. Yet we can come to know and agree with these principles.

    Mary, your argument about clutching the shiny penny stands on its own. It is not incorrect. But it also has nothing to do with what Locke was arguing – if you read what Locke actually says. (See the link below.)

    In the business world, where employees are evaluated for training needs, the concept of KSAs is frequently employed: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA). Autonomic nerve reactions, such as breathing, or employing defensive maneuvers when a threat is perceived (automatic ducking in certain circumstances), come under the heading of Abilities. Knowing that X and Not X cannot exist at the same time comes under the heading of Knowledge. Skills would be in-between the two – native Abilities refined by Knowledge – a use of the brain mediated by acquired information and inherent ability. (This is an actual model used in the business training world.) Locke, in his argument, was focusing on the K = Knowledge part of the KSA structure. He was not focusing on the realm of instinct and base behaviors (as opposed to informed or mediated behaviors). Locke argued that, before our use of language and our ability to perceive are both refined through experience, it is not possible to “know” anything in the manner that the people of Locke’s day argued that newborns could “know”. In that respect (related to knowing principles), Locke argued that the K of the KSAs in a newborn was blank. The information in the K was not imprinted before birth. The slate was blank. The knowledge of principles would be acquired later, after birth. Locke says nothing about the issue of innate ability / instinct / self-protective mechanisms in the newly-born that conflict with current understanding.
    ———————-

    Note that, as the final paragraph of Point 1 at the link below, and in preparation for the argument he begins to present at Point 2, Locks says:

    “I shall set down the reasons that made me doubt of the truth of that opinion, as an excuse for my mistake, if I be in one; which I leave to be considered by [others] …” Locke was informed enough to understand that he could be wrong, and humble enough to admit to that fact.

    Scroll down and read through Points 2-4 here for Locke’s own words, in context:

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=761&chapter=80711&layout=html&Itemid=27

    [ssm: Much obliged for the link, sir; I am reading the sections you recommended now.]

    [ssm: But here:

    It is an established opinion amongst some men, that there are in the understanding certain innate principles; some primary notions, ϰοιναὶ ἔννοιαι, characters, as it were, stamped upon the mind of man, which the soul receives in its very first being; and brings into the world with it. It would be sufficient to convince unprejudiced readers of the falseness of this supposition, if I should only shew (as I hope I shall in the following parts of this discourse) how men, barely by the use of their natural faculties, may attain to all the knowledge they have, without the help of any innate impressions; and may arrive at certainty, without any such original notions or principles. For I imagine any one will easily grant, that it would be impertinent to suppose, the ideas of colours innate in a creature, to whom God hath given sight, and a power to receive them by the eyes, from external objects: and no less unreasonable would it be to attribute several truths to the impressions of nature, and innate characters, when we may observe in ourselves faculties, fit to attain as easy and certain knowledge of them, as if they were originally imprinted on the mind.

    In addition to what you point out about knowledge, here is he not also arguing that there is no innate character, in other words we are all nurture and no nature. That's quite disproved, of course, though I do remember when I was a sophomore at the University of Michigan circa 1989 being strongly censured by my Women's Studies professor (I was required to take two WS's classes) because I argued that criminality could be both a product of nurture and nature. No, my professor assured me, there is no inborn character. It's all nurture. Which seems to be part of what Locke argues there and would that not be a critical component of tabula rasa? Whether he meant it so or not, that's entirely how it's been interpreted.

    In any event, let us look at how Rousseau interpreted and extrapolated Locke's ideas:

    Thus, as every man punished the contempt shown him by others, in proportion to his opinion of himself, revenge became terrible, and men bloody and cruel. This is precisely the state reached by most of the savage nations known to us: and it is for want of having made a proper distinction in our ideas, and see how very far they already are from the state of nature, that so many writers have hastily concluded that man is naturally cruel, and requires civil institutions to make him more mild; whereas nothing is more gentle than man in his primitive state, as he is placed by nature at an equal distance from the stupidity of brutes, and the fatal ingenuity of civilised man. Equally confined by instinct and reason to the sole care of guarding himself against the mischiefs which threaten him, he is restrained by natural compassion from doing any injury to others, and is not led to do such a thing even in return for injuries received. For, according to the axiom of the wise Locke, There can be no injury, where there is no property.

    But as Baby shows us with his penny, the idea of property appears to be innate. Or nearly so. Believe me, if you've ever tried to remove an object from an unwilling toddler, I assure you that the idea of property, and the willingness to injure others in order to protect it is...if not innate, then very nearly so, to the point of it being of no importance when our purposes are to understand enough about human nature to devise the least harmful form of government.

    But I am a housewife and not a philosopher, so no one need give much credence to my thoughts on these matters.

    My pie crust, on the other hand, is sensational.]

  100. Karl F. Boetel

    “Karl,” please.

    @ Ton: “I recognize no authority but my family elders.”

    Then you would have us abandon civilization and descend to the level of savages. In case your dreams come true, I suggest you keep your beloved family well armed: you never know when Diverse Vibrancy is going to strike.

    @ sunshinemary: Yes, you’ve captured my point exactly.

    @ Martel: “Moral relativism? Might = right?”

    There is no “right” to sovereignty; there is only the fact. Either the King rules you, or he does not. Either this will improve the quality of governance, or it will not. Complaining that this is not “right,” and that popular government is somehow more “moral” in a way that has nothing to do with the quality of governance, is the root of Mencken’s “greatest evil of our time” (democracy, of course).

    “I’m not a child in the American family, and there’s no reason I should allow some chump I’ve ever met to have authority over me my entire life…”

    Then why do you allow the United States government (USG) to wield absolute power over you? Trick question: you don’t have a choice. That is the whole point: it is a fact that USG rules you; that you cannot leave the country without its permission; that you can only “live free” to the extent that it allows you this “freedom.” If USG chooses to rule you according to “Constitutional law,” it will; if not, it won’t.

    “.. ‘our betters’ are just as likely to be ignoramuses as us.”

    That may well be true for “us” equal to you and I; is it still true for “us” equal to the good people of Detroit? Perhaps what you’ve discovered is that you should rule. I expect the CEO-Queen will recognize this, and appoint you Manager-Governor of some district of some city-state or other.

    “… leads to governmental stagnation, and that’s GOOD.”

    The fatal error of the libertarian. Carlyle, Chartism (1839):

    “The universal demand of Laissez-faire by a people from its governors or upper classes, is a soft-sounding demand; but it is only one step removed from the fatallest. ‘Laissez-faire,’ exclaims a sardonic German writer, ‘What is this universal cry for Laissez-faire? Does it mean that human affairs require no guidance; that wisdom and forethought cannot guide them better than folly and accident? Alas, does it not mean: “Such guidance is worse than none! Leave us alone of your guidance; eat your wages, and sleep!”’ …

    “To wise governors you will cry: “See what you will, and will not, let alone.” To unwise governors, to hungry Greeks throttling down hungry Greeks on the floor of a St. Stephen’s, you will cry: “Let all things alone; for Heaven’s sake, meddle ye with nothing!” …

    “Surely of all ‘rights of man,’ this right of the ignorant man to be guided by the wiser, to be, gently or forcibly, held in the true course by him, is the indisputablest. Nature herself ordains it from the first; Society struggles towards perfection by enforcing and accomplishing it more and more. If Freedom have any meaning, it means enjoyment of this right, wherein all other rights are enjoyed. It is a sacred right and duty, on both sides; and the summary of all social duties whatsoever between the two.” Et cetera.

    “If a family has a bad father it sucks for those kids; if a nation has a bad king it hurts everybody.”

    Then perhaps we should ban the family. After all, some parents are wicked. Is that not why we abolished slavery? And look how well that worked out.

    [ssm: "Then perhaps we should ban the family. After all, some parents are wicked. Is that not why we abolished slavery? And look how well that worked out."

    Oh indeed, banning the family - or at least, destroying the family by subverting its inherent authority structure - is clearly the fundamental objective of feminism. The fact that some small number of men have been wicked patriarchs somehow led feminists to conclude that patriarchy as a form of family structure by definition oppresses women when the truth is that it benefits most women (and children). I could imagine an analogy to monarchy there, but what do I know of that?]

  101. sunshinemary Post author

    By the way, for those readers of mine who find his writing of interest, Mr. Mencius Moldbug has a new essay for consideration:

    Mr. Jones is rather concerned.

    He addresses briefly something that has always baffled me:

    Imagine that revolution is a drug. It’s seeking FDA approval. This drug, it’s claimed, creates social harmony, good government, the “reign of reason.” The mechanism has been studied. Philosophers everywhere agree. The chemistry seems plausible.

    At what point in history do you approve the drug? After the French Revolution? The Russian? Where, in history, do we see the drug produce its claimed results? Everywhere – from France in 1789, to Russia in 1917, Libya and Syria in 2012 – we see social catastrophe, mass murder, and the most rigid and savage of military despotisms. Historical comparisons are difficult, of course, but when we’re talking about a therapy, the first comparison is obvious: the patient before, the patient after. I mean, duh.

    [...]

    What shines through every line of Brin’s screed is this revolutionary passion for murder, desolation, destruction. The Voltaires and the Condorcets, in France’s civilized monarchy, could play with this same fire like a toy. At present the power of the fire seems pretty weak (which is why I can write this stuff, without a mob burning down my house) – it really is a toy. A tacky toy. On the other hand, we still export this toy, and it just burned down pretty much the entire Middle East (except Egypt, which somehow has by the skin of its teeth escaped – infuriating the NYT no end).

    I made this comment at UR, but I think I’ll repeat it here:

    It just astonishes me that this goes unnoticed by the average person. I’ve been trying to point this out to people since the Balkan wars, saying with each new example – the Arab Spring merely being the latest one – “Have you not noticed that all these democracy-seeking revolutions result in unbelievable violence and bloodshed, leaving disastrous legacies?”

    Back then, I simply chalked it up to, “Well, not everyone in the world are Americans. We are special in our ability to make democracy work.” Naturally I now see that rather differently. But again, how is the average person not noticing that the result of our democracy-importing is nearly always chaos?

  102. Martel

    @ Karl: “Either this will improve the quality of governance, or it will not.”

    And I say that it most likely would not be any better than unfettered democracy (which I also oppose). However, if as Menken’s correct (“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard”), then the people inflicting misery on themselves would be more moral than a sovereign imposing it on them.

    “Then why do you allow the United States government (USG) to wield absolute power over you? Trick question: you don’t have a choice.”

    I’m painfully aware of the current abuses of the USG, but it does not wield absolute power over me. There are plenty of things I can do that the USG doesn’t like, and there are some things that the USG would like to do to me that other parts of the USG prohibits it from doing. Because the USG is comprised of competing interests, it’s not a monolith that just gets to do what it wants. I concede that it’s more similar to one than I’d like it to be, but Obama is not yet king. He wants me disarmed, and I’m not.

    “That may well be true for “us” equal to you and I; is it still true for ‘us’ equal to the good people of Detroit? Perhaps what you’ve discovered is that you should rule. I expect the CEO-Queen will recognize this, and appoint you Manager-Governor of some district of some city-state or other.”

    Much of the problem with Detroit is that in effect they’ve asked for a king and sanctioned a quasi-aristocracy to run their city. They asked for King Coleman Young, not any sort of self-rule, and we’re seeing the results of their bad choice of King. Sometimes (not all the time) the values of democracy and individual liberty coincide. Detroit was not one of those times. They voted in a State that oppressed the productive and drove them out, in effect using their votes to reject every healthy aspect of laissez-faire. Detroit’s downfall can be used as evidence against democracy, but not laissez-faire economics by any stretch.

    “‘What is this universal cry for Laissez-faire? Does it mean that human affairs require no guidance; that wisdom and forethought cannot guide them better than folly and accident?;”

    Not in the slightest. (You glossed over my point about not trusting human nature.) We require guidance, but so do the guides. Wisdom is a much better guide than folly, but one man’s wisdom is another man’s folly, and I’d rather neither man have the right to enforce his assessment on the other. There’s “guidance” (which we should get in church), and then there’s force, which Zippy correctly equates with government.

    “To unwise governors, to hungry Greeks throttling down hungry Greeks on the floor of a St. Stephen’s, you will cry: “Let all things alone; for Heaven’s sake, meddle ye with nothing!”

    I’m not an anarchist. I don’t know the historical reference, but one of government’s roles is to keep people from “throttling” each other.

    “Then perhaps we should ban the family.”

    Not even close. Children would not exist had their parents not brought them into the world. As such, when dad’s paying for the kids’ food, he has sovereignty over them. Nonetheless, such sovereignty has its limits: he shouldn’t be allowed to kill his kids, and there comes a time when the father no longer rules his children (when they grow up). Furthermore, all children objectively require guidance, not so for all adults.

    I owe my existence to to God, and to Him I swear allegiance. I swear no such allegiance to the Collective, whether that collective be defined as the General Will, the State, the White Race, the People, or the Proletariat. Historically, whatever title he may hold, when somebody claims I ought to surrender my sovereignty for the “common good”, it typically requires that my virtue be exploited for the sake of another’s lust for power, be that lust that of a ruler or of some lazy idiot who doesn’t want to get a job.

    I respect that you’re actually addressing what I say (as opposed to Zippy), but my view of human nature is rather dark. Sure, we need “guidance”, but I simply don’t trust people enough to let them “guide” me through recognizing their ostensible right to control what I do. That applies to kings as well as “the people.”

  103. Martel

    Lest my “one man’s guidance is another man’s folly” statement be misinterpreted as moral relativism, I believe strongly that there IS an absolute moral standard to which we are all held accountable.

    Nevertheless, that objective standard is interpreted by Man, and Man is flawed. We’re far too likely to read what’s beneficial to us personally into our moral code (emphasizing verses that help our cause, explaining away those that don’t, etc.), and even the most sincere attempts to interpret Scripture sometimes result in error.

    However, if you’re wrong in your interpretation of Objective Morality, its effects are substantially limited if you’re not able to enforce your interpretation on the Collective.

    To believe that any one man or group of men could correctly understand His will sufficiently to be our Collective Moral Guides strikes me as dangerously close to the mistaken notion of “the perfectibility of man”.

  104. herbie31

    “Have you not noticed that all these democracy-seeking revolutions result in unbelievable violence and bloodshed, leaving disastrous legacies?”

    Yes. Which suggests to me that our own humble Revolution deserves much more respect and awe – here and abroad – than that given it when only viewed through the romantic lense of history.

  105. Zippy

    herbie31:
    Yes. Which suggests to me that our own humble Revolution deserves much more respect and awe – here and abroad – than that given it when only viewed through the romantic lense of history.

    Don’t forget to include the Trail of Tears, “manifest destiny,” and the Civil War in your analysis; and make sure you don’t view your history just from the perspective of the winners.

  106. herbie31

    Zippy-

    Yes. That is a good reminder and I haven’t forgotten the darker periods of this nation. But when we were in the wrong, we worked to make things right. Our history is laid bare for anyone who wants to take a critical look at it and draw their own conclusions. One thing is clear, however. This country has been one of the most benevolent in history and this is one quality that makes it exceptional.

  107. tbc

    One thing is clear, however. This country has been one of the most benevolent in history and this is one quality that makes it exceptional.

    This is a debateable point (and is frequently debated amongst historians). The US record of benevolence is mixed at best, and certainly not unqualified. Native Americans and African slaves would certainly not share this view, though on balance the policy of the US government towards its indigenes and slaves / former slaves has been better than say South Africa or Brazil. In many ways the saving grace of the nation has not been its polity b the fact that it could experiment freely without much need to deal with external interference until it wished to. And when the US did make its international debut, it was as an imperial power, flexing her muscles again the decaying Spanish Empire and absorbing the former’s colonies as her own. The US is also a baby by international standards. There are tobacco stands older than the oldest colonial settlement in the back alleys of Paris. The youthfulness of the nation coupled with its wealth gives it a bit of a teenage over confidence in its own superior wisdom

  108. Martel

    @ SSM: I am a libertarian, just not ONLY a libertarian. Libertarianism holds views on what government should or shouldn’t do with which I’m largely in accord, but government is but one piece of a much larger puzzle. Those ways in which I disagree with most other libertarians (marriage, abortion, immigration, and a couple of others) stem from a broader philosophy of mine that most libertarians, too caught up in a narrow political program, fail to consider. I have a much darker view of human nature than many of my political allies, which in many respects makes me more of a realist. Nonetheless, I share the libertarian view that the purpose of government is to secure individual liberty.

    Also, I’m a firm believer in the importance of a strong moral foundation, whether under democratic socialism, libertarianism, or a monarchy. Josiah was a godly king, but it fell apart anyway because of his ungodly subjects.

    As stated earlier, I’m not a monarchist because I trust nobody with too much power. Too me, reactionaries correctly assess human nature vis-a-vis the “common man” but don’t carry their assessment to its proper conclusion, namely that we ALL bite.

    (I agree with you that I’m not a liberal, but Zippy disagrees with both of us. I’ve been called “liberal” twice in my entire life, and both times its been in your comment threads.)

    My vision of a good government is similar to that of the Founders, with some tweaks (making it harder to pass Constitutional Amendments, re-wording of the Interstate Commerce Claus, either explicit acceptance or rejection of the right to secede, and several more). Their vision broke down (perhaps beyond repair, but it’s too early to tell) in the Progressive Era with the passage of the 16th-19th Amendments and the establishment of the Fed. These threw the balance of powers completely out of whack.

    (And for those who think the Founders’ vision died in 1861, I’ll see your 1861 and raise it an 1857.)

    Also, I believe that the sometimes pernicious effects of democracy can be most effectively limited through de-centralism. As mentioned earlier, Detroit voted some serious idiots into office. Were Detroit left to its own devices without being “helped” by state and federal governments, the idiocy of their policies would have become apparent much sooner. Perhaps they wouldn’t have learned anything, but taxpayers in other jurisdictions wouldn’t have had to suffer for their mistakes. Or, experience often being a decent teacher, perhaps they might have turned things around had Mommy Michigan and Daddy Sam not come in to save the day for them repeatedly over the course of decades.

    It would take way too much time for me to explain why I think that government is bad at instilling morality into its populace, but government does a fantastic job at breaking morality down. Think of how many families have broken apart because of bias in the family courts, how many illegitimate births have happened because of welfare, how many career women would properly care for their kids at home without mandatory perks for moms in the workplace, how many girls who wouldn’t waste time and money on Womyn’s Studies degrees without federal student loans. When government steps in to shield us from the consequences of our actions, it skews our own self-interested cost/benefit analysis. We need the Church to teach us right and wrong, but sometimes reality teaches us what we were too dense to get from the pulpit. The welfare state keeps us from learning those lessons.

    This (and other reasons) makes the State a natural enemy of virtue unless it’s limited and under vigilant control.

  109. Zippy

    Martel:

    I agree with you that I’m not a liberal, but Zippy disagrees with both of us.

    You are “a liberal” because a liberal just is a person with significant commitments to the doctrine of liberalism, and you clearly have significant commitments to the doctrine of liberalism. That you may simultaneously hold incompatible beliefs – “unprincipled exceptions” as we used to call them at View from the Right – isn’t all that noteworthy: most people are capable of believing six impossible things before breakfast.

    That doesn’t mean that we can’t agree on things like subsidiarity (decentralization), of course. But because neither of us is in a position to impose our political vision on the polity – on any polity – it is really the differences that matter, at least for the sake of discussion.

  110. Martel

    @ Zippy: Although some of my views differ from those of other libertarians, they nonetheless stand within the purview of a more thoughtful libertarianism.

    For example, I agree with your reasoning regarding gay marriage, although my opposition to it arrived through a somewhat different emphasis. Like you say, it’s not just “allowing” gays to marry, it’s requiring society at large to sanction their union through subjecting employers to lawsuits for not funding relationships they find immoral, etc. Marriage requires a far greater degree of acquiescence for society at large than other contracts, and forcing others to accept “gay marriage” through legal sanction is akin to requiring they approve of round squares.

    My “unprincipled exceptions” are anything but. I recognize three operative principles, complementary but sometimes in apparent opposition to one another. All three principles apply all the time, but to maintain proper balance, sometimes one or two temporarily require a greater emphasis than the third.

    In the “classical” sense, I suppose I could be considered a “liberal”, but I find a term that suggests that the American and French revolutions are essentially ideologically identical (not to mention Nazis, modern Euro multicultis, and Maoists) to be so broad as to become useless. Yes, there are things upon which the American and French revolutionaries agreed. However, the Rousseauian influence on the French was so pronounced as to render it fundamentally different in both ideology and result. “Liberty” had very different meanings to the French and Americans, as did “Equality”. “Fraternity” had very little relevance here. The French saw no need to restrict their own government’s power at all, whereas prior toe the Constitution, the US government was virtually powerless.

    It’s not a coincidence that the country with the greater tradition on monarchical absolutism had the more violent, destructive, and radical revolution.

  111. Zippy

    Martel:
    Like you say, it’s not just “allowing” gays to marry, it’s requiring society at large to sanction their union through subjecting employers to lawsuits for not funding relationships they find immoral, etc.

    Same goes for “allowing” people to do as they will with their property.

  112. Zippy

    Martel:
    The more I think about this statement of yours the more ludicrous it seems, as a perfect illustration of libertarian blindness:

    Marriage requires a far greater degree of acquiescence for society at large than other contracts,…

    There is and has always been vastly more police activity, court activity, and incarceration involved in enforcing property rights than in enforcing marriage contracts.

  113. Martel

    @ Zippy: The alteration of the definition of “marriage” upends existing norms to an infinitely greater extent than enforcing property rights that have been more-or-less acknowledged for millenia. Libertarians may define “thou shall not steal” somewhat more strictly, but the differences between how property has been viewed traditionally compared to how it’s viewed now is an alteration of degree, whereas “marriage” changing turns the very concept inside-out.

    Furthermore, jailing car thieves for violating property rights helps to maintain civilized order, whereas changing the definition of marriage does not. Once the notion of one man+one woman is discarded (supposedly just in favor of one man+one man or women), there’s no reason to believe that the “one” part isn’t just as archaic as the genders of the folks involved. Why not 4 men+3 woman? 8 men+15 women?

    There are times when one person exercising property rights can “infringe” on others (noise complaints, pollution, etc.), but a civil noise ordinance doesn’t fundamentally redefine the notion of property. That’s part of why I’m so de-centralist; I want people to be able to enforce certain norms and standards on a local level in ways that don’t mess with the entire country and redefine the fundamental building blocks of our society.

    @ SSM: “The fact that some small number of men have been wicked patriarchs somehow led feminists to conclude that patriarchy as a form of family structure by definition oppresses women when the truth is that it benefits most women (and children). I could imagine an analogy to monarchy there, but what do I know of that?”

    The very structure of patriarchy is Biblically ordained. We observe through the experiences of flawed fathers working within the Biblical structure that God’s will works through that very structure.

    With monarchy, not so much. I find it hard to read 1 Samuel 8 and conclude that monarchy is what God wants for us.

    Furthermore, observe Israel’s actual kings themselves. Besides David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Josiah, and perhaps a smattering more, just about all of Israel and Judah’s kings were awful (give Chronicles a quick perusal sometime). If you criticize Richard II or Louis XIV to a modern monarchist, they might tell you that history is giving them a bad rap (history is written by the victors, etc.). Is the Bible giving Ahab a bad rap? Amon?

    Under monarchy, the flaws of the kings led them straight to hell, and good kings like Hezekiah and Josiah could do little to stem the tide.

    Feminists cherry-picked bad fathers and husbands to give the Family a bad name. Did the Bible cherry-pick bad kings to give monarchy a bad name?

  114. Zippy

    Martel:

    Libertarians may define “thou shall not steal” somewhat more strictly, but the differences between how property has been viewed traditionally compared to how it’s viewed now is an alteration of degree, whereas “marriage” changing turns the very concept inside-out.

    No, it is an alteration in kind. Modern ideas about property are as broken as modern ideas about sex and marriage; although that brokenness has been around since last week instead of just yesterday.

  115. Martel

    @ Zippy:

    “I’ve argued (or at least asserted) in the past that even property shouldn’t be treated as property: that is, that our concept of property has become damaged by modern philosophy, which treats property as things subject to arbitrary will as opposed to things falling under legitimate jurisdiction in carrying out a mandate of stewardship.”

    I only read the first page of posts you linked, but I’d say “asserted” is more apt than “argued”.

    Nonetheless, I concur with your “mandate of stewardship” regarding property. However, how can one carry out such a mandate without the “right” to do so? If my property isn’t subject to my own “arbitrary will”, than how can I possibly surrender my own will to that of The Almighty if my right to do so is never acknowledged? What good is “stewardship” if I’m not quite able to be “steward”, if somebody else gets to over-ride my decisions?

    Like ALL rights, property rights can be abused. However, depriving others of their rights so as to ensure that they do “the right thing” can also be abused, and has been repeatedly. The differences is that if I fail to live out my “mandate of stewardship” on my own grounds, the damage is limited, whereas if an earthly sovereign does the same (his “grounds” being the whole nation), it’s much more costly.

  116. Coastal Mama

    “”Then perhaps we should ban the family. After all, some parents are wicked. Is that not why we abolished slavery? And look how well that worked out.”

    No, we did not abolish slavery because *some* slaver owners were wicked. Regardless of the possibility that some slave owners may have treated their sold and bought human property relatively decently, slavery was abolished because the institution itself was wrong. Family, however, is not a wrongheaded notion.

    Martel, I agree with you about the role of limited government. Prisons need to be shut down and only murderers, rapists and armed robbers should be incarcerated for life (or perhaps executed and then there wouldn’t be a need any prisons at all. Other more petty criminals such as cocaine dealers should not be imprisoned but merely put under house arrest for a few years with electronic trackers placed on their feet while they do community service.
    This would save tax payers billions of dollars but it will never fly because the US prison industrial complex is a huge corporate money maker right now.

    Marriage should be completely divorced (pun not intended) from government. Marriage is a cultural, and sometimes religious, matter and should be left solely to those realms.

    We see that even post-modern first world people love their monarchs. England I’m looking at you. While the British royal family may not hold political power, they hold cultural power for British citizenry. I am not opposed to a benevolent cultural monarchy if that is what the citizenry wants to entertain. Its better than reality TV at any rate.

    “But I am a housewife and not a philosopher”.

    You can be both. Some of the greatest philosophers were family folk. And one of the worst philosophers was a childless oaf. Ayn, I’m looking at you.

  117. Coastal Mama

    (To clarify I’m not saying being concerned with being healthy is in and of itself elitist. It’s showing off how “genuinely healthy” we are and slamming others (even if passive aggressively) for not being the same that makes it elitist)

    [ssm: Yep, I totally get what you're saying. Educating people is one thing; educating is what people like Keoni Galt do. That is not what CM was doing, as you rightly noticed.]

    Sorry if I came across as elitist. Online communication is such that body language and tone are missing. I assure you I am not elitist IRL.

  118. Zippy

    Martel:
    I go into much more depth in my posts about usury and currency. (The WordPress search engine produces rather strange orderings of posts, possible because I imported the blog archives from blogger a year or so ago).

    What good is “stewardship” if I’m not quite able to be “steward”, if somebody else gets to over-ride my decisions?

    Children are perfectly capable of being good stewards despite their fathers having overriding authority. The assumption that stewardship isn’t possible without plenary power is something you might want to revisit.

  119. Martel

    @ Zippy: Even if I grant your definition of “stewardship”, it does nothing to refute my overall point. If the State is considered to be the Prime Determiner as to whether or not somebody’s being a good steward, that gives the State a lot of power, whether that State’s administered by a monarch or some variation of “the people”. A bad steward over his own property does far less harm than a bad “steward over stewards” doing likewise for ten (or however many more) properties.

    I recently met a guy who bought a small farm on which he planned to retire. After purchasing the land, he was told that over 1/3 of his property is a wetland on which he has no right to do anything (he’s merely it’s “steward”, just one who “earned” his “stewardship under false pretenses). If he wants to build a 75 yard driveway from the road to his house (which he was thankfully “allowed” to build), he has to put in tens of thousands of dollars worth of gravel first. I don’t see too much deference to property rights being the problem here.

    I’m not claiming that you approve of what happened to him. You might disagree with the purpose for restricting what he does with his farm, the nature of the restrictions themselves, the legitimacy of those imposing the restrictions, or all of them. Nonetheless, you DO seem to indicate that you approve in principle with the idea of a governmental entity telling some guy what to do with his farm. Or maybe he shouldn’t be allowed to “own” a farm in the first place and should instead depend on the beneficence of his “betters” to provide for him as they see fit (the idea that such “betters” being clueless being unheard of).

    Or, perhaps you’d prefer that such restrictions be imposed by a ministry or council or something instead of the EPA, you might think that they should be imposed for better reasons than to give birds a stopping point on their way south, but you seem perfectly content with the idea that some know-it-all who knows what’s best for us can require us to spend our lives serving what THEY consider to be the common good.

    Yet I find that people who are drawn to such positions of power rarely have the “common good” in mind but instead magically redefine the concept in terms of their own self-interest. Among those who do retain their genuine desire to do the right thing, many are downright clueless regarding how to be of “service” to their inferiors and instead merely stifle innovation or encourage complacency among the already prosperous. Regardless of their motivations, those who wish to do well by “society” in the abstract have neither sufficient incentive nor the requisite information to make such decisions wisely.

    I reiterate that individual liberty is no guarantor against stupid mistakes. Still, when property rights are de-centralized as much as possible, it limits the pernicious effects of central planning while enabling those who actually are good “stewards” of their property to benefit from their own initiative.

    I see little reason to usurp this for the “common good”, whether that “common good” be defined perfectly or poorly, for even if “common good” is properly defined, correct implementation is far from guaranteed. Furthermore, I see little reason to trust an ostensible father figure for the American Family to have any more legitimacy or competence than some People’s Committee.

  120. Anne

    ssm: “only taxpayers (or ratepayers) can vote”Oh gawd, Chris, but what about the women? Disenfranchise us, I beg of you!]

    If you also have coverture, it does disinfranchise married women. Not single women though.
    (Btw, I am the Anne that emailed you yestreday, not the lowercase anne.)

    [ssm: Welcome, Anne!]

  121. Zippy

    Martel:

    If the State is considered to be the Prime Determiner as to whether or not somebody’s being a good steward, …

    You keep imputing things to me that I haven’t said. So it seems that the discussion you are actually having is with yourself.

  122. Pingback: Why would a man want a housewife? | Sunshine Mary

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