Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Capitalism - B.S. Words can never hurt us! The ugly truth about the left

I've been thinking about the subject of Words again recently, and the notion that they can’t hurt us – what a friggin crock o’ crap that is! The manipulation and redefinition of reality through words, has nearly destroyed the system of the most powerful nation on earth. A Nation founded upon Liberty and Freedom, founded through the ideas of Classical Liberalism, merely by the shaving and spinning of words by dishonest people who wish to bury reality and all that is good and beautiful and true.

Our Founding Fathers were THE Classical Liberals, devoted to the free and independent soul of Man, and the belief that a free and virtuous people would be a prosperous light unto themselves and to the world.

They, and we, are now routinely smeared, reviled and apologized for by an un… no… Anti-American President of the United States of America, belittling our history and our principles, and abandoning our allies, to an audience of thugs, murderers and dictators at the U.N..

We’ve allowed our message of freedom and liberty to be stolen, STOLEN, by a bunch of God Damned ignorant fools and/or demagogues, intent on swindling the American people, and by extension the world, of their Individual Rights, in exchange for trinkets and pittances tossed at their needs.

How in the hell have we allowed this to happen?

How did we allow the focus to be taken off of what was truly important, taken off of the core of our message, and put instead upon an incidental by-product, ‘capital’? We now confine ourselves to talk about political parties, talk about business practices and policies, we talk about money and it's management- and in the process freedom and liberty are lost in the shuffle.

Karl Marx tagged us with the name "Capitalism", and we took it, and they ran(t) with it.

This has been bugging me for awhile, and it came to a head recently in some discussions on One Cosmos and The Gunslinger, last night especially after skimming back through Jean Baptiste Say's A Catechism of Political Economy and his "A Treatise on Political Economy", which focuses as it does on the decisions and choices of free people, such as this:

"No one, however, has ever denied that the writings of the economists have uniformly been favourable to the strictest morality, and to the liberty which every human being ought to possess, of disposing of his person, fortune, and talents, according to the bent of his inclination; without which, indeed, individual happiness and national prosperity are but empty and unmeaning sounds. These opinions alone entitle their authors to universal gratitude and esteem. I do not, moreover, believe that a dishonest man or bad citizen can be found among their number...

and,

...The best mode of retaining and attracting mankind is, to treat them with justice and benevolence; to protect every one in the enjoyment of the rights he regards with the highest reverence; to allow the free disposition of person and property, the liberty of continuing or changing his residence, of speaking, reading, and writing in perfect security."


This, our world changing movement, from the very beginning, was the argument from and for our side, the side of mankind, and it seems to me that if we ever want to regain our rightful position in the argument between freedom and tyranny, our argument needs to come again from where it began - standing shoulder to shoulder with people like Jean Baptiste Say, Frederic Bastiat, Richard Cobden, John Bright, Frederick Douglass... these were people who passionately fought for liberty, people devoted to freedom, activists for Individual Rights and against the arbitrary, dehumanizing power of illiberal govt ... that is the true heart and soul of 'Capitalism'... Classical Liberalism was highly focused upon liberty and morality and the prosperity and happiness they could and would foster - how stupid are we to allow not only the name, but the issue of true freedom to get redefined out from under our intellectual feet.

Leftists at root, as I have argued over and again in the past, from its modern roots in Descartes, is a philosophy of assertions, attempts to redefine reality as they wishes it were. They have NO arguments that are rooted in reality, the closest, and last honest attempt (though completely in error) was Hume's, whose argument was that we could not know reality!

THIS IS THE PITIFUL QUALITY OF OUR ENEMIES! AND YET WE CEDE THE ARGUMENT... TO THEM!?

WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I for one am damn sick of it, and not the least reason why, is that they are unable and unworthy to win any reasoned argument with us!

You will not find a single leftist who will argue their positions back down to that issues roots in reality. They will first attempt to equivocate on terms such as ‘freedom’, ‘equality’, ‘a hungry man is not free’ and the like. As you call them on that, they will come back by with further attempts at conflating ‘Needs’ with ‘Rights’, as FDR attempted to overshadow our Bill of Rights, with his warm bowl of crap ‘economic bill of rights’ - nothing but slavery all dolled up in a pretence of manners. And that is just about the end of their possible zigs and zags, because when you ask them to define what Rights are, they are fully self disarmed - they have nothing, no Reasoning whatsoever with which they can answer.

Supplying sound Reasons for Individual Rights, requires a sound basis in and reference to Reality and the nature of Man, and a firm disallowing of the arbitrary; Americanism - Classical Liberalism - is firmly rooted in the concept that reality is real, and that we can know it, and that Truth is discovered through our knowledge and understanding of what is real, and it will always end up with Political Rights rooted in Property Rights.

The only possible way to propose ‘Needs’ as being equal to or superior to Individual Rights, is through a series of bald faced, arbitrary assertions and equivocations, and a denial of our ever being able to know reality… and forcing that admission out of them will not come easy.

Before you ever hear them admit their intellectual and moral bankruptcy, you will first receive a full ration of belittling insults and slurs. You will be called an idiot, a fool, a pawn of the rich, racist, a bigot, a cold hearted meanie who just hates the poor and the minorities.

For the moderns, Reality isn't knowable and 'truth' is negotiable (Kant gave this position respectability... nothing true in his tomes, but he gave explanations so long and convoluted that everyone agreed to agree on what he said they meant, so that other people wouldn't think you were too stupid to understand him).

Any pressing argument with a leftist (democrat or republican (yeah, John McCain, Teddy Roosevelt, Mit Romney (B.S. he's a conservative), etc) must end in assertions and insults on their part, because they have no way to tie their arguments back to reality - Reality was not their starting point!

Their starting point is what they thought sounded pretty, and your challenging them on it sounds no different to them than calling them ugly (which their thoughts are, but that's beside the point) - their opinions are noting but opinion. They have no reasoning behind them, and when cornered by Reason they respond as does any unreasoning creature - by attacking.

It is the source of our modern plague of xspurts - the Proregressives version of an aristocracy -, people who think their conclusions are so purty, they just must be true, and true everywhere, regardless of silly considerations such as the context of a situation. Rather than discover and apply principles, which enable each person to consistently determine the best course of action in each situation, and be free to choose it, they prefer to force everyone to apply their prefabricated conclusions to every conceivable situation.

A prime example from the above comments at The Gunslingers, "Guns are dangerous? Well... then... only experts and professionals should be allowed to have or use them! Yep, I 'very clearly and distinctly conceive that must be true, so it MUST be! ", and another proregressive platform is born.

The proregressive leftist will always assert Conclusions over Principles - top down enforced stupidity, it is the leftist way.

The Ugly Truth
Our meekly having gone along with Marx's stamping of Liberalism as "Capitalism", and the proregressives later absconding of the name 'liberalism' after the embarrassment of Woodrow Wilson's proregressive distopia... enabled them to dehumanize us right off the bat. It took the emphasis off of living a full and prosperous life, and allowed it to be set on the material. On money, on business practices, mgmt policies... we gave up the fight before it was even engaged.

We deserve to be slapped... and worse... WE have let Freedom and Liberty down.

It is high time to fight back, and start with not allowing words to be misused, treat political correctness as the assault on reality, on truth and beauty, that it is. If you are a janitor, and some metrosexual calls you a 'Sanitation Engineer', slap them for the insult it was, and for the violence they did to reality.

When a leftist thug asserts that they are for more freedom through schemes such as healthcontrol, remind them of Calvin Coolidge's speech on the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, during his efforts at cleaning up Wilson's mess,

"About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers."

Words must not be allowed to be misused, Words must not be allowed to distort reality, for they can most definitely hurt you – forbid it in your presence!

29 comments:

lance said...

Hey Van, thank you for your kind words on the blog the other day. I am thankful that despite are, haha, pretty vast political differences there is a modicum of respect between us that allows for open conversation and discussion. I just wish modern politicians and thinkers could find the same civility that we have.

As usual good thoughts on your post and things that are making me think and mull over. One question though. You said

"They, and we, are now routinely smeared, reviled and apologized for"

Is it wrong to acknowledge that in the past the United States have made some mistakes? Or, is it better to just brazen it out and not acknowledge some of our failings?

Van said...

Lance said "... thank you for your kind words on the blog the other day..."

I hope things resolved out better for you.

"I am thankful that despite are, haha, pretty vast political differences there is a modicum of respect between us that allows for open conversation and discussion."

Likewise, I talk to you as a person, whose views I disagree with, because... you are a person, whose views I disagree with.

I'm not particularly disposed to showing consideration towards politicians, but a politician really is not engaging in simple person to person discussion, he is a representative of an idea, or an office, and as such Should to some extent, battle full out with the opposing idea and interests. Now of course it can be done civilly, and I'd prefer that, but I won't fault them for not genuflecting as they battle it out.

(friggin' blogger 4,000 character limit break)

Van said...

(cont)

"Is it wrong to acknowledge that in the past the United States have made some mistakes? Or, is it better to just brazen it out and not acknowledge some of our failings?"

Hmmm....

Taking apologizing in general first, of course a person should own up to their failings, but to behave as if you are nothing but your failings, is... dare I say it... sinful, and an insult to your virtues. To eagerly rush about demonstrating how sorry you are for your failings, even pridefully boasting of how sorry you are, is neither a proper apology nor a virtue.

Imagine a man of character, escorting his respected employer and Wife, and their daughter whom he is courting, from... oh... say the dinner car of a train, back through the bedraggled baggage cars, making their way to his employers private car. While making their way through the darkened aisles they are attacked by some drunken hobo's. In the process of defending them, being hurt, wounded, sucker punched, he lets loose with some course, even vile language, perhaps even further striking the assailants as they are turning tail and fleeing the train, even throwing one bodily from the car, rather than allow him to jump.

It would not be improper to apologize for his language and excessive action to his employer and wife, and his sweetheart... and it would be proper for them to say "I understand, not a problem, thank you for your help." and even proper for them to say "No further apology necessary." It would, however, be improper for them to expect or ask for such an apology from him.

It would be disgusting, improper, even deeply sinful, to track down those thugs and apologize to them, and having done that, going on to seek out other thieves, murderers, rapists, and apologizing for his past behavior towards other thugs.

As to your particular comment, well, first off, brazen what out? He may not agree with past policies of the United States of America, but they were policies, duly voted on and properly carried out; he may not personally or politically agree with them, but as the new President of the United States of America, he is in no position, and has no right as President, to declare those duly carried out actions of, by and for the people, to be 'mistakes'.

Back to Obama apologizing 'to the world' in the light of what I just said above - there is nothing in his perpetual apologizing that is proper. What he is doing, is improperly humbling the United States of America, even, IMHO, reveling in his ability to do so, in his enthusiasm to show how much better that he, and his administration is... how much more morally finer he is, than all those who have come before Him, and worse than that, he is using the Office of the President of the United States of America, to make an internal political point, at the expense of our Nation, before the world.

On top of that, doing so before the disgusting collection of dictators and official gold braided banana and camel tent terrorists of the U.N. - he is not making an overdue and dignified apology to someone wronged - he is insulting the greatest nation on earth, figuratively kissing the rings of the vilest, and reveling in his power to do so.

He has passed far beyond the fair shake I was willing to give him at the start. He is what I feared during the campaign, and worse so. He has shown contempt for the Constitution, for private property, for everyone's Individual Rights, and personal responsibilities to make their own life choices, and he is going about undermining those rights, in a very duplicitous fashion.

The office of the President of the United States of America, still requires a measure of respect for the person in the office... but it is becoming a chore to remember that.

Anna said...

Haven't read the comments to this post yet but wanted to drop this article by. It's something I'm reading and I don't have a subscription so only have access to the sample at this point, as will anyone else without a subscription. But even the sample test gives the gist. No obligation to read, just thought it was interesting in light of the talk of "capital", theft of language, education, etc...

My homework assignment before Christmas is look at how to link properly. For now--


"Dehumanized: When math and science rule the school"

http://harpers.org/archive/2009/09/0082640

Anna said...

Ha ha... "test" = "text"
Typo!

Van said...

Anna, I won't have time to look until later (heading out the the 17yr olds football game), but I like the title - if it means the 'quantity' over 'quality' bent of modern education, of particular quantifiable skills being elevated over a well rounded understanding of history and literature in order to foster an unquantifiable wisdom... I'm gonna like it a lot.

Anna said...

Okay, one representative quote, I can't resist...

"Rain does not follow the plow. Political freedom, whatever the market evangelists may tell us, is not an automatic by-product of a growing economy; democratic institutions do not spring up, like flowers at the feet of the magi, in the tire tracks of commerce. They just don’t. They’re a different species. They require a different kind of tending."

Anna said...

Oops! Just saw your comment! Have fun!

Anna said...

Sorry to clutter... It appears that it might indeed be the full article, only not the layout/images of the magazine pages, which are available to subscribers.

Van said...

Anna, yep, it was the full article (besure to click the author's name for a better picture of what direction he is writing from).

I read the article last night... and though the tone was welcome, the quality was empty. His list of symptoms was excellent, his identification of the virus (quantity over Quality), well done.
But his identification of the cause, was at the very least flawed - it is not Capitalism that has given us the dehumanized humanities, but statism. On the contrary, it is Capitalism that has offered the only opposing options, with the likes of Hillsdale College, or the actual, authentic Humanities based colleges of St. Johns College, Shimer College and Thomas Aquinas College , as well as organizations such as ISI.
His identification of a cure, more anti-capitalist (meaning liberty) based 'humanities', with the depthless sophistry of,

"Public high school English teacher Marcus Eure, meanwhile, teaching in the single most conservative county in New York State, labors daily “to dislocate the complacent mind,” to teach students to parse not only what they are being told but how they are being told. His course in rhetoric—enough to give a foolish man hope—exposes the discrete parts of effective writing and reading, then nudges students to redefine their notion of “correct” to mean precise, logical, nuanced, and inclusive. His unit on lying asks students to read the “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” letter from The Sun and Stephanie Ericsson’s “The Ways We Lie,” then consider how we define lying, whether we condone it under certain circumstances, how we learn to do it. “Having to treat Santa Claus as a systemic lie,” Eure notes, “even if we can argue for its necessity, troubles a lot of them.”"

, guaranteed to reenergize the disease even deeper and further. What he fails to grasp, is that it isn't economic free choice which has brought us to this point, but the very philosophy which is the motive force behind such piddling pursuits as 'exposes the discrete parts of effective writing and reading, then nudges students to redefine their notion of “correct” to mean precise, logical, nuanced, and inclusive', post modernish fixations on 'societal norms' and conservative bogeymen... they decended from the same progressivism which animated Dewey and his ilk to discard the humanities in favor of vocational training. It was Mark Slouka's own political and philosophical forbears who insisted on dispensing with 'elitist' subjects such as Latin, Greek and all the thinkers who came with them, preferring to discard higher truths in favor of useful skills.

(friggin' blogger 4,000 character limit break)

Van said...

(cont)
President Woodrow Wilson, as president of Princeton, summed up the leftist proregressive philosophy to the Federation of High School Teachers: "We want one class of persons to have a liberal education and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.", and Willard Givens, who would become executive secretary of the NEA in 1935 and serve for 17 years, who said "A dying laissez faire must be completely destroyed and all of us, including the owners, must be subjected to a large degree of social control. An equitable distribution of income will be sought, and the major function of the school is the social orientation of the individual. It must seek to give him understanding of the transition to a new social order. "

Humanities, in any meaningful sense, let alone Freedom, Liberty, Individual Responsibility, Individual Rights supported by Property Rights, and Liberal Government, will not survive that 'new social order'. As Abraham Lincoln noted, "The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.".

And that philosophy of progressivism had its philosophical roots in Kant, Hume, Rousseau and Descartes, and fools such as Slouka who unwittingly promote that philosophies poison fruit as nutrition, will only speed its destruction by related means.

I did a post on the progress of proregressivism here and and here, but this article might be sparking another... we'll see.

Anna said...

Regarding his cure - agreed. When I got to that part I was sorely disappointed. Schmuckle! I wanted to lop it off. It had the effect of watering down the first 4/5ths. (I had read about 1/2 when I posted it here.)

What caught my attention was that it was printed in Harper's. If it had been in a meaty publication, it would have been further away from "yes!", but in a mainstream magazine (though I don't know the entire M.O. of Harper's) it stood out.

Regarding Dewey and the Progressives, I am tempted to say he is literally Public Enemy #1 or at least in the top 3 to 5. I first encountered his writing a while ago while looking into the history of public education (I think.) I was shocked!

As far as the article goes about Capitalism what I saw was that it was a description of the current scenario, the mindset that streamed through mass media and culture regarding the purpose of education. Some are in the midst of the current and he seemed one step out of it. Though when I got to the end, I wondered if he was even that.

Van said...

Anna said “Regarding Dewey and the Progressives, I am tempted to say he is literally Public Enemy #1 or at least in the top 3 to 5. I first encountered his writing a while ago while looking into the history of public education (I think.) I was shocked!”

I fully agree on Dewey. I’ve made several posts looking into miseducation, and have included several quotes from Dewey, but left out many others because most would consider it so over the top, they’d probably think I made them up.

For a much better description of the educationista’s disease and it’s full nature, and in an infinitely more informative and thought provoking form (not to mention wickedly funny to boot), see any of Richard Mitchell’s writings in general(I’ve got a site devoted to him linked towards the top of my page), but this one in particular, The Graves of Academe identifies and exposes the "...creature's awesome dimensions and seemingly endless tentacular complexities.." which beset our schools and the humanities.

Anna said...

One more thought.

"What he fails to grasp, is that it isn't economic free choice which has brought us to this point..."

I'm not sure he is saying it is the fault of economic free choice, and if he is, I would of course disagree with him. I thought he was challenging a utilitarian perspective of education (sort of, wherever it came from). While, as you pointed out, misdirecting the problem into a "cure" that is born out of the problem itself, thereby making it worse - and totally off (and vacant). I'll have to re-look at his idea of the cause -- not to beat a dead horse but because I'm curious... I didn't look for that when I read it.

Anna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna said...

"...most would consider it so over the top, they’d probably think I made them up."

I believe it! Pure toxicity!

***

Yes, Mitchell is great. We read some of his stuff in high school (a Christian school), and there was at least one of his books on the shelf at home growing up, in my dad's collection - Amusing Ourselves to Death and/or Less Than Words Can Say. I really need to read more. He is now on the top of the book purchase list... He has been at the top before, but I got sidetracked. This was a good reminder.

Van said...

Anna said "...I'm not sure he is saying it is the fault of economic free choice, and if he is, I would of course disagree with him. I thought he was challenging a utilitarian perspective of education (sort of, wherever it came from). "

Well, yes, I agree that is what he attempts to say, something like 'People who have no clue about the importance of the humanities, are instead pushing for economically potent skills instead', which he attributes to capitalism, because, as 'everyone knows' capitalism breeds thoughtlessly short sighted, utilitarian philistines.

Matthew Arnold also made this argument, and again did so infinitely better, especially regarding his trip across America in the early 1800's.

The problem with this, is the assumptions they make about both systems. People naturally seek the education, for themselves or for their children, that they think important, and they will pay for that. But What they think is important, is determined by the dominant philosophy of the times - and that is set by the highest of the intellectuals, the philosophers.

(ARGHHH! Friggin' blogger...)

Van said...

(cont)

They are the ones, beginning with Rousseau (I suppose you could go back to Bacon, but I consider his influence mere sprinkles on the leftist cake), who began the push away from moral intellectualism, towards naturalistic 'effectiveness'.
They began the belittling of the greeks and romans.
They began the suicidal embrace of skepticism and anti-intellectualism. They began the snickering disdain of principled thought and pursuit of truth (the very heart of humanities), and began promoting the utterly shallow emotionally driven action focus of moment to moment pragmatism.

They want to say that this is the result of capitalism, but capitalism produces no movements, it only delivers them.

When the idiocies of Rousseau's Emile and Kant's 'reality is not knowable' meme's first came to America, except for eccentrics, and the elites who sent their children to the newly fashionable universities of Germany, Americans snickered and scoffed at them.

America, which had always held a reverence for education and the educated, began to mock the intellectuals. They wouldn't buy them.

But while Americans ridiculed the 'intellectuals', it always had a deep respect for Education, and sadly did not realize that what they thought of as being an Educated person, as Jefferson would have recognized, was increasingly being diluted, and the 'educated' were becoming educated in the 'German thought', filled with ideas of determinism, of practicality and utility and anti-classical learning. Together with the new American 'pragmatism', they were building the new proregressive class of 'thinkers' who felt it was their responsibility to 'do what was right for the peoples own good', and they began pushing for mandatory public schooling.

As I mention go over in a couple of my previous posts linked to above, they eventually succeeded with the Morrill Act (by Progressive Republican Morrill), in drawing the Federal Govt into supporting the wonders of 'worthwhile' vocational Education in colleges - over the objection of the last breed of true College Presidents who were classical scholars and actual educators themselves.

Once that was done, the rest followed quickly, and predictably... 'Should the Fed be supporting curriculums it didn't approve of? Of course not!', 'How can we be sure the teachers teaching the curriculum are qualified? Gasp! They must be certified!', 'Certified by whom? By the newest and best modern progressively educated people, of course!' and soon after that, it didn't matter whether or not a child was sent to a public or private school, all the teachers were coming from the "Teacher's colleges", and thoroughly indoctrinated with the latest in fashionably pragmatic, proregressive notions, which Dewey and his ilk further defined and accelerated.

You can almost chart an inversly proportional relation between the growth of proregressive education, and the decline in popular knowledge of what was once considered important for a person to know in order to be considered an Educated person - along with a rise in declining quality and standards, and the resulting plethora of students failing to even grasp what the debased material they were being taught.

Americans still believe that an ‘Education’ is important… unfortunately what an ‘Education’ is, no longer bears any resemblance to that True Education, which a pre-1800’s America, under a system of even freer free market choices, chose to send themselves and their children to colleges such as Princeton, Harvard, Yale, etc, to receive.

The proregressives switched the valuable Golden Education, for the pyrite fool’s gold of an economically useful ‘education’, but they didn’t make the choice themselves, they were swindled by the very fools which fools like this guy foisted upon them.

(I almost always regret posting what I type in the comment window, but the fingers are flyin' and time is short - sorry in advance)

Anna said...

"...which he attributes to capitalism, because, as 'everyone knows' capitalism breeds thoughtlessly short sighted, utilitarian philistines."

Sometimes I think I have rose-tinted glasses on or my expectations aren't high enough. When I read his bit about Capitalism, first I winced, then I inserted "misinterpreted capitalism" or "capitalism gone awry" (aka capitalism in the service of utilitarianism) ...Like, what happens to capitalism in a utilitarian framework? So, I then interpreted it (maybe for my own purposes unbeknownst to the author) as not that capitalism *results* in utilitarian philistines but that if you have the latter (utilitarianism), what happens to the former (capitalism)? But I think the answer is capitalism/free market economics disappears because it stops being possible without individuals. [Just a rough sketch of hypothesis there, nothing I'm espousing as a certain finished product.]


Rousseau is another on the list of baddies, a menace to society.

I will check out the links to the blog entries and the other links recently given. All very valuable.

Van said...

Anna said "So, I then interpreted it..."

Taking it back to the post, the interpretation we need to make, and we should start doing it vocally, and interrupting them if discussing/arguing in person, is that we are for "Freedom of Choice" or (if you want to drive the leftist loopy:) "Pro Choice" - we are for people making their own decisions about their own lives and possessions, for that IS what the word 'Capitalism' was intended to hide from us, it was designed to make us picture cold hard cash, instead warm personal decisions!

But you are correct, a Free people are not necessarily a worthy people - it depends upon whether or not they are a moral people... and the quality of their morality depends upon the quality of their philosophy and religious sensibilities, in aiding the quality of their decisions and actions in the context of the longest range perspective over the span of their lives. That means rational, creative, moral decisions, rooted in reality - eminently Reason-able.

Utilitarianism, is nothing but relativism decked out in a costumed pretense of Reason - but it's attempts at "the greatest happiness principle" disolve into one person's arbitrary assertion of one preference over another, and ends in an empty and ultimately savage, immorality.

Classical Liberalism was (is) so unique, and so finely tuned on the higher levels, that it demanded Reason which sought out, and respected reality, governs the peoples actions by objective principled laws which uphold and defend Rights rather than dictate behavior, and that the freely chosen Religious sensibilities of it's people, and respecting those same rights frees it to aid each person in organizing their own behavior in light of their highest values; this system freed all three - govt, people, religion - in a natural system of checks and balances, to each reach their highest potential under the guidance of the other.

(Arghhh! @#$#&^% blogger!)

Van said...

(cont)

As soon as the execrable rousseau's naturalism/collectivism combined with Kant's morality killing assaults upon free will and reality kicked in (such as his 'categorical imperatives' - that you must do your duty no matter what, and it can only truly be considered moral, if you stand no chance of benefitting in any way, shape or form - a 'morality' that tells you that being 'moral' means opposing your every desire) and Bentham/Mill's utilitarianism, which everyone secretly understands means "Make it sound as if what you (secretly) want ,is what is best for all", and means that all your actions will necessarily be short range whims in competition with everyone else's...a rootless whim worship elevated over and above 'old fashioned' ideas of Prudence.

With that being the 'Modern' choices available, humanity was hosed no matter which course it favored, and not surprisingly the bulk of modern 'humanist' material has been skeptical, cynicism which considered a sneering towards values to be 'enlightened'.

With that being the foundation, it really didn't take much imagination to see that most people were going to seek an 'education' which would help them amass as many pleasures as they could get, before being snuffed out by one pressure group or another - what else could or can result from such an anti-human concept of 'humanism'?

"But I think the answer is capitalism/free market economics disappears because it stops being possible without individuals. [Just a rough sketch of hypothesis there, nothing I'm espousing as a certain finished product.]"

I think that is a Very valid point, the various ism's of collectivism, of which Unitarianism is one as well, are about tarring over the individual, obliterating their ability to be rationally active in the moment of their life through their own choices, forcing them to insert the wadded insulation of other peoples choices and decisions around, or in place of, their own. They are very much centered around burying free will, the active exercising of life, under the disconnected, pre-fabricated decision of others, dis-integrating their own actions from their own life.

There can be no worthwhile concept of an Individual, under such a philosophy.

It is anti-life, it is, in any meaningful sense, evil.

lance said...

Good stuff Van. I will say that brazen was not the right word. I didn't mean it in the way it sounded. I understand your points and it does take two groups to acknowledge and respond to situations,

I think a bigger disagreement for you and I on this issue might also be what we see as the United States role or non role in the UN. I am thinking that will be an interesting discussion.

Van said...

lance said..."Good stuff Van. ...I think a bigger disagreement for you and I on this issue might also be what we see as the United States role or non role in the UN. I am thinking that will be an interesting discussion."

Thanks Lance but... well... while it would be interesting... you do realize don't you, that you are trying to add a penthouse to a building which you've built no floors beneath? It's hard for me to imagine how you can even want to discuss an association of international governments, when you haven't even defined what A government is for, and why it is justified in doing those things you want it to do? Let alone clarifying what you think Rights are... assuming you do see them as something other than Needs?

You always say 'Good stuff' or "interesting, but..."... but you never fill in the "but's"! While you have prompted some very interesting discussions, and some of my own posts I most enjoyed thinking through... you continue to hold to ideas, which as far as I can tell, aren't much more than insubstantial political hauntings.

During the arguments you hosted between Charles & I, you would acknowledge a point, but never make one of your own beyond an emotional sentiment such as "It would be nice to offer health care... Social Security... unemployment pay... welfare..." etc, etc, etc.. and even when it is pointed out that those 'nice' actions produce reams of unintended misery, you still satisfy yourself with the feeling of intended 'niceness' - I think the more interesting discussion would be - Why? Based upon what? .

Having been a Political Science major... don't you think you should state the reasons for what you claim to believe?

Do you actually have any reasons for what you believe? I think I know the answer to that, but... do you?

lance said...

Van said "Having been a Political Science major... don't you think you should state the reasons for what you claim to believe?

Do you actually have any reasons for what you believe? I think I know the answer to that, but... do you?"

Boy, a little fired up and ready to go today aren't you. I say good point and interesting because I find what you write interesting and because it makes me think. I also want you to know that I am actually visiting and reading your blog. I do not want to feel like a lurker.

As far as reasons for what I believe? I think a fair amount of my reasons come from having grown up in a mainstream Protestant church. Having been raised by missionarys and going to both private Christian school as well as public school. At this point I am trying to flesh those reasons out and understand them.

Lets see what do I know for sure about myself. I am not a Libertarian. I am a registered Independent voter. I believe in a Creator but I am not sure that the Creator is the same one that the Protestant church says he is.

But back to the politics. As far as putting a penthouse on a building with no floors. I thought I had addressed what Government was for. It is to keep us safe and healthy. To ensure that we have a steady supply of clean water and access to food in whatever shape that takes for us. To give us an infrastructure in terms of roads and a power grid and those kinds of things. I think the police and the fire and ambulances need to be run by a central agency to ensure the protection of all who reside in the area either on a city or county or state level.

I guess my biggest failing in terms of how you and I interact is that I do not see the Constitution as some kind of Holy document. I think it was put together by men. By men who were capable of making mistakes and written for such a time when the world and America was a much smaller place.

That is it for now. I am sure your deft scalpel will chop it to pieces. :)

Van said...

Sorry for the delay, I’ve been on vacation.

Lance said "Boy, a little fired up and ready to go today aren't you."

Fired up? Nah, I was just baffled - seriously. I do appreciate your comments and not being a lurker, and as I said, you do tend to prompt me towards some considerations I might not have otherwise... but... it is baffling how you hold to your positions. Ah well... to the matter at hand.

Ok hotshot,
;- )

taking the last first,
"...written for such a time when the world and America was a much smaller place."

The proregressive positions you espouse were formulated at the close of the 19th century... before electrification, before automobiles, before airplanes, before radio, TV or Internet... you ready to discard them for having been written for another time and world when America had less than 45 states? The time in which a principle is identified is wholly irrelevant. The Constitution and the reasoning behind it are rooted in principles applicable to Man as such, and are applicable to civilized Man at any time, and in any place, to small or massive populations, because it is based upon the rights of the citizens, not on top down policies and/or a decision enforcing apparatus. What IS absolutely dependent upon the time and place being proposed, are those rules which attempt to define and regulate conduct, such as is the case with all variations of leftist statism.

"I guess my biggest failing in terms of how you and I interact is that I do not see the Constitution as some kind of Holy document."

Now honestly, you can't really have read what I've written, and think that I see the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as 'Holy' documents. I do see them as an unparalleled - and inseparable - political achievement, as being on a par with Newton’s Principia, and for similar reasons, having identified fundamental principles and united them in an integrated form that hadn't been done before. There are some flaws, but minor in comparison to their achievements. And again, I am speaking of the documents themselves, not the Natural Law principles they are rooted in, which I suppose could be taken in the 'Holy' direction, but that would not be discussing the Founding Documents themselves, anymore than Newton's achievements could be called 'Holy', even though they describe principles of Nature which could themselves be taken in the 'Holy' direction, but again discussing his Principia as 'Holy' would be just as improper.

Moreover, those who defend them as a 'holy document' only, a 'WWTFD' - What Would The Founders Do - IMHO, denigrate and reduce them to shallow references, rather than deeply principled achievements. Their value, and the arguments for them, depend upon the fact that they can be supported through reasoned discussion and evidence, not through a 'faith based' set of assertions... which BTW, is what your leftist policies have NO other basis for. Again, please prove me wrong here.

"As far as reasons for what I believe? I think a fair amount of my reasons come from having grown up in a mainstream Protestant church. Having been raised by missionaries and going to both private Christian school as well as public school."

I don't need to say that those are motivations & sources... but not reasons... right?

"At this point I am trying to flesh those reasons out and understand them."

I've of course no argument there... you'll let me know if there's something I can do to help?

;-)

(F.B.B.)

Van said...

(Cont.)

"I am not a Libertarian."

We've got that in common at least.

"I thought I had addressed what Government was for."

You have said what you'd like for govt to do... and that you think that it would be gosh darn swell for it to do it... however you haven't yet explained how it should do such things, and why it should continue to try doing such things when it is so easy to show that doing such things violates the rights of it's citizens in doing them, prevents them from doing what they might otherwise freely choose to do, and produces far more misery than the feeble benefits it promises to deliver.

That would be the explanation I'm looking for. And it would require some explanation of what you think Rights are, and are not.

"It is to keep us safe and healthy."

Again, no the purpose of Govt is NOT to keep us 'safe and healthy', those are goals suitable to each other, our families and by extension, our communities, but NOT our govt. Attempting to make that a purpose of govt to do what you would have it do, only ensures that it's communities will be sapped and torn apart, ending up looking like modern leftist controlled Detroit, and the only way to change such an 'achievement' back from that sort of cesspool, as was New York city circa Dinkins, is through governing in a more conservative direction, as did Giuliani (direction, not all policies, plenty I disagree with there).

"To ensure that we have a steady supply of clean water and access to food in whatever shape that takes for us."

Not only does that usually fail or fall far short of the goal, but again you confuse Rights with Needs - and putting govt in a position to supply your needs, means doing away with your rights... why don't you get that? But of course if either of us had that answer, we could do away with the divisions between Left and Right by the morning!

"To give us an infrastructure in terms of roads and a power grid and those kinds of things."

Roads I can see, or at least the core, same with sewage... at least to begin with in a new community. Power, no, that is foolish, and it is easily demonstrated how FDR's administration clamped down on power, and other utilities, lessened service, increased cost, and caused far more problems than they allegedly solved. See FDR's Folly by Jim Powell for a good overview of FDR's attacks on utilities, and the detrimental effects to the public they were supposedly done for.

"I think the police and the fire and ambulances need to be run by a central agency to ensure the protection of all who reside in the area either on a city or county or state level."

Police, Courts, Military are THE function of govt (generally speaking), they are what make rights possible. Fire... is a function I've heard credibly debated both ways, I don't have a problem with it being handled by local community govts. Ambulance, for similar reasons, I can see local govt's operating or at least contracting for, in emergency situations, but not having a lock on.

Bottom line, is that Govt is for upholding and defending our Individual Rights through the rule of Law, against all enemies foreign and domenstic.

Whenever Govt (particularly at the Federal level) strays from that purpose, all our rights are diminished, and our freedom and prosperity are diminished.

Anna said...

Van said...

"Sorry for the delay, I've been on vacation."

I've had a delayed response brewing myself, my delay due to further contemplation. I left off at Van's 9/28 10:45pm comment (and the one before - it was cont.), which was so great it sang.

I've been sorting out the point of view of someone like Thomas Friedman who is a globalist but also talks favorably of competition in the marketplace. It seems like the free market, but he is also a [non-classical type] liberal. He seems to use competition as a reason to 'move past' national boundaries, which is NOT in accord with classical liberalism. It seems gutted of the entire basis for the free market.

An example would be the gung-ho for China and 'education as job-training for competition in the global market'.

I have been reading the classical lib. literature (books and online articles on the Mises Institute site, for example) which add contours to my understanding of this sort of thing along the way, incidentally.

Anna said...

Van said...

"Govt is for upholding and defending our Individual Rights through the rule of Law, against all enemies foreign and domestic."

Negative, not positive liberties. Govt doesn't do things for you, it keeps things from being done to you.

Anna said...

...or, good govt., I mean.