The Unraveling

A democracy cannot survive as a permanent form of government. It can last only until its citizens discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority (who vote) will vote for the candidates promising the greatest benefits from the public purse, with the result that a democracy will always collapse from loose fiscal policies, always followed by a dictatorship. — Macaulay [or the ‘Tytler Calumny‘ (thanks Matt)]

From the Urban Dictionary, Democracy:

1) A common system of government directed by the whims of mobs and marked by a low tolerance for basic human rights and common sense; primarily used to incrementally transition a government ruled by common law (Republic) to a government ruled by the political law of a few elite (Oligarchy).

As the slide continues, the perennial understanding of anti-demotic statecraft (and initiatory insight of the new reaction) appears to be going mainstream. Alex Berezow writes at Realclearworld‘s The Compass blog:

It’s been a rough few years for democracy. Despite that, Westerners always seem to assume that the most highly evolved form of government is democratic. The trouble with that notion is that, at some point, a majority of voters realize they can vote for politicians who promise them the most stuff, regardless of whether or not it is good policy or financially sustainable. And once that occurs, the country is (perhaps irreversibly) on a pathway to decline.

Whilst glibly insubstantial by Moldbug standards (of course), the article never retracts this initial premiss, and concludes with the suggestion that the whole world could profitably learn arts of democracy inhibition from China. Interesting times.

[Note: the two articles immediately below Berezow’s at the RCW site are ‘Is Cameron’s EU Strategy Unraveling?’ (by Benedict Brogan) and ‘Libya Is Still Unraveling’ (by Max Boot) — just noticed (consciously). Contemporary news: all unraveling, all the time.]

Will the ‘post-democratic world’ have a clear principle of political legitimacy? The most elegant, by far, would be the introduction of commutativity to the slogan of Anglosphere colonial rebellion: ‘No taxation without representation.’

No representation without taxation restricts legitimacy to those regimes in which those who fund government determine its structure, scope, and policy, in direct proportion to their contribution. The improvements that would result from this integration of the State’s fiscal and electoral feedback circuits are too profound and numerous to readily outline, but they can be summarized in a single expectation: radical, irreversible, and continuous shift to the right.

Among the most obvious anticipated objections:
(1) It’s impractical (Oh yes, only horrors are practical)
(2) It’s unjust (For soldiers and cops, perhaps, but the deleterious effects of complication outweigh the benefits of moral nuance)
(3) In the West, at least, Brahmin plutocrats would undo it at the first opportunity (A sadly plausible prediction — perhaps no Abrahamic culture is capable of supporting a sane social order, and will always choose to resolve policing problems through expansion of the franchise.)

Granting all of these objections, and more, the principle of commutative tax-politics still provides one very valuable service: it explains what went wrong. Representational hypertrophy destroyed the modern constitutional order, based on a one-sided interpretation of the demand that government be made accountable for its exactions. Balance (commutativity) might well be unobtainable, but it isn’t difficult to understand what it would be.

April 2, 2013admin 33 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Uncategorized

TAGGED WITH : , ,

33 Responses to this entry

  • Matt Says:

    The sci-fi writer David Brin claims the Macauley quote above is fake, or misattributed or something: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-tytler-insult-is-democracy-hopeless.html

    He’s a DailyKos type lefty so take that FWIW.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Not much hangs on the authenticity of the quote, from my point of view.

    [I’ve added a link]

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 3rd, 2013 at 2:07 am Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    ” perhaps no Abrahamic culture is capable of supporting a sane social order, and will always choose to resolve policing problems through expansion of the franchise.”

    That’s really unfair to European cultures, by far the most sane and pleasant that humanity has seen. East Asia is pretty nice today but it surely wasn’t a mere 100 years ago.
    And ‘Abrahamic’ puts together Europe and the Middle East as if the culture in the ground was the same.

    The expansion of the franchise is a natural consequence of the belief in representation. Didn’t the plebs achieve equal rights in Rome? Any elite will always have junior members who raise the mob to gain power for themselves. The only way to disenfranchise the masses is having a cohesive elite, like, say, Singapore.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “Didn’t the plebs achieve equal rights in Rome?” — I’m not sure equal rights is the problem — it’s entirely compatible with commutative tax-politics (for instance). Systematic victimology or slave morality gets closer to the problem: the perverse idea that success implies a social debt, while failure earns special moral entitlement. This is the sickness afflicting Moldbug’s ‘Brahmins’, and perhaps the decadence-stage Romans were already rotten with it.
    Ironically, this speculated ‘objection’ was mostly stolen from you, although I gave it an Occidental twist (because I find it hard to imagine the Cathedral arising in any other context). If you think other cultures are equally capable of guilt-wracking themselves to ruin, then it would indeed be untenable to identify this pathology as specifically Abrahamic (or even more narrowly Judeo-Christian?), and my dreams of an arising, ruthless, eugenically self-escalating, Sino-capitalist hegemony would be dashed. The only chance then would be Skynet …

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    Well Abrahamic is a word you like to use. Isn’t slave morality a particular Christian tenet? Surely the actual Jewish descendants of Abraham aren’t that much into assigning status to victims inside their own community.

    One of the points I often make to you is that the-meek-shall-inherit-the-earth is a universal human idea to which the Chinese are no strangers.
    Data point 1: http://www.chinasmack.com/2013/stories/chinese-philanthropist-uneducated-people-should-not-have-children.html
    See how people react.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “Abrahamic is a word you like to use” — because it’s the fundamental relevant clade.

    “Surely the actual Jewish descendants of Abraham aren’t that much into assigning status to victims inside their own community.” — Jewish, Christian, and Moslem victimologies are obviously distinguishable, but they also share common traits, including an inclination to the belief that God sides with the downtrodden (so that — eschatalogically — the ‘mighty shall be brought low’).

    “the-meek-shall-inherit-the-earth is a universal human idea” — I don’t think so — Hinduism has been conspicuously uninterested in it until very recent times. Do you think the Mongols under Chinghis Khan would have subscribed to it? I don’t even think the Greeks or Romans did, until decadence overwhelmed them. As for the Chinese, I accept that they’re a difficult (and ambiguous) case, but the example you give is such strong meat (coercive negative eugenics) that I’m not sure it tells us anything except that people who object are not National Socialists.

    Posted on April 3rd, 2013 at 11:19 am Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    Nomad pastoralists are a good counter-example but I don’t know much about their internal societal dynamics, nor I care much about following their example.
    It didn’t do much good to the Hindus, did it? They still managed to get their asses kicked very thoroughly every time somebody in the border bothered to get across. It’s also funny that the caste system, which is supposed to equate poverty with sin and thus quite the opposite of slave morality, by giving the poor a monopoly in certain professions they have ensured they survive and reproduce, unlike in the West where they were replaced by their betters. The meek didn’t inherit the earth but they got to hang around.

    I think you’d like this piece:
    http://falkenblog.blogspot.jp/2010/03/why-envy-dominates-greed.html
    Which supports your point in more scientific terms.

    The idea that it’s easier for a camel to go through a needlehole than for a rich man to go to heaven seems to me to be hard, very hard-wired in the human brain.
    Data point 2: http://www.chinasmack.com/2013/pictures/chinese-rich-second-generation-teens-lavish-life-goes-viral.html

    I think there’s a middle ground between Chingis Khan, and giving council houses to any gypsy teen who gets knocked up. And it’s clear to me than most people, given the choice, would choose the latter.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 3rd, 2013 at 2:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • SDL Says:

    the-meek-shall-inherit-the-earth is a universal human idea

    Yes, but hasn’t it always been an eschatological idea? In the Christian and Jewish traditions, the meek inherit the earth after The Last Day, when God judges. God metes out the justice, giving crowns to the poor and faithful, giving small apartments to the upper-middle class believers, and casting the unjust and the wicked from His sight. The idea that humans can begin to mete out justice, in their own time–the idea that we can Bring Heaven To Earth before God’s return–is a Puritan, post-Reformation idea. Anyone who tried to talk about it before then was branded a heretic. The Anglican theologian N.T. Wright is probably the most popular contemporary proponent of this idea; he says, point blank, that it’s the job of Christians to start striving toward God’s Final Justice on their own (by cancelling all third-world debt, for starters, according to Wright).

    I have no doubt that other religious traditions have similar ideas that elevate Poverty and Marginality and cast guilt upon Success. But this inversion of the perceived order, in all traditions I’ve ever run across, happens in the afterlife or only at the command of some god or divinity. It’s not a domestic policy statement.

    So, any mere mortal who wants to initiate this social re-ordering is essentially appropriating religious traditions so that he can take the place of God in those traditions. Atheism and morally elevated social justice activism are perfectly compatible: the atheists have jettisoned God but taken upon themselves the job of bringing heaven to earth because all that New Testament Utopia stuff is actually pretty desirable, and Jesus, he was just a man, but he was also kind of like a social justice crusader, ya know? There’s no God to bring heaven to earth, so it’s up to us!

    So, will a moralistic, eschatlogical, theological idea become domestic policy in China the way the Far Left wants it to become a domestic policy in the West?

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    The idea that humans can wait and not immanentize the eschaton is preposterous. People don’t have an intuitive idea of the afterlife, i.e. in their gut they think it’s crap. Religious people don’t wanna die, do they?

    Jews don’t believe in an afterlife, nor do East Asians. Really, they don’t. Buddhism brought an idea of hell you go if you behave badly, but there’s no Dante to describe the thing, and little thought is given to it.

    Any moral system will want to be maximized. Of course in the old days large scale social engineering was impractical, so it was seldom done. These days though, we can play with race and gender roles without risking starving from a failed harvest. We do get financial crisis and low fertility, but those don’t give results until decades later, so what gives? Might as well try to achieve the Kingdom of God.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “So, will a moralistic, eschatalogical, theological idea become domestic policy in China the way the Far Left wants it to become a domestic policy in the West?”
    — it would be at least the third time it’s been tried, after the Taiping Rebellion and the Mao period. The ambiguity of the China case (grotesquely simplified) is that eschatalogical egalitarianism has been an alien idea, enthusiastically received.

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    Got a comment stuck in moderation, if you’d be so kind.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 3rd, 2013 at 3:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • SDL Says:

    The idea that humans can wait and not immanentize the eschaton is preposterous.

    I didn’t mean to suggest that humans, by and large, are content to sit around and wait for the eschaton. It just seems to me that, prior to the 20th century, and definitely prior to the Reformation, we don’t see many attempts to do it. (I could be wrong. If I’m not, I think your point, spandrell, is correct about why the recent attempts: we can play with things nowadays because the consequences of immanentizing the eschaton are neither immediate nor, perhaps, fatal.)

    Then again . . . insofar as national socialism and communism were attempts to immanentize the eschaton, I’d say the consequences can be quite immediate and fatal.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 3rd, 2013 at 5:08 pm Reply | Quote
  • Thales Says:

    “my dreams of an arising, ruthless, eugenically self-escalating, Sino-capitalist hegemony would be dashed.”

    I’m going to have to agree with Spandrell, but coming at it from a different angle: even ruthless eugenics won’t contain the genome of Western consciousness – it rooks anything even marginally less capable than itself – that’s what it does! Its survival is axiomatic. After that, history repeats, maybe as a farce.

    “ The only chance then would be Skynet …”

    Yep, but I’m anticipating a more symbiotic relationship, leading to an extermination of merely ~99% of the human population. We have the head start. Replicating human consciousness is going to prove more elusive than most believe – further, it will simply prove unnecessary.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 3rd, 2013 at 6:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • survivingbabel Says:

    I am certainly sympathetic to the resolving symmetry of the Taxation/Representation commutative property, but I think it’s fault lies in allowing voting to be a subjectively-defined position. When you allow the franchise to be based upon a fungible idea such as “did you pay into the system more than you took out”, it becomes easily gamed, and there will be lots of money and prestige for the Cathedral classes to “find” how their underclass vote blocs are still net payers.

    Instead, I would support an explicit classification between Wards of the State and Citizens of the State. Essentially, flip the script. Everyone who reaches majority age starts out a Citizen (a nod to our Universalist past), but certain life circumstances and choices would relegate one to Ward status, including mental/developmental impairments (perhaps an IQ floor) and felony convictions.

    Voting, running for public office, and freedom of contract (including use of the court system) would be restricted to Citizens. Most forms of governmental assistance would be restricted to Wards. For able-bodied non-criminal Citizens, becoming a Ward should require an application process, and perhaps even a public renunciation of their rights as Citizens. The climb back from Ward to Citizen should be even more daunting, as deterrent.

    Basically, I would like the idea of Citizen/Voter and Non-Citizen/Non-Voter to be concrete categories, which confer certain privileges and rights, rather than have them as descriptive categories.

    [Reply]

    survivingbabel Reply:

    I also left out, although perhaps it goes without saying, that reproductive rights and freedom would only belong to Citizens. This could mean mandatory birth-control and/or sterilization for Wards, or perhaps, if somehow more warm bodies were needed, Wards could be drafted for pregnancy duty. This latter scenario seems unlikely, but the point is that, if you are a Ward, the State owns you, mind, body, and soul.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “When you allow the franchise to be based upon a fungible idea such as ‘did you pay into the system more than you took out’” — I’m thinking something far crunchier and more arithmetical: Your tax bill is your (weighted) vote.

    At this point, though, the primary relevance of all these ideas (including your — Heinlein-inspired? — restricted citizenship) is to undermine, termite-like, the sense of teleological perfection attached to the egalitarian universal franchise.

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    “Caught in the slipstream of tentacled abomination, as we are, the question is an involving one. Is the spiral into a “holocaust of freedom and ecstasy” a leftist maelstrom? That seems plausible, even unavoidable, if the right defines itself in opposition to chaotic evil. But if poly-tendrilled monstrosities from the Outside aren’t our natural allies, what the hell are we doing among these squares?”

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    You’re not suggesting that it’s all failing to hang together neatly, surely?

    survivingbabel Reply:

    I agree that arguing about the particulars is less important than ensuring that anti-demotic ideas are formed and able to be spread. I’ll be honest, though; the most effective inoculation against Universalism is a simple phrase: “That person’s vote counts the same as yours.” Appealing to someone’s inner tyrant is often the best way to change their reference frame regarding the franchise.

    (Your plan, BTW, simply shifts the political battles to the tax rate. 🙂 )

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “Your plan, BTW, simply shifts the political battles to the tax rate.” — What I like about it, beyond its historical anchor in an already legitimated regime-founding slogan, is the exact quantitative reduction of voice to government exaction. Between ‘big taxes + big voice’ and ‘no taxes + no voice’ it’s completely neutral, but to the extent that you want government, you pay for it.

    sviga lae Reply:

    In that, it obtains almost crystalline cybernetic perfection.

    sviga lae Reply:

    Hell, if you want to go the whole hog, link the tax receipts to the Bitcoin blockchain and have a verifiable semi-anonymous identity for each weighted vote.

    Posted on April 3rd, 2013 at 8:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    @admin

    Hell is murky… (not sure how helpful that is).

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I doubt that it murks in order to be helpful.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 4th, 2013 at 12:37 am Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    @ sviga lae
    We might be getting a little over-excited … (but, damn, once that superb idea latches there’s no getting rid of it — a simultaneous technical solution to all electoral and financial-transactional disorders)

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 4th, 2013 at 9:16 am Reply | Quote
  • David Says:

    no form of government can survive as a permanent form of government.

    One -ary, -ist, -at, -an, -ian or another hopes for an enlightened despot, another hopes for an enlightened elite, yet another for enlightened masses. A nice continuum of hoped-for forms of (no doubt “permanent”) government. As with most continua applied to humans and their affairs, the extremes are likely the least tenable–relatively enlightened despots devolve within the space of a generation or so, and enlightening a relatively large enough swath of the masses to count as such is impossible even in the event of a relatively homogenous population.

    So somewhere in the middle you have a muddle–perhaps something like “democracy” but limited in various ways (by the way, given recent trends in US campaign finance laws, things have moved in the direction of more money/property=more votes/political power quite markedly, by the way, though not in such a nice clean and honest way as proposed above; the so-called 1% or so seem to be doing more or less what you’re suggesting, admin, albeit relatively undercover); perhaps something like an imperial dynasty, also limited in its power in various ways.

    “Dreams of an arising, ruthless, eugenically self-escalating, Sino-capitalist hegemony” come always already “dashed,” don’t they, just like dreams of any other “permanent government” (or even dreams of a permanent lack of government, because though one might think one doesn’t immanentize the eschaton, well, one does, really, even if one thinks one yearns for an anti-eschaton)? “Crystalline cyberperfection.” Reactionary crack, reactionary cyberporn. Have another hit, click another pixelated silicone tit. It’s the same release of happy-brain chemicals that commies and xtians and “warmists” and all the rest of us get from tickling our own individual political fantasy pleasure centers, innit?

    And while speaking of victimology as a problem, seems to me that reactionaries come across time and again as inherently resentful self-identified victims seeking either to restore what was (imagined) lost and/or forge in the future that which will avenge (imagined) loss and install regime that will fulfill fantasies of what once was/will be again? Mad-Lib it: Are today’s “reactionaries” really any different/better than ___________? But I’m not a reactionary, so I’m certainly not right about any of this, right.

    “We might be getting a little over-excited…” Oh, no, not at all.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 6th, 2013 at 3:40 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Objections- “(2) It’s unjust (For soldiers and cops perhaps)…

    Time.To.ReThink.That.One.

    You see my Dear when you have the gun, you have the power. It’s a question of realizing it.

    Perhaps there’s another Singularity …and you’ve missed it?

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 7th, 2013 at 2:48 am Reply | Quote
  • MattO Says:

    Democracy, The God That Failed – Hoppe

    Nick, I don’t know if you’ve seen this yet but I thought this was clever.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-33cuur-hTc

    the original
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtUVQei3nX4

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    GENIUS! Haha. I’m probably the only person here who knew the original. 😉

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Thanks Matt — I’m still struggling to get it to play (my set up here is disastrously primitive when it comes to multimedia)

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 12th, 2013 at 8:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • Chevalier de Johnstone Says:

    You two are misinterpreting Biblical scripture. The idea that Christianity is some kind of “slave religion” is a modern invention which would have been laughable to, say, Charles Martel. The modernist Brahmin interpretation of poverty as morality is the result of a secular humanist corruption of Biblical scripture which equates material outcomes with spiritual morality. This is entirely at odds with traditional Christian theology.

    The Biblical passages relating the difficulty of a rich man entering Heaven refer not to a man’s material success but to who he is – a “rich man”. A rich man is someone who is defined by his possessions: he has acquired them in order to become rich and not for some other purpose. Christ remarks that this essentially nihilistic state of being is not conducive to holistic spiritual health. By way of contrast, a man who for example works hard in order to provide a comfortable living for his wife and children may have the exact same material wealth but is not “a rich man” but “a good husband”. It is not the amount of material wealth but its immaterial purpose that matters. Thus, it is true that a virtuous poor man or slave can be morally good, but it is because of his virtue, not his poverty or submission. A man who defines himself by his material economic success – or lack of it – cannot find spiritual enlightenment.

    The idea of rule by the materially-successful elite seems to me to be a recipe for total disaster. It is also simply more of the same. It clearly identifies the problem of modern liberal democracy: all human interactions, including those related to government, are defined in strictly material/economic terms. It then attempts to solve this problem with a steroidal injection. You are suggesting the replacement of Plato’s philosopher-kings with plutocrats. At least the philosopher-kings were born and raised to govern for the benefit of the city. This is Moldbug’s problem as well, and it is always the result of a fundamentally flawed secular humanist view of human nature. You treat human beings as ants which can be programmed by means of material incentives, with the goal of good government being to keep the ant-hill harmoniously scurrying through its motions. At least Plato’s polis realizes the human potential in its collective nature. You would build a polis of ants which in the whole is simply a larger mass of ants!

    The purpose of human society, of human existence, is not material gain. The purpose of government is, as referenced in the U.S. Constitution which itself is derivative of de Vattel, to promote the general welfare. The bastardized modern corruption of the “general welfare clause” is completely at odds with its true meaning, which is that the entire point of engaging in the collective action of forming a government is to promote the good of “us” – the plurality. This presupposes the recognition that there is an “us” and that there are collective goods from which the “us” can benefit, which goods may require sacrifice on the part of the individual. This is the essence of virtue. It is also the basis of all successful religions, whether heathenry, Christianity, Hinduism, military esprit de corps or what have you: the true measure of a man, of his human virtue, is not in what he achieves for himself but in what he does to promote the collective good – the good of the participatory plural “us”.

    You ought to read more Jack Donovan. Man does not want a comfortable existence: he wants his life to have meaning and importance. He wants to know that he matters, that his works will be remembered by his heirs and his community. Material wealth is a means to an end and nothing more: this is Christ’s message and the message of all religions which spiritually nurture successful societies. Man’s proper spiritual goal is virtue, not material success, and the symbol of virtue is the fasces.

    You also ought to read the post by David Brin linked in this blog post. Brin, of course, doesn’t understand his own references, but that’s no reason to ignore what he says. He remarks that the citizens of democratic ancient Athens voted to invest silver in their future. Brin does not understand why: it is because the citizens of the Athenian demos recognized the virtue of civic investment. They understood there to be an “us” whose future ought to be considered. All societies made up of men with moral and civic virtue are successful regardless of their form of government, because to be virtuous is to understand one’s responsibility not to “me” but to “us”. Virtue is the sinew of the Way of the Gang, but the gang – the demos – comes first. The core of a multigenerational society is the family unit. Adam cannot be a virtuous husband without Eve; a man cannot be a virtuous member of society without a society.

    This is the essence of the American Founders’ admonishment to the citizens of that new nation-state: in multiple speeches and writings they emphasized that effective republicanism requires a moral citizenry; that it is not a design of the Republic that it keeps the citizenry moral, but it is up to the moral citizenry to collectively keep the Republic. Contrary to the bromides of leftist-educated right-wing American pundits today, it is not the American form of government that was ever to be considered exceptional; after all, the founders seriously considered re-instituting a constitutional monarchy. What they thought exceptional was the moral virtue of the American people — a people whose morality was uncorrupted by the materialist trappings of European false-virtue, which confused manners with morals. When de Tocqueville later visited the country he remarked on the exceptional communal virtue of a frontier people who were both individually capable but constantly reminded of their communal dependence. American-style democracy, while it existed, was always in the spirit of the Athenian demos: independence not of the individual, but of the local community, bound together by means of the civic virtue felt by each member towards each of “us”.

    Your deranged and unscientific allegiance to the false religion of secular humanism blinds you to the fundamental truth perhaps best described by the Biblical idea that man is created in the image of God. The utmost goal of this creature is not mechanical, material efficiency, but to be divine – to achieve supreme virtue. This fact is obvious to any observant student of human nature. What does a child dream of growing up to be? Not independently wealthy and able to live a life of leisure by means of winning a generous payment of damages in a trumped-up case of malpractice. No, children dream of being firefighters, astronauts, doctors, mothers – all professions which are afforded respect by even our degenerate society because the essence of their profession is to improve the collective good. A “beaver” capitalist, to use Carlyle’s designation, may indeed provide virtuous service to his community as a consequence of his quest for material wealth. But children do not dream of being beavers, they dream of glory: of the communal respect and its accompanying material benefits which accrue to the man or woman who is dedicated to collective good, not material gain. A boy doesn’t want to be a fireman because you get union benefits and an excellent pay package, and when told these accompany the job his assumption is not that this is because of the laws of supply and demand but because firemen “deserve” it.

    A virtuous people does not care how government is funded because it doesn’t matter. For a people steeped in the virtue-destroying falsehoods of individualist liberalism, no mechanical design of a tax system can substitute for the loss of virtue. “No representation without taxation” falsely supposes that it is possible to create a virtuous society without a virtuous people. You make the same mistake as the proseletyzers of any temperance movement: you assume that by restructuring society so that people cannot drink, or smoke, or so that only those who work hard get to make political decisions, you will form the masses into a people who do not look for happiness in drinking and smoking, and who practice responsibility in their political governance. This mechanical solution appears the easier because you short-circuit the need to change people’s minds, and it is in fact impossible. The only way is to make the masses into a people who do not look for happiness in drink and smoke, or who practice civic responsibility, is to convince them that there is a meaningful, spiritual purpose to doing so. If you want to live in a good society you must convince the members of your society to be good. There are no shortcuts.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    Did you notice that you’ve substantiated the orthodox objection to protestantism? Namely, that the layhuman is not qualified to read the Bible. These corruptions are exactly what happens when one takes a naive reading of the rich man and meek inheritance lines.

    I should probably stress that this doesn’t mean the Protestants were wrong about priests being untrustworthy authorities, though.

    Speaking of, strictly I should ask for your sources. However, what you’ve said seems more consistent with other things I’ve sourced than what you debunk, so I don’t actually feel the need.

    it is because the citizens of the Athenian demos recognized the virtue of civic investment.

    This is probably not true. Either they effectively had an oligarchy due to the limited franchise, or they voted that way because it was socially embarrassing not to. As we can see, it is trivial to change what is socially embarrassing.

    All societies made up of men with moral and civic virtue are successful regardless of their form of government

    Temporarily. Reliance on virtue has been tried and it doesn’t work; it always erodes virtue. I’m not going to defend this properly, just consider it a possibility and keep your eyes open.

    If the American residents were indeed more virtuous, it was because their environment punished those who weren’t. For purely pecuniary reasons, they would adopt more virtuous behaviours and then rationalize them.

    Virtue often leads to riches. Riches make the environment forgiving. If a person steps into the environment’s former role, they are resisted and defeated in due course.

    all human interactions, including those related to government, are defined in strictly material/economic terms.

    Indeed a problem, but literally one step away from a solution.

    The reason materials are valuable is because humans value them. Humans also value immaterial things. Indeed, usually the material is the means, not the end.

    However, it is currently unfashionable to admit to wanting these immaterial things. As a loaded example, even if atheism is true, many wish it wasn’t, even atheists. So what does it mean about us that we want these things? Perhaps we should do something about it? These questions usually aren’t even raised, let alone investigated.

    The utmost goal of this creature is not mechanical, material efficiency, but to be divine – to achieve supreme virtue.

    Stated in a sublimely humanistic manner.

    Why is supreme virtue the best? Because the creature feels it is the best. So, if some individual feels differently, for that individual, the best is in fact different.

    Wealth is one way to have the power to achieve your goals.

    children dream of being firefighters, astronauts, doctors, mothers – all professions which are afforded respect

    They want to be admired. To the exclusion of things such as deserving to be admired. When told the fireman deserves benefits, they don’t check, they just do whatever it is that accrues the benefits.

    Also, once again your point supports humanism, rather than opposing it.

    If the men the boys grow up to be in fact think that firemen deserve benefits, then their wealth will go towards supplying those benefits, thus reducing their cost. If they in fact value firefighters above investment advisors, they will tend to open their wallets for firefighters and not IAs. Fortunately or unfortunately, the market responds to ideology.

    If the men in fact have wealth to share, that is. If they’re living paycheck to paycheck, it doesn’t matter what they want.

    (Is my theme clear? I kind of feel like I should make it clearer.)

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 15th, 2013 at 6:19 am Reply | Quote
  • O Desvendamento – Outlandish Says:

    […] Original. […]

    Posted on October 11th, 2016 at 11:51 pm Reply | Quote

Leave a comment