Brad Spangler has answered an interesting freedom-oriented meme, and tags me to do likewise. The question is: “What motivated you to start looking into Anarchist/Libertarian thought?” So, here goes my answer.
Presto shared this with me, and I have been remiss in both thanking him for it and sharing the love.
No law can give power to private persons; every law transfers power from private persons to government.
From Isabel Paterson.
It’s to be expected from the govgoons and burricrats, of course—it is part and parcel of their desire to track, and to be efficacious in tracking, individuals throughout all their activities, across all their days. But I have seen the cry echoed across one too many a private place. “You should have to use your real name!” squawk the parroting, semi-non-thinking plebes. Well, pray tell me this first: what is a real name—and what is real about a name?
I think every somewhat-literate person on the planet—certainly those in the Americas and Europe, and much of Asia—know the Nike slogan, “Just Do It”. I’ll admit to liking it at first. It was inspiring, motivating ... instead of sinking in the quagmire of doubts and fears, just do it! To me there was an implicit promise of seeing things all the way through, and if the result wasn’t exactly as you envisioned, well, you just did it, and that should count for something, right?
Well, leave it to me to find a way to create obstacles out of that inspirational phrase ... but I’ve hit on an alternative that works much better for me.
Over the weekend, I moseyed over to The Economist—I honestly don’t know why—and got no further than the first article to catch my eye: An expensive dinner. My fascination focused not on the tale of rising food prices, but some of the strange memes contained therein. Picking through the entire article, since it may disappear behind a subscriber-only button at some point ...
I think most individuals understand at some level that it’s taxes and fees that fund government at all levels. But Jay Jardine recently tossed out a phrase that bluntly, graphically, and very effectively captures it in a way that will probably cause a lot of people to wake up just a little bit more to the true cost of the state in individuals’ lives.
The usual suspects, naturally. But it turns out that isn’t all.
In case it needs expanding, that would be “Who Would Jesus Vote For?”. I’m not the one asking the question, but I expect it’ll come up eventually. The answer comes from How stupid do Christians believe God really is? at Scholars and Rogues. As the title implies, the post is focusing on a different subject, which led to this bit [emphasis and link in original]:
On this point, he [Jesus] was unambiguous: Jesus Christ, like the framers of the US Constitution, was a believer in the separation of church and state. Jesus and Jefferson held this view for different reasons, of course. Jesus saw mucking around in politics as the sort of activity that was properly beneath the dignity of the truly righteous man. Every moment spent tending to the petty affairs of this world was a moment lost to the only meaningful pursuit available: preparing the soul for the next life. Jefferson, on the other hand, saw religion as inherently corrosive to the conduct of government. His only flaw was that he made too many assumptions about the capacity of the average citizen to grasp the obvious. He could have used a measure more of Jesus’ painful literal-mindedness at times.
I don’t hold to the “preparing for the next life” business much, but I certainly agree that there are myriad better things to invest one’s moments in than inflicting a ruler upon oneself and others.
(I spotted a link to this post at a forum that wishes to distance itself from search engines, so no credit link ...)
Deviation is necessary for progress to happen.
Or something like that. I spotted the thought scribbled on a motorcycle cowling, and didn’t have anything at hand to get it verbatim. It reminded me of a couple of lines from an old Rush song that I’ve always liked (even if I can never remember the title):
Everybody got to deviate from the norm
and then, near the end of the song, Geddy sang:
Everybody got to elevate from the norm.
The Seven C’s
By Shaun Saunders
(For Sunni and her Conspirators, with special thanks to Cat Farmer for her brilliant, inspirational essay The Seven C’s: An Ideological or Social Spectrum)
When the spunky young guy dropped me the corny line, “So what’s a nice girl like you doing here?” instead of the usual retorts someone my age might use in my position, I thought I’d answer with the truth.
“I’m here because my father loves me.” There! That should wipe the smug authoritative look from his face.
And it did, for a moment. He opened his mouth, found nothing quick to say, and closed it again.
“There’s more to it than that, of course,” I added, taking the advantage.
“There usually is,” he answered drolly, with a half-raised eyebrow. He hooked a nearby stool with the toe of his boot and plonked himself down, all ears.
“If you don’t mind, I’ll stand,” I said.
He smiled. “But of course, whatever makes you most comfortable.”
I cleared my throat. “It all begins with the ‘Seven Cs of Freedom’.”
His smile became a grin. “Oh, this is going to be good. I must hear it all!”
“According to my dad, the seven Cs represent an ideological spectrum between ‘Contemplation’ and ‘Coercion’, or, as dad says, thuggery. He also says that the spectrum is a way of looking at relations between people in any given society, and that its rules and laws, and people’s attitudes and behaviours towards one another, reflect which end of the spectrum most people are at. Are you with me?”
“Oh yes, and most fascinated, too,” he said.
“Good. Would you mind bringing your stool a little closer? Thanks. It makes this a little more comfortable for me.”
“Of course. But what are the other five Cs?”
“Ok. I’ll start at thuggery – Coercion – and work backwards, just like dad did when he explained it to me. Coercion is the antithesis of freedom, because by its very definition it must mean an imposition of some kind by one person on another.”
The young man nodded. “Yes, it can only include freedom for the person doing the coercing, no matter how it is prettied up for general consumption.”
Wow! This guy is smart. “The next C is Control: this is about using rules and regulations, policies and procedures and customs to keep the majority in their place –”
“– But the minority with the ability to coerce determine what and where that place is.”
“Right again. Would you like to take over my monologue?”
“No, not at all – you’re doing a swell job. Please continue –” (with a twinkle in his eye) “– I think your father would prefer it that way.”
“Next up is Cajolery. This is much harder edged than merely getting your point of view across – think of it as persuasion with a sword aimed at your target audience’s throat. Your point of view is the only point of view...and everyone had better take it on board.
“It’s all uphill from here – although cooperation is sometimes a front for control and coercion –”
“– Like when someone puts a gun to your head or hires a thirty-thousand dollar a day barrister and says ‘please cooperate with me’? Sorry, I’m butting in again.”
“No, you’re actually communicating with me, and showing courtesy at the same time by questioning your own actions. But you’ve knocked out another two Cs...”
“Leaving us with?”
I sighed, perhaps a little over-dramatically. “Contemplation. Placing considered thought before action, or, in my case, inaction.”
The object of my attention screwed up his brow. “Okay,” he said slowly. “But where does your dad and his affection for you – his obviously lovely daughter – come into this intriguing ideological parable?” He cast a glance at the storm clouds gathering in the afternoon sky. “We may have exhausted the seven Cs, but I do hope that you can finish this story without working through any more of the alphabet: I have a feeling that might benefit us both.”
That twinkle, again.
I sighed. “As you would know, my father has strong views on what is just and right, and what a citizen’s responsibilities are in maintaining a just and right society. He expects everyone to contribute to that according to his or her individual capacity to do so.”
Big, cold raindrops began to patter around us.
More quickly now, “Last week a petition was circulating through the village... about boat people or something. Illegal immigrants maybe. Whatever. Anyway, this morning, during breakfast, my father asked me for my views on the subject. When he found out that I didn’t have any, and worse, that I hadn’t given thought to the petition, he was not impressed.”
“What exactly did you say to him?” the young man asked, grimacing as he chilled in the rain.
“I said, ‘Well, that has nothing to do with me...I’ll let someone else worry about them.’ My father stopped eating, looked at my mother and said, ‘Is this our fault?’ Mother’s reply was, ‘Yes, ultimately, but someone else can worry about it.’ Dad said, ‘Agreed.’
“Dad excused himself from the table, made a call, and shortly after some men in uniform were knocking on our front door. As they dragged me out of the house, kicking and screaming in a most unladylike fashion, I asked my father how he could do this to me.”
“Don’t tell me – he said, ‘This is the first C – Coercion – and you’ll have to plead to someone else, I’m not interested’?”
“Close. He actually said this was ‘Cajolery’.”
The young man shivered in the rain. “Whew. I’d hate to get him riled up to ‘coercion’, then.“
I put on my most endearing, please-help-me-I’m-defenceless-and-very-very-pretty smile. “Yeah, that’s about it. Put in the public stocks in the centre of town because I couldn’t be bothered helping someone else I’ve never even met.”
“Or even giving them thought,” he corrected. He shook his head. “Ah, the advantages of being the Mayor’s daughter...”
Fuck, it was cold, and I was starving, too. Enough banter. Time for some mutual ‘cooperation’. None too innocently, “Perhaps you could help me out of these wet clothes? They didn“t padlock the stock –” (Not that that would stop any healthy guy given the option of having some private time with me.) “– Dad said all I had to do was convince someone to let me out.” With a knowing smile, “How about it? If you’re still not convinced of my innocence, you can tie me up someplace warmer.”
The young man’s face turned to stone. He arose from his stool. “No, I’m sorry, but life is not a fairy tale – wolves do have teeth, and little girls in red capes do get eaten, cold or not. You’ll have to look elsewhere for your Galahad, but I do thank you for the parable. It was most...instructional. Good day.”
“How can you just leave me here?”
“Quite easily, I assure you. Your argument lacks a ‘C’ not on that list: conviction.”
The duty constable smiled once more as he departed. “Careful, or you’ll have me adding another C to that list, somewhere above coercion and far more personal. Give my regards to your father.”
The first panel shows Mafalda reading the dictionary.
"DEMOCRACIA (del griego, demos, pueblo, y kratos, autoridad) Gobierno en que el pueblo ejerce la soberanía".
DEMOCRACY (from Greek, demos, people, and kratos, authority) Government in which the people exercise sovereignty.
The rest is self explanatory.
A long, long time ago (but not in a galaxy far, far away), NeoWayland honored this place by choosing it for a Thinking Blogger award. Being both an award and a meme, the baton was passed to me to choose five bloggers upon whom to bestow the award.
And so I started thinking about that. And it didn’t take very long for me to conclude that this was much too similar to choosing favorites for me to be able to select five bloggers quickly. I think that became a convenient excuse to avoid choosing. That said, though, the folks listed to the right are largely there because I regularly find thoughtful content at those sites. That’s why I read blogs—to be stimulated, challenged ... to have my ideas critiqued and checked, and improved, I hope.
But I didn’t stop thinking about it as I visited the many sites I try to frequent, and so, at long last, I have compiled my list.
I haven’t meant to be absent here so much of late. I have been busy with various things, and it’s hard to say no to the snolfs when they ask me to come outside to play or explore with them ... but those are only partial explanations.