By Neil Lock
This is the second – and longest! – part of a six-part re-formulation of my philosophical ideas. In the first part, I discussed the ideas of six thinkers who have significantly influenced me. In chronological order, these thinkers were or are: Aristotle, John Locke, Franz Oppenheimer, Ayn Rand, Jason Alexander and Frank van Dun.
In this essay, I’ll put our situation today into historical context, and try to draw out some of the rhythms of history. Further, I’ll introduce some of the thinkers and doers of the past, both on our side and on our enemies’, who have orchestrated these rhythms.Continue reading
©By ilana mercer
BERNIE SANDERS, the senator from Vermont, said he thinks “everyone should have the right to vote—even the Boston Marathon bomber … even for terrible people, because once you start chipping away and you say, ‘Well, that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote,’ you’re running down a slippery slope.”
Bernie is right about a “slippery slope.” But the befuddled Bernie is worried about the wrong slope.
Denying the vote to some and conferring it on others is not a “slippery slope.” It’s exercising good judgment.
Insisting that the vote in America belongs to everyone, irrespective: now that’s a slippery slope, down which the slide is well underway.
As it stands, there are almost no moral or ethical obligations attached to citizenship in our near-unfettered Democracy.
Multiculturalism means that you confer political privileges on many an individual whose illiberal practices run counter to, even undermine, the American political tradition.
Radical leaders across the U.S. quite seriously consider Illegal immigrants as candidates for the vote—and for every other financial benefit that comes from the work of American citizens.
The rights of all able-bodied idle individuals to an income derived from labor not their own: That, too, is a debate that has arisen in democracy, where the demos rules like a despot.
But then moral degeneracy is inherent in raw democracy. The best political thinkers, including America’s constitution-makers, warned a long time ago that mass, egalitarian society would thus degenerate.
What Bernie Sanders prescribes for the country—unconditional voting—is but an extension of “mass franchise,” which was feared by the greatest thinkers on Democracy. Prime Minister George Canning of Britain, for instance.
Canning, whose thought is distilled in Russell Kirk’s magnificent exegesis, “The Conservative Mind,” thought that “the franchise should be accorded to persons and classes insofar as they possess the qualifications for right judgment and are worthy members of their particular corporations.”
By “corporations,” Canning (1770-1827) meant something quite different to our contemporary, community-killing multinationals.
“Corporations,” in the nomenclature of the times, meant very plainly in “the spirit of cooperation, based upon the idea of a neighborhood. [C]ities, parishes, townships, professions, and trades are all the corporate bodies that constitute the state.”
To the extent that an individual citizen is a decent member of these “little platoons” (Edmund Burke’s iridescent term), he may be considered, as Canning saw it, for political participation.
“If voting becomes a universal and arbitrary right,” cautioned Canning, “citizens become mere political atoms, rather than members of venerable corporations; and in time this anonymous mass of voters will degenerate into pure democracy,” which, in reality is “the enthronement of demagoguery and mediocrity.” (“The Conservative Mind,” p. 131.)
That’s us. Demagoguery and mediocrity are king in contemporary democracies, where the organic, enduring, merit-based communities extolled by Canning, no longer exists and are no longer valued.
This is the point at which America finds itself and against which William Lecky, another brilliant British political philosopher and politician, argued.
The author of “Democracy and Liberty” (1896) predicted that “the continual degradation of the suffrage” through “mass franchise” would end in “a new despotism.”
And so it has.
Then as today, radical, nascent egalitarians, who championed the universal vote abhorred by Lecky, attacked “institution after institution,” harbored “systematic hostility” toward “owners of landed property” and private property and insisted that “representative institutions” and the franchise be extended to all irrespective of “circumstance and character.”
Then as now, the socialist radical’s “last idea in constitutional policy” is to destroy some institutions or to injure some class.” (Ibid, p. 335.)
And so it is with the radical Mr. Sanders, who holds—quite correctly, if we consider democracy’s historic trajectory as presaged by the likes of Lecky and Canning—that a democracy must be perpetually “expanded,” and that “every single person does have the right to vote,” irrespective of “circumstance and character.”
The vote, of course, is an earned political privilege, not a God-given natural right, as Bernie the atheist describes it.
The granting of political rights should always be circumscribed and circumspect; it ought to be predicated on the fulfillment of certain responsibilities and the embodiment of basic virtues. “Thou shalt not murder,” for example.
Indeed, the case of the Boston Bomber is a no-brainer.
Tsarnaev came from a family of Chechen grifters. He got the gift of American political and welfare rights, no strings attached, no questions asked. That’s how we roll. That’s how little these rights have come to mean.
Yet Dzhokhar Tsarnaev didn’t merely pick a quarrel with one or two fellow Americans or with their government; he hated us all. If he could, Tsarnaev would have killed many more of his countrymen, on April 15, 2013.
But for a radical leveler like Mr. Sanders, virtue has no place in a social democracy. Sanders’ project, after all, is “legislating away the property of one class and transferring it to another.”
Since Bernie Sanders was so perfectly serious in protesting the removal of the Boston bomber’s political privileges—he should not be taken seriously.
Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa” (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube
Latin Stories: A GCSE Reader
Henry Cullen, Michael Dormandy, John Taylor
Bloomsbury Academic, London, 2017
ISBN: 978 1 3500 0384 2
Any English speaker who calls Latin easy is either a genius or a fool. It is a synthetic Indo-European language that communicates in ways very different from English. Nouns are divided into at least five classes, each of which has five or six or seven cases – singular and plural – to express meanings that we express by adding prepositions. Pronouns have their own declensions. Except for the perfect passive tenses, verbs are generally inflected. Because the Classical grammar is a snapshot of a language in rapid and profound change, there are duplications and irregularities everywhere. The future tense, in particular, is broken, and has been reconstructed in every language I know that descends from Latin. Add to this an elaborate syntax, an indifference to what we regard as a normal order of words, and a vocabulary that is naturally poor, but expanded by allowing most common words to bear different meanings that must usually be inferred from their context. Continue reading
Thoughts on the Fallen
by Sean Gabb
11th November 2018
A hundred years today since the end of the Great War – a sentence ripe with melancholy. I am old enough to have been a child in the visible shadow of that war. Yes, I would listen to men and women, younger than I am now, talking of their part in the Dunkirk Evacuation, or discussing who had made a fool of herself in the street when the bombs fell on Chatham. That second war, filled with colour and excitement, was barely history when I was a boy. Its end was more recent than Tony Blair’s Serbian adventure is to us. Habits of life and patterns of friendship set in The War were still established facts in the world that I had joined. Behind this, however, loomed the greater and more terrible events of an earlier war. Every day, I saw the old women in black, the old men without arms or legs, or wearing dark glasses – the memorials built large so all the names of the fallen could be fitted on them in capitals an inch high. There was no colour in that war, no excitement – only the sadness of irretrievable loss. Continue reading
What Exactly Did the Reformation Reform?
By Frank van Dun
The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century reformed nothing but it changed everything. It was a crucially important factor in the demise of Medieval Latin Christendom and its rapid transformation in what we now know as Europe or, more generally, the West. Philosophically and religiously it redefined and revolutionized Western civilization, for, what characterizes a civilization is not so much what people do (which is pretty much the same always and everywhere) as what they conscientiously believe they ought to do: its fundamental scheme of justification and rectification — in a word, its conscience. Continue reading
The Mediaeval Roman Empire:
An Unlikely Emergence and Survival
Speech Given to the Property and Freedom Society,
Bodrum, 14th September 2018
As ever, I will begin by thanking Professor Hoppe and his wife Gulçin for their great kindness in asking me once again to speak to the Property and Freedom Society here in Bodrum. I will also thank them for the honour they have shown me, for the second year running, of asking me to speak first.
On the face of it, the subject I have been given for this year is both obscure in itself and of little relevance to the overall purpose of an organisation set up to advance the restoration of a free and prosperous civilisation. I have been asked to speak about the Emergence and Survival of the Byzantine Empire. I believe that the subject is entirely relevant. Properly considered, the history of what I will from now call not the Byzantine Empire, but the Mediaeval Roman Empire, is perhaps the most astonishing instance of how courage and determination can keep civilisation alive in the face of the most forbidding and apparently overpowering challenges. In setting out my argument, I hope you will forgive me if I begin with an introduction covering much that many of your will know at least as well as I do, but that may not be so familiar to those reading the text or watching the speech on YouTube. Continue reading