Blog description.

Accentuating the Liberal in Classical Liberal: Advocating Ascendency of the Individual & a Politick & Literature to Fight the Rise & Rise of the Tax Surveillance State.

Liberty and freedom are two proud words that have been executed from the political lexicon: they were frog marched and stood before a wall of blank minds, then forcibly blindfolded, and shot, with the whimpering staccato of ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ resounding over and over. And not only did this atrocity go unreported by journalists in the mainstream media, they were in the firing squad.

The premise of this blog is simple: the Soviets thought they had equality, and welfare from cradle to grave, until the illusory free lunch of redistribution took its inevitable course, and cost them everything they had. First to go was their privacy, after that their freedom, then on being ground down to an equality of poverty only, for many of them their lives as they tried to escape a life behind the Iron Curtain. In the state-enforced common good, was found only slavery to the prison of each other's mind; instead of the caring state, they had imposed the surveillance state to keep them in line. So why are we accumulating a national debt to build the slave state again in the West? Where is the contrarian, uncomfortable literature to put the state experiment finally to rest?

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

This is the end ... of Classical Liberalism.


This is how the post ends:

...  our recent history has seen the death of classical liberalism, which is the death of the identity and freedom of the individual, and with the death of the individual it is, of course, the death of arts, the death of culture, the death of all that gives value to a human life.  It's the death of hope and everything good. The pursuit of happiness ends, again, in the Gulag, albeit this time around, a Gulag of Good Intentions. And there’s no way back to a state of freedom, for against this collectivist menace of state forced altruism, the individual is powerless: that was precisely why the individual, the smallest minority in a society, was the one who needed the protection of the law, and from the tyranny of the mob. We have had voted the opposite.


This is how I got there ...

__________________________________________________________


Unfortunately the Founding Fathers, and Ayn Rand, were wrong on the ‘inalienable’ nature of the rights required for the protection of my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. A comment from Lindsay Perigo on his SOLO site about the nature of rights first got me to thinking on this, then, while reading Ben Kafka’s potted history on bureaucracy, I came across the following quotation:

Quote:

“The historian Keith Baker has argued that Comte and Saint-Simon were primarily concerned with bringing an end to the era of the French Revolution. Like Sieyès and Condorcet before them, Comte and Saint-Simon believed it was up to a class of experts—scientists, industrialists—to work out a new doctrine capable of bringing enduring social and political stability. The scientists would turn their observational skills onto the social and political realm, revealing its laws of development. The industrialists would then reconstruct institutions in such a way that their operations were in harmony with these laws. Unlike Sieyès and Condorcet, however, these postrevolutionary thinkers adopted what Baker has called a “theocratic” understanding of knowledge. Any deviation from rationality became a kind of heresy. “No one is so insane as to set himself up, knowingly, in revolt against the nature of things,” Comte argued (101). He had supreme faith in the power of knowledge.


The objective was to protect against arbitrariness in all of its manifestation. Earlier political thinkers had tended to associate arbitrariness mainly with absolutist governments, but for Comte any form of government was susceptible so long as it rested on “metaphysical” rather than “positive” principles. It hardly mattered whether the supreme legislator owed its existence to one contract or two, whether it was composed of one man or many. It could even exist in the sort of state envisioned by Rousseau in The Social Contract…”

In that last paragraph, I think Comte hits on where the founding fathers were wrong in the central premise of the Declaration of Independence, in their assumption the rights pertaining to freedom were inalienable, in other words, a metaphysical given:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – The Declaration of Independence


Ayn Rand in her Philosophy: Who Needs It describes a metaphysical given as:

Things of human origin (whether physical or psychological) may be designated as “man-made facts”—as distinguished from the metaphysically given facts. A skyscraper is a man-made fact, a mountain is a metaphysically given fact. One can alter a skyscraper or blow it up (just as one can alter or blow up a mountain), but so long as it exists, one cannot pretend that it is not there or that it is not what it is..


Then, pertaining to rights, although she says a “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context., a man-made fact, and further:

The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.



Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.



The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.


Where she then confuses me is, as with the Founding Fathers, repairing to the notion of ‘inalienable’, as in:

Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times. Therefore, the rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another.

And again:

It is not society, nor any social right, that forbids you to kill—but the inalienable individual right of another man to live.


Both these quotations from Textbook of Americanism, suggesting to me the notion that such ‘inalienable’ rights are a ‘metaphysical given’, that they cannot be separated from the individual. I know I am right in the case of the Declaration, although I admit to be on unsure ground with Ayn Rand, on which I’m happy to be put right, although, whatever, for the sake of this argument, the notion of the rights I need to be a free man, namely, property rights, the right to not have force initiated on me, the right to pursue my happiness, the right to My life, these rights are not inalienable, they are not a given, and confusion over that point has been catastrophic to the cause of liberty: we have all perhaps been too prepared to let the voted evil in our social democracies shame us guiltily into accepting the state as our Jailer, as the Devine Redistributer, Saviour of the  Sheeple who are too dumb to run their own lives.

The proof is that if my right to be left alone was an inalienable one, then I would not be living in fear behind an Iron Drape: an IRD officer could not legally compel me into an interrogation room on threat of my freedom;  an IRD officer could not, by man-made law, have the power of God over me, with all aspects of my life open to them. The fact that the tax legislation does completely take my freedom and my privacy away, even though I may have lived a peaceful life, harming no one, proves that my right to that freedom, to be left alone, was anything but inalienable, at least, certainly not 'self-evident', to quote the Declaration, to everyone who mattered.  I surely can, and have, via the vote of the majority, been separated from my ‘right’ to live my life unhindered by those who would use force to coerce me to their ends, such as, most pointedly, the Big Brother state.

Because my right to freedom is not a ‘metaphysical given’, I’m looking at the world created by man around me, and am accepting I will never be a free man. Yes, human reason, un-bullied, will always arrive at the wisdom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for each individual one of us, however, we don’t live in an age of political reason. To recall my first quotation, we live in an age where insane politicians have ‘set themselves, knowingly, in revolt against the nature of things’. An age where politicians bribe their electorates with the prospect of a free lunch, then tax, borrow and spend our liberty away trying to achieve the illusion, and when it all goes, and went, wrong, Western economies falling down, as they are, thought they could fix the problems of their Keynesian insanity, with more Keynesian insanity. An age where politicians thought the moral devastation wrought by welfarism, could be fixed by more welfarism. A sick age where men who mention freedom as the thing to strive for, are sneered at and jeered at by the feeble minded without the wherewithal to think or argue beyond ad hominem on every blog thread -   look at the comments to this thread. Where even the economists who profess to believe in markets, do so only with the passion of a frosty night, and in the final instance, repair to the well-being of the majority tyranny as the solution to their theoretical aggregates, blinded as they are by their utilitarian fascism – see this thread, and comments.  An age when a Finance Minister who pissed away ten years of New Zealand’s best commodity prices against the wall of the bigger thug state, and who designed an envy tax on the rich in such an absurd manner he distorted the entire tax field, for which IRD are still hanging taxpayers off hooks for, and who voted down knighthoods because he didn't believe in them, yet gets, and accepts, a knighthood. For the same reasons the Enlightenment saw the separation of state and church, now we need to separate the insane state from free markets, which, as the expression of the complex wants and desires of all the individuals in an economy, is to separate the state from the lives of a freed people.

And there’s the crux of an irresolvable problem.

Connoting Comte’s idea of ‘positive principles’, it would appear I have to first get the ‘village’ I live in to grant me those rights to allow my freedom; only in this way can I be freely part of the village, pursuing my happiness, as opposed to the village owning me as it does at present. But how to go about this?

Via reason I know the rights required for my freedom are the only foundation of the peaceful, civilised society, but those of us who understand this are now the smallest of minorities.  As will be the subject of a future post, I long ago came to understand that democracy is not going to give me, or any of us, the civilised, voluntary society: anything but. Our Western social democratic tyrannies are traveling in the opposite direction.

So, reiterating, if my rights to be left alone are not inalienable, then I have to conclude I must (somehow) fight for them, if I am to be a free man. It has been generations of free men thinking their rights to freedom were inalienable that has led to every tyranny that has been formed, from the individual tyrant to the tyranny of the majority, trampling over the individual’s pursuit of happiness, while necessarily stripping us of the liberty that reason  tells us is the civilised state for man. But, again, what is the nature of that fight that I must wage?

I have no idea where to go from here.

Not by violence: I believe in the non-initiation of force. And even though I might argue, well, indeed, that it would be in my self-defence, all that would lead to would be my certain demise at the hands of either men in uniform with assault rifles – think Kim Dotcom - or IRD taking my livelihood. I’m no martyr, and moreover, I’m a family man with responsibilities.

What about by convincing my fellow man of legislating the truly free, classical liberal society? Well, currently that’s democracy, and as I’ve already stated, it’s done the opposite.  From a Christian tradition that has inculcated a deadly altruism into Western thought, a disease that the secular Left, through the state school system, have then poisoned the minds of generations of our youth with, susceptible as they are to the notion of a ‘free lunch’ for life, and not having to be responsible for consequences of their actions, I conclude that the road to liberty, for myself, is never going to happen, not in my lifetime. The rot is a philosophical one, and goes almost to a hard-wired core of far too many minds: or rather, voters.

Thus I, freedom … excuse my language, but we’re screwed. Gramsci has done his job well, proven on that furtive battlefield in the nightmares we’ve created, where the rubber of the police state hits the road to our serfdom – tax legislation and enforcement of it:  IRD have won every major tax case in New Zealand over the last decade, this because of a brain-addled judiciary that has run like girls from the classical liberal ethic of protecting my life from abuse by the state, and the  immoral assumption they’ve inculcated that their job is rather to sacrifice my life on the bloodied altar of the common good of total strangers. Our limp wristed judges can now do little more than wallow in the immoral, violent, pig-sty they’ve created of self-sacrifice, well no, when it comes to judges, just ‘my’ sacrifice.

Free men must for the foreseeable future live subject to the whim of the mindless majority, and unprincipled, corrupt, power-seeking – or perhaps just intellectually retarded, more likely, reading their tweets - politicians, who by planning our economies, and our lives, are destroying them, and casting our societies into the immorality and violence – watch the news every night - of state slavery.

All of which brings me to an inevitable conclusion: our recent history has seen the death of classical liberalism, which is the death of the identity and freedom of the individual, and with the death of the individual it is, of course, the death of arts, the death of culture, the death of all that gives value to a human life.  It's the death of hope and everything good. The pursuit of happiness ends, again, in the Gulag, albeit this time around, a Gulag of Good Intentions. And there’s no way back to a state of freedom, for against this collectivist menace of state forced altruism, the individual is powerless: that was precisely why the individual, the smallest minority in a society, was the one who needed the protection of the law, and from the tyranny of the mob. We have had voted the opposite.

When I started this piece, I had no intention of ending it here. I had in mind a tight essay developing the opening premise.  But logic, and anger, has taken its inevitable course. The IRon Drapes are being drawn by the might of the police states we’ve voted in, delivering free men and women to the darkest nights, all over again. A process that has already begun in Europe where a fascist party is now voted into the Greek parliament, the first elected fascists in Europe since Hitler , and the Nazi salute in numbers seen on our TV’s in the Ukraine, while in Spain the president is demanding a European centralised authority to plan the lives of all Europeans, just like Hitler wanted, and just like Stalin. All the while the socialist, market hating, freedom hating president of America, imprisons the home of the free. As boringly predicable, in 2012, as it is depressing.

4 comments:

  1. I have to read more about the inalienable rights issue. Thank you for this rather depressing but honest post Mark.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Some really thought-provoking ideas, Mark; thank you, even though some of it was rather depressing to read. I have often thought about the inalienability of our rights - and I believe they are inalienable, by our nature as living beings with the capacity for reason (and therefore choice). Whether the state's jackbooted thugs respect those rights - whether those rights are worth anything at all - is another matter. However I look to the way some of the Eastern European states fell in the late 80s and early 90s, where the military and police forces eventually refused to fire on the peacefully protesting citizens of those slave pens - to give hope that every regime, no matter how despotic, has a limit beyond which it will not visit violence upon its people. Those times showed that eventually statism falls over, though it can take decades sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, but look what took over the slave pens - Putin. And the Arab uprising, about freedom, yes, result is continuing army rule in Egypt, or worse, theocracy. I don't know how to beat theocracy of state. Or if it is possible.

    ReplyDelete