Archive for November 2009

The Circle of Justice: Post Thanksgiving philosophy

November 29, 2009

Guns are dangerous. They kill people. America is the most violent country in the world and it has the most guns. Look at England and Sweden. They have far fewer murders per capita than America does (although I have to add here, in 2009, that when I was making this argument England did not have gun laws as stringent as it does now, and it even then had a very violent knife culture). Most gun crimes occur in a moment of passion because there is a gun in the home and someone grabs it. Children can’t stay away from guns and will invariably kill each other or themselves if they stumble across one. And the Second Amendment is all about militias, and individuals who have guns aren’t forming formal militias, they just want guns to kill people and innocent animals.

Bookworm Room

The thread is primary about firearms, and I made some comments there. But here I will write of a different, but related, subject.

Even if you discard the personal liberty or public safety side of things (concerning firearms), you still have the argument of the Great Game.

The Great Game is what nations and civilizations play around with, and should they fail, their people and their culture will disappear unto dust. Look up Zoroastrianism in Persia for an example. The Arabs came and the Arabs were more unified and vital than the rulers of Persia, weakened by their internal strife, power plays, and eternal enmity with Constantinople. Guess what happened when the Arabs tried to conquer Persia. And guess what happened to Constantinople, sitting and watching in glee as their ancient enemies, the Medes, were taken out by the barbarians.

The Great Game, which determines the end fate of all civilizations and nations. If you want your country to lose, you will simply be conquered and at the mercy of a new, more vital, more populous and militarily/economically strong rival. This is the law of nature. And no law of man can perpetually keep this reality at bay. We can create Golden Ages where the rule of law prevents such preying upon the weak, the destruction of all for the sin of not being mighty enough to defeat all enemies, internal and external. But Golden Ages do not last forever.

When barbarians are at the gates, the chance of a peaceful, prosperous, civilization to win and survive is directly dependent upon the citizens of the nation being willing and able to fight. In human history, many were willing to fight, but few were professional warriors so their willingness to win did not overcome the physical reality of the bullet or the arrow. We do not accomplish things through magical wishes. We get them done with wisdom and deed. And for those nations that had hired mercenaries to fight for them, that didn’t have a class of citizens eager to defend their nation, will suffer the fate of Carthage. Even if a nation of money grubbers like Carthage had an effective field army, their politicians, due to the political system of not cherishing martial virtues, will attempt to extort, exploit, weaken, sabotage, and play politics with that army. Ultimately ending in the destruction of those politicians and their way of living.

If peace and prosperity is valuable, it is only made into reality by a consistent, stable, political system. Anything that threatens that system is a mortal danger to any civilization. The Left always speaks of internal enemies of the state being the end all and be all bogey men of the American way of life. Conservatives, with their appreciation of history, tend to look outwards. But when one political faction sees their neighbors as mortal enemies and evil threats, while the other political faction believes external enemies are mortal enemies and evil threats, you have an imbalance.

The civil wars of Persia led to their destruction at the hands of the Arabs. The civil war of the Roman Empire paved the way for the Emperors Caligula and Nero, which started finishing the destruction of the once great Roman Republic. More and more, the political influence of Rome led to the decadence and immorality of basic Roman virtues of stoicism and honor and courage. While the legions fought at the outer limits of Roman territory for the safety of all, the Senators and arse kissers of Rome looted the treasury for their personal parties and sexual entertainments.

You want your citizens armed and able to defend themselves. In human history, this was an ideal but never attempted because it was politically contradictory. To a king, arming anyone that felt like it was a recipe for disaster, civil war, and revolutions. In the advanced political experiment of the United States of America, finally we have a system which aligns the interests of the people with the interests of the nation, without any inconsistent contradictions, fears, ancient hatreds or atavistic instincts interfering.

Always before, the total military power of a nation was limited by class, by money, by land, by citizenship vs slavery, by the fear of kings and tyrants, by the loyalties of feudalism and the top down command structure of Absolute Monarchy, but now comes a nation that rests the basic military power of a nation upon the single individual. This isn’t special or new, in the abstract sense. Monarchies and nobilities of ages gone have always preferred to place power in the hands of a worthy few, the special individual, and so forth. So let’s look at something from ancient times: The Circle of Justice.

There is no authority (sulÔān) without men,
and there are no men (rijāl) without money,
and there is no money without cultivation (‘imāra),
and there is no cultivation without justice and good governance
(􀂭usn siyāsa) 9
-Attributed to Ardashīr

“Justice here (according to these sayings) must mean not only equality before the law or
adherence to it, but whatever else is necessary to ensure the prosperity of agrarian
society, such as protection, stable administration, a working infrastructure, or provision
for peasant subsistence. The ruler who wished to govern securely had to provide this sort
of broad-based ‘justice’ to the cultivators, who in turn provided taxes to the treasury, in
order that soldiers (‘men’) might be paid to protect the realm, put down unrest, enforce
the ruler’s decisions, and refrain from preying on those under their protection. There is
even a sense in which justice could generate prosperity not only by making it easier for
agriculturalists to be productive, but also by ensuring divine benevolence and the
provision of rain.” -Linda Darling Pdf source

In times before, stability was achieved through divine power conferred upon a dynasty, that dynasty maintained through the collection of taxes, the raising of an army, and the separation of society into different classes each with their own duties and privileges. Given human nature, this naturally put the classes with more martial power at the top, compared to the farmers and craftsmen who devoted their lives to creating rather than destroying. This always created an imbalance, and even though this justice was the ideal, it was almost never achieved in reality.

Until the United States. Justice can be accomplished by individuals, but never has it been achieved over a stable period under a consistent style of government. Always before, prosperity and golden ages came because of an enlightened ruler or some stroke of prosperous luck, but never consistently, ruler after ruler, without fear of upheaval or revolution. Even the US’ Civil War strengthened the bonds that bind, rather than diminishing the nation as it would have done to any other nation in human history.

The secret of this strength is true justice, based upon the foundation of true liberty for all men and women. Instead of the kings holding such power to order society, now each individual is his own king, her own queen. Thus when we bind ourselves to the US Constitution through our oaths of loyalty, we are not swearing to obey a mortal king or a mortal dynasty. We do not swear to defend the flaws of human beings nor do we swear to kill the enemies of those corrupt men and women in DC. Instead, we recognize that it was God that gave free will and thus human rights to humanity, and what God has given, no mortal may take away. In ancient times, it was the King that had Divine Inspiration and Favor. Whatever he did, could not be questioned for to do so would be to encroach upon the power and dignity of the King, resulting in Lesse Majesty (a capital offense). Because you are not just insulting a mortal, but insulting God. That made the throne a very favorable reward to be taken by force by greedy and ambitious men and women, who cared nothing for the stability, security, and prosperity of the farmers and workers: you know, the people made the country work in the first place and filled the treasuries to buy up the military arms and aristocratic parties.

The American foundation is much stronger than the socialist and elitist aristocracy of the Left, or the Marxist class warfare and party apparatchiks of the Soviets, or the Divine Kings and Queens of Ancient Times. By distributing the power to the people and making each and every one of them into what was once called nobility, you have eliminated much of the class and social divisions that divided a society and had prevented true justice from being achieved. Equality before the law does not exist until equality of classes is created. And equality of classes cannot be created until the equality of human rights are recognized and protected. But, historically, this wasn’t feasible. Each specific individual in a human civilization COULD NOT defend themselves against professional armies or armed robbers even. They did not have the firearms, so they lacked training and physical fitness, as well as the intent to kill and loot.

But we do have the firearm. We have the great equalizer. The one thing that allowed men and women to be able to compete on a level playing field, forever rendering the restrictions of muscle power, which elevated men over women, obsolete. Biologically, the playing field hasn’t been leveled, but that may be something future generations will tackle.

The gun, contrary to popular opinion, is not the cause of war, but rather the end of many wars and the creation of an opportunity for fairly long term peace and unity. Always before, people in positions of power had to rule over peasants that couldn’t adequately defend themselves (because training in an army means the crops aren’t being planted or harvested). So the rulers always had to have a huge military budget, or get conquered by external enemies. They weren’t given much of a choice, even if we assumed they were actually honest rulers (in the sense that they don’t tax the people and tell them the money is going into security when it is going into the pockets of the royal family and friends). This ended up creating a division between rulers (nobility and the military) and those paying the taxes that support the top (farmers and workers and artisans). Given human nature, I hope I don’t have to tell you what eventually happened given this imbalance.

Now, a government need not fear the people arming themselves, because the people will now arm themselves, not to rebel, but to defend the land as loyal equals, not superiors or inferiors, all bound by a common interest to defend the land and each other’s rights. Now a people need not fear the government, for the government no longer need have a huge military overseeing security and domestic tranquility (that oftentimes simply looted the country side and set up military juntas). By removing the NEED for this tension, rule of the people by the people could be instituted.

And that is how the rule of the people by the people will be destroyed. By making the government desire to control the people, pay them off with bribes or extort more taxes for military/domestic spending, bankrupting families and making them wards of the state. Now people fear for their rights, prosperity, property, and lives. Now they will stock up arms and prepare to defend against the government as a mortal enemy, which will then be used as justification for military spending and occupation on the part of the government’s ambitious men and women.

You see, technology has changed and inevitably given us a way to get rid of slavery and still make a profit, in addition to other practices that negatively impacted human liberty in favor of more positive and efficient practices. But human nature has not changed. People will still try to destroy what they cannot have and what they should not. They will continue to envy what they are too stupid or weak to achieve. And they will continue to hate those that climb higher than they ever could dream of (like crabs in a bucket not needing a lid). Which is why, in the end, if people wish to see the United States of America continue to grow and learn, they must first improve themselves. From that, all else follows.


Firstborn: Brandon Sanderon’s short

November 17, 2009

This is a very good short sci fi story from Brandon Sanderson. I highly recommend you take half an hour or so to read it. Firstborn is well worth the time, regardless of what literary preferences you have.

Veteran’s Day

November 11, 2009

I thought this was an appropriate song for the anniversary.

And quietly bear this pain with pride,
For heaven shall remember the silent and the brave.
And promise me, they will never see
the fear within our eyes. (my eyes are closed)
For we will give strength to those who still remain.

So bury fear, while fate draws near
And hide the signs of pain.
With noble acts
The bravest souls endure,
the heart’s remains.

Discard regret,
That in this debt

A better world is made
And children of a newer day might remember
And avoid our fate.

I waited all day in the pouring rain,
But nobody came,
No nobody came.

(Prepare for battle)

And in the fury of this darkest hour
we will be your light
you’ve asked me for my sacrifice
and I am Winter born
without denying, a faith is come
that I have never known
I hear the angels call my name
and I am Winter born

Hold your head up high
For there is no greater love
Think of the faces of the people you defend
And promise me, they will never see
The tears within our eyes (My eyes are closed)
Although we are men with mortal sins,
Angels never cry

So bury fear for fate draws near
And hide the signs of pain
With noble acts, the bravest souls
Endure the heart’s remains

Discard regret,
That in this debt
A better world is made
That children of a newer day might remember, and avoid our fate.

(prepare for battle)

And in the fury of this darkest hour
We will be your light
You’ve asked me for my sacrifice
And I am Winter born
Without denying, a faith in God
That I have never known
I hear the angels call my name
And I am Winter born

And in the fury of this darkest hour
I will be your light
A lifetime for this destiny
For I am winter born
And in this moment…
I will not run, it is my place to stand
We few shall carry hope
Within our bloodied hands

And in our Dying
We’re more alive- than we have ever been
I’ve lived for these few seconds
For I am Winter born

And in the fury of this darkest hour
We will be the light
You’ve asked me for my sacrifice
And I am Winter born
Without denying, a faith in man
That I have never known
I hear the angels call my name
And I am Winter born

Within this moment
I am for you,
Though better men have failed
I will give my life for love
for I am Winter born