Egalitarian Fallacies Galore!
I assume that writers like me want to be read, not ignored. But, alas, there isn't much we can do about this except perhaps fine-tune our craft. Even that merely improves the odds. No one can make others read one's works. Thousands are simply left unread. (Do they actually burn all those unread copies?)
Or take chefs who would naturally want the public to prefer their cuisine. Still, only a few customers will give it a shot. Or all those artists whose works hang in galleries but without being viewed by visitors. Or museums no one goes to. Or athletics no one cares much about, like the ones that were popular with my family, fencing and rowing. Just compare their fan base with football and baseball!
"It's all so unfair!" one might shout out, especially if one is convinced that fairness is the highest value in society, which is the essential message of egalitarianism. From everything we know it is clear that life isn't fair. What we forget is that there's nothing wrong with that at all. People pick pretty or colorful flowers while weeds are not taken home and placed in vases, not most of the time. How unfair is that?! Most people have preferences for the company of certain types of other people, by no means for just anyone, let alone for everyone. Your favorite actor or comic or singer isn't going to be everyone's favorite. And so it goes, on and on without end.
As the title of one of the late Dr. Murray N. Rothbard's books put it, "Egalitarianism is a revolt against nature." And some egalitarians are quite aware of this, which explains why under certain political regimes that want to transform societies to follow egalitarianism there is even a push not to allow parents to favor their own children with their love and care. While Mao was the dictator of communist China, news reports came out about a father who in a flood saved someone else's and not his own child! This "father" was hailed as a hero!
That makes sense for a consistent egalitarian. As does the banning of friendship in a society since friends get special attention from us. Karl Marx's preferred society was communism, in which one had to love everyone equally! Which is why he hoped − indeed predicted − that communism will require a total transformation of human nature! And why under Joseph Stalin his pseudo-scientific agricultural guru, Lysenko, worked on manufacturing a society in which everyone would be the same, with no unique individuals.
Interestingly, despite the fact that President Obama and his team of intellectual backers make a lot of noise in favor of equality − just go back and listen to the most recent State of the Union speech, which stressed egalitarian themes at every turn − the Republicans hardly touch the topic. They should critique it all over the place, point out some of the stuff covered by Dr. Rothbard and mentioned here! But either their advisers are falling down on their jobs or are scared of the topic since, sadly, a good many citizens, not to mention college professors in fields like moral and political philosophy, sociology and the like, do hold such egalitarian ideals, at least implicitly, never mind how fantastic it all is.
Once I had a discussion with someone who defended Karl Marx, saying he was really quite democratic and advocated peaceful revolutions, not violent ones. Never mind the scholarship here, although there is something to it; the problem is that when one's political ideal is skewed so much "against nature," the only way to attempt to implement it is by means of massive violence, via a totalitarian police state. Everyone must be cut to the same size, made to fit the unrealistic vision of all citizens being fully equal. (Never mind that this brings about the most insidious inequality of all, some in society having inordinately more coercive power than do others!)
Why don't the Republicans point this out against their political adversaries in any of their speeches and in the "debates"? Is it perhaps because they too have dreams of remaking society to fit some alternative vision that goes against human nature? Perhaps unlike liberal democrats and the fierce socialist among them, many Republicans and conservatives really want to bring about a society regimented along lines of spiritual equality, with everyone forced to get ready for their perfect afterlife!
Posted by Merridth80 on 03/08/12 06:41 AM
I don't know about others, but I read everything you write on DB. In knowing the past & other views, you can make more informed decisions. I tend to read articles by those I consider intelligent, is it any wonder that I no longer even waste the time to listen to barry soetoro/obama/soebarahak/ or whoever he calls himself today!
Posted by Libertarian Jerry on 03/08/12 08:02 AM
The problem we have is that the individuals who want to foist their worldviews on others seek and gain the power of the State to implement those same worldviews. If I,as an individual citizen,refuse to obey the laws or pay the taxes that support egalitarian policies,that might be the opposite of my worldview or not in my best interests,then I will be penalized and or punished up to and including my execution. The whole notion of egalitarianism and altruism,on a national scale,is based on the premise of power seekers and alms takers knowing what is best. But in the end,for the individual citizen,it comes down to obey or face the consequences.
Posted by Dietrich Luther on 03/08/12 08:54 AM
Around 1900 or so, the States of the union adopted a civil law concept that men and women, husband and wives were the same. Legal positivism insists that the civil law must treat the husband and wife, a private relation as egalitarian, and thus the law usurped the natural marital power of family government. Women are the guardians by nature of children in the absence of a husband. The common law has always recognized the father as the natural guardian of his children, and upon his death the wife. Essential to the institution of natural marriage, guardian by nature is transfered to the husband from his wife.
This is what Luther and Calvin said made marriage sui generis, a contract like no other. When the power elite insisted that courts of chancery and equity should have a role in determining the best interests of children, over the objection of a fit, guardian by nature, the usurpation of marital power was transfered from the home, the cornerstone of civilization to the tyrant state. The absolute doctrine of parens patraie is reborn. Rebellious to right order, the carnal wicked man stole the inalienable right of guardian by nature to create the new family; an institution where nobody is in charge. Egalitarianism produces duties and obligations without rights.
Marriage becomes an adhesion contract, and the children are ultimately the chattel property of the state. In the post-modern world, the master is the state and the parent is a form of state designated parenthood; i.e. custodial, non-custodial, shared-parent, legal, temporary. The private relation of husband and wife has evolved to become a mere legal (public) relation, not private, and the absolute power of the state can dissolve and plunder the relationship by whim.
Civil marriage is a legal phrase denoting relationships sanctified by the state that are without natural rights. This theory is what is being done to foist unnatural unions to give them the appearance of family order. A gay man cannot transfer an alienable right his creator never gave him. A lesbian has no right throw away her inalienable right of guardian by nature to another. There is no reason for a women to give her natural rights to another women. The inalienable status of guardian by nature has been removed state protection, and therefore family government is merely government by committee, state sanctioned and controlled. The progression of law from a state of inalienable rights to a state where no natural and inalienable rights exist is a world of absolute tyranny. (See U.S.A 2012). Ironically, Sharia law trembles in fear of NWO family destruction policy. People who are awake understand western civilization public policy is a self-annilihation policy; natural suicide.
Martin Luther was a revolution against certain men in church government who controlled and plundered family by way of the canon law. A world is in need of a revolution against certain men and women in civil governments of the western world who have destroyed and plundered the natural family by way of the civil law. Restore state protection of the inalienable right of guardian by nature will be met with mass resistance of the war-fare, welfare state. Bring it on. Bring it on.
Rothbard! Egalitarianism is a revolt against Nature is his greatest gift to liberty.
Posted by Jeanna on 03/08/12 10:27 AM
The philosophy of Natural Law is a cop out. Students of Natural Law have argued for centuries about its origins, its definition, and applications. Does it have a religious, or moral anterior source? Is it one that is universally recognized by all mankind? Is it only the result of superior human reasoning?
All church based arguments for natural law presume that mankind recognizes God's law intuitively, or else we would not have a conscience. Secular advocates promote the philosophy in order to elevate the reasoning of man as superior to any concept of a higher authority, or God.
Neither stand recognizes that man is carnal in nature, and prone to succumb to temptation. Mankind is selfish by nature, and will, without an external incentive, act in accordance with that selfish nature. If there is any natural law it the selfish nature of man.
A repeated sinful action sears the conscience until such action becomes accepted as normal to either one or more individuals, and is no longer questioned. Repeated action cannot change without an outside force being applied. There is no incentive to correct without an outside force.
If I remember correctly, even Murray Rothbard's concept of natural law led him to conclude that a baby was nothing more than a parasite upon the mother. This is the height of human reasoning according to natural law.
I sympathize with the critic offered by Pierre Charon in 1601, "The sign of a natural law must be the universal respect in which it is held, for if there was anything that nature had truly commanded us to do, we would undoubtedly obey it universally: not only would every nation respect it, but every individual. Instead there is nothing in the world that is not subject to contradiction and dispute, nothing that is not rejected, not just by one nation, but by many; equally, there is nothing that is strange and (in the opinion of many) unnatural that is not approved in many countries, and authorized by their customs."
It is the nature of man to reason his path into chaos, and confusion. Shouldn't chaos and confusion then be the universal rule, or natural law?
You are not going to find the answers we need by continuing to appeal to natural law and human reasoning. You cannot continue to ignore God's word by hiding behind a philosophy of natural law. If we are not going to recognize that the answer of the good heart is an answer to an outside stimulus (that is outside our reasoning), we will never get beyond the continual suffering inflicted upon all mankind by the predators.
Morality has an outside source, and that source is God. It does not come to us from some internal reasoning. The knowledge of good and evil is taught or learned from someone else. Who will you choose to listen to?
Posted by John the Just on 03/08/12 11:51 AM
An excellent response to a well written article.
Thank you Tibor for focusing on the Egalitarian Meme as one of the fundamental tools statists use to legitimate their relentless addiction to the centralization of all power.
And thank you Dietrich for pointing out the historical specifics of how the Egalitarian Meme pervaded and perverted, in this case, the family. Much as Lincoln freed the slaves by enslaving every man, the State celebrated equal rights for women by displacing both husband and wife as guardian of their children. The State is just brimming over with good intentions as it dispenses the Ritalin and condoms in their schools for the dumbed down.
Marx was perhaps the best Social Architect mankind has ever had. He used both the carrot and the stick with precision and eloquence. He held out the promise of an anarchist's paradise as his ultimate goal. That tapped the natural urge of all men to be free. Then like a carnival huckster, he directed everybody into the Promise of Paradise Ride through the door leading to absolute State Tyranny. 'Step right this way!'
You and Tibor in your proposed solutions suffer from the same infection. You are not alone as seemingly unwitting victims of another and most insidious meme: Only Top-Down power structures, i.e. the State, are appropriate for a large group. Both you and Tibor recognize and illustrate the Juggernaut of the State in its relentless crushing of Human Nature, but you both turn to that same mechanism of destruction for relief. Tibor wants the Republicans to wake up and undercut the powerbase they themselves depend upon, and you seek the paradox of State protection from the State.
Click here Click to view link for another solution.
Posted by spiritsplice on 03/08/12 01:19 PM
Is this some sort of appeal to the bible as an authority of moral hierarchy?
Posted by Szatyor39 on 03/08/12 07:19 PM
"Both you and Tibor recognize and illustrate the Juggernaut of the State in its relentless crushing of Human Nature, but you both turn to that same mechanism of destruction for relief. Tibor wants the Republicans to wake up and undercut the powerbase they themselves depend upon, and you seek the paradox of State protection from the State... ."
Why are folks so blind to what is actually being said by writers. This is all wrong. Where have I ever turned to "the same mechanism of destruction for relief"? I have no hope for the Republicans, Democrats, et al. But, yes, I urge them to get it right, just as would urge anyone else. That isn't the same has having any confidence that they will do so!
Posted by seer on 03/08/12 08:05 PM
The reason I do not read your articles often is that I find your arguments to be false or at the least choosing to ignore the whole truth. Stalin ran a totalitarianistic regime which terrorized his own populace. Indeed he was responsible for millions of deaths. This certainly affected the communistic economy. "Karl Marx's preferred society was communism, in which one had to love everyone equally! " Whew Jesus would certainly find this disgusting as would Ghandi or the Buddha. I believe your use of "had" is way overstated. Humans are instinctively a tribal people, they naturally form communities. Their physiological brain chemistry stimulates this social response. The entire debate then simply becomes how humans decide to share the environment they inhabit. Some feel they are entitled to much more than their co-inhabitants.
Reply from The Daily Bell
"Humans are instinctively a tribal people, they naturally form communities. Their physiological brain chemistry stimulates this social response. The entire debate then simply becomes how humans decide to share the environment they inhabit. Some feel they are entitled to much more than their co-inhabitants."
Ha ... this is brilliant. Ergo, you could not have written it!
Posted by John the Just on 03/08/12 08:20 PM
Sorry 'bout that. I too have no hope for Republicans. Perhaps I was too quick to think that you fit with so many who figure everything would be just fine - "If only we could elect our guys."
Posted by Joelg on 03/09/12 12:05 AM
One of your best articles, Tibor. George Orwell summarized the politics of equality in Animal Farm: All animals are equal; but some animals are more equal than others.
Obama and the Democrats may like the egalitarian rhetoric, but there is nothing equal in the way they divide the government loot among their cronies. Talk and actions are distinct. But the MSM is seduced by the talk. If you talk equality, then you are like a saint and your actions need not be examined.
As to the Republican politicians, I think you are on the right track, Tibor. Both parties seem to want a totalitarian solution denying liberty. It is like you have two brands of totalitarianism to chose from, the Dem or the GOP flavor. Ron Paul being a throwback to the days when Americans valued liberty.
Posted by DwightJohnson on 03/09/12 11:17 AM
PJ O'Rourke was this wonderful story about fairness:
"How will politics be able to make everything fair for everybody? This may be a valid concern, but I am immune to it because I have a 12-year-old daughter and it's all I hear. It's not fair. It's not fair. It's not fair. My friend has an iPad. It's not fair. All my friends have iPads. You let my little sister do this. It's not fair. One day I just blew up and I said to her, 'Honey, you're cute. That's not fair. Your family's pretty well-off. That's not fair. You were born in the United States of America. That's not fair. Darling, you had better get down on your knees and pray to God that things don't start getting fair.'"
Dr Machan, your are so right: the most insidious inequality of all, some in society having inordinately more coercive power than do others!
The ultimate naturalist (as he is the one who created human nature) had this to say about that: "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you." When a politician seeks power, no Christian should go along. The command is clear: it SHALL NOT be so among you. The only elite we should recognize is the one created by service to others.
Posted by DwightJohnson on 03/09/12 11:46 AM
There is an inherent unfairness in government. Is it because some individuals have inordinate power over other individuals? No, that's not it. It is because some individuals have power over me without my consent. Yes, that's it! When I go to work, I have a boss, who has a boss. These individuals have power over me (can I take a vacation day next Tuesday?). But I consent to that arrangement every day I choose to work there. Government, on the other hand, has faux consent based on the "right" to vote. And I am a serf to government because other people accept the idea that the government RIGHTLY has control over me. The power of government comes from the acceptance by (too many) people that that power is legitimate. It is legitimate, they think, because it is fair: everyone is subject to the same control. So government is based on the collusion of the people who legitimize government because it is fair (all are treated equally), not because it is just (individual consent required). This won't change until people realize that fairness without justice is evil.
Posted by DwightJohnson on 03/09/12 01:20 PM
Natural law does not need to be universally recognized to be true, any more than the laws of physics do. We discover the laws of physics by the scientific method: hypothesis, test, analysis, repeat. A law of physics is true if the results of the tests match the hypothesis, though this truth is always subject to revision when later tests have different results.
Natural laws are also discovered. The criteria for discerning whether a natural law is true or not is whether its observance produces peace in human society. The right to life, the right to property, these are true natural laws because their observance is most likely to preserve the peace. In societies that observe these and other natural laws, there are consequences to non-observance, leading to the possibility of behavioral correction. In socialist societies, where natural laws are largely not observed, and therefore no consequences apply, no correction to behavior takes place, so more lawlessness results.
Posted by DwightJohnson on 03/09/12 02:12 PM
The issue is justice. Try this thought experiment.
Three people meet at a restaurant. Two of them are hungry and decide to get something to eat. They have their meal; time to pay the bill. They decide that the third person should contribute equally to pay for lunch. She objects, but the other two manage to get her pocket book and extract the money for her "share". Does this seem just to you? This is how government works.
Posted by Dietrich Luther on 03/09/12 03:58 PM
John the Just writes: "Only Top-Down power structures, i.e. the State, are appropriate for a large group. Both you and Tibor recognize and illustrate the Juggernaut of the State in its relentless crushing of Human Nature, but you both turn to that same mechanism of destruction for relief."
False paradigm sir. All human authority comes from God; i.e. top-down. But it must be understood in context to right understanding of power in the proper sphere and exercise of authority. Civil government is not exercising a "superior" authority over you or neighbor when protecting inalieanble rights. If the state is exceeding the authority in violation to the constitution, the government ceases to have authority and it must be dissolved and reformed. Civil government is instituted among men to protect inalienable rights from God. Republicans and Democrats today are rarely men, and more often than not, traitors to the constitution. Legitimate state power is good. An immoral people cannot "self-govern". This is the key problem. Decentralization is wonderful and I want it. But I want all forms of government to remain within the limited sphere of authority God gave them. It takes a moral people to do this. A moral people don't put their neighbor in jail for the possession of a God created hemp plant, but a God created person might possibly get high, contemplate his naval while driving and run down his neighbors child and kill. In a moral society, if found guilty by trial, he should be required to compensate the family, be put to death, or both. I don't know. If it happened to my grandchild, I really don't know. My first reaction would not be good for the hemp worshiper who ran down my grandchild. Order and Liberty are inseparable.
Posted by Jeanna on 03/09/12 05:04 PM
My objection to the continual use of the term "natural law" is that it is used in place of the original source of all morality, which is from God. So the appeal to natural law white washes a whole philosophy built around mankind's desire to derive his own laws without crediting the source. Or, it is an attempt to compel others to recognize the need for God's law without mentioning Him. And, is that not plagiarism, taking credit from someone else's work? Test it, analyze it, and give credit where credit is due.
Posted by DwightJohnson on 03/10/12 06:08 PM
Jeanna, I also am a believer in God. But the laws of human nature (aka, Natural Law) are as real as the laws of physics, and neither requires faith in God to be understood. I would like to see atheists study Natural Law. Perhaps some of them, like many who have studied Physics, will discover God thru the beauty of the world he has created, including the beauty of Natural Law.
Posted by John the Just on 03/12/12 02:34 AM
Dear Dietrich, without telling you what I believe regarding God, let me say that I assume that you are 100% sincere in whatever beliefs you may have. And I believe that what you have written here springs from those beliefs. And I also assume that every person on Earth acts based on whatever his or her fundamental beliefs are - whether they include God as you see God, or any God at all.
I think you would agree that there is not widespread agreement on which of the world's theologies is the correct one. You may have experienced that even you yourself have changed your concepts in some details about God over your lifetime - all the while being as moral as you could in those changing beliefs. The point being, that there are a great number of very sincere folks with very different concepts regarding fundamental truths. The trick is to agree on some system which will allow the bulk of us to get through the day with a maximum of what we want and a minimum of what we don't want.
While I have very strong views both about things religious and things political, I'm not looking to debate those views here. What I'm going on about these days is a new and different way for Man to organize himself - in other than the Top-Down power structure that is the traditional State. I'm like a Better Mousetrap salesman. I know I have a great product, and I know it would work for folks of whatever belief. I just need to find out how to present it effectively and efficiently to a wide range of people with varied beliefs. So, I would like to present MultiLevel Governance to you in such a light that you would not reject it out of hand before giving it a reasoned look. It may very well forward on a secular level what you hold dear on a religious level. (And as I do this, I must pause for a moment to thank you for your comment, because it is causing me to look at my concept from another angle.)
And let me take another moment here to make plain what I said in the earlier posted Feedback you quoted. Taken out of context, it may be confusing to someone reading it. I was suggesting that others had been taken in by a meme - not that I agreed with that meme, or think it is true. I said, 'You are not alone as seemingly unwitting victims of another and most insidious meme: Only Top-Down power structures, i.e. the State, are appropriate for a large group.' I believe the exact contrary of what it might have appeared from your quoting the meme only; you neglected to quote that I called it insidious.
Now, when I speak of Bottom-Up power structures versus Top-Down power structures, I am speaking of how the power of the State (which is just a big group of folks associating as a unit) is felt by the individuals who make up the State. Can we agree that whatever power the State has, that it is ultimately from the People, and in that view Bottom-Up? (That is my contention - no matter what kind of State you are discussing.)
The essence of what I'm talking about is that I propose that the recent information and communications technologies can be used to stop that power generated by the People from being reflected back down upon them to their detriment. All traditional State structures concentrate the People's power at the top in offices of the government, and then traditional government flows it back down upon the People in the form of orders backed up by force. Law and Order via violence upon those who don't obey.
In the MultiLevel Governance model, the same people generate the same power, but what flows back from the top of structure is not orders or force but suggestions and solutions. There is no money taxed from the People at the point of a gun to build a highway; those who see the need for a highway will self-assess themselves and pay their share only when they have ascertained that yes, this is the best solution to their problem at the best price. Until they are satisfied with the solutions proffered, they won't make payments towards the construction process.
So, you still have Society directed from on high, but the opportunity for Lord Acton's maxim that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, would have much less opportunity to prove itself. There would be no seats of power with tax-guaranteed slush funds to pillage and abuse.
You say that an immoral people cannot self-govern. I would suggest that moral, amoral, or immoral, Man is in the situation where he has to govern himself. Given that situation, Man has come up with a host of organizing models, and has done the best that he can over the millennia. Some States were better, some States were worse, but all have professed to being moral, and trying to get it right.
You say, 'Decentralization is wonderful and I want it,' and you speak of the Constitution of the US as a model that should be followed. I'm fine with that. The Constitution promised a State structure that was perhaps the least centralized in its inception of all nations. Historically it stands in stark contrast to States and their People who were at that time, basically owned by a King. That was total centralization.
I agree with you that decentralization is the direction to pursue. I believe as you do that Man has inalienable qualities. (You call them Rights.) I believe that left to their own devices people would better express those inalienable qualities, than when they are being manipulated by the latest snake oil salesman to hit the little screen. What could be more decentralizing than returning the moment by moment decision-making process directly to the People?
The MultiLevel Governance structure would tend to tap those inalienable qualities to a much greater degree than the politicians with their special interests. Through open discussion in level after level of small groups, the best of Man would be focused onto solutions in the secular world. It could be a true flowering of what is the best of Human Nature.
Please take another look.
Posted by Jeanna on 03/13/12 04:55 PM
The problem I see with your concept that the laws of human nature are "real" and comparing them with quantifiable laws of physics, is that your subject matter is an individual with the capability of unique responses. It is not static. The individual is always self-interested, which precludes a universally established response. Individuals will respond in numerous ways to given circumstances, and therefore repeatability goes out the window.
A code of conduct is a learned concept. The source of that code is the basis for human behavior. An atheist's source may be a role model, such as a parent, or familial relation, or other person they look up to. They will pattern their own behavior accordingly. Who's to say that role model isn't Hitler or Stalin?
And, this is the reason people have so many definitions of natural law, and its source. Result, chaos and confusion.
You cannot have a "law" without a standard. The standard must be universally recognized. The definition must be universally accepted. There is no such standard with Natural Law.