Thursday, August 30, 2012
Setting Up the Freedom Movement for Failure
Sadly, as I listened to the speeches, I realized the Republican Establishment has set the freedom movement up for failure.
The RNC has just made "jobs" the fundamental issue of the presidency. If Romney gets elected and there is not a big surge in jobs accompanied by increases in wages, then the socialist movement will be able to march back with a vengeance.
Making jobs the number one priority of the presidency is wrong because the presidency is not about jobs.
Setting up the expectation that the government is the source of jobs leads directly to government sponsored anti-market activities.
The Founders were much wiser than the politicians of our day. The founders realized that the job of the government was simply to protect property rights. If we had an equitable distribution of property in this nation, jobs would take care of themselves.
In the light of the productivity gains, I am not certain that "a job" is the right and proper aspiration of our nation's children.
A job is a regulated existence. The idea behind "the job" is that most people would live lives regulated by the employer.
Is a life where your employer owns your heart and soul really freedom?
The economic model we currently have is flawed. The idea is that most people will be nothing more than just workers who works a regulated job, has regulated health care and consumes too much.
To restore America we need to restore the economic model in which Americans are seen owners, and not just highly paid workers who consume too much.
I am deeply disturbed to see the Romney campaign pursuing a flawed economic vision.
Republicans failed to engage in a substantial debate about economic reform. As Republicans are pushing a failed economic vision, they are setting up the whole freedom movement for failure.
Contrary to what modern Republicans think, the American Experiment was not about creating powerful leaders. Americans rebelled against the highly centralized monarchy of Europe. Americans fought for the classical liberal concept of "self-rule."
Strong leaders set the people up for failure.
Historically, we find that the people diminish when they are placed under the yoke of a strong leader.
So, while I adore the great speeches being made at the Republican National Convention, I am praying for a split vote. Since the Republican establishment is setting up the freedom movement for failure, it would be better to lose the presidency in a split vote.
The American Experiment in self rule was one in which a limited government protected property rights. It was not an experiment in which a powerful leader created jobs for the people (who are nothing but mindless workers that consume too much.)
By making the promise that Mitt Romney will create millions of jobs sets the freedom movement up for failure.
On the bright side, if Romney loses in a split vote, both parties would engage in a four year discourse on freedom. The lame duck years of the Clinton administration were good for American. Obama's winning a lame duck term is better than a strong-armed Republican that will undermine the freedom movement at home and abroad.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The founders had a much more rational understanding of Christianity.
The founders had a classical education. The legs of the Trivium are language, logic and rhetoric. The classical tradition would have held that God is Truth and students would then cut their teeth applying logic to their cultural tradition.
A quality education would bring up questions about what is reason? What is truth, etc.? The classical liberal traditional proceeded along the line that there was One God, One Truth but that we all head different and woefully incomplete perspectives of the truth.
BTW: You don't need to be looking at something that is absolutely true to have a discussion about truth. Imagine that an orc and a hobbit were doing arithmetic. The orc says "2 + 2 = 4." Does the truth associated with the statement "2 + 2 = 4" change because orcs are fictional creatures?
I find that questions of truth are best discussed in context of the known instead of the unknown.
There are, of course, some ugly aspects of religion. There is a long history of rulers oppressing the people with religion. Politicians and rulers see religion as a tool for imposing authority. The last post brought up Robert Filmer who spat nonsense in defending the divine right of kings.
Interestingly, when the ruling class had finally worn out its theological justifications for its authoritarian rule, the ruling class turned to a radicalized form of anti-religion non-sense to justify authoritarian rule (Feuerbach, Marx, etc).
Modern dialectics (Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx) is a game in which one holds a paradox at the base of reason and conflict at the surface. Atheists holds the belief that they hold no belief (the reflexive paradox). Atheists of the Hegelian/Marxist tradition then construct a belief system based on eternal conflict. On reading the Black Book of Communism, one discovers that more people have been killed in the name of this new non-belief than traditional beliefs).
In my reading of the Founders, it appears that the Founders were deeply Christian. Their Christianity was wrapped up in a different rational style.
It is this rational style that we need to preserve. Sadly, I fear that many modern Christians have abandoned the rational tradition of Christianity for its base superstitions. Some modern sects seem to hold the God is a dancing clown who does magic. The primary goal of God is to give political authority to a chosen few... all outside the confines of that chosen few are servants of Satan.
I like the idea that God is Truth. Although much of the mythology of Christianity is suspect, I find within the traditional a beautiful rational style.
Holding that God is Truth, of course, puts one in conflict with those who invoke the name of God to establish political authority. Such sects hold that truth is what advances the political authority. It is a chain of thought that gets ugly, quickly.
Here behind the Zion Curtain, I've actually had people wearing white shirts and name tags call me Satan for rejecting the political hierarchy. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad. It is next to impossible to have a rational conversation with people who belief that those outside the political authority are Satan.
While waiting for a train a while back, I learned that the direction a train is facing tells me more about where the train is going than the history of where the train's been. If there is a train of people who are authentically engaged in a pursuit of truth, they are likely to go in a more promising direction than a train of people who are starting on solid ground but are heading off on a pursuit of power through conflict.
There was a beautiful rational style that emerged in the Western Christian tradition. It breaks my heart that the tradition has been taken over by a religious right who simply use Christianity in their pursuit of power and forget the time-honored tradition of the pursuit of truth.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Divine Rights of Kings
The idea of a collective covenant is not new. In the Old Testament, God established a collective covenant with Israel.
Sir Robert Filmer (1588 – 1653) was a political theorist from England who defended the Divine Right of Kings. In The Patriarcha, Filmer explains that the kings owed their divine rights to a conventant made between God and the Patriarchs of the Old Testament. As the power for the king flowed from divine covenant, petty little laws created by man could not be superior to the divine right of kings:
"kingly power is by the law of God, so it hath no inferior law to limit it."With a derisive contempt matching that of Bill Mahre, Filmer systematically dismissed all those clamoring for Democratically elected leaders and natural rights. I love the following quote from Chapter II:
Because the Scripture is not favourable to the liberty of the people, therefore many fly to natural reason, and to the authority of Aristotle.The quote is classic projection. The analytic tradition of Aristotle is about inquiry and not idle claims to authority. Filmer is the one looking for authority.
Prior to 1776, royalists based their claims to a Divine Right of Kings on a collective convent between God and the Patriarchs. The conservatives of 1776.
Conservatives of 1776 saw the Founders as immoral heathens rebelling against divine authority that reached back to the patriarchs of Israel.
As the monarchs claimed divine authority from the Bible, I would expect that preachers favorable to the revolution would have searched the Bible for ways to give the Revolution divine authority.
Just after the revolution, royalists (aka CONSERVATIVES) formed an extremely ugly ideology based on the notion that each nation had a COLLECTIVE covenant with the people and that the world spirit evolved through conflict between nations on the world stage. Such ideas are often associate with Hegel (1770-1831).
This CONSERVATIVE ideology called "nationalism" grew during the 19th century and reached ugly heights in the 20th century with the first and second world wars.
BTW, have you ever wondered why the Nazi's sought to exterminate the Jews?
It had a lot to do with this thing in which scholars who keep laying claim to covenants derived from the ancient patriarchs of Israel.
Fortunately, after the Second World War, people were so disgusted with the results of nationalism that most sane people dropped the insanity of claiming that the world spirit manifests itself through divine covenants with nations.
I capitalized the term CONSERVATIVE to emphasize that nationalism was an ideology that came from as was associated with the right. Most people on the right rejected the foolishness of nationalism after WWII. Many historians classify Hitler as Conservative because he held to nationalistic ideals which most conservatives today reject.
History is full of rogues who attempt to claim divine authority for their efforts to dominate and oppress others. Clearly, most of the claims are false. I find that a much better theological interpretation of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution is:
Man was created by God. Our inalienable rights come from the creator. The state is a creation of man. As rights come from God, not from man, the state does not have rights. The state has the powers entrusted to it by man.
The theology that the Heavenly Father gives collective rights to chosen states almost always ends in war and oppression. This idea was immensely popular. I simply hope that the current swing from the left to right does not revive this failed ideal.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
The American Covenant
I was distraught that not a single one of the events at the conference are about advancing individual liberty. This so-called "freedom conference" is simply about people grubbing at power.
The reason we are losing freedom is because the powers that be use twisted definitions of "freedom" to give themselves the freedom to lord over their neighbor.
I am now absolutely distraught.
Mr. Ballard argues that the US Founders were but a bunch of hapless fools that the Heavenly Father used to create conditions necessary for the restoration of the Church.
Here in Utah, we are taught that the Declaration of Independence and American Constitution are sacred (revealed) documents equal to the Book of Mormon and that the American Constitution has legitimacy equal to the revelations of The Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Timothy Ballard argues that the Constitution is a collectivist covenant with God giving the Federal Government and States divine rights. These divine documents established religious freedom to create conditions necessary for the restoration of the Gospel and the Church.
Mr. Ballard is magnanimous in saying that the collective national covenant is for both the righteous (Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) and gentiles (Catholics, Baptists, Jews, etc.). despite that fact that evil servants of Satan (such as myself) who have not been properly trained in the art of revelation have wrong notions about the scripture of the Declaration, Constitution and the roles these revealed documents play in the restoration of Christ's Church among the Saints in the Latter Days.
I really dislike the radical secularists (Young Hegelians) who attempt to completely remove the religious tradition of the US Founders. The US Founders were deeply Christian.
I find the reactionary impulse to claim the Declaration and Constitution as revealed scripture equally destructive. Having read "The American Covenant" I am no more willing to support the Utah Freedom Conference than I am willing to support Occupy Wall Street.
I actually do recommend reading this work, for it clearly shows that dangers that are emerging on the reactionary right.
If you read this book, it is important to remember that the LDS Community did not give substantial support to the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally in March. The book makes out the US Founders as hapless fools. It reduces our beloved Declaration of Independence and Constitution to simple devices used by The Heavenly Father to create the conditions for the revelation of the Book of Mormon.
These guys are as bad as Occupy Wall Street. (The Hegelians are as corrupt as the Young Hegelians. Go Figure).
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Restoring Power to the ____
The tag line proposes a very interesting question. Freedom means giving power to _____?
What word goes in the blank?
Utah United and the Utah Freedom Conference fill in the blank with the word "STATE."
These groups believe that freedom means a powerful state!?
The first section of the conference is about getting at the land. Utah is a high desert with little arable land. Much of the in-arable land is used by National Parks, wilderness and open public lands. Utah United wants those lands sold off or given to the control of the state.
The conference wants more powerful local sheriffs.
The conference wants new state run currencies.
The conference wants the state governments to have more power,
There's about 2 million people living on the Wasatch Front. The Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally brought in a scant 200 people. About half the people in the crowd were either speakers who came to grandstand or members of the press to get a story. Few of the people I met in the small crowd were LDS.
One of the great faults I find in "conservatism" is that the beautiful rhetoric about freedom is also followed by an ugly political wrangling over who has power. \
This so-called freedom conference is not about "freedom." It is about the political issue of which group has power. In my opinion, if we try to counter the unprecedented growth of the Federal Government under Obama with an era of unprecedented growth of the individual states, then we will greatly diminish individual freedom.
Look at California. They have a super big powerful state and local governments. The whole state is in a mess.
Sadly, the Utah Freedom Conference is one of the few conferences that I've found that is open to the public.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
A Change in the Rational Style
There was an immediate and harsh royalist reaction to the American and French Revolutions. This movement is typified by the writings of the German philosopher Hegel (1770-1831). NOTE the Hanoverian Kings of England were German.
Hegel defined a reactionary conservatism.
A generation later saw the rise of the Young Hegelians. The Young Hegelians defined a new radical left wing philosophy. The Young Hegelians are typified by Marx.
The Hegelian Right sought to conserve the social order of the ancient regime. The Hegelian left idolizes social change and sought change for the sake of change.
The shouting match between the Hegelian Left and Right is poisonous.
We can see the destructive nature of the dialectics in the origins of Capitalism.
Karl Marx believed that he could use "Material Dialectics" to engineer society. His goal was to create a conflict that would lead to a new world order.
To create a conflict, Marx studied economics in detail and created a system in which a group of rogues captured the financial system, then used the manipulation of capital to dominate the market (driving small businesses and workers into poverty).
In Marx's dialectics, the disenfranchised were to rise in rebellion against the corrupt capitalists. After the Revolution, the avant-garde would collective industry, end property rights and a workers' paradise would bloom with a ruling intellectual elite squarely on top.
The great irony of history is that Karl Marx is the father of Modern Capitalism. The term capitalism came into widespread in the effort to sell Marx's philosophy.
If you studied the Art of War, you would learn that the best way to win the battle is to be the one to define the battlefield. 300 Spartans held off the Persian hoards in the Battle of Thermopylae because they defined the battlefield.
If my goal is to destroy the free market, then I would seek to be the one who defines the way the market works.
A second tactic in the Art of War is to use the tools of your enemy against your enemy. So, Marx's goal in defining Capitalism was to create a corrupt, top-heavy system that would be crushed under its own weight.
Das Kapital is thousands of pages of spittle that detail how a small number of rogues can centralize and manipulate the market to gain control. After the capitalists gain control, Marx sought to raise revolution against the capitalists who would fall under their own corruption.
The Hegelians on the right believe in a top-down social order. When the Hegelian Right read Das Kapital, they fell in love with the idea of a ruling elite controlling society through the manipulation of capital.
Rightwing Hegelians have written thousands of work claiming that business is war and the goal of the business warrior is to dominate or perish.
This Hegelian Tradition has created a right wing conservatism that actually favors a captured financial market because it creates a ruling class and a left wing that hopes to use the tools of the capitalist to destroy the capitalist.
It is pure insanity.
Marx's "capitalism" is a top-heavy and corrupt system. It is not a free market.
Those wishing to advance the cause of the free market must defend against both the Hegelian Right who want a class society and Hegelian Left who want to engineer change by crashing the market.
The way to do this is to draw a distinction between the Free Market and Capitalism.
This is easy to do.
The free market is a system that values the free mind of the individual. It is a balanced system in which everyone has inalienable rights. We have a right of association, we have a right to use our mind, and we have the right to own property. The most valuable property we own is our labor.
The ideals of the free market came from classical logic. In classical logic, people sought to avoid paradoxes. A true free market cannot grant the people the ability to deny other's their rights.
Slavery is antithetical to the free market. The United States had inherited slavery from its colonial days. It was not a free market.
In a free market, capital is simply part of the means of production and money is simply a tool used in trade.
Capitalism came out of the paradoxical thinking of Hegel and Marx. In the free market, capital is a tool used by business people. In Capitalism, people are controlled by capital.
Capitalism embraces the paradoxes associated with freedom. There is nothing inherently wrong with a capitalist owning people as slaves. In colonial America, you could buy, sell and take out loans against slaves.
If I was a slave owner, I could use the profit gained from my slaves to buy more slaves.
Slavery is abhorrent and completely at odds with the ideas of a free society.
But, it is not against the ideas of capitalism. In a slave society, there is no difference between slaves and other commodities.
The paradoxes of freedom play out in other ways as well.
In a free market, people own property and seek to maximize the return of their property.
Capitalism sets the goal of the business warrior as market domination.
A business in a free market owns property. If market conditions look good, the business will re-invest capital in the business. If the market looks weak, the business invests the resources owned by the business elsewhere.
Since people are investing the stuff they directly own, the market becomes self-regulating.
Capitalism is insanity squared. In capitalism, business warriors are taught that their goal is to dominate or perish. Business warriors will study a market as a whole and take out a massive capital position (enabled by the central banks) with the goal of dominating the market.
These massive capital positions end up flooding the market with false signals and result in widespread misallocation of resources and ultimately undermine society as a whole.
Most of the business warriors who march onto business battlefield to wage business war end up perishing. A few succeed with fortunes beyond measure.
The result of business warfare is that the business warriors undermine society and leave us with a socio-economic system that is likely to collapse. (The left cheers on collapse believing collapse will lead to paradise on earth.)
Business warriors are taught that their goal is to dominate or perish. The best way to dominate is to buy friends in government who will regulate the industry in ways that gives the business warriors an edge up on the competition.
A system with business warriors investing in political connections is called "crony-capitalsim" in polite company or Fascism in groups willing to face the truth.
The shrill non-debate between the Hegelian Right and Hegelian Left gives the world a false dichotomy between Capitalism (a system in which a ruling class controls society through the manipulation of capital) and Socialism (a system in which everything is owned by the state and a ruling class controls directly through state power).
To break out of this idiocy, we need to learn to recognize and reject the false dichotomies, the absolutism and paradoxes created by the modern system of thought.
The negative mode of thought is neither exclusive to the left nor the right. At this point in time, the left is clearly worse than the right. However, the negative ideas came from a reactionary movement.
Most people abhor the negative ideas that come from the dialectics. The right is full of people who are reacting to the negative ideas on the left and the left full of people reacting to the negative ideas on the right. The bad ideas are the result of the false dichotomy.
Rather than attacking partisan opponents, I think the best path to take is to realize that there was something wonderful about the rational style of the US Founders, but that a poisonous new system of thought crept in during the early 1800s that undermined this style.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Libertarians Are Now Labeled the Extreme Right
A Libertarian is a person who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Libertarians favor a constitutionally limited government, property rights and the free market.
When I was in school, the Republican Establishment was the Right and the Democratic Establishment the Left.
The Republican Establishment wanted big business with a big police state to kick people in order. The Democratic establishment wanted big business and big government enforcing socially liberal policies.
The Libertarians were in a wilderness laying claim to a mix of ideas outside the Left/Right split.
How is it that people who are on the outside and relegated to a political wilderness are suddenly framed as the unhinged right?
Libertarians are currently allies of the Republicans (which they see as a lesser of two evils). I believe that Libertarians will bolt from the Republican Party if given reason.
Most of the Libertarians I know vote a mixed ticket. This November, they will be voting against Obama. I suspect most are still undecided as to whether they will vote Romney or Gary Johnson.
How is it that the Libertarians are considered the far right when they don't like what they see on the right anymore than they like what they see on the left?
I suspect that Fox News is trying to frame the Libertarians as the far right simply because they want their position seen as centrist.
A Libertarian is socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Libertarians believe strongly in a Constitutionally limited government and are more devote to the spirit of the US Constitution than either mainstream Republicans or Democrats.
Mainstream Republicans are more than happy to toss out the Constitution to advance socially conservative causes (eg No Child Left Behind and the Wars), just as liberals are happy to toss out the Constitution for socially liberal causes.
Since Libertarians hold to the views of the Constitution and hold a mix of views from both the left and right (often voting a mixed ballot), shouldn't it be considered a centrist view?
But somehow the establishment is succeeding in framing a rational and centrist world view as unhinged and far right.
The most common form of absolutism is the projection of absolutism on one's opponents.
Few people view themselves as unhinged wingnuts. Most people view themselves as fair-minded rational creatures. When you listen to people outside the political context, you will usually find that they have reasons for their positions.
Projecting absolutism on others has the same effect as holding an absolutist position. It introduces the same paradoxes and conflicts as if the speaker was the one who held the position. Even worse, the act of projection makes it harder to discover the source of the problems.
When a rogue wants to dominate others, the rogue immediately jumps into a litany about how there is a mysterious other who is seeking dominance and that we must unite to defeat that other. (NOTE the paradox of unity: Uniting one group against others creates division).
The logical fallacies behind projection have been around since antiquity. Projection was a favorite subject of Sigmund Freud and has since become the preferred rhetorical trick of the left. It is also used by reactionaries.
If you want to sell radical socialism, you frame all others as being radical. Notice how people who believe in a constitutionally limited government are systematically dismissed today as radicals. The whole point of the Constitution was to establish a common set of ideas on which to build the nation.
Are the people who hold to the foundational ideals really unhinged radicals?
Projection in the Hegelian Tradition
The last several posts have been about the Hegelian Tradition. Hegel was a well read philosopher in the period following the US and French Revolutions. He admired Napoleon and his sympathies fell with the Kings.
Hegel was a CONSERVATIVE. The first conservatives were royalists seeking to preserve the social order of the ancient regime in an age of revolution against the monarchy.
The royalists of both Germany and England were in chaos and looking for ways to reframe their arguments. (NOTE the Hanoverian Kings of England were German).
Hegel created a philosophy of history and a philosophy of logic (modern logic) that allowed him to spin history to support which ever group was seeking hegemony. In his philosophy, Hegel presented a fantastic conflict driven version of history in which the world spirit manifested itself on the world stage as a resolution of thesis/anti-thesis conflicts.
Apparently, it is a compelling philosophy because a large number of people in the early 1800s took to his ideas and ran with them in all sorts of different directions.
There are only a few direct descendants of Hegel. Most of the people adhering to this chain of thought actually took the approach of projecting Hegelian thought onto a mysterious "them."
The philosophy is much more effective when you project it on your opponents because you can create a system of action and re-action that invariably leads to concentration of power.
The basic model of this projection is that there is a group of evil gentiles out there who are uniting to form an evil hegemony. We, the righteous, must therefore unite, centralize our resources so that we can fight that evil hegemony.
The direct descendants of Hegel were CONSERVATIVES seeking to preserve the social structure of the ancient regime. The Young Hegelians (typified by Marx) grabbed the same philosophy. This group learned to project their underlying philosophy onto their opponents creating the illusion that they are the defenders of social progress.
You can see this methodology clearly in the second volume of "The Open Society and Its Enemies" by Karl Popper. Popper's work projects all of the evils of Communism onto the Hegelian Right to justify all the same evils in the name of preserving The Open Society.
I've written the word CONSERVATIVE in CAPSLOCK to emphasize that there is a very ugly set of un-American ideas associated with the term "conservative."
I believe it is a great foolishness for the Tea Party and Republican Party to invest the future of America in this ugly term "conservative." The Left and Right regularly change positions on issues. The Right of the French Revolution was an ugly group. The Conservative Right of the Hegelian tradition is equally corrupt.
The insistence of groups like Fox News that we call the effort to preserve the Constitution "conservative" simply keeps our nation locked in an ugly chain of action and reaction that leads to economic and political consolidation.
It is not the left that is destroying us. It is the underlying system of thought that created the left/right and center (The dialectical center is often worse than the supposed extremes).
Thursday, August 16, 2012
The Great Division
The Left sees the division coming from the Right. The Right sees the division coming from the Left.
I believe that the division comes from the process that created the Right and Left.
The Founders of the United States failed to anticipate the Left/Right split. Neither the partisan system nor the left/right split is in the Constitution or the Federalist Papers. The Founders despised the fictionalization they saw in Europe and detested Machiavelli.
The split came after our nation's founding.
The US Founders had a refined classical education based on the Trivium (grammar, logic and rhetoric). They applied classical logic to the question of liberty. They saw liberty as "self-rule." The founders created a system with a high regard for the individual and with a Constitutionally limited government.
I like to call the application of classical logic to the question of liberty "Classical Liberalism."
Contrary to what Republicans claim, the American Revolution was not a "conservative revolution." The present day notion of "conservatism" did not exist. The conservatives during the Revolution supported the king (royalists). They were called Tories.
The fact that the current crop of conservatives admire want to associate their believe system with the Founders does not make the Founders "conservatives."
The US Revolution did not preserve the colonial social order. In colonial days, sovereignty flowed from the King. A person's position was often derived from their relation to the crown. The American Revolution dramatically changed the social order.
The Founders inherited slavery. They did not end slavery. This was a terrible mistake that cost our nation dearly.
After the revolution, the royalists in both the former colonies and in Europe were in a tizzy.
In the last post on Hegelian Conservativism, I emphasized the fact that the Hanoverian Kings of England were German. They were keenly involved in the German intellectual movement. This intellectual movement drew on folks from Plato, Machiavelli to Kant (1724-1804) to create a new royalist logic.
In the history of ideas, people apply the term "modern" to philosophers who followed Kant.
Kant was a silly man. He had this idea that he could create a "Copernican Revolution" in logic through a study of Pure Reason. He ends up projecting an absolutism on classical thinkers that really wasn't there.
There's a large number of paradoxes in the world. A society cannot grant people absolute freedom. Absolute freedom would imply that people had the freedom deny the freedom others. Classical liberals understood the need for a government and courts to help prevent people to defend liberty.
Anyway, after the American and French Revolution, the royalty of Europe was in a tizzy.
Royalists (Conservatives) were systematically losing arguments with the classical liberals. So, they turned, full force, to this idea of creating a new logic ... MODERN LOGIC.
I believe that much of the intractable division that we see today rose from the creation of this modern logic.
The very first practitioners of modern logic were the royalist conservatives.
Hegel did not come up with something new. He is just the prime example of the thought of the early 1800s. He studied
Yes, I know Hegel, like the Kings of England, was German. How is it possible that a German influenced ideas in England? Conservatives make loud squealing noises when I point out that Hegel was influential in the development of Modern Conservatism. It can't possibly be?!
How could German thought influence the Kings of England (who were German)?
I mean, it's not like the Kings of England were also the Kings of Hanover or something?
If the Kings of England were German, wouldn't there have been a large number of German soldiers fighting with the British in the Revolutionary War?
Anyway, in philosophy, the term "modern" refers to schools that followed Kant. Hegel drew on Kant's desire to launch a "Copernican Revolution in Logic." Hegel dug through the writings of Plato, Machiavelli, Sun Tsu, etc. Hegel was a royalist. As a reaction to the French and American Revolutions, Hegel concentrated heavily on the master/slave relation and used the paradoxes associated with freedom to claim freedom slavery and slavery freedom.
Hegel created a Modern Logic that could be called an "oppositional dialectics."
This new oppositional dialectics is a form of institutionalized conflict. Hegel presented a philosophy of history in which the world spirit progressed through an ongoing series of conflicts with nations warring on the world stage. His philosophy had paradox at the foundation of reason and conflict at the surface.
There are many other ways to play the dialectical game. Imagine a news agency presenting news as conflict with the stated goal of dominating the ratings ... that would be oppositional dialectics in action.
Hegel came up with a paradoxical definition of freedom. The Founders saw freedom as self-rule. Hegel originated an idea more along the terms of free agency in which the players on the world stage had the ability to act, but this freedom was more of a trial than something that is good unto itself.
Hegel played a clever game. The royalists were not winning the battle of ideas, so they started to redefine the terms of the debate to destroy the playing field.
A generation after Hegel saw the emergence of the Young Hegelians. The most notable of the Young Hegelians was Karl Marx. Marx called his philosophy Material Dialectics. The Young Hegelians flew with Hegel's paradoxical view of freedom. While the Hegelians were prone to promote radicalized religions, the Young Hegelians liked radicalized anti-religion.
To Recap: The US Founders had a classical education. They fought for liberty. They applied classical logic to the questions of liberty and came up with a Constitutionally limited government. I call the application of classical logic to freedom "Classical Liberal."
"Modern" refers to the philosophies that rose after Kant.
The Conservatives of the French Revolution and the early 1800s sought to preserve the social structure of the ancient regime. They were losing arguments to the classical liberals.
In the Art of War one learns that the way to win battles to choose the battle grounds. The conservatives of the 1800s were eager to develop a new MODERN LOGIC. Modern Conservatives developed a paradoxical definition of "liberalism."
The Young Hegelians ran with the paradoxical definitions of liberal. They added to it a radicalized anti-religion.
Don't you get it?
The big split between Modern Conservatism and Modern Liberalism came from an extremely corrupt process.
If you defined "freedom" as "self-rule" and applied classical logic to the question of liberty, you come up with the conversation of the US Founding Fathers.
Now, lets get to the reason why I wrote this post.
Have you ever notice that certain "Conservatives" spend more time complaining about liberals than they spend on defining their own ideas?
These conservatives hold a very paradoxical and corrupted notion about what liberalism is.
Many on the left play the same game. They spend more time defining the position of their opposition than they spend defining their own position.
Have you ever read Karl Marx? Marx spent his entire career defining "capitalism" and never defined "communism" beyond vague notions of a workers' paradise.
I contend that the conservatives who spend their lives promoting a corrupted definition of freedom are as much an enemy to freedom as are the "modern liberals" who run with and promote the paradoxical view of freedom.
The solution to the division of the day is to recognize that both Modern Conservatism and Modern Liberalism are corrupt.
The Left/Right split came from corrupt intellectual traditions of Europe. The best way to restore America would be to recognize Modern Conservatism, Modern Liberalism and the Left/Right split as a mistake and to start a new conversation about liberty based on classical logic.
I really like the term "Classical Liberal" to refer to the application of classical logic to the question of liberty, with liberty defined as self-rule. Kingdom is rule by a king. Freedom is a free people who rule over themselves.
Following this chain of thought might help us to restore the American Experiment in self-rule.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Hegelian Right v. Classical Liberals
The movement was very much a royalist movement formed in reaction to the American and French revolution.
King George I, King George II, and King George III were jointly kings of Hanover and of England. Frederick the Great was an ally of England ruling over the kingdom of Prussia.
The Founders of the United States had a classical education. They fought for liberty. They saw liberty as self-rule. "Kingdom" meant rule by a king. "Freedom" meant free people who ruled themselves. The US Founders might be called "classical liberal."
The goal of Hegel was to frame the monarchy (the state) as the source of progress and to discredit the classical liberals.
In the Art of War one learns that the way to destroy an enemy is to define the position of the enemy.
To discredit the classical liberals, Hegel undertook an intense study of the master/slave relation and the paradoxes of freedom. The result of this was a new paradoxical understanding of freedom. The paradoxes of freedom were immediately relevant in the newly formed US because the United States had inherited slavery and couldn't figure out how to get rid of it.
Closer to Germany, the French Revolution was an ugly affair in which the revolutionaries sought to impose social change. It broke down into factions with a distinct left and right. It included genocide followed by the rise of Emperor Napoleon.
Hegel adored Napoleon.
Living in a world of conflict, Hegel applied oppositional dialectics to create a philosophy of history in which the world spirit evolved through conflicts on the world stage.
The Hegelian Left came a generation later when Feuerbach showed how to radical anti-religion to consolidate power. Marx followed with a philosophy centered on class conflict. The Hegelian left took Hegel's paradoxical definition of "liberalism" and ran with.
The Modern Liberal seeks freedom in slavery. The left holds that freedom reaches its highest level when the state is absolute. The enemy of the Hegelian Left is the Hegelian Right.
The tell tale sings of the Hegelian Conservative is that the philosophy is based on a paradoxical definition of liberalism.
When you watch Fox News and the Main Stream Media, you will notice that the reporters present news as conflict. They push a paradoxical view of "liberalism" and often spend more time defining the position of their opposition than their own position.
I contend that this new think (oppositional dialectics) is the cause for our systematic loss of liberty.
Conservatives who are dependent on the perverted definition of "liberal" are as much to blame for the lost of our liberty as the Hegelian left which runs with the perverted definition of liberal.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
The Hegelian Right
Some historians have spoken of Hegel's influence as represented by two opposing camps. The Right Hegelians, the allegedly direct disciples of Hegel at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, advocated a Protestant orthodoxy and the political conservatism of the post-Napoleon Restoration period. The Left Hegelians, also known as the Young Hegelians, interpreted Hegel in a revolutionary sense, leading to an advocation of atheism in religion and liberal democracy in politics.
The article implies that there is distinct left / right split in the Hegelian tradition. I believe that this split was influential in the left / right split that came to dominates American politics.
Aspects of American Conservatism seem to come from Hegel.
The first American Conservatives were the Tories who supported the English crown in the revolution.
An odd historical fact is that King George III was of the House of Hanover. The Kingdom of Hanover was in the general area of the modern German State of Saxony (Saxony as in Anglo-Saxon).
Wikipedia says the Hanoverian dynasty in England ran from 1714 to 1901. Interestingly, King George I (1660-1727) was established as King of England because Queen Anne's direct relatives were Catholic.
King George II founded the Georg-August-Universität in Gottingen in 1737. This royal charter university sported professors from Gauss to Hilbert and was the center of the German Romantic movement producing writers like the Bothers Grimm. During the 18th century,
During the American Revolution, conscripted Hessian soldiers fought for the British. Hesse is just south of Hanover. Germans and English were later allies in the Napoleonic Wars.
There was an immediate and direct connection between English royalty and the German intellectual community.
The monarchy was in chaos after the American and French Revolutions. I contend that, during the tumultuous period, the intellectuals in both England and Germany were spinning in circles trying to figure out how to reframe the arguments of the monarchy and the power structure (including the universities) that surrounded the monarchy.
Enter Hegel. Hegel was a master of philosophy, he knew how to spin a philosophy to the interest of his patrons.
He would draw on philosophers from Plato, Machiavelli, Kant and more to spin a philosophy that would justify the actions and desires of his patrons.
Hegel miraculously created a new philosophy of history (and of logic) that was sympathetic to the royalist cause.
For example, the during the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers fought for liberty which they saw as self-rule. To the founders, kingdom meant rule by a king. Freedom meant self rule.
Hegel spent a great deal of time redefining freedom. Hegel studied the master/slave relation and came up with all sorts of arguments to claim that freedom was slavery and slavery freedom.
The modern definition of "liberalism" clearly comes from Hegel and not from the US Founders.
Hegel's philosophy of history was a foolish thing claiming that the world spirit evolved through thesis/antithesis conflicts on the world stage. The American Revolution was just a hissy-fit and the people would soon come back to a centralized totalitarian state.
Hegel's logic was this foolishness where you would hold paradoxes at the foundation of reason and conflicts at the surface.
The cause of freedom is rife with paradox. Does a free person have the ability to deny freedom to another?
The founders believed in freedom of religion. But what happens if a religion demands political domination as a tenet of its faith?
The original Hegelian right favored radicalized religions that pushed paradoxical definitions of freedom and demanded individual subservience to the collective.
Hegel lived in a day when the monarchy was in crisis and spoke words that was immensely popular to the halls of power and to the reactionary forces that opposed the American and French Revolution.
Oddly Hegel was called an idealist, when in actuality, Hegel adored Napoleon and echoed Napoleon's hatred of ideology.
THE KINGS OF ENGLAND WERE GERMAN! The rise of Hegelian (modern) dialectics was not something taking place in a remote and foreign land. This stuff was direct and immediate.
Back in the states, we find that the founders were dealing with an ugly issue. They had inherited slavery from colonial days. Many founders had borrowed against their slaves, and people were looking for ways to justify the continuation of slavery.
The newly formed states were eager to import new ideas from Europe and the newly formed United States was fertile grounds for Hegelian dialectics in the early 1800s.
The tell-tale signs of Hegelianism is a belief that history progresses through conflict. Adherents to this position love to produce fantastical histories with great conflicts centered on thesis/anti-thesis. Early Hegelians favored radicalized religion and were prone to produce mythologies blatantly false claims such as the claim that Blacks were the descendants of Cain (thus deserving slavery) or that the American Indians were a lost tribe of Israel.
The final tell-tale sign of Hegelianism is a paradoxical redefinition of freedom.
The Hegelian Right came first. The generation after Hegel produced a number of people called "Young Hegelians" which defined the Hegelian Left. This group includes folks like Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) and later Karl Marx (1818-1883).
The Hegelian Right used radicalized religion. Feuerbach created a radicalized anti-religion. Marx used oppositional dialectics to create a fantasy history in which history evolved through class conflict. In Marxian dialectics, the intelligentsia would unite with the proletariat to overthrow the bourgeoisie and bring about a new stage of evolution called Communism.
In this Hegelian tradition, there is a very ugly Left/Right split with both sides being power mongering rogues.
Hitler typifies the Hegelian Right, Stalin typifies the Hegelian Left.
I should point out that there is also a dialectical center. The dialectical center claims that they are the fair and balanced center between clowns on the left and jokers on the right.
The Left/Right split that dominates political discourse did not come from the Founding Fathers. The left/right split appeared in the early 1800s.
The split appears to have come from the French Revolution. The logic of the partisan split appears to fall along the Hegelian Left/Right split. The Hegelian split uses ugly thought processes based on paradoxical thinking with conflict on the surface.
The Hegelian Right came before the Hegelian Left. Both lead to bad ends.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Back from the Wedding
I got some pictures of the Riverfront in Spokane and a ton of the wedding pictures. Sorry, the wedding pictures are only for the bride, groom and family. I will post the pictures of the riverfront later this week.
On the way up, we ate at the Signal Grill in Hamilton. I love traditional diners. On the way back we dined at Lou and Me in Malad, Idaho (the Sunday service was understaffed)..
It is always a great relief to get out of Utah to places where people are open and friendly.
The oppressive nature of Mormonism has been bearing down on me in the last couple of years.
My goal for the last four years has simply been to find a small group willing to spend a day discussing free market health care reform. The theme of the discussion would be that the problem is the use of group funding of individual consumption and the solution is to create an alternative to insurance based on self-funded care (NOTE An HSA + High Deductible Insurance is still insurance).
IMHO, the weakest point of ObamaCare is the insurance mandates. The mandates are based on the false assumption that insurance is the only way to fund health care. I contend that, if a group of patriots defined a viable alternative to insurance, they could use the alternative to directly attack ObamaCare and socialism at its weakest point.
This is the issue I want to discuss.
The peculiarities of Mormonism (and the left-wing reaction to Mormonism) means that I have to go some where else.
I do not want to talk about Mormonism or why it is oppressive.
I actually feel the same way about vampire movies. There is no truth in vampire movies; so I prefer not to waste any time discussing vampire movies.
I want to discuss health care. If the proponents of socialized medicine based their position on vampire movies, I guess I would be forced to discuss them, but only reluctantly.
Suffice it to say: Every major politician fronted by the LDS Church (Harry Reid, Mitt Romney, Governors Leavitt, Huntsman and Herbert) favor socializing medicine through State Run Health Exchanges.
They simply disagree on which group should wield the ring of power. Harry Reid wants exchanges run by the states that are regulated by the Federal Government. Romney wants exchanges run and regulated by the states. The Sutherland Institute (a supposedly free market group) wants exchanges run by the states and regulated by a non-elected government entity called a Health Compact.
The argument about who should run the socialized health exchanges is a false dichotomy.
The LDS Church has billions invested in insurance. Discussing alternatives to insurance would be political suicide in Utah. Both the left and right in Utah are for socialized medicine.
End of story.
I've accepted that, if I want to discuss free market health care reform, I have to travel (at my own expense) to somewhere else. The one and only way this could work is if a group of Libertarian minded folks organized the meeting.
Anyway, during the long to Spokane and back, I decided to write a post about why we need to worry about certain elements of the right.
Rather than writing about Joseph Smith (1805-1844), I thought I decided to write about Hegel (1770-1831) whose writings were all the rage during the early 1800s. Hegel is famous for his philosophy of history and as a founder of modern logic.
Hegel's philosophy of history is not all that new. It was extremely popular during the early 1800s (especially among conservatives). He invented an oppositional dialectics that claimed the world spirit evolved through conflicts on the world stage. He had a bizarre definition of freedom which is closer to the Mormon concept of Free Agency than to the Founders concept of Liberty (The founders saw liberty as self rule. They understood a kingdom as rule by king, and freedom as self rule.)
Of course many say it is absurd to think that a German philosophy born in 1770 could possibly have influence on an American born in 1805.
My next post will be titled "The Hegelian Right." I leave you to judge whether or not Mormonism was influenced by Hegelianism.