Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quote of the Day:

One crucial advantage that collectivists hold is that their philosophy looks beyond the length of their own lives. They can afford to invest in long-run destruction.
Y'know, there are times that I think that whole Age of Reason/Enlightenment and the silly individual rights thing it spun off was a fluke.


Nathan Brindle said...

There have always been more sheep than wolves.

Old Soldier said...

I remember Milton Freidman talking about the first 120 years of American Independence. He said it was an unprecedented era of small government and freedom – and will probably never be repeated.

Let’s face it – us conservatives would give anything to turn the political clock back 120 years or so (minus Jim Crow). It will never happen. Since 1928 conservatism has been nothing but a rear-guard action trying to slow the march of oppression.

Joe Huffman said...

Well... certainly there was a culture of individual rights before there was the concept of government/tribes/etc. But you are right, it does seem that the natural state of humanity is to yearn for a nanny state no matter how frequently what they think will be a nanny turns out to be an ogress.

theirritablearchitect said...

"...I think that whole Age of Reason/Enlightenment and the silly individual rights thing it spun off was a fluke."And you'd be right.

The whole of human history has been filled with slavery, and little else.

Hope the rest of you are going to stay around here and go down with the ship, 'cuz she's currently listing pretty hard in high seas, and the rudder is seriously broke-dick.

Lorimor said...

"I look upon an increase of the power of the State with the greatest fear, because although while apparently doing good by minimizing exploitation, it does the greatest harm to mankind by destroying individuality, which lies at the root of all progress. We know of so many cases where men have adopted trusteeship, but none where the State has really lived for the poor."
-- Mahatma Ghandi

"The greatest fallacy in the entire history of the human species is the idea that it is necessary to employ coercion to eliminate disorder."
-- Andrew Galambos

Jenny said...

I think it's more that any movement contains the seeds for its own destruction. Freedom creates wealth disparities. Wealth disparities past a certain point make people mad. In a representative gov't, some form of collectivism may well have been pretty much inevitable* In turn, the collapses it wrought through the 70's in the West ushered in the 80's - not a perfect restoration, but a huge renunciation nonetheless. So now it's time for the next generation to learn the same lessons.

I'm also really starting to think it's unwise to promote "conservatism**" as such - mostly because it's ultimately useless. No matter how much you stand athwart history shouting "stop" .... history will keep moving. It will never be 1790 again, both for good and ill***.

A better approach for free market/individual freedom people to make the case may be pragmatic arguments over traditional ones. And yes... to think longer term.

* Which is different from saying that's a good thing. How many years does the original "goose and the golden eggs" story predate the US by I wonder?

** An increasingly muddled term in a "post-the-leftists-got-a-turn" world. When Bush was trying to reform Social Security before it comes crashing down around our ears, and the Leftists were screaming "no" - who was really the conservative?

*** and there was a lot of ill in 1790's to - we just forget most of it living at a safe distance.

TriggerFinger said...


Individual rights *are* a fluke. America is a fluke. North America was populated by exceptional men and women, people who fled oppression in their home countries and risked everything they had in return for the hope of living in greater freedom on their own merits, leaving their support structures -- both personal and governmental -- as far behind as possible.

That paid off in the American Revolution, when Americans beat back the forces of repression and claimed the right to govern themselves -- and that as little as possible.

But since then?

We're no longer a frontier nation. People no longer have to self-select to come to America. People are born here and receive freedom as a gift from their forefathers, sometimes reverently but more and more often as that old sweater that doesn't quite fit and hangs in the closet feeding moths.

Is it any wonder that freedom slowly dies, and that Americans gradually regress closer and closer to the complacent statism that is so typical of the rest of the world?

Our culture is more free, and we started from a position of smaller government. We have a ways yet to go, but the direction is clear.

We need a new frontier. We need self-supporting colonies on the Moon, on Mars, in the middle of the oceans, where ever we can put them. Freedom lives on the edge of civilization, not the center of it.

mariner said...

You were right.

It was a fluke, and it's about to come to an end.

Mike W. said...

Sometimes I think Tytler was right.

Kristopher said...

So they admit that their goal is long term destruction?

At least the Vandals and Visigoths tried to maintain the Empire and its comforts once they had conquered it.

Nathan Brindle said...

They probably don't see it as destruction -- to them it's "leveling", or "fairness". That's the nature of the collectivist beast, unfortunately.

staghounds said...

Wealth disparities give thieves an excuse, no more.

Disparity of everything is constant, and envy is part of the nature of most human beings.

If magically every human suddenly had identical possessions, two things would happen in the first ten minutes:

1, someone would start agitating that he should be given a proportion of everything- to ensure that equality continued, or to make quality more fair- the handicapped person needs more to compensate, etc; and

2. the equality would end, as the strong stole, the clever cheated, and the foolish lost, wasted, and broke things.

Ten minutes is a maximum estimate.

reflectoscope said...

The only thing everyone can share equally is a big slice of nothing.


Ed Foster said...

I would say that the defining explaination of a liberal is quite specifically someone who does not look beyond the length of his or her own life, someone devoid of that sense of identity with our past that we refer to as traditional American. Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. Hardly an original thought.

They make utterly unsustainable promises that must inevitably destroy the society they bankrupt of investment capital, both monetary and intellectual.

In their pursuit of legislating into existence a perfect world, the American left differs from their more traditional European role models in only one minor point. They haven't even attempted to recreate the "New Soviet Man", that paradigm of selflessness whose creation would engender the "withering away of the state".

Rather, they assume they are he. They speak of themselves with a sense of wonderment, as the innately noble and munificent end of history, rather than what they are, shallow, self centered, perpetual adolescents, playing with a loaded gun in a room filled with explosives.

And being liberals, thus evolved beyond such barbarities as weapons, they don't have the slightest clue how the thing works. But being children, they still keep prodding at it, amused at all the shiny little levers.

A thought, one that would have been unthinkable to me only a few months ago. If the Republicans, our (sadly) last best hope, can't get their act together behind someone with the capabilities of a Gingrich next year, should we go gently into that good night?

Or, should we look at the demographics of the then future United States on the eve of our revolution? One third rebel, one third loyalist, one third timid opportunists, blowing in the direction of whichever wind seemed strongest at the time.

Then as now, Americans were, per capita, the wealthiest people on earth.

The loyalists were uniformly well-to-do "sensible" urbanites, settled overwhelmingly along the coasts. Military service in the war was a rarety among Tories, except for the Lowland Scots of the Carolina coast who used it as an excuse to punish the Highlanders and Irish of the western mountains.

Punish them, oddly enough, for not having supported those same coastal Scots a decade before, when they rose against England during the Regulators rebellion.

Essentially, the American revolution was fought by American militiamen, and European immigrants, most with considerable military experience, who wanted to become Americans, i.e, Washington's Continental Line.

Opposing them, with very few exceptions, were British regulars, who suffered badly from the lack of military intelligence a strong native contingent would have given them. They didn't have that contingent, because the Loyalists either clustered in the few coastal areas under British control, or emigrated to Canada, other parts of the empire, or home to the British Isles.

Aren't we missing the obvious anologies here? Now as then, the enemy are contemptuous urbanites clustered overwhelmingly in vulnerable, high density coastal cities.

Now as then, the romantic individualists control the supply and production of food, fuel, and energy. We also make up 99% of all combat units in the military and 90% of the nation's police. And people, there are no British to back them up this time!

We are running in fear from timid parasites. There is no need for a serious shooting war, a "Second American Revolution". Third American revolution for you Southerners.

With the single exception of Salt Lake City, there is no city in America that has more than a three day supply of food.

None of them have the means to self generate any real amount of power, and most are dependent on water piped from hundreds or thousands of miles away. A point I make in my soon to be published book "The End Of Days" (shameless plug).

Isolation of the truely bad people and amoral cultures of the left doesn't need explosives and gunfire (honest Mr. FBI Man, I'm not talking about, you know, what I'm not supposed to be not talking about).

The long chain from farmer to cooperative to processor to wholesaler and retailer can be disrupted peacefully and legally by only a comparatively few productive people deciding to take a coordinated vacation.

Or even better, by their taking that vacation and requiring their employees to take theirs at the same time. By the time the feds got around to nationalizing things, New York, Chicago and L.A. would already have self destructed. And I'd love to see a commandeered INS agent trying to milk a cow.

Brian Dale said...

theirritablearchitect wrote, "The whole of human history has been filled with slavery, and little else."

There's one for the Quotes file. Thanks, Arch.

Jenny wrote, "In a representative gov't, some form of collectivism may well have been pretty much inevitable*"

I have a corollary to add: In a representative gov't, some form of officially sanctioned theft is pretty much inevitable, beacause a small but nonzero fraction of any population are inclined to be thieves.

wv = "drotor:" Ed's going to stop d rotor of the world, and I'll be picking up a copy of that book when it comes out.

perlhaqr said...

Ed: I wanna read that book.

jsabotta said...

Let's be clear, Ed - you are proposing the use of mass starvation against urban population, just like Stalin did against the Ukraine. Does it bother you that your plan would doom millions of innocent along with the guilty? Or that the urban poor in general are not the power base of the present administration? And what do you do about strikebreakers who can't stomach your plan and continue to sell food to the cities?

It's thinking like this that convinces me there's no hope at all.