Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Eighth Commandment of Nihilism: What's Yours is Mine

Now we're really getting down to the heart -- the headless heart, to be exact -- of the nihilist project of overturning the order of the cosmos. For while the cliché that possession is "nine tenths of the law" may or may not be true, it is certainly nine tenths of the lawlessness and bad law. For if you can attenuate or undermine the concept of possessions, then you are well on your way to the lawlessness and disorder that rebellious leftists seem to enjoy so much, because it allows them to come in with the heavy-handed state to solve the problem.

As we know, one of satan's greatest achievements was in convincing people that he does not exist. But a close second might be the belief that there is something illegitimate about private property and wealth. Most leftist policies can only even be discussed in an intellectual shitegeist in which the concept of ownership has been undermined. I can't tell you how long I walked around with this sinister meme rattling around the youthful Gagdad dome. For example, as one of the Powerline guys has said about himself, I learned my politics at the feet of knaves such as John Lennon. Therefore, when I heard the song "Imagine" as a fourteen year old, I simply nodded in silent agreement at the transparent wisdom of the lyrics:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

Today If I heard such sinister piffle, I would do an immediate spit-take. But trust me, never once in my entire education, from kindergarten through graduate school, did I ever receive any explicit explanation about the centrality of private property to a free people. If anything, I heard the opposite -- that private property was the cause of greed and envy, not their solution. Obviously, we still hear it today with talk of "income gaps" and the like. This abstract concept of "income gaps" only has resonance in a person who already doubts the legitimacy of private property.

Furthermore, no one ever told me that the second amendment is even more fundamental than the right to private property, since property won't remain private for long without the legitimate threat of violence to bring home the lesson to your fellow citizen that he has no right to help himself to what belongs to you -- including your most precious possessions, your life, the lives of your loved ones, and Dupree's irreplaceable collection of vintage old-school soul.

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

I have seen what this dream looks like up close. Every few weeks it's our turn for the other squaws to have their little pow-wow at Gagdad Manor. Naturally, I try to hide out back in the Coon den, away from the din of half a dozen two year-olds. For the two year-olds do indeed have the kind of culture envisioned by John Lennon. They don't know about the concept of "possessions," and therefore, a leftist baby over here will inevitably leap to the conclusion that the capitalist baby over there won't mind if he grabs his toy. Big mistake. It is usually then that I go for my bike ride, because the crying that ensues reminds me too much of dailykos, except that, unlike dailykos, the crying does eventually stop.

But like dailykos, all of the crying revolves around the infantile assumption that there are two Americas: one that is envious of what others have, and another that has what they envy. The leftist solution to the pain of envy is to feed it, while the classical liberal solution is to suck it up and stop indulging in this most destructive of emotions. For as the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein demonstrated, envy is both innate and insatiable. Furthermore, envy is really not so much interested in having what it wants, but rather in destroying the painful tension involved in not having it. Envy is irrational, and will not go about obtaining the desired end in a sober and rational way, but will instead take the shortcut of attacking the person who has what they want.

A classic example of this is confiscatory tax policies which represent nothing more than the political indulgence of envy toward no productive purpose whatsoever. Ironically, when President Reagan cut the marginal tax rates from 70% to 28% in the 1980s, there were predictable howls from the left that this represented nothing but greed on Reagan's part. But as usual, the left had it entirely backwards and upside down, for the only way you can end up with a 70% tax rate is if envy is completely out of control (and bear in mind that before the classical liberal JFK took office, it was 91%).

Such confiscatory tax rates certainly don't help the economy, as they reduce wealth and prosperity for all. But in so doing, these high tax rates do achieve the psychological effect of feeding the envy of the left. But in the case of envy, "too much is never enough." Unlike other emotions, the satisfaction of envy never leads to satisfaction but to more envy.

The economic statistics are there for all to see. Reagan's tax cuts have been central to the most sustained economic expansion in human history. The boom of the Clinton years was simply part two of the Reagan revolution, just as the current boom is part three. Much of the incredible prosperity that has been unleashed would have been impossible with the old 70% tax rate, for it would have seriously cut into the capital required for innovation and expansion that benefits us all.

Another critical discovery of Melane Klein was that envy and gratitude had an unconscious inverse dialectical relationship, which is to say, the more envy, the less gratitude, and the more gratitude, the less envy. This has many fascinating permutations that work themselves out in different ways.

For example, one way to personally cure the spiritual pathology of leftism is to consciously cultivate a spirit of gratitude. In order to do this, you will have to stop comparing yourself to others, but for the envious person this is difficult to do, since their envy is a sort of addiction. At the very least, it is a central organizing principle in the leftist psyche, so that abandoning it will lead to feelings of guilt and self-reproach. For example, a leftist who attempts to overcome his envious mind parasite might hear the voice if an internal propagandist telling him that he is bad and greedy, just like those evil capitalists!

Similarly, the indulgence of envy actually destroys the gratitute that is central to human happiness. One of the reasons all studies demonstrate that conservatives are so much happier and fulfilled than leftists is because they are less envious. Where I live, I am surrounded by wealthy people, but I really don't give it a thought. We happen to live in the most modest area of a very upscale area, so I can stare out my window and see mansions on a hill that probably cost four times my house, and drive around and see places that cost ten or fifteen times as much. For the most part, it doesn't cross my mind. I sometimes ride my bike up in hills, where I can get a better look at these sprawling estates, and have occasionally thought to myself, "gee, it sure would be nice if that could be the World Coon Compound." Yes, there's a kind of "pain" involved, if you want to call it that -- the pain that dwells in the space between "wanting" and "having." But I shake it off and keep peddling. I seriously doubt that I would want to exchange my life for any of theirs, nor would I want to live the kind of lifestyle it would require to earn the kind of income to live in a place like that.


As Augustine teaches, "Whether he will or no, a man is necessarily a slave to the things by means of which he seeks to be happy." As such, our love is the vector of our lives: "My weight is my love. Wherever I am carried, my love is carrying me." Thus, Augustine's pithy definition of virtue, which he called "rightly ordered love." In short, everyone loves, but the question is, what do they love? For if you love wrongly or unwisely, your soul will be pulled right into wrongness, right along with your wrong love.

One of the reasons leftists are so unhappy is that they love wrongly. They love envy instead of gratitude, self-expression instead of self-mastery, egalitarianism instead of liberty, the U.N. instead of the U.S., peace instead of the threat of violence that makes it possible. And the burden of this illicit love will act like a millstone around their neck, simply pulling them further into their self-created abyss. For both heaven and hell will involve receiving what you have loved -- good and hard, right in the kisser. So be very careful about falling in love with envy, unless you like the idea of spending eternity with an appetite like Michael Moore but a pinhole for a mouth.


Here is some of what I wrote on the seventh commandment last summer:

“Thou shalt not steal.” Why not? As always, the left has found a way out of this one by questioning its premise, i.e., the existence of private property. For one way to eliminate theft is to eliminate or at least question the legitimacy of private property, which naturally ends with one big thief called “the government.”

Property, according to Richard Pipes, is “the key to the emergence of political and legal institutions that guarantee liberty.” Look at most anyplace in the world where there is an absence of liberty, and you will find weak property rights.

Liberals -- classical liberals, anyway, not the misnamed leftist kind -- have always understood that property is much more than property. Rather, it is the cornerstone of freedom, its very enabler and protector. And underneath property is the use of legitimate violence to protect said property. For if ever there were “sacred violence,” it is the violence that ensures the protection of property, for without property, humans cannot become fully human.

For one thing, property is simply a free and spontaneous expression of “what people want,” and to a large extent, what you want is wo you are, for better or worse. Therefore, property is an extension of the person. I once read a description of this by the outstanding psychoanalyst and writer, Christopher Bollas, who notes that the self can never be perceived directly, only indirectly, largely through its use of objects:

“Perhaps we need a new point of view in clinical psychoanalysis, close to a form of person anthropology. We would pay acute attention to all the objects selected by a patient and note the use made of each object. The literature, films, and music a person selects would be as valued a part of the fieldwork as the dream.” In so doing, we may “track the footsteps of the true self.”

For me, if I go to someone’s home, there are two things I am most curious about: the books and music it contains. And the medicine cabinet. Likewise, I should think that after I am gone, a psychoanalytic fieldworker would be able to construct a fairly accurate representation of me by merely rifling through my library, and perhaps my priceless collection of Barbie Dolls.

Just consider the odd assortment of books in my sidebar. I am quite sure that no one else on the planet has a matching list. There may not be another person in history who has read and assimilated those particular books. I am not saying that to boast, only to emphasize the amazingly unique alchemy of choices we all embody when given the opportunity to freely exercise those choices. As Petey once said, “freedom is eccentricity lived,” and he has a point. At the very least, freedom is individuality lived, and it is very difficult to live out your individuality without a range of choices before you.

I realize it’s politically incorrect to say this, but in the course of my work I have had the opportunity to evaluate a fair number of people from second and third world cultures, and what always impresses me about them is their essential sameness. Their life stories are all remarkably similar, almost as if they were the same person. And in a way they are, for they were not brought up in a cultural space in which they could nurture and live out their own metaphysical dream. Instead, their life is dreamt by others, either vertically by a ruling class or horizontally by the collective. What Bollas calls the person’s “destiny drive” has been almost entirely squelched. They do not live in a space of possibilities, only a sort of invariant and unchanging now.

Pipes notes that “while property in some form is possible without liberty, the contrary is inconceivable.” And this is one thing that frightens us about the illiberal left, for as we have said many times, if you scratch a leftist, he will probably sue you. But underneath the scratch, you will discover a conviction that your property doesn’t really belong to you, but to the collective. It is simply a variation of the bald-faced assertion that “private property is public theft.” itself the absolute inversion of the seventh commandment.

Our most precious property is, of course, our own body. However, it is amazing how late in history this idea emerged. For example, the Islamic beasts we are fighting have no such notion. In their cultures, your body belongs to the religious authorities, and only they can dictate what you can and cannot do with it. For example, a woman’s body is certainly not her own. She has no choices (or only a narrow range of choices established by others) of how to express it, how to adorn it, and whom to share it with. (Memo to trolls -- please don’t even bother. The moral issue behind the abortion debate is not whether a woman has a right to do whatever she pleases with her own body, but whether she has that right over another’s body. That’s the whole point.)

Slavery was still legal in parts of the Arab world as late as the 1960’s, and widespread virtual slavery still exists today. This is the ultimate theft, the theft of a human soul. But that is hardly the only sort of soul-theft that goes on in the Islamic world. Again, the idea that children are autonomous beings with their own inherent rights and dignity is a very late historical development that has yet to appear in most human cultures. Rather, children are “owned” by their parents, which is a great barrier to psychohistorical evolution. As a parent, your job is to create a space for your child’s true self to emerge, not to enforce your version of who your child is and what he should be. Naturally this does not exclude boundaries, discipline and values, but the point of these is to facilitate true freedom, not to suppress it.

Most religions conceive of a mythical Golden Age, an edenic past in which there was no private property. Likewise, they may speculate about a hereafter in which there is no need for private property because there is no lack of anything. But in between, in our embodied state, there is a me and therefore a mine, a you and a yours. And just as the development of individualism is facilitated by property, property benefits from the arrangement as well. That is, most people do not take proper care of things that do not belong to them. As they say, no one ever took it upon himself to wash a rental car. Likewise, “Primitive people are prone mindlessly to exterminate animals and destroy forests, to the extent that they are physically able, without any thought of the future” (Pipes). There is an obvious reason why the most affluent countries with the strongest property rights also have the best environmental records.

Likewise, only when one owns oneself will one feel compelled to improve oneself. Here again, we see the left undermining this fundamental assumption, with disastrous consequences. For the entire basis of leftist victimology is that you are not sovereign over yourself and are not responsible for your destiny. Rather, the doctrine of victimology maintains that your life is directed by others. If you are a woman, you are controlled by men. If you are black, you are controlled by racist whites. If you are gay, you are controlled by “homophobes.” In each case, personal agency is undermined and replaced with a collective that, in the long run, will further erode the liberty it claims to advance. Racial quotas simply displace the ceiling further down the road. For example, a recent study proved that easing the standards for admitting blacks to law school simply results in black lawyers with dead-end careers in which they never make partner.

There are many “social justice” or “liberation theology” Christians who maintain that Jesus was a sort of proto-communist, what with his counsel to give to the poor. But there is a big difference between voluntary renunciation of one’s wealth and government seizure and redistribution of one’s wealth. Just as one must first be a man before becoming a gentleman, one must first have sovereignty over one’s property before giving it away. And as a matter of fact, statistics demonstrate that there is an inverse relationship between high taxes and charitable giving. Those states with the lowest taxes give the most, while those with the highest taxes-- "liberal" places such as Massachusetts -- give the least.

There is a reason why, say, China, has no qualms whatsoever about stealing billions of dollars per year in American intellectual property, for they now want the benefits of private property without the sacred duty to protect it. For a Marxist, private property is public theft, so when they steal American music, DVDs, and computer programs, they’re just doing what comes naturally to them. Clearly, this is a perversion of private property that perhaps even Marx didn't envision: “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine as well.”

Well, I can see that I’ve run out of time before I could come up with any snappy ending. Let’s just say this: in order to create a properly functioning society and a spiritually balanced person, “thou shalt not steal” (i.e., private property is sacrosanct) must be reconciled with “thou shalt not covet” (property isn't everything). We'll get to that one in a couple days, assuming I can steal the time that I so enviously covet.


Dougman said...

"Imagine no possessions"

If i didn't posses a body, i would still be with G-d, or aborted at birth.

Heaven was always on earth, aslong as you posses your body.

Simple 'Revelation', huh?

jolly schmidt said...

I would like to extend the doctrine of personal property into the area of marriage, where I often see the reprehensible practice of depriving one partner of economic power and a career.

I would like to see one's occupation or career as a "possession" that should not be taken away by an "envious" other (the spouse).

If someone chooses to stay at home to tend the children, then that becomes their trade or occupation (full-time caregiver).

The position would be best served if it came with the same wages, vacation time, and prestige that outside employment offers. If it does not, then a grave disservice is being done.

Nobody should have to labor without duly regulated wages and benefits (including time off).

Without a source of liquid income, the caregiver devolves into an economic ward and dependant on the working partner. This is fine if you have a nice "boss" but hell if you don't.

The intitutionalized financial neutering of caregives has got to stop.

River Cocytus said...


He whom is not responsible with this unrighteous lucher, who would then trust him with real wealth?

- Question for you. What is real wealth?

If you can answer that question, then you will understand that your assertion is both foolish and meaningless.

cousin Dupree said...


You need to do your homework. Marriage is the patriarchy's institutionalization of legalized rape. What do you expect?

jwm said...

jolly, you have a good point. I am a caregiver to my aging mother. I think the government should give me some of your money.


The Bunnies said...

If I may be so bold as to present an idea--I suggest that Bob combine his two series on the Commendments, expand on them, and put them into book form.

Not only would it be incredibly insightful and is already partly written, I think there would be a market for it.

The post on murder almost left me breathless--it reminded me of the first time I read Jeremiah.

River Cocytus said...

Well, nothing worth having is easy to get. Children are worth more than anything in the world - they aren't free and never will be. Blood, sweat and tears are the only real currency of this world. This is something I have learned and is a faithful statement.

wv: znabmuy - sounds like what the Venezuelans are saying...

hoarhey said...

Bob said,
"I seriously doubt that I would want to exchange my life for any of theirs, nor would I want to live the kind of lifestyle it would require to earn the kind of income to live in a place like that."

Amen to that!

jolly schmidt = feminisimo

Why do these feminists seem so bitter, mechanistic and dogmatic? It's as if they are in mental chains of their own making with no free will or no choices, just everlasting bondage projected into eternity.
It sounds as if someone has been making some pretty piss poor choices in life. Might I suggest listening to/reading Dr. Laura? (OH THE HORROR!)

And speaking of material bondage;

Is there a book(s) which compares and contrasts social justice/liberation theology/proto communism, flatland Christianity with the trancendent liberty and freedom which Jesus did actually teach?

Gagdad Bob said...


Michael Novak's Spirit of Democratic Capitalism is excellent. In fact, I think I might just reread it.

NoMo said...

Jolly - Good men are out there. It takes a good woman to find them. Be a good woman. (If you're not female, I apologize for assuming.)

Bunnies - Hey, that was my idea (and probably every other coon's).

Hoarhey - That's the book we need to write with our lives - for all around us to "read".

ntsssxgg (I can never understand a word Verif says).

Sir Te said...

bob, how would you explain the existence of someone who is a democratic socialist, an Agnostic, has no possessions, other than two sets of clothes and two books, of my own, is envious of of no one, is deliriously content and happy, is ethically rigorous[which means that my existence creates little to no harm to any life forms other than perhaps the bacteria I kill when I wash my hands and the rare animal that died for me to eat], and brings happiness into the lives of those I know and meet?

Does not the existence of such a person create a serious problem for you myopic view of how human life is supposedly ordered.

Who lives more in the example of Christ, the opulent and scholastic Benedictines or the mendicant Franciscans?

Jamie Irons said...


Thank you. Another superb post.

For some reason lately I've been making a conscious effort to be more grateful. The experiment (N=1) has convinced me that this practice has immense benefits, not just to oneself, but also (it seems to me) to those around one.

Jamie Irons

Another Bob said...

Regarding envy:

I was shocked to discover that my
oldest step-son had recently back-slid
into leftist economic beliefs.
Apparently his wife had started
reading People magazine had sharing
it with him. It was like a switch
in his head had been pressed.

I suspect the magazine, and others like
it, carry the envy mind-virus.
My advice is to avoid such like
the plague because ... they are the

-Another Bob

The Bunnies said...

Sorry, nomo. I don't want to be a their (especially not in the midle of a Teh Commandments discussion). These past few days I've only had tome to skim the comments.

Btw, was Bob responsive to the idea?

jolly schmidt said...

Jolly Schmidt agrees with all of what Bob says, however with the caveat that society evolves and JS is suggesting a direction for evolution:

Towards the "stand alone" universal capitalist person ideal.

I don't like financial dependencies betweem adults; that is what I'm saying. They create havoc.

There is no need for them to exist. Caregiving should be split, as well as working, to avoid creating an atavistic and illogical situation. There is no good reason to throttle the economic life out of caregivers by giving them a double dose of it and taking away their work life.

Two partners working part--time=the new ideal.

The right to attempt to earn money is universal and inalienable, is what I'm saying.

Let's step forward in God eliminate adult financial dependencu wherever possible. The first step is education and awareness.

NoMo said...

Since it is they who follow these bizarro 10 commandments who most vehemently object to having the real thing posted in public, I wonder if they would have a problem posting their version?

Gagdad Bob said...

sir te:

In answer to your question of how I explain your existence. First, I don't blame you for asking, since your philosophy cannot account for it.

If your self-description is accurate, I would say that you sound like a nice, if somewhat passive, person who is just intellectually and spiritually confused. I never say that all leftists are bad people.

juliec said...

You keep beating this dead horse. I've said it before and I suppose I'll have to keep saying it - if this is how you view marriage, then you really shouldn't be trusted with a ring yet.

I'm a married woman, who chooses to be a housewife. I could work if I wanted to, and would absolutely do it if it were necessary to keep our little unit financially in the black. I don't, however, because I and my husband are both far better off when I stay home and he works. That doesn't mean I sit around eating bon bons all day, nor does it mean I'm living a life of domestic servitude. He works hard, and admittedly has a somewhat stressful job, but it's his choice and preference to do so, and he does it very well. I make sure that at the end of the day, every day, he is glad that he came home. He takes pride (the good kind) in his work, and I take pride in mine. If we both worked part-time, we would be poorer, both financially and emotionally; I do not have the earning power nor ambitious drive that he has, and could not possibly make up for the hours he would miss. Factor in the extra costs for transportation, child care and lack of quality time together and it just gets worse. Our health would be worse, and we would have less, not more, insurance; if a catastrophe happened, we would be devastated.

Furthermore, I would still in all likelihood do the lion's share of the housework, because I do it better, easier and faster than he does. There would still not be an equal distribution of labor, and in fact if you read the stories of married women who work outside the home, they almost all still do most of the housework when their husband also works. From what I've seen, married women who work are often miserable and over-stressed, and baffled as to why that might be.

Your proposal sounds nice and well-intentioned (and we all know what that means, don't we?), but like many utopian ideals it doesn't take into account the reality of humanness, nor the fact that it takes work to be successful, and if you only work part-time you can only ever be partially successful.

If (God forbid, because my soul would be mortally wounded) something happened where my husband and I were to get a divorce, I would still be able to support myself, even though I haven't held a job in a while. Why? Because when I work, I start simply, I'm not too proud to do work that is "beneath" me, and within a couple of months I almost always get asked to take a management position (which I would only take if I had no alternative; thanks but no thanks!). I haven't given up anything in this marriage but the illusion that all relationships are simply power struggles.

Your "ideal" may work great for some people, to which I say "Good for you! I hope it makes you happy." It does not -cannot- work for everyone. Stop insisting that we all try to fit into your narrow mold.

juliec said...

Nomo, I got all excited for a minute there - I thought you actually had a blog going!

Sir Te said...

bob, if I am intellectually and spiritually confused then shouldn't there be some detectable negative consequence of this? Wouldn't being oriented incorrectly toward the Divine order[logos] necessarily result in suffering, either in myself, those around me or both? Isn't this the whole basis of your work?

jolly schmitdt said...


Yes, your situation does sound like a good one. The more families like yours, the better.

The only suggestion I would make is to have a "relationship lifeboat" safely in reach--ie, enough funding to keep you afloat in the remote case that you would have to "jump ship."

Admittedly, I am a pessismist and filled with fear and worry about many things, but that is because I am a professional pundit and my function is to worry about things.

I hope you will forgive me for flogging the horse. I think I'm done now.

Gagdad Bob said...

"bob, if I am intellectually and spiritually confused then shouldn't there be some detectable negative consequence of this?'

Yes, of course. The spiritual consequences are catastrophic. Plus, if everyone were as passive you, we would be overrun by evil-doers in about five minutes.

"Wouldn't being oriented incorrectly toward the Divine order [logos] necessarily result in suffering, either in myself, those around me or both?"

Yes, but that has never stopped anyone.

"Isn't this the whole basis of your work?"


marduk said...

Dear sir te:

Pardon me for joining in the converstation.

There need be no negative consequences in order for a philosophy to be spiritually inadvisable. The problem is stasis--a good system will provide forward momentum (evolution), whereas a merely adequate system provides only for equilibrium

Positive equilibrium produces the problem of complacency, is all. Your chosen operating philosophy should be providing you with continuous targets for further development. You should feel somewhat uneasy if you are in the evolutionary "zone."

juliec said...

While there is some wisdom in having a lifeboat, the truth is that when it comes to relationships, the more time you spend preparing to jump ship, the more likely you are to actually do that, whether it is necessary or not. A relationship founded on mistrust is almost certainly bound to fail.

River Cocytus said...

Not peace, but the sword, surely.

If we had heaven on earth in fullness we would lose the taste for the hereafter.

Epicurianism is the fulfillment of materialism; like in Ecclesiastes.

As to Jolly, again, Capitalism is not a state of independence but of voluntary interdependence. People are no longer forced into marriages, regardless of what they may complain.

Te: were everyone identical to you your philosophy would be correct.

They are not.

And it isn't.

Takes many kinds to make a world.

This is one reason why Bob - and much of real religion, philosophy and certainly the Sophia Perennis, and naturally Jesus Himself was slow to give specific instructions; 'Follow thou me' being the most general of them all.

In a zero-sum world you'd be the most righteous of all men.

But in the positive-sum game this is, you're complacent, and thus stagnant. Passion tamed is not stasis but steady motion forward.

River Cocytus said...

PS - anyone who has heard of the new planet Gilease 531c (or something)

Should note the positive sum position vs. the zero sum position -- most reporters think primarily about finding life there, and little to no mention of the potential of easily terraforming and colonizing said world.

For if we found intelligent life on every habitable planet, it would be the ultimate zero-sum game, right?

hoarhey said...

"I don't like financial dependencies betweem adults; that is what I'm saying. They create havoc."

Earth to Jolly, there is some type of financial dependency between ALL adults everywhere as a prerequisite to living on this earth. It takes place in the billions of transactions which happen daily. Always has been, always will be. You are free to negotiate the contract.

"Two partners working part--time=the new ideal."

You are free to choose this "new" ideal, others are free to choose some other arrangement. The operative word here being freedom. Make the deal which suits you and whomever else you are interacting with and go with it. No one is stopping you.

"Let's step forward in God eliminate adult financial dependencu wherever possible."

Somehow I think God might disagree with you.
Have you taken a look at the motivations behind the reasons why you feel the need to force your "ideal" on the rest of society? (and it ain't equality) Because if you truly were able to see your own freedom to choose, you'd just live your own life and let others live theirs.
People who know better see it for how "ideal" it isn't.

dicentra63 said...

For both heaven and hell will involve receiving what you have loved -- good and hard, right in the kisser.

Reminds me of something I read once (emphasis mine):

"[I]t is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.


The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh.

And so it is on the other hand. If he hath repented of his sins, and desired righteousness until the end of his days, even so he shall be rewarded unto righteousness.

NoMo said...

JulieC - You and my wife would get along grand. I've always viewed her profession with only the highest regard andn respect (the few times I've "filled in for her" have went - lets just say - less than stellar). She seems made for what she does - as do I. We have never regretted the so-called trade-offs.

(And no blog for me, thanks. I may have my occasional moments, but they are far too few to fill a blog - and I guard my slack time fiercely.)

Jolly - A relationship of real and lasting trust can only be built on a spiritual foundation. In other words, "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt 6:33)

cosanostradamus said...

jolly -

Application of simple personal responsibility and commitment by both partners is sufficient antidote to your fear. No government program (as you seem to be suggesting) can ever step in and save anyone from themselves.

I don't like financial dependencies betweem adults; that is what I'm saying. They create havoc.

'Financial dependencies' are the basic building blocks of free market enterprise, are they not? It creates wealth, not havoc, if you understand real wealth.

There is no need for them to exist. Caregiving should be split, as well as working, to avoid creating an atavistic and illogical situation. There is no good reason to throttle the economic life out of caregivers by giving them a double dose of it and taking away their work life.

All you're doing is creating the burden of additional and needless financial dependencies that don't work as efficiently as each partner exercising their strengths. Julie described this perfectly.

Two partners working part--time=the new ideal.

If that's what you both want to do, fine. Otherwise, it's a recipe for a disastrous social program. Start with a free market, add the New (i)Deal and you've got an expensive bureaucratic nightmare you'll never get free from.

The right to attempt to earn money is universal and inalienable, is what I'm saying.

Correct, as long as you leave 'attempt' in that sentence. We are guaranteed the pursuit of happiness, not the short cut to happiness itself. Take that short cut and you won't have happiness, plus you'll still have your fear.

The only suggestion I would make is to have a "relationship lifeboat" safely in reach--ie, enough funding to keep you afloat in the remote case that you would have to "jump ship."

I call that the 'emergency fund', which is nothing but sound family financial responsibility. Live within your means, save for a rainy day, etc. All those common sense maxims we grew up do actually make sense. Don't they teach those anymore?

Admittedly, I am a pessismist and filled with fear and worry about many things, but that is because I am a professional pundit and my function is to worry about things.

Are you seriously saying you are a pessimist because it's your professional responsibility to be so? That's insane. Have you thought of first weaving some optimism into yourself, then changing jobs where you can actually help other people? God save the people you are trying to influence now.

I'm just piling on to what Julie, River, and Hoarhey have said better than me, but maybe a little extra nudging will help you lose your Eeyore mentality.

NoMo said...

Dicentra63 - Gosh, thanks for bringing your Book of Mormon with you today (Alma 41:3). It might be best to credit your quotes yourself.

I'll pass on the BoM and ol' Joe, thanks.

frou-frou said...

Full-time caregiving is not very popular with men, I've noticed.

Probably because men are savvy--they know that it just isn't a good deal.

They're willing to let others take it on instead. Sure, go ahead, sucker.

maineman said...

"Passion tamed is not stasis but steady motion forward."

Well said. Many people (without Parkinson's) don't understand that walking is really a controlled fall.

Put another way, JS, try skiing without attacking the hill. If you worry about staying stable, you quickly become "a pessimist and filled with fear and worry about many things," like where the trees are and how fast you're going.

One of the hardest things to "get" about how to be a functional, autonomous adult is the realization that dependency makes us stronger, not weaker.

Anyway, you seem to put way more emphasis on financial rewards than is warranted by the data I've seen.

Gagdad Bob said...

It's the same thing with mountain biking -- you don't look down at what you're trying to avoid, but 20 or 30 feet ahead, at where you want to goooooooooooooooooo..........

robinstarfish said...

Into The Woods
vertical white lies
cutting room scene from blow-up
truth escapes the frame

Music recommendation: Into The Woods (The Call)

Johan (cosmic swede) said...

Regarding high margin taxes I would like to add the story of how the writer Astrind Lindgren (author of Pippi Longstockings, and more...) made the shift of regim happend in the Kingdom of Sweden, Anno Christi 1976:

I quote from Wikipedia (since that is not a completely reliable source, you'll have to take my words for that this is completely true):

"In 1976, a scandal arose in Sweden when Lindgren's marginal tax rate was publicized to have risen to 102%. This was to be known as the 'Pomperipossa effect' from a story she published in [the daily paper] Expressen on March 3, 1976. The publication led to a stormy tax debate. In the parliamentary election later in the same year the Social Democrat* government was overthrown for the first time in 40 years, and the Lindgren tax debate was one of several controversies that may have contributed to the election result."

How about that? Lindgren was told to had done som miscalculations, and therefore she was nothing more than "a good story teller", accordning to the financial minister Gunnar Strang. But he was wrong and Lindgren right, and she commented it witha a proposal that she and Strang maybe should switch jobs, since he couldn't count, but was good on telling stories.

She was truly an amazing woman, Astrid Lindgren, and loved by many. But i think the Social Democrats never forgave her for that story of Pomperipossa.

Wikipedia also tell us that:

"Astrid Lindgren was well known both for her support for children's and animal rights, and for her opposition to corporal punishment. In 1993, she received the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize), '...For her commitment to justice, non-violence and understanding of minorities as well as her love and caring for nature.'"

I think Lindgren ideed was against violence, but never in self defence. She wrote stories about people actually fighting oppressors (with swords). Stories about people taking action, not about pascifists sitting and waiting (or cheering, like some do) to get overrun by the Huns...

Well, that was a bit swedish political history, for your amusement only :)

* I think the Social Democrats was at the time a far more leftist party than your Democrats has ever been. Since then they have become more of a pragmatic party, and enjoy power so much that it is mostly that which keeps them going these days...

Lisa said...

It's also the same thing when you are wearing the MBTs. I call it defensive walking. Keeps your head in the plumb line and provides great proprioceptive training.

NoMo said...

Bob - Is this what you're referring to?


WBJ said...

Sir Te,

Isn't the fact that you are even reading this website (and, indeed, taking the time to leave comments) evidence of a feelings that you are missing something in life?

Not a desperate feeling, I'm sure you're a stable and good person as non-coon standards go, but I should think that a self secure agnostic would have better things to do then search the net for a website like this.


P.S. I agree with The Bunnies about the ten commandment book, and about Watership Down being a good place to settle down. Still, we gotta do something about the National Socialist bunnies next door. I suggest appeasement, because violence stopped working after WWII, every civilized person knows that.

Sir Te said...

bob, what are the catastrophic spiritual consequences?

If your hypothesis of what the consequences are is incorrect in my case[and/or many others] it entails that your view is in need of further refinement . This is a simple counter-example, the basis for all critical inquiry, which you must be aware. If I say that e=mc2, and you show me a case where that is not the case, I need to either refine or abandon my hypothesis.

My point is simple. You say many things about what a human life requires in order for it to be in proper alignment with the Logos. My life, and many others[including many of those you would claim as inspiration, such as Jesus] are potential counter-examples which falsify your hypotheses. If this is true then you need to refine or abandon them.

WBJ said...


What do you do when you point out to a lefty that, in the last three-hundred years, with VERY few exceptions, capitalism has always improved the poor's standard of the living, and communism has always lowever it?

I try all the time, it's like holding smoke. Bunch of "two legs good, four legs better" nonsense. It's like they can't hear me.

I guess my question is, is there a good way to force a lefty to look me in the eyes and AT LEAST admit that capitalism has been very good for the poor in the past, and communism has killed, tortured, and impoverished at least as many people as any other idea in the history of man has? Do I need to use a gun?


Sir Te said...

wbj, no I don't think that me reading and posting on this website entails that I feel I am missing something in life. I read a great deal of material, both online and in books and periodicals, on a great many topics. Curiosity, investigation, critique and creation are not necessarily signs of absence or angst. I try to engage with Being in many ways.

GLASR said...

I have a similar real estate arrangement. Your biking, I'm walking. My thought is usually ,"Man, I have a difficult time keeping my 'phone booth clean and tidy.........." ;~) !

woveri - lojpic. Something to do with robinstarfish?!

Gagdad Bob said...


We have no quarrel. If you are truly at peace with your godlessness, then you have no need of this doctor.

River Cocytus said...

sir te: be well aware - are you? And listen:

Proverbs 16:25 (King James Version)

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Not all consequences are immediate. Recall that Jesus says,

"It would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God"

For the man who has everything (or as far as he knows) he has no need for God. His path leads straight to the grave.

At least, like the Epicurians, he will enjoy the path there.

John says, "If ye know the Son, then ye know whomever does righteousness also knows him."

Roll that one around for awhile. The book of 1 John is a good challenge for the sophisticate.

WBJ said...

Sir Te,

Valid, but I did use the word "evidence" not "proof", so lets explore the idea, see if it leads somewhere.

I hope I'm not offending when I write that Bob's site is pretty trippy. Is there any kind of pattern to what you read? Or recent trends? How long have you read Bob's site? Increasingly? Do you think about it more and more?

I'm not a shrink and I don't know what questions to ask, and obviously I'm not entitled to this personal information. My primary motive in asking (that I'm aware of), is that I used to be an agnostic (most of my life) but I also thought about God ALL THE TIME. I loved talking and reading about metaphysics, not that I claim to be good at it.

Somewhere along the way I realized that I wasn't agnostic anymore, and it would be helpful to me to read the thoughts of an agnostic who is interested in OneCosmos.


Smoov said...

Bob wrote:

"I seriously doubt that I would want to exchange my life for any of theirs, nor would I want to live the kind of lifestyle it would require to earn the kind of income to live in a place like that"

That may be true for you, Bob, and I for one am mighty glad you live the lifestyle you do, seeing as I have dervived tremendous personal benefit from your efforts.

However if nobody lived "the kind of lifestyle" that it takes to become very wealthy then America would not be America. I'm living that "lifestyle" right now and it involves crushing workloads and, more importantly, temendous amounts of personal risk. In my case the risks I took have payed off. My partners and I have created hundreds of highly-paid jobs in the US and Canada. Our products are making serious headway in helping to solve the problem of preventing Islamists from boarding aircraft. There are hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs like me out there who are at the bleeding edge of the economy. We are what seperates the US from places like Saudi Arabia, which literally has zero indiginous entrepreurial activity (it is all initiated by Westerners and Japanese, such as it is).

So the next time you ride by those mansions, spare a though for the fact that they aren't all owned by the Sheryl Crow's of the world. One of them may be owned by the guy who patented the latest medical miracle in the treatment of diabetes.

River Cocytus said...

by the way, just as a point of inquiry, sir te, would you say

1. That you are basically a good person?

2. That caught at the wrong time you might do anything?

Just wondering.

I do agree with Bob, however, in this, if you are at perfect peace with it, than there is no quarrel.

Gagdad Bob said...


Oh, no, I would never denigrate the entrepreneur, the venture capitalist, the businessman -- not to menton the scientist, the warrior, the laborer. Without question, it takes all kinds to make a world. I happen to be an extreme case, which is one reason I never recommend my particular path as a general rule for others to follow. I was born a bit different, for better or worse.

Lisa said...

sir te,

maybe you should just consider yourself lucky that you are not burdened with such concerns. don't worry your pretty little head with such things...;) enjoy the day and take a nice long walk.

Fausta said...

Brilliant post, Bob.

Even in my young-and-liberal days I always thought that Lennon song was pure crap, probably because I have always derived a great deal of comfort from my personal posessions.

Everything I have I have either worked for, or has been gifted to me by dear friends and relatives. Anyone who doesn't take comfort in that is a fool.

mephistopholes said...

Well, on the other hand you don't want to get too attached to your stuff or accumulate too much of it. That is a spiritual impediment.

As in all things, moderation is the key.

Van said...

jolly schmidt said... "I would like to extend the doctrine of personal property into the area of marriage"

jolly, might want to do some research into the meaning of the word 'Marriage'.

"I often see the reprehensible practice of depriving one partner of economic power and a career."

jolly, might want to actually talk to the person you plan to marry before getting married. See if, know, you agree on things and stuff... before saying "I do", if you don't agree... that would be the time to say "I Don't" on find someone else to talk to.

Van said...

sir te said " would you explain the existence of someone who is a democratic socialist..."

It's really fairly easy to be ignorant, doesn't take a lot of explaining. And for those who cling to ignorance, especially of economics, they are surprisingly affable about consenting to enslave their neighbors just to provide money for themselves or their pet projects.

Isn't that astounding?

Might be able to help them if they'd read something like Fredrich Bastiat, or Thomas Sowell, but some people just cling to stupid, because it's so easy to do.

Go figure.

Van said...

Smoov said "So the next time you ride by those mansions, spare a thought for the fact that they aren't all owned by the Sheryl Crow's of the world."

Smoov, speaking for myself, I always presume them to be "... owned by the guy who patented the latest medical miracle... "

until proven "owned by the Sheryl Crow's of the world."

I am continually thankful that people like yourself are " that "lifestyle" right now and it involves crushing workloads and, more importantly, temendous amounts of personal risk.", I know damn well that I owe my 'lifestyle' and the comfort and security I provide for my family - it depends upon the " hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs like me out there who are at the bleeding edge of the economy."

I make sure that my kids are aware of it too.

From my comfy livingroom couch, Thanks.

hoarhey said...

Bob said,

"I seriously doubt that I would want to exchange my life for any of theirs, nor would I want to live the kind of lifestyle it would require to earn the kind of income to live in a place like that"

I'm betting that Bob was overlooking the estates of several L.A. gang banger type rappers when he issued this statement. ;^)

tsebring said...

Communism...the only political system founded on one of the deadly sins....go figure.

Van said...

Hoarhey said "I'm betting that Bob was overlooking the estates of several L.A. gang banger type rappers when he issued this statement. ;^)"

No doubt!

Personally, for a short period I was intending to build that lifestyle... but on more serious consideration, I too concluded that I "... seriously doubt that I would want to exchange my life for any of theirs, nor would I want to live the kind of lifestyle it would require to earn the kind of income to live in a place like that"

That's not putting it down. It's just realizing that while I may like to run around the back yard with my kids, I am neither interested in, nor up to what it takes to run a Marathon.

Anyone who doesn't think that achieving that level of success doesn't consume huge portions of your life... is dreaming of a get rich quick plan which is little better than a lottery.

It takes a unique person with a sound passion for the task at hand to acheive that and be able to write success as Success rather than 'success'.

tsebring said...

jolly...have you ever heard of the concept of "labor of love"? Thats what marriage is...its why a person moves across country and leaves a cushy job...why a person spends a months salary on a tiny piece of jewelry...why a person promises to live the rest of their life with a person who in many ways is their exact's called Love. And not just the feely, sexy type...but the deep, spiritual, committed type...the kind that God gave us the capacity for, and that separates us from such animals as chimps, elephants, gangsta rappers and democrats. I think that reducing it to a financial contract would sully it beyond repair (but I guess divorce lawyers do that all the time, dont they?). We love because we choose to, not for reward, or by force.

tsebring said...

van said..."It takes a unique person with a sound passion for the task at hand to acheive that and be able to write success as Success rather than 'success'."

Well said, van. Success is actually's counting the cost of the necessary trade-offs, taking off the rose-colored glasses, and making a decision once and for all that this is what I'm going to do, and I endeavor to do it to the best of my human abilities. It goes beyond just being able to say that you love what you do...all jobs have good and bad moments..ALL OF THEM. It comes down to..have I done the best that I can do with what I've been given; have I taken the talent God has given me and invested it, or buried it in the ground (see the parable of the talents in the gospel of Matthew). To me, a career has three overriding requirements, just three:
1. It must not devour my life, but allow me to have terms of both time and effort. A career that does not allow me time for family, hobbies or down time, or that is too physically exhausting for my health, is not for me.

2. It must pay me enough money to enable me to support myself (not live like an emperor or a rapper, just support myself, period).

3. It must allow me to do my job well, and management must make their requirements clear..not throw me into situations without proper training that set me up to fail, and where I can never gain competency (the dreaded Peter Principle).

Beyond that, I believe that anyone, garbage collector to rock star to nuclear physicist, can find takes the right state of mind and the right set of expectations about what is real and what is not real...helping one to avoid the snake oil salesmen promising great careers and fast money.

The Bunnies said...

I find it hilarious that the inverse of the Left's Eighth doesn't hold true: What's Mine is Yours, despite the line in that Audioslave song.

For I remember an interview with Tom Morello when he was with Rage Against the Machine saying that he feels no guilt about living in a manchine in the midst of so much economic injustice. Giving to charity under capitalism is like putting a band-aid on cancer, you see. However, he'll be happy to surrender all of his goodies on that glorious day we manage to take away averybody else's goodies, too (just like Mao, Kim Jong Il, Castro, Mugabe, and all the other Socially Conscious leaders rejecting materialism as an example for their people).

hoarhey said...

The Bunnies said:

"(just like Mao, Kim Jong Il, Castro, Mugabe, and all the other Socially Conscious leaders rejecting materialism as an example for their people). "

You meant Sociopathic Leaders didn't you? :)

Johan (cosmic swede) said...

Don't know if Bob or anyone else posted a link to this already? Anyway, here goes:

"The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to lie. I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same. I don’t have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine. I don’t have to say that everyone’s special or that the rich cause poverty or that all religions are a path to God. I don’t have to claim that a bad writer like Alice Walker is a good one or that a good writer like Toni Morrison is a great one. I don’t have to pretend that Islam means peace."


"It’s manners, not morals, that lay the borderlines of our behavior."

Sadly, it's true.

Magnus Itland said...

I find it amusing that the USA has ever had a 70% tax rate (marginal tax, obviously, but even so), not to mention 91%. A more modest marginal tax is one of the many nifty inventions my native Norway has imported from America.

Fausta said...

As in all things, moderation is the key.
Indeed: quality, not quantity.
(great shoes, BTW!)

Anonymous said...

Wow. to read the posts here I must be doing something wrong...I have what I want, don't want what you have (generally), and don't spend an inordinate amount of time making a case for or against those who are different than me. I've always thought it was called "inner peace". Digesting some of the comments being unloaded here by the vanload, I guess I should start calling it "ignorance".

Either way, I'll take my couch over yours any day. And do.

It seems the nastier trolls are coming from inside the den these days.

Susan Lee said...

One of the more interesting things about dependency, economic or otherwise, is that it gives another person a chance to demonstrate their love toward the dependent person.
I'm thinking especially about my 82 year old mother, who had a minor stroke a few years ago. My sisters & I all have helped her in one way or another. We wouldn't have had the opportunity to demonstrate our love for her if she was still hale, hearty and independent, and didn't so need our help....


Susannah said...

jolly schmidt: "I would like to extend the doctrine of personal property into the area of marriage,"

"...and they shall become one flesh." What's his is mine and what's mine is his. I really don't get your perspective on marriage at all. Seriously. It seems based on distrust and envy. What kind of a marriage is that? I prefer unity.

And anybody who goes into childrearing for the "prestige" has got a huge reality check coming. LOL!

"But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

Really, who am I to presume to be greater than my Master?

Susannah said...

Of course, everybody else already said it better. :) Should've read all the comments first.

"For both heaven and hell will involve receiving what you have loved -- good and hard, right in the kisser." Good point! All depends on "where your treasure is," 'cause that is where your heart resides.

Anonymous said...

...the only way you can end up with a 70% tax rate is if envy is completely out of control (and bear in mind that before the classical liberal JFK took office, it was 91%).

That reminds me of how I was told that Ronald Reagan could only make one movie a year. He realized that if he did make a second movie, he wouldn't get to keep any of what he made from it, so why bother.

I'm liking what I'm seeing here, and finding the series very entertaining, and resonating from what I've read on Dissecting Leftism (a link from which led me here).

And one small correction - it's the 8th Commandment that is against stealing. The 7th is against adultery.

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