Saturday, March 27, 2010

Disordered Reason and the Illegitimate Force of Obamacare

Might as well continue with our discussion of the order of the polity, which we started yesterday. One critical point is that the order of the polity is not synonymous with the spontaneous order of the collective as such. In fact, it often directly interferes with and undermines that order, as all statists know that bottom-up spontaneous orders can be a direct competitor to the top-down order of the state.

One of the things that most struck de Tocqueville about America was its robust "civil society," by which he meant all of the voluntary, spontaneous orders that sprang up independent of the state -- church groups, charitable missions, fraternal organizations, trade unions, book clubs, secret internet cults masquerading as a mere "blog," all rooted in distinct values freely arrived at by their members. Nothing could be more distinct from the statism of the left, which imposes its own values in order to create its dreary and monotonous collective.

In fact, Ken Wilber developed a useful way of marking the distinction between the two, referring to the "interior collective" and the "exterior collective." The interior collective is to we as the individual is to I -- that is, an internally related center of order. For example, a passionate marriage is a true "we" at every level, body, mind, and spirit (and that is indeed one of its purposes, since it helps develop the "I" to its true potential, even while allowing us to transcend it in the "we").

But the exterior collective is not a spontaneous order. Rather, it is something that you are essentially forced to be a part of, like Obamacare. Ironically, collectivism can never be a true collective, since most people don't want or choose to be members of it. It is imposed from the outside to varying degrees, so it's only a "we" for certain constituents, eg., the MSM, Hollywood, the tenured, the stupid, the envious, the immature.

But this is what defines the leftist spectrum, from Obama/Euro style democratic socialism, to authoritarian fascism, and on to totalitarianism. Obviously, none of these are compatible with conservative liberalism. We are pro-choice. If you want to get together with like-minded people of the left, pool your resources, and live on a commune, we say, go for it! We won't stop you, if you won't stop us from being individuals.

Now, speaking of marriage, being the quintessence of the type of spontaneous order we're talking about, it should come as no surprise that the left would be at war with this institution, even redefining it as "any two or more mammals who love the government."

There's nothing conspiratorial about this diabolical plot of moose and squirrel. Rather, this is straight-up neo-Marxism, i.e., looking after one's class interests. It is for the same reason that tenured wards of the state are disproportionately statists; they're the last people who would want to reduce the size and reach of the government! (What's that aphorism by Mencken? "Never expect a man to see a truth when his livelihood depends on his not seeing it.")

I know the subject intimately, since I live in a failing state, California -- which cannot afford its own bloated government -- and also happen to have a brother who is a useless, and no doubt un-fireable, functionary at a low-level state university. In California there are thousands upon thousands of government free riders just like him. But touch a hair on his head, and out come the cries that anti-education extremists are harming the children! If only these children knew how much of their tuition goes to the lavish health benefits and retirement packages of their parasitic overlords.

Anyway, when Aristotle made that crack about man being a "political animal," he wasn't talking about pathetic political junkies and policy wonks who watch cable TV, but about our need to associate with other human beings in order to accomplish goods that would be impossible on an individual basis. But once one brings politics into the equation, that can go against these very collective goods, since the state must back its edicts with violence.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with that -- we are not anarchists -- but coercion and violence must always be in the name of ordered reason. For example, the Iranian government uses violence to accomplish its ends. But who would argue that any of the violence is rooted in reason, or that they could present a rational argument to persuade others that the violence is legitimate? Can't be done.

Rather, in order to legitimize the violence, these Islamists must live in a parallel looniverse of outrageous lies, most especially about America and about the Jewish people. This is why, by the way, truth -- not compassion -- is the highest collective good, because the Lie is at the root of illegitimate violence (and this is also why the left invented the scurrilous lies about George Bush lying about WMD, so they could characterize the liberation of Iraq as illegitimate).

As Schall writes, force "is to be legitimately used only in the name of ordered reason," whether it is the police, the military, the legal system, or the IRS. Each of these is authorized to use force, up to and including taking away your liberty and even life. For there are some things more important than life and liberty, most notably, the conditions that allow them to flourish, and the transcendent end to which our liberty is ordered.

Now, in addition to force not being rooted in ordered reason, another characteristic of the illegitimate state is that, instead of fostering the conditions of goodness, it promotes badness and even sometimes outlaws the good. I'm thinking, for example, of our federal government, which makes it against the law to embrace the self-evident good of racial colorblindness. Instead, we are subject to legal jeopardy if we fail to discriminate on the basis of race.

I'm also thinking of the force that has now been authorized to compel us to accept Obamacare. Again, this force would have been legitimate had the bill been rooted in ordered reason. But that is a literal impossibility, since house members voted on the bill without even knowing what was in it, much less having any deep understanding of its myriad consequences. How could if ever be rational to vote for a bill one hasn't even read? Yes, you could say that it was an act of faith, but no one is required to have faith in things that are not demonstrable to reason.

This is the very definition of imposing disorder on the polity and backing it with the violence of the state. But again, this is standard operating procedure for the left, everywhere and everywhen. It's just a matter of degree. The leftist convinces himself that something is good, and then arrogantly and contemptuously imposes it on the rest of us, since he knows better how to spend our freedom and to make decisions for us.

No thanks, Barry. You first. If I'm gonna get clipped, I'd prefer that it be my choice.


Anonymous maineman said...

It strikes me that one thing that doesn't happen enough is for the idea to be spoken out loud that Obama, and the current incarnation of the Democratic party, are enemies of America.

I think it should become part of the vernacular, something that just trips of the tongue, like "a stitch in time saves nine," or "nice weather we're having," or "Is your new girlfriend a Communist?"

3/27/2010 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Gagdad re:

"I'm also thinking of all the various forms of force that have now been authorized to compel us to accept Obamacare. Again, this force would have been legitimate had the bill been rooted in ordered reason."

I was personally struck this week by Obama's decision to verbally incite violence among the people. His "bring it on" challenge I found unsettling. Methinks he wants a violent response in order to cement his achievement through martyrdom (very isslumic thinking here). This frail attempt to dress collective greed in the robes of a saint strikes me as amateurish. Did he expect people to start singing "We Shall Overcome"? No doubt the Networks would love that.

I often wonder if the left can ever let go of their token love of black people and if blacks can sever their token relationship with the left? There is nothing as codependent and intellectually shallow than a racial voting block.

I wonder what type of violence Obama dreams off? Does he imagine himself as a courageous warrior or just playing one on TV? We have certainly come a long way from Martin Luther King to arrive at Wright, Farrakahn, Sharpton, Jackson and Obama (source WH Visitors Log). Good thing America is post-racial.

3/27/2010 09:23:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

To me, what sticks out about the recent posts is the point that was made yesterday: that attempts to impose order from above breed disorder in chaotic systems. This gives a name to the whiff of psychosis that's been out there for the past couple of years, since he came on the scene, and to the intuitive sense that many have that we could easily slip into disorder, at least in many places, and soon.

As for his state of mind, he seems to me to be quite mad, in the Hitler or Stalin sense. If so, this "success" should feed his narcissism and we should see more aggressive and impulsive postures and actions in its aftermath. He will have received confirmation that his mission, whatever that is, is preordained and that he is unstoppable. We may have already seen a bit of this when he got up and left the table while dining with Bebe last week. And there are already hints that he has an alcohol problem, so we may see some effects of that as well.

Anyway, it just seems like the question is how much damage he/they will do, how much we must endure, before we prove ourselves worthy of something better and he winds up doing himself in in a bunker somewhere.

3/27/2010 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think the Hitler/Stalin comparisons are a tad intemperate. It's enough to say that he's a garden-variety liberal fascist....

3/27/2010 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

I agree with much of what maineman says, however it should be noted that the alleged "alcohol problem" turned out to be an initial misreading of Obama's medical report. The report actually recommended that he continue to drink in moderation, not that his drinking should be moderated.

3/27/2010 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I was somewhat surprised to see that Spengler has outed Obama as the hate America, hate the Jews, and hate the whites personality that his past associations and present actions say that he is. All of those things have been said before but not often, if at all, by such a widely read journalist. Truth is the best antiseptic so let's see what happens next.

Obama is acting pretty much the way that conservative bloggers and commentors said that he would. That is also a bit surprising because you would expect the office itself to temper the ideologue. Obama is supposed to be the President of all the people but such dribble is apparently of no consequence to him.

3/27/2010 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Gloria said...

The exterior collective can be likened to a tool. A tool's reason for being (reason for existing) is external to itself. That is, the tool is USED by somebody in order to accomplish an aim; the user determines the aim, not the tool. I can use a vase as a container for flowers or I can use it as a container for pennies.

In contrast, an interior collective is like an artwork. The artwork's reason for being (reason for existing) is internal to it. The meaning or truth of the poem is available in no other way but in the poem itself.

So, dear blogger, you have shown us that the communist collective consisted of people who were merely tools and whose essence lay only in being used by others (Stalin, for instance). The American collective exists for itself, for the selves of the people, both I-self and we-self, and the collective's ends in themselves. The American collective is not a tool or a means to be used by somebody else.

I believe it was Aristotle, in his Ethics, who first made the point that the tool's final aim was not in itself, but exterior to it. And that is what made a tool merely a tool.

3/27/2010 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger jwm said...

This is a post written by
"Call Me Lennie" over at on the "Tramp Stamp" thread.
I am re-posting it here because it was just too good not to share:

I’ve been wanting to post this for awhile. And that writing on the chick’s back gives me my opportunity. This is from the “First letter of Saul to the BO-rinthians.”

Seek then the baser things for now I show you a more corupted way.

Though I shriek in the tongues of banshees but hath not envy, I am become unsounded brass and unstruck brass. And though I have the gift of doublespeak and distorteth all truth and all knowledge and though I have hypocrisy and cynicism to level all mountains but stirreth up no envy I am nothing

And yea, though I tax all earnings to handeth over to the idle and give up the bodies of friends and underlings to be thrown under the bus but increaseth not envy, it profits me nothing.

Envy tolerates nothing and is cruel Envy does not love. Envy seeks to provoke, thinks naught but evil, rejoices in iniquity, recoils from the truth. Envy corrupts all things, finds all things unbearable, makes all things unendurable.

Yea, when I was a child, I spake as a child, thought as a child, reasoned as a child. But when I became a man, I became vastly more childish

And now abide cyncism, despair and envy – these three. But the greatest of these is envy

Popular: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

3/27/2010 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

It should be evident to any sane adult that the law is for lawbreakers. If the populace was filled with love and wanted to see others happy, there would be no need for laws as such, only practical guidelines such as what side of the road to drive on.

As a people sink further down into greed, selfishness and callousness, the micromanagement through laws is certain to increase in turn. Thus Hell is all about ruling, Heaven all about serving. Choose wisely, for in Hell there is always a more cruel ruler over you than yourself.

3/27/2010 02:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

goog post but since wv sez "boring" I'm gona play some musik with my sweet tamburine:)

3/27/2010 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Leo can be a great sign, but Clinton AND BO = Democrat + Leo + POTUS which seem to make an especially bad combo.

can we practice our scales?

3/27/2010 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Well, I defer to your judgment on this, Bob. It usually seems to be better than mine. Still, there seems to me to be something megalomaniacal about him that goes beyond the garden variety leftist.

3/27/2010 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't mean to stifle anyone's spirits, but I'm just a little concerned that conservatives will overplay their hand if they start comparing a president that most Americans actually like (even if they don't like his policies) to Hitler. A similar thing occurred when Republicans tried to impeach Clinton, and it totally backfired. It just made Clinton look temperate by comparison. Also, the more cocky the GOP gets, the more their right wing crazies (the Pat Robertson types) will feel confident to come out of the woodwork and start spouting off, thus frightening off the independent morons that must be courted in order to win elections....

3/27/2010 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I certainly agree that Obama is megalomaniacal, narcissistic, destructive and dangerous, but mainly I think he's just not that bright, so it shouldn't be that difficult to vanquish him on the field of ideas....

3/27/2010 09:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mainly I think he's just not that bright...

Compared to who, exactly? George Bush? John McCain? Sarah Palin? Maybe this intellectual giant of the right?

But I have to say, you are being very reasonable in refraining from comparing Obama to Hitler! Although it sounds like you are holding back purely as a tactical matter, not because its an inherently moronic and offensive thing to do. Well, at least you can pretend to be reasonable, that's something.

3/27/2010 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

It bears repeating that a person who is qualified to lead others is one who has achieved great happiness, peace and prosperity in his own life, his family and his surroundings, and whose words fill people with a resolve to better themselves.

When there is no such person available, one should generally go for those who do the least damage, and try to preserve whatever good is left until a true leader arrives.

There are two gospels in this world. The gospel of Satan is: "YOU DESERVE BETTER." The gospel of Christ is: "IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE." I find that Democrats and Republicans both are generally avid followers of Satan's gospel, though the intensity varies on a sliding scale, from burning envy to mere apathy. But those who freely give of themselves are those who create the future, or there is no future.

In less religious and more political terms, you could say that there are those who divide the cake and there are those who bake it.

3/28/2010 04:17:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Extremely well put. Present appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, if a great leader doesn't emerge from this, November will be just one huge intoxication, a mirror image of the manic forces that brought Obama to power, only to trigger his antithesis. Rebublicans will imagine that a great majority of people have bought the conservative message, when they have done no such thing. In any event, it will take a leader of Reaganesque strength to apply the unpleasant economic chemotherapy that will be necessary to deal with our problems. In this context, it will be extremely difficult to compete with the childish magical thinking of the left once the right has some power again.

3/28/2010 06:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I should probably write a post on this subject, in that I already see some of my favorite websites descending into the kind of intoxicated fever-swampiness that defines the left. I think a key principle is indeed the difference between sobriety and intoxication (as discussed in MOTT), and especially not imagining that there is some kind of transformation or salvation possible in politics. Again, that's the left's ubiquitous promise and inevitable failure. As Magnus suggests, we'll be lucky to get a leader who merely arrests the decline for a while. The idea of a wise and strong president who would actually lead the nation back to constitutional government is a bit of a pipe dream at this moment....

3/28/2010 06:10:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

For clarification, I was referring to Hitler and Stalin as an easy way to explain his TYPE of craziness, as distinguished from the local bag lady type.

But you bring up a good point. He's probably not as smart as either one of them.

In fact, he probably isn't even that much smarter than anyone who takes Media Matters seriously.

3/28/2010 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, his mind is mediocre, but much more problematic is what's in it. The latter is all the more problematic because he doesn't have the necessary intelligence to reflect upon the nonsense that fills his head. After all, he believes everything I did when I was a graduate student. Thank God I moved on from that state of pneumacognitive developmental arrest, but Obama only crystalized it with his work as a community organizer, his embrace of Marxist liberation theology, and his being nurtured by the Chicago Machine. For someone as deeply lost as he is, truly, only grace could save him. But his narcissism prevents him from exiting his own hell and opening to the transcendent, so he is truly a dead man walking.

Hitler and Stalin were quite different from this pattern, in that they were true asuras, or personifications of the hostile forces. It is indeed possible that neither man had a soul as we understand the term, but were inhabited by other powers. Will might be able to explain it better than I can....

3/28/2010 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Gagdad re:

"As Magnus suggests, we'll be lucky to get a leader who merely arrests the decline for a while. The idea of a wise and strong president who would actually lead the nation back to constitutional government is a bit of a pipe dream at this moment...."

Or not. The idea that a free people require a great man savior is silly (see current situation vis a vie "great savior"). The best that could come of this situation is a reassertion of the rights of states and individuals relative to the Federal Government. Imagine 50 states leading themselves and hiring the Federal Government to deal with defense, diplomacy and common currency? (I know this is crazy talk).

If a people wish a high tax paternalistic solution to their lives they could choose to live in CA, NY or MA. If not, they could create a low tax free state where individuals rather than collectives could flourish. This was the original idea. I know the idea of states determining their best interests is an anathema to the left, but the beauty of it is it allows citizens to compare and contrast the results of differing government solutions in guiding their preferred direction. (Note citizens had this opportunity in 2008, but failed to assess bammy's homeland with respect to competence).

The left cannot tolerate diversity, freedom or comparison; one size fits all. Attempt this philosophy at the shoe store and see how painful the results are. To the left what fails at the state level, for some unknowable reason, will succeed at the Federal level. Another leap of faith by the secular conformists.

All that has to occur to end this masturbatory exercise in narcism is for the Supreme Court to find the bill un-Constitutional. I do not think this will be all that hard to do, given the stupidity of the bill's design. Once the Fed looses the ability to force mandatory participation at the individual level, the question then becomes whether the states are required to participate? Loose the mandatory participation clause and it becomes nothing more than a tax bill, and ceases being a "civil right". It is very easy to overturn tax bills. It would be easy to recognize State's rights with respect to insurance policies. It is after all the current condition.

Now, lets all hold hands and sing "We Shall Overcome".

3/28/2010 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Anonymouse re:

"mainly I think he's just not that bright...

Compared to who, exactly? George Bush? John McCain? Sarah Palin? "

May I remind you of the following:

57 States

Austrian Language

Corpse Man

He is a real razor of intellect. A true philosopher king. Just don't let him go off script.

3/28/2010 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Excellent comments, Magnus!

3/28/2010 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

But those who freely give of themselves are those who create the future, or there is no future.

Magnus is close to becoming the Mencken of our time. Just brilliant, blinding and irrefutable Truth that flows clear and braces the spirit.

I'm not sure of Obama's mind except that he's at least smart enough to surround himself with non-ciphers, precise people with precise goals. And the right sort of money behind that. That's as smart as any man need be. That he's politically untouchable as a half-white/black man was simply the coup de grace of a long, long plan of attack.

wv: forastri; not being able to see one for the other.

3/28/2010 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Obama is -- like all men of the left -- intellectually sterile, despite whatever native intelligence he may possess. Leftism renders an intelligent man stupid, just as religion can make a mediocre intellect wise.

3/28/2010 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

neo neocon writes:

"There’s a great deal of talk about whether Obama is an idealogue or a pragmatist, or whether he is a pawn of others. I have never felt the latter was true, although there probably have been powerful mentors and supporters pushing him along. But I have long seen him as both a true-believer ideologue and a tactical pragmatist who takes whatever position he needs to if and when it suits his ends, and abandons it with impunity when it no longer does."

3/28/2010 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark @ Israel said...

The signing of Obamacare into law is something that could be labeled as irrational. It is obvious that the legislators did not understand much of what is included in the bill. If they did read the bill, they didn't think of what will be the consequences for the people and to the county as a whole. It's all so sad and frustrating that the people we thought will represent for us are not at all doing their tasks.

3/28/2010 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

But this is what defines the leftist spectrum, from Obama/Euro style democratic socialism, to authoritarian fascism, and on to totalitarianism. Obviously, none of these are compatible with conservative liberalism. We are pro-choice. If you want to get together with like-minded people of the left, pool your resources, and live on a commune, we say, go for it! We won't stop you, if you won't stop us from being individuals. "

Well said, Bob!
It's no surprise that those on the left never risk their own money, effort and time to back up their failed policies.

Although they are certainly free to do so, or to cut the govt. bigger shares of their own paychecks, they never do choosing instead to force everyone else to pay for their miserable failures.

Great pic of FL btw! :^)

3/29/2010 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Unfortunately, I think this Obamascare bill pretty much demon-strates that bluedog or conservative democrats are a thing of the past.

3/29/2010 12:14:00 AM  

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