Friday, April 26, 2013

Voluntary Slavery: Freedom from Freedom

I don't know how long this remodeling is going to last. A couple more weeks, at least. One Thing has been leading to another Thing, e.g., changes to the pool situation requiring extensive rewiring, so the house doesn't blow up. So until it's all over -- or until I'm totally broke, whichever comes first -- it's probably going to be short rations.

Pieper makes an interesting point about slavery -- the type of mental slavery that, for the left, isn't a bug but a feature.

For the left promises Liberation by seducing the more weak-minded among us with promises of a type of childish freedom that no state -- by definition -- can confer. And certainly no democratic state can survive if it is constituted of weak and dependent children.

Pieper notes that the "contrast between galley slaves and free men has nothing to do with the social phenomenon of slavery." Rather, "there is a concept of slavery which no social changes, no emancipation of the slaves, can wipe off the face of the earth."

This is especially true in a leftist culture that creates incentives to identify with one's own enslavement instead of taking advantage of liberty. Slavery also means dependence, which for many people is much less persecutory and oppressive than independence. If you turn a child from the house and tell him he's free, he's not going to be happy about it. Which is where the left comes in, by protecting adult children from the vagaries of mature independence.

Pieper notes that "what is truly human is never the average." Human nature cannot be discovered via demographics, by looking at the behavior of Mass Man. Humans, since they are uniquely situated in vertical space, are are as free to perfect their nature as they are to flee from it. Just because everyone engages in the latter, doesn't mean it's a good idea.

In short, there is a standard of "what man himself is capable of being," and in my opinion, the very existence of this standard obliges us to move toward and conform to it. In other words, if we can fulfill our potential, then we must try to do so. To avoid this struggle is not only to fail, but to miss the whole point of life.

In the dialogue, this lesson is conveyed by Socrates' two very different speeches. The first is plausible enough, a reflection of the cynical sophistication of his audience. But like an Obama speech or a paper by a liberal academic, it has no interest in reality or truth, and only exists to glorify its author.

A normal person would feel shame at such a betrayal, but this is a higher normality defined in light of what man is to become. Which is why an Obama or a Clinton are so shameless in their lying -- which they must be in order to pull it off.

Nor are they ashamed -- as any normal person would be -- at the plaudits they receive from the grazing multitude they have successfully hypnotized and seduced. Why would you want the acclaim of idiots? And what does it say about you?

But Socrates is ashamed of his first speech, even to the point of feeling impure. He "wishes to recant his shamefully false speech by a second speech on Love.... Socrates steps forth from the fogs into the clear light of heaven, as it were. In place of a literary exercise, we have the genuine emotion of one who is saying what must be said.... We find ourselves breathing fresher, cooler, purer air."

To be continued...


Blogger NoMo said...

"You gotta serve somebody..."

Freedom is the most difficult master to serve.

4/26/2013 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

One Thing has been leading to another Thing, e.g., changes to the pool situation requiring extensive rewiring, so the house doesn't blow up.

Kind of like pulling on a loose thread in a knitted sweater. Though it's good to get an old house rewired. Depending on how old your wires are, they really can be dangerous. There's nothing quite like hearing unexpected crackling noises coming from the walls when the AC kicks on...

This is especially true in a leftist culture that creates incentives to identify with one's own enslavement instead of taking advantage of liberty.

It even comes up in the way people live now. Going house hunting the last couple of weekends has been somewhat illuminating. In the cities we're considering, almost every neighborhood is part of a gated community, with very strict rules about who is allowed to enter. If you want to drive by just to look at the outside of a place that's for sale, you're out of luck. And if it's a weekend and the security guard is off taking a constitutional, even if you have an appointment you can't get in. They seem secure, but at what cost? For instance, if you're waiting for an ambulance, how helpful are those gates?

I have to wonder, too, just how effective the gates are at keeping out the riff raff. It didn't seem to help in George Zimmerman's neighborhood...

I saw a listing today that looks nice. It's an older home on a ranch lot - gigantic back yard, no pool, the neighbors are more than five feet away, and best of all there's no HOA. Whoever lives there is completely responsible for keeping the place up, and it looks like it's no small task. But on the plus side, if you want to put in a kitchen garden or build a tree fort in the back yard, it's a lot less likely that anyone will look over the fence and fine you for having the wrong number of shrubs or blocking somebody's view. The house looks a tad quirky, but I'd put up with a lot to give my kids a taste of the sort of freedom I had growing up...

4/26/2013 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Some leftist mocked the fact that Obama is unpopular in rural areas. Who cares, they said, about empty space?

On the one hand, reading along and thinking about how successful the dependent culture has become in terms of popularity, I feel some unease. It is starting to look like creating and cultivating dumb masses is a winning strategy.

Then I think about the weeds and the wheat. Weeding time is coming.

4/26/2013 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

The troubling part is that at this point, it's realistically impossible for anyone to win without someone losing.

I'm all for positive sum thinking, but the way it goes is this. If you have two groups, and each has things the other wants, they must decide to trade for there to be a positive sum gain (they both gain from this transaction.) Like electricity, this charge is created by the real differential between the groups; different customs, different resources, different needs.

But if both sides refuse to trade for long enough (perhaps one side demands the other share everything without recompense, or one side wants to cheat the other side intentionally) at some point the only way for either side to gain back what it has lost is to take it. That trust can only be rebuilt gradually, and if there is no longer a common ground, any attempt at 'a compromise' will simply be one side papering its demands as reasonable to make the decision-makers of the other side look backwards and irrational.

And this happens, even if one of the sides is and has been acting in mostly (if not completely) good faith.

The idea of Pareto Optimizations is useful here. A Pareto Optimization is one where nobody loses - and at least someone gains. The trick to most social policy is to paper the policy to appear Pareto - therefore those who oppose it can be marked as envious ('it's not HURTING you, is it?')

This loss of common ground (probably beginning with the loss of the Commons) leads to more and more zero-sum and negative-sum solutions. (Negative sum being, whoever gets hurt the least wins.)

For instance, the increase of government leads inextricably to zero-sum thinking: because it doesn't create wealth, increasing it over a certain point means that for the majority of people to gain from it, it must lose.

Without a healthy, face to face social contract, I'm more and more convinced that government 'money' is nothing short of theft.

4/26/2013 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

george jones
Sparkling Brown Eyes

4/27/2013 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger Christina M said...

Julie, good luck with the house hunting.

When we moved back to the US after living for thirteen years in Germany, one of the first things I told the boys to do was to go out and build a tree fort, now that we had our own trees and yard for the first time. Their first question to me was, "Is it allowed?" That's the moment when I realized how insideously destructive socialist paradise had been, where you need to have permission to do anything, even the most simple things.

4/27/2013 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Christina M said...

The house we bought here in TN was missing two joists under the bathroom, so the shower stall swayed every time you stood in it, because it was just hanging in space over the basement, and the stove was grounded with a binder clip.

4/27/2013 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Yikes! It's amazing the kind of things people will do to "fix" their homes...

4/27/2013 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Christina M said...

Actually the first sign of the destruction was that I actually had to tell them to go out and build the tree house. Any incentive on their part to do it had already been smothered in Germany.

4/27/2013 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Christina M said...

Fortunately the people who originally built the house did a good job and loved it for twenty years. They came to visit us when we moved in, since they still live in the area. It was those who came after them who did the shoddy repairs and installations. We're having to do all the repairs and renovations ourselves as there is almost no one around here who does good work, and those who do are extremely busy.

4/27/2013 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Another great collection: Richie Havens, High Flyin' Bird: The Verve/Forecast Years. Heard about this at PowerLine, where they mentioned that he had recently passed away. I was shamefully ignorant of his work, knowing little about him beyond the fact that he'd opened Woodstock in 1969. This is his first three albums -- 39 tracks for only $19. Normally I'd want the CD version, but it's out of print and way overpriced. Brings to mind Astral Weeks: jazzy, acoustic guitar-based soul-folk music. Try out the samples...

4/28/2013 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

Wow, didn't know much about Havens work also. These songs are solid and soulful!

4/28/2013 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, he's got a real presence. Reminds me of what Sam Phillips said when he first heard Howlin' Wolf: "This is where the soul of man never dies."

4/28/2013 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Gotta admire a guy who can effortlessly pull off this look.

4/28/2013 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

lol - Say that four times, fast...

And yeah, it takes some serious stones to make that look natural.

4/28/2013 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Schuon could do it. Or at least he'd dare you to make a comment.

4/28/2013 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Advertising slogan:

Are you man enough for the Urban Kaftan?

4/28/2013 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

The only downside is, these days people would assume any man with Schuon's look is a believer in the Jedi religion...

4/28/2013 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of Schuon, how is Cutsinger's new book?

4/29/2013 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger Christina M said...

I had a male neighbor who came to a New Year's Eve party in a kaftan. It was pretty daring, but it definitely was not fueled by stones.

4/29/2013 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Man, to be a clergyman in the Orthodox church you end up wearing a Rassa a lot; because it doesn't have a collar people always ask Clergymen if they are Jedi or Wizards.

A good beard goes a long way to making it work.

4/29/2013 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

River, I was thinking that the proper beard makes it work, especially after seeing this picture of the mayor of Reykjavik last night.

4/29/2013 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Somehow, he just doesn't have the gravitas of Schuon. Or the original ObiWan, for that matter.

4/29/2013 09:11:00 AM  

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