Thursday, December 25, 2008

About Gummints

Irascible Thomas Paine put it this way:
"Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher."
(From Common Sense, quoted in the linked posting about Bill of Rights Day by Alan Korwin of Page Nine, via Joe Huffman).

Seems to me that the extent to which we succeed in restraining our own vices -- and individually discouraging others from the commission of the more egregious ones, like assault and robbery -- is the extent to which we don't need government, even arguing, as many do, from the standpoint of government-as-public-utility.

People aren't perfectible but perfection is not required, just an honest effort at civilized behavior on one's own part and a willingness to provide negative reinforcement when circumstances necessitate

Just a thought.

14 comments:

aepilot_jim said...

Merry Christmas! Stay warm

og said...

It's a brilliant thought and it is absolutely true. The more we police ourseves and our own actions the less we have to be policed by others.

I wish I had more faith in human nature than I do. I have had it proven to me, painfully and repeatably, that human nature is utterly unworthy of such trust. And I am the most egregious example thereof.

Billy Beck said...

"I wish I had more faith in human nature than I do. I have had it proven to me, painfully and repeatably, that human nature is utterly unworthy of such trust. And I am the most egregious example thereof."

If that last line is really true, then who needs ya? And: I say you're projecting. I say that you can take your rotten view of human nature and hit the road, because my half-century on the planet has taught me very differently.

I think you're talking bullshit. If this government dissolved completely before the sun went down on this day, it would not remotely occur to me to run through the streets raping, burning and killing, and I don't believe for a second that it would occur to you. You and I are not at all different from the vast overwhelming (emphasize that) run of human beings in this regard. And before it occurs to you to call me a utopian, let me just emphasize the reality that evil people exist. We're not going to have that argument: it's dismissed. Evil people have always existed, right down to the present day in which we have more Law & Order in place to deal with them than ever before and they still exist. The state is a natural failure in this for natural reasons of reality: it simply cannot reach to the human heart, no matter what.

And here is a moral bottom-line: you can think you're a crumb if you want to, as well as everyone around you, and none of that is a warrant to force me to live with the state just because you are afraid of everyone around you. That doesn't matter -- you cannot force me to live the implications of your fears -- and I don't care: I'll take my own chances. It's my life: that's what it's for, and I know that I'm good enough to live it.

og said...

"If that last line is really true, then who needs ya? "

Sorry, Billy. You have just proven my point. Not for the first time, either. It is precisely your strenuous discourtesy to anyone whose views disagree with yours that cause me to lose my faith in human nature. If you would like, you can find my email address on my blog. Email me, and I will send you my home address, and you can show me you are a human being by coming here and saying these things to my face, instead of from the safety of your keyboard.

Your half century on the panet hasn't taught you a damned thing, becuase it hasn't taught you how to have a civil conversation, only to ridicule anyone who doesn't share your worldview.

"I think you're talking bullshit."

I, on the other hand, know that I am not. Wake up and smell the dirt before it buries you. the world is a hard and cruel place, and it's harder if you're stupid, and if you think people are capable of self governance, you a: have no clue, and b: are demonstrably stupid. And I will say this to your face anytime you please. I will probably be in Broas Ripple on sunday, whyncha show up and prove to me how sweet and wonderful the world is? Oh, I forget, you can't because it isn't.

"The state is a natural failure in this for natural reasons of reality: it simply cannot reach to the human heart, no matter what.
"

You really do have no clue whatsoever, do you?

Billy Beck said...

"'If that last line is really true, then who needs ya?'

Sorry, Billy. You have just proven my point. Not for the first time, either. It is precisely your strenuous discourtesy to anyone whose views disagree with yours that cause me to lose my faith in human nature."


I am not the one responsible for the implications of you being a "most egregious example" of rotten human nature. You are the one who said that, and if it makes me the asshole for pointing that out and what it means, then you can make the most of it, and I will somehow suffer through my day with the terrible guilt.

Deal with the question. If you're a rotten human being, then give me a good reason why I should treat you with respect or even blow my nose in your direction.

Anonymous said...

Restrain our vices, by what means?

Ah, Government, again.

For all of Og's mistrust of human nature, some of which, I suppose I can't argue with, personally... as Billy says, there's a lot of corruption out there... I have to wonder about the apparent willingness of Og to turn over the power of government to people whose human nature he doesn't trust.

Roberta X remotely, impatient said...

Perhaps, Billy, because he successfully overcomes it, each and every day.

...Both of you gentlemen have now made threats to one another in the comments of my blog. I suggest to you each, most forcefully, that honor has now been satisified and that in actual conflict, let us assume you would demolish one another. The exent to which we may call ourselves civilized -- or at least civil -- the precise extant to which you are able to leave it at that.

This venue is mine -- by the grace of Google/Blogger and while I encourage the spirited exhange of views here, you can either differentiate in your comments between the outlook and the one who holds it, or swap furious, private e-mail.

Billy, Og has, by himself, has no power to force you to live with the State. He has, in fact, shown some willingness to declare you outlaw. If you percieve Og has been personally insulting to you, please accept my apologies.

Og, Billy combines a certain Socratic lack of tact with an optimistic appraisal of, not entirely so much his fellow man but the good effect their cultural matrix has (or can have) upon them. I do not know if deliberate personal offense was intended but if it was taken, I apologize for it.

Richard Nikoley said...

"It is precisely your strenuous discourtesy..."

I've known Beck for a dozen years or so, met face-to-face a couple of times.

He's among the handful of the most honest people I've ever met in my life. Far from every catching him in a lie, I've never even slightly suspected he might be -- even common exaggeration.

Consequently, when Billy _is_ "discourteous" (whatever that particular _subjectivity_ means), I take it as an honest judgment and I pay attention.

You're the one who called yourself rotten, and _if_ that's true -- as Billy himself qualified -- then Billy is to be commended for sending out a warning shot for people to stay the hell away from you.

...Which makes your "to-my-face" taunting absurd. Billy's nobody's fool, either.

Richard Nikoley said...

"...Both of you gentlemen have now made threats to one another in the comments of my blog."

I must say that I'm positive that is not true in the case of Beck, having read both his comments twice, now. He didn't even take up the "to my face" challenge.

Kyle Bennett said...

og, you've convinced me. No argument, you are the most egregiously vile example of human nature. I commend you for making the observation... though, obviously, such commendation must not be taken as an argument against your statement. I certainly don't want to argue with you and say that your depravity is mitigated in some way. In fact, arguing would be like tacitly admitting that there was some value in the sparring you'd engage me in, or some value in having you convinced to believe as I do... some value to *you*. But claiming that would be tantamount to calling you a liar. I'm too civilized for that.

Richard Nikoley said...

Having gone over and read Og's profile on his blog, I note some years spent in seminary.

While I had no intentions of going into ministry, I was educated in a religious high school, then went off to a private, religious oriented college.

Perhaps I can shed a touch of light: original sin. In that former world I once occupied, it's not merely acts that are problematic, but thoughts, desires, fantasies. Perhaps that's where Og is coming from.

So, one might conclude, that even though Og may be a perfect gentleman in all his acts toward others -- "because he successfully overcomes it, each and every day," as has been suggested -- perhaps harbors uncharitable thoughts, fantasies, or desires from time to time.

Accordingly, let's mitigate those unpleasantries by chaining Billy, Kyle, I and others to a government.

...Just in case, y'know.

Roberta IRKED X said...

All:
Please treat this comment thread as closed, until I have time to actually lock it.

Richard Nikoley said...

just go ahead and ban me. Jesus.

You're a lightweight and a loser. I laughed out loud when you apologized to both Beck and Og implicitly on behalf of the other.

BTW, I don't give a crap that you're "impatient" or "IRKED." If you're too sissy to put up with ordinary comments (these are very mild by political blog standards -- and I have 2,000 political blog posts under me, and over 5k comments), then you might consider moderating (see how that goes for ya), disabling, or just keep the ones that smell nice to you and delete the rest.

At any rate, as someone who has blogged since 1993 and visited and commented on hundreds of political blogs since, I have never seen a more _pathetic_ performance from a supposed anarchist-leaning blogger.

Even the commies can do better than that.

Roberta X said...

Well-named, you.

Clearly incapable of civil discourse; clearly somehow the arbiter of who is and is not a proper anarchist. Which would seem to me to fly in the face of the whole notion of "anarchy."

Here's the thing: anarchy, self-rule, means I can make my own rules for the spaces I control, and one of the rules here (above. See it?) is "try to be polite." What you have contributed here is FAIL. (Note that Billy and Og did not fail).

Anarchy does not mean I have to tolerate every rude boy who wanders by; instead, it means I may shut 'em out, if I can.

Civilization is what we build. You don't like it, tough. Go squat and howl in the wilderness.