Monday, December 22, 2008

Lawlessness as Freedom

Aviel, who sent us reports from Cologne back in September, keeps a blog at Torchlight. Today he has posted “An Open Letter To The Citizens Of Greece”, which includes the following passages:

What you are witnessing now is the eclipse of evil over the light of civilization. The streets are filled with those who wish to plunge your nation into the abyss of anarchy and regress into tribalism. The question of how the whimsical nature of these beasts can potentially usurp 3,000 plus years of prosperity and proud heritage is a difficult one but must not be avoided. Furthermore, the question of which way to go, and how best to maintain order deserves an immediate answer.

A reader of mine recently reminded me of a quote from a great man and rhetorician of Greek antiquity. I do not believe that he could have ever realized just how transcendent and necessary his words would be in these times of peril.
- - - - - - - - -
“Our democracy is destroying itself because it abused the rights of freedom and equality, because it taught the citizens to consider insolence a right, lawlessness as freedom, the audacity of words as equality and anarchy as bliss….”

— Isocrates (436B.C-338 B.C)

Insolence, lawlessness, anarchy, and the perceived right to destroy the work and successes of fellow men are indeed not freedoms but instead crimes of the worst nature. Equality never meant to enshrine the Marxist ideology that when one man suffers, all must follow suit.

Read the rest at Torchlight.

29 comments:

Homophobic Horse said...

“Our democracy is destroying itself because it abused the rights of freedom and equality, because it taught the citizens to consider insolence a right, lawlessness as freedom, the audacity of words as equality and anarchy as bliss….”

It's all happened before. Democracy declining into tyranny because it is permissive.

Alex said...

Excellent quote by Isocrates.

I have another, more recent quote:

“The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” ~ Viscount Edward Grey (August, 1914)

Conservative Swede said...

“Our democracy is destroying itself because it abused the rights of freedom and equality, because it taught the citizens to consider insolence a right, lawlessness as freedom, the audacity of words as equality and anarchy as bliss….”

It's not only how this is destroying us, it's how above has become the very standard for what we are striving for. There are a handful of commenters here denouncing Russia as evil for not complying with above standard. Simply the failure to comply with this standard, in some respect, qualifies contemporary Russia as being exactly the same as the old USSR, in their mindset.

There is an ongoing discussion displaying these attitudes here.

In Russia all the important features of European civilization exist in a balanced and workable way: free speech, free press, democracy, Christianity.

E.g. in Russia there is freedom of expression, but not freedom of insolence (and radical jihadist publications are illegal too). A Piss Christ would not be accepted in Russia. But so many commenters here are conditioned to think in the spirit described by Isocrates above. A society without their beloved Piss Christ Free Speech, without unfettered society-wrecking insolence, is considered a tyranny by these people. And apparently no different from the worst sort of tyrannies. It's enough to break above standard on a single point to be considered hell-on-earth. In this mindset there are no proportions whatsoever.

Some people will need to add two and two together. They seem to be able to grasp this in one context, but miss it completely in so many others. And this is what I'm trying to help with, by connecting these two threads to each other.

It's time to put away the Piss Christ Free Speech as your most beloved teddy bear, and wake up to reality. And to stop being so freaking decadent. It's time to grow up.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

No CS, I think it's time I disagreed now. What you are after is responsibility. What RUssia has is state-enforced responsibility - that is, the baning of publications and the restriction of free speech etc via the organs of the state, as a means of preventing "excess". It may be what you desire but that is not what we need. What we need is a return to personal responsibility and personal integrity - that grows from within, and is not enforced from without. That is, apparent restriction that is enforced from the ground up through societal norms rather than top-down through state intervention. This personal integrity will not be created through the organs of the state. In fact, a top-down society such as the example you have given will be the death of personal integrity. We have numerous examples of this in every area of life, in multiple societies and I would argue that the top-down, state-enforced approach is the very cause of this situation we now face.

Orlando said...

So the claim here is that freedom from forced consent (what a concept) of government is evil because the result is lawlessness, anarchy, insolence, etc.

What makes anyone think that government itself doesn't promote lawlessness among the chosen few while having the rest of us play by the rulebook?

We are plagued with arbitrary communities (states) which have the strong arm of the police and military and no way to commune in a natural way through choice.

The UN, IMF, EU, US are nothing more than global tyrannical schemes and everyone knows it.

There is no consent of the governed to justify these Mandarins' abuses of power.

Vasarahammer said...

"In Russia all the important features of European civilization exist in a balanced and workable way: free speech, free press, democracy, Christianity."

In order to reach this conclusion, one must ignore certain uncomfortable facts. Rule of law does not exist in Russia and never has. This is an important distinction, even though Russia has more effectively pursued its perceived self-interest than the West.

Besides, Putin's Russia relies heavily on raw materials as a chief source of income. This is a vulnerability that cannot be ignored.

Russia is not European and never will be. Russia, however, exists and will continue to exist in its own right. But to make it a symbol of virtue to be emulated by the West is a bit too much.

Gregory said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Baron Bodissey said...

Gregory --

Gates of Vienna's rules about comments require that they be civil, temperate, on-topic, and show decorum. Your comment violated the last of these rules. We keep a PG-13 blog, and exclude foul language, explicit descriptions, and epithets. This is why I deleted your comment.

Use of asterisks is an appropriate alternative.

Gregory said...

OK. Its just that some idiots make me furious. I cant stand liberal idiots.

Conservative Swede said...

The answers so far confirms what I already wrote. In spite of the time being five past twelve rather than five to, no awareness has been created in general for how to deal with the situation, even among those very few that has actually seen the problem. And in many cases not even close. Instead the very brew that knocked us out is cherished as the highest good.

Graham:
What RUssia has is state-enforced responsibility - that is, the baning of publications and the restriction of free speech etc via the organs of the state, as a means of preventing "excess".

So the issue for you is not how to balance laws (it's called laws around the world rather than "state-enforced responsibility"), but that there must never be any laws at all restricting freedom of expression. This makes you the most extreme form of libertarian. Child pornography e.g. must be completely free. Then you will sit in your house forever wringing your hands over how people have yet not assumed the personal responsibility yet.

And radical jihadist publications are illegal in Russia. Great, I think! But you are of course against this to, and think we should wait and hope for the jihadists to assume "personal responsibility" and stop with their silly Jihad.

Yes I'm in favour of personal responsibility, and I think you should start with yourself because the mindset from where your comments come is grossly irresponsible and decadent.

This personal integrity will not be created through the organs of the state. In fact, a top-down society such as the example you have given will be the death of personal integrity.

You live in a hippie dream world, and look for problems in the wrong place.

Good laws (including enforcement of them) go hand in hand with the population acting responsibly. If we look at the real Russia instead of your dreamed up caricature, we find this:

Russia Insists on Reciprocity

Did you read this article? Did you understand it? Did you internalize it so that you can use what you learned when speaking of Russia in other contexts? I think you clearly missed any of this steps.

It's the Russian people who are acting here. What we see in action here is precisely the sort of personal responsibility and personal integrity that grows from within. The kind we have nothing of in the West, and haven't had for 60 years.

So you see, good laws (and enforcing them) go hand in hand with the people taking on responsibility in this way. Not to speak of the integrity. The integrity that the Russian people show in this affair is light years ahead of the pitiful and miserable Westerners.

Conservative Swede said...

Orlando,

You are also looking for problems in the wrong places. Your comments reveal how your main worries are irrational consider the situation we are in.

What makes anyone think that government itself doesn't promote lawlessness among the chosen few while having the rest of us play by the rulebook?

You fear a strong state since it can be corrupted. Therefore you prefer a weak state?

I know any state can and will be corrupted. But nevertheless we are still better off with a strong state (at least strong enough to enforce the laws).

We are plagued with arbitrary communities (states) which have the strong arm of the police and military and no way to commune in a natural way through choice.

Your greatest fear seems to be a state with a too strong police. And this in the times of the Greek Antifa riots, where the police has become dangerously weak and demoralized.

You are indeed worrying about the wrong things.

Conservative Swede said...

Vasarahammer,

Rule of law does not exist in Russia and never has.

Russia is not European and never will be.


There's no substance to counter in what you wrote. It's clear that you think that by simply declaring the things as you do above, that they become true. This is the best we ever get from the anti-Russians, the repeated declarations of how they feel. Never any evidence. Things are even made up. Zenster being the one going farthest in that respect.

Vasarahammer said...

"There's no substance to counter in what you wrote. It's clear that you think that by simply declaring the things as you do above, that they become true."

There is no rule of law means that Russia is not governed by the law but by the whims of the ruler, which today is Mr Putin (or nominally Medvedev). This is what makes Russia different from the West. It doesn't make a difference if Putin were elected even in free and fair elections (which the Russian elections are not).

And Putin is an authoritarian ruler by any standards. He isn't Stalin but his rule serves as no example to anyone. And with the current financial crisis you will see more authoritarianism from him, since the justification for his rule i.e. Russia's growing economic success and political influence in the world will keep diminishing day by day.

If you want to look for good examples of successful authoritarian rulers, you should look eastward.

The only justification for your praise of Russia is the fact that Russia has started to promote its own interest in an aggressive way. It has even denied building up a mosque with Saudi funding. This doesn't make Putin a good guy and Russia a good example for the West except in this particular case.

Czechmade said...

It is easy to oppose Saudis, if you are Saudi-like yourself. Do they import oil from SA? No. So what is the point of their bravery? Measured by their Saudi/Kremlin status, contempt for individual businesses and their oil independence - they are too meek.

CS gets slowly crucified on his R. cross: He is driven in more and more absurdities just for deciding a priori "something good must come out of the R. thing".

Millions were punished for few people had the privilege and pleasure to express "freely" this strange article of secular faith...and acc.to CS this experience was not enough, must be tested and made repeatedly. Something like the Irish referendum...

Someone who dislikes the European looking away at the moment cannot feel comfortable with someone who did so for centuries.

Or is it the "exotic" thing which makes you hopeful? OK try yoga as well. Or belly dancing. (That way you punish the West for disappointing you)

Conservative Swede said...

Czechmade,

Since you have nothing to come up with as usually you increase the volume of your silly smears. Now your back to "Saudi-like" Russia. This is too ridiculous to even pay attention too. Soon you will step up the volume in your usual LibSocMilit-HAHAHAHAHA!-spasms. Any exchange with you is a time warp back to the '70s for me. No, I don't mean the time spirit, but me and my bother in the back seat of the car, and the childish "you too!" mentality. So anything that you dislike is a dhimmi, Bismarck, Putin (and Putin is both a dhimmi and a "Saudi"). And I'm a PC and a leftist, "you too! you too! you too! HAHAHAHAHAHA!", etc., etc.

Never any analysis from you, just simplistic chauvinism, chat mentality, eternal contradictions and stupid name calling.

But I'm sure all the Russophobes are very impressed. They seem to be impressed almost by anything.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

CS, I am speaking from a historical perspective. English society had the attributes I described slightly over a century ago without the need for the autocratic state you seem to so admire. Our society was systematically dismantled from that point, and it is no coincidence that this transformation coincided with a dramatic increase of state power. Until the 1920s the only interaction a British subject might have had with the organs of state would be the local police and an occasional visit to the tax man. What changed was not any legal definition of "free speech" - I confess, not an absolute right even then, but hardly as curtailed as it is even today in the UK - but the perception of the individual on how to use that. Education was the unmaking of that society. Education can be the recreation of that society. Your authoritarian ideal removes responsibility from the individual and places it in the hands of the state. That ideal is the very breeding ground of the sort of irresponsible, untrammelled demands for "free speech" of the sort you have cried against as it removes the the individual's responsibility for the care of what they say and places the responsibilty for that speech in the hands of the state, to be enforced by the state.

This is no different to any other attempt to enforce a social order through legislative authority.

I am not this caricature libertarian you describe. I am entirely willing to contemplate the temporary use of authority in the pursuit of a the defence of our nations but you, my friend, are asking us to use as a model a nation that, when stripped of your idealisations, is revealed as cruel and callous, authoritarian, autocratic and just generally downright mean. And perhaps that works for Russian society, but it doesn't work for me and mine.

Conservative Swede said...

Vasarahammer,

There is no rule of law means that Russia is not governed by the law but by the whims of the ruler, which today is Mr Putin (or nominally Medvedev). This is what makes Russia different from the West.

Yes this is truly an area where Russia and the West differs, but not quite as you imagine. You should spend more time reading the articles here at GoV, Vasarahammer. They are very informative. Read them and then add two and two together. You will learn of how the USA and the EU is no longer governed by law (laws are not even enforced anymore) but by the whims of the ruling elites. You will learn about how not only the laws are ignored, but how our constitutions both in the US and the EU are treated with less respect than toilet paper. Have you followed the story of Obama and his birth certificate? Or the breaches of the constitution to "deal" with the financial crisis? Have you followed the story about the EU constitution, today better known as the Lisbon treaty? And how many European country simply overrun their constitutions in ratifying is. Do you understand how serious it is to treat ones constitutions with less respect than toilet paper?

The only justification for your praise of Russia is the fact that Russia has started to promote its own interest in an aggressive way. It has even denied building up a mosque with Saudi funding.

Do you consider denying Saudi Arabia building a mosque "aggressive"??? It's truly scare if you think so. I think I have lost hope in Westerners by now. They are just too out of touch...

Conservative Swede said...

Graham,

but you, my friend, are asking us to use as a model a nation that, when stripped of your idealisations, is revealed as cruel and callous, authoritarian, autocratic and just generally downright mean.

You are simply hallucinating. I understand that this is how you imagine what I have been saying, but it's not what I have said. You overreact to what I say since it breaches your hippie ideals of unlimited freedom. What you refer to as "state-enforced responsibility" is otherwise called laws. What you refer to as "authoritarian" is otherwise known as enforcing the laws (something which is never done anymore in the hippie West when it really matters)

Your historical description of the English society is interesting but can hardly be generalized. Not even to England today. It is rare, well unique, how a good and functioning society evolved like that. For the European continent these ideals and institutions were pushed from above by Napoleon and Bismarck. Quite as the Brits pushed it from above in India.

Trying to generalize this was an important factor behind the French Revolution. Voltaire went to England and was impressed by the society and wanted to transfer this to France (he was impressed by Sweden of the 18th century too by the way).

For these good societies to evolve, such as England and Sweden back then, it has to be a society of good people. You might have noticed that our societies have been polluted by mass immigration and that the indigenous people are not really up to standard any longer either. So it would be wildly irresponsible to sit around, like you seem to suggest, and just wait for some evolution to happen from the current state of things into a good society.

Unlike in Russia where things are nicely in balance (in spite of hard problems to deal with), the West truly needs Pinochets and Francos very soon. This is not "the autocratic state [I] seem to so admire" as you say. I prefer a Classic Republic. Russia being the closest to that today (even though they fail the standard in many ways), the only living heir of the Ancient Rome. The Classic Republic, that's what I admire. You are hippie hallucinating when you think otherwise. There's nothing glorious with the Pinochets and the Francos that will be needed, it will just become a necessity in the West, after many decades of irresponsible negligence. And yes, I envy Russia for not being in need of that. It feels like a curse having to live in a civilization of people like you. It's people like you who are forcing us into autocracy and doom.

Czechmade said...

Again Conswede does not understand: in the West - the mosque would be a matter of interest and deciding for the local authority only. In Russia - the gov. decides proudly.

The problem is more tricky: in R. you may own a building possibly but the ground is owned by the gov. If someone burns your building you have to beg for permission to rebuild it, the ground has nothing to do with your property claims. That is why the Saudi Saudis had to beg approaching the Russian Saudis to assign them a land in Moscow for the mosque. In the West they would just buy some land and follow some local rules to build their police-military-allah screaming academy.

They are more Saudis than Saudis - the oil disappears one day - the Russian Saudis own the land for ever!I do not know about China but in this sense R. gov. seems to be the richest landlord in the world.

Studying the arsons in moscow must be very interesting.

Conservative Swede said...

Czechmade,

That is why the Saudi Saudis had to beg approaching the Russian Saudis to assign them a land in Moscow for the mosque. In the West they would just buy some land and follow some local rules to build their police-military-allah screaming academy.

Such a pity that the Saudis cannot build their mosques as easily in Russia as in the West.

And here Czechmade's standard for calling people "Saudis" has been revealed. Any nation that is protecting itself against the real Saudis are called "Saudis" by Czechmade. The effective result of his attitude is that he wants the Saudis to be victorious.

If only America had been Czechmade-"Saudis", then Aramco wouldn't have been a private company who gave away the oil field to the Arabs for free, because of tax reasons, but the oil fields would have been considered a national concern of the United States. But in Czechmade's world, any defence against the Saudis makes you a "Saudi" yourself. So it's better to succumb to Islam, only then Czechmade will stop smearing you.

Sagunto said...

Well CS,

Let's check the Czech then with a simple question that - believe it or not - will solve everything.

@Czechmade,
Suppose a near-future govt. in Holland, presided by Geert Wilders, would immediately decide to put a moratorium on mosque-building, would you consider that Dutch govt. to be led by Saudis? (lowland-Saudis, delta Saudis, wetland Saudis, windmill Saudis, polderSauds, whatever).

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.

Profitsbeard said...

Anarchism is "the terrible twos" made permanent.

A more recent Isocrates said:

"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing."

Edmund Burke, Irish philospher.

He added:

"Men of intemperate minds cannot be free; their passions are their fetters."

The emotional anarchy is the root of the literal chaos.

Without some "adult supervision", Europe will plunge further into this juvenile disintegration.

Conservative Swede said...

Sagunto,

It might be alright in Czechmade's view to defend a nation as long as it is not Russia. Also he's a strong preference for contradiction. Let's await his answer.

PS. Swamp-Saudis!

Sagunto said...

CS,

I'd like to patiently await, but I simply can and will not abide any mud-slinging like "Swamp-Saudis!".

That's very low - even for a Lowlander - for you know full well that polderSauds clear and reclaim swamps, seas and what have you (part of Copenhagen; large marshes in Poland and Germany; Vatican swamps, a.k.a. Pontine marshes; King James I hunting swamps; part of the Gironde "polder de Hollande"; Orinoco coast of Guyana; et cetera ..all Dutch-by-deswamp). We'd be anti-swamp Saudi's. Bet you merely went for the alliteration eh.. Sauditive Swede! ;-)

Conservative Swede said...

Sag,

We'd be anti-swamp Saudi's.

Or even better: Swamp anti-Saudis :-)

Dear netherman, don't feel bad about living in a swamp. And I'm well aware of how carefully you are cleaning our swamp. You are doing great! I was in Amsterdam recently and it didn't smell at all. And the nice ladies were waving to me from their windows. And no smell.

Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at six o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of 'ot gravel, work twenty hour day at mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!

http://www.phespirit.info/montypython/four_yorkshiremen.htm

Sagunto said...

Let's settle for anti-swamp anti-Sauds, that's ASAS then.

Oh those waving ladies, damn few of them left, thnx to busy-body politicians "regulating" things. Same policor elites that use all State power to convince us into thinking that state dirigism will protect us against Islam.. eh oops sorry "misunderstanders of Islam". That's my point in the other thread: I do believe a strong centralist State can help in the fight against Islam, but it won't stop at that. Besides, it's not and has never been the Dutch way and furthermore, a statist ideology is no match, in the long run, for a (quasi) transcendent political religion (Chesterton's point).

Sag.

P.s.:
adding insult to injury: that Monty sketch was based on a centuries old Dutch original. Those Yorkshire men were actually Dutch!

Conservative Swede said...

Sag,

A strong state is nothing good if it's still run by an oligarchic class of temporary care-takers (better known as liberal democracy). That will only propagate their irresponsibility to every level of society.

A strong state is only useful if it has the true focus on responsibility and the common good. The easy formula for this is having a proper king or in modern days: a true leader. However, for societies that have evolved advantageously a proper Republic does well. The key concepts are: responsibility and common good. A strong state run by socialists/liberals is hell on earth.

adding insult to injury: that Monty sketch was based on a centuries old Dutch original. Those Yorkshire men were actually Dutch!

So the part about cleaning the lake was already in the original then?

Sagunto said...

Yep CS,

"The lady of the lake", "cleaning the lake" .. all Dutch.

Your first remark is spot on and the second I can "second" as well, albeit that in Holland "the common good" would never work. Well it would work in the familiar crazy fractured way that every sub-group would go for its own common good. That would lead to continuous civil war (as indeed it did so often), so the "commonest" common good is a compromise, hated by all, represented by the State (patriotism is regional and very local, so no "Nation" in the common sense). The Dutch keen on consensus? A bloody (literaly) myth.
I would therefore add to your key concepts: extremely decentralized power in very diverse hands, combined with an overwhelming need to somehow cooperate (against flooding, foreign enemies). If we did'nt have the water to keep out, there would be permanent civil war over here ;-)

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.

Czechmade said...

Sagunto,

making any comparison between Wilders and holy Russia owning the land on which the humble subjects are tolerated with their easily combustible buildings is impossible. I offered you a perfect detail/explanation - R. style waqf clashing with Saudi waqf.

Wilders might retreat happily after his mission was accomplished - closing few islamic light dark academies and helping the kids get home. There is no real power game involved cutting the Dutch flesh.

He will leave the Dutch free.
His brain cells are unable to even imagine making the Dutch unfree/disown them "to protect them" acc. to the Russian or Saudi antiWestern paradigma.