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Everything posted by Grames

  1. It is not clear to me that Rand has committed to a position that emotions can only ever be caused by one's conscious integrations, or how how important that is to the rest of Objectivism if Rand did make that commitment and was wrong. Emotions are not tools of cognition, after all.
  2. Can you apply the correspondence principle to it? Reaction Y is not true or false it simply is, the legacy of your biological inheritance and integral to your identity as a rational animal (don't deny the animal part). So no, it is not knowledge. Genetics encodes a great deal of information and it is expressed in the material form of the body and in its behaviors. If you study photosynthesis you gain knowledge, but when a plant performs photosynthesis that is not application of knowledge. 'Information' already has a general, low level and thoroughly objective definition given by Claude Shannon that doesn't really focus on a biological context. Using 'instinct' on plants doesn't seem correct either. I think of it as 'technique'. It is capacity for action which is genetically encoded, and action is not true or false. An action improves evolutionary fitness or does not.
  3. Moods are not knowledge.
  4. Yes. Rand's rejection of tabula rasa applies to conceptual knowledge. That consciousness has an identity and therefore specific causal means and mechanisms for its functions should not be controversial for an Objectivist to accept because that is not conceptual knowledge. Do not make the error denying the slate exists when you only need to insist on its blankness.
  5. Animals don't have language and so cannot have concepts. Without concepts they cannot regard instances of the concept as units. What animals do have is abilities of pattern recognition and memory and patterned behavior and those do a pretty good job together of doing everything a conceptual capacity would do with respect to (for example) a mammalian predator taking a go at stalking a new type of prey it hadn't encountered before. So those mammals would not benefit from a conceptual capacity so evolution has not rewarded selection for it. Humans can operate at that level: Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink is about pre-conceptual pattern recognition and I am specifically referring the examples there of "antiquities experts who recognize a fake at a glance" long before they can articulate what exactly is wrong with the fake.
  6. The Virtue of Nationalism is a new book in political philosophy by Yoram Hazony. Hazony here operates at the level of philosophy because he works with wide abstractions, has a sharp critique of Locke's Second Treatise on Government, provides an alternative to that tradition of rationalist political philosophy, and uses that conceptual framework to integrate a variety of current disparate controversies into coherent view of fronts where two different political philosophies are conflicting. Here in this topic I plan to go over the book chapter by chapter and provide a review in outline form of what he claims as I've done with other works listed in my signature block. Since those other works were all by Objectivists and this one is not I will also provide comments of my own relating the points made to the Objectivist perspective. Others are welcome to post comments or questions as well in between my content posts because I won't catch everything there may be to say or question and my focus here is not as much on presentation and continuity as when I covered a lecture series. I'll just plunge in and get started by paraphrasing his introduction. Introduction Britain voted for Brexit. America voted for Trump. Oh no, this is reversion to warmongering and racism. But wait a minute. Until a few decades ago nationalism was associated with broad-mindedness and generosity. Woodrow Wilson's "Fourteeen Points" and Churchill/Roosevelt's Atlantic Charter were progressive because independence and national self-determination for enslaved and colonized people around the globe were good things. Statesmen from Mahatma Ghandi to David Ben-Gurion led nationalist political movements. Why was nationalism thought to be a good thing then but not now? I, Yoram Hazony, a Jewish Israeli Zionist (a type of nationalism) have some insight into the question. My family moved to Jewish Palestine in the 1920's and 1930's as aspiring nationalists and Israel has been governed continually by nationalists since then. Nationalism is not a forgotten and now alarming idea in Israel but familiar and normal. Nationalism is the principle that the world is governed best when nations are free to cultivate their own traditions and pursue their own interests without outside interference. Opposed to that is the principle of Imperialism which holds that the world would be peaceful and prosperous if united under a single political structure. Pros and cons of each will be considered in turn but note here these principles are contradictory. One must choose to be one or the other. Nationalism vs Imperialism contest gained new life with fall of Berlin Wall in '89. After that, two new Imperialist great projects commenced: the European Union and the American "world order". EU is the Austro-Hungarian Empire restored. Charles Krauthammer advocated for an American "Universal Dominion" to establish a new pax Americana just like the pax Romana of old. Both projects involve suppressing the sovereignty of existing nations and are thus identified as imperialist. Open debate and discussion of Nationalism vs. Imperialism has been muted and seemingly deliberately avoided. The following list of euphemisms have been employed to conceal the imperialist agenda: "new world order," "ever closer union," "openness," "globalization," "global governance," "pooled sovereignty," "rules-based order," "universal jurisdiction," "international community," “liberal internationalism,” “transnationalism,” “American leadership,” “American century,” “unipolar world,” “indispensable nation,” “hegemon,” “subsidiarity,” “play by the rules,” “the right side of history,” “the end of history,” etc. [footnote 6 of intro notes an uptick in more explicit calls for an American Empire after 9/11/2001]. The time for clear unambiguous reasoned debate on principles is now. This book is a statement of reasons to be a nationalist. For clarity "globalism" will be taken as a version of the old imperialism. Also for clarity, "patriotism" will be avoided as a synonym for nationalism because it merely refers to the love or loyalty of an individual for his own nation but not the wider context of a position within political philosophy. The argument will be as folllows: Part One “Nationalism and Western Freedom” will be the basic historical framework for understanding the confrontation between imperialism and nationalism as it has developed among the Western nations. The aftermath of Hitler is the narrative that "nationalism caused two world wars and the Holocaust.” It is this narrative that is responsible for nationalism being regarded as unnecessary and even morally suspect. The new imperialism takes liberal theories of the rule of law, the market economy, and individual rights—all of which evolved in the domestic context of national states such as Britain, the Netherlands, and America—to be regarded as universal truths and considered the appropriate basis for an international regime. Supporters of imperialism have not described nationalism correctly. Part Two “The Case for the National State”. Three alternatives of political order are described: the order of tribes and clans found in every pre-state society, the international order under an imperialist state, and an order of independent national states. The admitted economic and security advantages of an unified legal regime for the entire world is a narrow and inadequate basis for the imperialist state because the fundamental political relations at the level of family, tribe, clan and nation are not universal and cannot be made so. The advantages of an order of independent national states are: provides greatest possibility for collective self-determination; a logical aversion to campaigns of foreign conquest and a de facto tolerance of diverse ways of life ; productive peaceful competition among nations; powerful mutual loyalties are the only known basis for free institutions and individual liberties. Not every stateless people can have its own independent state so what then? Part Three "Anti-Nationalism and Hate". The Universalist ideologies that underlie and justify imperial regimes encourage hate toward all who won't cooperate with the imperialist program. Examples: medieval Catholicism vs the Jews; Islam vs the world; Marxism vs the productive independent; The EU vs Poland, Hungary et al ; globalists vs Israel; etc. Racism and hate can also be found in nationalist movements and expressed in national rivalries. Hate is a feature of politics or human nature in general and is not a deciding factor in Nationalism vs. Imperialism. Part Four "The Virtue of Nationalism” The conclusion. Some brief remarks on the relationship between nationalism and positive personal character traits.
  7. So, Yoram Hazony has a twitter account. He got alerted to Yaron Brook discussing nationalism. He replied: https://twitter.com/yhazony/status/1070444820575985664
  8. Here is small test to figure out or affirm your own premises. Which of the following statements would you (any reader of this thread) thinks is most true? Liberty is the foundation of social order. Liberty is one by-product of social order. Liberty is an impediment to social order. "Social order" is crime-think, do not go there.
  9. Chapter X: How Are States Really Born? Fairy Tales Some parents tell their younger children that newborn babies are delivered to the home, sometimes adding the detail that a stork drops the newborn on the doorstep. No parent ever believes that, so why do they say it? Perhaps because the full truth is bloody and unpleasant, and a pre-pubescent child wouldn't be able to fully understand it anyway, the lie prevents some avoidable distress [to the parent as well as the child]. At any rate the truth must come out when the child is older, this merely prolongs a child's innocence and ignorance for short while. Instructors in politics, law, and philosophy tell their students about how states are born by invoking a similar fairy tale. They say that while living in a state of perfect freedom and equality, each individual consents, together with countless others, to form a government and to submit to its dictates. None of them believe it, so why do they teach it? Perhaps to protect the minds of their students from ugly and unpleasant truths. Unfortunately the truth does not necessarily reveal itself in time. The story of consent is impressed upon students at every level of their education, high school, college, grad school, law school. Legislators, scholars and jurists of renown still have this fairy tale taking up space in their minds where actual competence is needed. The fiction that states are formed by the consent of individuals hides from us the way in which states are born, and goes on from there to confound our understanding of how they continue to exist through time, of what holds them together, and of what destroys them. How the State Comes into Being The "state of nature" described by Locke or Hobbes in which individuals were loyal only to themselves has never existed. The political order of anarchy is the order of clans and tribes. There is no permanent central government, no standing army or police force, no bureaucracy capable of raising taxes sufficient to maintain such a force, and therefore no one with the ability to issue decrees that can then be imposed by means of armed force. A clan or tribe acts as a unified body when agreement of the clan or tribe exists that its leaders have decided a given matter correctly. Where such agreement is lacking loyalty of the clan or tribe to its leaders can still bring the tribe to act. And finally, the pressure that those who agree with the decision and those who accept it out of loyalty together bring to bear on anyone who remains uncertain will bring those to act. Where these are insufficient, the clan or tribe simply does not act as a unified body. The disadvantages of the order of clans and tribes are that defense is based on a fractious and irregularly trained militia, justice is attained only with great difficulty, and the customs of religion are maintained only voluntarily. When tribes and clans fall away from loyalty to their common customs and to one another, warfare among the tribes, injustice, and defeat at the hands of foreigners inevitably follow, with no one having the ability to set matters aright. The state is born out of the relative weakness of the old order of tribes and clans. A standing central government establishes a professional armed force that is not disbanded in peacetime; a bureaucracy capable of raising taxes sufficient to maintain such a force; and a ruler or government with the authority to issue decrees that are then imposed, where necessary, by means of armed force. Thus the political order of the state can defend the tribes against external enemies, adjudicate and suppress disputes among them, and institute uniform religious rites [or more generally, a uniform culture] on a national scale. The state is created in two ways: voluntary and involuntary. The voluntary state, or the free state, is created by heads of a coalition of tribes, recognizing a common bond among them as well as a common need, coming together to establish a national standing government. Free states are created by joining together, consolidating, existing political structures. The loyalty to the new layer of political hierarchy is founded first in the loyalty to the leader and structure that made that decision and second, if the leadership's decision was sound, that the interests of the new state are in fact common with his own. Examples in history of free states: the coming together of the tribes of Israel, the joining of the former colonies in North America first into a federation then into a constitutional union, ancient Athens constituted several clans thus making it a tribal city-state [rather than a national state, the usual modern form], Alfred unifying England. The involuntary state or despotic state is the subjugation of conquered clans and tribes. Foreigners or usurpers rule with no mutual loyalty to the ruled. Force is required to compel individuals to act as if they were loyal. A tyrannical state can suppress dissent by force and terror, impress workforces for large projects or military service, and can extract taxes to pay for the foregoing and make bribes as well. States can also come into being by the combination of the two methods. A method that never comes into play is consent of the governed individuals. The consent of the individual never comes into play in the creation of states. Obviously the despotic state has no role for consent. In the free state the decision for unification takes place in counsels to which the common man has little access. It is thus the interests and aspirations of the tribe and the nation, as these are understood by the tribal leadership, that are decisive in the birth of a free state.[Where cohesion is strong the individual will be loyal to the new state out of loyalty to the tribe, and if he does not agree with the decision of his leadership he can at least be counted upon to comply in action. Hazony does not make the following summary formulation it is mine: the state is founded upon compliance not consent.]
  10. The article states that Thailand has a 60 percent tariff, and that Harley-Davidson was avoiding the tariff by producing in Thailand. That is a plain example of an economic incentive inducing action. If there is a rights violating initiation of force here, it appears Thailand initiated it with its very high 60% tariff rate. Responding tit-for-tat with equivalent tariffs against Thailand is the proportional response. After trade is harmed in both directions by symmetrical high tariffs then perhaps Thailand may reconsider its strategy and lower its tariffs. That seems to have been the outcome with Trump's other successful trade negotiations, so why couldn't it work again? Qua political theory, no. Nationalism does not need to rely on racism as justification. Racism has been around long before nations were founded. Nationalism's relation to racism is neither cause nor effect.
  11. So much to unpack here.... Let me start at the end. This part : "The reason mixed economies are inevitable .." I am disappointed to learn that you don't regard capitalism as actually achievable. That must put a real damper on your overall optimism. The separation of church and state was first achieved only on the basis of a particular national political and religious culture. If ever the separation of state and economics is to be achieved it too will only first happen within a particular national cultural context that makes it possible, not an overnight worldwide revolution. Erasing nations and nation-states would erase the means by which political progress is made at large scales. Capitalism is not merely the presence of trading.
  12. Trump uses tariffs as a retaliatory measure and negotiating tool against other countries tariffs and trade controls. He has already dropped tariffs where progress on trade agreements have been made. See the USMCA agreement and the announced basis of negotiation with the EU From https://www.npr.org/2018/07/25/632436795/trump-announces-trade-deal-with-european-commission-that-will-lower-u-s-europe-t As for your other questions, Hazony has been taking pains to emphasize that the basis of mutual loyalty is shared values and specifically shared actions to gain or keep values in the face of joint adversity. Race has nothing to do with it, not in the present day and not in the ancient biblical roots of nationalism that he cites. There are hundreds of occurrences of the word 'nation' in the King James presentation of the Old Testament, a period of history when there was no science of biology and no possible biological rationalization of race awareness. Certainly people noticed different features of different peoples but they also noticed their different architecture and different gods and temples. Culture is primary. Further chapters will spend additional time hammering that point home. It is a valid and pertinent question as to which nations also should have states. The short answer is: not all of them. That gets addressed in a later chapter.
  13. That is an immediate descent into incoherence. If capitalism is an individual resource because the individuals are free than tyranny is an individual resource because you have to oppress the individuals. A social context is required for any political theory to be applicable, so no, capitalism is not an individual resource. It is also well settled in both Objectivist and wider pro-capitalist thought that what makes capitalism possible is a government with a legal scheme and that protects property rights systematically. Put emphatically, it is simply impossible to have capitalist political system without a state. The additional point of nationalism qua political theory is that is also necessary to have a nation, some(any) particular national culture, to maintain a state.
  14. Superficial yet also one of the day's deadliest issues. Is this a paradox or poor writing by Rand? No. Capitalism versus socialism is the more basic question because it can be answered by using the moral concept of individual rights and ethics is epistemically prior to politics. Nationalism versus internationalism can be such a deadly issue because of the possibility of ensnaring an entire nation into a international agreement or policy which will result in open warfare. This first sentence nicely dovetails with Hazony's Part I critique of liberals Hayek and von Mises supporting world governments. Here's the money quote: From this we have: the primacy of domestic affairs in a nation's interests; an affirmation that individual rights and individual interests can be the basis of defining a nation's interests; and that national interests are the basis of international cooperation. Rand here is endorsing the role of the nation-state in the international political order and definitely not envisioning a utopian future where all the states and their borders whither away.
  15. Salting the thread with some actual Rand content: From THE AYN RAND COLUMN
  16. [warning: this is a long post] Chapter IX: The Foundations of Political Order Politics, Done Empirically [these bolded topic headings are my creations, the text of each chapter is a single smooth presentation] definition of politics: "the discipline or craft of influencing others so that they act to accomplish the goals one sees as necessary or desirable." [This is a good objective definition as opposed to a normative definition. ref: The Principle of Two Definitions It establishes a category of observable actions much broader than just 'the actions of or concerning governments'.] Individuals can obtain some values acting alone. Other values either require or are much easier to obtain by working with others. But others have their own values, and may be indifferent or hostile to our values. The fundamental problem of the individual living in a social context is the political problem of influencing others to act to gain or keep one's own values. [Translated into Objectivist jargon.] [Objectivism names one solution to the problem of influencing others: the trader principle. But that is a high level abstraction and a normative one at that. In the spirit of descriptive empirical investigation a lower, intermediate level of abstraction is appropriate. ] One solution to the problem of influencing others is establishing a group of like-minded people. Examples of standing bodies or collectives of individuals are: family, clan, tribe, nation, state, army, religious organization, business enterprise, and chess club. definition of institutions: human collectives that persist over time, keeping particular fixed purposes and forms (ex. the name, procedures for deciding and acting at the group level, facilities, etc...) An institution teaches, persuades, or coerces its members to abide by its own accepted general rules and procedures before action is needed so the collective can act reliably and promptly, rather than persuade or coerce individuals anew as each action is called for. Three Possible Motives for Individuals to Join Collectives [no claim this list is exhaustive] individuals will join if threatened with reprisal individuals will join if offered payment or other advantage individuals will join if they see the interests and aims of the institution as their own In the face of ongoing cost, effort or adversity the motive of payment creates the weakest institutions because of the possibility of withdrawing or defecting to a different institution based on a cost/benefit/risk analysis. Intimidation against individuals or their loved ones can produce more stable institutions but only so long as a credible threat can be maintained. The strongest institutions are those wherein the individual sees the interests and aims of the institution as their own. Example: Consider a soldier who takes up a rifle in the hope of establishing the independence of his people after a long history of persecution. Such individuals do not need to be coerced to fight, or to be well compensated for their services. The identification of the interests and aims of the collective as his own is what moves him to acts of bravery and self-sacrifice that no intimidation or promise of pay could elicit. Human individuals are capable of regarding the aims and interests of a collective or institution of which they are members as their own, and of acting upon these aims and interests even where such action will be detrimental to their lives and property. No convincing account of how strong human institutions are built can be made unless this capacity is at its center. Extension of the Sense of Self The human individual is by nature fiercely concerned to ensure the integrity of his or her own self. Self refers to the body which has a biological fight to flight reflex. The same fierceness also applies to the protectiveness over land or possessions, defense of one's reputation when accused or insulted, and the defense of loved ones. All of these—property, reputation, family—are all experienced as if they are also a part of him insofar as his consciousness has embraced them. [They are integrated to some degree into his self-concept, his sense of identity.] This capacity to regard others as part of one's identity is not restricted to kinsmen, but can include a friend, townsman, platoon member, or any other human being based on some possibly abstract grounds. [How much is Ayn Rand through her works part of our identities even for those of us who have never met her?] "What we see across the range of human activities and institutions, then, is that the self of the individual is by nature flexible in its extent, and is constantly being enlarged so that persons and things we might have supposed would be outside of him and alien to him are in fact regarded as if they were a part of himself." [Inserting endnote 2 here:] Loyalty definition of loyalty: the attachment that results when an individual includes a certain other within the purview of his or her self. definition of mutual loyalty: the bond established between two individuals when each has taken the other into his extended sense of self. Persons experiencing mutual loyalty remain independent persons, and may experience competition, insult, jealousy, and quarrels as independent persons do that are spouses or siblings. But as soon as either of them faces adversity, the other suffers this hardship as if it were his own and in-progress disputes are suspended or forgotten. When the hardship is overcome, they experience a sense of relief and pleasure, of walking together in joy, each recognizing the happiness of the other as his own. These experiences of adversity and triumph establish a strong distinction between an inside and an outside: an inside, comprising the two individuals; and an outside, from which a challenge arises against them and in the face of which they experience a joint suffering and a joint success. Institutions that are Small and Strong Institutions constructed principally out of bonds of mutual loyalty are the most enduring and resilient institutions. The family is the strongest and most resilient of all small institutions known to human politics, precisely due to the existence of such ties of mutual loyalty between each member of the family and all of the others. Bonds of family loyalty can be either birth ties or adoptive ties (spouse to spouse and spouse to in-laws are adoptive and parent to child can be adoptive). The squad or section is the small scale military unit of about 10 men, led by a junior officer or sergeant. The capacity of this unit to function under extreme duress depends on its ties of mutual loyalty, founded upon each individual's personal acquaintance with all the others and extensive experience of relying upon them for support during training and combat. [Other examples include: small towns or villages, churches, local political factions and unions, and street gangs.] Political Order is Hierarchical Larger scale political institutions of every kind are built upon small institutions such as the family or the squad. Heads of families can be brought together in an association of mutual loyalty to one another, creating a clan. A clan may number in the hundreds or thousands and may be scattered over a considerable territory. Heads of clans can unite to form a tribe that may have tens of thousands of members. Heads of tribes can come together to form a nation whose members number in the millions. This process of consolidation is familiar from the Old Testament history of Israel and from the histories of the English, Dutch, Americans and many other nations. [Note that when consolidation happens the lower layers are not dissolved, they persist.] [Thus the four part hierarchy Hazony uses is: family, clan, tribe, nation. Settling on four is somewhat arbitrary, the scheme could be elaborated upon by distinguishing more layers but there is less room to remove layers. From endnote 7:] Transmission of Loyalty up the Hierarchy For a child raised within a clan it is not possible to directly develop a bond of mutual loyalty with most other individual members of the clan. But his parents, who have direct bonds of mutual loyalty to the other heads of families, experience the suffering and triumphs of the clan as if these were happening to themselves, and they give expression to these things. And so the child, who experiences the suffering and triumphs of his parents as if they were happening to him, is able to feel the suffering and the triumphs of the clan as his own as well. Thus even a very young child will feel the harm and shame when another member of his clan is harmed or shamed by members of a rival clan. In this way, the child’s self is extended to embrace the entire clan and all its members, even those whom he has never met. And because of this extension, he will be willing to set aside even bitter disputes with other members of his clan when a threat from the outside is experienced as a challenge to all. [also from endnote 7:] Like ties of loyalty to the clan, the bond of loyalty to one’s tribe or nation grows out of loyalty to one’s parents: The child experiences the suffering and triumphs of his tribe or nation as his own because he experiences the suffering and triumphs of his parents as his own, and the parents feel and give expression to the suffering and triumphs of the tribe or nation as these unfold. endnote 5 Cohesion definition of cohesion: the bonds of mutual loyalty that hold firmly in place an alliance of many individuals, each of whom shares in the suffering and triumphs of the others, including those they have never met. The concept of cohesion can be applied at any scale. endnote 6: The Limit of Consolidation Nation can develop attachments to other nations. The English-speaking nations are sometimes referred to as a "family of nations" due to both common descent from English influence and experience of common struggle against the Axis powers of WWII and then against the communist bloc of nations during the Cold War. The Hindu peoples of India have a similar relation to each other founded in common struggle against Islamic and English domination. What has never been seen is a genuine movement toward mutual loyalty of the entirety of the human population worldwide. That would require a worldwide common adversity as an impetus. [The conclusion from this point is that a world government is compatible and possible with an imperialist political order, but a nationalist political order will not have impetus to organize itself beyond international agreements among groups of nations.] Biological Kinship Not Essential to Mutual Loyalty Long years of joint hardship and success are essential to establishing ties of mutual loyalty, not kinship. The husband-wife bond is adoptive, families can adopt children, clans can adopt families, tribes adopt clans and nations, tribes. An isolated individual, having been cut off from his own family due to war or disease will invariably attach himself to a new family or a new clan, lending his strength to theirs and gaining their protection. The constant regeneration of bonds of mutual loyalty implies that there can be no society whose member individuals are without loyalty to anyone other than themselves. Even in modern society, where the traditional order of clans and tribes is weakened or supplanted by formal state structures, collectives built from bonds of mutual loyalty are visible everywhere: there are still churches, political chapters, schools, and other community organizations equivalent to the clan level. On a national scale, powerful religious, ethnic, sectoral, and professional associations vie with one another as if they were tribes. The attraction of individuals, even under the modern state, to ally themselves to collectives is a constant. [I would call it a facet of human nature, an attribute of the identity of humans.] [Anecdotal evidence from an entirely different perspective: the progression of American situational comedies from family situations (Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Brady Bunch, All in the Family, etc...) to modern "found family" situations (of Friends, Seinfeld, Cheers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Big Bang Theory, etc... ) The depiction of mutual loyalty remains the same and is necessary to the format which seems to work as well even without depicting kinship.] Health and Prosperity of a Collective Words such as 'brotherhood' 'health' and 'prosperity' when applied to collectives are metaphors drawn from the life of the individual, but the underlying referent of the usage is real. "Health and Prosperity of the Family" refers to at least three things: physical and material flourishing - health and property and their increase strong internal integrity - the bonds of mutual loyalty, honoring differences in age or status, minimizing discord the extent and quality of the cultural inheritance that is transmitted by the parents and grandparents to the children (3 is a significant means of accomplishing 1 and 2) The individual at all times experiences the strengthening or weakening of his family as something that is happening to himself. And because this is the case, he is constantly moved to take action to defend and build up the family in its material prosperity, in its internal integrity, and in its capacity to transmit an appropriate cultural inheritance to the children. Thus parents will take employment not to their liking in order to feed their family, spouses humble themselves for the sake of peace in the home, the older devote long hours teaching children even though the children have a limited ability recognize the value of what they are taught. All of this happens not out of altruistic impulse to help a stranger, but because strengthening the family is experienced as strengthening themselves. In principle the health and prosperity of every human collective can be measured in much the same way as that of the family. When individuals take into their own hands the task of strengthening the tribe or nation, they do so not out of altruism, but because strengthening the tribe or nation is experienced as strengthening themselves. No universal ideology—not Christianity or Islam, not liberalism or Marxism—has succeeded in eliminating or even weakening this intense desire to protect and strengthen the [particular] collectives to which an individual also belongs. As that desire is derived from the individual desire to defend his own life and improve his material circumstances it cannot be and should not be diminished. The devotion of individuals to particular non-universal collectives creates persistent division among mankind. But division is necessary for diversity, innovation and advancement. The separate nations of mankind are as validly viewed as walled gardens as fortresses, where what is original and different is given a space of its own to be tested. The figurative walls of language and culture provide both a means to nurture beneficial innovations in laws, morals and industry as well as means to inhibit the spread of what is destructive and misguided. [I put in all these endnotes to show that Hazony does not coin neologisms nor invent the definitions he uses. ] [endnotes 1-17 , the endnotes of part two are their own series]
  17. [reminder that comments in square brackets are mine, and what text I present outside the brackets is heavily paraphrased] Part Two: THE CASE FOR THE NATIONAL STATE Chapter VIII: Two Types of Political Philosophy Philosophy of politics has, since the ancient Greeks and into the modern liberal university, been a philosophy of government. I. Philosophy of Government Assumes people will organize themselves as a state. A state being a community sufficiently cohesive that it can be ruled by a single government independent from other governments. [Greek political philosophy started with the city-state. Cities on islands or which were walled were the obvious discrete political units of that time and place.] Such a philosophy inquires about: Form of the state (monarchy, aristocracy, democracy i.e. the who should rule) should the authority of the state be concentrated to dispersed should the state be formally designed with a constitution who gets to decide when a constitution is violated should a state guarantee individual rights, and what rights II. Philosophy of Political Order Humans have not always lived in unified independent states, so the existence of the state should not be assumed and political philosophy should ask more fundamental questions. [I would characterize this as starting political philosophy with a close look at actual anarchic societies, rather than dismissing them as a "politically atomistic" chaos from which the state is born.] philosophy of political order inquires about: what causes the internal cohesion necessary for a state to be at internal peace, or to be formed at all is the state formed by consent of individuals or the unification of existing political structures comparing and contrasting the state to clan, fuedal, or other forms of political order if a state is the best order, should there be one or many states Philosophy of political order "seeks to understand the causes of political order, and on the basis of this understanding, to determine what are the different forms of political order available to us and which of them is best." III. The Dangers of Not Observing Epistemological Hierarchy [terminology inserted by me] Whatever is assumed without argument comes to be regarded as self-evident, whether it is true or false. Assuming the existence of a cohesive independent state trains the mind to assert the existence of such states even where there are none, or to assume such states can be brought into being easily. [This brings to mind American military adventures in Somalia, Afghanistan and Libya.] Concerning their own states, such minds will take for granted cohesion and independence and will blithely advocate policies that erode cohesion and independence while thinking their state will remain as sound. [Paris is burning again today because of this mistake by French leader Macron.] The Hebrew Bible is a large text with much pre-state politics in it. It is a useful source for inquiry into the causes of the formation, cohesion, independence and destruction of a state, as well the possibilities of living outside of a state. Closing quote: [zero endnotes] [Hazony does not use the terminology "epistemological hierarchy" but he plainly spells out that political order is prior to the emergence of states. Therefore a study of states cannot be well founded without a study of political order.]
  18. Chapter VII: Nationalist Alternatives to Liberalism Opposition to the liberal political order has manifested in three ways. I Neo-Catholic opposition Focus is on the first principle, the moral minimum. Catholic is used because of the intended reference to an updated version of medieval Catholic political theory espoused by some people. Not all Catholics are included here if they do not espouse that view, and some who do are included but are not Catholic. That medieval Catholic political theory is one focused upon maintaining some version of the moral minimum, a biblical minimum or one based on a theory of universal reason, as the foundation of the legitimacy of the state. A neo-Catholic political theory can be compatible with a regime of coercive international law for the enforcement of human rights and individual liberties. Neo-Catholics defend religious based views of marriage, family, abortion, assisted suicide, and the removal of Christian and Jewish symbols from government property. Neo-Catholics fight rearguard culture wars while passively (or actively) supporting other liberal imperialist projects that undermine the independence of nations. II Neo-Nationalist or Statist opposition Focus is on the second principle, national self-determination. This theory discards the concept nation and seeks to establish an individual's direct relationship to the state as man's highest end. Rousseau and the French Revolution are the archetype here, which tends toward absolutism and atheism [atheism here only serving to remove any moral constraints on the state] and in practice a chronic instability in government. This kind of petty nationalism may resist liberal imperialist projects such as the EU and unrestricted immigration but is uninterested in the biblical roots of nationalism or its moral standards which once restrained the excesses of individuals and the state. [This is what is denounced as 'unprincipled populism'] Neo-nationalism naturally leads to authoritarian governments, and this is used to support the false dichotomy that the only alternative to liberalism is authoritarianism. III Traditionalist or Conservative opposition Based on both principles. "Conservative" here broadly refers to any political movement aiming to preserve the foundations of Protestant Construction (even those that are rooted in a non-biblical moral system). The most important is the Anglo-American conservative tradition. It is descended from the thought of John Fortescue, John Selden and Edmund Burke, embracing the principles of limited executive power, individual liberties, public religion and an historical empiricism that has served to moderate public life in Britain and America in comparison with other countries. The Anglo-American conservative strand has proved most productive of sound government in English-speaking nations. It is the alternative to liberal empire. [endnote 64] ON THE SURFACE, BRITAIN and America sometimes give the impression of having become utterly unmoored from their biblical heritage. But these are still nations that were formed by the biblical message of freedom of the nation from empire, limitation of the power of kings, and fundamental precepts establishing the basis for a just and decent society. [endnote 65] endnote 64 quoted: endnote 65 quoted:
  19. Chapter VI: Liberalism as Imperialism Pharaohs, Babylonian kings, Roman emperors, Roman Catholic Church and now modern liberalism have the following attributes in common: Have their universalist theory of the good involves pulling down all borders disdain obtaining consent of those yet outside their system express disgust, contempt and anger at opposition I Liberalism is not monolithic American Pres. Bush I had in mind a new world order consisting of the U.S. enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions Later U.S. President's preferred unilateral action but with allies as moral cover Europeans prefer "transnationalism", wherein American and other military power is subject to international judicial or administrative organization based in Europe. These debates within liberalism about how to go about imposing the liberal project upon the world are just the reincarnation of medieval debates between the Catholic Pope and the Emperor. II Essential Liberalism is Dogmatic and Utopian Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism in the Classical Tradition, 150 “unqualified, unconditional acceptance of liberalism” is dogmatic and utopian, assuming a final truth applicable to all mankind has been found. It is now conventional liberalism that all that remains is to impose it. Not every liberal is the same of course. Mitigating factors of biblicism, historical empiricism, even a moderate skepticism or just common sense still exist within some. But bible reading, historical knowledge, independent thought and common sense are all factors waning in strength. The universal liberal empire has seemed to come almost within reach and dogmatic imperialism is the dominant voice. Modern liberalism has unwittingly adopted attributes of the medieval Catholic empire upon which it is modeled: doctrine of infallibility, inquisition, index [of prohibited books]. Public life in America and Europe has a new feature: public shaming campaigns and heresy hunts. The goal of these is always to silence opponents by stigmatizing or rendering illegitimate a person, group or policy that resists liberal doctrine. This started on university campuses and now public life in western democracies seems to be one big university campus. III Increasing demands for conformity are predictable and consistent with the ideal of a universal political order. Under the Protestant Construction, states that remained Catholic had to tolerate Protestant regimes, states with monarchy tolerated republics, highly regulated states tolerated states with more freedom. Formal grant of legitimacy among governments became the model for tolerating dissent within the state as well. Thus tolerance wanes as nationalism does. [endnotes 56-62]
  20. Lol no. I never really expect much from you. Just keep on being you with the snarky potshots.
  21. This part doesn't sound far from Hazony's nationalism, given that Hazony does rule out the specific transcendent, universal answer.
  22. Relevant story at the Whats Up With That? blog: Claim: Particle Physics is Stagnating Because of Groupthink. It appears there because of the similar situation in climate science.
  23. Chapter V Nationalism Discredited Marxists and liberals are both motivated to discredit nationalism. Marxism looks toward world revolution and ultimate withering away of the state, so has no use for nations or nation-states. Liberalism might concede some need for a government to secure property but cannot justify dividing that function up over different parcels of land, so also has no ultimate use for nations or nation-states. World War II brought catastrophe and monstrous moral crimes to Europe. The post-war attempt to understand what had happened and why was the opportunity used by Marxists and liberals to blame nationalism for the war. I Hitler Not a Nationalist But Hitler was anti-nationalist. From endnote 51: In Mein Kampf, Hitler explicitly rejects both the liberal social-contract state and the national state built by unifying disparate tribes on the basis of language and history, calling such states “misbegotten monstrosities.” For Hitler the state had a role in nurturing a race, which would come to dominate the globe as a master race. Neither the nation nor nation-state had a place in his system. From endnote 52: Anthony Smith in Nationalism in the Twentieth Century (1979) characterizes Hitler's scheme as "biological imperialism" utterly incompatible with the existence of a plurality of independent national states. From Münkler, Empires (2007) Hitler’s entire purpose was “to destroy the nation-state system and to return to an imperial order.” And it would have been a return. Hitler's "Third Reich" was modeled on a "First Reich" which was the Holy Roman Empire that lasted a thousand years and with its aspiration captured by the motto of Emperor Frederick III, Austriae est imperare orbi universo, “Austria is destined to rule all the world”. In World War I Kaiser Wilhelm II wrote to his fighting men in 1915 (in an "Order of the Day" found on captured soldiers), “The triumph of Great Germany, destined one day to dominate all of Europe, is the sole object of the struggle in which we are engaged.” [Hitler would have read that and absorbed much else like it in contemporary Austrian and German culture.] Interpreting Hitler's war as an attempt at German national self-determination fails to explain the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews. Hitler pursued the Jews throughout Europe and then across the globe when he got the Japanese to establish a Jewish ghetto in Shanghai, China. That could only have been conceived and attempted in keeping with a concept of universal empire [with a universal enemy]. It was nationalism that defeated Hitler. The United States and Britain emphasized their war aims of liberating national states. [They went out of their way to recruit French and Polish forces.] The propaganda of the Allies was explicitly nationalist, even Stalin resorted to naked appeals to Russian patriotism instead of the standard communist "world revolution" claptrap. [Because nations are real nationalist propaganda could be effective even in the Soviet Union.] [The eastern front of WW2 was empire vs. empire in my opinion. It was Siberian armies that mostly occupied Germany at war's end, not Russians proper. Nationalism fought Hitler but can't be given sole credit for his defeat. ] II A Clever Pivot (my phrase) Konrad Adenauer, World Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All (1955) Helmut Kohl, quoted in The Times, February 3, 1996 So let's get this straight. The solution to the problem of Germany conquering its neighbors and integrating their economies into Germany's is for Germany's neighbors to willingly and peacefully surrender their sovereignty and integrate their economies into Germany's. Germany gives up nothing important to them in the deal, certainly not the ancient ideal of empire. Margaret Thatcher Germany's status as a nation-state was and is not the problem. Back to the author Hazony: III The Bad Drives Out the Good The moral argument for the superiority of international government cannot coexist within the same political order with an array of independent national states and that moral argument. [That moral argument hasn't been presented yet.] The Soviet Union and its provocateurs and apologists throughout the West were quite satisfied with a moral argument against nation-states which was compatible with Marxism. British and American liberal leaders supported the notion as long as it was for Europe only but they miscalculated. The Kantian moral argument works against every nation-state's independence. American armies in Europe since WW2 have insulated Europe from political reality. Bordering on Russia and Muslim countries, European nation-states have neither the military nor conceptual capability to ensure their own independence and self-determination. American largesse keeps them in a state of perpetual childhood, enabling them to repeat the claim that dismantling the nation-state is the key to peace. But the presence of American armies alone would have kept the peace in the absence of any political unification. Because that is what empires do; they offer peace in exchange for the renunciation of independence including its ability to think as an independent nation and to devise and implement mature policies fitted to the life of an independent nation. [endnotes 49-55]
  24. Chapter IV John Locke and the Liberal Construction I The Protestant Construction Is No Longer Preeminent As late as August 1941, when Churchill and Roosevelt signed the Atlantic Charter, the Protestant construction remained the basis for the political order in the West. As of September 2018 (publication month of this book) that is no longer the case. There is a progressive abandonment of both the Moral Minimum and the Independence principles. Family, the sabbath, and public recognition of God are on the decline, and care for the political independence of nation-states is on the decline as the EU and Team America World Police take over. The former Protestant construction is being displaced by a new agenda, call it the Liberal Construction. II The Liberal Construction "Individual freedom is the base of legitimate political order" is the single principle of the Liberal Construction. It comes from John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government (1689). In it Locke opens with the assertion that all human individuals are born in “perfect freedom” and “perfect equality,” and goes on to describe them as pursuing life, liberty, and property in a world of transactions based on consent. From this basis, Locke builds his model of political life and theory of government. The sequels and follow-ups range from Rousseau’s On the Social Contract (1762) and Kant’s Perpetual Peace (1795) to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (1957) and John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice (1972). A theory or program that is committed to this rationalist framework is what I (Hazony) will call a liberal theory or program. [ Although at first I objected to the inclusion of Rand on that list because Atlas does not offer a political program (Galt's Gulch fails to qualify as a utopia because of selective entry), what it does offer tends to support the liberal theory and its omissions are curiously similar to Locke's so I'll allow it. ] III Locke Criticized From endnote 36: Locke has a reputation as an empiricist because of Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1789) which was influential. Second Treatise however, is rationalist in its method throughout. Locke's rationalist theory of knowledge of moral principles (Book IV of his Essay ) is identified as his downfall. In empirical politics we find non-monetized and non-consensual mutual loyalties bind human beings into families, clans, tribes, and nations; each of us receives a linguistic, cultural or religious inheritance as a consequence of being born into such collectives. Locke neglects responsibilities that are intrinsic to both inherited and adopted membership in collectives of this kind, establishing demands on individuals that do not arise as a result of consent and do not disappear if consent is withheld. Locke's theory of consent, that the individual becomes a member of a human collective only because he has agreed to it, and has obligations toward such collectives only if he has accepted them, has nothing to say about family [beyond marriage]. IV Concerning Locke’s Theory of the State. Individuals feel that their life and property are insufficiently secure, so they choose to form a pact to defend those interests. But in real life, nations are communities bound together by bonds of mutual loyalty, carrying forward particular traditions from one generation to the next. They possess common historical memories, language and texts, rites and boundaries, imparting to their members a powerful identification with their forefathers and a concern for what will be the fate of future generations. V Borders Between Nation-States VI Progress? So long as the Protestant Construction held sway and people were familiar with the Bible the nation was an uncontroversial and widely understood concept. The failure of the liberal theory to account for the nation-state had no consequence until recently, when it has crowded out the prior theory and made the political world as it is unintelligible. All men are equally in need of having their lives and property protected, so for the liberal the persistence of independent national states will be, at best, a matter of indifference. If there may be any cost to preserving a nation's independence or cohesiveness that indifference shifts to willingness to dispense with it. Ludwig von Mises advocates “a world super-state really deserving of the name… that would be capable of assuring the nations the peace they require.” Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism in the Classical Tradition, trans. Ralph Raico (San Francisco: Cobden Press, 1985 [1927]), 150. According to Hayek, “The abrogation of national sovereignties and the creation of an effective international order of law is a necessary complement and the logical consummation of the liberal program.… The idea of interstate federation [is] the consistent development of the liberal point of view.” Friedrich Hayek, “The Economic Conditions of Interstate Federalism.” University-educated political and intellectual elites the world over of various party affiliations only debate within the Lockean framework. They don't merely disagree with the Protestant Construction, they don't even know it exists. Thus a vast array of liberal projects goes on undebated and unconstrained by any sense of a limit: European unification, free immigration of populations, unfettered free trade, multinational corporations, international law, international courts, international self-appointed non-governing organizations, homogenization of the world’s universities by way of a system of international standards and peer review. Closing quote: endnotes 34 - 48
  25. You are way off topic here. If this is a continuation of a disagreement originating in another thread then please take it back there.