LvM L&Sa - I.1.Ownership (4)
Natural ownership need not count upon recognition by the owners' fellow men. It is tolerated, in fact, only as long as there is no power to upset it and it does not survive the moment when a stronger man seizes it for himself. Created by arbitrary force it must always fear a more powerful force. This the doctrine of natural law has called the war of all against all. The war ends when the actual relation is recognized as one worthy to be maintained. Out of violence emerges law.
Out of violence, or out of the pernicious marriage between one's unquenchable desire to maintain relevance and one's realisation of his fading abilities. Either way.
It has to be stated that by all appearances the notion of "law" as contemplated in this text, and in a few centuries of Western thought is really a historical accident unlikely to long survive. Because GPG contracts, for instance.
The doctrine of natural law has erred in regarding this great change, which lifts man from the state of brutes into human society, as a conscious process; as an action, that is, in which man is completely aware of his motives, of his aims and how to pursue them.
The notion that healthy man is a "brute" whereas emasculated man is somehow more representatively human and necessarily related to society is amusingly naive (not that I have any trouble seeing why any one eunuch would be proposing it in all seriousness). In point of fact human society exists wherever humans gather, irrespective of any other consideration. It existed in the pre-homeric time of heroes just as well as under the roman skies of petulantiam, libidinem, luxuriam, avaritiam, crudelitatem Nero. You suppose captured white women on moorish ships, after they had enjoyed the fingering of their vaginas and rectumsi like they do in the US these days sat down into any less or any different a rendition of human society ? Why would that be ? The society in Belgrade, savagely bombed by a cowardly enemy in the 90s is supposedly entirely a different thing from the society in Belgrade, savagely raped by a different enemy in the 80s ? Why would that be ?
Obviously none of this holds, and obviously any attempt to enact any alternative to the natural is reducible to more or less well disguised special pleading, but special pleading nevertheless. However, there is one very valuable point made in the quoted text, and that is the part about how consciousness is in no way required. This is exactly correct : for instance, the obliteration of the old contract with its attendant notions of law, government and state by the emergent gpg contract built on a bed of Bitcoin requires nobody's agreement, no-one's permission and certainly no understanding whatsoever. These things just proceed on their own momentum, like it or not.
Today we have other theories with which to explain the matter. We talk of natural selection in the struggle for existence and of the inheritance of acquired characteristics, though all this, indeed, brings us no nearer to an understanding of ultimate riddles than can the theologian or the rationalist. We can 'explain' the birth and development of social institutions by saying that they were helpful in the struggle for existence, by saying that those who accepted and best developed them were better equipped against the dangers of life than those who were backward in this respect. To point out how unsatisfactory is such an explanation nowadays would be to bring owls to Athens. The time when it satisfied us and when we proposed it as a final solution of all problems of being and becoming is long since past. It takes us no further than theology or rationalism.
Perhaps I'm young and therefore naive, but I fail to see any problem whatsoever or any flaw at all in this explanation. Why the quotes ? Indeed the mechanism proposed explains the effects observed without remainder. Apparently the Parthenon is gone and the silver mines abandoned. It's unfortunate that the author glosses so over what'd have been the first occurence of something useful being said in his tract.
No great insight, indeed, is needed to show that Law and the State cannot be traced back to contracts. It is unnecessary to call upon the learned apparatus of the historical school to show that no social contract can anywhere be established in history.
Let's try this nonsense in other terms.
- No great insight, indeed, is needed to show that evolution and the species cannot be traced back to genes. It is unnecessary to call upon the learned apparatus of the archeology school to show that no gene animal lived at any point in history.
If the author aims to suggest that since among the birds and the rats there never lived a GENE as an actual animal species it then follows evolution and speciation is not controlled by genes I will need to hire help to be done laughing before New Year's.
Certainly both law and state flow from the contract, even if there's no Contract of Law and State on golden tablets anywhere to satisfy the needs of pedestrian minds still stuck on the story of Moses. Hey, wake up, it's a three thousad years stale Jewish joke! Time to move on already.
Economic action demands stable conditions.
This is a complex topic, and one with serious practical implications for me. I do generally agree that economic growth and stability correlate positively, inasmuch as they make it easier to plan, and economy is strictly a daughter of good plans well implemented. However, I doubt the relation is anything much more than correlation, and in fact stability can also be poisonous to economic growth in some (admittedly narrower) circumstances.
The extensive and lengthy process of production is the more successful the greater the periods of time to which it is adapted. It demands continuity, and this continuity cannot be disturbed without the most serious disadvantages.
Perhaps, except after the fire of Nero Rome improved, and after the fire of London it also improved, and after the fire of Haussmann Paris improved. Stability certainly has its place, and continuity its merits. I do suspect there can be too much of a good thing in this however.
This means that economic action requires peace, the exclusion of violence.
This is the most idiotic thing I heard all day. War plucked Europe and the US out of the worst crisis in history, and there's little reason to suspect that without World War 2 the Great Depression would have ended by 1960 much like there's little reason to suspect the current crisis will end before 2050 unless we get lucky and there's a WW3. Previous wars are no exception to this rule, and this banal observation has a respectable history.ii
Peace, says the rationalist, is the goal and purpose of all legal institutions
He says it in that he would like it be the case, much like the optimist that pretends life on Earth is the goal and purpose of the Sun. In reality the Sun is a disinfectant, and should we not have the benefit of the filtering atmosphere life would be as imposible on Earth as it is inside a working microwave oven.
All violence is aimed at the property of others.
This is drastically untrue, and the mistake betrays one foreign to the practical use of violence. In reality, violence is chiefly aimed at the honor of others, it is there to humiliate them, which is to say, place them in a position more perfectly aligned with their intrinsic value and objective abilities. Whether this is accomplished by impregnating their wife or by confiscating their car is less relevant, except that inasmuch as a new car is generally easier to come by than a new wife it's usually the case economy is only a secondary consideration in the workings of violence.
The person—life and health—is the object of attack only in so far as it hinders the acquisition of property.
Not so. Consider country A, composed of Joe, Schmoe and Moe, and country B, composed of Mary and Jane. As far as country A is concerned, Joe is #1, Schmoe #2 and Moe #3. As far as country B is concerned, Mary is #1 and Jane #2. Should A and B meet, the problem is quite serious : Mary seems to believe she is #1, which is nonsense as the position is already occupied by Joe. She can't readily be moved down a spot, because that'd infringe both with Schmoe's and Jane's spots. So the solution will be that Mary and Jane are stripped naked, raped and henceforth installed in their custom-made positions, #4 and #5. To say afterwards that Joe, Schmoe and Moe were primarily driven by a desire to acquire bloomers and garter belts makes about as much sense as everything else we've heard today.
Further of note is that violence doesn't need to become physical violence, and indeed doesn't actually become physical violence unless one of the inferiors refuses to accept his inferiority. Should upon A meeting B both Mary and Jane throw off their clothes and welcome their masters on their knees, indeed there'd be no war, but only love and good neighbourly relations. Should Mary throw off her clothes and welcome her new masters on her knees while Jane defiantly insisted for her #2 position, Mary'd be welcomed as a wise and civilised Bite, whereas Jane'd be repressed by the police of B, and maligned in the press of A as a violent, savage terrorist (she'd cry herself to sleep with rhymes about freedom fighting, of course). Should both women initially demure they'd be raped, surely, but not killed, especially if they come to their senses midway and start moaning and bucking their hips like good girls. Only should they insist to speak their weird B language among themselves and not integrate in the society of A (as inferiors, which is what they are) would it become necessary to send them on a little trip of tears to their grave.
So... no, economy has little to do with violence, which is the natural, fundamental, needed and welcome principle at the bottom of all human society, and indeed unrelated to physical violence unless the inferior go crazy.
Thus it is no accident that it is precisely in the defence of property that Law reveals most clearly its character of peacemaker.
The law isn't a peacemaker, it's an instrument of persuasion, helping Mary and Jane understand when they need to take their clothes off, and how to properly kneel. Should the inferior demure, its virtues suddenly cease to work.———
- At the time the official excuse was that they're checking for hidden valuables, but we know the cause was, is and shall remain simply the fact that where there's a hole there will go a finger. [↩]
- Leac de criza, by I. L. Caragiale, cca 1890. [↩]