UR’s Political Philosophy in a Nutshell

Blowhard, Esq. writes:

bastiat

About Blowhard, Esq.

Amateur, dilettante, wannabe.
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15 Responses to UR’s Political Philosophy in a Nutshell

  1. plwinkler says:

    So, because legislators are imperfect, we should have no laws regulating human behavior, amirite?

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  2. Wilbur Hassenfus says:

    Half of mankind is generally below average. The rulers, shitstains though they may be, are generally in the first standard deviation above the average. Raise them not to hate the common ruck too poisonously, and they’ll do a less awful job of ordering things, more or less.

    Libertarians are self selected from people who never understand how goddamn stupid people are.

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    • “Half of mankind is generally below average.”

      Well, yes, by definition.

      “The rulers, shitstains though they may be, are generally in the first standard deviation above the average.”

      Just b/c they may score higher on an IQ test doesn’t make them any wiser or less self-interested.

      “Raise them not to hate the common ruck too poisonously, and they’ll do a less awful job of ordering things, more or less.”

      Easier said than done.

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  3. JV says:

    I’m not sure what you’re saying by featuring this quote. That leaders shouldn’t be exempt for skepticism and criticism because they’re fallible humans like the rest of us? Well sure. Or are you saying that the actual laws and regulations that legislative bodies come up with shouldn’t be given that much truck because they were devised by fallible humans? If it’s that, than I disagree. Humans can come together and create things that a large enough portion of a population agree are righteous or noble enough goals that we can all follow, regardless of the fallible humans who happen to be in the position of enacting and/or enforcing them.

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    • Fenster says:

      JV, you are hiding behind a reasonable argument again 🙂

      I can fall into that myself sometimes.

      I am a Darwininan all the way down and so for me political philosophies are symptom, adaptations, markers, indications, tendencies. But never Platonic ideas that fallible and mostly blind humans strive to live up to.

      So for me yeah I like much of the anarchist bent. I fell for it hard in grad school, when I got enchanted with Kropotkin and Bakunin and Bookchin. But even as I was writing my paper on the heroic anarchists of the Spanish Civil War, I began to suspect that it was not only the unfair power of statists that killed off the anarchist urge and that there might be something about the impulse itself that rendered it more volatile, erratic, mercurial. I still feel that way.

      So if anyone thinks an anarchist utopia is possible, my answer would be like Franklin’s: OK, you’ve got your anarchist utopia let’s see if you can keep it.

      I don’t think, though, that Blowhard Esq’s post of that quote means he is arguing for a mass scale Brook Farm–that could get uncomfortably Pol Pottish. But I do think it quite likely we are at a moment of skepticism for top down answers.

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      • JV says:

        Anarchism and libertarianism, to me, are fun thought experiments in a vacuum but not exactly viable systems due to the variety of human experience. They rely too much on people being this way or that way.

        The quote itself really is a straw man I’ve never heard anyone arguing that “the tendencies of these organizers are always good.” Of course they’re not. Sometimes their tendencies really suck, but that doesn’t mean we should jettison the whole thing. And does the phrase “to be free” mean free from governance? If not, what does it mean?

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  4. slumlord says:

    Skepticism of the top is not incompatible with contempt for the bottom. But as government, is in the end, a practical art, those who have show a good ability to govern themselves have more right to govern than those who don’t. The matter of who should govern is easily settled.

    Still, for fogey Catholics like me who believe int he doctrine of original sin, it’s quite apparent that everyone, top or bottom can be a son-of-a-bitch, the question then is not who should govern, but how much power should be given to the governing class to make sure they don’t fuck things up.

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  5. agnostic says:

    With no government, the wealthiest groups will push the whole society around — enslaving, exploiting, selling-out, desecrating, polluting, corrupting, and whatever else it takes to keep their wealthy position. The politicians are influenced by the wealthy, but they are at least elected and somewhat responsive to the people — way more so during periods of populist fervor — whereas the wealthy don’t give a damn.

    (“Well, we’ll just equalize wealth and there won’t be any extremely rich groups to push the others around” — great, let’s just take out our magic wand…)

    That’s why Bastiat’s argument is facile — even assuming that the legislators were made of a *coarser* clay of mankind, they aren’t operating according to their personal whims, but to those who elected them and who can recall them. Even if back then their politicians weren’t chosen as democratically as today, they still faced public pressure in the form of popular unrest — riots, civil war, and violent revolution.

    Angry mobs don’t go after the rich as a class, since they aren’t technically in control. They’ll go after the political leaders. That exerts a lot of popular pressure right there, let alone nowadays where they’re up for re-election.

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  8. Carl says:

    Ha! The servile goons commenting on this quote have failed utterly to see Bastiat’s point. Which is to be expected, of course. They will voluntarily invent justifications for their own servitude, out of pride.

    Liked by 1 person

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