Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Waiting for ACT III

ACT I

Nature is everything that is around us, from the atoms to the galaxies to the tools we use to see such things. All that exists is nature. Every thing man has invented is part of nature, and everything that will be invented. All the parts of everything that will be made already exist basic or raw way.

Man is nature as well. Man’s body is made of same things as makes all nature, nature sustains him while he lives, and when he dies, his body goes back to the earth, in one form or another. In nature, man differentiates between what is not alive (forces of nature, laws of physics and science) and that which lives: plants, animals, and himself. These things are organized by order of freedom.

Forces of nature have no choice. They act without mercy or malice, and they wind down, slowly disordering and dissipating. Life, however, is anti-entropic. It does not slowly dissipate, it grows. It does not wind down, but up. It reproduces itself and passes on to each generation abilities. Thus ability pass on useful traits from generation to generation makes life inherently valuable. Even the life of a bacterium has value. It is bulwark against the sterile chaos that exists where no life is present.

Plants grow. They “learn” resistance to other forms of life and thrive, but they have no thoughts and little or no choices. Animals, however, chose. The brain of even the simplest animal is differential engine, weigh options and making selections. As the brain of the animal grows in complexity, so does its ability to differentiate between things. At the peak of the pinnacle is man.

Man has greater ability to differentiate and categorized than any other species. This difference of ability is orders of magnitude greater than the same difference between any other species. Human beings truly are amazing, but it not this mundane ability to chose that gives man his value. Only man has the ability to chose between good and evil. It is for this reason than man is intrinsically sacred.

All animals are capable of behavior which merely destructive, to themselves, their species, their, young, and their environment. Many animals can and do kill for play rather than purpose, but man is alone, not only in his ability to cause purposeful harm, but his ability to revel in the suffering such harm causes others. Similarly, while many animal parents will die to protect their young, and few will suffer harm to protect the lives of distant relatives, man alone will undertake a lifetime of hardship for the cause of other men a world away. Thus, every man is capable of acts of unspeakable evil or angel humbling acts of love and kindness. This capability is limited only by his ability.

The great problem of Good and Evil is not its existence, but its subjectivity. When good and evil are general issues, all of mankind agree on what is good and what is evil and have for thousands of years. It is when the moral question is specific that men can no longer agree. The question of morality is further complicated by the varied nature of man. Perhaps 10% of mankind will always be moral under all circumstances. Perhaps 10% will do evil under all circumstances. This leaves around 80% in a state of constant flux. Their actions are subject to the constant demands of expedience.

Some men are evil, and some good. These men, saints or devils live without choice. The vast portion of men must chose whether they will be good or evil with everyday. The ability to chose is called freedom. Without freedom there is no morality. Doing the good thing, because you are coerced isn’t necessarily good. Doing the evil thing because you are coerced isn’t necessarily evil.

All men must have freedom. Though he may use it for good or evil, without it, man becomes simply the cleverest of the animals. Because all men must be free, sometimes man must have some of his freedoms limited so that the practicing of his freedom does not rob another man of his. The robbery of freedom is called exploitation, and it is the beginning of a great more many evils.

Some men are devils, and some saints. Most are just men. To prevent exploitation, good men, must take away the freedom of evil men. This is called government. Government must have rules, and these rules are called law. The great challenge of law and government is that as mentioned, most men agree on what is good and evil when the issues are large and conceptual. When the issues are localized to single person, place, and environment, the consensus, grows shaky.

The writing of law must be based around six ideas: (1.) Man is valuable. (2.) Man’s freedom is valuable. (3.) Most (though not all) men will exploit others if given the chance (4.) Governments are composed men very much like the ones they govern. (5.) Governments and law should be put in place by the same men whom it governs (6.) The purpose of government and law is to prevent and punish exploitation (ie, a person or group removing the freedom of another for some sort of personal gain.)

With a framework to judge man, law and government in hand, it it time to list the limitations of man, law, and government. Law and government are for most men, not saints and not devils. Saints need no government, they will always do the right thing. Devils will not be dissuaded from wrong no matter how harsh the penalties. It is not for these ungovernable men that law is written or executed. It for the common man. Because of this, many compromises must be made in the writing of law. The saint must be burdened with laws he does not need, and the devil with laws he will never follow, so that the common man may be governed. However, the saint and the common man both need not burdened with laws written solely punish the devil. Such laws burden the good and actively benefit the evil, for devils will have their vices, and if vices are banned the devil will simply be better paid.

No government can make man not prone to exploitation Further, no government in history has ever figured out how to produce saints but many have figured out how to produce devils. The common man is not easily pushed toward sainthood and his toehold on morality is precarious, but he will slide toward evil with great ease. This must be considered not only in the laws which regulate the actions of the common man, but those which regulate the actions of the government itself as well. After all, a government is nothing more than body of common men.

The last limitation of government is funding. Since man is prone to exploitation, and the government prevents it, few men will voluntarily pay the government to govern them. The government must collect its funding by force, called taxes. Since man’s freedom is valuable and taxes are coercively collected, the government must be as small and efficient as possible to make this loss of freedom as negligible as possible.

The last limitation of man is how he acts in groups. A group is number of people who have some cohesion to each other for some purpose. Groups have many benefits to man but present two enormous drawbacks to his freedom. The first is the mob effect. The second is organizational. They are worst when combined. Without governing the only limit to these problems is the size and cohesion of the group. Groups of men, being composed of men, should have all the freedom of a man, restricted only by the groups power to exploit other individuals and groups.

Almost all men have a moral compass called the conscience. The strength of conscience decides the man’s capacity for self government, and thus his need for governing. Groups tend to not only dull the conscience of the individual who belongs to it (which is bad enough) but even replace the conscience of the individual with lowest common average of the groups con
science. In essence, the conscience of group is less than the sum of its parts. As the group grows in size and cohesion the individual’s conscience is hijacked and replaced with the conscience that the group’s leadership approve of. Though this is not always bad (armed forces in particular are famous for using this principal to encourage moral behavior) in general this principal is applied for exploitation.

The second problem of groups is organizational. While the conscience of a group is less than the sum of its parts, the power of group is much greater than the sum of its parts. The danger which groups can pose to the freedom of man is obvious: as power increases (either through cohesion or size) conscience is reduced proportionally. Power without conscience is license to do evil.

With these limitations the path is clear: groups, not having consciences, are not afforded the benefits the doubt that a man is. A group is not permitted freedom until they use it to exploit. A group must have its freedom restricted proportionally to its size and cohesion. A government is merely a group of men, thus the same rules apply. A nation of voters are a large group, but generally lacking in cohesion so their group needs few if any restrictions of freedom. A national government also represents a large group, who have not only a cohesive vision, but also, to do its duty, more power over others than any other group. As such, the national level government must be the most restricted of all groups.

Corporations and religions represent very challenging groups for government. Both are excellent for the the people. One encourages wealth and hard work, the other moral behavior at work and at home. However, despite these benefits, both can contain very large, highly cohesive, and very effective groups. These two types of group have enormous potential to exploit others. As such their freedoms must be restricted proportionally to any other group of the same power and wealth.

One last note on government and groups. Groups are the very reason for government. Government and group are interdependent. One person existing alone, without touching the life of an other person, need only govern themselves. A family needs few rules, rules which regulate how the family relates to its own members and rules which regulate how the family relates to other family. A nation is no different.

ACT II

The study of government is the study of human history and the study of human history is the study of failure. When history is viewed through a narrow lens, it is the story of great triumphs and awesome failures centered around colossal figures. Sometimes evil men triumph and the innocent die, sometimes Good wins. But viewed through the wide angle lens, nothing really seems to mater. Good or evil, just or injust, all men die alike. Yesterday’s revolutionaries become today’s establishment. Morality becomes legalism. As competing religions grow in size they become more and more like each other. Revolutionary governments begin to abuse the very powers they fought and died to end. As a species, we become what we abhor.

Every revolutionary group is Utopian. Any group founded on the idea of change, either at a micro or macro level, is doomed. The group effect of increasing ability with decreasing conscience begins to create the conditions for hypocrisy (ie, a difference in the values group proclaims and the actions it takes). The quantity and quality of this hypocrisy is proportional to the power that the revolutionary subgroup has in relation to group it seeks to change. Though history is replete with examples so well known as to be common knowledge, perhaps the most obvious for Western readers is Christianity.

Christianity began as a sect of Judaism, differentiated from its parent religion primarily by the Christ, and his profoundly revolutionary teachings. Three simple and undeniable teaching of Jesus are: First that there is not mediator between God and man, but He. Second, morality is not about following the right code, morality is primarily about treating others with love and respect. Third, pacifism (to the point of aiding an occupying soldier, and even allowing him to strike you.) is moral and good. The first ends the priesthood, the second ends legalism, and the third ends holy wars. Between those teachings (and Jesus had many more) religion as most people understand it ceases to exist.

But a mere 10 generations after Christ, Christianity is established as the state religion of Rome.

The name of a man who said he was the last priest, that morality is in the heart and not a rule book, and was committed to pacifism at the cost of his own life was invoked to form a highly legalistic State ruled by priests and constantly at war. The late medieval Catholic church achieved levels of hypocrisy which still astound us today (consider the “Ballet of Chestnuts”).

History is very, very clear about this: No revolutionary group will survive. Groups will be corrupted proportionally the power the exercise over other groups. The example of the Church is not even remotely unique. The story of Islam is similar. The story of communism in Russia and China is no different. For every king toppled, every constitution written, and slave freed, there is a tyrant established, a constitution ignore or made impotent, and freeman sold. It would be ultimate folly to conclude that any person or people could be so wise as to create a group to seize power who will not be corrupted by their own success. No group, no plan, no manifesto is a bulwark against the erosion of the power hungry.

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August 13, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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