Love Theme from San Sebastian

Guns for San Sebastian, Love Theme:

Civilian Scouts and the Medal of Honor

Civilian Scouts:

The two famous "Bills" of the Old West period in American history -- "Wild Bill" Hickok and "Buffalo Bill" Cody -- shared at least one distinction besides their name. They both served as civilian scouts for the US Army.

The position is remarkably similar to the job I do currently in Iraq: riding out with the Army on patrols, to advise them on how to leverage the tribal networks to solidify the peace and ensure the development of the nation. Sometimes the patrol is for my benefit, so that I can meet with tribal leaders in outlying areas in order to map the networks and develop strategies for the brigade to consider. One of the challenges is trying to explain the work to the bureaucracy, and I found that "civilian scout" was a model that was immediately understandable to soldiers. They remember their history very well, as you expect of an institution of warriors, and this explanation made sense to them.

I even have a few "name tapes" with the title, on my armor and also my gear:

It's a useful position, and a concept that probably needs to be restored. One of the problems with the Human Terrain Teams -- I speak as a strong supporter of the concept of the HTS and the HTTs -- is that the "social scientist" often fails to understand what the Army expects them to do. The most important figure on an HTT is their "social scientist."

(An aside -- Readers know I detest the term, as the whole concept of a 'social science' is bad philosophy. Science requires detachment, but the arts require just the opposite. To pursue an art faithfully requires love.)

The analysts are to bring them data; the team leader is to formulate their findings into milspeak. The social scientist is the heart of the HTT, though, and needs to understand not only the local culture, but what strategic effects the military wants to achieve. They need, for that matter, to understand that it is their job to produce strategic effects -- which means they need to understand just what is meant by the term "strategic effect."

The civilian scout is just what is wanted here. Not only does it have a resonant history, but it is a title that clearly explains the mission.

Obscene Amenities

Obscene Amenities:




"Applied Human Nature":

Our friend and commenter Piercello has started a blog for his thesis regarding human nature. It's an early stage work yet, but one that I think will interest a number of you.

It's an interesting concept, and I will start the discussion with a word of warning to the author. The thesis is phrased in terms of utility: there are "advantages" to us in understanding human nature as you propose. Especially,

This definition allows the vast internal complexity of human emotional life to be comprehensively mapped using just three factors[.]
The question of whether a model is useful is entirely separate from the question of whether or not it is true. We know the ancient Greeks built remarkable machines based on epicycles, which used that approach to predict the movement of stars in the sky. This was extraordinarily useful, especially in naval navigation. Yet it wasn't also a true model of how the stars actually move.

This tendency becomes even more dangerous when we deal with things that cannot be seen or measured with any final accuracy (like emotions). Even if the model finally proves to be tremendously useful in a predictive capacity, don't confuse that utility with truth value. Preserve the sense of mystery in your conceptions, and always work on recognizing the limits of your model.

The other advantage offered by the model is that it is simple, and therefore elegant -- "just three factors." This is an advantage with a proud history in Western thought, most famously cited in Occam's Razor.

Remember here, though, that Occam's Razor is a tool for gamblers, not a divining rod that points to truth. It is good for getting a sense of what is most likely. It cannot tell you what is.

They key to the arts is not to mistake them for sciences. When "social scientists" do otherwise, even the dismal ones, the practical consequences of their bad philosophy may be severe.

On Revolution

On Revolution:

The probability of severe social turmoil in the United States seems to me to be quite high over the next few years. I would mark the important factors as:

1) The most important factor is the impending collapse of the US Federal government's ability to pay its bills. In 2007, before the last two years of orgy-like spending, USA Today reported:

Bottom line: Taxpayers are now on the hook for a record $59.1 trillion in liabilities, a 2.3% increase from 2006. That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined.

Unfunded promises made for Medicare, Social Security and federal retirement programs account for 85% of taxpayer liabilities.
2) While in a sense all debts are promises, there is a significant difference in debts from one institution to another, and debts between the government and a vast array of individuals and families. This betrayal will be fundamentally destabilizing.

3) The fact that, though the impending collapse has been evident for some time, even today the political class simply refuses to admit and plan for the reality. Neither Congress nor the President, this year or in the previous few, is doing anything to mitigate the collapse.

4) Indeed, they are doing the opposite: vastly increasing spending and debt, much of it on frivolities, while promising that there is nothing to fear. Indeed, they are promising that we can further expand government entitlements! The increases in spending speed the arrival of the moment of crisis; the promises will deepen the shock when it does arrive.

5) The fact that we are entering this period inside of a recession is likewise troubling.

The admission of the problem would be a positive first step, but the scale of the problem makes it hard to address even in an honest environment. The USA Today article points out that liabilities are such that we could cover them by paying an extra eleven thousand dollars per household in taxes starting this year, but that repaying debt over time is more expensive: "Every U.S. household would have to pay about $31,000 a year to [meet these debts over] 75 years." The same year the article was written, 2007, median household income was about $50,000.

This may be academic since we aren't going to be making an effort to resolve these problems anyway, but are instead going to carry on with new spending up until it all falls apart. So, let's talk about what the period of instability might look like, drawing on the piece below (about forging new coalitions) and this article on the 1848 revolutions, which has some interesting parallels. Consider:
Dramatic changes over the early 19th century and the long shadow of the French Revolution set the context for 1848. The system established after Napoleon's defeat sought above all to prevent general wars among states and revolutions within them, but the means of achieving the latter made for inflexible politics. Particularly in France, barriers to political office and professional advancement left talented, ambitious young men alienated from a regime dominated by their elders. Abrupt economic cycles brought periodic unemployment, which in turn sparked acute social tension. But governments lacked the resources to handle the pressures generated by population growth and industrialization. Britain had faced the problem in the decade after Waterloo, but the problem spread across Europe more acutely in the "hungry forties."

Social conditions by 1848 had piled up tinder for a conflagration. Resentments over everything from unemployment and taxes to labor demands on peasants -- not to mention the aspirations among regional elites for greater autonomy -- had rallied support for revolution. But transforming myriad grievances into positive program proved difficult. Tocqueville saw France drifting in June from political struggle to a social war of proletariat against the propertied classes. The specter of social revolution turned many toward accommodation with governments that, however imperfect, would at least provide security.

Many older accounts of 1848 depict the year's events as a flowering of liberal nationalism crushed by the forces of order. A.J.P. Taylor described abortive revolution in Germany as a turning point that failed to turn, thereby directing Germany on a separate path -- toward authoritarianism rather than liberal democracy. In "1848," Mike Rapport sympathizes with European liberals but nonetheless offers a fully nuanced portrait of a tumultuous year. Ethnic conflict and deep social tensions, he notes, complicated the task of constructing liberal, constitutional regimes. Different interests had their own agenda, and Otto von Bismarck, the German statesman, grasped an essential point when he argued that liberalism appealed only to the urban middle classes. That fact gave the revolution a narrower foundation than its architects had expected.

Ethnic conflict had a major role in the events of 1848 because nationalism served to exclude as well as unite. Liberal nationalists were caught in a now familiar dilemma: whether citizenship would rest on pluralism or require the assimilation of ethnic and religious minorities. Smaller nationalities looked suspiciously at German and Hungarian aspirations, especially when nationalist leaders spoke of Slavs with disdain. The Czech liberal Frantisek Palacky argued that Austria protected the Slavonic peoples from both internal strife and Russian domination. Localism, and loyalty to the Catholic Church, remained a strong counterweight to nationalism in Italy. Even Giuseppe Garibaldi came to see "how little the national cause inspired the local inhabitants of the countryside."
How much does this resemble the upcoming period? There are apt to be severe economic shocks associated with the government's final admission -- whether in advance or, as seems more likely, when the fact can simply no longer be denied -- that it cannot pay its bills. Older people who have been basing their plans for retirement on the question will be furious. Younger people, asked to pay tax increases and largely abandon the hope of retirement, will be furious. Poor people, in the face of serious cutbacks to services, will be furious. Richer people, in the face of confiscatory taxes, will be furious. The world economic system, so long reliant on the United States as a rock of relative stability, will be shaken.

This suggests a period of social turmoil. In 1848 the competitor with the traditional social systems was liberal republicanism; today it must be said to be relative authoritarianism. I say "relative" for this reason: the house of the competing model is probably China, with Russia, Iran, and Venezuela as regional advocates. Though less free than America or Europe, all of these places house relatively free populations who are met with authoritarian responses only if they try to interact with the political system. If they are willing to keep their heads down and do what they are told, most of the time they are left alone. This is a softer sort of authoritarianism than that used by the Soviet Union, old Communist China, or the facist states. There are already some movements within the United States that point to these other states as models, particularly Venezuela (and Cuba); and they are likewise aligned, as in 1848, with certain urban elites whose interests are advanced by the alliance (although currently only through normal electoral politics -- these elites use the alliance to muster voting blocs of relatively poor and alienated voters, not for any dishonorable purpose).

Now, what of this question of ethnicity as a barrier to revolution? I think it also holds, though it will appear at first not to do so. Garibaldi would find today that the rural areas are the remaining hotbeds of nationalism. Yet I think in a very real sense that nationalism is the old ethnic sentiment: for the ethnicity is now "American," rather than Italian or whatever. Nationalism among Americans is almost precisely a display of ethnic tribalism. I mean, in modern America, nationalism is now firing along the same circuits of the brain that were occupied by "Serb" or "Italian," etc., in 1848 Europe.

Assuming that model for a moment, what can we say about the road forward? Specifically, if conflict should break out along these rough lines, does it not harmonize neatly with the political coalition suggested by Murray below? Such a conflict would be a civil war based on insurgent models, which means that counterinsurgents will require a political model in order to rebuild the authority of the government. I think Murray's model, with a few tweaks, suggets a very stable coalition that could arise out of the conflict. It would restore the government's authority by rebuilding the republic along more traditional constitutional lines; taking advantage of the nationalism that is now a form of "ethnicity," and thus enjoys a very natural form of authority. It would also put the future government on a more sustainable and responsible model of governance, and one that is closer to the republic that the Founders envisioned.

You might reasonably say: instead of planning for the war, why not plan how to avoid it? Indeed, that's a reasonable question, but a troubling one. As in 1848, there is insufficient political flexibility to make the changes we'd need to make to avoid the collapse. It's not clear that, even if the President and Congress were united on admitting the problem and fixing it, there is a way to do so without fundamental disruption -- and although now would be far better than later, the President and Congress are not so united. The 2010 elections may provide a new Congress, but not a new President; and so the effort among the government to address this basic fiscal problem will be divided at best through 2013, unless President Obama is sufficiently flexible to recognize the failure of his basic ideological model and move strongly in the direction of repairing the government's standing. It would be remarkable if he were -- if any many were -- quite so flexible as that.

Charles Murray / Exceptionalism

Conservatism Without a Net:

Charles Murray of AEI has quite an interesting argument in The American. It's remarkable in several ways. Let me start by sketching what he says.

1) The American and European models are fundamentally different in that the American model creates greater genuine human happiness.

2) This is because true happiness arises from only a few particular lines of endeavor -- he names family, vocation, religion, and community.

3) The European model weakens all of them precisely by supporting them too much with state power. This causes the older institutions to wither, as they are no longer needed as much.

4) This leaves people living lives with less meaning, as the vital experiences are weakened. All that remains is being nursed along by the state, but less and less of the real challenge that makes life worth living.

5) An aside, added in expectation of a challenge: furthermore, the state does a worse job of most of these things than the traditional institutions. Thus, before state support, the family did its job better than the state+family now does it.

What's interesting about this argument isn't so much the argument itself. It's the strategy behind the argument. This is a rather artful position.

In the America of the Founders' day, "liberal" and "conservative" meant entirely different things than they mean today. Liberals -- what we now call "classical liberals" -- believed in freedom from government interference in their lives, the ability to form local communities that would exercise a great deal of autonomy (and which were small enough that you could easily move to another one if you didn't like the changes), and strict limits on Federal power. "Conservatives" -- or, if you like, "traditional conservatives" -- argued that human nature needed to be trained by strong institutions. They named family, faith, and the state as the three key ones. These institutions should have great power in order to produce the best kind of person.

There are still a few of these folks running around, but neither now occupies the original term. The great majority of "conservatives" today have adopted something relatively close to the classical liberal tradition. These "independent conservatives" are chiefly interested in maintaining liberty from state interference, in order to maximize human happiness. The classical liberal is divided from the independent conservative in that the classical liberal is willing to use quite a bit of government power to reshape communities along the lines of liberty; but it wants localized power, to maximize individual choice in which model it prefers. The independent conservative wants minimal government power, out of a belief that government is a necessary evil that must be chained.

The traditional conservative, remember, believes that it is men who are evil and must be chained -- and the government is necessary as one of those chains! He is not close to either of these middle positions.

The liberals of today descend from FDR, but also from Europe's tradition of democratic socialism. This was not an offshoot of Marxism precisely, as is commonly believed, but an attempt to take the fire out of Marxist revolutionary sentiment by compromising with some of its demands in order to avoid riots and rebellions, always more common in Europe's 19th and 20th centuries. Thus, it was a movement that believed in using the power of the state to effect social changes.

Thus, the liberals are closer to the traditional conservatives in being willing to use the state to force things on the populace that the populace may not want. They likewise believe they are doing it for the populaces' own good. They merely differ on just what things need to be done: the traditional conservative wants to strengthen God, King, and Country, while the liberal wants to undermine just those things to strengthen Unions, minority rights, and intellectuals.

What Murray has done here is to adopt a position that appears to synthesize the claims of three of these four groups: traditional conservatives, independent conservatives, and classical liberals. In theory, such a position could build a significant coalition.

In laying out how the coalition functions, let's use TC for "traditional conservative," IC for "independent conservative," CL for "classical liberal," and L for "liberal."

Murray argues that these four institutions are the key institutions to living the good life as defined by happiness. Happiness in turn is defined as meeting challenges within these good institutions -- very close to Aristotle's definition, and very close to the way that Aristotle also put happiness as the goal of his ethics (and therefore his politics). (TC)

However, the ability of these institutions to provide happiness is sapped by the use of goverment to perform the same functions. This drains the total level of happiness available to society, and is therefore a great wrong. (TC -- because we are still strengthening these key traditional institutions -- but also IC, in that it is about limiting the size and scope of government power).

Notice that he defines "community" as one of the opposing concepts to government. ('Communities respond to neighbors' needs,' etc.) This elides purely voluntary organizations with local community governments, both of which do that in the absence of Federal authority. This would appear to synthesize the IC and CL positions: the IC will hear "church and volunteer groups" while the CL will hear communities to mean "organizations small enough where everyone knows each other, like a town council." ICs tend to have less problem with smaller governments anyway, as less powerful governments are also less dangerous (recall Newt Gingrich's push for "devolution" and block grants to the states).

Thus, you end up with a position that advocates for reinforcing traditional institutions at the expense of the state. This should be satisfying to most TCs, who may accept a weaker chain on humans from the government if they believe that the other chains will be reinforced in exchange. It is satisfying to ICs and CLs as well, both of whom are suspicious of Federal (or concentrated) power.

So, it's a highly artful argument. Now, does it hold water?

I think we can start by asserting with confidence that it is going to be mocked by liberals. They will say, "So you are telling me that you will 'strengthen' my family by letting it go bankrupt? That you will strengthen my community by denying it Federal resources? And that we should feel good about this because all this extra hardship and work will deepen our experience, and thus make us happier?"

Rephrased in those hostile terms, the argument sounds pretty silly. Yet it really isn't silly; it's just not fully satisfying. There is quite a bit of truth to what he is saying.

Just a few days before 9/11, John Derbyshire wrote a piece entitled "It's a Woman's World," which spoke to some of these issues. 9/11 showed that there was still quite a bit of the man's world out there! But it's a good piece for examining the 9/10 sentiment, which harmonized in a lot of ways with the Euro ethic that Murray is describing (in far kinder terms than Derbyshire!).

It is notorious that men misbehave much more than women: 90 per cent of U.S. jail inmates are men, as are 90 per cent of murderers and 80 per cent of drunk drivers. Men are also of declining economic importance: male participation in the civilian labor force has dropped from 86 to 75 per cent since 1950, while the female rate has risen from 34 to over 60 per cent...

The more boisterous manifestations of masculinity — physical courage, danger-seeking, the honor principle, belligerence, chivalry, endurance, small-group loyalty — which were once accessible to all men, in episodes of war or exploration if not in everyday life, have now been leached out to the extremes of our society — to small minorities of, at one extreme, super-rich sports and entertainment stars, and at the other, underclass desperadoes. There is no place now for a brilliant misfit like the Victorian explorer Sir Richard Burton, whose love of danger and of alien cultures led him to be the first, and quite probably the only, non-Moslem ever to penetrate the holiest sanctuary of Islam, the Ka'aba in Mecca — he even had the audacity to make a surreptitious sketch of the place while he was supposed to be praying. (Burton, by the way, was a holy terror as a boy — would be a sure candidate for heavy Ritalin treatment nowadays.)

Even war, that most quintessential of masculine activities, is probably a thing of the past. For war you need a large supply of young men. With the great demographic collapse of modern times, that supply is drying up. Soft, feminized, over-civilized, under-militarized societies of the past were likely to be jolted back into vigor, or just overrun, by warriors from the wild places. Now there are no more wild places. While one should never be complacent about these things, and it is possible that a starship fleet of unwashed plunderers, cutlasses in their teeth and knives in their boots, is on its way from Alpha Centauri even as I write, the odds are good that the human race ain't gonna study war no more.
Mr. Derbyshire would probably revise and extend his remarks if he chose to revist them today, nearly eight years later; there has proven to be plenty more war and adventure, and I've had occasion to see a bit of it myself. The masculine virtues are still deeply necessary to our society.

And yet he is right to say they are not adequately welcome within the society. In many respects the world of Iraq is as much home as this world; for there one still puts on armor and 'rides out,' and does the kinds of things that make you feel like you are living the kind of life a man should live. This is what Murray was talking about: vital experiences, extraordinary ones, that are the reason that men exist at all. A society that limits these experiences is indeed unsatisfying in very many respects. This too has a strong advocate in American history: Teddy Roosevelt, whose advocacy of "the strenuous life" is still highly resonant today.

I think that Murray is on weaker ground in asserting that these four categories are the only ones that exist for providing this kind of happiness. I've already noted his use of "community" apparently to cover both local government and volunteer organizations; there is no reason it could not cover government at any level. I expect that President Obama felt quite fulfilled as he pondered his new authority, and planned how he would use it to reshape the world according to his image. (I don't know if he is enjoying the power as much now that he has it! Many's the fantasy, however treasured, that may be better not acted out.) It is possible that "vocation" could also cover government action: thus, for those who make the laws, and for liberals who spend their time in advocacy for the laws, this kind of meddling is exactly the kind of satisfaction they are looking for. It only hurts the rest of us: to them, it feels like they are doing the right thing.

There is also the question of whether certain physical pleasures might not, for some people, rise to the level of deep meaning: indeed, it's dangerous to assert that they cannot. To the degree that the argument is accepted, you increase the pressure to have such pleasures 'cross the line' into one of the four categories. The obvious example here is the pressure to redefine what is meant by "family," and especially, by "marriage." You aren't reinforcing the family as an institution by increasing the pressure on people to assert that they are really 'a sort of family,' thereby bending the thing entirely out of its original shape.

These three key challenges notwithstanding, it has the potential to be an important argument. It remains to be seen how and if it spreads. There is quite a lot there, and it artfully divides the electorate in a way that could establish a new coalition with adequate popularity to govern. This it could do, I say, if it is accepted: and for that to happen, it will need to be tightened up a bit here and there.
Six Years and Counting:

Congratulations to the Mudville Gazette, now on year seven. Greyhawk lists his favorite post, and other highlights.

It occurred to me when I read that to wonder how long I've been writing here. I went back and checked, and it turns out that it is also six years, today.

I couldn't say that I had a favorite post. I will say, however, that the one I get asked about most often is this one. I've had a number of requests to reprint it in various newsletters and other venues, which I always am pleased to grant.

St Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day:

Today was Gene Easley's birthday. I owe him for the hand of a lovely daughter, and remember him with great kindness and friendship.

Have a merry day.

UPDATE: Cassidy has quite a collection of Irish jokes. I hadn't heard most of them. The one about the painting, for instance...


How Progressive Are You?

The Center for American Progress suggests that the mean score is over 200 on their quiz, with "conservative Republicans" sitting around 160. Our friend Feddie at Southern Appeal reports having scored 141; I scored 114, which is probably downright shocking.

It would be, at least, if you trust the methodology. I'm not at all confident that I'm more "conservative" than Feddie, having spoken to him and read his works often over the years; in fact, I'd guess I'm rather less so. I'm also not confident that the average American is quite as "progressive" as suggested by their mean; when you write the questions and cast judgment on the answers, you get to define the landscape to a large degree.

That said, there's no doubt that the average American wants the government to do more for him or her than is worthy of a good man to desire. John Kennedy said something on that score; but if "progressive" has a center, it is the concept that government should do more for everyone. It is not a question of what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you, and everyone else.

Frankly, that whole concept strikes me as a moral failing. I suspect it would have struck Socrates as a failing too: and he was ready, if Plato is an honest guide, to concede to the government a tyrannical status in its relation with the citizen. A man owed everything to the government, because the city-state gave him the stability on which his whole live was based. That was without the city-state actually being devoted to the service of the individual; it was just the byproduct of the city-state's normal operations, which involved compulsory military service and a host of other demands.

Now, so many want government to do everything and give everything in return for no service at all, beyond the taxes of those who happen to make money. Not, as someone recently mentioned, those who have money -- 'it is an income tax, not a wealth tax.'

Having spent a fair amount of time lately in an environment in which government gives all, of such quality as it knows how to give, let me assure you that we can do better. And that is an environment of service. Imagine how well you will be rewarded not as honored servants of the nation, but as a despised class: and guess whether you shall be despised more if you belong to the class of beggars, or the class of creditors.

If I were the sort of man to offer investment advice in this environment, I think I would suggest going long in rifles. All signs point to that commodity having been undervalued for too long.


A Shocking Revelation:

Yesterday my wife sent me this article via email.

LONDON – An academic says he's found evidence that Britain's legendary outlaw Robin Hood wasn't as popular as folklore suggests.

Julian Luxford says a note discovered in the margins of an ancient history book contains rare criticism of the supposedly benevolent bandit. According to legend, Robin Hood roamed 13th-century Britain from a base in central England's Sherwood Forest, plundering from the rich to give to the poor.

But Luxford, an art history lecturer at Scotland's University of St. Andrews, says a 23-word inscription in the margins of a history book, written in Latin by a medieval monk around 1460, casts the outlaw as a persistent thief.
"Ancient history"? Anyway, the historian knows his business even if the journalist doesn't:
Luxford, an expert in medieval manuscripts, said the find "contains a uniquely negative assessment of the outlaw, and provides rare evidence for monastic attitudes towards him."

He said it was not entirely surprising that monks, as part of England's clerical establishment, harbored negative feelings about the bandit.

Luxford said Robin Hood stories from the Middle Ages paint him as an ally of "good knights and yeomen — salt-of-the-earth type people. But they are not so positive about his relationship with the clergy."
Just so.
Others they may tell you of bold Robin Hood,
Derry, derry, down!
Or else of the barons bold,
But I'll tell you how they served the Bishop,
When they robbed him of his gold.
Derry down! Hey! Derry, derry, down!

Robin Hood, he dressed him in shepherd's attire,
Derry, derry, down!
And six of his men also,
And, when the Bishop he did come by,
They around the fire did go.
Derry down! Hey! Derry, derry, down!

'We are but poor shepherds' quoth bold Robin Hood,
Derry, derry, down!
'And keep sheep all the year,
But we've resolved to taste to-day
Of the best of our King's deer.'
Derry down! Hey! Derry, derry, down!

'Thou'rt a merry fellow;' the old Bishop said,
Derry, derry, down!
'The King of thy deeds shall know;
Therefore make haste, come along with me,
For before the King shalt go!'
Derry down! Hey! Derry, derry, down!

Robin Hood he set then his back to an oak,
Derry, derry, down!
His foot against a thorn,
And underneath from his shepherd's cloak
Pulled out a bugle horn.
Derry down! Hey! Derry, derry, down!

Robin put the small end against his lips,
Derry, deny, down!
And loudly a blast did blow,
Till full six score of his trusty men
Came a-running on a row.
Derry down! Hey! Derry, derry, down!

'What's the matter, master?' says Little John,
Derry, derry, down!
'You call us so hastily.'
'Oh! here's the Bishop of Hereford,
For to-day he passes by.'
Derry down! Hey! Derry, derry, down!

Robin Hood he took then the old Bishop's hand,
Derry, derry, down!
And led him to gay Barnsdale,
And made him sup at his board that night,
Where they drank wine, beer, and ale.
Derry down! Hey! Derry, derry, down!

'Call me in the reck'ning' the Bishop then said,
Derry, derry, down!
'I'm sure it's growing high:'
'Lend me your purse, Sir' said Little John,
"And I'll tell you by and bye:'
Derry down! Hey! Derry, derry, down!

Little John he took then the old Bishop's cloak,
Derry, derry, down!
And spread it upon the ground,
And from the Bishop his portmanteau
He told five hundred pound.
Derry down! Hey! Derry, derry, down!

Little John he took then the old Bishop's hand,
Derry, derry, down!
And called for the pipes to play,
And made the Bishop to dance in his boots;
He went gladly so his way.
Derry down! Hey! Derry, derry, down!
As usual, the myth, the folk tale, and the childrens' song are a good guide to the truth of the matter.